Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Want To Test Windows 7 RC1, MS Says Roll Back To Vista First

Microsoft will reportedly be releasing Windows 7 RC 1 in the next month or two. At that time the company is asking that everyone currently running the beta to revert back to Vista, or do a fresh install of the new release candidate. The details were posted late last night on the Engineering Windows 7 blog

We’ve also learned that many of you (millions) are running Windows 7 Beta full time. You’re anxious for a refresh. You’ve installed all your applications. You’ve configured and customized the system. You would love to get the RC and quickly upgrade to it from Beta. The RC, however, is about getting breadth coverage to validate the product in real-world scenarios. As a result, we want to encourage you to revert to a Vista image and upgrade or to do a clean install, rather than upgrade the existing Beta.

We know that means reinstalling, recustomizing, reconfiguring, and so on. That is a real pain. The reality is that upgrading from one pre-release build to another is not a scenario we want to focus on because it is not something real-world customers will experience. During development we introduce changes in the product (under the hood) that aren’t always compatible with what we call “build-to-build” upgrade. The supported upgrade scenario is from Windows Vista to Windows 7.

Many users might ask why you'd need go through the pains of a fresh install. Simply put they want to make sure none of the old code might be carried over. MS wants to make sure that any of the new bugs that are reported are reported from a fresh build that has all the latest fixes and no potential hold outs from the earlier releases.

In their post Microsoft reiterated earlier statements that it will not offer an in-place upgrade to Windows 7 from Windows XP. "We realized at the start of this project that the 'upgrade' from XP would not be an experience we think would yield the best results," the company said.

AMD Announces Opteron Update Program

amd logoAMD Opteron Processor Upgrade Program Drives Faster Time to Benefit in the Data Center

- AMD responds to challenging economic times for solution providers by enabling new revenue opportunities while enhancing end-customer total cost of ownership -

Sunnyvale, Calif. -- April 7, 2009 --Offering partners and customers another cost-effective way to benefit from the performance and efficiency of AMD OpteronTM processor technology, AMD today announced a global AMD Opteron Upgrade Program. The program includes 2000 series and 8000 series dual- and Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors along with the upcoming six-core processor codenamed “Istanbul”. Channel partners and customers can receive up to a 35% discount in price ($50 off 2000 series, $100 off 8000 series) by upgrading the generation of their AMD Opteron processor, providing a fast upgrade path to improve performance and energy efficiency within the data center without needing to replace and buy entirely new systems.

“AMD Opteron processors have always provided exceptionally long life cycles and consistent platforms,” said John Fruehe, director, Business Development, AMD. “In the current economic environment customers are trying to stretch their IT budgets and to extend the life of their technology investments more than ever, all while improving performance and energy efficiency. This program offers a unique value to our partners and customers, particularly when you consider the enhancements to the 45nm Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor and upcoming six-core ‘Istanbul’ processor.”

Cluster and system builders like Rackable Systems and Cray are already seeing immense benefit from this program, with an increased demand for fast and seamless upgrades in the data center that can yield significant performance gains. For more information on the Opteron Upgrade Program, visit AMD’s @Work blog.

Source: AMD Press Release

Monday, April 06, 2009

HP To Offer ATI FirePro GPU's On Workstations

ATI FirePro™ 3D Graphics Accelerators Offered On Top-To-Bottom Line of HP Workstations

− Newest AMD professional graphics accelerators deliver flexibility, performance and reliability professionals require −

SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- April 6, 2009 --AMD today announced that its top-to-bottom line of industry-leading ATI FirePro graphics accelerators are now featured in the new HP Z Workstations. Graphics professionals who use and demand interactivity with complex 3D models in engineering, digital content creation and scientific fields now can take advantage of the new ATI FirePro ™ V7750, as well as the ATI FirePro™ V3700 and ATI FirePro™ V5700 graphics accelerators in the new HP Z400, Z600 and Z800 Workstations.

Designed and engineered to operate in a wide range of professional operating environments, including Microsoft Windows XP, Windows Vista and Linux, ATI FirePro 3D graphics accelerators are thoroughly tested and certified based on industry standards at AMD test labs. HP Z Workstations with ATI FirePro graphics already have more than 35 application certifications by major applications such as SolidWorks 2009, 3ds Max 2009, and Adobe Premiere Pro CS4, and previous versions with many more certifications pending.

“AMD and HP together offer the workstation market exceptional tools for creative, scientific and engineering professionals,” said Janet Matsuda, senior director, Professional Graphics, AMD. “We are excited to pair our ATI FirePro graphics accelerators with HP Z Workstations to deliver flexibility and reliability backed by certified application performance.”

“HP Z Workstations provide customers with unprecedented performance, value and serviceability in a sleek new design,” said Jeff Wood, director of worldwide marketing, Workstations, HP. “We look forward to working with AMD and using its ATI FirePro graphics accelerators to bring customers powerful solutions for their demanding graphics-intensive applications.”

The ATI FirePro V3700, ATI FirePro V5700 and ATI FirePro V7750 graphics accelerators are immediately available with new HP Z Workstations. Professionals can choose the right HP Z Workstation and the right ATI FirePro card to best meet their performance, expandability and affordability needs.

  • ATI FirePro V7750 delivers 1GB of frame buffer memory to handle large CAD models and complex animations with ease. Consuming a maximum of 76 watts, power users will appreciate the energy efficiency of this high performance accelerator.
  • ATI FirePro V5700 graphics accelerator delivers the perfect balance of price and application performance for CAD and DCC professionals. With the new card, users will experience increased performance for shader-intensive applications, up to two times more than the previous generation.1
  • ATI FirePro V3700 establishes a new, low entry price for professional 3D graphics. For CAD professionals migrating from 2D, the ATI FirePro V3700 graphics card delivers the 3D performance and application certification these professionals deserve at an affordable price.

To hear what it takes to succeed in the workstation business, check out the testimonial video from Jon Peddie, Founder and President of Jon Peddie Research.

To hear more about the optimizations AMD and its ISV partners are making, check out new testimonial videos from Redway3d, MSC Software, Dassault Systèmes Solidworks, CEI and PTC.

Source: AMD Press Release

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Only In California, New Law Looks To Ban Black Cars, HDTVs

Oh what I state I reside in. Only here can we have some of the craziest legislation I've seen in a long while! Flying under the banner of global warming solutions, and good for the environment, two proposals have been making their rounds and are making a bit of news.

The first is the latest revision of AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act, which has also been know as the Cool Cars act. The newest revisions may soon restrict the paint color options specifically banning all dark hues.

Apparently, the California Air Resources Board believes that the AC systems of dark colored cars need to work harder than a light colored car. Thus creating more work for the engine of a darker car – especially after sitting in the sun for a few hours.

Cool Paints was identified as an Early Action strategy, to be in place no later than January 1, 2010. This strategy is based on measures to reduce the solar heat gain in a vehicle parked in the sun. A cooler interior would make drivers less likely to activate the air conditioner, which increases carbon dioxide emissions.

Potential approaches include reformulation of paint to reflect near-infrared sunlight, parked car ventilation, and solar reflective window glazing. It is expected that cool paints, together with reflective glazing, will reduce the soak temperature of the typical vehicle parked in the sun by 5 to10 degrees celsius.

The second wondrous piece of legislation coming from the desk of the California Energy Commission looks to ban the sale of TV sets that do not meet new efficiency standards. According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) the new law would immediately take 25 percent of TVs off the market.

GoDaddy.comThe ban and it's ramifications are highly debatable. The CEA of course believes the ban is a bad idea and could potentially cost California $50 million annually in tax revenue and the elimination of 4,600 retail jobs. On the other hand the CEC believes the two tiered program could end up saving Californians between $18 and $30 a year per TV set in energy costs.

Either way you look at it it comes down to the government overstepping its boundaries yet again. We don't need senseless legislation to give us cooler cars or more energy efficient TVs. As Wired.com's Jose Fermoso wrote, "Most of the TVs that would be banned by the proposal would be larger TVs that are already losing steam in the market anyway."

As to the Cool Cars Act, that is just ridiculous. If they want to cut greenhouse emissions then lets focus the energy where its need and not on the color scheme on my car. We all know a black car gets a little hotter than a white one, so what! The AC in my car runs for as long as I'm in it. It's not on a thermostat type control. It is either off or on - no two ways about it.

Friday, April 03, 2009

EA Gives Gamers A SecuROM De-Authorization Tool

Gamers owning EA games that are plagued with the dreaded SecuROM digital rights management technology can now rejoice as the company has released a new set of de-authorization tools meant to help gamers manage their computers SecuROM authorizations.

Certain EA PC games with SecuROM digital rights management technology allow users to concurrently "authorize" up to five computers at the same time to play the games. Users can then play the game on any authorized computer they choose. If your EA PC game was released after May 2008 and has a machine authorization limit, you can now manage your computer authorizations using EA De-Authorization Tools!

For a list of EA games with machine authorization limits released after May 2008, click here.

If you choose to take advantage of the de-authorization too, you have two options.

EA is giving users two east ro use options for managing your authorizations:
  • Option 1: Download and install the new tools in order to scan your computer for EA's SecuROM games and find out how many computer authorizations you have (or don't have) left for each title.
  • Option 2: Cut to the chase and download the game-specific de-authorization tool you need.

Think Twitter Is For-Sale, Think Again!

A posting from TechCrunch got the web all a buzz about the possible Google Acquisition of Twitter, with several sites following the lead and jumping on the story to feed the flames.

In less than uncertain terms Twitter co-founder Biz Stone denied the rumors saying the company's plans are to remain independent.

Stone reiterated those sentiments Thursday evening when he appeared on Stephen Colbert's "Colbert Nation" television show. Restating Twitter's intention to remain independent. "We're recognizing a difference right now between profit and value. Right now, we're building value," Stone told Colbert.

Pulling back from their original posting TechCrunch has followed up now citing sources that are saying CEO Evan Williams wouldn’t sell even for $1 billion

I've gotta say it would take some brass to walk away from a billion dollar offer. Especially considering Twitter has yet to become profitable

Thursday, April 02, 2009

New Bill Would Give Obama An Internet Kill Switch

**Updated post on the new Lieberman legislation that much like this would allow of an internet kill switch**

According to NetworkWorld a bill recently introduced by West Virginia Democratic Sen. John Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Sen. Olympia Snowe, a Republican from Maine, would give the president the power to declare a cybersecurity emergency and then shut down both public and private networks including Internet traffic coming to and from compromised systems.

The 51-page Rockefeller/Snowe bill (s.778) (here is a new link if that one is not working) calls for the creation of a National Cybersecurity Advisor that would report directly to the President. The bill also calls for a comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy in place 12 months after the bill passes.

The sticking point with many critics is the broad sweeping power that this bill might implement. For instance hidden within the context of the bill is the phrase:

“We are confident that the communication networks and the Internet would be so designated [as critical infrastructure], so in the interest of national security the president could order them disconnected.”

Update: The above was mistakenly quoted, it was actually a quote from Leslie Harris, president and CEO at the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT). It was his response to the actual quote "The President— may order the disconnection of any Federal government or United States critical infrastructure information systems or networks in the interest of national security.”

Effectively this could mean, under the guise of national security, that the president would be given a kill switch with the power of turning off the internet in the event of a widespread attack. It could also been interpreted to mean the president would have the power to limit or block certain internet traffic.

To put this into perspective if the National Cybersecurity Advisor bought into the recent Conficker hype he could recommend that the threat is so great that the White House needs to shut down critical servers in order to keep the critical infrastructure alive. Given how that turned out is that really something we need?

This broad ranging power is a scary piece of legislation! WE had better hope that this doesn't pass, or if it does that they work to lighten some of the wording on something this wide open.

AT&T Offers New Subsidized Netbooks Deals, Now Only $49.99

att logoAs part of a new two market trial promotion AT&T will begin offering subsidized Netbooks for the low price of $49.99. The promotion, which was announced yesterday at CTIA, will be available at select retail location in the Atlanta and Philadelphia areas.

The offering will include the following:

  • Offer a variety of ultra-portable mini laptops with built-in AT&T 3G wireless capabilities at promotional prices starting at $49.99 with the purchase of AT&T "Internet at Home and On the Go" broadband services.
  • Trial 30-minute in-store technical support — part of the AT&T ConnecTech suite of services — at select locations for customers who purchase qualifying data plans.
  • Feature, as part of the same trial in select stores, an Internet at Home and On the Go package that combines home and mobile broadband starting as low as $59.95 per month, including access to the nation's fastest 3G network and unlimited domestic access to the nation's largest Wi-Fi network with nearly 20,000 AT&T Hot Spots.
  • Pre-install AT&T Communication Manager on mini laptops, enabling customers the ability to manage their mobile and Wi-Fi connections.
Other plans and products will include: the Acer Aspire One, Dell Inspiron Mini 9 and Dell Mini 12, and LG Xenia. Promotional prices range from $49.99 to $249.99 with the purchase of an AT&T Internet at Home and On the Go plan, which includes an AT&T DataConnect plan and AT&T Fast Access DSL, starting at $59.95 per month.

For those of you that might want to make a purchase without the added AT&T services, the prices will range from $449.99 to $599.99. With the purchase of a two-year AT&T DataConnect plan only pricing ranges from $99.99 to $349.99. AT&T is offering two mobile DataConnect plans in the trial, including a 200MB plan for $40 per month and a 5GB plan for $60 per month, making this a less than stellar deal!

Norton 360: Comprehensive, automated protectionAs with AT&T's previous deal, the $99 Acer Aspire One, choosing to go the subsidized route will end up costing you far more than the original netbook alone. Of course for those of you that want to use the AT&T service this might be a reasonable option, however I urge you to read all the fine print first.

For starters you must sign-up for AT&T's Internet at Home & On the Go service (Details on the plan), which starts at $59.95 a month. With this bundle you get AT&T's low end home DSL service at 768Kbps. If the new netbook has built-it 3G mobile broadband, why would anyone want to bother with DSL?

The quick answer is while the package also includes 3G wireless the data limit is just 200MB. 200MBs might be alright to check the occasional email, get directions or write a quick blog post. But its hardly going to be enough for everyday service.

You can upgrade to a two-year DataConnect plan, which ups the monthly data cap to a healthy 5GB. Ah, but doing so doubles the Aspire One's price to $99.99. And lets not forget the TOS for that plan can be costly.

One good note however, is that each plan also includes wireless access at AT&T's thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots so you do have a slight silver lining in that cloud. Overall however for someone looking to jump on a cheap Netbook offer I suggest you take a hard look before you leap!

Original FileFront Founders Save The Day

As reported last week FileFront was due to turn off the lights indefinitely as the sites owners Ziff Davis were looking to move away from the gaming scene and focus more attention on their other properties.

Upon hearing of the closing FileFront's original founders have decided to buy back the site and keep it open for gamers everywhere. Check out the full Welcome Home post by clicking here.
After learning about Ziff Davis Media's plan to suspend FileFront at the end of March, the original founders of FileFront made the decision to buy it back from Ziff Davis Media.

We're happy to announce to the gaming community that as of today, April 1st, 2009, FileFront is a completely independent company again and is no longer part of Ziff Davis Media. All previously suspended services should be active and working again. We thank Ziff Davis Media for their cooperation and willingness to keep the site and community alive.

Due to the very unfortunate timing of this event and related announcements on March 24th and April 1st (April Fool's Day), we'd like to make it perfectly clear that:

  1. The March 24th announcement about FileFront suspending its operation was NOT an early April Fool's joke.
  2. This announcement about the original founders buying back FileFront from Ziff Davis Media is also NOT an April Fool's joke.
  3. We're making this announcement on April 1st because the deal was completed today and we want to bring all services back online immediately.
  4. We would NEVER suspend FileFront as an April Fool's joke.
  5. We are happy to be back!

AMD Launches ATI Radeon HD 4890

ati logoAMD Unveils ATI Radeon HD 4890, the Most Powerful Graphics Processor in the World

AMD today introduced the ATI Radeon HD 4890 graphics card, driven by the world's most powerful graphics processor. The newest addition to the award-winning ATI Radeon HD 4000 series boasts a whopping 1.36 TeraFLOPs of compute power, superior GDDR5 memory, and super-high engine clock speeds capable of nearly 1GHz. The advanced design of the ATI Radeon HD 4890 delivers the best game experience in its class, including the latest ground-breaking DirectX 10.1 titles. In addition, with the introduction of the ATI Radeon HD 4890, AMD continues to enhance its "Dragon" desktop platform technology, designed to provide exceptional value to OEMs, channel partners, and do-it-yourself (DIY) consumers.

"The ATI Radeon HD 4890 graphics card represents the AMD sweet spot strategy reloaded," said Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager, Graphics Products Group, AMD. "With last year's launch of the ATI Radeon HD 4850 and ATI Radeon HD 4870 products, we gave gamers great performance and an incredible value proposition. Today, we're doing it again. ATI Radeon HD 4890 graphics cards are incredible performers, priced to sell in all major markets worldwide."

The ATI Radeon HD 4890 graphics card continues AMD's proud tradition of technology leadership with support for the latest DirectX 10.1 games, including Ubisoft's Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X., Electronic Art's BattleForge and SEGA's Stormrise released last month, as well as GSC Gameworld's S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Clear Sky. When compared to DirectX 10 game play, DirectX 10.1 games have proven to deliver higher game performance and an improved visual experience.

"The new ATI Radeon HD 4890 graphics card could very well be the must-have gaming product of this spring," said Adrian Thomson, vice president, Marketing, Sapphire. "With breakthrough levels of game performance, cutting-edge feature support like DirectX 10.1, and high degree of performance tuning flexibility, the ATI Radeon HD 4890 is one of the best performers in its class."


Making the best even better

The ATI Radeon HD 4890 graphics card delivers exceptional value to gamers, handling even the most intense games at high resolutions and image quality settings. For overclocking enthusiasts, the ATI Radeon HD 4890 offers tremendous performance tuning potential. Those looking to get even more performance out of their gaming rigs can combine as many as four ATI Radeon HD 4890 cards in one PC utilizing ATI CrossFireX technology.

"Gamers that want The Ultimate Visual Experience demand the best performing card, and our new ATI Radeon HD 4890 graphics cards will give them exactly that," said Eddie Memon, vice president, Marketing, XFX. "With the new ATI Radeon HD 4890 we're approaching the holy grail of clock speeds, targeting 1GHz, achievable through XFX's superior design and the quality of the new graphics processor from AMD."

ATI Stream technology

By harnessing ATI Stream technology in combination with a number of ATI Stream-enabled applications, the ATI Radeon HD 4890 graphics card can also help accelerate the conversion of standard and HD video into multiple formats for use on differing consumer electronics devices. CyberLink, an innovative software developer for digital media creation, playback, and sharing applications, has optimized its award-winning video editing software, PowerDirector 7 to make use of ATI Stream technology. The recently released update to PowerDirector 7 incorporates ATI

Stream technology to provide GPU accelerated video conversion, featuring higher levels of performance and functionality when compared to CPU-only acceleration.

"CyberLink is committed to helping consumers create digital content quickly and easily," said Alice H. Chang, CEO of CyberLink Corp. "PowerDirector 7, Cyberlink's award-winning video editing software, takes advantage of ATI Stream technology, making a great experience even better. With PowerDirector 7 and ATI Stream technology, anyone can edit high definition video, create an amazing movie, and encode it for playback on virtually any device faster than ever before."

A multimedia experience that's beyond HD

While the ATI Radeon HD 4890 graphics card was bred to be a gaming powerhouse, it also offers exceptional HD multimedia performance. All ATI Radeon HD 4800 series cards allow users to enjoy HD digital content with uncompromising visual fidelity while helping to enhance the definition and clarity of lower resolution media. Through AMD's second generation Unified Video Decoder (UVD 2.0) users can be assured of smooth HD video playback, sharp, crisp images and vibrant colors. With support for HDMI, picture-in-picture and the latest HD audio technologies like 7.1 surround sound, the ATI Radeon HD 4890 graphics card enables an impressive cinema-quality home entertainment experience.

Ecosystem support

The ATI Radeon HD 4890 graphics card is supported by a dozen add-in-board companies offering a variety of custom board and cooling solutions. Partners include ASUS, Club 3D, Diamond Multimedia, Force3D, GECUBE, GIGABYTE, HIS (Hightech Information Systems), Jetway, MSI, Palit Multimedia, PowerColor, SAPPHIRE Technology, VisionTek and XFX. It is available immediately for $249 MSRP (USD), and priced at select etailers as low as $229 (USD) after mail-in rebate.

For more information, visit the HD 4890 page.

Benchmarks and reviews:

Newegg Pricing:

Once You Know, You Newegg

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 275 Officially Launches

NVIDIA today announced the GeForce GTX 275 GPU, the latest addition to NVIDIA’s performance GPU lineup, offering first-rate graphics, physics, and GPU computing performance, as well as the absolute best price-performance for today’s value-conscious gamers.

Based on the GT200 architecture, the GeForce GTX 275 GPU features 240 processor cores operating at 1404 MHz, 80 texture processing units, a 448-bit memory interface, and an 896 MB framebuffer. In price and performance, it sits between the GeForce GTX 260 and the GeForce GTX 285.

Product Highlights:

  • Highest performing GPU in the $229-$249 price category
  • Incorporates NVIDIA PhysX technology for the most interactive gaming experience
  • NVIDIA CUDA for accelerated desktop applications
  • Supports NVIDIA 3D Vision for immersive stereoscopic gaming
  • Ready for Windows 7
  • Launches with new GeForce Release 185 software drivers for optimal performance and features, including a new Ambient Occlusion setting

The GeForce GTX 275 is being announced alongside the availability of the new GeForce Power Pack #3, which includes a host of free, new PhysX and CUDA-enabled content for GeForce owners. The Power Pack #3 includes:

  • Three new applications that take advantage of PhysX hardware acceleration, including a custom PhysX patch for Ascaron’s Sacred 2: Fallen Angel; a never-before-seen demo and benchmark for Star Tales, a highly ambitious social networking game from the acclaimed Chinese developer QWD1; and the source code to the PhysX screensaver for community modding and distribution.
  • Two new CUDA-accelerated applications, including MotionDSP vReveal and SETI@home.

When: The GeForce GTX 275 will be available globally on or before April 14, 2009. Some regions are available now; other regions are available for pre-order. Current availability varies by region. Update 4/15/09 - the GTX 275 is now available at most US retailers

Current Newegg pricing:

Where: GeForce GTX 275 will be available from the world’s leading add-in card partners, including: ASUS, BFG, Colorful, EVGA, Gainward, Galaxy, Gigabyte, Innovision, Leadtek, MSI, Palit, Sparkle, Zotac, PNY, Point of View, and XFX.

Benchmarks and reviews:

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Leaked

A DVD quality, full-length work print of the new action film, which isn't set for release until May 1, has been spreading through torrent sites today. According to several reports the video is an uncompleted version of the film.

AfterDawn.com has said the film, being a "workprint", is missing some of the wow factor. Specifically some of the special effects missing. Reportedly you also get the occasional view of wires still attached to actors during action scenes. Although unconfirmed, some are reporting that the leaked version is missing some of the director's re-shoots as well as a few new scenes. We probably won't know until next month however what is missing.

FOX released a statement confirming the leak and confirming the version of the film posted online was not complete. The company vowed that the source would be prosecuted stating the FBI and MPAA are investigating.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a prequel to the X-Men film trilogy. The film follows Wolverine and his time with Team X, at a time before his skeleton was bonded with adamantium.

BBC World News Joins The 1Cast Network

1cast logoWorld’s Largest Broadcast News Operation Partners with 1Cast for First multi-platform Video Product

CTIA, Las Vegas, April 2, 2009 — 1Cast, the revolutionary broadcast platform that delivers up-to-the-minute news video to the web and to subscribers’ Smartphones, today launched a multi-platform partnership with BBC World News to distribute the global broadcaster’s daily news content to consumers.

The BBC is the world’s largest broadcast news operation, producing 120 hours of output each day, from over 2,000 journalists and 70 international newsgathering bureaux, and broadcasting in 32 languages. BBC World News, a member of the BBC’s commercial group of companies, reaches 287 million households in over 200 countries, across television, online and mobile. The agreement with 1cast brings the potential to reach many more through its multi-platform offering.

“The way people consume news is changing all the time, and it’s up to broadcasters to keep pace with this. Delivering news when people want it, incorporating it into their lifestyles rather than expecting them to accommodate us, is hugely important. Our agreement with 1Cast allows us to distribute our content on demand across multiple video platforms, augmenting our existing tri-media offering.” said Beth Clearfield, Vice President of Digital Media and Business Development, BBC Worldwide America.

“The BBC shares the same vision as 1Cast,” said Anthony Bontrager, President of 1Cast. “Video content should be available whenever and wherever consumers want in an easily consumable format. 1Cast has become a leader in the seamless distribution of video news across various platforms, and we’re excited to have the BBC join us with its vast breadth of news content and massive audience.”

1Cast is a digital newsstand that gives viewers more control over the content they consume. Viewers simply select the topics they care about most, and 1Cast delivers up-to-the minute newscasts of video clips from leading news sources, including the Associated Press, Reuters, CNBC, Barrons.com, Dow Jones, The Wall Street Journal Digital Network, AllThingsD.com and now BBC World News.

News content from 1Cast is consumed on the go, via the iPhone, iPod Touch, Android mobile phone or on the web, and is updated continually throughout the day. Users can also share their personalized newscasts with friends via email or on platforms such as blogs, social networking sites and other web portals using the 1Cast embeddable video player.

The Woz Dances No More

After an amusing four weeks on ABC's Dancing with the Stars, Apple co-founder Steve "The Woz" Wozniak was booted from the show last night.

Despite earning the "geek vote", with tons of online support which included a Twitter page of over 100k followers (@VoteWoz). Wozniak and his professional partner, Karina Smirnoff, were eliminated from the show. The pair were two of the three couples with the lowest combined scores from Monday's program, and were therefore slated for possible elimination on Tuesday's episode.

In further proof that that beauty doesn't always beat out brains (or should that be the other way around), former Playboy cover model Holly Madison was the other celebrity contestant dropped from the show.

It has been an interesting four weeks to say the least. Judges often criticized Wozniak's dancing style going so far as to say it was, "like watching a Teletubby going mad in a gay pride parade." The same judge, Judge Bruno Taglioni was less than impressed by this weeks dancing. Stating “The tango originated in the ghettos of Buenos Aires. The only right thing you picked up is the stench because this really stunk!”

YouTube Partners With ABC, Disney & ESPN To Offer Content

youtube logoEarlier this week YouTube announced a partnership with the Disney/ABC Television Group. The new partnership will bring short-form content from the Disney/ABS's companies including ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Family, SOAPnet, and ESPN.

O the new ABC's YouTube channel, which officially launches in early May, you'll find clips of popular prime-time shows like Lost, Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy, as well as behind-the-scenes footage, celebrity interviews, online-only specials and a lot more. These won't include full length features rather short clips or highlights.

ESPN's YouTube destination officially launches in mid-April, but if you go there now you can get a preview of the kinds of sports videos that will be uploaded to the channel: Sportscenter highlights, sports chatter from Bobby Knight, exclusive interviews with athletes like T.O. and, of course, the crazy commentary of Dick Vitale. In addition, ESPN's own Video Player will be integrated into the page, allowing fans access to the features and functionality that are already familiar to them. There will be more short-form content available through the YouTube player on the page.

Unfortunately we'll still see the new InVideo overlays, the new in video animated ads that appear over a portion of the content. Disney/ABC and ESPN will be allowed to sell their own advertising inventory within their own channels so we'll probably see ads from various shows within their network.

As Expected Conficker Doesn't Live Up To The Hype

April 1st is upon us and predicted last week the largely over-hyped over exaggerated threat from the Conficker.C worm has failed to materialize. As midnight approached over seas and Aprils Fools Day hit the worm has gone relatively un-noticed by anyone other than the media and the security researchers watching it.

"Conficker has activated," said Patrik Runald, chief security adviser at F-Secure, in a blog post posted shorty after 12 AM GMT. "So far nothing has actually happened."

So, when exactly is Conficker activating? So far - nothing. Infected computers are generating the list of 50'000 domains and trying to go to 500 of those as described earlier but so far no update has been made available. According to F-Seacure it goes like this:

  • Conficker checks the local clock every 90 minutes (in some cases even more frequently)
  • The check is done with Windows GetLocalTime function
  • GetLocalTime gives the local time, based on the local time zone
  • Because of this, machines around the world are returning different times
  • Clock skew affects this as well
  • But not by much, as Windows machines will sync their local clock with time.windows.com once a week
  • Once the local clock says it's April 1st, Conficker will collect a date from the net
Conficker's net time collection uses several large websites to get the date. When the local clock says it's April 1st, Conficker will fetch the date values from the above sites and will use these values in an algorithm to generate 50,000 unique domain names.

The machines that are infected by Conficker.C and are turned on, will change modes between 00:00 and 01:30 on April 1st, based on machines own clock. The ones that are turned off, will change modes soon after they are booted up. However as noted there has been NO SIGN of the alleged update, and no sign of any further malicious activity.

Several other sites are reporting similar information, with many security researchers sitting, watching and waiting but little to nothing to actually report.

"Over the next 24 hours Conficker will change the way it communicates, but we don't expect much of anything else to happen," said Marcus Sachs, director of the SANS Internet Storm Center, in a blog post. "There has been quite a bit of media hype about Conficker, and we've seen dozens of new domain names registered to 'help' those who are confused. There are also several reports of malicious software masquerading as detection and cleaning tools for Conficker-infected computers."

The ironic part, despite the fact thatwe have seen little to nothing at all from the virus and the fact that security researchers tried to downplay the threat the media still clings to the hysteria with crazy headlines. Over the past few hrs several headlines have popped up that including "Conficker worm set to infect computers worldwide today", "April Fools virus could mean big problem for millions", "Conficker: World Preps for April Fools Attack".

No wonder I received a ton of email from friends asking me if they should be concerned. Even now I see two or three emails that have come in since I started writing this. People spot these crazy headlines and over react!

According to PCWorld.com IBM believes the US held only about 6% off the PCs allegedly infected by Conficker, with 45% of the Conficker.c-infected computers traced to Asian IP addresses, while another 31% were pegged to European addresses. If there was going to be anything of major concern it would have hit those countries long before we had to worry about it.

Read more:

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wikia Search Closes Shop

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikia has announced that Wikia is closing the doors on Wikia Search, deciding to instead re-direct and refocusing resources on other Wikia.com properties, especially on Wikianswers.

Wales says the main reason for the refocus is based on the strong showing of the Wikianswers Q&A site. That portion of Wikia in particular has seen tremendous growth since it was re-launched in February. Wikianswers along with other Wikia communities have continued to see strong growth while Wikia Search has not seen the growth that Wales has hoped to see.

"On the other hand, while I personally believe in the opportunity for free software to make serious inroads into the search space, our project, Wikia Search, has not been enjoying the kind of success that we had hoped," Wales said in his blog post.

"In a different economy, we would continue to fund Wikia Search indefinitely. It’s something I care about deeply. I will return to again and again in my career to search, either as an investor, a contributor, a donor, or a cheerleader. But for now, we will be closing the doors on the Wikia Search project (as of March 31, 2009)."

OCZ Wants You To Do-It-Yourself With New 10.1" Neutrino Netbook

Add on your own hard drive, ram and operating system and you'll be set with OCZ's newest offering, the DIY 10.1" Neutrino Netbook.

OCZ Technology Introduces the Neutrino Netbook, the Latest Solution in their Award-Winning DIY Initiative

ocz neutrino netbook

San Jose, Calif.—March 30, 2008—OCZ Technology Group, Inc., a worldwide leader in innovative, ultra-high performance and high reliability memory, components, and systems, today unveiled the Neutrino netbook, their latest Do-It-Yourself (DIY) solution. Building on OCZ’s award-winning DIY line, users ranging from hardware enthusiasts to mainstream professionals can partake in configuring and building their own personalized ultra-mobile solution, complete with everything they need in a portable companion.

“There are many consumers that desire the blend of essential functionalities and an ultra compact form factor, and our new Neutrino Do-It-Yourself netbooks based on Intel Atom technology allows users to design and configure their very own solution tailored to their unique needs,” commented Alex Mei, CMO of the OCZ Technology Group. “The Neutrino DIY netbook puts the control back in the hands of consumers by allowing them to configure a feature rich netbook with their own memory, storage, and preferred OS into a reasonably priced go-anywhere computing solution.”

Based on the Intel Atom processor, the 10.1” Neutrino was developed to push the envelope in the growing area of netbooks as the first DIY offering. Proving that good things come in small packages, the Neutrino provides all the day-to-day necessities for on-the-go traveling, education, office or home use. Equipped with a built-in camera and microphone, Neutrino will expand your horizons through communications between family, friends, and colleagues.

OCZ’s visionary DIY initiative was inspired by enthusiasts, but created for everyone. The Neutrino allows users to have complete control of the cost/performance ratio of their netbook and makes the entire procedure simple and easy to follow. Unlike previous OCZ DIY solutions, the Neutrino comes equipped with the CPU, but enables users to maximize netbook-computing efficiency by supporting up to 2GB of memory and hard drive or SSD capacities up to 250GB.

For support unlike any other DIY mobile solution, OCZ’s program makes it easy and convenient to build your own notebook by detailing validated components, the assembling process, and offering direct online and toll-free support for true peace of mind from beginning to end.

For more information regarding the OCZ Neutrino 10" DIY Notebook, please visit the OCZ product page here

Source: OCZ Press Release

My thoughts:

I've always been big on DYI computer building, desktops however are a completely different animal than laptops or netbooks. The small form factor and cramped work space make working on these things a serious PITA. Adding in RAM and a HDD really isn't that difficult but why would I want to bother.

Traditionally DIY projects are meant for customization. Since all you are adding in is a couple sticks of ram, storage and your choice of operating systems you really aren't customizing much. Most of us geeks change out RAM anyways so all you are really customizing is your OS and storage capacity.

In most cases its going to be cheaper and a lot easier buying a pre-assembled netbook and then dumping the OS if you don't like your current options. Since OCZ has not released pricing or availability information at this I can't comment on the value of the machine. But I'd have to say it would have to be priced very well for me to want to hassle with it.

Greenpeace Knocks Top Computer Manufacturers Over Broken Toxic Phase-Out Promises

In New Ranking Guide, Greenpeace knocks HP, Lenovo and Dell for broken toxic phase-out promises

San Francisco – Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Dell see their scores drop in the latest edition of Greenpeace’s “Guide to Greener Electronics” ranking, released today. All three PC makers have been given a penalty point for backtracking on their commitment to eliminate vinyl plastic (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from their products by the end of 2009.

Of the five PC market leaders, Apple and Acer are the only ones sticking to commitments to phase out these toxic substances. With the exception of one technical hurdle - achieving certified PVC-free power cords - Apple has already met its commitment to have all of its products free of PVC and BFRs by the end of 2008.

“If Apple can find the solutions, there should be no reason why the other leading PC companies can not,” said Casey Harrell, Greenpeace International toxics campaigner. “All of them should have at least one toxic-free line of products on the market by the end of this year.”

Dell produces a desktop, a notebook and several models of monitors that have a reduced use of PVC and BFRs, and a few monitor models that are free of these substances. Lenovo has two models available that are PVC and BFR-free. HP is trailing behind and has yet to bring out models with even a reduced use of PVC and BFRs. While HP and Dell have yet to set a new timeline for completely eliminating these substances from all their products, Lenovo has delayed its deadline to the end of 2010.

The biggest change in the rankings is the big jump from 15th to 4th place made by Philips. Following pressure from Greenpeace, the company has significantly improved its position on taking financial responsibility for the recycling of its own e-waste, although it still needs to implement a system to affect this.

“When they are paying for the collection and recycling of their own products, companies like Philips will now have the added incentive to develop cleaner, more recyclable products because recycling costs are influenced by the amount of toxic chemicals present and how easy products are to recycle,” explained Harrell. “Individual producer responsibility is crucial to the greener development of the electronics industry.”

Despite an overall slump in scores in the toxics categories, companies are starting to improve their scores on energy criteria. ICT is a key sector in the fight against climate change and could enable emissions reductions of 15 percent of business-as-usual. Samsung joins Philips in publically demonstrating support for global steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to tackle climate change. Dell and Nokia join HP and Philips in making commitments to substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from their own operations. Several companies are now increasing their use of renewable energy, with Nokia already sourcing a quarter of its electricity use from renewable energy sources.

Source: GreenPeace

Skype For iPhone Officially Launches Today

skype logoSkype Available on Apple App Store
Free application enables millions of iPhone and iPod touch users worldwide to take their Skype conversations with them

LAS VEGAS, March 31, 2009 - Skype announced that its highly anticipated application, Skype for iPhone, will be available on the Apple App Store beginning today. The app also adds Skype calling and instant messaging to any second generation iPod touch with a compatible headset and microphone.

"Skype software for the iPhone has been the number one request among our users. We are delighted to deliver on this request and put Skype into the pockets of millions of people around the world who are carrying iPhone and iPod touch devices," said Scott Durchslag, Skype's Chief Operating Officer. "Skype for iPhone will open up new ways for more than 400 million Skype users to stay connected and take their Skype conversations with them. Skype for iPhone is an experience that offers the same simplicity, ease-of-use and quality our users have come to expect from Skype, combined with an elegance of design and richness so loved by Apple's many customers worldwide."

The application delivers core Skype capabilities including:

  • Free Skype-to-Skype calls from any Wi-Fi zone to other Skype users worldwide
  • Call landline or mobile phones at Skype's great low rates from any Wi-Fi zone
  • Send/receive instant messages to/from individuals or groups via 3G, Wi-Fi, GPRS or EDGE (whichever is available)
  • Receive calls to a personal online number on Skype
  • See when Skype contacts are online/available to IM or talk

Skype for iPhone requires a Wi-Fi connection to make free Skype-to-Skype calls or low-cost Skype calls to mobiles and landlines. Users will not be charged by Skype for making and receiving Skype-to-Skype calls using an iPhone or iPod touch. Skype's normal low rates apply if using Skype to call landlines or mobiles.

The app uses Wi-Fi, 3G, GPRS or EDGE (whichever is available) to sign into Skype, update a contact list, maintain and update presence and send/receive instant messages. Skype recommends an unlimited data usage plan for using Skype over a mobile data connection to avoid being charged by a wireless service provider for 3G, GPRS and EDGE mobile data usage.

Profile pictures of other users in a Skype Contacts list are also visible, making it easy to identify them. In addition, users can update their own Skype profile picture from within the Skype for iPhone app, either by choosing an existing image from a photo album on the device, or by using the camera on the iPhone to take a new photo.

The Skype application for the iPhone or iPod touch will be available for free from Apple's App Store on both devices, or at www.itunes.com/appstore/.

Source: Skype Press Release

Google Launches New Venture Capital Fund

With our faltering economy venture capital funds have all but dried up. So it might comes a surprise that Google has decided to buck the trend and form a $100million VC fund.

Announced via the Official Google Blog earlier today, Google Ventures will be headed by Rich Miner, a co-founder of Android smart phone software that Google acquired in 2005, and Bill Maris founder of Web hosting pioneer Burlee.com. (Read their bios)
At its core, Google Ventures is charged with finding and helping to develop exceptional start-ups. We'll be focusing on early stage investments across a diverse range of industries, including consumer Internet, software, clean-tech, bio-tech, health care and, no doubt, other areas we haven't thought of yet. Central to our effort will be our fellow Googlers, whom we view as a critically important resource to help educate us about potential investments areas and evaluate specific companies.

Google Ventures, will be wholly owned by Google, but will operate as a separate entity from the companies normal search/web based operations. The new and will look to invest in early-stage start-up firms seeking investment opportunities to maximize returns rather than looking for investments that strictly fit with Google's strategic vision.

Read more:

Monday, March 30, 2009

Should We Save The Failing Newspaper Industry?

A new bill introduced on Tuesday seeks to extend nonprofit status to the failing newspaper industry providing newspaper companies with a variety of tax breaks.

The new bill entitled the Newspaper Revitalization Act which was introduced by Democratic senator Senator Benjamin Cardin yesterday. The bill would allow newspapers to operate as nonprofits for educational purposes under the U.S. tax code, giving them a similar status to public broadcasting companies. Advertising and subscription revenue would be tax exempt, and contributions to support news coverage or operations could be tax deductible.

The senator cited the recent closures of two newspapers Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Rocky Mountain News,and announcements from the Baltimore Examiner and the San Francisco Chronicle, among others, that they may have to stop publishing in introducing the bill.

Dell small business

"Under this arrangement, newspapers would not be allowed to make political endorsements, but would be allowed to freely report on all issues, including political campaigns," he said. "Advertising and subscription revenue would be tax exempt and contributions to support coverage or operations could be tax deductible."

The measure is targeted to preserve local newspapers serving communities and not large newspaper conglomerates. Because newspaper profits have been falling in recent years, no substantial loss of federal revenue is expected.

“We are losing our newspaper industry,” said Senator Cardin. “The economy has caused an immediate problem, but the business model for newspapers, based on circulation and advertising revenue, is broken, and that is a real tragedy for communities across the nation and for our democracy. While we have lots of news sources, we rely on newspapers for in-depth reporting that follows important issues, records events and exposes misdeeds. In fact, most if not all sources of journalistic information – from radio to television to the Internet – gathers their news from newspaper reporters who cover the news on a daily basis and know their communities. It is in the interest of our nation and good governance that we ensure they survive.”

But is it really in the interest of the community or the interest of the people to save a failing medium. Newspapers have seen steadily declining circulation and the migration of readers to free news online for years so why would things suddenly be any different. The instant reporting capabilities of the internet and TV have pretty much killed the need for a print based media. Who wants to read yesterdays printed news when we are reading it happen as its happening?

Great Savings on Dell Laptops!

On the face of it this bill would equate to nothing more than government charity, bailing out yet another business that has failed to keep up with the times. Why only save the news, why not save magazines as well? We see no such handout heading towards the magazine industry that is by the way heading down the same road.

Of course this bailout really doesn't mean much in terms of actual cash value to the tax payer. The companies can hardly stay afloat now as it is. Sp assuming they continue to run at "business as usual" and don't turn things around tax payers wouldn't loose out on incoming taxes. After all you don't make much in tax from a company that isn't making money.

I appreciate the way things used to be done and of course the history behind the newspaper. But I have to wonder why we seek to hold on to the past when we should be embracing the future. Let the industry die, it has been dying a slow painful death for several years. Lets move forward into the new age of e-news, when its happeing, where its happening.

Twitter Updates The @Replies Feature

twitter logoOriginally used as a landing page to track Tweets that began with @Yourusername the @replies function left a little to be desired. Without the addition of a third party app Tweeters couldn't see all Tweets that feature their username. Today Twitter announced an update to the @Replies page.

The new update, which Twitter is now referring to it as Mentions, will show in as your own @username in the sidebar. When you click that tab, you'll see a list of all tweets referencing your account with the @username convention anywhere in the tweet—instead of only at the beginning which is how it used to work. So for me it would be all mentions of @Geek_News.

Of course this functionality was already available when using the Twitter search, or through a third party client like TweetDeck or Power Twitter. But with this update user can now keep track of conversation involving their username through the Twitter web interface.

FareWell To FileFront

FileFront, the popular file download repository will shut down indefinitely today.

“We regret to inform you that due to the current economic conditions we are forced to indefinitely suspend the FileFront site operations on March 30, 2009,” reads the site’s farewell letter. “If you have uploaded files, images or posted blogs, or if you would like to download some of your favorite files, please take this opportunity to download them before March 30th when the site will be suspended.”

“We would like to give a warm thank you to all of you who have been part of the FileFront communities we have built together. Your support has had a meaningful impact for all of us here at FileFront,” continued the message before signing off, “Keeping gaming alive.”

There has been no word from FileFront's owners, Ziff Davis, as to why they are shuttering the site. Earlier this year the company sold most of its gaming property which included the 1UP division to Hearst’s UGO Entertainment network and closed down print magazine EGM. The sale of 1UP included websites Mycheats.com, Gametab.com and GameVideos.com, but not FileFront. At the time the company indicated it would shift its focus to the PC Mag Digital Network, including PC Magazine and ExtremeTech.

WD Enters SSD Market, Acquires SiliconSystems

Western Digital Corp., a world leader in hard drive storage for computing and consumer electronics applications, today announced that it has completed a $65 million cash acquisition of SiliconSystems, Inc., Aliso Viejo, Calif., a leading supplier of solid-state drives for the embedded systems market.

Since its inception in 2002, SiliconSystems has sold millions of SiliconDrive products to meet the high performance, high reliability and multi-year product lifecycle demands of the network-communications, industrial, embedded-computing, medical, military and aerospace markets. These markets accounted for approximately one third of worldwide solid-state drive revenues in 2008. SiliconSystems' product portfolio includes solid-state drives with SATA, EIDE, PC Card, USB and CF interfaces in 2.5-inch, 1.8-inch, CF and other form factors. SiliconSystems has developed extensive intellectual property to address the stringent embedded systems market requirements to ensure data integrity, eliminate unscheduled downtime, protect application data and software and provide for data security and protection through its patented and patent-pending PowerArmor, SiSMART, SolidStor and SiSecure technologies.

WD's storage industry leadership, worldwide infrastructure, and technical and financial resources will enable further growth in SiliconSystems' existing markets and customer relationships. SiliconSystems' intellectual property and technical expertise will provide additional building blocks for future products to address emerging opportunities in WD's existing markets.

"We are delighted to have the SiliconSystems team join WD," said John Coyne, president and CEO of WD. "The combination will be modestly accretive to revenue and margins as a result of SiliconSystems' existing position as a trusted supplier to the well-established $400 million market for embedded solid-state drives. SiliconSystems' intellectual property and technical expertise will significantly accelerate WD's solid-state drive development programs for the netbook, client and enterprise markets, providing greater choice for our customers to satisfy all their storage requirements."

Integration into WD begins immediately, with SiliconSystems now becoming known as the WD Solid-State Storage business unit, complementing WD's existing Branded Products, Client Storage, Consumer Storage and Enterprise Storage business units.

"WD's strong balance sheet, sales reach, and operations and logistics capabilities will allow us to greatly accelerate our penetration of our existing markets, while combining our engineering expertise with WD will enable us to develop new solid-state drives to broaden our overall product portfolio and address the emerging applications for solid-state storage in WD's existing customer base," said Michael Hajeck, a founder and CEO of SiliconSystems, now senior vice president and general manager of WD's Solid-State Storage business unit. "We are extremely excited to be joining WD and enabling an even stronger future for our talented team."

A set of questions and answers related to today's announcement can be found on WD's website at http://www.wdc.com/en/company/investor/QandA.asp.

Source: Western Digital Press Release

NVIDIA Introduces New Quadro GPU's

NVIDIA Introduces Industry’s Most Powerful Professional Graphics LineUp

Most Advanced Visualization Product Line Ever; Highlights Decade of Quadro Graphics Innovation

Whether designing the next aircraft or delivering seven-day weather forecasts, today’s professionals seek a reliable, robust visualization platform designed to address their unique challenges and needs. Highlighting a decade of innovation, driven by the needs of the most demanding professionals, NVIDIA today introduced its most powerful and advanced top-to-bottom line of Quadro professional GPU solutions in the Company’s history.

“Our mission with Quadro is to help customers solve the world’s most challenging visual computing problems,” stated Dan Vivoli, executive vice president of marketing at NVIDIA. “We learn every day from them and are humbled by their brilliance. The new lineup, with the flagship Quadro FX 5800, sets the stage for the next ten years of innovation.”

Spanning from sub-$100 entry-level to standalone visual computing systems, this new series includes:

  • NVIDIA Quadro FX 5800 the industry’s first and only 4GB, ultra high-end solution delivers the highest visualization performance and capabilities, enabling professionals to work with large-scale models and datasets.
  • NVIDIA Quadro FX 4800 ultra high-end solution provides professionals with the most complete toolset to dramatically push the boundaries of realism, performance, and quality.
  • NVIDIA Quadro FX 3800 single slot solution with a robust feature set and added capabilities such as SLI Multi-OS and SDI support to enable a no-compromise, high-performance, interactive visualization experience.
  • NVIDIA Quadro FX 1800 mid-range solution offers the best price performance for workstation graphics and provides the optimal blend of quality, precision, performance, and programmability.
  • NVIDIA Quadro FX 580 best-in-class entry-level solution boosts productivity for a variety of industry-leading volume CAD and digital content applications.
  • NVIDIA Quadro FX 380 an affordable professional-class graphics solution extends energy efficiency while delivering 50-percent faster performance.
  • The Quadro NVS 295 capable of supporting up to two 30-inch digital displays at maximum resolutions, taking business graphics to a new level visual perfection.

“Once again, NVIDIA has set new graphics performance standards for professionals in the product design and development community,” said Laurent Laloy, director, 3DVIA User Experience, Dassault Systèmes. “This latest generation of Quadro professional solutions will allow our customers to drive innovation and design with unprecedented 3D visual quality.”

This new line-up also brings the introduction of NVIDIA SLI Multi-OS, a ground-breaking technology that enables, for the first time, 3D workstation virtualization on the Quadro GPU. With SLI Multi-OS, applications and users are able to optimize productivity and costs through the use of multiple Quadro GPU technologies from a single workstation in a virtualized environment. Users can also enable native SLI technology support on key partner platforms to accelerate application performance, scaling and higher image quality.

NVIDIA Quadro solutions are widely available through leading system manufacturers such as Dell, Fujistu-Siemens, HP and Lenovo; leading workstation system integrators; and NVIDIA channel partners PNY Technologies (US and EMEA), Leadtek (APAC) and Elsa (Japan). For additional information about the complete lineup of NVIDIA Quadro professional solutions, please visit: www.nvidia.com/quadro.

“The new family of powerful NVIDIA GPU solutions are an ideal match for the new HP Z Workstations, which have been totally reinvented from the core outward for breakthrough performance, value and serviceability,” said Jim Zafarana, Vice President and General Manager, HP Workstations. “This powerful combination can tackle the most challenging visual computing problems that exist for today’s demanding professionals.”

“As the worldwide leader in workstations, Dell looks to partner with only the best companies to deliver the solutions that workstation professionals demand,” said Greg Weir, senior manager, product group. “The power of Dell Precision and NVIDIA graphics represents a step-change in what customers can expect from a reliable, powerful and ISV-certified workstation with performance gains at levels beyond what customers could have imagined.”

Source: NVIDIA Press Release

Dell Adding Some Color To Their Inspiron Towers

Dell Adds More Colors to its Inspiron Desktop Family

Style-minded families, students and teens want to personalize their PCs to meet their performance and lifestyle needs - blogging, chatting, sending photos or running a media center. Highly-stylized products, like Dell's new Inspiron slim and mini-tower desktops, deliver on design and customization, transforming the brand from the "built-for-me" model, into "made-for-me."

Dell's new Inspiron slim and mini-towers expand the design and personalization possibilities for consumers. Available in eight vibrant colors, Piano Black, Pure White, True Blue, Formula Red, Tangerine Orange, Spring Green, Plum Purple and Promise Pink. Dell is the only major consumer desktop manufacturer to offer such extensive personalization options to reflect individuals' personal style or to complement their bedroom or study.

Inspiron slim and mini-tower desktops debut today in China and are available for purchase through Dell.com, distributor Digital China or retailers Suning and Gome. Starting at $299 US, the systems will be available worldwide later this spring.

Click on the image below to see a larger version or check out the additional pictures available on Dell's Flickr page.

The News:
  • Dell's new Inspiron desktop lets people express themselves through choices of color (eight options), size (slim or mini-tower) and configuration.
  • Vivid color palette to express your personal style: Piano Black, Pure White, True Blue, Formula Red, Tangerine Orange, Spring Green, Plum Purple and Promise Pink.
  • Dell becomes the only major consumer desktop manufacturer to offer color options for the entire front of the machine.
  • Customizable options to meet individual's budget, lifestyle and usage needs.
  • Ideal for common tasks including email, Internet, blogging, entertainment (movies, music and casual gaming) and productivity.
  • Features available on the new Inspiron desktops include:
  • - Intel Celeron, Intel Core 2 Duo and Intel Core 2 Quad options or AMD Sempron, Athlon X2 and Phenom X4 processor options Integrated Intel or ATI Radeon graphics on select systems with discrete graphics options available - Up to 8 GB memory on select systems - Up to 750 GB storage (slim tower) or up to 1TB storage (mini-tower) - Optional 19-in-1 media card reader and optional HDMI connectivity - 6 USB ports (2 front, 4 back) - Dual optical options (mini-tower only) including Blu-ray Disc drive - Small form factor with its versatile horizontal or vertical placement is designed to easily fit into your home media center (slim tower only)

Source: Direct2Dell Blog

Friday, March 27, 2009

Conficker April Fool's Joke Or Real Threat?

There has been much debate over what the latest version of the Conficker worm might do come April 1st. Several security researchers have warned that he latest variant labeled Conficker.C, is programmed to do something on April 1. But what exactly will happen no one seems to know.

One thing they do know for sure is that the two original variants "Conficker.A" and especially "Conficker.B" (also known as Downadup) have built a botnet that has reached estimates of over 10 million PCs. Such a widespread botnet has the potential of wreaking havoc, however up till now Conficker has done little more than spread around to un-protected PCs. Leaving room for much speculation and a ton of hype.

While some security experts such as Eset are warning users that they should take precautions and back up in advance of April 1 others like Joe Stewart, a security researcher at believe there is really not much more to worry about. Stating "there will be no April 1st outbreak." Clean PCs won't suddenly melt down from a new Conficker infection. All that will happen, Stewart writes, is that the worm will begin to use a new trick that gives it a better chance of getting around existing defenses that attempt to prevent it from updating.

The truth is, there will be no April 1st outbreak, despite what some of the press stories have said so far. The only thing that will happen with Conficker on April 1st is that already-infected systems will begin to use a new algorithm to locate potential update servers. There, that’s not so scary, is it?

Th is isn't really a new trick for Conficker. Variant C added the ability to circumvent some of the previous work arounds used to block its access to update sites. Stewart and several other researchers believe there is no reason to worry about the overly hyped April 1st date line for Conficker.C.
And here’s why:
  1. Conficker.C is already able to receive updates via its P2P protocol today, so focusing on the April 1st date is misguided.
  2. Don’t underestimate the reach of the Conficker Working Group. These are the security industry’s heavy-hitters, and you can be sure they are working diligently to mitigate the domain issue.
  3. Even though there are 50,000 domains to look at, they are being closely monitored, and if any malicious servers do appear, they will likely be taken down or null-routed very quickly.
  4. If the author(s) of Conficker planned some massive update of malicious code, they certainly wouldn’t do it on the one day everyone is watching for it.

I share Stewart's personal opinion that the April 1st activation of the new algorithm may simply be a distraction, a kind of practical joke on the part of the worm author(s). Conficker may not be something to laugh about, but it’s also not quite as serious as one might believe from reading about it in many of the articles written so far.

For those of you that are truly worried about it then the best bet is having a good offense. You need to make sure both your operating system and your security are updated. The worm originally was spread through exploitation of the MS08-067 vulnerability in Windows. You need to make sure you have installed the latest patch.

If you believe you might be infected then try one of these tools.

McAfee just released this Stinger build today, and says it will update it on a daily basis to include new Conficker variants.

On a further related note Symantec researcher John Parks today warned users that searching for Conficker might actually led to infectious sites. By using Google and simply searching for "Conficker C," Parks found result that included a link to an infected site being used to spread a fake antivirus program. Following the malicious link eventually lead to a rogue application installation website which tried to install a maliciuos piece of software.

Nonprofit Uses YouTube To Raise $10k In One Day

youtube logoAccording to a recent YouTube blog post non profit organization Charity: Water utilized a new feature on YouTube called "Call to Action" to raise more than $10,000 in a single day. The new feature allows non profit and charity organizations to use InVideo overlays to drive traffic to an off-YouTube web site, where they can collect signatures, email addresses, or even donations.

On Sunday, to commemorate World Water Day, YouTube featured a video from charity:water on the YouTube homepage. The video included a Call to Action overlay that encouraged YouTube users to donate money to help build wells and provide clean, safe drinking water for those who don't have it.

Charity:Water asked for a $20 per person donation to fund clean water solutions like shallow wells, deep wells, rainwater harvesting systems, and spring protections to provide people in need with clean and safe drinking water. Thanks to viewers, charity:water was able to raise over $10,000 in one day from the video. That's enough to build two brand-new wells in the Central African Republic and give over 150 people clean drinking water for 20 years!