Friday, October 10, 2008

MacBook Pro Hit By Faulty NVidia Chips

Apple confirmed yesterday that some of their MacBook Pros have been hit by faulty chips from NVidia.

Apple has said users facing issues with their MacBook Pro having distorted video or no video issues is likely due to faulty 8600M GT graphics chips. The specific models affected were all made between May 2007 and September 2008, and include all 15- and 17-inch models equipped with NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processors.

Apple will repair any of these computers free of charge up to two years from the date of manufacture, or refund your repair cost if you've already had the problem fixed paid for a repair.


In July 2008, NVIDIA publicly acknowledged a higher than normal failure rate for some of their graphics processors due to a packaging defect. At that same time, NVIDIA assured Apple that Mac computers with these graphics processors were not affected. However, after an Apple-led investigation, Apple has determined that some MacBook Pro computers with the NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processor may be affected. If the NVIDIA graphics processor in your MacBook Pro has failed, or fails within two years of the original date of purchase, a repair will be done free of charge, even if your MacBook Pro is out of warranty.

What to look for:

  • Distorted or scrambled video on the computer screen
  • No video on the computer screen (or external display) even though the computer is on

Specific products affected:

  • MacBook Pro 15-inch and 17-inch models with NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processors
    • MacBook Pro (17-Inch, 2.4GHz)
    • MacBook Pro (15-Inch, 2.4/2.2GHz)
    • MacBook Pro (Early 2008)
  • These computers were manufactured between approximately May 2007 and September 2008
Products Affected

MacBook Pro, models with NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT graphics processors


If your MacBook Pro is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, please take it to an Apple Retail Store or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) for evaluation, or call your local Apple Contact Center. Before visiting the Genius Bar at the Apple Retail Store, please make a reservation.

Apple is issuing refunds to customers who may have paid for repairs related to this issue. Please contact Apple for details on the refund process.

Note: If your MacBook Pro is not experiencing any of these symptoms, you do not need to contact Apple.

Fallout 3 Already On Torrent Sites

According to reports at Ars Technica and Gamasutra the Xbox 360 version of Fallout 3 is already available for illegal download on torrent sites, a whole three weeks before the game’s scheduled release.

According to a report from GamesIndustry.Biz, the game has already been downloaded at least 2,000 times. This coming in spite of the fact users would need a modified 360 would be needed to even play the game.

Bethesda Softworks just announced earlier this week that Fallout 3 had gone gold, which may mean a leak of the game’s code took place at a manufacturing plant. Either way it looks as though the cat is out of the bag. There have even been reports of live streaming videos of users and their first experiences with the game.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

ASUS Launches the G71- World's First Quad Core Gaming Notebook

Earlier this week ASUS announced the world's first Intel Quad Core Gaming notebook — the ASUS G71. From the specs the G71 looks like its going to be quit the gamer! However early price puts the ASUS G71V-A1 core 2 duo equipped laptop at around $2k, so be prepared to hand over some cash for all the performance as the quad core will likely be considerably higher.

asus g71

Thew G71 is packed with a rather impressive array of high performance components, such as a 17” Crystal Shine high brightness display with a response time of 8 ms, powered by a NVIDIA GeForce 9700M GT GDDR3 512 MB graphics card. The G71 also features up to 4 GB of DDR3 1066MHz system memory coupled with dual hard disk drives of up to 1 TB (500 GB x 2)—enabling users to enjoy multimedia entertainment and games while on the move.

ASUS G71 Specifications:
  • CPU Options
  • Mobile Intel® PM45 Express Chipset +ICH9M-E
  • Intel® WiMAX/ WiFi Link 5100
  • Genuine Windows Vista® Ultimate
  • Genuine Windows Vista® Home Premium
  • DDR3 1066MHz SDRAM, up to 4GB
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9700M GT with 512MB GDDR3 VRAM
  • Intel® Turbo Memory Technology with 2GB NANDFlash(optional)
  • 17" WUXGA, High Brightness, Color Shine
  • Dual hard disk drives and single hard disk drive (optional);
      1 terabyte (500 GB x 2) 5,400 rpm
      640 GB (320 GB x 2) 5,400 rpm
      500 GB (250 GB x 2) 5,400 rpm
      400 GB (200 GB x 2) 7,200 rpm
      200 GB, 7,200 rpm
  • DVD Super Multi Double Layer/ Light Scribe/ DVD combo / Blu-ray DVD writer
  • 2-megapixel swivel web camera
  • Built-in Bluetooth™ V2.1+EDR(optional feature)

Direct Console 2.0
Direct Console 2.0 is an all-in-one gaming control interface that allows users to select from three processor speed settings depending on their mode of usage. The same interface also includes controls for Direct Messenger, enabling communication utilities such as Instant Messaging (MSN™), Meeting and E-mail notification. The gaming hotkeys enable users to launch their favorite games with a single touch and execute in-game commands on-the-fly. The chassis of the G71 also features a programmable lighting system, which lights up and blinks during in-game events. These lights can be configured through the Direct Console 2.0, providing the user with a pyrotechnic-like ambience while in the game.

Direct Messenger
Users can now read their emails and communicate via Instant Messaging (MSN™) through the Direct Messenger. Acting as a secondary display, it displays email notifications, instant messages, battery reserves and system loadings in real-time even during a game in progress. This allows users to keep in touch with their friends and family while multitasking between various applications.

Entertainment and Style on the Move
The G71 incorporates several entertainment features that promise to give users a gaming experience like none other. Altec Lansing speakers equipped with a subwoofer deliver excellent sound reproduction, further complimented by Dolby™ Home Theater. A 2.0 megapixel webcam allows users to communicate visually through Skype™ or MSN™; while a dedicated game keyboard layout provides them with strategically placed movement keys on a full-sized keyboard—granting them quick access to their in-game inventories and allowing them to issue commands in the shortest time possible. These features combine to provide an entire host of gamer-centric features for users to immerse themselves in a world of audio and visual entertainment with style.

Fun for Everyone
The G71 may have the sheer power to sate the needs the most serious of gamers, but it is also very suitable for those who prefer to play games on a more casual basis. Attaching ASUS' innovative Eee Stick—a simple plug and play gaming solution that allows users to interact with the game by translating their hand motions into corresponding movements onscreen—for example, will instantly transform the G71 into a mobile gaming console. The easy-to-use and family-friendly Eee Stick—which works with all of ASUS' notebooks—consists of an Activation stick, a Navigation stick and a 2.4GHz RF dongle. It has a broadcast range of up to 10 meters, allowing users more leeway for physical movement. Boasting three modes of operation, the Eee Stick can be used with a myriad of game genres, ranging from sports and shooting, to action and beat 'em up games.

Source: ASUS

Rumor: Apple Shipping $800 MacBook

The we is a buzz about the possibility of a new $800 Macbook. The rumor is fueled by reports at the Inquisitr sitting a source that has already received the new pricing list.

The Inquisitr claims that their source, an Apple retailer, has already been given the new price lists for Apple's upcoming laptops and that there are 12 price points ranging from $800 to $3100. Current laptops are said to have only 8 retail price points: 3 Macbooks (starting at $1099), 3 Macbook Pros and 2 Macbook Airs.

Duncan Riley, the author of the post, said he exclusively got the dirt from "a source we would categorize as reliable, would have access to such information, and who has been accurate in the past."

The folks at MacRumors seem a bit skeptical. Arnold Kim writes, "While The Inquisitr has no prior track record with Apple rumors, the owner of the site and author of the report is a relatively established blogger. One potential cause for doubt is that their source claims that "retail outlets usually get the price lists 10 days before products hit the market" which is not typical. Historically, price lists have appeared as early as a few days ahead of launch. The longest lead time in recent memory was about four days prior to a Monday iMac launch."

Apple has been cutting prices on some of their products so it isn't out of the realm of possibility. If anything I'm leaning towards a lower end product, I doubt the specs would blow us out of the water. But I guess we'll just have to wait until Oct. 14th to see if the rumor is true or not.

Comcast Offers Free Basic Cable For A Year

In an attempt at snatching up new subscribers ahead of a government-mandated digital TV switch-over on Feb. 17, Comcast will be offering new customers free basic cable programming with another paid Comcast service, such as Internet or phone.

Comcast said new customers who choose not to subscribe to additional Comcast services can get basic cable for just $10 a month for a full year.

Basic cable is pretty much just that, the basics, in most areas you'll receive 20 to 30 channels, including free-to-air local broadcast channels like ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX as well as shopping and local public TV channels.

Cable companies are looking to cash in on some of the confusion over the government-mandated switch-off of analog TV signals next year. Studies have shown there is still a great deal of confusion over the switch and cables companies figure they'll offer a "cheap and easy" solution to get new customers. Basic cable does not require any new equipment, which will be a plus for many customers, however you'll still need to have cable installed.

After the digital changeover on Feb. 17, households currently watching TV for free over-the-air will no longer receive analog signals. The majority of these households will need to purchase a new digital converter box. The U.S. government is subsidizing a digital-to-analog converter box that plugs into an existing TV for those that do not have digital televisions, that have digital television without a digital tuner. Consumers can buy the box through a government coupon program, which goes toward buying the box at retail prices of around $40 to $70.

For more information on the digital TV transition and the DTV coupon program please visit out previous posts: Digital TV Converter Box Program - Upgraded Guide To Buying Digital Converter Boxes

YouTube Adds "Click-To-Buy" Feature

YouTube has partnered with Amazon and iTunes to to incorporate an e-commerce element into its video pages. "Click-To-Buy", places links on pages allowing users to, at the click of a mouse, buy and download anything from music, books, games and other products related to the content they are viewing within the YouTube video directly from the YouTube platform.

"Today, we're taking our first steps to providing YouTube users with this kind of instant gratification, by adding 'click-to-buy' links to the watch pages of thousands of YouTube partner videos," YouTube said on its Web site. "Click-to-buy links are non-obtrusive retail links, placed on the watch page beneath the video with the other community features."

So along with rating, sharing, and commenting on videos, YouTube users can now click on links to buy songs, books, and movies featured in online videos. For example, EMI's official video for Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" now includes "Download this song" links to Amazon's MP3 Store and Apple's iTunes Store.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Firefox "NoScript" Extension Blocks Clickjacking

According to Giorgio Maone, an Italian security researcher who wrote and maintains the Firefox extension "NoScript", the latest release of NoScript, version, will stop so-called "clickjacking."

NoScript is a small application that integrates into Firefox. It blocks scripts in programming languages such as JavaScript and Java from executing on untrusted Web pages. These are the scripts that security researches have warned could be used to launch an attack on a PC.

Clickjacking is largely made possible due to a fundamental design feature in HTML that allows Web sites to embed content from other Web pages, Maone said. Nearly all Web browsers are vulnerable to a Clickjacking attack. However adding the NoScript extension will allow users to block the majority of scripts running on a page, thus lowering their chances of being "Clickjacked".

The new improvement to NoScript, called ClearClick, can detect if there is a hidden, embedded element within the Web page. It then displays a warning message asking the user if they still want to click on it. Maone said ClearClick will likely stop all Clickjacking attempts. NoScript is only for the Firefox browser.

Security researchers Robert Hansen and Jeremiah Grossman, issued the warning about clickjacking late last month. Earlier this week Adobe released an advisory to users about a "Clickjacking" workaround for Flash Player. Following that warning Hansen received the ok to release some of the details about possible Clickjacking scenarios.

Michael R. Farnum, of ComputerWorld, reports on his first NoScript clickjacking warning.

I upgraded to 1.8.2 (I think it was yesterday), and I have already received a clickjacking warning. The picture is below. The URL is obfuscated purposefully by me since I didn't want anyone jacking around with the site (it is a secure site that requires a password - hmmm).

noscript clickjacking

So my question is this: Is this a coding error of some kind on the site, or is it a false positive? Is this something that is going to be happening to a lot of people using FF and NoScript, or did I just get lucky? Of course, one might ask if it was actually an attack. I doubt it because (like I said above) the website is a secured site that is password protected, but you never know. I am not a developer, so I don't want to go any further than that, but I am looking into contacting the developer of the site to see if they can find anything (or if they even care). If I hear anything, I will post an update.

From the information and image posted above it would appear as though the NoScript extension does work, however as Farnum said it might show a few false positives. Unless of course the site he was visiting was indeed being "Clickjacked".

Sonim "World's Toughest Phone" Coming To America

Sonim's ultra-rugged GSM cellphones have been touted as the "world's toughest phones". They've survived being dropped from a 13-story building and shot at with guns, and still keep on ringing. Now, the California-based company finally plans to bring their phones home to the US with the upcoming XP3, which will be available next March from several rural U.S. carriers.

Designed for blue-collar workers and outdoor enthusiasts, the Sonim XP3 is as close to indestructible as a phone gets. It's waterproof, can withstand a 6-foot drop onto concrete, operates in extreme cold down to -4 degrees and heat up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sonim's chief executive, Bob Plaschke, said it can actually run at temperatures down to -40 degrees and survive a 9-foot drop (not to mention that one, 13-story fall.) It's impervious to almost anything, including "micro-particles." It has 2.5 days of talk time and an astounding 2 months of standby on its huge 2200 mAh battery.

The U.S. version will be a quad-band EDGE, GSM phone with GPS, Bluetooth, and flashlight mode. It has a glare-resistant 128x160, 65k-color screen. It isn't going to be a true smart phone, but it can run Opera Mini so you can surf the web while you are out on that hick in the wilderness. It will have a 3-megapixel camera with geotagging for still photos, but no video capability. It doesn't play music, but the speakerphone that is relatively distortion free.

The phone is protected by a 3-year, no-questions-asked guarantee. Meaning if you find a way to break it, you get a new one. From what I've seen these things are tougher than nails so good luck on that one!

The videos below are of the Sonim XP1, as you can see they are extremely tough phones.

Is Ad-Sponsored Gaming Here To Stay?

Admittedly I'm not a huge gamer, yeah I know how can I be a geek and not be into gaming? Don't get me wrong I enjoy gaming but I don't enjoy the price tag that comes with trying to build a great gaming rig, or having to shell out tons of cash to purchase the latest games. So for me the new trend of ad-supported gaming is perfect and I personally hope the trend continues.

Last year Ubisoft became one of the first publishers to offer its games for free including Far Cry, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Rayman Raving Rabbids and Ghost Recon.

The trend has continued to build momentum with more and more publishers releasing some of their older games, along with a few newer ones, as freebies with in game ads. Just last week a few new ad-sponsored games appeared online including; Full Spectrum Warrior, Area 51, The Suffering and Beyond Good & Evil.

According to Massive Inc., developers of the advertising network embedded in many games bought today, the system of in game ads does actually does work. In a test conducted by Nielson entertainment, the average purchase considerations - based on ad campaigns that ran on the Massive network - increased by 41 percent. Additionally, the average ad recall increased by 41 percent whereas average brand familiarity increased by 64 percent. The study included over 600 gamers playing Need for Speed: Carbon on the Xbox 360 and PC.

So it would seem as though this is a win win situation for publishers. The advertising is working and more people like myself are willing to try out new games, thus furthering their reach. This being the case we might actually see more free ad-supported games down the road.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Clickjacking Details Emerge

SecTheory CEO Robert Hansen has finally go the ok from Adobe to release more information about the new threat that he and fellow security researcher Jeremiah Grossman of WhiteHat Security found.

"First of all let me start by saying there are multiple variants of clickjacking," "Some of it requires cross domain access, some doesn't. Some overlays entire pages over a page, some uses iframes to get you to click on one spot. Some requires JavaScript, some doesn't. Some variants use CSRF (cross-site request forgery) to preload data in forms, some don't. Clickjacking does not cover any one of these use cases, but rather all of them."

Hansen breaks down several scenarios and ways in which clickjacking can be used, so I strongly suggest reading his full post on his blog, as I really wouldn't do his explanation justice.

Adobe has posted an advisory to address concerns about clickjacking and they have stated they are preparing a critical a patch for Flash Player. In the meantime, Adobe advises IT administrators to change the AVHardware Disable value in client mms.cfg files from 0 to 1 to disable client Flash Player camera and microphone interactions. It also recommended users go to the Global Privacy Settings panel of Adobe Flash Player Settings Manager and select the "Always deny" button.

For a video demonstration of a clickjacking attack against Flash checkout researcher Guy Aharonovsky's blog post "Malicious camera spying using ClickJacking". He does note that Adobe has fixed this issue but it is still interesting to watch and gives you a good idea of how clickjacking works.

Judge Continues Restraining Oder in MPAA, RealNetworks Case

A federal judge on Tuesday upheld an earlier decision and banned RealNetworks from selling RealDVD, its DVD-copying software.

Federal court judge Judge Marilyn Patel issued a tentative decision in the case on Friday requiring that sales be halted pending a hearing Tuesday. Today she renewed that decision blocking all sales of RealNetworks' RealDVD software.

After a three-hour hearing she kept her decision intact so she could have additional time to learn for sure whether RealDVD circumvents encryption software in violation of the DMCA.

Judge Patel suggested there was enough evidence, at least for now, of a DMCA violation. "I'm not satisfied that in fact this technology is not in violation of the DMCA," Patel ruled from the bench.

In their argument against a temporary restraining order, Real claims that it is complying with the terms of its DVD-CSS (Content Scrambling System) license and that the studios have no claim under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA).

RealNetworks attorney James DiBoise countered: "This is literally a bit for bit copy of the dvd and continued by saying consumers had a "fair use right" to copy DVDs for personal use.

More information on the lawsuits: MPAA, RealNetworks Sue Each Other Over DVD Copying

GMail Now Offers "Mail Goggles"

According to the GMail Blog Google Labs has come up with a feature called Mail Goggles which may help prevent you from sending those late night emails that you might later regret.

The new feature which is of course a play on the term "Beer Goggles" (I'm sure we all know what that means), was created by Jon Perlow. John's goals was to help you curb those crazy drunken emails that sometimes go out late at night and on weekends.

Mail Goggles
by Jon P

Google strives to make the world's information useful. Mail you send late night on the weekends may be useful but you may regret it the next morning. Solve some simple math problems and you're good to go. Otherwise, get a good night's sleep and try again in the morning. After enabling this feature, you can adjust the schedule in the "General" settings page.

By default, weekends and late nights is the only time Mail Goggles is active, that should be the time you're most likely to need it. Once enabled, you can adjust when it's active in the General settings, just in case you feel the need for better protection.

When enabled Gmail will ask to you to complete a few rather "simple" math problems in a limited period of time before you can send out your email. Get the answers wrong and you simply can't send the email. You'll be given the advice of "water and bed" and an option to try again with new questions. Thew difficulty can be changed from 1-5, 5 being the hardest. (I didn't see much difference)

No folks this is not a joke, the new feature is live and can be added to your GMail right now by going into your GMail settings. Look under Labs and about mid way down the page you'll see an option to enable it. Was you have it enabled you can go back to the general settings and adjust the time and days you want Mail Goggles to be active.

In my opinion this is pure genius! In fact I wish they had this option built into other sites, Myspace, Facebook ect. I know I for one have been guilty of posting a few messages that probably shouldn't have been after a night out on the town. While I really doubt it will prevent anyone from sending out their drunken messages the idea is still a good one. If nothing else it at least makes you think a little before you can actually send those drunken emails.

iPhone 2.2 Possibly Receiving Google's Street View And More

According to Mac Rumors a couple of new features have been buried within the iPhone 2.2 beta. Among them are support for Google Street View for the Google Maps application and support for Japanese emoji icons, a popular feature for Japanese phones.

According to MacRumors the most recent firmware beta provided to developers listed "compatibility testing" as the only change. The new version is labeled iPhone OS 2.2 beta 1 and is accompanied by a new beta of the iPhone SDK (build 9M2611). It would seem as though Apple is trying to sneak a few apps in under the radar.

Hey Steve it looks like the cat is out of the bag!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Apple Hits 10 Million iPhone Mark

Mac Observer has found that Apple has sold an estimated 10 million iPhones, reaching and potentially surpassing Steve Jobs' original stated goal.

By collecting iPhone IMEI numbers and recording them on a big Google speadsheet, AFB and Investor Village’s AAPL Sanity were able to determine that that Apple has made just about 9.2 million iPhone 3Gs thus far.

Estimates show that Apple has likely sold something close to 7.6 million 3G iPhones since its launch in June. That, when added to the 2.42 million first generation iPhones sold this year before the 3G’s release, means Apple is past the 10 million mark, as Apple 2.0 points out.
Its not likely that Apple will be releasing a press release just yet. These numbers are a bit skewed. They represent iPhone manufacturing numbers, not actual sales numbers. These calculations don’t take into account Apple and AT&T store inventory, display/demo and replacement units. However it looks like Apple has come pretty close to reaching the 10 Million mark, if not by now they certainly will by the end of the year.

iPhone users can contribute to the project by entering the first five characters of your iPhone’s serial number and your IMEI number (minus the last two digits) at AFB and on the Google speadsheet.

RealDVD Temporarily Shut Down

Chris Albrecht at NewTeeVee is reporting that the RealDVD site has been temporarily taken down until at least Tuesday when a judge will review the matter. This comes following lawsuits filled by both RealNetworks and the MPAA last week. (see previous story)

RealNetworks gained a minor legal victory by having the case moved from a Central District Court of California in Los Angeles (the studios’ home turf) to a Northern District court.

RealNetworks is asking for a
declaratory judgment against DVD Copy Control Association, Inc., Disney Enterprises, Inc., Paramount Pictures Corp., Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc., Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., NBC Universal, Inc., Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., and Viacom, Inc., in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The lawsuit asks the court to rule that the RealDVD software fully complies with the DVD Copy Control Association’s license agreement.

eBay Selling Stumbleupon For $75million

stumbleupon logoAccording to TechCrunch eBay has enlisted the services of Deutsche Bank to unload Stumbleupon, asking price a cool $75 million.

eBay acquired Stumbleupon a little over a year ago at the price tag of $75 million so it looks as though the are just trying to get their money back. However recent reports have showed that Stumbleupon's traffic has stagnated. StumbleUpon says usage is growing at a fast clip, despite website traffic, because most users never visit the site after downloading the toolbar.

In an attempt at driving more traffic Stumbleupon has moved away from their traditional toolbar that users must download to "Stumble" onto user-recommended content. Instead opting for a web-based browser toolbar which allows users to use Stumbleupon without registering or installing a toolbar in your browser. Just visit StumbleUpon's new homepage stumble a page and the toolbar will show as a small frame above pages.

stumbleupon toolbar

Additionally StumbleUpon is introducing a partner program for sites that will take advantage of the web toolbar. Partner sites like National Geographic, Rolling Stone, and The Huffington Post can integrate a StumbleUpon toolbar into their site that "stumbles" content from within the site. The new program will increase page views on partner sites by introducing users to new content, while helping StumbleUpon reach a broader audience increasing the amount of people looking at their ad content.

StumbleUpon’s 2008 revenues are estimated to be $6 million or so with an incredibly high advertising satisfaction rates. For every 20 or 30 Web pages users see when they click the "stumble" button they are served one paid result. Approximately 75 percent of its paid results have a positive rating, compared to an overall favorability rating of 85 percent for its non-paid content.

T-Mobile Launches G1 Emulator

Can't wait to get your hands on the T-Mobile G1, maybe you missed your chance to pre-order, or just want to check it out and see what the hype is about T-Mobile has released a pretty full-featured emulator just for you to play around with. It doesn't have everything, and a few features just give an error message, but it'll give you a good taste of what's to come when the phones are finally released on October 22nd.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Figure Your Gas Expenses With Cost To Drive

cost 2 drive logo
Planning a road trip in the near future or just want to know how much its costing you to drive to and from work? Cost To Drive is a web application that can help you figure out how much cash to take out of the ATM before you hit the road.

Cost To Drive lets you select from a long list of automobile makes and models dating back to 1999. Just select your car from the list, plug in the locations for the start and end of your trip. You can use a rough estimate, like city to city or you can use exact addresses.

The web site will then show an estimate of total distance, drive time, amount of gas needed (in gals,) the average cost of a gallon of gas and the estimated total cost. The figure is obtained by looking at the mpg for your car and the average price of gas in various spots along your route.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

SEC Gets Involved In Fake Steve Jobs Heart Attack Story

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating a fake story that appeared on CNN’s iReport site last week which claimed that Apple CEO Steve Jobs had suffered a heart attack.

The SEC's enforcement unit is trying to determine whether or not the posting was intended to push down the company’s stock price. CNN is cooperating with the SEC’s probe, network spokeswoman Jennifer Martin said. The report is “not true,” Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said in an interview.

Apple shares fell as much as 5.4 percent immediately following the rumors of Jobs's heart attack. Leading the SEC to believe there might have been some price manipulation going on. This isn't the first time rumors over Jobs's health affected the price of shares this year. Rumors and speculation over Jobs's health and a possibility of cancer contributed to a 51 percent drop.

The news story was originally posted onto CNN’s iReport by someone under the nickname of johntw. The story has since been removed. iReport is described by CNN as "Unedited. Unfiltered. News" and the parent company makes "no guarantee about the content or coverage" on the site. Content is "entirely user-generated," said CNN spokeswoman Jennifer Martin.

This was the text posted:

Steve Jobs was rushed to the ER just a few hours ago after suffering a major heart attack. I have an insider who tells me that paramedics were called after Steve claimed to be suffering from severe chest pains and shortness of breath. My source has opted to remain anonymous, but he is quite reliable. I haven’t seen anything about this anywhere else yet, and as of right now, I have no further information, so I thought this would be a good place to start. If anyone else has more information, please share it.

According to CNet News what hasn't been widely reported yet is that iReport was not the first place those behind the false report tried to spread it. Arnold Kim, who operates the blog,, reported late Friday that someone submitted the same rumor to his site using an anonymous IP address. In his case, Kim did the thing any good journalist would do and did some research on the report and decided the rumor was a fake. Later, he tracked the report and found that it was being circulated by members of online message board, 4chan. Kim also found the rumor circulating on Digg, but he said Digg users voted the story down, meaning they also were skeptical.

The stock swing caused by today's erroneous report drew renewed calls for Apple, which has said only that Jobs's health is a "private matter," to be more forthcoming, said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean at Yale University's School of Management.

"Leaving it to rumor and speculation is reckless," said Sonnenfeld, who has personally owned Apple shares since 1997, the year Jobs returned as CEO. "If he is healthy, they should say so. If he's not, we should know that too."

So who is to blame for the story going mainstream? And why didn't mainstream news services discredit the report before any damage was done?

Silicon Alley Insider has a big blame in the story catching credibility. SAI published this headline: "Apple's Steve Jobs Rushed To ER After Heart Attack, Says CNN Citizen Journalist." SAI was sure to shield itself by saying "the report hadn't been substantiated but reporters were checking it out."

According to Henry Blodget, SAI's founder and a former well-known tech analyst to that point, no other mainstream media outlets had published anything about Jobs' health. Blodget said SAI tried to contact Apple and CNN representatives to confirm the story prior to publishing but were unable to reach them. SAI decided to post the item--with all the disclosures about it being unconfirmed--anyway.

Blodget stands behind his decision to run the unconfirmed rumor saying "By the time we found it, the story had more than 100 Diggs and 50 comments and was all over Twitter. We didn't know whether the story was true, and we had no immediate way to confirm or debunk it. We viewed it as significant, however, both for those who care about Apple and Steve and as a first meaningful test of "citizen journalism."

Blodget himself says his desicion to run the story was based purely on the reactions he saw on Digg and Twitter. To call this poor journalism is an understatment. Obviously there was no evaluation of the information since the information rellied upon a single post from an annoymous uuser at, which is hardly a reputable source. In iReport's "About" section is written this statement: "CNN makes no guarantees about the content or the coverage on"

Friday, October 03, 2008

Play Crysis Wars Free Oct 10-12

Publisher Electronic Arts and developer Crytek have announced that gamers will be able to play Crysis Wars, the multiplayer version of Crysis Warhead for free during Columbus Day Weekend.

Those interested in checking the game out can register at come this Monday (October 6th) and download a copy of Crysis Wars. A key will be automatically saved to their profiles and will allow you to play the game online from October 10th at 11:00 AM til October 12th at 11:59 PM.

In order to prep for this "Weekend Wars" event, anyone who downloads the free copy of Crysis Wars will be able to play LAN games with their friends during the week.

Crysis Wars includes:
  • Three diverse multiplayer modes including InstantAction, TeamInstantAction and PowerStruggle
  • 21 maps ranging from large battlefields to smaller, more intimate battlegrounds with a diverse array of settings ranging from beaches to graveyards
  • All weapons and vehicles released within the Crysis Universe

Windows XP Receives Another Reprieve

According to the Register OEMs have been given an additional six months to sell PCs running Windows Vista with the ability to downgrade to Windows XP using an accompanying recovery disc. OEM partners originally had up until January 31 2009 to provide the Windows XP Professional recovery media with machines running Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate. Now they have until July 31, 2009.

Although the largest PC makers can't officially sell XP anymore (except for ultra-low-cost machines), they can sell Vista Ultimate and Vista Business machines with XP discs in the box, or even Vista machines that are "factory downgraded" to Windows XP.

Microsoft officially stopped selling Windows XP on June 30, though it continues to be available as retail supplies last. XP has continued to be a top seller on Amazon and other etailers for some time, and several versions of XP are still among Amazon's top 25 best-selling software titles.

WriteSomething - Endless Senseless Collaborative Book

It just so happens I Stumbledupon this site one night on accident. I meant to click a bookmark on my toolbar instead hitting the Stumbleupon button. I was dropped onto a page of tangled sentences, words and phrases that I thought had no relative meaning, I mean after all a black and white page with a bunch of random sentences doesn't and all to often misspelled words doesn't mean much.

While its true taken at face value they really have little meaning once you look at the whole you you gain a greater understanding of what you are viewing. Randoms thoughts of random people from around the world. If this doesn't offer an interesting insight nothing can.

About the site:

The authors (creators to be more exact) created WriteSomething the "Endless senseless interactive book", as a project with a plan to create the longest web page in the world. Then take those pages created entirely of random mussing of passeries and create a printed book

"This is an experiment. Our aim is to make a book that will be created by spontaneous and unlimited creativity of our visitors. The book will have thousands of authors..."

The site was created January 2007 by founders Tamara Razov and Anton Petrovic, also founding members of a well-known online museum of discarded photographs,

The web page allows visitors to enter text which is immediately published without validation. Visitors do not have to think about meaning, correctness or quantity of written text. Simply type whatever comes to mind and publish it.

The project follows the automatic writing technique, where the process of writing is meant to happen very fast, without thought, so the writers themselves aren't sure what will be put on paper (or in this case, web page). The final result is a long string of sentences which are, one by one, creating the finished work. In this case the work is done by the visitor, all at random all anonymous.

Currently the page boasts some pretty impressive statistics. These statistics are updated every hour so they won't be exact. Here is a link to view the realtime stats.
  • Total number of posts: 414,126
    • Posts in Croatian language: 343,081> (82.8 %)
    • Posts in English and other languages: 71,045 (17.2 %)
  • Total number of deleted (SPAM and inappropriate) posts: 47,795
  • An average post has 64 characters
  • Overall text size: 55.8MB
  • Most posts, 6463 were published on Dec 19, 2007
  • On Mar 1, 2008 there was a recorded maximum of 4609 users online
  • Average posts per day: 651
  • Top 10 countries by posts count
    1. Croatia; 338,604 posts
    2. United States; 44,267 posts
    3. Bosnia and Herzegovina; 27,337 posts
    4. Unknown country; 7,657 posts
    5. United Kingdom; 6,962 posts
    6. India; 4,474 posts
    7. Canada; 4,193 posts
    8. Germany; 3,448 posts
    9. Serbia; 3,006 posts
    10. Slovenia; 2,000 posts

Personally I think its an interesting project. An old English teacher of mine use to make us site and do automatic witting projects and I always thought it was interesting to actually see where my own thoughts headed. This brings it to a larger scale and opens then door to show you what others are thinking.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Steve Fossett Wreckage Found, But No Body

Yesterday we reported that items possibly belonging to millionaire adventurist Steve Fossett were found in a remote area of California near Mammoth Lakes.

The items which were found by hiker Preston Morrow, were discovered approximately 1/4 mile away from were searchers found the wrecked plane.

"They're definitely authentic belongings, it was his pilot license, his drivers license, it was also a membership card to the national aeronautic association which gave Stephen an award a couple of years ago," said Sir Richard Branson, Fossett's friend and fellow adventurer.

Today Madera County Sheriff John Anderson confirms that the shattered remains of Fossett's single-engine Bellanca had been spotted during an aerial search of the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains in California late Wednesday.

Rescuers later reached the plane on foot and confirmed it was Fossett's aircraft but found no human remains at the crash site. The crash site was described as "indicative of a high-impact crash, which appears to be consistent with a non-survivable accident."

Most of the plane's fuselage disintegrated on impact, and the engine was found several hundred feet away. The craft appears to have hit the mountainside head-on at a high rate of speed.

The fact that no human remains were found and that his personal items where located so far away have led many to wonder if its possible Fossett faked his death. Sheriff John Anderson said "It's quite often if you don't find remains within a few days, because of animals, you'll find nothing at all."

We may never know for sure what happened, but I guess the lack of remains will leave the door open to conspiracy theorist. The NTSB has said it could be weeks, perhaps months (if ever) before the cause of the accident was determined.

Source: Associated Press

GIMP 2.60 Released

The GIMP developers released the latest version of their free open-source graphics editor GIMP 2.6.0 today.

The new release comes with significant changes in the editor's interface and back-end operations as well as support for 32 bits per color channel and a new GEGL-based backend (turned on and off in the preferences). Other new features include polygonal and sectional selection with the Free Select Tool, better handling of windows, toolbars, docked tools, and menus, and a "brush dynamics" sub-menu that gives creators serious control over their pixel-pushing tools.

There are new things for a plug-in developer to enjoy as well. For example, procedures can now give a detailed error description in case of an error, and the error can be propagated to the user. GIMP 2.6 also further enhances its scripting abilities. In particular there is now a much richer API for the creation and manipulation of text layers.

For a full list of changes checkout the GIMP 2.60 release notes.

GIMP 2.6 is of course a free download for Windows, Mac, or Linux platforms, though it's only (officially) available as source code at the moment. The source can be downloaded from The GIMP team doesn't officially provide any Windows binaries however contributors often create them and they can be found in the Downloads section.

I haven't used the new release yet but from looking at the screenshots the new UI looks amazing! I strongly suggest anyone looking for a very powerful graphics tool grab a copy and try it out. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Rent Anything, Anywhere, Anytime With Zilok

While reading my daily dose of news I ran across the PC World article "100 Incredibly Useful and Interesting Web Sites". Browsing the list I saw very few sites I had never heard of, that is until I reached the very bottom. That is where I found Zilok.

Zilok, the "to rent anything online" site, allows users to offer for rent basically anything they own to anyone at anytime, and by anything I do mean anything.

Here is the break down on how it works:

Once registered on the website you can add any object you own, that is not covered in the prohibited items list, for rental purposes. You define the price, the area you can cover, and the rental conditions (time period, deposit amount ect). Zilok will issue for you a rental agreement that you will then use directly with the renter. There is a small listing fee for listing your items for rent, $0.10 per month per Listing Item plus a minor commission isn't bad.

A user (the renter) can use several tools to find what they are searching to rent including a search engine, a category directory or google map mashup. Once the renter identifies what they are searching for (an example with a Ducati 848), the renter will contact the owner and the closing of the rental will happen off site in real life.

Zilok currently does not provide a payment system or a third party deposit service. But like on standard marketplaces they have created a reputation system to filter through some of the mediocre and show power-owners or power-renters.

The service is open to both private individuals and professionals. So there is a good chance you'll find several of the high ticket items you might be looking to rent, like say a Bentley Continental GT or a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder. At the same time you can rent small ticket items like this $9/day Push Mower. The list of items available is endless.

The idea is really not a new one and the name sounds a little funky, I'm not even sure how to pronounce it. But the site has built a pretty strong user base. They do have a pretty limited coverage area right now which of course will go up as more users find their way to the site.

I was actually a little surprised when I didn't see the Sacramento area covered. Even if your area isn't on the list do a search, as a search yielded one hit in my area.

For more details here is a full tour of Zilok explained as well as their blog with even more information.

MPAA, RealNetworks Sue Each Other Over DVD Copying

On Tuesday the MPAA and RealNetworks filed lawsuits against each other over a dispute about whether RealNetworks' DVD-copying software violates movie studios' copyrights.

The Motion Picture Association of America filed its suit in Los Angeles federal court, accusing RealNetworks of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by making it possible for people to bypass copyright protection and make copies of movies on a PC. The studio organization also asks the court to stop RealNetworks from selling its RealDVD software. (MPAA Press Release - PDF)

The plaintiffs in the suit against RealNetworks include Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures, Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures, News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox, General Electric Co.'s Universal, The Walt Disney Co.'s Disney studio, and Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros.

RealNetworks, on the other hand, filed a lawsuit in federal court in Northern California, asking the court to rule that the company's software fully complies with the DVD Copy Control Association's license agreement. The DVD-CCA develops the studio-sanctioned data-scrambling technology in DVDs that makes it difficult to copy the content. RealNetworks is a licensee. (RealNetworks Press Release)

The Nuts and Bolts of it:

The MPAA is alleging that the RealDVD software enables users to engage in an illegal practice known as “rent, rip and return,” where a person rents a DVD from a legitimate business like Blockbuster or Netflix, uses the RealDVD software to make multiple permanent illegal copies of the movie (they are illegal since you don't own the movie), and returns the DVD to repeat the process over and over again. The same scenario could occur when borrowing a friends' DVD collections, simply borrow the DVD, rip it to your PC and return it.
"The incentive for the consumer is obvious and all but overwhelming," the studios said in a request for a temporary restraining order. "'Why,' he or she may ask, 'should I pay $18.50 to purchase a DVD when I can rent it for $3.25 and make a permanent copy?'"

The problem is that RealNetworks has said the software only enables DVDs to be copied onto up to five computers. The one holding the main RealDVD license and up to four extra PCs holding program licenses and does not alter the discs' encryption technology meant to prevent wide-scale piracy. The cost involved includes $50 for the first retail copy as well as $20 for each additional license, who in their right mind is going to pay that just to rip and return DVDs?

RealNetworks claims that RealDVD does not remove or alter the CSS encryption and even adds additional DRM to the file saved on the hard drive. A ripped file supposedly cannot be played on another computer unless that computer runs another license of RealDVD (at the extra cost) as well. So in order to share these copies with anyone outside your licensed circle of PCs they'd also need to be RealDVD license owners.

The MPAA of course isn't agreeing with RealNetworks' argument. In its suit, the organization said RealDVD should be called "StealDVD." The group said the purpose of the copyright protection on DVDs is to prevent any copying of the content without the permission of movie studios. "The RealDVD software illegally circumvents this copyright protection system," the group said in a statement.

The movie studios have always claimed that illegal mass distribution of ripped movies across the Internet is their main concern. This scenario of illegally copying and sharing DVDs simply is not supported by RealDVD in any way. File sharers aren't going to shell out $50 for a program that relies on such a heavy use of DRM.

With the amount of freely available software available that will perform the same functions with extremely less limitation, it is hard to imagine a scenario where someone wanting to perform any of the acts that the MPAA are concerned would purchase RealDVD. Personally I really don't see why someone would purchase RealDVD to begin with.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Possible Steve Fossett Items Found

Items possibly belonging to missing aviator Steve Fossett have been found by hikers in a remote area of California more than one year after his mysterious disappearance.

Hiker Preston Morrow found a pilots license and a gliders license, both issued by the FAA, plus the membership card for the NAA along with a weathered Nautica brand sweatshirt and $1005 cash. The items were found two miles east of the Minarets near Mammoth Lakes.

Fossett mysteriously disappeared on a solo flight more than a year ago and has since been legally declared dead at the request of his wife. Since his disappearance a host of federal, state and local agencies, as well as several private groups have launched one of the most intensive hunts in national history.

A handful of searchers made a flyover of the Mammoth Lakes region over the past year, based on an unconfirmed reported sighting of his plane in the area, but found nothing. Today's hunt is the first extensive search of that area.

The fact that no trace of Fossett or his plane was found after his disappearance have given rise to numerous conspiracy theories, with British newspapers in July speculating he could have faked his death. (read the story here)

More on the found items:
SF Gate - Fossett items found near Mammoth Lakes
AFP - 'Steve Fossett items' possibly found in California: police

Microsoft SearchPerks Launches

Microsoft has announced the launch of its latest scheme to get users to stick with Internet Explorer and use Live Search a new program called SearchPerks.

The new program, which is limited to 1 million people and only runs on IE6 and above, rewards users for everyday searches. Users accumulate "tickets" instead of "points", for every search on,, Windows Live Hotmail, or Windows Live Messenger, with a maximum of 25 "tickets" allowed per user per day.

The accumulated tickets can then bee redeemed for prizes such as an Xbox 360 Wireless Controller costs, for 5,500 tickets or 200 days of max Live Search usage. No that's not a joke, you'd need to use Live Search for 200 days before getting a new Xbox 360 controller.

For now, the rules of the SearchPerks program restrict it to U.S. residents with a Windows Live ID and a piece of software downloaded from the SearchPerks site. As previously mentioned only users of Internet Explorer 6.0 or later can use the program. As an incentive Microsoft is including a 500-ticket sign-up bonus, it will take them over three weeks to win a T-shirt and almost four months to win a cookery book through the program.

Registration is open through Dec. 31 and is available to the first million users to sign up. The game ends on April 15th, so anyone looking to score that Xbox game controller will have to hurry.

Sorry Microsoft, I could get behind the Live Search Cashback Program, but I'm not going to waste my time using IE and Live Search for a chance at a few crappy prizes. You'll need to come up with a better scheme or payout to get me to give up my Firefox and Google search.

Source: TechCrunch

Hyper-V Now Available For Free

Microsoft has released a free, low-footprint version of its Hyper-V virtualization software as it continues to chase the virtualization leader VMware. Hyper-V Server 2008, which includes only the Windows Hypervisor, Windows Server driver model and virtualization components, is now available for free download online.

Microsoft said on Sept. 8 that it would be give away its Hyper-V hypervisor. The annoucment came about a month after VMware released a free version of ESXi, its own hypervisor technology. VMware is feeling pressure from Microsoft and other vendors that are bundling virtualization with server operating systems however they still remain on top of the virtualization world.

ATI Launches Sub-$60 Radeon HD 4550 And HD 4350

AMD/ATI announced the launch of their new Radeon HD 4550 and Radeon HD 4350 graphics cards, both targeted to low-end graphics card segment.

Each card packs DirectX 10.1 support, an HDMI port with support for 7.1 channel audio, upscaling "beyond 1080p," and even support for ATI's CrossFireX technology in case you want to pair two of them up.

At the heart of the HD 4550 is the 2nd generation 55nm core, the RV710 GPU with an optional 256 MB GDDR2 or 512MB GDDR3. The new card will cost you $45 to $55 respectively. With 80 stream processors a core clock of 600MHz and a memory clock of 800MHz you get 96 GFLOPS of compute power, which isn't bad considering the MSRP on these cards.

HD 4550 Reviews:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Few Crazy Sites You Might Not Otherwise See

Here are a few sites that I've found while using Stumbleupon. I Stumbledupon a posting at Listropolis and thought I'd expand on what they already had. They range from wildly amazing to completely bizarre. Just a warning most all of these sites require flash and some require Adobe Shockwave.

  1. ZoomQuilt 2004, a collaborative art project that seemlessly integrates several scenes. You zoom through some random bizzare art works. This is not the original site, but it is the original file. There is also the ZoomQuilt II 2007, it showcase new art work that is a bit on the darker side.
  2. Treasure Box, this flash based game makes you work at moving the little red object ball down through the maze. You'll need to figure out what items to click on and where. A tip, timing and positioning are key in some areas.
  3. Superbad, a collection of random images and writing, click different object on each page takes you to a different part of what I'd say is the story line.
  4. Samorost 1 and Samorost 2, this is another zanny site where as you must click the proper progression of links in order to proceed.
  5. Medijate, the site was supposedly designed to help with meditation however some of the music is a bit creepy. It does offer some cool mouseover effects and unique imagery.
  6. Nobodyhere, this site is really inexplicable, it has random musing and random thoughts that really led nowhere. But its interesting to see where it might take you.
  7. Sugar Free Ink, a progression of links takes you through some odd mainly black and white art work. The background music is pretty cool. As a suggestion instead of randomly clicking the image use the tab key to highlight links., otherwise you might be going back and forth forever.
  8., there are several odd animations featuring the character, Hoogerbrugge, performing different acts.
  9., featuring work from interactive designer Paul Neave. Everything on this site is absolutely amazing!
  10., this shockwave based site features some really cool effects and a few games that are pretty interesting.
  11. SpecialDeFects, is another site that is pretty indescribable. It features several things in one amazingly well designed site. Click the little white ball to change from feature to feature.
  12., this site was designed to study how we interacte with web pages and the habitual use of mouse clicks. Once past the first page you should be able to navigate the entire site without a click of the mouse.
  13. this is great site composed of visual effects using dynamic html animation only, complete with source code. All these scripts can be used freely under under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License.

These are just a few of my favorites. I know there are several more great sites out there and I'd love to see some of them. So if anyone has any that aren't listed please feel free to leave a comment below and I'll check tthem out.

AC/DC Gets Their Own Version Of Rock Band

The first band to get to get its very own version of MTV's video game "Rock Band" will be AC/DC. The hard-rock icons will be featured in "AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack," an expansion to the popular music game that will be sold exclusively at Wal-Mart for PS2, PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii.

The 18-song Track Pack will contain songs from AC/DC's "Live at Donington" DVD (recorded in 1991) and is scheduled to ship in November for $40; it will be released in Europe, Australia and New Zealand in December. Despite the game's designation as a Track Pack, the Wal-Mart Web site indicates that it is a "stand-alone" effort, not requiring ownership of either "Rock Band" or "Rock Band 2" (it requires instruments, of course).

Full track list for "AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack," according to; all songs are from the "Live at Donington" DVD:

"Shoot to Thrill"
"Back in Black"
"Hell Ain't a Bad Place to Be"
"Fire Your Guns"
"The Jack"
"Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap"
"Hells Bells"
"High Voltage"
"Whole Lotta Rosie"
"You Shook Me All Night Long"
"Let There Be Rock"
"Highway to Hell"
"For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)"


Solid State Drives, Now Bigger, Better And Cheaper

With SSDs becoming more and more popular, the race to make them faster, denser and cheaper is heating up. Several companies over the last couple of weeks have made announcements of price slashes and increased drive size.

Toshiba announced on Friday a new high-density 256 GB MLC-based SSD. While not appearing to be the fastest SSD around, the drive offers good performance, a large storage capacity and a potentially low price.

The maximum sequential read and write speeds of the new SSD are claimed to be 120 MB/s and 70 MB/s, respectively. Multi-level Cell (MLC) flash memory is generally considered to be slower than single-level Cell (SLC) flash memory, but benefits from by being cheaper to manufacture. The new Toshiba 256 GB SDD uses a SATA 3.0 Gb/s interface and is available in a 2.5-inch form factor.

Also last week Super Talent Technology, a manufacturer of flash storage solutions and DRAM memory modules, launched a pair of new affordable SATA-II SSDs. Super Talent's MasterDrive SSDs are now offered in 64GB and 128GB capacities, with he 64GB model expected to retail for about $179, while the 128GB unit is expected to retail for under $300.

The MasterDrive LX is built with NAND flash and uses a SATA-II 3Gbps interface that makes it 100% interchangeable with hard disk drives. These SSDs support sequential read speeds of up to 100 MB/sec, and sequential write speeds of up to 40 MB/sec. Integrated ECC, wear leveling and bad bit management functions also improve the reliability and lifespan of these SSDs.

The race to develop faster better drives is nothing but great news for us geeks. Price will continue to fall and both storage capacity and performance will rise!

Clickjacking Vulnerability Details To Be Revealed At Hack In The Box (HITB)

Jeremiah Grossman, chief technology at White Hat Security, will discuss the vulnerability at the Hack In The Box (HITB) conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Grossman along with fellow security researcher, Robert Hansen, CEO of SecTheory, first cam forward with information regarding the clickjacking vulnerability last week. Up till now both Grossman and Hansen have kept tight lids on the details but here's the limited amount of information Grossman provided Computerworld last week:

"Think of any button on any Web site that you can get to appear between the browser walls," he said last Friday. "Wire transfers on banks, Digg buttons, CPC advertising banners, Netflix queue..., the list is virtually endless and these are relatively harmless examples. Next, consider that an attack can invisibly hover these buttons below the users' mouse, so that when they click on something they visually see, they actually are clicking on something the attacker wants them to."

In plain English, clickjacking lets hackers and scammers hide malicious stuff under the cover of the content on a legitimate site. In short of of it as an invisible film over the top of an actual legitimate site, you can't see but your browser can. So when you click the links that are there your browsers responds to the malicious code on the top layer, forgetting about the actual code underneath.

Again at this time details are very sketchy and until they release more iformation we won't know how bad the vulnerability truly is.

When asked when will the clickjacking problems be patched? Hansen had no clue, really -- although he was certain that the only sensible solution is for the browser makers -- Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple, Opera, Google and others -- to build protection into their applications. "The only people who can fix this in a scalable way are the browser vendors," he said.

He and Grossman have connected with Microsoft, Mozilla and Apple so far, companies that together account for more than 98% of the current browser market share. "All are working on solutions," Hansen said, though he's unsure just how high they're prioritizing the problem.

In the meantime, Adobe Systems Inc. is working on a fix, reportedly for Flash, although Hansen refused to confirm that last week. It was Adobe that convinced the pair to ditch their planned OWASP AppSec 2008 presentation, and delay disclosing their research findings.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Google Redefines "Beta"

Over the last couple of weeks there has been loads of talk about Google and the value of products they have in "Beta". Many reports put nearly 45% of Google products still in beta version.

"Of the 49 Google products we could find, 22 are in beta. That's 45 percent," not including Google Labs projects, according to a Wednesday blog post at Pingdom, a Web site performance monitoring company. "We're so used to seeing the little 'beta tag next to the various Google product logos that we almost don't register it anymore. We even had to double-check that Gmail really still was in beta."

Traditionally “beta” has been used to designate software that isn’t ready for prime time and may have bugs, yet millions of people use the four-year-old Gmail on a daily basis and, for most, Gmail is bug free. So why call it a beta?

A Google spokesperson tells NetworkWorld, “we believe beta has a different meaning when applied to applications on the web….” So what is that meaning you may ask, well the Google spokesperson never exactly explained what Google’s precise definition of the word beta is, but reading between the lines it would seem the company means something like “we’re still adding features.”

Following that logic one could say Google might not ever take a product out of beta. And for that matter Microsoft has never taken an operating system out of beta, as it would seem through the addition of service packs and hotfixes we are always needing to add a new feature. Which I guess isn’t really a problem, after all it is just a word — just be aware that Google has its own definition of what beta means.

Here's Pingdom's full list of Google beta projects:
• Alerts
• Blog Search
• Book Search
• Google Chrome
• Finance
• Google Health
• Patent search
• Product Search
• Scholar
• Video
• Custom Search
• Calendar
• Docs
• Gmail
• Knol
• Orkut
• Talk
• Translate
• Google Pack
• Base
• Image Labeler
• News Archive Search Reviews 5 Atom Mini-ITX Boards

The launch of the new low cost, low power Atom CPUs sparked a new interest in small form factor boards and builds like the Mini-ITX platform. The folks over at review 5 very versatile boards that have the potential of being great builds for you Atom users.

5 Atom Mini-ITX Boards Reviewed
  1. Introduction
  2. Intel D945GCLF - The Original
  3. Gigabyte GA-GC230D - Overclockable
  4. Jetway JNC91 - Versatile
  5. MSI-9830 - Fanless
  6. Intel D945GCLF2 - Dual Core Atom
  7. Benchmarks and Power Consumption
  8. Video Playback
  9. Final Thoughts

From the looks of the reviews the Atom based Mini-ITX boards are off to a very promising start. I can't wait to see how some of the ITX builders out there put these boards to use.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Google Toolbar 5 Now Available For FireFox

A few months ago google launched version5 of its popular Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer, with several new features. On Friday they announced the release of Google Toolbar version for Firefox.a

In my opinion the new toolbar really isn't anything to be excited about even with its supposed "new features." Many of the features are already built into FireFox so whats the need? I mean Firefox by default use Google search, there is already an integrated spell checker and a pop-up blocker (2 features that were primary reasons to use the toolbar) so why clutter my browser with another toolbar?

Well the toolbar does come in handy for a few things. First, and the one thing as a blogger I use most, is the “send to” button. The "send to" button allows you to send any link, page, or snippet of a page, to Gmail or Blogger. This allows for easy access to adding in blog posts or simply creating a short stub of a story I'm reading for later use. I'd probably be lost without this feature. I notice in version 5 its no longer a right click option, I'm not at all happy with that. I trim down the toolbar to only have a few icons and integrate it into another toolbar in FireFox to maximize space and loved having the option of right click -send to.

Another pretty nice feature is “Google Docs”. This feature forces documents you find online to be opened by Google Docs, bypassing your office applications. Microsoft, Open Office and rich text documents are supported.

If you use Google Notebook instead of bookmarking sites like, you might be interested in its clipping functionality. The Bookmarks are also saved to notebook and accessible remotely through other Google toolbar enabled browsers or through the Notebook website.

Finally, another of my frequently used buttons, the autofill button. This is used to autofill web forms, which is handy for online shopping, posting comments to other blogs, filling in sweepstakes or any other activity that might make you sick of inserting the same shipping and billing address over and over. You can also add in multiple profiles making it easier to switch between personalities. One for work related info another for personal.

The page rank button was always a nice feature if you are interested in seeing what the PR of sites is. This feature however doesn't seem to be working, at least not with my browser. Many of the features that I use can probably be found as other add-ons (Flock has many of them) so I very easily could live without my Google Toolbar. But for now its making life easier so I'll leave it installed.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Jet-Pack Man Zips Across English Channel At 120 MPH

A Swiss pilot, Yves Rossy - who goes by the name Fusion Man, has become the first person to cross the English Channel using a jet-pack. Rossy leapt from a plane with four kerosene-burning jet turbines mounted on a wing on his back. Moving at up to 120mph it took him thirteen minutes to cross the 22 miles between the UK and France.

The jet-pack wing was designed by Rossy himself, and is constructed from a lightweight carbon composite; despite measuring eight feet across, even with fuel it weighs a mere 55kg (120lb). Since having four jet turbines blaring next to your legs will do more than strip the hair from them, Rossy had to wear a flameproof suit for the attempt.

Landing is courtesy of a parachute and crossing your fingers for somewhere relatively soft and tree-free. Next on the cards is flying over the Grand Canyon, taking off from a standing position on the ground and performing acrobatics.

"Everything was perfect," he said afterwards. "I showed that it is possible to fly a little bit like a bird."

Best Geek Quotes

Here is some great weekend reading for all you geeks out there, enjoy!

  • There are 10 types of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don’t
  • If at first you don’t succeed; call it version 1.0
  • I’m not anti-social; I’m just not user friendly
  • My software never has bugs. It just develops random features
  • Roses are #FF0000 , Violets are #0000FF , All my base belongs to you
  • In a world without fences and walls, who needs Gates and Windows?
  • Hand over the calculator, friends don’t let friends derive drunk
  • I would love to change the world, but they won’t give me the source code
  • Enter any 11-digit prime number to continue…
  • The box said ‘Requires Windows 95 or better’. So I installed LINUX
  • A penny saved is 1.39 cents earned, if you consider income tax
  • Unix, DOS and Windows…the good, the bad and the ugly
  • A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any invention in human history - with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila
  • The code that is the hardest to debug is the code that you know cannot possibly be wrong
  • UNIX is basically a simple operating system, but you have to be a genius to understand the simplicity
  • Ethernet (n): something used to catch the etherbunny
  • C://dos
  • You know it’s love when you memorize her IP number to skip DNS overhead
  • 1f u c4n r34d th1s u r34lly n33d t0 g37 l41d
  • Alcohol & calculus don’t mix. Never drink & derive
  • How do I set a laser printer to stun?
  • There is only one satisfying way to boot a computer
  • Concept: On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the escape button
  • It’s not bogus, it’s an IBM standard
  • Be nice to the nerds, for all you know they might be the next Bill Gates!
  • The farther south you go, the more dollar stores there are
  • Beware of programmers that carry screwdrivers
  • The difference between e-mail and regular mail is that computers handle e-mail, and computers never decide to come to work one day and shoot all the other computers
  • If you want a language that tries to lock up all the sharp objects and fire-making implements, use Pascal or Ada: the Nerf languages, harmless fun for children of all ages, and they won’t mar the furniture
  • COFFEE.EXE Missing - Insert Cup and Press Any Key
  • Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning
  • LISP = Lots of Irritating Silly Parentheses
  • The beginning of the programmer’s wisdom is understanding the difference between getting program to run and having a runnable program
  • Squash one bug, you’ll see ten new bugs popping
  • Everytime i time i touch my code, i give birth to ten new bugs
  • boast = blogging is open & amiable sharing of thoughts
  • We are sorry, but the number you have dialed is imaginary. Please rotate your phone 90 degrees and try again
  • Cannot find REALITY.SYS. Universe halted
  • If it weren’t for C, we’d all be programming in BASI and OBO
  • Bad command or file name! Go stand in the corner
  • Bad or corrupt header, go get a haircut
  • Unrecognized input, get out of the class
  • Warning! Buffer overflow, close the tumbler !
  • WinErr 547: LPT1 not found… Use backup… PENCIL & PAPER
  • Bad or missing mouse driver. Spank the cat? (Y/N)
  • Computers make very fast, very accurate mistakes
  • Best file compression around: “rm *.*” = 100% compression
  • Hackers in hollywood movies are phenomenal. All they need to do is “c:\> hack into fbi”
  • BREAKFAST.COM Halted…Cereal Port Not Responding
  • I survived an NT installation
  • The name is Baud……James Baud
  • My new car runs at 56Kbps
  • Why doesn’t DOS ever say “EXCELLENT command or filename!”
  • File not found. Should I fake it? (Y/N)
  • Cannot read data, leech the next boy’s paper? (Y/N)
  • CONGRESS.SYS Corrupted: Re-boot Washington D.C (Y/n)?
  • Does fuzzy logic tickle?
  • Helpdesk : Sir, you need to add 10GB space to your HD , Customer : Could you please tell where I can download that?
  • Windows: Just another pane in the glass
  • Who’s General Failure & why’s he reading my disk?
  • RAM disk is not an installation procedure
  • Shell to DOS…Come in DOS, do you copy? Shell to DOS…
  • The truth is out there…anybody got the URL?
  • Smash forehead on keyboard to continue…..
  • E-mail returned to sender — insufficient voltage
  • Help! I’m modeming… and I can’t hang up!!!
  • All wiyht. Rho sritched mg kegtops awound?
  • Once I got this error on my Linux box: Error. Keyboard not attached. Press F1 to continue
  • Once I got this error on my Linux box: Error. Mouse not attached. Please left click the ‘OK’ button to continue
  • Press any key to continue or any other key to quit…
  • Press every key to continue
  • Helpdesk: Sir if you see the blue screen, press any key to continue. Customer : hm.. just a min.. where’s that ‘any key’..
  • Idiot, Go ahead, make my data!
  • Old programmers never die; they just give up their resources
  • To err is human - and to blame it on a computer is even more so
  • (001) Logical Error CLINTON.SYS: Truth table missing
  • Clinton:/> READ | PARSE | WRITE | DUMP >> MONKIA.SYS
  • (D)inner not ready: (A)bort (R)etry (P)izza
  • Computers can never replace human stupidity
  • A typical Yahoo! inbox : Inbox(0), Junk(9855210)
  • (A)bort, (R)etry, (P)anic?
  • Bugs come in through open Windows
  • Penguins love cold, they wont survive the sun
  • Unix is user friendly…its just selective about who its friends are
  • Artificial intelligence usually beats real stupidity
  • Bell Labs Unix — Reach out and grep someone.
  • To err is human…to really foul up requires the root password.
  • Invalid password : Please enter the correct password to (Abort / Retry / Ignore )
  • FUBAR - where Geeks go for a drink
  • I degaussed my girlfriend and I’m just not attracted to her anymore
  • Scandisk : Found 2 bad sectors. Please enter a new HD to continue scanning
  • Black holes are where God divided by zero
  • Hey! It compiles! Ship it!
  • Thank god, my baby just compiled
  • Yes! My code compiled, and my wife just produced the output
  • Windows 98 supports real multitasking - it can boot and crash simultaneously
  • Zap! And there was the blue screen !
  • Please send all spam to my main address, root@localhost
  • MailerD(a)emon: You just received 9133547 spam. (O)pen all, (R)ead one by one, (C)heck for more spam
  • A: Can you teach me how to use a computer? B: No. I just fix the machines, I don’t use them
  • PayPal: Your funds have been frozen for 668974 days
  • 1-800-404 : The subscriber you are trying to call does not exist
  • 1-800-403 : Access to that subscriber was denied
  • Error message: “Out of paper on drive D:”
  • If I wanted a warm fuzzy feeling, I’d antialias my graphics!
  • A printer consists of three main parts: the case, the jammed paper tray and the blinking red light
  • “Mr. Worf, scan that ship.” “Aye Captain. 300 dpi?”
  • Smith & Wesson: The Original Point And Click Interface
  • Shout onto a newsgroup : It echoes back flames and spam
  • Firewall : Intruder detected. (A)llow in (D)eactivate the firewall
  • Real programmers can write assembly code in any language
  • Warning! Perl script detected! (K)ill it , (D)eactivate it
  • Firewall : Do you want to place a motion detector on port 80 ?
  • Helpdesk: Sir, please refill your ink catridges Customer : Where can i download that?
  • All computers run at the same speed… with the power off
  • You have successfully logged in, Now press any key to log out
  • Sorry, the password you tried is already being used by Dorthy, please try something else.
  • Sorry, that username already exists. (O)verwrite it (C)ancel
  • Please send all flames, trolls, and complaints to /dev/toilet
  • Shut up, or i’ll flush you out
  • Cron : Enter cron command \ Now enter the number of minutes in an hour
  • We are experiencing system trouble — do not adjust your terminal
  • You have successfully hacked in, Welcome to the FBI mainframes.
  • I’m sorry, our software is perfect. The problem must be you
  • Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurling down the highway
  • Webhost livehelp: Sir you ran out of bandwidth, User: Where can I download that?
  • If Ruby is not and Perl is the answer, you don’t understand the question
  • Having soundcards is nice… having embedded sound in web pages is not
  • My computer was full, so I deleted everything on the right half
  • You have received a new mail which is 195537 hours old
  • Yahoo! Mail: Your email was sent successfully. The email will delivered in 4 days and 8 hours
  • I’m sorry for the double slash (Tim Berners-Lee in a Panel Discussion, WWW7, Brisbane, 1998)
  • Ah, young webmaster… java leads to shockwave. Shockwave leads to realaudio. And realaudio leads to suffering
  • What color do you want that database?
  • C++ is a write-only language, once can write programs in C++, but I can’t read any of them
  • As of next week, passwords will be entered in Morse code
  • earth is 98% full … please delete anyone you can
  • A typical yahoo chat room: “A has signed in, A has signed out, B has signed in, B has signed out, C has signed in, C has signed out..”
  • When someone says “I want a programming language in which I need only say what I wish done,” give him a lollipop
  • Warning! No processor found! Press any key to continue
  • Failure is not an option. It comes bundled with your Microsoft product
  • NT is the only OS that has caused me to beat a piece of hardware to death with my bare hands
  • Warning! Kernel crashed, Run for your lives !
  • NASA uses Windows? Oh great. If Apollo 13 went off course today the manual would just tell them to open the airlock, flush the astronauts out, and re-install new one
  • JavaScript: An authorizing language designed to make Netscape crash
  • How’s my programming? Call 1-800-DEV-NULL
  • Yes, friends and neighbors, boys and girls - my PC speaker crashed NT
  • root:> Sorry, you entered the wrong password, the correct password is ‘a_49qwXk’
  • New linux package released. Please install on /dev/null
  • Quake and uptime do not like each other
  • Unix…best if used before: Tue Jan 19 03:14:08 GMT 2038
  • As you well know, magic and weapons are prohibited inside the cafeteria — Final Fantasy VIII
  • Man is the best computer we can put aboard a spacecraft…and the only one that can be mass produced with unskilled labo
  • Unix is the only virus with a command line interface
  • Windows 95 makes Unix look like an operating system
  • How are we supposed to hack your system if it’s always down!
  • God is real, unless declared integer
  • I’m tempted to buy the slashdot staff a grammar checker. What do they do for 40 hours a week?
  • Paypal : Please enter your credit card number to continue
  • It takes a million monkeys at typewriters to write Shakespeare, but only a dozen monkeys at computers to run Network Solutions
  • Please help - firewall burnt down - lost packet - reward $$$
  • If Linux were a beer, it would be shipped in open barrels so that anybody could piss in it before delivery
  • Thank you Mario! But our princess is in another castle
  • Perl, the only language that looks the same before and after RSA encryption
  • Norton: Incoming virus - (D)ownload and save (R)un after download
  • I had a dream… and there were 1’s and 0’s everywhere, and I think I saw a 2!
  • You sir, are an unknown USB device driver
  • C isn’t that hard: void (*(*f[])())() defines f as an array of unspecified size, of pointers to functions that return pointers to functions that return void