Friday, February 27, 2009

We'll be offline for the weekend

As I'm still having issues with our DNS settings, email and now our RSS feed I've decided to take the blog offline for a day or two to work on it. With a little help and a little luck we'll have the blog back up and running before the end of the weekend.

I'm sure during the weekend many of you have noticed the blog keeps bouncing around from a 404 to working. This is due to changes made in our DNS profiles, I'm fully aware of the issue, and would like to thank those of you that have emailed me in regards to the problem. Right now we are working to get everything working correctly.

If you were redirected from a specific page and don't want to search for it you can paste the address adding in the "www" before Part of our DNS issues are the lack of a redirect to/from the naked domain. The pages are still there they just aren't being redirected correctly.

Thanks everyone for the continued support!

Visa Says New Data Breach Not So New

As reported earlier this week Visa has been warning banks of a new data breach at a yet unnamed data processor. Today Visa tells ComputerWorld the new breach isn't a new discovery and "is related to the ongoing investigation of a previously known breach."

Visa still didn't disclose the identity of the breached company, nor did they disclose why they aren't releasing that information. In fact Visa has yet to disclose much information regarding the breach at all. Only stating that they have sent lists of credit and debit card numbers to financial institutions "so they can take steps to protect consumers."


Dell Trade-In Program, Get Gift Cards For Your Old Electronics

Do you have leftover electronics from the past holiday season. Maybe you bought a new PS3 and now you aren't sure what to do with at old PS2. Perhaps, like me, you've got 2 or 3 cell phones lying around that you don't need anymore. If you plan on shopping at Dell you might want to checkout the Dell Exchange Trade-In Program.

The program which initially launched back in November of 2008 is similar to E-Recycling programs like those at Best Buy, EcoNew or Costco where users trade in their unwanted PCs, mobile phones, digital cameras and MP3 players into Dell Gift Cards. Once you've found the trade-in value of your item they'll provide you with a free printable prepaid shipping label. You'll then pack up your item, ship it off and they'll inspect it for final trade-in value.

As you can see the process is pretty simple and fairly straight forward, visit the Dell Trade-In site and follow the five quick steps and you'll be on your way.
  • Step 1 -- Select an item category, input the required information and receive an instant trade-in estimate.
  • Step 2 -- Accept the quote, register for a trade-in account and agree to the Dell Exchange program terms and conditions.
  • Step 3 -- Print a prepaid shipping label and ship your items to our trade-in warehouse.
  • Step 4 -- The receipt of your traded item(s) will be confirmed via email. Once inspected, you will receive a subsequent email confirming the trade-in value.
  • Step 5 -- Receive a Dell Gift Card by mail about 2 to 3 weeks after the item is received and is accepted at the trade-in center.

I ran a few items through the system to see what they values would be. I started with my Polaroid i733 digital camera. The original price I paid was about $15 after a fairly slickdeal. For digital cameras you select your manufacturer from the drop down list, select the amount of mega-pixels and then you are given a few other options to checkoff.

The final value after checking off the included accessories ended up being $18 which was a little less than I thought it would be but it was still a fairly reasonable trade-in price. Obviously I could hassle with eBay or Craigslist and probably get a little more from the deal, in fact the average eBay price would be about twice that. But then you have the extra hassles of creating the listing, dealing with a buyer and paying extra fees.

The site is powered by EzTradeIn which was developed by Dealtree, the same company that runs the trade-in programs for Best Buy, Tiger Direct and Gateway. They have a pretty strong reputation so there isn't much concern over not being paid. Just make sure you read all the terms and conditions carefully.

If Dell gift cards aren't your thing then you might check the EzTradeIn site for another offer that fits your needs. They have several other programs.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Excel Tojan Expanding Its Reach

Earlier this week Symantec reported that a new virus dubbed Trojan.Mdropper.AC is exploiting an unpatched hole in Microsoft's Excel. Originally the exploit was said to only affect computers running either Windows XP or Windows Vista with Excel 2007. Today's reports from Microsoft however confirm the virus actually affects all current version including the Mac versions.

Microsoft Security Advisory (968272)
Vulnerability in Microsoft Office Excel Could Allow Remote Code Execution
Published: February 24, 2009

Microsoft is investigating new public reports of a vulnerability in Microsoft Office Excel that could allow remote code execution if a user opens a specially crafted Excel file. At this time, we are aware only of limited and targeted attacks that attempt to use this vulnerability.

We are actively working with partners in our Microsoft Active Protections Program (MAPP) and our Microsoft Security Response Alliance (MSRA) program to provide information that they can use to provide broader protections to customers.

Upon completion of this investigation, Microsoft will take the appropriate action to protect our customers, which may include providing a solution through a service pack, our monthly security update release process, or an out-of-cycle security update, depending on customer needs.

Customers in the U.S. and Canada who believe they are affected can receive technical support from Microsoft Product Support Services at 1-866-PCSAFETY. There is no charge for support calls that are associated with security updates.

International customers can receive support from their local Microsoft subsidiaries. There is no charge for support that is associated with security updates. For more information about how to contact Microsoft for support issues, visit the International Support Web site.

Mitigating Factors:

  • An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could gain the same user rights as the local user. Users whose accounts are configured to have fewer user rights on the system could be less affected than users who operate with administrative user rights.
  • In a Web-based attack scenario, an attacker would have to host a Web site that contains an Office file that is used to attempt to exploit this vulnerability. In addition, compromised Web sites and Web sites that accept or host user-provided content could contain specially crafted content that could exploit this vulnerability. An attacker would have no way to force users to visit a malicious Web site. Instead, an attacker would have to persuade them to visit the Web site, typically by getting them to click a link that takes them to the attacker's site.
  • The vulnerability cannot be exploited automatically through e-mail. For an attack to be successful a user must open an attachment that is sent in an e-mail message.
  • Users who have installed and are using the Office Document Open Confirmation Tool for Office 2000 will be prompted with Open, Save, or Cancel before opening a document.

Microsoft has tested the following workarounds. Although these workarounds will not correct the underlying vulnerability.

  • Do not open or save Office files that you receive from un-trusted sources or that are received unexpectedly from trusted sources. This vulnerability could be exploited when a user opens a file.
  • Use the Microsoft Office Isolated Conversion Environment (MOICE) when opening files from unknown or un-trusted sources
  • Use Microsoft Office File Block policy to block the opening of Office 2003 and earlier documents from unknown or untrusted sources and locations
For more details read Microsoft's security advisory

Turn Your Phenom II X3 Core Into A Quad Core

amd logoFor the last week or some rumors have surfaced that the new Phenom II x3's can actually be unlocked to use the elusive fourth core. Turning that cheap triple core into a nice quad core chip. According to Vr-Zone several motherboard manufactures have now confirmed the rumors, even though they had been previously confirmed by several user reports.

From the reports the trick requires nothing more than a motherboard supporting the Advanced Clock Calibration (ACC) feature, which currently only motherboards with AMD's SB750 southbridge chip support and a Phenom II X3 processor belonging to the 0904 manufacturing batch. You'll also need a little luck of the draw here as not all of the triple cores will have a stable fourth core, in fact that is the reason the fourth core is disabled to begin with.

Fore more details and screenshots confirming the rumors checkout some of the links below:

**Update - AMD has reportedly requested that motherboard manufacturers not release motherboards with the "buggy" BIOS, a flaw in the flaws in BIOS programming which allows ACC to unlock the fourth core, and to devise a fix for the issue immediately. AMD worries that consumer might look to buy more Phenom II X3 and attempt at unlocking them than leaving behind the much more expensive Phenom II X4's.

AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor
AMD Phenom II X3 720 2.8GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Black Processor

AMD Phenom II X3 710 2.6GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor
AMD Phenom II X3 710 2.6GHz Socket AM3 95W Triple-Core Processor

Marvell's New $99 PC In A Plug

Marvell Introduces Plug Computing ─ High-Performance, Low-Power, Exceptionally Small Computer for Managing and Storing Digital Media Assets

Multiple companies adopt SheevaPlug development platform to showcase new network-based applications that are designed to be simple to install and easy to use

sheeva plug
Santa Clara, California (February 24, 2009) — Marvell today announced its Plug Computing initiative to make high-performance, always on, always connected, and environmentally friendly computing readily available for developers and end-users. A Plug Computer is small enough to plug directly into a wall socket and is designed to draw so little power that it can be left on all of the time. Unlike other embedded devices in the home, it contains a gigahertz class processor to offer PC class performance. This makes it a viable alternative to a PC for any software service.

“There is no doubt that home networks need to become more intelligent and easier to use by offering value added services for the consumer,” said Dr. Simon Milner, Vice President and General Manager of the Enterprise Business Unit, Consumer and Communications Business Group at Marvell Semiconductor. “We have created an open computing platform for developers in a consumer and eco-friendly form factor. Marvell’s goal is to accelerate the development and availability of innovative software and services in the home.”

The SheevaPlug development platform uses a Marvell Kirkwood processor based on an embedded 1.2GHz Sheeva CPU equipped with 512 Mbytes of FLASH and 512 Mbytes of DRAM. Connection to the home network is via Gigabit Ethernet. Peripherals such as direct attached storage can be connected using a USB 2.0 port. Multiple standard Linux 2.6 kernel distributions are supported on the SheevaPlug development platform enabling rapid application development. The enclosure is designed to plug directly into a standard wall socket and is designed to draw less than one tenth of the power of a typical PC being used as a home server.

“Plug computing is a logical evolution for the digital home in the same way enterprise applications moved from servers to network appliances,” Mr. Hajime Nakai, Director, Member of the Board, BUFFALO INC. “Marvell is probably the only company that can pack so much processor performance into such a compact form factor.”

"Marvell is a leader in designing high-performance, power-efficient CPUs," commented Linley Gwennap, principal analyst of The Linley Group. "SheevaPlug leverages this capability to deliver an impressive amount of compute performance in an innovative form factor. As a silicon provider, Marvell is providing a flexible platform for a wide variety of applications that serves both consumers and service providers.”

Early adopters of plug computing began to launch Marvell based products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2009. These include: Axentra: HipServ software running on a SheevaPlug is a complete home server platform and applications suite that allows OEMs and service providers to quickly go to market with branded home server solutions. This highly secure and stable software platform allows users to easily store, manage, share, view, or listen to digital media content in the home or remotely.
pogo plug
Cloud Engines, Inc.: Cloud Engines launched the Pogoplug, a new device which connects your external hard drive to the internet so you can easily share and access your files from anywhere. The $99 device won accolades at CES, and the company is taking discounted pre-orders now at
cetera plugCTERA Networks: The CTERA CloudPlug, a Cloud Attached Storage appliance, converts any USB drive into a Network Attached Storage (NAS) device with integrated secure offsite backup. CTERA aims the device at service providers seeking to provide online backup services to consumers and small businesses.

Eyecon Technologies, Inc.: Eyecon’s media companion empowers the consumer to use their mobile internet device, such as the iPhone, to manage their connected digital lifestyle. With the SheevaPlug, Eyecon allows the user to discover content from any source including the internet, DVRs, PCs and Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices and direct it to any connected media device in the home. This delivers a complete, unified media control experience from the palm of the user’s hand.

Availability and Pricing

The SheevaPlug development kit is available now for $99 through All the design details and the software needed to develop applications for the SheevaPlug platform are available through the Marvell website.

Source: Marvell Press Release

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quake Live Public Beta Now Open

The public beta of Quake Live, a browser-based version of id Software's Quake III, was launched this afternoon.The FPS is available to anyone running Windows XP or Vista with either Internet Explorer 7 or higher or FireFox 2.0 or higher.

NeweggYou'll need to visit the site to download and install an ActiveX plugin that allows the game to run in your browser utilizing files that it downloads from the Quake Live site site and stores on your computer. The plugin ensures that these files are up-to-date every time you visit the site to play, streaming new content and updates to you without the need for you to download and install game patches.

The game will be 100% free to play through ad-support, I haven't tried it out yet so I don't know how many ads to expect but it shouldn't be bad. There are 40 arenas and 5 game modes for you to try out so you shouldn't get bored to quickly.

For more details checkout the Quake Live FAQs or drop by the Quake Live Forums

Google Gets Back To Basics With Toolbar Beta 6

Calling Google's toolbar a beta seems a bit odd, then again we know all to well that how Google has redefined the beta tag, today the company announced the release of the Google Toolbar version 6 beta. The newest release of the popular toolbar moves the focus away from gadgets and returns to a more simpler design focused on search and navigation.

With version 6 Google has introduced the Quick Search Box (QSB) feature that provides search functionality outside of the browser, instead sticking a Google logo in the taskbar. Clicking the logo will trigger a new desktop search box, which allows you to easily search the web, navigate to webpages, and open applications you have installed on your computer.

In addition to the QSB Google has added the new Google tab page. The feature is similar to the start page from Google Chrome and identical to the feature debuted for the FireFox toolbar a few weeks ago. From the new page you can quickly access your most viewed sites, recently closed tabs and bookmarked pages.

From more on the newest features added to the Toolbar beta checkout the features page as well as Google's blog post.

Apple Releases Public Beta Of Safari 4

Apple Announces Safari 4—The World’s Fastest & Most Innovative Browser
New Nitro Engine Runs JavaScript More Than Four Times Faster

CUPERTINO, California—February 24, 2009—Apple today announced the public beta of Safari 4, the world’s fastest and most innovative web browser for Mac and Windows PCs. The Nitro engine in Safari 4 runs JavaScript 4.2 times faster than Safari 3. Innovative new features that make browsing more intuitive and enjoyable include Top Sites, for a stunning visual preview of frequently visited pages; Full History Search, to search through titles, web addresses and the complete text of recently viewed pages; Cover Flow, to easily flip through web history or bookmarks; and Tabs on Top, to make tabbed browsing easier and more intuitive.

Maximize the capabilities of your Mac!

“Apple created Safari to bring innovation, speed and open standards back into web browsers, and today it takes another big step forward,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Safari 4 is the fastest and most efficient browser for Mac and Windows, with great integration of HTML 5 and CSS 3 web standards that enables the next generation of interactive web applications.”

Safari 4 is built on the world’s most advanced browser technologies including the new Nitro JavaScript engine that executes JavaScript up to 30 times faster than IE 7 and more than three times faster than Firefox 3. Safari quickly loads HTML web pages three times faster than IE 7 and almost three times faster than Firefox 3.*

Apple is leading the industry in defining and implementing innovative web standards such as HTML 5 and CSS 3 for an entirely new class of web applications that feature rich media, graphics and fonts. Safari 4 includes HTML 5 support for offline technologies so web-based applications can store information locally without an Internet connection, and is the first browser to support advanced CSS Effects that enable highly polished web graphics using reflections, gradients and precision masks. Safari 4 is the first browser to pass the Web Standards Project’s Acid3 test, which examines how well a browser adheres to CSS, JavaScript, XML and SVG web standards that are specifically designed for dynamic web applications.

Safari for Mac, Windows, iPhone and iPod touch are all built on Apple’s WebKit, the world’s fastest and most advanced browser engine. Apple developed WebKit as an open source project to create the world’s best browser engine and to advance the adoption of modern web standards. Most recently, WebKit led the introduction of HTML 5 and CSS 3 web standards and is known for its fast, modern code-base. The industry’s newest browsers are based on WebKit including Google Chrome, the Google Android browser, the Nokia Series 60 browser and Palm webOS.

  • Innovative new features in Safari 4 include:
  • Top Sites, a display of frequently visited pages in a stunning wall of previews so users can jump to their favorite sites with a single click;
  • Full History Search, where users search through titles, web addresses and the complete text of recently viewed pages to easily return to sites they’ve seen before;
  • Cover Flow, to make searching web history or bookmarks as fun and easy as paging through album art in iTunes;
  • Tabs on Top, for better tabbed browsing with easy drag-and-drop tab management tools and an intuitive button for opening new ones;
  • Smart Address Field, that automatically completes web addresses by displaying an easy-to-read list of suggestions from Top Sites, bookmarks and browsing history;
  • Smart Search Field, where users fine-tune searches with recommendations from Google Suggest or a list of recent searches;
  • Full Page Zoom, for a closer look at any website without degrading the quality of the site’s layout and text;
  • built-in web developer tools to debug, tweak and optimize a website for peak performance and compatibility; and
  • a new Windows-native look in Safari for Windows, that uses standard Windows font rendering and native title bar, borders and toolbars so Safari fits the look and feel of other Windows XP and Windows Vista applications.

New iMac's at MacMallAvailability
Safari 4 is a public beta for both Mac OS X and Windows and is available immediately as a free download at

Safari 4 for Mac OS X requires Mac OS X Leopard version 10.5.6 and Security Update 2009-001 or Mac OS X Tiger version 10.4.11, a minimum 256MB of memory, and is designed to run on any Intel-based Mac or a Mac with a PowerPC G5, G4 or G3 processor and built-in FireWire. Safari 4 for Windows requires Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista, a minimum 256MB of memory and a system with at least a 500 MHz Intel Pentium processor. Full system requirements and more information on Safari 4 can be found at

Source: Apple Press Release

Monday, February 23, 2009

Yet Another Payment Processor Hit With Data Breach

Information at this point is still unclear but all the signs point to yet another data breach at at least one major payment processor. Information began spreading across the web this weekend, first at the blog Office of Inadequate Security and now more details have emerged over at ComputerWorld.

New Norton360.v2Saturday the OIS blog posted details they uncovered from the Community Bankers Association of Illinois. According to the CBAI VISA has announced that an unnamed processor recently reported that it had discovered a data breach. Although the processor’s was being withheld VISA officials did state that the breach affected all card brands. Stating that evidence indicated that the account number, PAN and expiration dates of customers were stolen.

Today ComputerWorld is reporting that both Visa Inc. and MasterCard International Inc. have confirmed the data breach and both companies have begun quietly notifying banks and credit unions of the new breach and providing them with lists of the affected card numbers. According to those notifications no unencrypted PINs, card verification codes or customer Social Security numbers were exposed.

The scope of the new breach doesn't seem to be anywhere near the level of last months Heartland breach. In that case so far about 440 banks and credit unions have reported being affected. Analysts have estimated that the breach at Heartland could be the largest such breach in history.

As with the case of the Heartland breach it is advised that you check your credit reports for any suspicious activity and scan your credit card statements closely. Even if your bank or credit card company isn't one of the ones discovered to be affected you should keep a close eye on your statements as even the smallest of charges could be a sign of suspicious activity.

Credit card thieves often times create a test charge for something small to verify that the card works. They'll start off with a dollar or two, verify the card and if it works then they'll go in for the kill and buy those high ticket items.


Best Buy Selling $99 iPhones To Premier Silver Reward Zone Members

Best Buy Premier Silver Reward Zone members, customers that have spent more than $2500 at their local Best Buy over the last year, are now eligible to purchase a $99 8GB iPhone. The exclusive deal officially made its way to the Best Buy site yesterday and is available through Saturday the 28th.

Premier Silver Reward Zone members have their choice of a new, not refurbished as in previous offers, 8 or 16 GB iPhone for either $99 or $199. So that regular Reward Zones customers don't feel left out Best Buy is offering them 8 and 16 GB iPhones for $149 and $249 respectively.

There are of course restrictions to the offer, you must have been a Reward Zone program member on or before 2/21/09. The phones are available in store only through Saturday, 2/28/09 and I believe you'll likely be charged tax on the original listed price which is $599.99 for the 8GB iPhone. The other big catch for the deal, both new an existing AT&T customers must activate the phone on a new 2-year contract.

Comcast Taking OnDemand Online

Comcast Corp. is reportedly looking at options that would expand many of the companies cable television services to online subscribers. "OnDemand Online," as it is reportedly being called, would work just like the normal Comcast OnDemand service, allowing users to watch some of their favorite shows directly from the web at no additional cost.

Comcast customers would be able to stream videos, movies, music and possible more directly to your PC, however according to comments on Business insider users using the service would see the bandwidth count against Comcast's 250 GB bandwidth cap just like any other internet based video service.

According to the Wall Street Journal both Comcast has been in discussions with network owners Viacom Inc., Time Warner Inc. and General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal, among others. These companies own such prominent networks as USA, TNT and MTV.

My take:
I have nothing against what Comcast is trying to do afterall recieveing more services for my money would be a great thing. The problem I see here is that this is likely to be a bundled service where as you have to have both Comcast cable and Comcast internet to use it. So the question would seem to be why would I want to use OnDemand Online if I already have it on my TV?

Outside of watching a movie from time to time I rarely use Comcast's current service. I find there aren't enough of the shows I like to watch on there and the ones I do want to watch aren't free. So I either visit or wait for the show to show up on the networks site. If Comcast sticks with their current offerings then sadly I'd see no benefit for the service.

VMex Server 2008 Public Release

VM6 inc. presents VMex Server 2008, a complementary virtual storage pooling and high availability software offering for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, System Center.

CANNES, FRANCE--(Marketwire - Feb. 23, 2009) – VM6 today announces that it will showcase its software, VMex 2008 Server™, during the VMworld Europe 2009 event. Product demonstrations will be held both at the VM6 and Microsoft booths. These showcases will allow VM6 to present how its high availability technology adds complementary value to Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center.

VMex 2008 Server is second generation software that offers high availability technology to virtual environments that is tailored for large enterprise remote office, branch office (ROBO), and small and medium businesses (SMBs).

The software was developed to:
  • Provide customers with low cost high availability technology for IT infrastructure
  • Provide customers with the ability to create and to manage private cloud computing
  • Provide customers with virtual storage pooling without the need for storage area network
  • Provide customers with the ability to deploy remote sites and manage them all centrally

The software benefits customers in the following ways:
  • Allows customers to take the benefits of virtualization to remote offices
  • Integrates well into the Windows ecosystem
  • Offers a familiar operating environment for existing IT administration staff

“VMex 2008 Server™ was designed to allow CIOs to address performance and robustness issues of ROBO and SMBs IT infrastructures. We’re seeing more and more customers adopt Microsoft’s virtualization technology, and combined with VMex 2008 Server™ high availability technology, customers can deliver enterprise-class performance with their IT infrastructure at a price that makes it possible,” said Denis Archambault, president and CEO of VM6 Inc. “There is no doubt in our minds that this kind of product will accelerate the adoption of virtualization outside of main datacenters by giving CIOs the level of assurance they need to go ahead with these projects.”

“It’s great to see partners like VM6 develop a product and solution that can provide customers cost-effective storage pooling, both virtual and physical, for Windows-based applications,” said Zane Adam, senior director of virtualization strategy at Microsoft Corp. “VMex Server provides a high availability solution for customers deploying Windows Server 2008 with System Center management suite. The broad Microsoft software vendor ecosystem is helping break down barriers to virtualization adoption for customers.”

About VM6 Inc.
VM6 is a leading forerunner in IT infrastructure virtualization technologies and offers products and solutions to help customers achieve the benefits of virtualization. Through its activities, VM6 boasts a rich customer base that covers diverse industries such as information technology, telecommunications, banking, insurance, energy, media, security, manufacturing, entertainment, transportation and retail.

Founded in 2004, VM6 launched its first generation of VMex the same year. VM6’s second generation software, VMex 2008 Server™, is the only available high availability solution that enables virtualization to all sizes of businesses at a cost-effective price point. VMex 2008 Server™ allows businesses to use technology as an asset to achieve business continuity and IT infrastructure growth based on rapidly changing business demands. It also the first application in the marketplace to bring an effective yet economical virtualization solution to large enterprises remote office, branch office (ROBO) and SMBs. For more information go to:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Windows 7 RC1 Dates Confirmed

windows seven logoCiting trusted sources within Microsoft reported Friday that a Windows 7 Release Candidate is currently being tested internally at Microsoft and the official release date is set for April 10, 2009. Details are fairly sparse at this time with Neowin stating that "not much information is available."

Microsoft has yet to announce plans for the RC so it's uncertain if the release will be world-wide, or even if it will make it to the public. However it is likely that TechNet and MSDN subscribers would be the first to receive the RC build and given the previous leaks I'm sure we'll see it arrive on Torrent sites not long after reaching them.

Microsoft is currently working on pre-RC builds of Windows 7, the latest build being 7046. Yes that is 7046 not 7048 as mistakenly reported on some other sites. Just last week build 7022 was leaked to torrent so it would appear as though Microsoft is working feverishly to get these build out.

As of yet there is no word on the latest round of changes or any of the possible changes for the RC. Windows 7 Build 7022 had several minor improvements including better UAC control, minor visual improvements and reportedly a higher level of overall stability.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thermaltake Announces New Luxury Line

Popular aftermarket manufacturer Thermaltake today announced a new division entitled LUXA2. The new brand specifically targets high end design and the "luxury" computing market. Each of the new components is said to be hand crafted, with high end materials including highly-polished crystal made by Swarovski, brushed aluminum, titanium as well as high end leather. The main focus of the off shoot will be the high end HTPC enclosure & Laptop cooler market.

Thermaltake announce New Brand, "LUXA2", stepping into New Luxury industries

Thermaltake, the leader in PC DIY market, has expended its illustrious trendsetting characteristic and industrial design expertise in the gaming and enthusiast market into the rapid growing luxury consumer market with the creation of LUXA2 division.

luxa lm200

LUXA2, a Division of Thermaltake, was created in 2009, with characteristics of simplicity, luxury, and unique lifestyle. The core design theory of LUXA2 start from simple shapes blending with luxury elements, which create the unique lifestyle for different segments within the society such as Creative Pro, Mobile Blogger, Leisure Seeker, Hip Newbie and Entertainment junkie.

luxa lm300

LUXA2 represent an emerging trend of "individuality" in the world; people are not only in need of functions, but also aesthetic appeal. This is what LUXA2 has achieved. Exquisite craftsmanship with aesthetic and elegant design style is a promise and a commitment from LUXA2. Thus, the Simplicity, Luxury, Lifestyle of LUXA2 creates a Uniquely You.

With Thermaltake's consumer insight and LUXA2's inimitableness, target users will be able to have a simple, luxury lifestyle anywhere they go; a " Uniquely You" experience made possible with Thermaltake and LUXA2.

Brand Identity:
  Brand Name : LUXA2
  Pronunciation : [ lu – sa – tu ]
  Domain :

Intel Fills Suit Against NVIDIA In Chipset Argument

Intel has filled a lawsuit against NVIDIA over the right to create and sell motherboard chipsets that support Intel's Nehalem (Core i7) desktop processors. The company alleges the previous agreement between the two companies does not include production of chipsets supporting any of Intel's newest processors or future chips that support integrated memory controller functionality. NVIDIA claims those agreements weren't limited to the licensing of specific products nor did they carry a specific expiration date.

According to Bit-Tech Intel release the following statement:

"Intel has filed suit against Nvidia seeking a declaratory judgment over rights associated with two agreements between the companies. The suit seeks to have the court declare that Nvidia is not licensed to produce chipsets that are compatible with any Intel processor that has integrated memory controller functionality, such as Intel’s Nehalem microprocessors and that Nvidia has breached the agreement with Intel by falsely claiming that it is licensed. Intel has been in discussions with Nvidia for more than a year attempting to resolve the matter but unfortunately we were unsuccessful. As a result Intel is asking the court to resolve this dispute."

NVIDIA responded in full today with a press release:

NVIDIA Corporation today responded to a Monday court filing (Court of Chancery in the State of Delaware) in which Intel alleged that the four-year-old chipset license agreement the companies signed does not extend to Intel’s future generation CPUs with “integrated” memory controllers, such as Nehalem. The filing does not impact NVIDIA chipsets that are currently being shipped.

“We are confident that our license, as negotiated, applies,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of NVIDIA. “At the heart of this issue is that the CPU has run its course and the soul of the PC is shifting quickly to the GPU. This is clearly an attempt to stifle innovation to protect a decaying CPU business.”

NVIDIA entered into the agreement in 2004 in order to bring platform innovations to Intel CPU based systems. In return, Intel took a license to NVIDIA’s rich portfolio of 3D, GPU, and other computing patents.

Since signing the agreement, NVIDIA has offered innovations such as SLI, Hybrid power, and CUDA™ parallel processing. ION™, the most recent innovation, integrates a powerful NVIDIA GPU, north bridge and south bridge into one compact die. When combined with a CPU, ION enables a two-chip PC architecture for Intel processors two years ahead of Intel’s own solution. In addition, the ION platform offers 10x the performance of Intel’s current three chip design.1

The industry and consumers now count on innovations from NVIDIA. Microsoft recently endorsed ION because it offers consumers the first truly affordable premium Windows experience. Late last year Apple selected NVIDIA’s chipset for its entire new line of notebooks including the MacBook Classic, MacBook Air, MacBook and MacBook Pro. Today, companies like Acer, Alienware, Asus, Dell, Falcon Northwest, Fujitsu, Gigabyte, HP, Lenovo, MSI, NEC, and Toshiba all ship exciting innovations created by NVIDIA as a result of its agreement with Intel.

Huang said that, given the broad and growing adoption of NVIDIA’s platform innovations, it is not surprising that Intel is now initiating a dispute over a contract signed four years ago. Innovations like ION, SLI, Hybrid power, and CUDA threaten Intel’s ability to control the PC platform.

NVIDIA has been attempting to resolve the disagreement with Intel in a fair and reasonable manner for over a year. NVIDIA’s chipsets for Intel’s current CPU bus interface are not affected by the dispute.

Source: NVIDIA Press Release

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit In Frivolous Street View Case

On Tuesday, Judge Amy Reynolds Hay from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, granted Google's request for dismissal of a lawsuit brought forth by the Pennsylvania couple that was suing the company over privacy concerns.

Aaron and Christine Boring originally filled suit against Google last year citing that pictures used by Google's Street View and on Google Maps invaded their privacy. The Street View images taken from Google cars equipped with cameras showed the couples private driveway and the surroundings.

The Borings also requested that the images in question be removed from the Maps service, and Google complied. In its ruling, Judge Reynolds Hay also declined the Borings' request for a permanent injunction preventing Google from showing their property's photos in Maps. "The Plaintiffs have failed to plead -- much less set out facts supporting -- a plausible claim of entitlement to injunctive relief," the judge wrote. (full brief PDF)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Freescale Expands Netbook Presence $200 Netbook Might Be Coming

Freescale expands its netbook ecosystem

Collaboration with top operating system and wireless component providers enables 3G connectivity and additional OS choices

BARCELONA, Spain (2009 Mobile World Congress) – Feb. 16, 2009 – Freescale Semiconductor has collaborated with an impressive lineup of companies to enable 3G connectivity and additional operating system options for netbooks based on its new i.MX515 processor. For OEMs, the expanded ecosystem means faster time to market, greater differentiation and more compelling end devices.

Freescale entered the netbook market in January 2009 with the introduction of the i.MX515 processor and a comprehensive netbook reference design. The solution is designed to enable consumer products that deliver gigahertz performance, eye-popping graphics and eight hours of battery life between charges at extremely aggressive price points.

Acronis - True Image 2009

Developed jointly with Pegatron, the reference design includes Canonical’s Ubuntu operating system based on Linux technology. Freescale now has expanded its netbook ecosystem, adding support for additional operating systems from Android Open Source Project, Phoenix Technologies and Xandros, as well as 3G connectivity capabilities via collaboration with Wavecom and Option. Freescale plans to enable 3G connectivity by providing hardware and software support for data modules optimized for the i.MX515 applications processor.

“Demand from third parties to partner with Freescale in the growing netbook market has been tremendous,” said Glen Burchers, marketing director for Freescale’s Consumer Segment. “Freescale is taking dead aim at the netbook space by assembling an outstanding portfolio of technologies and partners. As a result, we expect that a wide range of netbook models based on Freescale technology will be available for consumers in the second half of this year.”

Freescale’s expanded netbook ecosystem now includes:

  • The Android platform: a comprehensive, open software stack that includes everything a manufacturer or operator needs to build a compelling mobile device
  • Phoenix HyperSpace: an easy-to-use, instant-on operating environment that enables extended battery life and smart network connectivity
  • Xandros customized Linux solutions: new, simple and compelling user experiences with integrated applications and an online digital marketplace, all designed to reduce time to market and costs for OEMs and carriers
  • Wireless connectivity capabilities from Option, a leader in wireless broadband technology used by telecom operators and OEMs worldwide
  • Wireless connectivity capabilities from Wavecom, a leading provider of embedded wireless technology for machine-to-machine communication


Freescale’s netbook reference design is available now. The company currently is sampling the i.MX515 processor to tier one netbook customers. Volume production for the i.MX515 device is planned for Q2 2009 to power netbooks designed for the 2009 holiday shopping season. Support for 3G connectivity, as well as for the Android, Phoenix Technologies and Xandros operating systems, is expected to coincide with volume production of the i.MX515.

About Freescale Semiconductor

Freescale Semiconductor is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, networking and wireless markets. The privately held company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations around the world.

Supporting comments from Freescale partners follow:

Acronis - True Image 2009

“The buildout of Freescale's netbook ecosystem demonstrates the broad support that processors based on ARM Cortex-A8 technology offers,” said Bob Morris, director of Mobile Computing for ARM. “Freescale’s i.MX515 processor offers the performance, low-power operation and third-party support required for success in the fast-expanding netbook market.”

“Exciting developments such as Freescale’s i.MX515 processor are beneficial to the netbook sector as a whole,” said Patrick Hofkens, vice president of Strategic Alliances at Option. “3G connectivity will come to be regarded as a standard netbook feature. The i.MX515 processor therefore extends the market opportunity for Option’s versatile embedded 3G connectivity solutions as well as its integration and certification services.”

“Freescale’s outstanding netbook solution positions Freescale and its i.MX515 processor as early leaders in the fast-growing netbook market,” said Jeremy Shu, associate vice president for Pegatron. “Featuring advanced silicon from Freescale and smart, sophisticated design from Pegatron, the Freescale netbook solution sets new standards for performance, style and price for next-generation netbooks.”

“Freescale’s i.MX515 processor and the Phoenix HyperSpace OS work together to deliver exceptional performance and value to netbook OEMs and consumers,” said Surendra Arora, vice president of Business Development at Phoenix Technologies. “The i.MX515 is an ideal netbook platform for showcasing HyperSpace’s all-day computing capabilities, smart network connectivity and ease-of-use.”

"We are extremely pleased at the opportunity to enable 3G HSPA connectivity on Freescale’s i.MX515 platform," said Philippe Guillemette, chief technology officer for Wavecom. "We look forward to continuing our relationship with Freescale to achieve our shared goal of reliable, low-total-cost connectivity for all classes of machines."

“Through the Freescale i.MX515 platform, we can bring a rich user experience and the full power of desktop computing to mobile devices with fast boot, long battery life and always-on 3G networking,” said Ming Poon, acting chief operating officer and senior vice president of Software Development for Xandros.

Source: Freescale Semiconductor Press Release

Tech Support Is About To Get Easier With Intel's Remote PC Assist Technology

intel logoOriginally announced late last year, Intel's Remote PC Assist Technology enables an equipped PC to make a fast call for help and request remote technical assistance from a service provider in the event that the user encounters a problem with their. The program utilizes a hardware based technology so it works even when the OS, network software, or applications are not functioning,. Allowing a tech support team to quickly and easily diagnose problems from a remote location.

Originally announced and made available in late 2008, Intel Remote PC Assist Technology has been an option on PCs with Intel Core 2 processor with vPro technology using the Intel Q45 Express Chipsets. The program has been undergoing testing and will expand to consumer PCs in 2009. For the consumer PC market, the chipset is a modified version of the G45 chipset with Intel Remote PC Assist Technology added. A broader version for notebooks and desktops is expected to be released sometime in 2010.

The program uses an encrypted Internet connection via the TLS to perform remote diagnostics on your PC over a secure, wired network connection. When faced with a blue screen or non-responsive machine the user presses a simple key sequence that launches the help process. The user would then see either a list of qualified service providers who have the capabilities to help or a dedicated service provider with which your company has an existing relationship.

Norton 360: Comprehensive, automated protectionOnce a service provider is selected, the user receives a code to share with the agent over the phone. Using this code, the service representative can then connect to the PC remotely and diagnose hardware and software problems, and in many instances repair software-related issues over the wire.

Where Intel's Remote PC Assist Technology and vPro Technology differ from other available options is that it's an on-chip based solution encoded into the bios. So even when the operating system is down a PC can connect for support. vPro also allows users to configure PCs to connect automatically to receive software updates and patches even if the PC is asleep or powered down and without effecting the PC user.

While I'll admit this sounds a lot like a big brother chip and I could see some potential draw backs. I can see some major advantages for anyone providing support for multiple computers. Imagine how much easier this would make helping out that grand parent that lives across the country with PC issues. Tell grand-ma to type in a short code, connect to your PC and you get a snapshot of the exact issue.

Intel offering Core i7 CPU and SSD bundle

intel logoIntel has begun offering up to a 15% discount on the combined price of a their new Core i7 CPUs and and Intel SSD. According to reports in DigiTimes today the company is looking to "increase demand of the two product lines and to clear stockpiled inventory."

The report says Intel is offering a 10-15% discount on the combined price of the CPU and drive as part of the promotion which is mainly targeting markets in China, Europe and North America.

Current pricing of Intel's latest SSD lineup is: X25-E 32GB at $410, X18-M 80GB at $385, X25-M 80GB at $385, X18-M 160GB at $760 and X25-M 160GB at $760. The company plans to launch the X25-E 64GB at $790 later this month.

Earlier this month Intel cut prices on several of their SSDs, however as noted in that report the prices still remain too high for mainstream adoption. The Intel X25-E Extreme SSD is priced $404 at Newegg and the Intel Core i7 920 is $289.99 so slashing another 10-15% off clearly won't put them in what I'd call a mainstream price range but it does make the combo look a little more attractive.

Since this is available to channel partners only it seems unlikely that the combo deal will make its way to end consumers but you could see some pricing cuts reflective of the offering.

The Pirate Bay Trial Day Two

The trial against popular torrent site The Pirate Bay is in full swing with day two holding some interesting changes. The charges of production of copyrighted material have been dropped to focus solely on "making available".

Pirate's founders arrived in court on Monday amidst a huge spectacle which included the pirate bus, Pirate Bay supports totting mega phones and a flood of Tweeting from the court room. Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundström are all charged with facilitating illegal downloads of copyrighted material, charges which they plead not guilty to. That was day one of the long standing fight between The Pirate Bay and the Swedish government.

On day two prosecutor Hakan Roswall arrived in court and amended the original charges. According to the Swedish newspaper The Local Roswall asked the courts to dismiss "complicity in the production of copyrighted material" from the charges. The remaining charge against the four defendants is "complicity to make (copyrighted material) available."

Roswall has confirmed that he now plans to limit the charges to the production of the actual torrent file and not the resultant hard or soft copy. The new charges will be amended to read "complicity to make (copyrighted material) available".

Peter Danowsky, legal counsel for the music companies in the case, said the change would simplify the charges against The Pirate Bay.

“It’s a largely technical issue that changes nothing in terms of our compensation claims and has no bearing whatsoever on the main case against The Pirate Bay. In fact it simplifies the prosecutor’s case by allowing him to focus on the main issue, which is the making available of copyrighted works,” he said in a statement.

For more coverage on The Pirate Bay Trial checkout:

Say Goodbye To Unknown Callers With TrapCall

Say goodbye to those annoying anonymous calls with TrapCall, a new service that launched today. TrapCall unmasks those unknown callers allowing you to see who is calling even if the number is caller id blocked.

TrapCall comes from the same guys that offer the SpoofCard Caller ID spoofing service. This new service uses a little know loop hole in the caller id blocking service. Calls to toll-free numbers are not blocked, because those calls are paid for by the recipient so TrapCall loops your incoming calls through an 800 number, finds the callers details and then loops the call back out to your phone.

TeapCall currently offers three service levels, the most basic is the free service which provides basic caller id unmasking as well as a black list for unwanted callers. Then there are the two paid services the $10/mo mouse trap plan which provides the basic service along with voicemail transcription you get your voicemail via sms, missed call alerts, free support and caller id name which gives you the callers name via caller id and sms. The $24.95 bear trap service combines all these features as well as providing a full billing name and address of the incoming calls and the ability to record your live conversations.

Currently TrapCall is only available to AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers, with support for the other major carriers due within weeks, says TelTech president Meir Cohen.

For more details checkout this great article on you can also checkout TrapCall on Twitter @Trapcall

Monday, February 16, 2009

LG Electronics, Intel Collaborate on Future Mobile Internet Devices

intel logoLG's Focus on Data and Voice Devices Complements Existing Strong Relationship around Notebooks and Netbooks

MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS, Barcelona, Spain – Feb. 16, 2009 – LG Electronics (LG) and Intel Corporation today announced a collaboration around mobile Internet devices (MIDs) based on Intel's next-generation MID hardware platform, codenamed "Moorestown," and Linux-based Moblin v2.0 software platform. The LG device is expected to be one of the first Moorestown designs to market.

LG and Intel's common goal is to unleash rich Internet experiences across a range of mobile devices while delivering the functionality of today's high-end smart phones. The collaboration on the new design extends a close working relationship the two companies have enjoyed across their respective mobile product lines, which now spans the notebook, netbook and MID categories.

"The MID segment will drive growth at LG Electronics. We chose Intel's next-generation Moorestown platform and Moblin-based OS to pursue this segment because of the high performance and Internet compatibility this brings to our service provider customers," said Jung Jun Lee, executive vice president of LG Electronics and head of its Mobile Communications Business Division. "The collaboration with Intel on the MID platform has been valuable and further extends our longstanding relationship. Our efforts are well on track and we look forward to bringing the MID to market."

LG launched a netbook, based on the Intel Atom processor, in the fourth quarter of 2008, and has been supplying the mobile companion device to carriers and retailers worldwide. LG also continues to ship notebooks based on the Intel Core processor.

Dell Small Business

MIDs represent an emerging growth category in the industry and are designed to bring a rich, interactive, PC-like Internet experience in pocketable devices. The experience on a MID will help usher in the many new Internet trends performed predominantly on a PC to mobile devices.

"Moorestown" is the codename for Intel's second-generation MID platform, which consists of a System on Chip (codenamed "Lincroft") that integrates a 45nm Intel Atom processor core, graphics, video and memory controller. The platform also includes an input/output (I/O) hub, codenamed "Langwell," that includes a range of I/O blocks and supports wireless solutions.

Intel's "Moorestown"-based MIDs are expected to reduce idle power consumption by a factor of greater than 10 versus today's Intel Atom processor-based MIDs. Additionally, the Moorestown platform will be accompanied by a newer Moblin software version, Moblin v2.0, that is based on the Linux operating system. This software is designed specifically to deliver a great PC-like Internet experience while also supporting cell phone voice capabilities. The "Moorestown" platform is expected to come to market by 2010.

"LG Electronics makes some of the most innovative computers and smart phones in the world, and is known to be a leading-edge player in every market segment they serve," said Anand Chandrasekher, Intel Corporation senior vice president and general manager of the company's Ultra Mobility Group. "We look forward to providing them some fantastic Intel products that will deliver the best Internet experience while dramatically reducing power –contributing to the development of ultra sleek devices that offer superb battery life."

In order to offer a variety of network connections and Internet access, LG is also working with Ericsson to bring 3G network capability to its planned MID. This is an extension of the existing collaboration between the companies. LG has been supplying notebooks and netbooks with mobile broadband modules from Ericsson since the third quarter of 2008.

"We are glad that LG Electronics has chosen Ericsson to provide 3G capabilities in its Intel-based MID. We are working with LG and Intel to deliver industry-leading 3G capabilities on the Moorestown MID," said Mats Norin, vice president and head of Ericsson Mobile Broadband Modules. "Ericsson's unparalleled relationships with global service providers will be instrumental as we define plans with LG to take this MID to market across multiple geographies around the world."

Source: Intel Press Release

Nokia Announces New App Store The Ovi Store

Nokia to deliver highly relevant content with Ovi Store

Nokia will start connecting content providers with consumers through a one-stop shop, the Ovi Store, which will offer consumers relevant, targeted media through their social connections and their physical location information. When it opens in May, the Ovi Store is a scalable media distribution network unrivaled in size and opportunity, with advanced content targeting capabilities and monetization options that allow content providers and application developers to leverage the power of Nokia's global scale in devices. Beginning in March, content providers, developers and the existing Forum Nokia developer ecosystem can begin uploading their content at to be the first to distribute their media through the Ovi Store. Content providers can sign up there today for access.

Once You Know, You NeweggThe Ovi Store will consolidate the best experiences from the current content services including Download!, MOSH and WidSets to a single channel, and expands upon Ovi Services to deliver media influenced by the people and places that matter to you. It will amplify content provider and developer opportunities and simplify the consumer content discovery process by offering personally relevant, up-to-the-minute media for their devices. The content will range from applications, games and videos to widgets, podcasts, location-based applications and personalization content for Nokia Series 40 and S60 devices. The Nokia N97, available in June, will be the first device to include the simple and easy-to-use storefront. In addition, tens of millions of existing Nokia Series 40 and S60 users will be capable of enjoying the new service starting in early May.

"The Ovi Store will enable our devices to uniquely surface relevant content for consumers based on the people who matter to them and the particular places they happen to be, bringing a new generation of media services to the fingertips of millions of people around the world," said Tero Ojanperä, Executive Vice President, Nokia Services. "By leveraging our strengths as a company and the assets of our partners, the Ovi Store is a 'smart store' that will change the way our consumers discover and consume content on their mobile devices, ultimately making the experience easier, more fun and most importantly, more relevant."

Unlike traditional mobile storefronts, the Ovi Store, if enabled by the consumers, will target those consumers with tailored content based on Nokia's unique ability to take advantage of and learn from the consumer's location and social connections. From this point on, the media you consume is no longer just about "what" you're buying, but also now about "where," "when," "why," and "who" bought what. Consumers will be able to activate social discovery so that content enjoyed by their social network can be automatically surfaced and made available for download and repeat consumption. Content will also be presented based on location so that consumers will always have the most relevant experience wherever they are in the world. Consumers will be able to choose to pay for content with a credit card or through operator billing. By providing a choice of payment options for consumers, content providers and developers will gain access to consumers in markets where credit cards are not widely available.

"Ovi Store will empower consumers around the world to take better advantage of the power of mobile through a new content discovery experience," said Mauro Montanaro, CEO of Fox Mobile Group. "We are excited to broaden our relationship with Nokia and believe Ovi will enhance our ability to take uniquely innovative content, such as from the upcoming 20th Century Fox release, Ice Age 3, and create unparalleled mobile entertainment experiences across millions of devices."

In utilizing the current Nokia content services, the Ovi Store is expected to launch with an existing addressable device base in the tens of millions while growing the service to an estimate of 300 million consumers by 2012. For content providers and developers, this provides an opportunity to individually reach a universe of potentially hundreds of millions of people, making it the world's largest media network. With the industry's largest footprint of Adobe Flash supported devices, Ovi Store will be the premier distribution channel for applications commissioned by the Adobe and Nokia USD 10 million Open Screen Project fund. Forum Nokia, Nokia's global developer support program, will also continue to support, educate and challenge its more than 4 million registered developers to add to the applications already available for Nokia Series 40 and S60 devices through this single channel.

To enable content providers from all over the world to distribute through the Ovi Store, Nokia is opening for content providers and developers to submit their media and choose how to monetize it through an easy and automated process. Once the Ovi Store opens in May, it will also offer content providers and developers dashboard reporting to monitor how well their content is selling on the Ovi Store through

What some of the Ovi Store partners are saying:

"EA Mobile has been successfully pre-loading and offering our broad range of games to Nokia consumers around the world for many years" said Javier Ferreira, VP Publishing Europe, EA Mobile(TM). "We are very enthusiastic about the new Ovi Store as it combines ease of discovery, relevancy and recommendation which are essential in any quality content offering."

"We're very happy to be working with Nokia to bring its consumers a great Facebook experience, and give even more people around the world the opportunity to share and connect on Facebook through their mobile devices," said Henri Moissinac, director of mobile, Facebook. "The Ovi Store will be a great distribution channel that will provide consumers with a simple way to discover new apps, such as Facebook, on innovative Nokia devices."

"Glu is excited to be a part of the new Ovi Store and supports Nokia's efforts to provide consumers with a wide offering of applications, including mobile games," said Jill Braff, SVP global publishing, Glu Mobile. "Glu will deliver a broad spectrum of high quality games to the new Ovi Store and we look forward to bringing consumers yet another way to access top-notch mobile games and continue to drive our business to greater heights."

"We are continually looking for opportunities to integrate MySpace into mobile devices and create a ubiquitous experience for our users," said John Faith, vice president and general manager of Mobile for MySpace. "By making MySpace available through the Ovi Store, we are enabling millions of Nokia handsets on-the-go access to their network in ways that fit their lifestyle."

"Qik is excited to be a part of this significant move by the largest handset manufacturer in the world," said Ramu Sunkara, CEO of Qik. "Inclusion in Ovi Store enables us to leverage the global scale of Nokia and get our application in the hands of hundreds of millions of Nokia users worldwide. We are really pleased to progress our relationship with Nokia by being a featured application provider in this important new marketplace."

Source: Nokia Press Release

NVIDIA Enables The World's First $99 HD Mobile Internet Device

nvidia logo

NVIDIA Tegra Brings Full Internet Experience to Always On, Always-Connected Devices

MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 09—BARCELONA, SPAIN— FEBRUARY 16, 2009— Today’s users want an always-connected device for social media applications such as Facebook and YouTube, as well as great multimedia performance for recording and watching HD movies and videos on the go.

NVIDIA Corporation, the inventor of the graphics processor, today introduced a new platform, based on the NVIDIA Tegra 600 Series computer-on-a-chip that enables a $99, always-on, always-connected HD mobile internet device (MID) that can go days between battery charges.

This platform will enable OEMs to quickly build and bring to market devices that carriers can offer for as low as $99 —bringing broadband connectivity and all of the Web’s HD content to the masses.

“Mobile internet devices have evolved to provide consumers with the performance and connectivity required by today’s lifestyle,” said Michael Rayfield, general manager of the mobile business unit at NVIDIA. “Until now, consumers could get just another ‘gadget’ with limited functionality or a PC that’s not ‘always on’. A Tegra-based platform combines the best of both worlds.”

The Tegra MID delivers:

  • 720p and 1080p video playback
  • Days of use between charges
  • Full Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity
  • Optimized hardware support for Web 2.0 applications for a true desktop-class internet experience
  • A complete software solution including Microsoft Windows Embedded CE OS, application viewers, full Internet browser, UI framework, board support package (BSP), software development kit (SDK), Web mail client, and more

“The next generation of smart, connected, service-oriented devices are centered around rich multimedia experiences and enhanced functionality,” said Mukund Ghangurde, Director, CE and Consumer Product Management at Microsoft Corp. “We are pleased to collaborate with NVIDIA to develop platform resources that assist OEMs in quickly bringing these new devices to market.”

In addition, NVIDIA partnered with ST-Ericsson to add 3G communication capability into this new platform, allowing for seamless connectivity, worldwide.

“ST-Ericsson together with NVIDIA have developed a Microsoft Windows Embedded CE implementation using the ST-Ericsson U335 and the NVIDIA Tegra which is ready for customer design development,” stated Jörgen Lantto, Chief Technology Officer, ST-Ericsson. “This solution takes advantage of the high volume, IOT tested and proven U335 modem solution together with NVIDIA which takes multimedia performance to a new level.”

ICD, a leading consumer ODM, also announced support of the new class of devices enabled by this new platform.

“ICD has long believed that there will be a new generation of innovative connected devices. Designing these devices around the Tegra platform will bring carriers an amazing level of functionality at prices as low as $99,” said David Hayes, President and CEO of ICD.

About NVIDIA Tegra
NVIDIA Tegra is the industry’s first single-chip computer capable of the rich high definition and internet experiences we’ve come to expect from our PCs, but on small pocket type devices. NVIDIA Tegra is smaller than a US dime (10-cent piece), designed from the ground up to enable the “visual PC experience” on a new generation of mobile computing devices while consuming the smallest amount of power.

NVIDIA Unleashes Android With Tegra

In a second separate announcement NVIDIA announced that it has worked closely with Google and the Open Handset Alliance to unleash Android, a complete, open mobile phone software stack, with the Tegra series of ‘computer-on-a-chip’ processors. By supporting Android, manufacturers and operators can now easily use a Tegra processor to build mobile phones with advanced user experiences that leverage web and Internet content and provide services such as mobile mash-ups and location-based applications.

“We welcome NVIDIA’s support of Android on Tegra and we look forward to many more Android-based devices that deliver an outstanding consumer experience,” said Andy Rubin, Google’s senior director of mobile platforms.

The new NVIDIA Tegra APX 2600 processor running Android will be on display in the NVIDIA booth at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, in Hall 1, Stand IC34. NVIDIA will be enabling its OEM customers with a highly optimized and accelerated Android port starting in the second quarter of 2009.

“NVIDIA and Google are both working to unlock the visual computing potential of mobile devices and this announcement matches the power of Tegra with the innovation of the Android platform,” stated Michael Rayfield, general manager, mobile business unit at NVIDIA. “NVIDIA will be working within the Open Handset Alliance to continually strengthen the ability of Android to tap into advanced mobile graphics and media acceleration to make interaction with handheld technology more intuitive and instinctive.”

For more information on the NVIDIA Tegra family of applications processors, please visit:

Source: NVIDIA Press Release

YouTube Offers Paid Downloads But Who Will Pay?

youtube logoYouTube last week announced a new program that would allow users to offer their videos as downloads for a small fee paid through Google Checkout. The new service would let video creators share videos in the traditional fashion through the YouTube site or they could offer them as either free or paid downloadable content.

Video partners can set prices (so far there is no limit set on fees) and decide which license they want to attach to the downloaded video files. You can choose either non-commercial or various Creative Commons licenses (for more info on the types of licenses, take a look here).

One has to wonder however who would actually pay for YouTube videos?

While the content and quality of videos has increased greatly over the years most of the videos I view aren't good enough for me to want to pay for. Not to mention there are already a large number of third party applications that will grab content from YouTube at no cost.

The later part of that YouTube might be working on. Shortly after the YouTube announcement TechCrunch announced that YouTube killed their video download tool. Jason did say that every other download method he has tried worked fine so far, including a handful of other websites and popular Firefox extensions. So its possible TC was target, but its also possible Google and YouTube are working to block all off site access.

It's possible we could see a new niche video enthusiasts who want to upload original content. We could see film makers creating basement production and using the service to charge a small fee for downloads. However there are alternatives out there that currently offer paid per view opportunities. Sites like, Blip.TV and MetaCafe all offer revenues based on views or advertising. So you really have to wonder how YouTube and their pay-to-download service will fit in.

Google Expects A Piece Of The Paid App Pie

Late last week Google announced the opening of the Android Market to paid applications. Starting some time this week we should see developers offering their paid apps for sale for consumers here in the states. However Google isn't offering up there services for free, no Google will take a hefty 30 percent cut on the sales.

Google has said Google Checkout will serve as the only payment and billing mechanism for Android Market. But while Google Checkout typically charges sellers just 2 percent of the sales price they have bumped their fees to a 30 percent transaction fee for the Android Market. While it wasn't clear why they chose 30% the fee is inline with that which Apple charges for inclusion of Apps into the iPhone App store.

According to statements made to Google says the company "does not make money" from its application store. "Developers will get 70 percent of the revenue from each purchase and the remaining amount goes to carriers and billing settlement fees," a Google spokesperson said in a statement to "We believe this revenue model creates a fair and positive experience for users, developers and carriers."

It would seem as there is some disparity in the statements. As it stands Apple makes a ton of money from their 30% cut from iPhone apps, so it would be safe to assume so would Google. At least once the Android Market takes off and starts selling. Apple of course has reached the 20,000 apps milestone with more than 500 million downloads so they have a bit of a head start.

Google has always been fairly transparent on the fees they were charging. So the 70/30 split really doesn't come as a surprise. The one question was really why they choose 30%. Apple holds a monopoly on the App Store therefore they also hold developers hostage to any fees they want. Google doesn't need to do so, and really shouldn't. If the fees actually go straight to carriers and other things that's great, if not then you are charging 30% for what?

As Desmond, a respondent at Wired wrote:

Unlike Apple, it would be really nice if Google were to EARN their 30% by doing what Apple clearly doesn't, making sure apps aren't buggy pieces of S**T. I don't mind paying the 30% premium, I DO mind paying a premium for absolutely no added value. To Google and Palm; Earn your percentage, Put Apple to shame, check apps for bugs before letting them into your market..

Asus Raising Prices On All Portable Notebooks & Eee PCs

ARN reported last week that Asus will increase prices on all existing and upcoming notebooks
and Eee Family products effective March 1, 2009. With some models seeing an increase of up to 20 percent.

The current financial climate and an increase in the cost of computer parts and manufacturing operations were cited as reasons behind the price hikes.

The rise in cost of the portable Eee netbook PCs might be the first in a growing trend. The netbook market reportedly increased by 160% from the second to third quarter of 2008 and manufactures might be looking to cash in on the popularity of the devices. We've already seen Microsoft riding the coat tails of the devices popularity by making a strong push for adding Windows 7 to netbooks. So its possible we are seeing a little back sliding by manufactures trying to recoup some of the losses they faced in other segments last year.

Asus reported their first ever loss in the 4th quarter of last year. A drop on PC demand, increasing competition in the netbook market as well as below-expectation shipments of motherboards and graphics cards all contributed to the companies losses.

If thes rumors of a price increase are true it could mean that Asus is riding the netbook wave to boost profits. I really wouldn't be surprised if we see other manufactures trying to follow suite by boosting prices. The key to the netbooks popularity however was the low cost ultra portable design. The market might not hold with even the slightest increase in pricing.

Adobe and Nokia Announce $10 Million Open Screen Project Fund

New Fund to Accelerate Creation of Rich Mobile Content, Applications and Services

BARCELONA, Spain. — Feb. 16, 2009 — At the GSMA Mobile World Congress, Adobe Systems Incorporated and Nokia Corporation today announced a $10 million Open Screen Project fund designed to help developers create applications and services for mobile, desktop and consumer electronics devices using the Adobe Flash Platform. The new fund is a result of the Open Screen Project, an industry-wide initiative of more than 20 industry leaders set to enable a consistent experience for web browsing and standalone applications. Additional Open Screen Project partners are expected to join the fund in the future.

“We are excited about the Open Screen Project Fund and the possibilities it offers to designers and developers worldwide,” said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president, Platform Business Unit at Adobe. “With close to 40 percent of all new mobile devices shipped with Flash Lite in 2008, the fund will enable more developers to bring their rich content and services to a large number of mobile users.”

Photoshop Elements 7 + Premiere Elements 7

“The Open Screen Project Fund encourages the use of Adobe tools and existing developer skills to create exciting and unique Flash applications for millions of Nokia devices,” said Tero Ojanpera, EVP, Nokia Services. “Our end goal is to support these developers with resources, build awareness around the creative possibilities with Flash and help bring these innovative experiences to market through Nokia distribution channels.”

Developers are invited to submit concepts for applications that are based on the Adobe Flash Platform, will run on Nokia devices, and will work on multiple screens, including mobile, desktop and consumer electronics devices. Applications will be reviewed for how innovative and compelling the user experience is, how robust the application or planned implementation is, and how well it exploits the capabilities and features of Nokia devices, Adobe Flash and Adobe AIR™, which enables developers to use proven web technologies to build applications that extend outside the browser.

Projects submitted for development will be reviewed by a group of multi-screen application and services experts from Open Screen Project partners including Adobe and Nokia. Focus areas include: entertainment; social networking; productivity; gaming; news and information. Developers retain all rights to their applications while Adobe and Nokia have the right to evaluate, test and promote the content. For more information and details on how to apply, visit .

Announced in May 2008, the Open Screen Project is designed to enable a consistent runtime environment across screens. The initiative is dedicated to enable web content, standalone applications and full web browsing across televisions, set-top boxes, mobile devices and other consumer electronics that take advantage of Adobe AIR and Adobe Flash Platform capabilities.

The Adobe Flash Platform is the de facto standard for delivering breakthrough applications, content and video on the web. Flash Player content reaches over 98 percent of Internet-enabled desktops, and over 80 percent of online videos worldwide are viewed using Adobe Flash technology, making Flash the number one platform for video on the web. Adobe Flash Lite delivers rich experiences across mobile devices and other consumer electronics. Adobe Flash Player is a key component of the Adobe Flash Platform, a complete system of integrated tools, frameworks, clients and servers. For more information, visit

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In a second separate announcement(pdf) Adobe announced that Palm will be joining the Open Screen Project.

The work of the Open Screen Project will help deliver Adobe Flash Player for smartphones on the new Palm webOS platform. The unique capabilities of the web-centric Palm webOS, combined with Flash Player, will enable webOS device users to benefit from the huge amount of Flash based web content for a richer, more complete Internet experience.

“We’re excited that our customers will benefit from the creativity and broad range of Flash content and applications created by the millions of designers and developers using Adobe’s popular tools and technologies,” said Pam Deziel, vice president, software product management, Palm, Inc.

“As an industry innovator Palm will be an important contributor to the Open Screen Project,” said Michele Turner, vice president for Product Marketing, Flash Platform Business Unit at Adobe. “We’re aiming to bring a rich, Flash technology-enabled browsing experience to Palm’s impressive web browser.”

Source: Adobe Press Release