Monday, December 08, 2008

FriendFeed Adds Additional Language Support

Popular social media tool FriendFeed announced today that they have added additional language support for their site. As of today, you can now select from English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Russian, and simplified Chinese from a dropdown at the bottom of every page or from your Account settings page.

FriendFeed is a feed aggregator that consolidates the updates from social media and social networking sites such as Titter, YouTube and Linkedin. It also supports, social bookmarking websites like Delicious and Stumbleupon, as well as any other type of RSS/ Atom feed. Users can use this stream of information to create customized feeds to share (and comment) with friends.

SpyWare Program RemoteSpy "Legally" Goes Back On Sale

A U.S. federal court has ruled that CyberSpy Software can legally sale their RemoteSpy spyware program as long as they change their advertising tactics.

The FTC blocked the sale of RemoteSpy when they were granted a request for an injunction. The injunction claimed CyberSpy marketed RemoteSpy by giving detailed instructions on how to install the program on computers and secretively collect data. The judge in the case lifted the original injunction and granted a new one with new terms. The new injunction bars CyberSpy from suggesting the program can be secretly installed or that keyloggers can be passed on as innocuous programs.

U.S. District Judge Gregory A. Presnell wrote in the latest injunction that "the ability of RemoteSpy to invade the privacy of an unsuspecting victim is, indeed, alarming. And it is to this use that defendants direct their promotional and instructional material."

CyberSpy contends it warns users that monitoring computers without a person's consent is illegal, terms that are also in the software's license agreement. The company also contends RemoteSpy has legal uses, such as monitoring children's or workers Internet browsing.

A trial is scheduled for June 15 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Orlando.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Dell Now Charging $150 For XP "Downgrade"

Dell customers wanting to "downgrade" their laptops or PCs from Windows Vista to Windows XP will now be hit with as much as a $150 surcharge, a fee which according to Computerworld.com is three times the maximum amount Dell charged last summer.

After XPs life cycle came to a close last summer Dell began offering XP downgrades to customers that were not ready to upgrade to Vista or were not fully satisfied with the new operating system. At that time the surcharge was $20 to $50 for XP. Today on the Dell site the option to downgrade from Windows Vista Business to Windows XP Professional will cost you anywhere from $120 to $150, depending on the system. For small business users wanting to avoid Vista Dell offers the Windows Vista Business bonus for $99. It should be noted that you do receive licenses for both Operating systems which gives customers the option of running XP now and transitioning to Vista when and if they’re ready.

Back in October we reported that Microsoft gave XP another reprieve allowing OEMs to offer an XP downgrade option for an additional 6 months. Those rights let OEM builders like Dell install Windows XP Professional instead of Vista, or along Vista giving the users the right to use either OS.

According to studies done last summer by market research firm Devil Mountain Software, nearly one third of all PCs purchased over the summer had been downgraded from Vista.

Wal-Mart To Offer "Thousands" Of Wii's Starting Monday

Looking to buy a Nintendo Wii this holiday but having a hard time finding one Wal-Mart has you covered.

According to Reuters "Wal-Mart Stores will offer "tens of thousands" of the hard-to-get video game consoles on its website starting on Monday." Walmart.com said it will offer the Nintendo Wii console for $249.24, and a "value bundle," which includes the console and other items like an extra set of controllers, for $329, while supplies last.

As of Sunday afternoon, the Wii console was sold out on most of the webistes we visited including Walmart.com, BestBuy.com, CircuitCity.com, Newegg, Amazon and Buy.com.

Walmart.com also said that it will offer certain Wii video games at a price of two for $30, and certain accessories, like the Nintendo Wii Racing Wheel, starting under $10.

The Reuters article doesn't mention exactly how many Wii's will be offered nor does it mention if Wal-Mart will be offering them instore. My suggestion for anyone wanting to get their hands on one is to shop early

Friday, December 05, 2008

Microsoft Offers Free Xbox Live Games

Microsoft is offering free online play of several of its multiplayer arcade Xbox Live games during the month of December. According to Microsoft's Major Nelson:
"This month, Xbox LIVE kicks off the Friendship is Free program. Over the course of this month, multiplayer will be available for all Xbox LIVE members for eight Xbox LIVE Arcade games. The Xbox LIVE Arcade team will open up the multiplayer functionality for A Kingdom for Keflings, Aegis Wing, Bomberman Live, Hardwood Hearts, Hardwood Spades, UNO, Small Arms and Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. So round up your silver friends and get some free play on."

The program has already been hit with a little backlash with many Xbox Live members complaining that these games should already be free.And we should note that even though they are offering up free multi-player you still need to purchase the game to play.

Rumor: $99 iPhone Likely

The rumors of a $99 iPhone may or may not be true and Wal-Mart will neither confirm nor deny those rumors, but the rumored price, capacity and distributor all are sensible.

If you think about it it really make sense after all Wal-Mart has already been selling G1s for $148.88 and Apple already has a 4GB iPhone that could be upgraded to support 3G. So why wouldn't Apple want to further boost its growing share of the smartphone market to the point of almost total domination.

Analysts for Kaufman Bros. and Needham & Company feel its just a matter of time. "While we are not sure of exact timing, we think a $99 Apple-branded cell phone is inevitable," analyst Shaw Wu of Kaufman Bros. wrote. "As we mentioned in our initiation report, we believe one of the key things Apple needs to do to drive broader iPhone adoption is to build a more complete product line like it has done with the iPod."

According to AppleInsider, Wu feels Apple could easily absorb a modest $100 margin hit to drop a model based on today's design down to $99. It could be even more likely that the company's carrier partners (AT&T) would be willing to eat that cost on their own through additional subsidies due to the handset's ability to drive higher ARPU (average revenue per user) with $30-$45 data plans in addition to pricey voice plans.

"The payback period [for the carriers] is two to three months making this an easy economic decision," Wu told his clients. "We would like to note that already in some international markets, customers can get an iPhone for free or less than $199 USD when they sign up for a longer-term contract (three years) and a premium feature package."

A $99 iPhone would likely be a strong seller. The current price tag is a bit much for many users especially given the worsening economic climate. I could probably even been swayed to buy one at that price!

AT&T May Team With Symbian For Single SmartPhone OS

AT&T is looking to consolidate and standardize the operating system used for AT&T-branded smartphones, as part of a "dramatic consolidation" of its mobile platforms over the next few years, a company executive told NetworkWorld today.

According to Roger Smith, director of next generation services, data product realization at AT&T that single OS might very well become Symbian. Smith speaking at the Symbian Partner Event in San Francisco said Symbian is "a very credible and likely candidate".

AT&T believes smartphones will make up the largest portion of devices connecting to its network by about 2014, and it wants to avoid the fragmentation of platforms that has made it hard to develop mobile applications. There are currently several different Mobile Operating Systems all of which have different support levels. By consolidating that into a single OS AT&T could simplify application development. Which in turn could give third-party developers more opportunity to reach AT&T subscribers with mobile applications.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

GTA IV PC Edition Plagued With Problems

Complaints have been hitting forums everywhere about issues with the newly released PC edition of GTA IV.

Threads are popping up on forums on GameSpot, Steam, IGN, and elsewhere with loads of complaints from gamers about a host of performance issues. Poor frame rates even on powerful rigs, short draw distances, crashes, and missing textures are among the list of numerous issues gamers have with the title.

The technical support section of Rockstar's official site acknowledges a host of known issues.
Known issues related to video cards and drivers:
  • Owners of Nvidia 7900 Series Cards - Click here for critical information about graphics issues.
  • Owners of ATI cards and Nvidia cards that are not in the 7900 Series Cards - Click here if experiencing missing textures.
  • Owners of ATI Series Cards - Click here for a fix to image quality (blacked-out textures) with certain MipMap detail settings are used.
  • Owners of ATI 1900 Series - At present the shadows may flicker and form large triangles in some instances. A patch will be released soon to correct this issue.

As for performance issues on high-end rigs, Rockstar's tech support documentation contained the following explanation: "Most users using current PC hardware as of December 2008 are advised to use medium graphics settings. Higher settings are provided for future generations of PCs with higher specifications than are currently widely available."

As user Bahaa3000 said at GameSpot, "Why the hell would they do such thing ?? who is going to buy a game that his +2000$ can't even run it on high settings ???!!!"

GenTom, the first user posting in the GameSpot forums, said he was experiencing "quite poor performance in Grand Theft Auto 4". His rig features a Gigabyte x48 motherboard, Intel E8400 CPU @ 3.4ghz, 4gb DDR2 RAM and an ATI Radeon 4870x2 GPU.

Users at the Steam forums are trying to rally the troops together to forum a sort of boycott by posting negative reviews at sites like Amazon.com. Of the 58 current reviews at Amazon 47 have a single star and only 8 reviews have more than 3 stars.

Google Earth Now Available For Mac Users

Mac and Safari users rejoice as Google announced the release of the Google Earth Browser Plugin for Mac OS X 10.4+. The Mac plugin is supported on Safari 3.1+ and Firefox 3.0+. Mac fans can get the 47MB download from the Google Earth API page.

Google also announced a new Google Earth plug-in game, Puzzler. The object of the puzzler game is to slide the tiles around to form the correct geographic picture.

FireFox Users Hit With Targeted Malware

Researchers at BitDefender have discovered a new piece of malware that targets banking sites passwords and FireFox users.

The malware, which BitDefender dubbed "Trojan.PWS.ChromeInject.A" sits in Firefox's add-ons folder disguised at a "Greasemonkey" file. The malware lays in wait until FireFox is started and then utilizing JavaScript it tries to steal banking log in inforamtion.

According to BitDefender the malware can identify more than 100 financial and money transfer Web sites, including Barclays, Wachovia, Bank of America, and PayPal along with two dozen or so Italian and Spanish banks. When it recognizes a Web site, it will collect logins and passwords, forwarding that information to a server in Russia.

Source: BitDefinder

Ars Ultimate Home Theater PC Guide: 1080p HDMI Edition

If you're building a home theater PC (HTPC) this Christmas, and you won't settle for anything less than high definition, then checkout Brian Won's post over at Ars Technica.

The Ars Ultimate Home Theater PC Guide definitely earns two thumbs up from me. Brian breaks down the ins and outs of several key components, both software and hardware and makes some great suggestions. The guide is well written and fairly easy to follow, I strongly suggest checking it out.

The guide is broke up into three separate HTPC systems.

System one is described as the All-in-one HTPC:
  • This is what most people traditionally think of as the classic HTPC: a single box that sits next to your TV and plugs neatly into your TV, network (wired or wireless), and antenna/cable. This normally has at least two tuners in it, so you can watch and time-shift content at the same time as you record something else in the background. It also has enough space for most of your video files, and probably your pictures, music, DVD ripping, and whatever else you need to do.

The other two HTPC options come in the form of a one-two punch:
  • Lightweight front-end: this sits by your TV like a traditional HTPC does, except it offloads the storage and heavy lifting to the back-end. It streams all of the content off of the back-end, so the front-end can be very compact, low power, and unobtrusive. No tuners, only minimal storage, for minimal footprint in more ways than one. In fact, a media center extender might work here for those willing to explore the option.

  • Heavy Duty Back-end: in a two-part setup, this does the heavy lifting, containing the tuners and all of the media. Since it's out of the living room, it can be much bigger with significantly more emphasis on storage and performance, without costly burnt offerings at the altar of low-noise components. Cramming a stack of 1TB hard drives in a low-cost software RAID5 may be an exercise in overheating in the living-room-friendly chassis of an all-in-one box, but it's cake in most good quality conventional chassis.

PC Vendors Cut Orders By 50%

According to reports several of the top PC vendors including Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Acer and Asustek Computer are expected to reduce their PC order volumes by as much as 50% in the first quarter of 2009.

Citing sources at component makers and other channel vendors DigiTimes claims HP is planning to cut orders by around 50%, Dell 50-60%, and Acer and Asustek 40-50% each.

The sources pointed out that they originally thought that HP and Dell were trying to lower their costs by combining orders together and outsourcing to just a few makers, but after confirming with other channel sources, it became clear that the two vendors have actually significantly reduced their orders.

Although PC and notebook orders will see a large drop in the first quarter of 2009, orders for netbooks and LED notebooks are still seeing a surge growth.

CheckFree Hijacked, Used To Spread Malicious Software

On Tuesday hijackers took control of CheckFree's DNS records and redirected the site to their own servers.

The site was redirected at around 12:30 a.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday after someone logged into CheckFree's Network Solutions account and changed the domain's DNS settings, said Susan Wade, a Network Solutions spokeswoman. "Somebody got hold of the customer's login information," she said. "I don't know how they got access."

It took several hours for CheckFree to regain control, during which time the hijackers used the redirect and the Checkfree domain name to push malicious software on to victims' computers.

"During the incident, users would have seen a blank page if they were redirected to the non-CheckFree site. Those with up-to-date security software would likely have received a message indicating a malware download attempt had occurred," the company said. "If the user's anti-virus software was out of date or they did not have anti-virus software installed, they may have been subject to a malware software download."

It is advised that anyone that uses the Checkfree site or has visited it over the last few days run anti-virus scans, malware scans and double check for updates to their Adobe products.

News of the CheckFree hack was first reported in the Register after a reader noticed a problem with the Web site.

*Update*

For more information on the CheckFree hijacking checkout this article "Digging Deeper Into The The Checkfree Attack

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Amazon Releases Free iPhone App, Amazon Mobile

Amazon has announced the release of a new free application, Amazon Mobile, which is designed to work on the iPhone and iPod touch. Users wanting the new app can get it directly from the App Store.

The Amazon app offers an easy way for users to search and browse for products offered by Amazon and the thousands of retailers using Amazon like Target and Macy's. The app provides access to all of Amazon's features such as customer reviews, wish lists, existing shopping carts, order history and their traditional purchasing options including 1-Click Shopping and Amazon Prime.

The Amazon app for iPhone and iPod touch includes an experimental feature called "Amazon Remembers." Customers simply snap photos with their iPhone, the photos are automatically uploaded to Amazon.com, which then tries to find products similar to the ones in the photos. As soon as the customer receives the results, they can then purchase the item immediately or "remember it" for later in their Amazon account.

MacWorld's Eddy Winners

MacWorld's 24th annual Editors’ Choice Awards were announced today. The list is comprised of 20 products that were shipped between November 1, 2007 and November 1, 2008.

  1. Eddy Winner: Nikon D300 digital camera
    This Editors’ Choice Award winner is a serious camera for serious DSLR enthusiasts.

  2. Eddy Winner: JamVox
    Vox thought of nearly every aspect of what a Mac-using guitarist would want in amp-modeling software and then delivered it with JamVox.

  3. Eddy Winner: Hulu
    This online video service is reliable, easy-to-use, and, thanks to major improvements, an Editors’ Choice Award winner.

  4. Eddy Winner: Kodak Zi6 HD mini camcorder
    This Eddy Award-winning camcorder shoots good-looking video at 720p resolution—and its price tag is less than $200.

  5. Eddy Winner: Ableton Live 7
    Live has always been a capable application, and now the audio application from Ableton is even more so thanks to new features in version 7.

  6. Eddy Winner: NEC MultiSync 3090WQXi display
    For color pros who want a large canvas but don’t want to sacrifice color accuracy and performance, the NEC MultiSync 3090WQXi sets a new standard for big displays.

  7. Eddy Winner: Airfoil 3.1
    This Editors’ Choice Award winner unshackles you from iTunes so you can send audio from any application on your Mac to your remote speakers.

  8. Eddy Winner: ScreenFlow 1.0.2
    If you need to record what’s happening on your Mac’s screen, this Eddy Award winner is the best tool for the job.

  9. Eddy Winner: VMware Fusion 2
    If you want to run Windows, Linux, or other operating systems on your Intel-powered Mac, there’s no better choice than VMware Fusion 2.

  10. Eddy Winner: BusySync 2.1.6
    BusySync doesn’t quite get us all the way to calendar heaven, but it brought us a darn sight closer than Leopard did this year.

  11. Eddy Winner: AppleJack 1.5
    If your Mac starts misbehaving, this Eddy Award winner is the tool you need for tackling troubleshooting.

  12. Eddy Winner: Canon EOS Rebel XSi digital camera
    Canon continues to redefine the digital SLR market with the EOS REbel XSi, a winner of our Editors’ Choice Award for 2008.

  13. Eddy Winner: Freeway 5 Pro
    This Eddy Award-winning Web publishing tool lets you get professional-looking results without any of the hand-coding that Web pros rely on.

  14. Eddy Winner: Canon Pixma MX850 multifunction printer
    The Pixma MX850 from Canon offers everything you’d want in a multifunction device.

  15. Eddy Winner: CSSEdit 2.6
    CSSEdit may be a specialized tool, but this Editors’ Choice selection belongs in any Web designer’s tool kit.

  16. Eddy Winner: Flock 2.0
    It’s a Web 2.0 world, and Flock 2.0 has established itself as the browser of choice for people who actively participate in the increasingly social Net.

  17. Eddy Winner: Photoshop Lightroom 2
    The first version of Lightroom was a solid update when it came out in 2007, but this Eddy Award-winning update is even better.

  18. Eddy Winner: iPhone 2.1 software update
    Apple delivered new versions of the iPhone and iPod touch this year, but it was the software update that captured our Editors’ Choice Award.

  19. Eddy Winner: Logitech diNovo Edge Mac Edition keyboard
    People have been waiting for a Mac-compatible version of Logitech’s acclaimed diNovo Edge keyboard since the Windows model was released back in 2006. They finally got it in 2008.

  20. Eddy Winner: Epson Stylus Photo R1900 inkjet printer
    Epson’s Eddy Award-winning inkjet produces the best glossy photos we’ve seen from any printer priced under $1,000.


It is good to see two of our personal favorites listed, Hulu and Flock. Being comprised of Mac gear and products its not surprising to see several other items missing but it is a bit surprising to see two high end digital cameras on the list.

Rumor: Windows 7 Beta Available In January

Windows fans wanting to get their hands on the first release of Windows 7 Beta 1 might want to checkout the MSDN Developers Conference. According to the MSDN Developer Conference website "All attendees will receive a Windows 7 Beta 1 DVD."

Keith Combs confirmed the information in a blog posting on Microsoft's Technet site. Later adding, "My understanding is that the DVD will not be ready for the first few show dates but will be mailed to each attendee. We are targeting to have the DVD's in the materials from 1/13/2009 on. So I would imagine the folks attending the Houston, Orlando and Atlanta shows this month will receive their DVD's around mid January as well. That's an assumption on my part. Could be earlier or later, but they will get them. Make sure you Microsoft profile has the correct address. Might come in handy for this event."

This was confirmed later on Twitter with a tweet stating "All MDC attendees will receive a Windows 7 Beta 1 DVD! For events scheduled for December, DVDs will be mailed after the event."

In late October Microsoft handed out alpha editions of Windows 7 to developers who attended the Professional Developers Conference (PDC). The company confirmed at that time it would expand testing to the general public by releasing a beta version in early 2009. Microsoft has not publicly confirmed the Jan. 13 date or provide more information about the beta it has promised MDC attendees.

Unfortunately the closest MDC for us is the last one on Feb. 19th in San Fransisco. By then the beta would hopefully be made public or at the very least will be available via torrent. The $99 attendance fee might well be worth it however, if not for the Windows 7 beta then for the other cool giveaways.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

YouTube Wants A "G" Rating

In a blog posting posted today YouTube has said it will be enforcing stricter standards for what constitutes mature or sexually suggestive content and demoting videos off the "Most Viewed" or "Top Favorited" lists.

Note there are no plans at this time to remove the videos entirely, just push them out of the spot light. YouTube also said it would step up enforcement of rules banning misleading descriptions in the tags and titles of a video.

  • Stricter standard for mature content - While videos featuring pornographic images or sex acts are always removed from the site when they're flagged, we're tightening the standard for what is considered "sexually suggestive." Videos with sexually suggestive (but not prohibited) content will be age-restricted, which means they'll be available only to viewers who are 18 or older. To learn more about what constitutes "sexually suggestive" content, click here.

  • Demotion of sexually suggestive content and profanity - Videos that are considered sexually suggestive, or that contain profanity, will be algorithmically demoted on our 'Most Viewed,' 'Top Favorited,' and other browse pages. The classification of these types of videos is based on a number of factors, including video content and descriptions. In testing, we've found that out of the thousands of videos on these pages, only several each day are automatically demoted for being too graphic or explicit. However, those videos are often the ones which end up being repeatedly flagged by the community as being inappropriate.

  • Improved thumbnails - To make sure your thumbnail represents your video, your choices will now be selected algorithmically. You'll still have three thumbnails to choose from, but they will no longer be auto-generated from the 25/50/75 points in the video index.

  • More accurate video information - Our Community Guidelines have always prohibited folks from attempting to game view counts by entering misleading information in video descriptions, tags, titles, and other metadata. We remain serious about enforcing these rules. Remember, violations of these guidelines could result in removal of your video and repeated violations will lead to termination of your account.

If the comments on the blog post are any indication of how the majority of users feel then YouTube may be facing a big back lash. Many YouTube users feel the new standards will contribute to stifling free speech and could kill the nature of what they feel YouTube was founded upon.

Vista SP2 Beta Released

Today Microsoft announced it has released Vista SP2 beta to testers. Mike Nash Corporate Vice President, Windows Product Management, at Microsoft writes:

Starting today, MSDN and TechNet subscribers will have access to the Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 Beta to begin testing.

Beginning Thursday Dec. 4th, we will be making the Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 Beta available to everyone through a Customer Preview Program (CPP). The CPP will launch on TechNet and be available to anyone interested in trying out this service pack. The CPP is intended for technology enthusiasts, developers, and IT Pros who would like to test Service Pack 2 in their environments and with their applications prior to final release. For most customers, our best advice would be to wait until the final release prior to installing this service pack.

Windows Vista SP2 builds on the solid foundation of Windows Vista SP1, and represents our ongoing commitment to Windows Vista today. Windows Vista SP2 includes all of the updates that have been delivered since the release of Windows Vista SP1, and incorporates improvements discovered through automated feedback from the Customer Experience Improvement Program (where users voluntarily opt-in to sending Microsoft error reports from their systems). In addition to these updates, SP2 also includes support for new types of hardware and emerging standards that will grow in importance in the coming months. For specific changes in Windows Vista SP2 - see my previous post on Windows Vista SP2 or check out the notable changes document.

Your feedback from testing will help us deliver the highest quality release possible. As of today, we are tracking to ship Windows Vista SP2 in the first half of 2009.


Service Pack Information

  • SP2 Beta is pre-release code which will change before the final release of SP2
  • Windows Server 2008 SP2/Windows Vista SP2 Beta is time-limited software that will operate until May 1st, 2010 - Un-install Windows Server 2008 SP2/Windows Vista SP2 Beta before May 1st, 2010
    • After SP2 installation your desktop may display the text “Evaluation Copy”. This does not mean that your system is no longer “Genuine”, only that you have installed a test version of software which is time-limited
    • After installing the service pack, the “Evaluation Copy” text may show up on the 2nd boot
    • After un-installing the services pack, the "Evaluation Copy" text may remain during the first boot, but will disappear after the next reboot
  • Starting any Windows Server 2008 SP2 or Windows Vista SP2 installations will result in Microsoft collecting information about the installation process.
As always with beta software it is suggested you create backups of your main programs and any sensitive material before testing. I'd suggest anyone wanting to test the software create a separate install, thus minimizing the risk of issues with your main installation.

For more details and the download link (when it goes live) checkout TechNet.

Liquid Cooling For MacBooks Maybe Even iPhones

Apple has filed for patents on two separate liquid cooling technologies, which might be intended for use on future notebooks and possibly even mobile devices like the iPhone.

MacNN reports, on Thanksgiving Day 2008, the US Patent & Trademark Office published Apple’s patent application titled Liquid-cooled portable computer - (patent number 20080291629).

Here’s Apple’s summary of the invention:

“The computational performance of electronic devices has increased significantly in recent years. This increased performance has been accompanied by an increase in power consumption and associated heat generation. Furthermore, this additional heat generation has made it harder to maintain acceptable internal and external operational temperatures in these devices.

“Portable devices, such as laptop computers (notebook PCs), cellular telephones, and personal digital assistants have additional design constraints which make it even harder to manage thermal load. In particular, size and weight limitations in such devices can make it difficult to achieve desired operational temperatures. For example, in many portable devices the size and weight of metal heat sinks may be prohibitive. Furthermore, battery life constraints in such devices may limit the available power for active cooling mechanisms, such as fans.

“Hence what is needed are cooling mechanisms that overcome the problems listed above.

“One embodiment of the present invention provides a computer system that includes a power source that is coupled to a heat pipe, where the power source includes an integrated circuit. This heat pipe may contain a liquid coolant that has a density greater than a first pre-determined value at room temperature. A pump is coupled to the heat pipe is configured to circulate the liquid coolant through the heat pipe. Furthermore, a heat exchanger coupled to the heat pipe is configured to transfer heat from the heat pipe to an environment external to the computer system.

”In some embodiments, the integrated circuit includes a processor. In some embodiments, the liquid coolant includes: water, a coolant in an R133 group of coolants, and/or a coolant in an R134 group of coolants. Furthermore, in some embodiments the liquid coolant includes two phases of matter. For example, the two phases may include a gaseous phase in bubbles, and nucleation of the bubbles may be used to increase the heat-transfer coefficient of the liquid coolant. In another example, latent heat may be used to increase the heat-transfer coefficient of the liquid coolant. And in some embodiments the liquid coolant includes metal particles to increase the heat-transfer coefficient of the liquid coolant.

“In some embodiments, the liquid coolant has a thermal conductivity greater than a second pre-determined value. In some embodiments, the pump includes a mechanical pump and/or an electrostatic pump. Furthermore, in some embodiments the pump is configured to circulate the liquid coolant using mechanical vibration of a membrane.

“In some embodiments, the computer system includes a laptop computer. In some embodiments, the heat exchanger includes a forced-fluid driver and a heat coupling-mechanism coupled to the forced-fluid driver. This forced-fluid driver may be configured to pump heat from inside the computer system to the environment. Furthermore, in some embodiments the heat coupling-mechanism includes convective-cooling fins.

‘In some embodiments, the computer system includes a cold plate coupled to the power source and the heat pipe. This cold plate includes channels which increase a surface area wetted by the liquid coolant, thereby increasing a heat-transfer coefficient of the cold plate.

“Another embodiment provides a method for cooling a portable computer system. During this method, the liquid coolant is circulated in the heat pipe. Then, heat is transferred from the heat pipe to an environment external to the portable computer system using the heat exchanger. Note that the heat is generated by an integrated circuit in the portable computer system.”


According to MacNN Apple’s patent generally relates to heat-transfer techniques and more specifically to the use of liquid coolants to transport heat in future MacBooks. The new cooling systems may eventually, according to Apple, go beyond the laptop and into their other portables such as the iPhone, iPod touch or even a yet unseen gaming console. With Quad-core processors coming to market in the coming year, cooling systems are going to be paramount in keeping desktops, laptops and other devices cool.

Nokia N97 Unveiled

Today at the Nokia World 2008 conference in Barcelona, Spain Nokia announced the N97. The new handset from Nokia isn't expected until spring of next year, but that doesn't stop Nokia from hyping it up as the next iPhone killer today.



The N97 features a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, 3.5" - 16:9 aspect ratio - touchscreen and a 5-megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss Tessar lens and dual LED flash. The phone also comes packed with 32GB of onboard memory and if that isn't enough it can be expanded with a 16GB microSD card.

For connectivity the N97 is a 3G phone that can also do HSDPA speeds of 7.2Mb/s (obviously, if your carrier can handle it) and features integrated Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There is also A-GPS (assisted GPS) with an electronic compass.

For software the N97 runs on Symbian S50 5th Edition. Users will see the addition of home screen widgets that enable you to update social networks automatically with your status and location as well as related pictures or video. The N97 will also be fully compatible with Nokia's Ovi Internet services, which include the Nokia Music Store, Nokia Maps, and the N-Gage gaming platform--though these services have yet to fully launch in the United States.



The down side to the N97 is going to be the estimated price tag which is reported to be about $700 before carrier subsidies. The Nokia N97 is expected to begin shipping in the first half of 2009, so we'll have to wait until then to see how low the subsidies will bring it.

Top 10 iPhone App Downloads Of 2008

Apple has released a series of lists outlining which applications scored the most downloads since the App Store’s launch back in July. For a full overview of the list checkout the Top Apps category in iTunes.

Top Paid Apps (Overall):
  1. Koi Pond
  2. Texas Hold’em
  3. Moto Chaser
  4. Crash Bandicoot: Nitro Kart 3d
  5. Super Monkey Ball
  6. Cro-Mag Rally
  7. Enigmo (Pangea)
  8. Pocket Guitar
  9. Recorder
  10. iBeer

Top 10 Free Downloads (Overall)

  1. Pandora Radio
  2. Facebook
  3. Tap Tap Revenge
  4. Shazam
  5. Labryinth Lite Edition
  6. Remote
  7. Google Earth
  8. Lightsaber Unleashed
  9. AIM
  10. Urban Spoon

Top Paid Games:

  1. Texas Hold’em
  2. Moto Chaser
  3. Crash Bandicoot: Nitro Kart 3d
  4. Super Monkey Ball
  5. Cro-Mag Rally
  6. Enigmo
  7. Air Hockey
  8. Bejeweled 2
  9. Flick Bowling
  10. Line Rider iRide

Top Free Games:

  1. Tap Tap Revenge
  2. Labrynth Lite Edition
  3. Sol Free Solitaire
  4. iBowl
  5. Pac-Man Lite
  6. Touch Hockey:FS5
  7. Cannon Challenge
  8. Audi A4 Driving Challenge
  9. Sudoku
  10. reMovem

Top Paid Entertainment:

  1. Koi Pond
  2. iBeer
  3. iChalky
  4. Face Melter
  5. iFish
  6. TouchScan
  7. What’s on TV?
  8. Pocket Piano
  9. Sketches
  10. OneTap Movies
Top Free Entertainment:
  1. Remote
  2. Lightsaber Unleashed
  3. i.TV
  4. BubbleWrap
  5. Movies
  6. iDoodle 2 lite
  7. Showtimes
  8. Now Playing
  9. Scribble
  10. Crazy Pumpkin

Top Paid Utilities:

  1. Units (crossroad solutions)
  2. A Level
  3. Air Mouse
  4. Fake Calls
  5. Voice Record
  6. Clinometer
  7. Spell Check
  8. Speed Dial
  9. FileMagnet
  10. iNetwork Speed Test

Top Free Utilities

  1. Flashlight
  2. myLite Flashlight
  3. Say Who - Dialer
  4. Units (TheMacBox)
  5. Compass Free
  6. Alarm Free
  7. A Free Level
  8. Molecules
  9. Speed Test
  10. myLighter

Top Paid Social Networking:

  1. MobileChat
  2. BeejiveIM
  3. Quip
  4. Rooms - Your Mobile Chat Client
  5. Twitterific Premium
  6. Flutter
  7. Twittelator Pro
  8. mBoxMail
  9. Secrets
  10. hiCard - Suite

Top Free Social Networking:

  1. Facebook
  2. AIM
  3. Myspace Mobile
  4. IM+ Lite
  5. Loopt
  6. Fring
  7. Palringo IM
  8. Earthscape
  9. Twitterific
  10. Avatar

Top Paid Music:

  1. PocketGuitar
  2. Drum Kit
  3. Ocarina
  4. Pianist
  5. Band
  6. Tuner Internet Radio
  7. Beat Maker
  8. Guitar Toolkit
  9. Harmonica
  10. Guitarist

Top Free Music:

  1. Pandora Radio
  2. Shazam
  3. AOL Radio
  4. Midomi
  5. Mini Piano
  6. iheart Radio
  7. MixMeister Scratch
  8. FlyCast Mobile Radio
  9. Last.FM
  10. DigiDrummer Lite
I'm still refusing to break down and buy an iPhone so I can't comment on any of these rankings but Koi Pond for number 1? If the app is anything like its name then I'm a little shocked there. Maybe one of these days I'll run out and buy me an iPhone so I can test these apps first hand, then again maybe Santa Claus will bring me one for X-mas.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Live Search To Provide Instant Cashback On Some Purchases

One of my personal gripes about using the Live Search Cashback program and eBay is that you are typically stuck waiting 60 days to get your cashback reward. Apparently I'm not alone. According to the Live Search Blog one of the most requested improvements was for users to receive cashback instantly instead of waiting for 60 days.

Live Search has listened and responded, sort of. Today they announced the Instant cashback feature with eBay (currently at 30%). Instant cashback will be eligible for some, but not all users. We aren't exactly sure what "some" means as there are no guidelines, but we are certain that it seems to be a completely random selection.

According to Live Search here's how it works:
  1. When you search for a product on Live Search — say an Xbox — within the results returned you'll see an eBay ad with the gold coin cashback icon Image of cashback icon and "Live Search cashback."
  2. Click the eBay ad to go to http://www.ebay.com/ and make your purchase.
  3. After completing the payment with PayPal, if you are eligible, you'll receive a message saying "you've just earned instant cashback."
    Image of instant cashback message
  4. The cashback amount is automatically deposited into your Paypal account and posted to your cashback account.


From the description we are left with several questions: Do we know it will be instant cashback prior to checking out? What makes a purchase eligible for instant cash back vs waiting for 60 days? Is it dependent on the buyers account or the sellers account? Is there anything I can do to qualify for instant cashback?

Personally I think Live Search needs to specify some guidelines. I'd like to know if it depends on the sellers I buy from or if its just my account. I also feel that if there isn't already some sort of notification before completing the transaction that we'll be eligible for instant cashback then there should be. That way I'll have the option of trying another seller, or another item.

What I'd like to see is all transaction moved to instant cashback, I doubt that would happen but I'm pretty sure random eligibility is not what us users had in mind when we asked for INSTANT cash back! If they aren't going to do that then they should cut the wait time down to less than 30 days. Most eBayer sellers don't offer warranties past 30 days so there shouldn't be a concern over refunds. I never really understood why 60 days was chosen to begin with, it seems like a trivial number.

Mac And FireFox Internet Shares Hit New High

New research data released today from Net Applications has revealed both Apple and Mozilla are gaining ground and bringing Microsoft's share of the web to historic lows.

Net Applications provides statistical data including monthly information on key statistics such as browser trends (e.g. Internet Explorer vs. Firefox market share), search engine referral data (e.g. Yahoo vs. MSN vs. Google traffic market share) and operating system share (Windows vs. Mac vs. Linux market share or even the iPhone market share vs. Windows Mobile).

The data is compiled from approximately 160 million visitors per month. The information published is an aggregate of the data from this network of hosted website statistics. The site unique visitor and referral information is summarized on a monthly basis.

Firefox Share Tops 20% for November

For the first time since Net Applications began tracking, the Firefox browser has exceeded 20% share for a full month. Mozilla's CEO, John Lilly, gives credit to the Mozilla community and shared his thoughts with Net Applications on this accomplishment:

"Reaching 20 percent worldwide market share is a significant milestone for Firefox and Mozilla. It's a huge achievement by the global Mozilla community, one that just a few years ago most would have considered impossible. The open web is more vibrant than ever, and the thousands of Mozilla contributors around the world have played a major role in making it that way."


According to Net Applications Firefox's share jumped about eight tenths of a percent in November, which is much higher than average. Why the big jump? In addition to the steady gains Firefox has shown over the years, their analysis shows three other major reasons:

  1. The U.S. election. Firefox usage share increased significantly in the days surrounding November 4th (especially in some non-U.S. countries, like Japan), then held roughly steady until:
  2. The Thanksgiving holiday. Firefox share jumped starting on Wednesday the 26th until the end of the month.
  3. Extra weekend days. The average 30-day month has 8.57 weekend days. November had 10.
All three reasons increase Firefox share since Firefox has a much larger residential share than corporate share (to be detailed in a future analysis). So, all the above factors led to increased residential browsing and a higher Firefox share.

Mac Nears 9% Market Share, Windows Falls Below 90%

Mac and the iPhone hit record numbers according the November Net Applications Web survey, at the same time Microsoft’s Web presence dropped below 90% for the first time.

The Mac’s share of Web hits grew approximately 8.04% in November to a record 8.87%, while the iPhone’s gains were up sharper by 12.12% to 0.37%. Linux grew even faster for the month, up nearly 16.9% to 0.83%. The Linux market share had dropped nearly 25% from its high in Aug '08 of 0.93%.

While the numbers show Microsoft still has a rather large market share the trending graph shows some positive results for Apple as both the Mac and iPhone's market share shows steady growth throughout the year.

One other point of interest on the graph is the "other" category, which shows a steady increase and a new high at 0.26%. It is unclear at to what OS might fit into "other" but any cuts into the armor of Microsoft can be seen as a positive for Apple and Linux lovers

Possible AMD 45nm CPU Schedule

amd phenom ii logoMore details have emerged on the possible release schedule of AMD's new 45nm CPUs. Both DigiTimes and HKepc.com have reported tentative launch dates for the new Phenom II CPUs.

AMD is expected to launch the 45nm AM2+ Phenom II X4 900 series on January 8, '09. That launch will be followed by the launch of six 45nm AM3 CPUs in February: the quad-core Phenom II X4 925 and 910 with 6MB L3 Cache, the quad-core Phenom II X4 810 and 805 with 4MB L3 Cache, and the triple-core Phenom II X3 720 and 710 with 6MB L3 Cache.




In April it is expected that AMD will launch what looks to be a new budget line of 45nm CPUs under its Athlon brand, which does not include the L3 Cache feature. These will be the Athlon X4 600 family and triple-core Athlon X3 400 family. We'll see another "budget" offering by way of the 45nm dual-core Athlon X2 200 family in June of '09.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Vista SP2 Due Out In April

According to TechARP.com Microsoft will deliver Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) to manufacturing in April 2009. TechARP.com has been noted for correctly calling the release dates of previous service packs including Vista SP1 and XP SP3.

What's New In Windows Vista SP2?
  • Adds Windows Search 4.0 for faster and improved relevancy in searches.
  • Contains the Bluetooth® 2.1 Feature Pack supporting the most recent specification for Bluetooth Technology.
  • Ability to record data on to Blu-Ray™ media natively in Windows Vista.
  • Adds Windows Connect Now (WCN) to simplify Wi-Fi Configuration.
  • Enables the exFAT file system to support Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) timestamps, which allows correct file synchronization across time zones.
As mentioned back in October, Microsoft has already created a place holder Knowledge Base Article related to the forthcoming SP2 releases. According to the knowledge base and previous reports Microsoft issued the beta of Vista SP2 to a limited number of testers about a month ago. So far there is no official word from Microsoft on a release date and the company officials have so far only committed to shipping the update sometime in the first half of next year.

Buy.com Cyber Monday Deals

Buy.com's Cyber Monday deals are listed below and will live on their Cyber Monday page at 2am PST. The deals with be valid Dec 1st thru the 7th and all deals come with free budget shipping


Refurbished Magellan Maestro 3140 3.5" GPS w/ Text To Speech and Bluetooth
Buy.com price: $79.99

eMachines E17T6W 17" Widescreen LCD Monitor - 600:1, 8ms, 1440 x 900
Buy.com price: $89.99

Samsung 2233BW 22" Widescreen LCD Monitor - 20,000:1 (DC), 5ms, 1680 x 1050,DVI Buy.com price: $229.99
-$50.00 Mail-in Rebate
Total $179.99 After Rebate

Fantom GreenDrive 1TB USB 2.0 and eSATA External Hard Drive - 2 Year Warranty
Buy.com price: $129.99
- $30.00 Mail-in Rebate
Total $99.99 After Rebate

Western Digital 320GB My Passport Essential USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive
Buy.com price: $89.99

Kingston 16GB DataTraveler USB Flash Drive
Buy.com price: $23.99

Kingston 8GB microSDHC (High-Capacity) Memory Card w/ adapters
Buy.com price: $18.98

Factory Refurbished Philips DVDR3475/37 DVD Recorder / Dual Media Records on Both DVD+R/RW and DVD-R/RW w/ HDMI
Buy.com price: $49.99

Altec Lansing InEar UHP336 Stereo Earphone
Buy.com price: $39.99

VTech VT5883 5.8 GHz 4 Handset Cordless Phone w/ Answering Device
Buy.com price: $49.99

TRENDnet TEW-432BRP 54Mbps Wireless G Broadband Router
Buy.com price: $24.99
-$15.00 Mail-in Rebate
Total $9.99 After Rebate Monday Only

Brother PT-1010 Portable Handheld Home and Office Labeler
Buy.com price: $6.99

Brother FAX-575 Plain Paper Fax Phone & Copier

Buy.com price: $18.29

Toshiba Satellite L305D-S5904 Laptop AMD Turion 64 X2 Dual-Core TL-60 2GHz, 3GB, 250GB, 15.4”, DVD±R/RW, Webcam, Vista Home Premium
Buy.com price: $569.95 Monday Only!

SanDisk Sansa Fuze MP3 Player 4GB - Blue
Buy.com price: $49.99

SanDisk 2GB Sansa Clip - Red

Buy.com price: $29.99

LG 52LB5D - 52" Widescreen 1080p LCD HDTV - 10000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio
Buy.com price: $1,399.99 Monday Only!

Panasonic VIERA TC-32LX85 - 32" Widescreen LCD HDTV - 3 HDMI Inputs
Buy.com price: $499.99

Velocity HDTV Home Theater Connection Kit by Cables to Go
Buy.com price: $24.99
-$5.00 Mail-in Rebate
Total $19.99 After Rebate


AeroBed 1311 Twin Bed in a Minute II
Buy.com price: $39.99

Kingston 2GB Single Module PC2-5300 667MHZ 200-Pin SODIMM DDR2 Laptop Memory
Buy.com price: $38.99
-$24.00 Mail-in Rebate
Total $14.99 After Rebate Monday Only!

Logitech QuickCam Deluxe for Notebooks Webcam
Buy.com price: $19.99 Monday Only!

Norton Internet Security 3 User
Buy.com price: $33.99

McAfee VirusScan Plus 1 User
Buy.com price: $13.99


Buy.com customer can take an additional 5% off with the coupon listed on this page.

Dell Cyber Monday Deals

If you missed out on some of the great deals from Black Friday here is another chance at some hot deals from Dell Home! . Deals are live 12.01.08 12:00 AM CDT to 12.02.08 11:59 PM CDT

Cyber Monday Savings! Save $270 off the Sharp 32" TV! Only $479 after Instant Savings.

Cyber Monday Savings! Save $50 off the Canon A590 camera! Only $119.99 after Instant Savings + 4GB memory card!

Cyber Monday Savings! Buy Xbox 360 Arcade for only $199 and get Sing It FREE!

Cyber Monday Savings! Save $275 off the Inspiron 1525 laptop! Only $519 after Instant Savings.

Cyber Monday Savings! Get the Inspiron Mini 9 for only $299 after $50 Instant Savings!

Cyber Monday Savings! Get our most popular desktop for only $349 and save $115 on the Inspiron 530!

Cyber Monday Savings! Save $608 off the XPS M1530 laptop! Only $1,199 after Instant Savings.

Cyber Monday Savings! Get the new Inspiron 518 desktop for only $499 after $185 Instant Savings!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Linux Ported To The iPhone

The iPhone DevTeam is reporting that DevTeam member planetbeing has reverse engineered Apple’s hardware drivers and now for the first time ever, linux is available on the iPhone and first-gen iPods.

Linux 2.6 kernel has been ported to Apple's iPhone platform, with support for the first and second generation iPhones as well as the first generation iPod touch. The official announcement is posted in planetbeing's blog here. Video, downloads, and instruction are all included.

Black Friday Downs Some Online Retailers

Servers for online retailers hit with a flood of traffic for Black Friday couldn't hadn't the traffic causing slow downs and major outages.

According to the Associated Press, Sears.com, one of the biggest retailers hit with outages, was offline for two hours on Friday. Saksfifthavenue.com, Lowes.com, Victoriassecret.com, Amazon.com and many others were overwhelmed with internet traffic from users trying to get cheap black Friday deals.

Keynote Systems said Friday of the 30 sites it tracks, 15 percent had noticeable performance problems. The problems were mostly in the sites' shopping cart and checkout systems, not the catalog functions. "Every year, we see a handful of Web sites that aren't ready for the holiday rush. The problems are in the shopping cart experience, where you cannot complete a purchase," said Shawn White, director of external operations for mobile and Internet testing at Keynote.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Intel Phasing Out Popular Core 2 Quad Q6600 CPU In '09

According to reports at DigiTimes Intel will be phasing out their widely popular Q6600 quad core CPU in 2009.

Intel is planning to start phasing out the 65nm Core 2 Quad Q6600 in the first quarter of 2009, prompting several PC and channel vendors to start planning to cut Q6600-product prices to clear their inventory before the end of this year, according to sources at PC vendors.

Intel will issue a product discontinuance notice for the Q6600 in the first quarter next year, and call end-of-lifecycle in the second quarter.


The Q6600 is a very popular CPU among gamers and enthusiasts. The CPU is a strong overclocker and at its current street price of @$190 the quad core CPU is among the best in price to performance ratings.

Current pricing:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Apple Black Friday Sales Begin

Black Friday might be an American phenomenon but not for Apple, who is already celebrating in the parts of the world were its already Friday. The Apple Australia and New Zealand stores are already reporting Black Friday deals with discounts on iMac and MacBook computers range from $50 to $100.

They are also seeing discounts on monitors, iPod Nanos, Touch and Classics and accessories for just about everything.

Black Friday won't officially hit here in the States for another 7hrs or so but we should expect the same types of deals from the US Apple Store.

In the mean time we already know that MacMall, Apple's largest authorized dealer, is having a three day sale that has actually already begun and will end on Black Friday at 11:59 PM. The sale pretty much covers all of Apple computers, including MacBooks, iMacs, MacBook Airs, Mac Minis and Mac Pros.

You'll find deals like the 13.3" MacBook Air with a 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM and an 80GB Hard Drive for $1,149 and the 15.4" MacBook Pro featuring the Intel Core 2 Duo 2.2GHz, 2GB Memory and a 120GB Hard Drive for $1,299, which is $200 off its normal retail value.

Dell Black Friday Deals

Here are most all of the currently listed Dell Home Black Friday Deals. Most of the deals go live tomorrow but dates and times are listed.

Save 15% off select E&A! Coupon Code: CTV2$2HX963145
Live: 11.27.08 7:00 AM
Expires: 12.02.08 11:00 PM or after 50,000 redemptions
Coupon Code: CTV2$2HX963145
Exclusions: TV's, Software ONLY, Power, Batteries, Monitors, Dell docking stations, Cameras, Camcorders

Additional 5% savings on select cameras! Coupon Code: 1?ZRX6HH4G2ZW3
Live: 11.27.08 7:00 AM
Expires: 12.11.08 11:00 PM or after 10,000 redemptions
Coupon Code: 1?ZRX6HH4G2ZW3
Exclusions: A1503231, A1666191, A1503234, A1620819, A1620818, A1666192, A1620820, A1326080, A1335362, A1666193, A1326150, A1309717, A0820464, A0959658, A1335364, A1335363, A0966963, A0966964, A1303579, A1821869, A1651454, A2268840, A2268847

Save $150 off the Vizio VOJ320 1080p LCD HDTV! Only $649 after Instant Savings!
Live: 11.28.08 12:00 AM
Expires: 11.28.08 11:59 PM
Dell SKU: A2054816

Black Friday Savings! Save $620 off the Sharp 42" 1080p TV! Only $779 after Instant Savings!
Live: 11.28.08 12:01 AM
Expires: 11.29.08 6:00 AM
Dell SKU: A1977316

Black Friday Savings! Pharos Drive 200 GPS for only $94.99 after $65 Instant Savings!
Live: 11.28.08 12:01 AM
Expires: 11.29.08 6:00 AM
Dell SKU: A2012316

Black Friday Savings! Buy Xbox 360 Arcade for only $199 and get Rock Band 2 FREE!
Live: 11.28.08 12:01 AM
Expires: 11.29.08 6:00 AM
Dell SKU: A2036138

Black Friday Savings! Save your holiday memories with the Canon SD1100! Only $159.99 after $60 Instant Savings + free 4GB memory card!
Live: 11.28.08 12:01 AM
Expires: 11.29.08 6:00 AM
Dell SKU: A2211907

Black Friday Savings! Perfect present for mom! Smartparts 7" digital picture frame for only $44.99 after $25 Instant Savings.
Live: 11.28.08 12:01 AM
Expires: 11.29.08 6:00 AM
Dell SKU: A1178737

Black Friday Savings! Save over 85% off Norton 360 2.0 All-in-One Security. Protect your PC for only $9.99!
Live: 11.28.08 12:01 AM
Expires: 11.29.08 6:00 AM
Dell SKU: A1551966

Black Friday Savings! Save $285 on the Inspiron 1525 laptop! Only $559 after Instant Savings.
Live: 11.28.08 12:01 AM
Expires: 11.29.08 5:59 AM
Dell Evalue Code: 6VAFF-DNDOPX1

Black Friday Savings! Get the Inspiron Mini 9 for only $299 after $50 Instant Savings!
Live: 11.28.08 12:01 AM
Expires: 11.29.08 5:59 AM
Dell Evalue Code: 6VAFF-DNDOXX1

Black Friday Savings! Get our most popular desktop for only $299 and save $80 off the Inspiron 530!
Live: 11.28.08 12:01 AM
Expires: 11.29.08 5:59 AM
Dell Evalue Code: 6VAFF-DDDOFF2

Black Friday Savings! Save $224 off the XPS 420 desktop! Only $649 after Instant Savings.
Live: 11.28.08 12:01 AM
Expires: 11.29.08 5:59 AM
Dell Evalue Code: 6VAFF-DXDOQY6

Save $800 off the Sony bravia 52" 120HZ 1080p LCD HDTV! Only $1,999 after Instant Savings!
Live: 11.28.08 12:01 AM
Expires: 12.01.08 11:59 PM
Dell SKU: A1624350

Save $700 off the Sharp 46SB TV! Only $899 after Instant Savings!
Live: 11.28.08 12:01 AM
Expires: 12.01.08 11:59 PM
Dell SKU: A2250350

Save $700 off the Sony Bravia V Series 52" 1080p TV! Only $1,599 after Instant Savings!
Live: 11.28.08 12:01 AM
Expires: 12.01.08 11:59 PM
Dell SKU: A1624351

Save $200 off the Philips 32" 720p HD LCD TV! Only $599 after Instant Savings!
Live: 11.28.08 12:01 AM
Expires: 12.01.08 11:59 PM
Dell SKU: A1562223


For more Black Friday deals checkout our previous post as well as our favorite Black Friday sites: Dealighted.com, SlickDeals.net and FatWallet.com.

Additional Dell Deals:

Only $89.99 500GB My Book Home External Hard Drive after $46 off! Coupon Code: X8V7NHKJRM4V4R
Live: 11/25/08
Expires: 12/1/08 or after 1,500 redemptions
Dell SKU: A1295209
Coupon Code: X8V7NHKJRM4V4R

Buy 2 games get 1 game free, up to $39.99. Coupon Code: 8ZV5PD3QKN13SD
Live: 11/25/08
Expires: 12/2/08 or after 7,000 redemptions
Coupon Code: 8ZV5PD3QKN13SD

Additional $20 off Dell P703w All-in-one Printer! Coupon Code: RD$9GW0Q5R2?W2
Live: 11/25/08
Expires: 12/3/08 or after 1,000 redemptions
Dell SKU: P703WSAP
Coupon Code: RD$9GW0Q5R2?W2

Additional 5% savings on all GPS! Coupon Code: LX1B5F$BJGD2D?
Live: 11/25/08
Expires: 12/3/08 or after 5,000 redemptions
Coupon Code: LX1B5F$BJGD2D?

25% off XPS 1330, 1530 and 420 $1399+ with coupon code 9197FGL4LXBKSM
Live: 11/25/08
Expires: 12/21/08
Coupon Code: 9197FGL4LXBKSM

30% off XPS 1330, 1530 and 420 $1799+ with coupon code 4TQ871TCCGHK4B
Live: 11/25/08
Expires: 12/21/08
Coupon Code: 4TQ871TCCGHK4B

25% off XPS ONE 20 and XPS ONE 24 $1599+ Coupon Code: W2CZZQTTB5BZMC
Live: 11/25/08
Expires: 12/21/08
Coupon Code: W2CZZQTTB5BZMC

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Rebate Processing Firm Files Bankruptcy

Earlier this month, RebateStatus.com, one of the nations largest rebate processing firms filled for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Details of what this might mean to consumers is uncertain at this time however I'd strongly urge anyone shopping this holiday season to make sure to avoid mail in rebates from this company.

Here is a partial list of companies that have dealt with CFG in recent months:

Acronis Software
ACTIVSION
Advance Auto Parts
Antec
AVG
Bed Bath & Beyond
BIC Corporations US - Shaver Division
BFG
Bridgevine
Canon
Citibank
Costco
Dell
eCost.com
Envision
Fujitsu
Home Depot
Logitech
McAfee
Meijer
Motorola (Surfboard cable modems)
Napa Auto Parts
Natures Earth Products
Nero
Panda Distribution
Pandigital
PC Tools
Plextor
PriceGrabber
Rosewill (Newegg house brand)
Samsung
Seagate
Smith Micro Software
Tabletops Unlimited
TrendNET
Westinghouse
XFX
XM Satellite Radio
ZeroTherm
Zyxel


If you currently have outstanding rebates from any of the companies listed you should check with RebateStatus.com to make sure they have been honored. Dealnews is recommending that anyone who has a rebate check or is expecting one not cash it because it may bounce and result in an NSF fee. Instead, you should hang on to it until more details become available (this goes for rebates that have not been submitted as well).

AMD Announces Price Cuts

Hexus.Net is reporting that AMD has announced another round of price cuts, slashing CPU prices up to 20% in some cases.

AMD sent out a newsletter to its channel partners today confirming earlier predictions of a December price cut. The cuts will be effective as of the start of December but the new prices weren't published in the newsletter.

Hexus.Net has posted what they figure would be the new estimated prices.

Product Old price ($) New price ($)
Phenom X4 9950 BE 186 175
Phenom X4 9850 BE 180 165
Phenom X4 9750 170 154
Phenom X3 8750 134 124
Phenom X3 8650 123 104
Athlon X2 6400+ 102 87
Athlon X2 6000+ 95 77
Athlon X2 5600+ 88 70
Athlon X2 5400+ 78 66
Athlon 64 LE-1640 ~40 36.50
Phenom X4 9750B 224 165
Phenom X3 8600B - 110
Athlon X2 5400B - 71

Follow-Up: Phishing To Blame For GMail Exploits Not CSRF

Following up on our recent post, New GMail Exploit Or Old Cross-Site Scripting Vulnerability, Google has determined that the reported hijacking was a case of good old fashioned phishing and there is "no evidence of a GMail vulnerability".

Google responded today to the claims that the hijacked websites were due to an old CSRF vulnerability. Chris Evans writes, "With help from affected users, we determined that the cause was a phishing scheme, a common method used by malicious actors to trick people into sharing their sensitive information...Once attackers gained the user credentials, they were free to modify the affected accounts as they desired. In this case, the attacker set up mail filters specifically designed to forward messages from web domain providers."

Google says the domain theft linked to David Airey' site back in 2007 has been "incorrectly linked to a GMail CSRF vulnerability." There is no mention of the recent hijackings detailed in our previous post, but as mentioned in that post there was never any solid evidence that it was a CSRF exploit. In fact my original assement of the MakeUsOf hijacking was that the were victums of phishing.

One thing still nags at me about this though, if someone had phished these accounts then there would be no reason to setup filters. If you have full access to someones page (ie. log-in and password) then you wouldn't need to forward the emails out. You could change the password, locking out the user, and then have the emails sent directly to that account that you'd now control.

The only benefit from setting up the forwarding filters would be long term acess to the account. An attacker could essentially collect information undetected for weeks even months, or more. If the attackers took control and locked the user out they might be detected within a few mins. or hrs.

To keep your Google account secure online, Google recommends you only ever enter your Gmail sign-in credentials to web addresses starting with https://www.google.com/accounts, and never click-through any warnings your browser may raise about certificates. For more information on how to stay safe from phishing attacks, see Google's blog post here.

**Update**

I contacted Aibek at MakeUsOf.com today and he has stated he has not been contacted by Google in relation to this matter and that "I also talked to both Florin [Cucirca.com] and Edin [YuMP3.org] and only one of them was contacted by Google."

I've put an inquiry in to Chris Evans at the Google Online Security Blog and we are currently waiting follow-up. So check back for further details.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Get $150 Off The Purchase Of A PS3

Sony together with Visa have released the new PlayStation credit card. Gamers who qualify for the card can use it to purchase a PS3 and you’ll save $150 of the total price.

Starting today until December 31, 2008, you could save $150 on the purchase of a PLAYSTATION 3 this holiday. There are a couple ways to do this. You can go to to www.sony.com/newpscard to get instant approval for your card, and an immediate $150 credit when you purchase a PS3 directly through the website.

Or you can go www.sony.com/getpscard to apply for the card and upon receipt of the card, use it at any authorized PlayStation retailer to purchase a PS3. The $150 credit will show up on your billing statement.

YouTube Bulks Up, Increases Media Player Size

Good news for those of us that hate the tiny size of the YouTube media player, YouTube announced today that they have increased the width of the media player to 960 pixels.

Over the years we've heard a lot of feedback from you about what you'd like to change about YouTube, and the size of our video player is always top of mind. That's why today we're excited to announce a bigger YouTube player.

We're expanding the width of the page to 960 pixels to better reflect the quality of the videos you create and the screens that you use to watch them. This new, wider player is in a widescreen aspect ratio which we hope will provide you with a cleaner, more powerful viewing experience. And don't worry, your 4:3 aspect ratio videos will play just fine in this new player.

As always, we welcome your feedback and encourage you to share your thoughts with us on this exciting, new change happening for all videos on YouTube.

Have fun watching!
The YouTube Team

Looking over the changes the wider profile is nice. It appears as though current videos play at their standard size, so you really don't see much benefit, just gapes on either side of the video. Hopefully newer videos are expanded to take advantage of the larger screen. Embedded videos are still limited to the standard 425x344 size.

Google Chrome Beta 0.4.154.25 Released

Google Chrome Beta version 0.4.154.25 has been released. Announced on Monday the new beta adds a few minor feature updates and a security fix.

New Features

  • Bookmark manager with import/export.
Use the 'Customize and control Google Chrome' (wrench) menu to open the Bookmark manager. You can search bookmarks, create folders, and drag and drop bookmarks to new locations. The Bookmark Manager's Tools menu lets you export or import bookmarks.

  • Privacy section in Options.
We grouped together all of the configuration options for features that might send data to another service. Open the wrench menu, click Options, and select the Under the Hood tab.

  • New blocked pop-up notification.
The pop-up blocker formerly just minimized pop-up windows to the lower right corner of the browser window, create one 'constrained' window for each pop-up. Now, Google Chrome displays one small notification in the corner that shows the number of blocked pop-ups. A menu on the notification lets you open a specific pop-up, if needed.

Security Issues

  • This release fixes an issue with downloaded HTML files being able to read other files on your computer and send them to sites on the Internet. We now prevent local files from connecting to the network with XMLHttpRequest() and also prompt you to confirm a download if it is an HTML file.
Severity: Moderate. If a user could be enticed to open a downloaded HTML file, this flaw could be exploited to send arbitrary files to an attacker.
[Originally fixed in 154.18]

Other Updates

Bug-fix updates (no new features) to major components:
  • Gears is updated to version 0.5.4.0 (from 0.4.24.0).
  • V8 (JavaScript engine) is updated to 0.3.9.2 (from 0.3.5.0).


If you haven't already you will automatically get updated in the next few days or you can open About Google Chrome (from the wrench menu) to get the update at any time.

Fedora 10 Released

For all you Linux lovers out there Red Hat and the Fedora Project have released the latest version of Fedora.

Fedora 10 comes packed with several major feature updates. Including the following:

Some other features in this release include:



For more details on Fedora 10 checkout the Fedora 20 release summary as well as the release notes

Apple Posts Black Friday Teaser

Apple has posted a Black Friday teaser page for all you Apple Fanboys out there to drool over. While there are no specifics listed yet the page shows some hints of what to expect.

"Come back to the Apple Online Store this Friday for a special one-day-only Christmas shopping event. You'll find dozens of great iPod, iPhone and Mac gift ideas - all with free delivery."

The images on the page refer to almost every one of Apple's current products, so one can assume they'll have deals for many of them. I'd wager a guess at saying you won't see reduced prices on the MacBook Air, iPods or iPhones, but rather reduced prices on accessories.