Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New AMD CPU Numbering Scheme

According to DigiTimes AMD has a new CPU numbering scheme similar to Intel Core i7.

AMD has recently changed its CPU numbering scheme plans from five digits number to only three digits, similar to that of Intel's Core i7 CPUs, according to sources at motherboard makers.

AMD's upcoming Phenom X4 20350 and 20550 CPUs will be renamed to Phenom II X4 920 and Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition, respectively. The launch date of the products will also be delayed from November this year to during CES 2009 in January next year.

The company's 45nm AM3-based CPUs will also be renamed to the Phenom II X4 900, X4 800 and X3 700 series, and will launch in the second quarter of next year. AMD is also planning to launch a quad-core high-end CPU, Phenom II X4 945 Black Edition, in the second quarter next year along with the Phenom II X3 600 and Phenom II X2 200 series.

New At Google This Week

    Announcing Sketchup 7 - Google announced the the launch of Google SketchUp 7. SketchUp is a 3D modeling program designed for architects, civil engineers, filmmakers, game developers, and related professions. It also includes features to facilitate the placement of models in Google Earth. It was designed to be more intuitive, flexible, and easier to use than other 3D CAD programs.

    Want to track Adobe Flash? Now you can! - Today, at the Adobe MAX Conference in San Francisco, in a joint collaboration with our friends at Adobe and a few ace third party developers, we announced a simplified solution for tracking Flash content for everyone, called Google Analytics Tracking For Adobe Flash.

    Now you can speak to Google Mobile App on your iPhone
    - Google has added voice search to Google Mobile App for the iPhone. The new Google Mobile App for iPhone makes it possible for you to do a Google web search using only your voice. Just hold the phone to your ear, wait for the beep, and say what you're looking for. That's it. Just talk. Once the App is on, you don't have to push any buttons to search. For more details checkout the Official Google Mobile Blog.

    Ads In New Places - Google says they are experimenting with placement of text and images ads. Searchers will notice ads placed in search results that haven't traditionally seen them such as image searches. We'll also see more Sponsored Videos and click-to-buy on YouTube, as well as ads in Google Finance.

    Life Photo Archive Available On Google Image Search - Google announced the availability of never-before-seen images from the LIFE photo archive. This effort to bring offline images online was inspired by our mission to organize all the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful. This collection of newly-digitized images includes photos and etchings produced and owned by LIFE dating all the way back to the 1750s.

    Eric Schmidt on what's ahead in 2009 - Google CEO Eric Schmidt offers some of his own ideas for how policy makers might approach some of the serious challenges we face.

    Google Gadgets for Linux 0.10.3 - The 0.10.3 release of Google Gadgets for Linux is out, with bug fixes and major feature enhancements. Most notably, now Linux gadgets can use most of the features introduced in the 5.8 release of Google Desktop for Windows.

    Get a headstart on the holidays with Docs templates - The holidays are a time to celebrate with family and friends, but preparing for the holidays can sometimes be time-consuming and stressful. Whether you're still planning your Thanksgiving party, or already working on your gift shopping list, you might want to check out our new templates for the holidays -- a series of templates designed to help make your holidays a little more efficient (and cost-effective, too).

    You'll find everything from party invites, holiday cards, to gift tags and much more. We've highlighted a few of our favorites below. These ones in particular were custom-designed by Googlers; and as with all of our templates, they are available to you for free in our Template Gallery.

    Spice up your inbox with colors and themes - Gmail fans have been building unofficial extensions to spice up their inboxes for a while, but up til now themes haven't been an integral part of Gmail. We wanted to go beyond simple color customization, so out of the 30 odd themes we're launching today, there's a shiny theme with chrome styling, another one that turns your inbox into a retro notepad, nature themes that change scenery over time, weather driven themes that can rain on your mailbox, and fun characters to keep you in good company. There's even an old school ascii theme (Terminal) which was the result of a bet between two engineers -- it's not exactly practical, but it's great for testing out your geek cred. We've also done a minor facelift to Gmail's default look to make it crisper and cleaner -- you might notice a few colors and pixels shifted around here and there.

    Google Sync for BlackBerry: Now with contacts - You asked for it, so here it is. We're happy to announce that in the latest update to Google Sync for BlackBerry, we've added two-way contacts synchronization. This new functionality will enable you to sync your handheld's built-in address book with your Gmail contacts. This all happens in the background and over the air, so your information is always up to date, no matter where you are or what you're doing.

    Once you've installed Sync, all your information will be safe in your Google account. If you ever lose your phone or buy a new one, getting your address book and calendar to your new device is as easy as installing Sync. Current and new Google Sync users can try Google Sync today by visiting m.google.com/sync from their BlackBerry browser.

    360 degree panoramas in Google Earth - This week, we've started to feature another layer in the Google Earth Gallery, showing several thousand panoramic views provided by 360cities.net. This layer contains exciting 360 degree panoramas from a variety of great photographs taken all over the world!

    Moving quickly to rebuild the economy through clean energy - With a new President and Congress, we have an unprecedented opportunity to transform our fossil fuel economy to one based largely on clean energy, while creating millions of jobs in the process.

    Last month, we offered a Clean Energy 2030 proposal for how the U.S. can dramatically scale up renewable energy, become smarter about how we use energy, and deploy millions of plug-in electric cars. Our energy team has continued crunching the numbers and just posted new data on job creation and cost savings on our knol. We'll keep updating the information and encourage everyone to take a look and comment - and offer alternative approaches if you disagree.

    SearchWiki: make search your own - Have you ever wanted to mark up Google search results? Maybe you're an avid hiker and the trail map site you always go to is in the 4th or 5th position and you want to move it to the top. Or perhaps it's not there at all and you'd like to add it. Or maybe you'd like to add some notes about what you found on that site and why you thought it was useful. Starting today you can do all this and tailor Google search results to best meet your needs. View our follow up post.

    Some favorite Google Maps features now for iPhone - I waited in line on launch day to buy my first-generation iPhone, and ever since then it has never left my side. The best part is that it keeps getting more useful with every software upgrade Apple puts out. This time around, Apple has improved their version of Google Maps by putting even more Google features in your pocket.

    For more details checkout our blog post Apple Releases iPhone 2.2 Firmware Update

NVIDIA Creates "Tesla Personal SuperComputer"

NVIDIA has announced the launch of a new high performance computing processor series based on its graphics processing unit (GPU) technology which the company claims will make parallel computing power more pervasive and affordable. That "personal supercomputer" is actually a platform based on NVIDIA's new Tesla C1060 GPU Computing Processor, which itself is based on NVIDIA's CUDA parallel computing architecture.

NVIDIA Press Release
NVIDIA Tesla Makes Personal SuperComputing A Reality
Today, scientific research is carried out on supercomputing clusters, a shared resource that consumes hundreds of kilowatts of power and costs millions of dollars to build and maintain. As a result, researchers must fight for time on these resources, slowing their work and delaying results. NVIDIA and its worldwide partners today announced the availability of the GPU-based Tesla™ Personal Supercomputer, which delivers the equivalent computing power of a cluster, at 1/100th of the price and in a form factor of a standard desktop workstation.

“We’ve all heard ‘desktop supercomputer’ claims in the past, but this time it’s for real,” said Burton Smith, Microsoft Technical Fellow. “NVIDIA and its partners will be delivering outstanding performance and broad applicability to the mainstream marketplace. Heterogeneous computing, where GPUs work in tandem with CPUs, is what makes such a breakthrough possible.”

Priced like a conventional PC workstation, yet delivering 250 times the processing power, researchers now have the horsepower to perform complex, data-intensive computations right at their desk, processing more data faster and cutting time to discovery.

“GPUs have evolved to the point where many real world applications are easily implemented on them and run significantly faster than on multi-core systems,” said Prof. Jack Dongarra, director of the Innovative Computing Laboratory at the University of Tennessee and author of LINPACK. “Future computing architectures will be hybrid systems with parallel-core GPUs working in tandem with multi-core CPUs."

Leading institutions including MIT, the Max Planck Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Cambridge University, and others are already advancing their research using GPU-based personal supercomputers.

“GPU based systems enable us to run life science codes in minutes rather than the hours it took earlier. This exceptional speedup has the ability to accelerate the discovery of potentially life-saving anti-cancer drugs,” said Jack Collins, manager of scientific computing and program development at the Advanced Biomedical Computing Center in Frederick Md., operated by SAIC-Frederick, Inc.

At the core of the GPU-based Tesla Personal Supercomputer is the Tesla C1060 GPU Computing Processor which is based on the NVIDIA® CUDA™ parallel computing architecture. CUDA enables developers and researchers to harness the massively parallel computational power of Tesla through industry standard C.

“Dell has led the workstation category for almost a decade and GPU computing represents a massive leap forward in performance that will bring supercomputer power to the masses,” said Antonio Julio, director, Dell Product Group. “The Dell Precision R5400 and T7400 will allow the scientific community to harness the capabilities of the NVIDIA Tesla C1060 GPU with up to two teraflops of computational power.”

As well as Dell, GPU-based Tesla Personal Supercomputers are available today from the following leading HPC OEMs, Systems Builders and Resellers: AMAX (US), Armari (UK), Asus (WW), Azken Muga (ES), Boxx (US), CAD2 (UK), CADnetwork (DE), Carri (FR), Colfax (US), Comptronic (DE), Concordia (IT), Connoisseur (IN), Dell (WW), Dospara (JP), E-Quattro (IT), JRTI (US), Lenovo (WW), Littlebit (CH), Meijin (RU), Microway (US), Sprinx (CZ), Sysgen (DE), Transtec (DE),Tycrid (US), Unitcom (JP), Ustar (UKR),Viglen (UK), Western Scientific (US)

To learn more about the industry-changing applications benefitting from NVIDIA GPU Computing technology, visit www.nvidia.com/cuda and for more information on the GPU-based NVIDIA Tesla Personal Supercomputer, please visit www.nvidia.com/personal_supercomputing.

Comcast Expands 50 Mbps Wideband To Pacific Northwest

Comcast has announced that their new 50 Mbps wideband service will begin rolling out starting in December in Washington and Oregon. This includes Seattle, Portland, Eugene and Spokane (and everywhere in between).

With wideband, Comcast will offer among the fastest speeds available today, including the Extreme 50 tier with download speeds of up to 50 Mbps. Wideband will also enable Comcast to double speeds for the majority of existing high-speed Internet customers at no additional cost.

“Wideband is a revolutionary leap in offering superfast high-speed Internet service in Oregon and Southwest Washington. By running wideband service over our next-generation fiber-optic network, we are able to dramatically enhance our customers’ online experience immediately. And these speeds are only a preview of what’s to come—in the future we’ll have the capability to deliver even faster speeds in excess of 160 Mbps,” said Curt Henninger, Senior Vice President of Comcast Oregon and SW Washington. “Today’s announcement reaffirms Comcast’s commitment to offering nearly every customer in the Northwest the ability to enjoy some of the fastest Internet speeds available today.”

Comcast announced the launch of their new Docsis 3.0 wideband service last month. The service was initially only offered in parts New England, including Boston, New Hampshire Philidelphia and parts of New Jersey.

As part of the wideband deployment, Comcast will launch two new premium speed tiers to its residential and business class customers. Both new services are ideal for households or businesses simultaneously using several computers or Internet-connected devices. They also will appeal to those who simply want some of the fastest speeds available today:

New Residential Tiers
    • Extreme 50, offering up to 50 Mbps of downstream speed and up to 10 Mbps of upstream speed at $139.95/month.
    • Ultra, offering up to 22 Mbps of downstream speed and up to 5 Mbps of upstream speed at $62.95/month.

For more details read the full Comcast press release.

Monday, November 17, 2008

USB 3.0 Specifications Now Available

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group today announced the completion of the USB 3.0 specification, the technical map for device manufacturers to deliverSuperSpeed USB technology to the market.

SuperSpeed USB brings significant power and performance enhancements to the popular USB standard while offering backward compatibility with billions of USB-enabled PCs and peripheral devices currently in use by consumers. Delivering data transfer rates up to ten times faster than Hi-Speed USB (USB 2.0) with optimized power efficiency, SuperSpeed USB is the next step in the continued evolution of USB technology.

“SuperSpeed USB is the next advancement in ubiquitous technology,” said Jeff Ravencraft, USB-IF president and chairman. “Today’s consumers are using rich media and large digital files that need to be easily and quickly transferred from PCs to devices and vice versa. SuperSpeed USB meets the needs of everyone from the tech-savvy executive to the average home user.”

The USB 3.0 Promoter Group, comprised of Hewlett-Packard Company, Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, NEC Corporation, ST-NXP Wireless and Texas Instruments, developed the USB 3.0 specification. The group now has transitioned the specification’s management to the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), the managing body of USB specifications. The USB 3.0 Promoter Group is now accepting adopters of the USB 3.0 specification, which has been finalized at the 1.0 level. To download both the specification and adopter agreement, visit http://www.usb.org/developers/docs/.

It is anticipated that initial SuperSpeed USB discrete controllers will appear in the second half of 2009 and consumer products will appear in 2010, with adoption continuing throughout 2010. The first SuperSpeed USB devices will likely include data-storage devices such as flash drives, external hard drives, digital music players and digital cameras.

The USB 3.0 specification debuted today in conjunction with the first SuperSpeed USB Developers Conference in San Jose, California. The conference provides attendees the first opportunity to hear directly from the creators of the USB 3.0 specification; keynote speakers will address advancements offered by the new technology. In addition to technical sessions, an exhibit area will showcase the latest developments and early designs featuring SuperSpeed USB technology. Attendees will obtain information on the best practices for incorporating SuperSpeed USB into their product roadmaps.

The USB 3.0 specification includes many advancements for both consumers and adopters, including higher speeds and enhanced power efficiency. For more information about the USB 3.0 specification, visit http://www.usb.org/developers.

Source: USB Implementers Forum Press Release (PDF)

Mark Cuban Faces Insider Trading Charges

The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged Dallas entrepreneur Mark Cuban with insider trading for selling 600,000 shares of the stock of an Internet search engine company on the basis of material, non-public information concerning an impending stock offering.

The Commission's complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, alleges that in June 2004, Mamma.com Inc. invited Cuban to participate in the stock offering after he agreed to keep the information confidential. The complaint further alleges that Cuban knew that the offering would be conducted at a discount to the prevailing market price and that it would be dilutive to existing shareholders.

Within hours of receiving this information, according to the complaint, Cuban called his broker and instructed him to sell Cuban's entire position in the company. When the offering was publicly announced, Mamma.com's stock price opened at $11.89, down $1.215 or 9.3 percent from the prior day's closing price of $13.105. According to the complaint, Cuban avoided losses in excess of $750,000 by selling his stock prior to the public announcement of the offering.

"Insider trading cases are a high priority for the Commission. This case demonstrates yet again that the Commission will aggressively pursue illegal insider trading whenever it occurs," said Linda Chatman Thomsen, Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement.

Scott W. Friestad, Deputy Director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, said, "As we allege in the complaint, Mamma.com entrusted Mr. Cuban with nonpublic information after he promised to keep the information confidential. Less than four hours later, Mr. Cuban betrayed that trust by placing an order to sell all of his shares. It is fundamentally unfair for someone to use access to nonpublic information to improperly gain an edge on the market."

The complaint alleges that Cuban violated Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder. The Commission's complaint seeks to permanently enjoin Cuban from future violations of the federal securities laws, disgorgement (with prejudgment interest), and a financial penalty.

Cuban posted the statement below on his blog. obviously for legal reasons he can't comment too much.

I wish I could say more, but I will have to leave it to this, and let the judicial process do its job.
November 17, 2008
RE: SEC Civil Action in the United States District

for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division

Mark Cuban today responded to a civil complaint filed by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission in the United States District for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. In its complaint, the Commission charges that Mr. Cuban engaged in violations of the federal securities laws in connection with transactions in the securities of Mamma.com Inc.

This matter, which has been pending before the Commission for nearly two years, has no merit and is a product of gross abuse of prosecutorial discretion. Mr. Cuban intends to contest the allegations and to demonstrate that the Commission’s claims are infected by the misconduct of the staff of its Enforcement Division.

Mr. Cuban stated, “I am disappointed that the Commission chose to bring this case based upon its Enforcement staff’s win-at-any-cost ambitions. The staff’s process was result-oriented, facts be damned. The government’s claims are false and they will be proven to be so.”


Mark Cuban has posted a second update to his blog titled SEC P2
November 18, 2008

On behalf of

Mark Cuban

RE: SEC Civil Action in the United States District

for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division

The SEC knows their case centers on one telephone conversation between two individuals- 4 years ago. The SEC claims there was an agreement between these parties to the conversation to keep certain information confidential. We interviewed Guy Faure, the former CEO of Mamma.com Inc., with whom the SEC claims Mr. Cuban made an agreement. We had a court reporter transcribe the interview. There was no agreement to keep information confidential. Here is a relevant excerpt from the interview with Mr. Faure:


1) Q- We spoke earlier about you were telling Mr. Cuban in words or substance : “I have confidential information for you”.

A- Right.

2) Q- Do you recall anything Mr. Cuban said in response or reply to that statement by you ?

A- No, I do not.

The SEC knows this-they have the transcript, yet they brought the case anyway. Why? Do they have a different statement from Mr. Faure ?

Why did the SEC end their multi-year investigation of Mamma.com Inc. for alleged securities laws violations days before interviewing present and former Mamma.com Inc. executives about this matter? Was the timing a coincidence? We think not.

Any inquiries respecting this release should be directed to Stephen Best at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP (202) 346-8735.

I've always liked Mark's style, from what I can see he's open, honest and not afraid to tell it how he thinks it should be. Kudos to Mr. Cuban for taking on the SEC and sharing it with the public.

Source: SEC Press Release

ZoneAlarm Pro 24-Hour Giveaway

Check Point Software Technologies is celebrating its 15th anniversary tomorrow by giving away free copies of its vaunted firewall software ZoneAlarm Pro 2009. The promotion runs for 24 hours, from 6 a.m. PST Tuesday, November 18 to 6 a.m. Wednesday, November 19

The offer is limited to one download per customer and is available here.

Friday, November 14, 2008

ASRock Demos Instant Boot

Motherboard manufacturer ASRock has put out a video showing its new Instant Boot feature that can boot a computer from a full shutdown to Windows XP or Vista 10 times faster than standard PCs -- in other words, about 3 to 4 seconds.

Thanks to this new BIOS feature which can be downloaded and installed on nine of ASRock’s current boards, when the operating system is shut down it goes through a process of rebooting and then hibernates / goes into suspend mode until the user presses the power button again.

Instant Boot will only work on computers that have only one user account and no password protection. Pretty obviously if you have a need for more than one user account there would still be a need for user input to decide which account to boot to.

AMD Details ATI Stream, GPU-Accelerated Computing

amd stream logo
AMD announced that starting next month, the company plans to release for download a free ATI Catalyst driver update that instantly unlocks new ATI Stream acceleration capabilities already built into millions of ATI Radeon graphics cards.

ATI Stream is a set of advanced hardware and software technologies that enable AMD graphics processors (GPU), working in concert with the system’s central processor (CPU), to accelerate applications beyond just graphics. This results in better balanced platforms capable of running demanding computing tasks faster than ever.

ATI Stream-enabled software titles for entertainment, gaming and productivity are being released or are under development by a growing list of independent software vendors (ISVs) including ArcSoft and CyberLink.

To give users immediate benefit from ATI Stream, AMD also plans to release in December a free downloadable version of its ATI Avivo Video Converter utility. This intuitive, easy-to-use application enables transcoding of HD video up to 17 times faster1 than with the CPU alone, in tests performed using an ATI Radeon HD 4850 graphics card.

“ATI Stream is one of the best examples of the power of Fusion, and today’s announcement is the first major step in taking this important new technology mainstream,” said Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager, Graphics Products Group, AMD. “For the millions of people that have already purchased an ATI Radeon HD 4000 series graphics card, this is one more way we’re saying thank you and helping them get more out of their investment. For those who haven’t yet, it’s one more reason for them to go online right now and buy one.”

ATI Radeon graphics processors from AMD are already found in millions of PCs around the world, each running the ATI Catalyst software driver. In the past 12 months, the various ATI Catalyst driver packages have been downloaded 48 million times, averaging nearly four million downloads each month.

The next ATI Catalyst release is version 8.12. AMD has begun distributing a beta version to its hardware and software technology partners for testing, with the final version scheduled to be released for download on or around December 10.

Once installed, the driver package automatically turns on the ATI Stream acceleration capabilities within ATI Radeon HD 4000 series graphics cards. This will have the immediate effect of allowing any ATI Stream-enabled application to run faster, with no special effort required by consumers to enable this technology. As always, expert users will have the ability to customize their ATI Catalyst driver install options.

Users can then download and install the free ATI Avivo Video Converter. In tests performed using this utility, AMD was able to convert an hour of video to a portable player format in about 12 minutes. Combined with one of the recent ATI Radeon HD 4000 series graphics card offerings, the ATI Avivo Video Converter helps deliver video conversion at up to twice the speed of competing solutions, at just over half of the suggested retail price. A growing number of ISVs are also lining up to provide ATI Stream-enabled applications, including ArcSoft, a leading provider of innovative digital imaging technologies and multimedia solutions. The company plans to provide an update in December to its TotalMedia Theatre application that will includes ArcSoft SimHD, a new type of post processing technology that allows consumers to experience close-to-HD viewing of standard definition content thanks to ATI Stream.

Another is CyberLink, an innovative software developer for digital media creation, playback, sharing, and enjoyment applications, has optimized its award-winning video editing software, PowerDirector 7. PowerDirector provides a robust set of features and functionality for capturing, editing and distributing HD video. The updated version, which is scheduled to be released in Q1 2009 will include ATI Stream accelerated video conversion, featuring performance and functionality exceeding that of the Avivo Video Converter.

To ensure easier development of ATI Stream enabled applications capable of running on platforms from multiple vendors, AMD is a member of the Khronos working group defining the OpenCL standard, and is evolving the ATI Stream SDK to be fully OpenCL compliant.

About ATI Stream

ATI Stream is a set of open AMD technologies that allow the hundreds of parallel Stream cores inside AMD GPUs to accelerate general purpose applications, resulting in platforms capable of delivering dramatically high performance-per-watt. The freely distributed, fully open Stream SDK allows programmers to make advanced use of AMD hardware, and helps them to create fast, energy efficient applications on a growing variety of platforms and operating systems. For more information please visit www.amd.com/stream

AMD is also using the occasion to unveil the AMD FireStream 9270 stream processor. The specifications of the Firestream 9270 include a 750MHz core clock, 2GB of 3.6Gbps (900MHz) GDDR5 RAM, and a max board power of 160 watts. The Firestream 9270 offers up to 1.2 TeraFLOPS or 240 double precision GFLOPS of compute performance as a standalone card, but of course multiple cards can be used in a cluster for even more performance. Details on the Firestream 9270 can be found here ATI Stream™ Backgrounder (PDF)

Source: AMD Press Release

Apps Of Maps, Fun With Google Maps

Software developers are building unique applications using Google Earth and Google Maps to view all forms of information in their geographical context. The Google Lat Long Blog has pieced together a few of the apps in a posting titled "Apps of maps".

First up is a really clever and fun Google Maps app called geoGreeting. Software engineer Jesse Vig happened to notice that certain buildings took on the appearance of a letter of the alphabet when viewed from above. By entering your message on the send a geoGreeting page, characters matching your message will be generated and played as an animation that you can send to your friends and family. Ah, the number of times this site has bailed me out when I have forgotten to send a real card!

The next one is PlanePlotter. Aviation enthusiasts who enjoy spotting aircraft, whether up close or virtually, turn to tools that facilitate their understanding of the skies around them. One of the ways that PlanePlotter displays information is via Google Earth; when location, direction
and altitude information are plotted, you can get a pilot's eye view of the terrain around them.

Last, but by no means least is iLoveMountains. Under the umbrella of the non-profit group Appalachian Voices. Appalachian voices are a Google Earth Outreach grantee that engages in campaigning against mountaintop removal used in the production of coal. The iLoveMountains.org project lets people see their connection on Google Maps or Google Earth to mountaintop removal based on their U.S zip code. From there, people can learn about what involvement their local supplier may have in buying coal supplied using mountaintop removal techniques - and what action they can take. These kinds of "story-telling" KMLs & mashups stimulate the senses by giving a real feeling of connection to the place, illustrating the issues.

Some of those apps are pretty cool, the geoGretting app caught my attention. I thought it was an interesting trying to spell out a few greetings. I've created one for our readers, click here, Google also created their own message for users reading their post.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Intel Adds To Nehalem Lineup, Cuts Some Notebook CPUs

According to reports at DigiTimes Intel is planning to launch several new Nehalem server CPUs including the new Xeon 5500 (Nehalem-EP) and Xeon 3500 series (Nehalem-WS) in the first quarter of 2009.

Intel will launch ten CPUs for the Xeon 5500 series: quad-core W5580 (3.2GHz), X5570 (2.93GHz), X5560 (2.8GHz), X5550 (2.66GHz), E5540 (2.53GHz), E5530 (2.4GHz), E5520 (2.26GHz), E5506 (2.13GHz), E5504 (2GHz) and dual-core E5502 with prices at US$1,600, US$1,386, US$1,172, US$958, US$744, US$530, US$373, US$266, US$224 and US$188 in thousand-unit tray quantities.

For the Xeon 3500 series, Intel will launch three CPUs: quad-core W3570, W3540 and W3520 priced at US$999, US$562 and US$284.

In additional news, Intel is planning to phase out seven notebook CPUs including the Core 2 Extreme X7900 and X7800, and Core 2 Duo T7800 and L7700 in January next year.

Gaming: EA Announces EA Sports Active

Following on the success of Wii Fit EA has decided to jump into the fitness games arena with a new game called "EA Sports Active."

The game which was developed in collaboration with fitness experts is being geared more specifically for women, however EA does note that "EA SPORTS Active is perfect for the whole family."

"EA SPORTS Active and our entrance into the fitness space is an exciting and groundbreaking milestone for EA SPORTS," said Peter Moore, president, EA SPORTS. "As we continue to expand our brand, we have a real opportunity to redefine the home fitness experience with a more Western cardiovascular approach and exercises that will appeal to a diverse audience, getting people off the couch and into shape while interacting with our products in a way never before possible. EA SPORTS Active costs less than a gym membership, it provides a variety of exercises unlike a one dimensional in-home fitness contraption, and it delivers an interactive experience that you don't get from a DVD - this is a true fitness revolution and a space in which we intend to be leaders."

EA SPORTS Active features a wide variety of interactive activities combined into a circuit that targets both the upper and lower body as well as cardio, and supports two players to allow family or friends to get fit together. EA SPORTS Active provides a new level of motivation with on-screen, real-time feedback on your workout such as calories burned, while also allowing you to adjust intensity levels. The game will ship with two specially-designed leg straps that hold the Wii's Nunchuk controller to track lower body movements, as well as a resistance band to support a number of upper body strength training exercises.

For more information read the official EA Sports press release or visit www.easportsactive.com

AMD Officially Launches Shanghai, Announces Phenom II

Today AMD officially announced widespread availability of its new 45nm Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor codenamed "Shanghai." AMD says the new CPU delivers up to 35 percent more performance with up to a 35 percent decrease in power consumption at idle.

The enhanced Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor delivers some of the most dramatic performance and performance-per-watt gains ever between AMD Opteron processor generations through the following:
  • Significantly higher CPU clock frequencies in the same power envelope in comparison to previous generations of the Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor. This is the result of processor design enhancements, industry-leading AMD 45nm immersion lithography technology, and strong execution on processor design and validation.
  • A 200 percent increase in Level 3 cache size to 6MB to help speed memory-intensive applications like virtualization, database, and Java.
  • DDR2-800 memory support which delivers greater memory bandwidth than current AMD Opteron processors, and remains significantly more energy-efficient than Fully-Buffered DIMM technology found in competitive offerings.
  • Upcoming enhancements to the revolutionary AMD Direct Connect Architecture with coherent HyperTransport™ 3.0 technology, providing up to 17.6GB/s of bandwidth for processor-to-processor communication planned for Q2 2009.
The new "Shanghai" processors should be available at retailers immediately, in fact as we reported earlier this month many retailers had already began posting the new Opteron 8300 series CPUs.

Phenom II X4 Announced:

At the end of the "Shanghai" press release came the announcement of the new 45nm Phenom II X4 line.

The Phenom II X4 is expected to e released late this year and will follow the company’s smaller, faster 45nm Opteron chips. The new chip will feature 8MB of cache and support both DDR2 and DDR3 in the AM3 and AM2+ sockets. Phenom II X4 will be part of AMD’s “Dragon” platform that combines the new chip with DX10.1 graphics, the company’s new Stream GPU processing, OverDrive and Fusion for gaming utility.

AMD's new "Dragon" platform will be the second generation AMD performance desktop platform, featuring all next-generation components in comparison to the first generation AMD "Spider" platform released in 2008. The AMD "Dragon" platform is designed to harness the power of fusion by optimizing the performance of new 45nm AMD Phenom II X4 quad-core processors with award-winning AMD 700 Series chipsets and award-winning ATI Radeon HD 4000 series graphics.

VMware Adds Virtualization To Mobile Phones

On Monday virtualization pioneer VMware unveiled its new Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP) for Mobile Phones, based on technology it acquired fom Trango Virtual Processors last month.

"VMware is excited to extend the benefits of virtualization, which we pioneered for x86 hardware, to the mobile phone market. By abstracting the applications and data from the hardware itself, we expect that virtualization will not only enable handset vendors to accelerate time to market but can also pave the way for innovative applications and services for phone users. We look forward to working closely with our partners to bring new mobile solutions to market faster." Paul Maritz, President and Chief Executive Officer of VMware

VMware MVP is a thin layer of software that is embedded on a mobile phone to decouple the applications and data from the underlying hardware. It is optimized to run efficiently on low power consuming and memory constrained mobile phones. The MVP currently supports a wide range of real-time and rich operating systems including Windows CE 5.0 and 6.0, Linux 2.6.x, Symbian 9.x, eCos, µITRON NORTi and µC/OS-II.

The intent is to isolate the applications and data from the hardware so that handset manufacturers can deploy devices more quickly and so that application developers can write a mobile app or service once and run it anywhere. VMware notes: "Today handset vendors spend significant time and effort getting new phones to market due to the use of multiple chipsets, operating systems and device drivers across the product family. This means the same software stack does not work across all the phones and considerable time and effort is spent porting the software stack multiple times, once for each platform, a slow and expensive process which slows time to market. Because VMware MVP virtualizes the hardware, handset vendors can develop a software stack with an operating system and a set of applications not tied to the underlying hardware allowing them to deploy the same software stack on a wide variety of phones without worrying about the underlying hardware differences. At the same time, by isolating the device drivers from the operating system, handset vendors can further reduce porting costs by using the same drivers irrespective of the operating system deployed on the phone."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Our Favorite Silicon Valley Gossip Rag Shuts Down

Gawker Media has decided to shut down our favorite Silicon Valley rag, Valleywag. Valleywag won't entirely disappear, editor Owen Thomas will have his job folded into a single column on the Gawker.com site.

Owen may have shot himself in the foot with one of his off handed remarks , or maybe he just saw the light at the end of the tunnel when he posted his comment "I would soon be writing Valleywag as a column for Gizmodo or Gawker, whichever will take me."

I was initially introduced to Valleywag back in the Mahalo days, when I was checking out their love hate relationship with Jason Calacanis. When I found them they seemed to share many of my sentiments about JC, which really drew me in. Then I became hooked on the off handed, even spiteful posts.


Thanks to Valleywag's Paul Boutin more details about the Valleywag being blended into Gawker have emerged. Paul posts "What just happened at Valleywag? The FAQ." Thanks for the clarification Paul.

Most of the details are unimportant but the major one that is is that the Valleywag.com URL will still work, Valleywag's RSS feed will still work. And no readers will not have to go to Gawker.com to read Valleywag stories.

How Your Favorite Tech Got Its Name

Ever wonder how popular tech products like Firefox, the iPod, Twitter and Wikipedia all got their names? Well the crew at CIO have made an interesting little list of how some of these popular tech products actually got their names.

The list includes 10 tech products; the iPod, BlackBerry, Firefox, Twitter, Windows 7, ThinkPad, Android, Wikipedia, Mac OS X and the "Big Cats," and Red Hat Linux.

Some of these are pretty obvious, Windows 7 of course is because the new OS will be the seventh edition of Windows, but a couple might surprise you.

Google Adds Voice/Video Chat To Gmail

Google has added video and voice capabilities for the chat function that is already embedded in the Gmail interface. Details were posted yesterday on the Official Google Blog as well as the Official Gmail Blog.

The new chat tools are accessed through the main Gmail interface and users who want to use the service must install a small plug-in (only a couple of megabytes in size) to his or her Web-browser. Gmail runs in Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari and Google's Chrome beta.

Once you install the plugin, to start a video chat, just click on the "Video & more" menu at the bottom of your Gmail chat window, and choose "Start video chat." You'll have a few seconds to make sure you look presentable while it's ringing, and then you'll see and hear your friend live, right from within Gmail. You can click the "pop-out" iconto make the video larger, or click the fullscreen iconin the upper left-hand corner for a fully immersive experience.

As you can see from the video the interface is fairly basic and you shouldn't expect a ton of features. Its also worth noting that some reviewers have stated having lag issues or slow downs in PC responsiveness in older systems. Simplicity aside, the new voice/video chat is a fairly useful tool to anyone that already uses Gmail chat.

Rumor: Possible Details Of AT&T iPhone Tethering Plan

Last week AT&T confirmed a new "official" tethering plan for the iPhone. Citing sources that work within AT&T MacBlogz has posted a few details of what that plan is expected to look like.

• 5GB Data Cap (just like Blackberry users) - AT&T will automatically turn off your tethering connection if you use too much bandwidth. Of note, the 5GB cap might get sliced for all users, not just iPhone users, in order to accommodate all new tethering plan customers (bandwidth demand).
• Initial connection through iTunes? (not sure if this is every time you connect, or just for initial setup)
• Expected speeds: GPRS: 30k - dialup speeds / EDGE: 110k - ISDN speeds / 3G: 1000k - slow broadband.
• You’ll want to disable auto-updates for everything, so as to not go over usage limitations.
• Will be +$30/month, new iPhone plans may be rolled out with tethering rolled in.
• Do not pro-rate tethering/bandwidth, it can become a nightmare, instead wait until new billing cycle.
• For unlimited bandwidth, AT&T will tell you to get a wireless PC card.
• No idea on a launch date.
Now keep in mind that none of this has any release dates associated with it whatsoever, nor has any of it actually been confirmed. AT&T is notorious for keeping a tight lid on things as well as making last min. changes. But the plan does sound inline with other offerings from AT&T. This plan would be identical to that which AT&T already offers to Blackberry users.

At an additional $30/mo the plan does seem a little steep to me. Looking at it this way; if you’re already paying $80 per month for your iPhone 3G, you’ll be paying at least $110 if you want a tethering plan. So its possible (unlikely but possible) that AT&T may release new iPhone 3G plans with tethering built into your monthly bill (emphasis on may).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Gaming: WWII Shooters, Demonizing Nazis Ok But Leave The Japanese Alone?

Joytiq blogger James Ransom-Wiley blogs, "Why I can't go beyond the first 5 mins of Call of Duty: World At War". Ransom-Wiley doesn't condone the violence nor does he distaste the game, or even dislike it for that matter. In fact he has yet to play the game, he has only watched a 5min preview, he simply doesn't like the fact "the featured enemy is the Japanese Empire."

He writes, "This morning I watched the first five minutes of gameplay, which promised "disturbing" game content and historical footage (read: real-life executions). The video made my stomach bubble. My knees a little wobbly. My breath short, and my face hot."

Why you may ask did he feel that way, he states and I quote:
"I have a very personal problem with demonizing the Japanese. I don't feel that way about the Nazis. I draw a disconnect between Nazis and Germans as large as the divide between "alien" and human. The Nazis have been transformed into monsters, which does not need to be justified in my gaming.

Much like Ben Kuchera over at Ars Technica said in his post, my jaw dropped. Mr. Ransom-Wiley sees it as being ok to "demonize" one group of individuals but when it comes to a group that he has ties to its not ok?

He has since updated with the following:
It's not my intention to make a definitive statement about the validity of demonizing one group over another for the purpose of creating a video game "enemy." I did intend to highlight the unique contradiction between my experience "fighting" against Nazis in games and my hesitance to take on the Japanese in World At War.
By standing on his soapbox and shouting out that he won't play the game just because he doesn't like the depiction of the Japanese in the game trailer isn't that exactly what he did? We are talking about historically accurate depictions here, real life video of things that actually happened during WWII. We aren't talking about some made up reality, the game is portraying a historical fact. Mr. Ransom-Wiley can bury his head in the sand if he'd like but that won't change the fact that these things did happen.

Google Launches Flu Trends

Google has launch a new aggregated search specialized in tracking "flu trends".

According to details on the Google Blog the Google team found that certain aggregated search queries tend to be very common during flu season each year. When compared to data provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they found that there's a very close relationship between the frequency of these search queries and the number of people who are experiencing flu-like symptoms each week.

As a result, they have tallied each day's flu-related search queries, then create an estimate of how many people have a flu-like symptons. Based on that information they launched the new search aggregate, Google Flu Trends, where you can find up-to-date influenza-related activity estimates for each of the 50 states in the U.S.

For more details on how it works checkout the Google Flu Trends FAQs or visit the Official Google Blog.

AVG Accidentally Removes Critical Windows Component

AVG, the very popular free anti virus scanner, erroneously detects a critical Windows file as a virus and warns users to remove it, crippling the system.

An update for the AVG virus scanner released yesterday contained an incorrect virus signature, which led it to think user32.dll contained the Trojan Horses PSW.Banker4.APSA or Generic9TBN. AVG then recommended deleting this file; this causes the affected systems to either stop booting or go into a continuous reboot cycle. So far, the problem only appears to affect Windows XP, but there is no guarantee that other versions of Windows don’t have the same issue.

Both AVG 7.5 and AVG 8.0 were affected by the erroneous definition file. The file has since been update to remove the error. AVG has posted FAQs as well as a fix for affected users on their support site.

For affected users, you can either reinstall Windows or do a repair install with a Windows disk. A third option is to use a boot disc, such as the Ultimate Boot CD (ISO) and then grab the files you need from the "C:\Windows\System32\dllcache" directory.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Google Reader Adds Automatic Translation

Using Google Translate technology, 20% project volunteer, Brett Bavar has made an option to automatically translate any feed into your native language.

When you view the feed in Reader, check off "Translate into my language" in the feed settings, and (voila!) the feed will be immediately translated for you. Also, this setting will be saved so you can always view this feed in your own language.

NVIDIA Introduces 4GB Quadro FX 5800

Looking to do some serious Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Digital Content Creation (DCC)? Then NVIDIA just released the power house of a card that might be for you. The Quadro FX 5800, dubbed by NVIDIA as the most powerful professional graphics card in history, features a massive 4GB of graphics memory and up to 102GB/s of memory bandwidth.

Other specs include TRUE 10-bit color – which enables billions of colors over the millions of ‘variations’ available by standard graphics cards, 240 CUDA Parallel Processor Cores, SLI Frame Rendering Support, Genlock/Framelock through Quadro G-Sync II and support for both Open GL and DirectX 10 applications.

Professionals searching for oil, diagnosing illness or styling the next high-performance luxury vehicle all have one thing in common, the need for advanced visual computing solutions. NVIDIA Corporation, the world leader in visual computing technologies, today unveiled the most powerful professional graphics card in graphics history - the NVIDIA Quadro FX 5800.

"The size and complexity of data is growing at an exponential rate. The challenge for today's professional is to make sense of the mountain of data by distilling it into a form they can comprehend, analyze and use to make impactful decisions," said Jeff Brown, general manager, Professional Solutions, NVIDIA. "At stake can be billions of investment dollars, or even people's lives. The Quadro FX 5800 has advanced features to allow massive
datasets to be viewed beyond traditional 3D enabling professionals to make fast and accurate decisions."

The Quadro FX 5800 graphics card offers unprecedented performance and scalability to rapidly visualize and interpret massive datasets that until now were unattainable on a workstation graphics board. Offering up to 240 CUDA programmable parallel cores and the industries first 4GB of graphics memory, the Quadro FX 5800 graphics card is ideally suited for oil and gas exploration, medical imaging, styling and design, and scientific visualization. Other advanced features of the Quadro FX 5800 graphics card include:

  • Interactive 4D modeling with time lapse capabilities
  • Massive memory bandwidth of up to 102 GB per second
  • Fill rates that exceed 52 billion texels per second and geometry performance of 300 million triangles per second
  • Support for next-generation OpenGL and Microsoft DirectX 10 applications
  • Advanced multi-system and multi-device visualization environments with Quadro G-Sync II

"Landmark's recently launched GeoProbe R5000 software empowersgeoscientists with an unprecedented ability to visualize large-scale regional datasets at full resolution from a standard Linux workstation," said Nicholas Purday, manager of Geophysical Technologies at Landmark. "The NVIDIA Quadro FX 5800 graphics card has a more powerful GPU and superior triangle performance, which make it possible for the GeoProbe application to quickly render large surfaces, and allow us to move many computing-intensive processes to the graphics card, significantly enhancing the overall user experience." Landmark is an industry leading software and technology services brand of Halliburton, one of the world's largest providers of products and services to the energy industry.

"The advanced textured graphics capabilities of the Quadro FX 5800 are enabling CyberHeart to provide 3D radiosurgical target visualization and definition tools for the purpose of treating cardiac arrhythmias," said Thilaka Sumanaweera, CTO, CyberHeart. "Our applications are processing very large data sets acquired by the state-of-the-art 64-slice CT scanners using respiratory- and cardiac-gating. The Quadro FX cards provide us with the extreme bandwidth necessary to support our cutting-edge technology, and essentially, save lives." CyberHeart, Inc., is a medical device company developing a non-invasive radiosurgical system for cardiac applications.

The Quadro FX 5800 GPU features true 10-bit color enabling billions rather than millions of color variations for rich, vivid image quality with the broadest dynamic range. Professionals now benefit from viewing their models with higher degrees of precision and realism never before possible.

"Our customers are making important decisions about future products on the basis of RTT-powered 3D real-time models," said Ludwig Fuchs, cofounder and CEO of RTT. "The new Quadro FX 5800 will be the platform of choice to bring that arena to the next level. Higher levels of realism, physical correctness and large models are now made possible through a double number of cores and a generous frame buffer." Realtime Technology AG, is a leading supplier of real- time visualization technology and virtual prototyping solutions to the automotive, aerospace, industrial and consumer goods design industries.
Pricing for the Quadro FX 5800 is pricey at a whopping $3,499, but remember the Quadro’s cater to true color reproduction, extremely high resolution imaging and rendering and extreme floating point calculations. All the features most required in industries where precision rather than speed is of the highest importance, this is not nor was it ever meant to be a card for the average consumer.

Circuit City Files Bankruptcy

A week after announcing the closure of 155 stores Circuit City has filled for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and laid off an additional 700 people at its corporate headquarters for a total workforce reduction of 20 percent.

The press release released today
announced that Circuit City has filed a voluntary petition for reorganization relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia ("Bankruptcy Court") in Richmond, Va. The company plans to continue operating the business without interruption as management focuses on developing and executing a comprehensive corporate restructuring plan. Circuit City's Canadian operations also will be seeking protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act in Canada ("CCAA").

Filling for bankruptcy protection is a move that will
help keep suppliers like Sony, Microsoft, Toshiba, and many others who have yet to receive payment for their products, at bay while Circuit City tries to get back on track. The company has also secured a special debtors' line of credit to keep stores open and pay its employees during this time.

James A. Marcum, vice chairman and acting president and chief executive officer of Circuit City Stores, Inc., said, "We recently have taken intensive measures to overcome our deteriorating liquidity position. The decision to restructure the business through a Chapter 11 filing should provide us with the opportunity to strengthen our balance sheet, create a more efficient expense structure and ultimately position the company to compete more effectively. In the meantime, our stores remain fully operational, and our associates are focused on consistent and successful execution this holiday season and beyond.

"We appreciate the support we have received from our lenders in the midst of such a tight credit market. With this support, we believe we have the opportunity to leverage our market position and the strength of our brand to restore Circuit City to solid financial footing," continued Marcum.

"We understand how difficult the recent announcements have been on everyone at the company, and we recognize the changes personally affect many people. Further, we know there is never a good time for individuals to be impacted by decisions like these, and we deeply regret the effect this has on our associates. I want to thank them for their continued loyalty and dedicated effort as we go forward with the belief that implementing long-term and lasting change to our business will come by satisfying our customers, one at a time," concluded Marcum.

Review: RoadPro 12 Volt Portable Travel Stove

If you've ever wanted to heat up a meal while on the go then the RoadPro 12 Volt Portable Travel Stove might be just what you need. This "portable lunchbox" plugs right into your cigarette lighter socket and provides up to 300 degrees of heating power. It's perfect for heating things like hot pockets, burritos or soups while on the go.

Background, why I bought the stove:

I'm an outdoorsgeek, meaning I'm often out camping, hunting, hiking, fishing or just taking day trips to the mountains. When taking day trips or even short over-nighters we usually pack lite and try to carry as few items as possible. This is especially true on 4wheeling trips, when space is limited.

On several occasions I've wanted a hot meal, maybe something hot for breakfast on a cold morning. Packing a stove, even a single burner stove, is great but then you have to stop and set it up and wait for whatever you want to eat to heat up. Reheating items on the manifold was always an option but on our new F-150 there really is no place to put burritos, and we all know how easily they bounce off when hitting bumps.

So I was looking for a solution that would be both ultra portable and extremely practical. I originally thought about getting a 12 volt portable frying pan. But that didn't seem anymore practical than using a camp stove. One bump and your food goes everywhere. So I was browsing Amazon where I cam upon the solution, the RoadPro 12 Volt Portable Travel Stove.


The lunchbox is manufactured of durable ABS, with a latching front to hold all your food inside. It plugs into most 12V lighter-type sockets and comes with a 5 1/2 foot power cord. The stove is designed with heating elements in the bottom that heats food to approximately 300°. It's insulated to keep food warm on the inside while the outside stays cool. (see notes below). The lunchbox is approx. 8" l. x 3 3/4" w. x 5" h. (perfect size for using 8" x 3-3/4" x 2-1/2" aluminum disposable loaf pans).

I've had my lunchbox for about 3 weeks now and used it on 3 or 4 trips with outstanding results. I've kept my testing limited to breakfast burritos mainly because our trips have been limited to early morning hunting trips. So there hasn't been a need for anything else.

The pros and cons:
      Heats very quickly and gets items good and hot
      Compact portable design
      Very rugged feel, it has taken a few knocks w/o issues
      Latching lid keeps food in place no matter what

      Only heats on the bottom, you have to flip your food to get it warm on both sides
      Bottom gets very warm to the touch, I'm weary of using it for long periods of time
      Doesn't seem to keep food warm very long after unplugging

As you can see there are definitely a few areas that could use some improvement, and I'll admit with a little more testing these might be resolved. Overall I feel they are minor issues that shouldn't keep anyone from buying the RoadPro portable stove. I'll try it out with a few other food items just to see how well it really performs and post back my updated review in a month or two.

Richard's Breakfast Burrito:
    Here is my recipe that is a big hit, I like my food spicy with lots of flavor so adjust as needed for personal taste. As you can see measurements aren't exact, I eyeball it and cook to taste so I might be a bit off but this makes 3-4 decent sized burritos.

    • 3 Eggs scrambled or 4 egg whites
    • 1/3 Package Jimmy Deans Hot Bulk sausage
    • 1/2 Red Onion finely chopped
    • 1/2 Red Bell pepper chopped
    • 5-6 Mushrooms sliced thin
    • 2 Cups Frozen Southern Style Hash browns (easiest or cook your own)
    • 3-4 Burrito Size Tortilla Shells
    • Butter to saute mushrooms, I always use butter but use whatever
    • Grated Cheese I prefer adding sharp cheddar and pepper jack
    • Salsa I prefer Pace Medium

    In a skillet brown your sausage, add in the onions and bell peppers, season to taste (lots of black pepper and Pappy's Seasonings) and cook till the onions get a little transparency. Add in the hash browns, season to taste again, and heat thoroughly. In another pan lightly saute your mushrooms, add in the eggs and cook to desired firmness. Combine all ingredients to one pan, mix thoroughly.

    Layout single tortilla and add a decent amount of cheese to the bottom. Add in your filling and top with salsa and more cheese. Roll up your burrito and wrap in foil and you are good to go. Heat in your RoadPro 12 Volt Portable Travel Stove for approx 15 mins or until good and hot.

SEMA Best And Worst Of 2008

SEMA has always been synonymous with wild cars and crazy concepts, some of which are flat out amazing, others not so much. While the show may be over, it ran Nov 4th - Nov 7th, the coverage and the debate over what was cool and what wasn't lives on. Popular Mechanics has put together two lists that cover both ends of the spectrum.

Top 12 Coolest Cars at the 2008 SEMA Show
Personally I can't say I agree with all their choices here. The number one choice Thunderbird Elite just doesn't do it for me. I'm not big on old nostalgia and it reminds me of a stripped down version of the old Batmobile. A car that I think should have made the list was the Scorpion by Ronn Motors, now that is one hot car! Another car that I'd add to my top ten would be the Mercedes RENNTech Pikes Peak hybrid GLK. The car has some great lines and impressive specs.

The 10 Ugliest Cars in Las Vegas at SEMA 2008

The list might say "ugliest" cars but some of it is more about trends, like disturbing trend 3, displaying wheels cantilevered out of the wheel wells on metal stands. Mirrors use to be the old way of showing off the details of the wheel wells and undercarriage. But now it seems removing the rims and tires altogether is catching on. Ehh I'll agree with PM on this one, keep the rims on the car.

For more SEMA 2008 coverage be sure to checkout some of our favorite places:

If drooling over cars isn't your thing then Jalopnik was nice enough to give us a great spread of the SEMA Booth Babes, if that doesn't fill your need for babes checkout the gallery at AutoBlog.

Windows 7 Ready This Time Next Year?

Earlier this week Microsoft made it clear that they are planning on having Windows 7 ready for public release by the 2009 holiday season.

The announcement came at the Microsoft's Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC), when Microsoft director Doug Howe showed slides in a WinHEC presentation that all but confirmed a 2009 release.

For you Vista users this will mean a second service pack for Vista sometime this spring as Microsoft has previously stated that it would release Vista's Service Pack 2 before Windows 7 -- so that means that if it sticks with this plan, Vista SP2 is likely coming in Spring of 2009.

Source: CNet News

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Happy Birthday FireFox

That's right a whopping four years ago today, Mozilla announced the release of Firefox 1.0. and delivered a better Web experience for us all. If we fast forward through those 4 years we get to Firefox 3.1 which is now in beta and available for download.

YouTube Adding Full Length Films

YouTube and movie studio MGM have struck a deal to allow the showing of some full-length television shows and films from MGM.

MGM becomes one of the first, of what Google and YouTube hopes will be many, studio to allow full length version of their copyrighted shows to be posted on YouTube. Initial offerings form Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios will include old favorites like the TV-Show “American Gladiators”. In addition MGM will be adding full-length action films like “Bulletproof Monk” and “The Magnificent Seven” and clips from popular movies like “Legally Blonde.” These will be free to watch, with ads running alongside the video.

Along with its new MGM relationship, YouTube has recently worked out deals with the independent studio Lionsgate and with CBS, which this month started posting to YouTube full-length episodes of older shows like “Star Trek” and “Beverly Hills 90210.”

According to reports Google has declined to discuss specifics, but a company spokeswoman issued this statement: "We are in negotiations with a variety of entertainment companies. Our goal is to offer maximum choice for our users, partners, and advertisers."

Friday, November 07, 2008

Tom's Overclocking Competition Begins!

Using everything from liquid nitrogen to water cooling and everything in between, 5 teams of three people from each of the participating countries will be given the chance to break the overclocking world record and win some cash.

The first annual Overdrive Overclocking Championship by Tom’s Hardware, is a worldwide overclocking competition to be held in the United States, Germany, Taiwan, France and Italy. The winners from the preliminary trials in each country will be flown to the finals to be held in Paris, France. There they will get a shot at the grand prize, a $5,000 gift certificate to the online shopping site of the winning team's choice.

“For the preliminary trials, contestants will be using the Intel Core 2 Duo Desktop Processor E8600 and for the finals, the next-generation Core i7 micro architecture from Intel,” said Patrick Schmid, Worldwide Editor-in-Chief of Tom’s Hardware.

“This will be one of the first worldwide overclocking contests where the Intel Core i7 processor, Extreme Edition, will be used," said Schmid.

Everyone is pretty excited to see how for the new Core i7 can be pushed, and I'm sure these guys will push it to the breaking point. So it should be interesting to see how the competition goes. The current Intel world record is listed at the Overclocking World Record Database at 8.2ghz on a P4.

From Tom's Hardware

TIME's Best Inventions of 2008

Time magazine has released their list of the "50 Best Inventions of 2008".

The list is comprised of small ticket items like high tech running shoes, the seven new deadly sins and Spore - The everything game and very large ticket items like the Large Hadron Collider. But the item Time thought was the top invention of 2008 was the Retail DNA Test from 23AndMe. The $399 saliva test estimates your predisposition for more than 90 traits and conditions ranging from baldness to blindness.

The 600,000 genetic markers that 23andMe identifies and interprets for each customer are "the digital manifestation of you," says Wojcicki (pronounced Wo-jis-key), 35, who majored in biology and was previously a health-care investor. "It's all this information beyond what you can see in the mirror."

Here are some of the items on the list that I think stand out:
  1. The Tesla Roadster, its ranked number 2 on their list, persoanlly I think these things are pretty cool.
  2. The Peraves MonoTracer, ranked number 41 on the Time list, this thing looks like its straight out of the Tron movie. Its a motorcycle with a cockpit featuring most of the comforts of a car on two wheels.
  3. The invisibility Cloak, ranked 28, common who doesn't want one?
  4. The Speedo LZR Razer, ranked 26, 94% of Olympic swimming races won in Beijing were won by athletes wearing the LZR. Even Michael Phelps wears this thing.
  5. The Memristor, luck number 13 on the Time list. We can expect to see great things from this little invention in the coming years, just wait and see.
Here is the full list for anyone that doesn't want to click through all 50 pages one at a time.

Jailbreak T-Mobile's G1 Android

It didn't take long for the first jailbroken G1 Android phone to surface – in fact, it took hackers less time to crack Android than it took to jailbreak the iPhone. Just a few short weeks after its release details of how to obtaining root privileges on the new G1 Android have surfaced.

Posters on the XDA-Developers forum provide details on the exact steps needed. The post can be found here. Step-by-step instructions have also been published online at the Android Developers forum. It should be noted that this hack comes with the following warning: Do not attempt this if you a: are not a linux guru already or b: value your G1. Obtaining root gives you power to do stuff you probably shouldnt do without the safety of your phone telling you NO!!

Here are the basic of how it works. First, download PTerminal from the Android Market. You can use telnet on the G1 through your PC. Log in as root and you can get into the system directory. Here's what the rest of the steps entail:
  • Turn on WiFi in the G1 (Settings > Wireless Controls > Wi-Fi). Make sure you're connected to a network.
  • Start up PTerminal (search in the Market) and you'll get a prompt once its launched.
  • Enter cd system and hit Enter.
  • Enter cd bin and hit Enter.
  • Enter telnetd and hit Enter. You've now started telnet on your G1.
  • Enter netstat and hit Enter. You'll now see your G1's IP address. You can also find this in the Settings > Wireless Controls > Wi-Fi > and click on your network you're connected to. It will show you your IP.
  • Start up Terminal on your OS X machine, or bring up a command prompt on your Windows box. Type telnet [your.ip.address.we.just.found] and hit Enter/Return. So, if your IP was, you'd type telnet and hit Enter/Return.
  • You are logged in as root now. To remount the system file as read write, type mount -oremount,rw /dev/block/mtdblock3 /system from the Terminal/Command Prompt and hit Enter/Return

Jailbreaking the open source Android doesn't really achieve much, at least not for now. One of the biggest benefits of cracking a G1 seems to be to bypass internal storage, which limits the number of apps a user can install. Instead, a user could install applications on an SD card, giving them more room for more programs.

The hack was actually achieved thanks to a bug in the Android operating system. Google acknowledged the bug on Wednesday and said "We've been notified of this issue and have developed a fix, we're currently working with our partners to push the fix out and updating the open source code base to reflect these changes."

BlackBerry Bold Free At Walmart

Just a few short days after new BlackBerry Bold from Research In Motion was released nationwide, the phone is available for free after rebates at Walmart.com.

The BlackBerry Bold, currently exclusive to the AT&T network, hit stores on Nov. 4 and is listed on the AT&T site with a price tag of $399 with a two-year contract ($299 after $100 Mail in rebate).

Walmart, in a move that one ups AT&T, is offering the the phone at $199 on their letstalk site. And for a short time they are offering a 100% rebate on the phone with a two year contract on a service plan of $79.99 per month or more, with the addition of unlimited text messaging, and a Blackberry data plan.

That is a pretty "bold" price tag to say the least. One that is significantly higher than competitors such as the 3G iPhone at $200 and the latest T-Mobile G1 phone based on Google's Android operating system at $180.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Google Adds New Features To Help Forums

Google has been working on making some changes to the Google Help Forums. The redesign comes following what Google says is an attempt to make it even easier to get you the right answers to your questions as quickly as possible and to spot the most helpful commenters.

Many of these changes can already be seen on the help forums for the following Google products -- AdWords, AdSense, Android Market, Google Apps, Google Chrome and most of their Polish products.

Some of the features include:
  • improved search results, including posts from current and new forums
  • the ability to designate especially helpful forum members as "Top Contributors"
  • a reputation and ranking system
  • the ability for users, Top Contributors and Googlers to mark questions as answered
  • easier access to Help Center content
  • expanded user profiles that highlight your forum activity

This video gives you a few more details on our latest changes:

Google has said that over the next several months, they'll convert more product Help Forums, initially in English and then in other languages.

AT&T iPhone Get "Official" Tethering Soon

According to reports AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph De La Vega has confirmed that "official, AT&T sanctioned" tethering of the iPhone as 3G modem for a laptop is on the way “soon”.

MobileCrunch reported the information was passed down from De La Vega in an interview with TechCrunch's Michael Arrington at the Web 2.0 Summit.

It's not clear when AT&T will roll out the tethering service nor is there any pricing information, just that we can look for plans at some point in 2009.

Unofficial tethering of iPhones is fairly common, any iPhone that has been jailbroken can easily be used at a tethered modem. All you need is a pair of programs, 3proxy and MobileTerminal. Create an ad-hoc Wi-Fi network with your notebook, join it with your iPhone, perform a bit of beginner's voodoo with MobileTerminal and your browser, and in not time you're cruising on AT&T's 3G network on your laptop via your iPhone.

It really is easy, but I should note that this is in violation of your AT&T TOS so be careful. You should also no that if AT&T notices your data usage is wonky, they will probably rape you with massive fees.

If you want a step by step guide cre.ations.net has a pretty easy to follow guide. You might also try some of the listed apps on modmyi.com.

Black Friday Deals

Black Friday is just around the corner, 21 days and counting, and there are already tons of leaked deals out there hitting the web. Listed below are some of the best sites around for finding information on black Friday deals.

Here are a few deals that are grabbing attention right now:

  • Walmart's Secret Saturday ad featuring the Compaq CQ50-139WM for only $298, this deal was originally thought to be a Black Friday deal. If you are looking for good legitimate reviews of this laptop don't bother, most the reviews were created since this became a Google hot topic. I've searched all the good review sites and not one of them has a review. This isn't even listed on the Compaq site so its either a one time offering a misprint of the product number.
  • HDTV Black Friday Deals - this thread provides up to date information and details on all the latest HDTV Black Friday deals. Right now there appears to be about 10-15 deal posted.
  • AskABlueShirt.net this site is giving away a chance to become a Black Friday Vip. In 250 words or less, share what you do to make the day after Thanksgiving a particularly fun and special day?. Twenty-five lucky winners will be crowned Black Friday VIPs at pre-designated Best Buy locations in the following cities.
  • BlackFriday.info has posted Dell Home's Black Friday deals which includes a XBox 360 Arcade Holiday Bundle w/Rock Band 2 Game for $199.00.
Dell Home Black Friday Deals: (PDF)
Dell Inspiron 13 Laptop E-Value Code 16254-DNPHWD1 - $699.00
Dell Inspiron 1525 Laptop 15.4" Widescreen E-Value Code 16254-DNPHPD4 - $559.00
Dell Inspiron 1525 Laptop 15.4" Widescreen E-Value Code 16254-DNPHPD5 - $649.00
Dell Inspiron 518 Desktop E-Value Code 16254-DDPHOD1 - $549.00
Dell Inspiron 530 Desktop E-Value Code 16254-DDPHDD1 - $479.00
Dell Inspiron 530s Desktop E-Value Code 16254-DDPHFD1 - $299.00
Dell Inspiron Mini 9 Laptop 8.9" E-Value Code 16254-DNPHXD2 - $299.00
Dell Studio 15 Laptop 15.4" E-Value Code 16254-DNPHUD2 - $699.00
Dell Studio 17 Laptop 17" E-Value Code 16254-DNPHVD2 - $799.00
Dell Studio Desktop E-Value Code 16254-DDPHMD1 - $749.00
Dell Studio Hybrid E-Value Code 16254-DDPHLD1 - $699.00
Dell XPS 420 Desktop E-Value Code 16254-DXPHQY1 - $649.00
Dell XPS M1330 13.3" Laptop E-Value Code 16254-DYPHTE1 - $1029.00
Dell XPS M1530 15.4" Widescreen Laptop E-Value Code 16254-DYPHHE1 - $1029.00

Digital Cameras
Canon Powershot SD1100 8MP 3x Zoom Digital Camera - $159.99

Smartparts 7" Digital Picture Frame - $44.99
Sony BDP-S350 Blu-Ray Disc Player - $249.99

GPS Navigation Systems
Magellan 1400 GPS Navigation Unit - Free With Select Laptops
Pharos PDR200 GPS - $94.99

Hard Drives
Western Digital 1TB My Book World Edition Network Storage - $169.99

Home Theater
Sony HDX275 Home Theater System - $229.99

Dell SE198WFP 19" Widescreen Flat Panel Monitor E-Value Code 16254-DMPHWC1 - $129.00

MP3 Players
Creative Labs Zen Mozaic 8GB MP3 Player - $74.99

Networking & Wireless
Linksys WRT110 Rangeplus Wireless Router - $39.99

Norton 360 2.0 All In One Security Software - $9.99

Sharp 42" 1080p LCD HDTV - $779.00

Video Games
XBox 360 Arcade Holiday Bundle w/Rock Band 2 Game - $199.00

I'll be adding more links and updates soon, so be sure to check back often.