Tuesday, April 14, 2009

eBay Plans To Spin Off Skype, IPO Planned For 2010

skype logoIn an interesting twist to a story we were covering earlier about the potential sale of Skype to the original founders eBay has now announced plans to spin Skype off as an independent company.

eBay Inc. Announces Plan for 2010 Initial Public Offering of Skype

SAN JOSE - April 14, 2009 - eBay Inc. today announced that it plans to separate Skype from the company, beginning with an initial public offering that is intended to be completed in the first half of 2010. Specific timing of the IPO will be based on market conditions.

"Skype is a great stand-alone business with strong fundamentals and accelerating momentum," said eBay Inc.'s President and CEO, John Donahoe. "But it's clear that Skype has limited synergies with eBay and PayPal. We believe operating Skype as a stand-alone publicly traded company is the best path for maximizing its potential. This will give Skype the focus and resources required to continue its growth and effectively compete in online voice and video communications. In addition, separating Skype will allow eBay to focus entirely on our two core growth engine - e-commerce and online payments - and deliver long-term value to our stockholders."

The decision to separate Skype is based on a timeline outlined by Donahoe when he became eBay's CEO in April 2008. At the time, the company said it would spend a year evaluating Skype and its potential synergies within the eBay Inc. portfolio before making any decisions about Skype's future. Donahoe also installed a new management team at Skype led by Josh Silverman, which has driven stronger momentum and improved performance. In 2008, Skype generated revenues of $551 million, up 44 percent from 2007, and segment margins of approximately 21 percent. Registered users reached 405 million by the end of 2008, up 47 percent from 2007, and user metrics improved significantly throughout the year. The company recently announced that it expects Skype to top $1 billion in revenue in 2011, nearly doubling 2008 revenues.

"Under the leadership of Josh Silverman and his management team, Skype has become a stronger business in the past year, and I expect it will be even stronger a year from now," Donahoe said. "Skype has accelerating global user growth and strong fundamentals, diversified revenue streams and is competitively positioned in a large market. We expect Josh and his team to continue delivering results as we prepare Skype for an IPO."

Most recently, the release of the Skype for iPhone application has generated a great response. More than one million people downloaded Skype for iPhone in the first 36 hours after it became available--and Skype immediately became the No. 1 downloaded free iPhone application in more than 40 markets, including the U.S., UK and Japan. In just over a week, downloads passed the two million mark, putting Skype on more than 6 percent of all iPhones and iPod Touch - and adding almost half a million new Skype users.

Source: Skype Press Release

eBay Sales Off StumbleUpon Is Skype Next?

theFlip MINOeBay has sold StumbleUpon back to the original co-founders Garrett Camp and Geoff Smith along with several investors making the company independent again after nearly two years. The details of the purchase weren't disclosed so we don't know how much of original $75 million that eBay paid for the purchase of the site in 2007 the company got back.

Since taking over StunbleUpon eBay has watched the site grow from 2.3 million to more than 7.4 million members, and from about 150 million recommendations per month to 425 million. In the same period, the number of advertisers grew from a few hundred to about 20,000. But eBay never really assimilated StumbleUpon into its overall business model.

"It was a pretty lucrative offer, because nothing really changed," co-founder Garrett Camp said. "The startup remained at its offices in downtown San Francisco, where it still operates, and got a valuable infusion of capital. But ultimately, eBay couldn't find a way to integrate StumbleUpon into the larger business", he said.

"As eBay Inc. expands its leadership in online payments and e-commerce, it has become apparent that there are few long-term, strategic synergies between StumbleUpon and the eBay Inc. portfolio," eBay said on its official eBay INK blog.

It appears as though eBay might be cutting some of the fat and some of their more questionable acquisitions. Rumors have surfaced over the past few weeks that Skype's founders have been looking to travel down the same path the StumbleUpon founders did.

According to reports from both Reuters and the New York Times Skype's Co-founders Niklas Zennstrom and Janus Friis have contacted several private equity firms in order to make a bid for the company. eBay bought Skype back in 2005 for $2.6 billion however sources from the Times estimated the new deal to be worth slightly less at just over $2 billion.

Yesterday the WSJ Blog Deal Journal reported eBay was encouraging them to make an offer, however it appears their original offer fell short. According to the post the proposal involved private-equity firms contributing some $1 billion to the deal and eBay providing financing for the rest of the capital.

The founders’ offer fell on deaf ears, as it was well below the price at which Ebay was willing to sell the business. The two sides are far apart and at this stage a deal involving the private-equity firms is unlikely to be completed, said people familiar with the matter.

Skype has largely been a disappointment since it was acquired by eBay. The company took a $1.4 billion write down against the company last year. However this year the company has turned things around. Becoming the world's largest provider of long distance communications while posting $550 million in revenue.

Neither eBay or Skype's co-founders have come forth with comments regarding the deal and most sources have said at this time it seems unlikely a deal will happen. eBay is reportedly looking for more than they pair are willing to offer at this time.

Update 4/14 - 2:00PM
In a strange twist to the story eBay today announced plans for a 2010 IPO of Skype, spinning the company off on its own. For more details see our latest post "eBay Plans To Spin Off Skype, IPO Planned For 2010"

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hitachi Adds Networking Capability To New CP-X2010N 3LCD Projector

Hitachi Provides Networking Capability And Industry-Class Performance With New CP-X2010N 3LCD Projector

The CP-X2010N Offers A 5,000-Hour Hybrid Filter And Can Be Controlled And Maintained Through A LAN Network Connection

Hitachi CP-X2010N
CHULA VISTA, Calif., April 13, 2009 — Hitachi Home Electronics Inc., Business Group has introduced the CP-X2010N 3LCD projector, adding networking functionality to its successful predecessor, the CP-X2010, The CP-X2010N offers a brightness of 2,200 lumens and a new 5,000-hour hybrid filter.

The CP-X2010N projector can be controlled and maintained through a LAN network connection, providing the ability to network, control and maintain the projectors remotely. The network functionality is capable of controlling multiple projectors in different rooms as well as monitoring for functions such as remaining lamp life.

The CP-X2010N projector is also the first Hitachi model to include AMX Device Discovery. When integrating a serial or IP device that supports AMX Device Discovery, all AMX NetLinx Integrated Central Controllers will recognize the device and systematically load the appropriate communications module or driver, initializing the new device for use. The NI Controller recognizes the device and loads the appropriate module either from a library on the Controller or from AMX’s website. Device Discovery also allows for device swapping so programming changes are not required when devices are removed or replaced.

Weighing only 8.8 pounds, the CP-X2010N 3LCD projector is easy to install and transport. The CP-X2010N features 16 Watts of built-in audio, eliminating the need for external speakers, while maintaining a low noise rating of 29 dBA in Whisper Mode. The CP-X2010N also boasts a high contrast ratio of 500:1.

The CP-X2010N features a long lamp life of 3,000 hours in Standard Mode and 6,000 hours in Eco Mode. The CP-X2010N also features Hitachi’s proprietary My Buttons functionality, allowing two buttons on the projector to be programmed to execute any projector command. Additionally, the CP-X2010N also offers input Source Naming, allowing users to rename input sources to fit their needs. Closed Captioning functionality is another feature of the CP-X2010N.

Furthermore, the CP-X2010N features a Transition Detector, requiring a password to operate the projector when it is moved from a fixed position. The CP-X2010N also offers PIN Lock and MyScreen functions, along with a security bar that enables the use of a heavy chain to prevent theft.

“The Hitachi CP-X2010N 3LCD projector brings networking functionality to applications such as education and corporate environments, where the ability to monitor and manage multiple projectors is often required,” said John Glad, Product Manager, Hitachi Home Electronics (America), Inc., Business Group.

Source: Hitachi Press Release

OCZ Launches AMD AM3/DDR3 Optimized Memory

One you know, you NeweggOCZ Technology Introduces AMD Optimized Memory for the AM3 Platform that Meets Low-Voltage Requirements for a Future-Proof System

San Jose, Calif.—April 13, 2009—OCZ Technology Group, a worldwide leader in innovative, ultra-high performance and high reliability memory, today expanded their memory lineup for AMD enthusiasts and power users with new DDR3 kits qualified and optimized specifically for the AM3 platform. The new low-voltage kits were designed exclusively for AMD’s transition to DDR3 and are tailored to make full use of the latest computing environments as well as establish a future-proof system with restricted voltage requirements.

“AMD’s new AM3 architecture is designed specifically for the gaming community, with emphasis on high data transfer rates between the system memory and the graphics subsystem,” commented Dr. Michael Schuette, VP of Technology Development at OCZ. “The key improvement over the AM2 platform is the embracing of DDR3 technology where OCZ has a track record of being a market leader. These new AMD kits further establish our leading role in this category and show our commitment to both industry partners and the gaming community by complementing AMD’s gaming platform with future-oriented, low voltage memory technology.”

OCZ’s newest 1600MHz and 1333MHz Low-Voltage kits are optimized to leverage AMD’s DDR3 platform for an enhanced real world computing experience, particularly beneficial for enthusiasts, gamers, and professionals whose systems demand superior compatibility. Featuring a low-voltage specification, the new AMD optimized memory will be an excellent way to future-proof your system with impending CPU voltage limitations on the next generation platforms.

OCZ will release the low-voltage AMD Edition kits under the award-winning Platinum and Gold series designed specifically for enthusiasts and gamers:

OCZ PC3-12800 Platinum AMD Edition Low Voltage (2x2GB) 7-7-7-24 @ 1.65v
OCZ PC3-12800 Gold AMD Edition Low Voltage (2x2GB) 8-8-8-24 @ 1.65v
OCZ PC3-10666 Platinum Low Voltage AMD Edition (2x2GB) 7-7-7-20 @ 1.65v
OCZ PC3-10666 Gold AMD Edition Low Voltage (2x2GB) 9-9-9-20 @ 1.65v

Each module is 100% hand-tested for quality assurance and compatibility and feature high quality gold or platinum mirrored XTC (Xtreme Thermal Convection) heatspreaders for the most effective heat dissipation. As part of OCZ’s line-up of premium memory, the AMD Edition memory series is backed by a Lifetime Warranty and industry-leading technical support for unparalleled peace of mind.

Source: OCZ Press Release

Even The Government Thinks Time Warner's Caps Are Ridiculous

Someone over at Time Warner has missed the memo that the people want a free (or low cost), uncensored internet that will allow the free movement of information. That must have been the same memo that told the ISP that people are moving away from traditional media sources and focusing on internet based solutions which use up more and more bandwidth. That or they are just trying to gouge their customers, the later is the opinion shared by U.S. Rep. Eric Massa of New York.

In his press statement released late last week Rep Massa said that he believes that Time Warner's new tiered usage cap and pricing plans is "nothing more than a large corporation making a move to force customers into paying more money."

Responding to Time Warner COO Landel Hobbs' 4/9/09 statement, Rep. Massa had this to say:

"Time Warner's decision has the potential to more than triple customers' current rates and I think most families will find this to be too taxing to afford. Time Warner believes they can do this in Rochester NY, Greensboro NC, Austin TX and San Antonio TX, and it's almost certainly just a matter of time before they attempt to overcharge all of their customers. And while I favor a business's right to maximize their profit potential, I believe safeguards must be put in place when a business has a monopoly on a specific region."

Introducing the Inspiron Mini 10. Starting at $399Massa, along with tons of complaining Time Warner customers, would like some answers. Time Warner claims that the price increase is due to increased Internet usage and cost associated with that usage. However they show no information backing the excessive and disproportionate charges. Under the new plans consumers wanting the same unlimited internet that they currently have would be billed $150 per month about 3.5 times that of their current rates.

Surely Time Warner's costs to use the same old broadband backbone has skyrocketed that much? In fact late last week Wired.com gave everyone a compairison of TWC's earnings. Their reports show that broadband costs had decreased by 12 percent in 2008 even as broadband revenues had increased by 11 percent.

Putting The Caps Into Perspective:

Ars Technica's Nate Anderson put together a nice per-gig price breakdown of Time Warner Cable's plan. He estimates that TWC's price/GB is many times higher than competitors Comcast, Verizon and AT&T. For instance, TWC's base rate works out to $6 a GB, while the heaviest user of Comcast's cable service would pay 17 cents per GB.

TWC's new base plan is going to be 1GB per month tier offering speeds of 768 KB/128 KB for $15 per month. Overage charges will be $2 per GB per month. So what does that really get you on the web. To be honest not much. You would be able to use Netflix to download movies as any single movie would be well over your usage quota. You wouldn't really be able to sit at home and stream those episodes of Lost you missed, nor would you want to download much music.

With the proposed 10, 20, 40 and even 60 GB tiers (Road Runner Lite, Basic, Standard and Turbo packages), you could download several movies, stream a few TV shows and add the latest tracks to your iPod. But if you were on the lite package you'd still need to be concerned about your overages. Even if it was only a $1/GB charge if like me you have 3-4 users all wanting to watch their own videos then you would gobble 10-20 GBs in a hurry!

Somewhere there has to be a middle ground. Congressman Messa's "Broadband Internet Fairness Act" may or may not be it. But one thing is for sure Time Warner's proposal isn't it. Time Warner might not be alone in setting caps but they are definitely the only ones reaching these types of extremes.

More Palm Pre Release Rumors Popping Up

palm pre logoSeveral online sources have allegedly got their hands on internal Sprint memos talking about the new Palm Pre, training programs and the forbidding of vacation time to its retail store employees during the month of May. All this had led to a new crop of rumors about the phones potential late April or early May release date.

Phone News was one of the first sites to break the details of the memo. The sites states that there are two possible release windows.

The first window involves Sprint receiving retail units of the Pre around late April to early May in preparation for a preliminary May 17th launch.

The second window involves Sprint receiving the same units in the aforementioned timeframe, but depending on the unit level received for stocking and sales, the launch would then be postponed to June 29th if the initial shipments are deemed too low to begin initial sales in May.

As it stands its still all a bit speculative. Palm promised the phone would hit shelves by the end of June and I'm sure they don't want to disappoint. Pricing details are still a bit fuzzy however Gizmodo has already confirmed some of the details of Sprint's calling plans. AVGSprint Plans to offer Pre owners their "Everything" line of plans.

Individuals can choose from 450 minute ($69.99), 900 minute ($89.99) or unlimited plans ($99.99). Families can choose from 1500 minutes ($129.99), 3000 minutes ($169.99) or unlimited plans ($189.99). Business customers will also be able to pool their minutes together using about 5 different plans. They don't want people signing up for voice-only plans because they don't want people incurring extra charges they're not entirely aware of.

Either way you look at, if its May or June consumers have a lot to be excited about. We can almost be certain the Pre will be here sometime soon and Apple will likely announce a new iPhone at its Worldwide Developers Conference on or around June 8. Add-on reports that RIMM is planning to launch a new BlackBerry and the potential of a new Android device before summers end and we could see a plethora of great smart phones.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Someone Opened A Can Of Worms At Twitter

twitter logoShortly after Saturday's report of the StalkDaily worm hitting Twitter and Twitter's subsequent announcement that they had closed the hole the worm was using, Twitter posted confirmation of yet another worm.

The new "Mikeyy" XSS worm used the same cross site scripting hack as the previous StalkDaily worm and spreads in the same similar fashion. According to Twitter about 200 accounts in all had been infected , sending out about 10k tweets in all. These malicious tweets contained links to an off Twitter site that was used to propagate the bad code.

Twitter says they will remain on high alert throughout the weekend reviewing all the details of the attack, cleaning up the malicious tweets and evaluating their coding for any further holes.

crucial memory advisorIn the mean time BNO News has been reporting that a teenager, Mikeyy Mooney, has come forward and claimed responsibility for the creation of both worms.

According to their first report Mooney created the StalkDaily worm from “boredom” and because he “needed a way to make money." He used the worm and the links posted to drive traffic to his own site. According to BNO News and their follow up post the second worm, which used the same coding, was created by Mooney to "give the developers an insight on the problem and while doing so, promoting myself or my website."

Mooney warns that there might be more attacks on the way, meaning it might be a long weekend for the Twitter staff and those of us that use the site.

Users should take care to avoid being a part of the attacks. Don't blindly click links even if they do come from trusted sources. As always you shouldn't blindly retweet something you haven't checked for yourself first. For the time being you can disable javascript or use FireFox with the no-script add-on.

If you have been affected by Mikeyy or StalkDaily, you should:
  1. Temporarily turn off javascript
  2. Clear your browser cookies and cache
  3. Log into Twitter and check for anything suspicious, particularly in the URL or location. If there’s anything there, delete it fully and replace with your actual URL and location.
  4. Re-enable javascript and check the Design section of your Twitter profile to make sure there are no changes to your profile colors. If there are, delete these too and replace with whatever colors you want.
  5. Delete unwanted Tweets, specifically anything containing Mikeyy or StalkDaily or anything you don't remember tweeting
  6. Reset your Twitter password.

Mashable recommends using Twitter via a desktop client like TweetDeck or Seesmic Desktop, rather than on the web. The thinking behind this is that the javascript exploit won't work via the desktop clients. I can't confirm that and wouldn't rely on that as a line of defense. You're best bet would be erring on the side of caution and staying off suspicious profiles, not clicking off site links and running FireFox with no-script.

Update -4/13 - As of early Monday morning Twitter had yet to find a resolution to the issue and Mikeyy version 4 was seen spreading through the system. Twitter Status shows that as of 8hrs (2am pst) they were working to solve the problem and approximately 6hrs ago Twitter posted to @Spam that they believed they had a resolution. Considering they thought they had a resolution to the issue on Sat. I'll be on wait and see status to see if they actually got it fixed.

Its What They Do At The GooglePlex When They're Bored

You'd think working for search giant Google would be exciting enough to keep your days busy. Apparently that is not so, as several Googlers have had to resort to good old fashioned fun for passing their time.

Google software engineers Alan Davidson and Dustin Boswell recently showed off a new toy that will take most of us back to the days of magnifying glasses and the burning of ants. According to the recent post on the Official Google Blog "Will it lens?" Alan, Dustin and a few other members of Google's Santa Monica office pooled their money together to buy a four-foot by three-foot Fresnel lens.

Since then they've spent lunch hours burning anything from old pennies to aluminum cans. They've even found a great new way to cook up some breakfast attempting to fry some bacon and eggs (although they weren't very successful)

When we tried to cook bacon, about a third ended up well done, a third was burnt, and a third was uncooked. Cooking with the lens is difficult because it heats stuff up too hot too fast. But the well-cooked parts tasted great, so we added an egg:

From the pictures posted on Alan's LiveJournal it looks like they've been having a bit of fun with that new toy. Ahh the memories that brings back of trying to fry anything and everything with that old magnifying glass. The guys are looking for suggestions and ideas to try to out. If you have any head over to Alan's blog and post them a comment.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

So Called StalkDaily Worm Hits Twitter

twitter logoAccording to several reports that began coming in earlier this morning there is anew worm on the prowl and its attacking unsuspecting Twitter users.

The worm, dubbed StalkDaily, because it has been reportedly originating from the owners of the website StalkDaily (Note: Do not visit this website, as it may cause your computer to become infected), has been infecting Twitter accounts. Details of how the infection occurs are a bit limited, however it appears as though it is done through adding a javascript into affected accounts. Other than that details are fairly uncertain.

Update- as I was writing this I found more details.
According to a recent
Twitter Status posting the attack was carried out via a cross-site scripting vulnerability. Twitter stated they have taken steps to remove the offending updates, and to close the holes that allowed this “worm” to spread.

What is clear is that once the account has been taken over it is then turned into a bot that spams tweets with links to the StalkDaily website. It is reported that the site can infect your Twitter account even if you do not register or login at the site. So while Twitter has posted that they have closed the hole that allows accounts to spread the worm it may still be possible that the off site attack could work, so users should take caution when clicking off Twitter links!

Mashable and Twittercismis have been advising readers to follow the following steps if they think they have been infected:
  1. In your browser, clear your cache and empty all of your cookies. This can be found in your settings.
  2. Log out of TweetDeck and any other external applications you are using.
  3. On Twitter.com, change your password and ensure that your profile, website, and location have not been changed.
  4. Log back in. It should be okay. If so, log back into TweetDeck et al.
  5. Go back and delete any tweets sent by you recommending StalkDaily. This is important to help stop the spread of the worm.
  6. Report @stalkdaily in a tweet to Twitter’s @spam account as follows: @spam @stalkdaily
For more details about the StalkDaily infection checkout some of the related article below.

Friday, April 10, 2009

YouTube Announces New Partnerships Including The Smithsonian, Encyclopedia Britannica And More

youtube logoYouTube today announced several new channels including new partnerships or recently converted partners. Among the list are some great sources of history and science including the Smithsonian Channel, the Library of Congress and the Encyclopedia Britannica channel.

  • Smithsonian Channel tells America's stories. There's lots of video on Wanda Jackson, the first lady of rock 'n' roll, and riveting insight into turmoil among the Monkees.
  • Encyclopedia Britannica leaps into the world of video: their YouTube channel contains vibrant footage of the internal workings of the human body, like this pounding heart (commenter BinkieMcFartnuggets is not far off when he says it looks like a chicken breast beating its head on the wall), cheese making, astronomy, and more.
  • Library Of Congress has gems from vast archives, including the earliest Edison films. (More on government channels in a future blog post.)
  • BlahGirls features sassy animated teens dishing on the week's celebrity gossip. From producer Ashton Kutcher.
  • Total Beauty TV specializes in helping you approximate celebrities' looks, from Gwen Stefani's signature makeup to Reese Witherspoon's clean and classic hairstyle.
  • FixMyRecipe comes to the rescue when you and your kitchen are just not getting along. Chef Billy Parisi helps "fix" recipes on a daily basis. Send your recipe to chef@fixmyrecipe.com to see if it will become a "Featured Fix of the Day."
  • paintinganddrawing offers instruction in watercolors, acrylics, oils, and pastels -- there are four new 24-minute instructional art programs uploaded every week.

AT&T Outage Blamed On Sabotage, $250k Reward Offered

AT&T has boosted the reward amount in response to yesterday's sabotage of fiber optic lines that caused a major disruption of phone service — including land lands, some cell service, Internet access and 911 emergency service.

Upon investigation of yesterday's outage that affected tens of thousands of users it was determined that saboteurs clipped several high-speed fiber-optic cables sometime Wednesday or early Thursday morning.

According to reports, as many as four AT&T fiber optic cables in San Jose were cut around 1:30 AM PDT on April 9; about two hours later, cables belonging to Sprint Nextel were cut in San Carlos California. Sabotage was immediately suspected as it appears as though manhole covers were lifted out and the cables specifically cut.

As of this afternoon AT&T has said service has been fully restored and the search for the culprits is on. The company continued to send out updates via Twitter, stating that "Repairs to vandalized San Jose cables were completed overnight. Services are operating normally this morning."

Just about an hour ago the company used their Twitter feed @ATTNews to spread the word that the bounty for the criminals had been raised from the initial offering of $100k to $250k. "AT&T has increased the reward for info leading to arrest/conviction of CA vandals to $250,000. Call 408-947-STOP."

"We have zero tolerance for any criminal who would attack our network and harm customers," AT&T spokesman John Britton said. "We're going to aggressively work with law enforcement to see those responsible are apprehended and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

Apple's 1 Billion App Contest

To celebrate hitting the incredible milestone of 1 billion apps downloaded via its Apps Store Apple is holding a 1,000,000,000 contest.

To enter, all you have to do is visit the dedicated Apple 1 Billion contest page, download an app and you’ll automatically get the chance to win a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card, an iPod touch, a Time Capsule, and a MacBook Pro. The contest will officially end when the counter hits "1,000,000,000", which according to PCMag should be around 9 AM PDT on Saturday morning. Depending of course on the rate of downloads and entries.

For those of you that don't want to download and App, or like me don't have any Apple products, you can use the alternative entry form.

Here's the legal mumbo jumbo:
  • The Billion App Countdown Promotion (the “Promotion”) is open only to entrants who are 13 years of age or older at time of entry, and a legal resident of the fifty (50) United States or the District of Columbia, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada (excluding the Province of Quebec), Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom, if available. See the iTunes Store front page in your country for details.
  • Limit 25 entries per person per day. No purchase necessary. Must be 13+ and reside in the participating country. This contest ends after download of the billionth app. To enter and play or read official rules, visit www.apple.com/itunes/billion-app-countdown/rules.html.

Update 4/11 12:30pm -
Well obviously PC Mags' estimates where way off, as of yesterday when I wrote this they had roughly 929,100,000 (pc mag said 929,080,000). PC Mag calculated that they were receiving 900 downloads every second which would put them over 1 billion some time today. As of right now the counter reads nearly 935,550,000. At that rate it would appear as though they won't reach the 1 billion mark for another 10 days.

Update - 4/21 - According to Mobile Squared, a U.K. research company, the countdown should be over sometime Thursday morning. Late last week the researchers estimated that Apple was experiencing average daily downloads of 5.1 million apps. According to their estimates the countdown would be over 7 days from their post dated 4/16.

At this point in time the clock is just shy of 990,000,000 downloads. So assuming Apple stays on track with 5mil/day Thursday afternoon would be about right. Although I think it would be more likely that it would be Thursday evening possible Friday morning

Dual Boot Windows XP And Windows 7

Configuring your PC to dual boot between Windows Vista and Windows 7, or even Window XP and Windows 7 can be a bit of a challenge if its not done correctly. Most beginners make a few common mistakes which can leads to nothing but headaches and hassles.

Today Microsoft has released a new video that should help elevate some of the stress of trying to setup that dual boot system. Note you need silverlight installed to view the video below

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Before you being:

One of the assumptions the video makes is that an earlier version of Windows already exists and that you will be installing a newer version of Windows (like Windows 7). This is one of the most common mistakes I see users make. Whichever operating system is installed last will create it's own boot mechanism and in the case of Windows XP it will not work correctly with either Vista or Windows 7. So you want to make sure that you are installing the older operating system first and then adding in the newer OS.

The key to multi-boot configurations using any operating system after Windows XP is the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) store. Windows XP and prior OS's utilized the boot.ini file which was fairly easy to manage. That is not so with Vista, Windows 7 or Server 2008. The BCD is the new location of all your boot options and configuration settings.

In the event that you have Windows Vista or Windows 7 already installed and you would like to install Windows XP, you'll need to check out this article. This article applies to both Windows 7 as well as Windows Vista. If you aren't comfortable using the command line then I recommend using EasyBCD or VistaBootPro. Both are very user friendly with nice graphical interfaces.

If you want to learn all of the details of the bcdedit tool, check out:

BCDEdit Command-Line Options


and then of course you'll want to check out the faq as well:

Boot Configuration Data Editor Frequently Asked Questions


Thursday, April 09, 2009

A Week Later Conficker Might Be Rearing Its Ugly Head

Conficker might not have lived up to the early hype but that might be changing as a new variant has begun rearing its ugly head and this newest update might be the ugliest of them all!

Conficker.e, as the update has been named, began downloading and installing on previously-infected PCs at midnight London time, said Kevin Hogan, director of security response operations for Symantec Corp.

The new variant is now installing new bots, scareware/ransomware and other malicious code that might be used by the viruses creators to make money. According to Kaspersky research Alex Gostev, Conficker.e is downloading and installing fake security software. The rogue software, SpywareProtect2009, extorts $50 from users by claiming to remove an infection. When in fact the software is the inrfection.

TrendMicro warns they are now detecting this new Conficker variant as WORM_DOWNAD.E. Some interesting things they have found are:
  1. (Un)Trigger Date – May 3, 2009, it will stop running
  2. Runs in random file name and random service name
  3. Deletes this dropped component afterwards
  4. Propagates via MS08-067 to external IPs if Internet is available, if no connections, uses local IPs
  5. Opens port 5114 and serve as HTTP server, by broadcasting via SSDP request
  6. Connects to the following sites:
    • Myspace.com
    • msn.com
    • ebay.com
    • cnn.com
    • aol.com

It also does not leave a trace of itself in the host machine. It runs and deletes all traces, no files, no registries etc.

In the latest activity the report seing infected Downad.KK/Conficker.C nodes pulling down new Waledac binaries (perhaps for spamming, as Waledac has been known to do). Waledac is believed to be the successor to the infamous Storm bot and Storm Worm of 2008.

Nintendo Says "No" To Price Cuts

Recent reports have suggested that Nintendo has cut the manufacturing costs of the Wii by as much as 45 percent since its launch. In spite of these reports, and the recent drop in overall sales numbers Nintendo has said there was no plan to cut the price of the immensely popular Wii.

Nintendo Co. president Satoru Iwata said. "The current condition in the Japanese market is not the one we want." But a price war with rivals was not the answer as Nintendo is already the market leader, he said.

"A price cut in a difficult economy cannot really excite the market and drive up sales. As of now I really don't think that a price cut is a good option for us," he told a news conference.

Recent analyst reports from publishing firm Enterbrain Inc said Japanese sales of the PS3 surged 80 percent in the five weeks to March 29 from a year earlier to 146,948 consoles, while demand for the Wii plunged almost 63 percent to 99,335.

In their response a Nintendo spokesperson commented: "It is still the first few months of the year when sales are slow for the industry, so we are not particularly concerned."

Nintendo has sold 50 million Wiis to date, so it would appear as though the company isn't concerned of a small dip in the numbers. And why should they be, more than 10 million Wiis were sold in the United States in 2008. Which was a new industry record.

Uniloc Wins Big Against Microsoft

Uniloc Inc, a little know software maker, won big against Microsoft this week when a jury found that Microsoft infringed Uniloc's patent on anti-piracy software.

Uniloc creates software that generates unique identities for licensed users and prevents unauthorized use or copying of programs. Think software that tags OS disks and keeps you from sharing them with millions of other users. Newegg AdThe company had accused Microsoft of infringing on a patent in the anti-piracy software registration system Microsoft uses as part of the Windows XP, Office XP, and Windows Server 2003 activation system.

This recent decision is only a part of an ongoing lawsuit that dates back to 2003. In an earlier judgment the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island found in favor of Microsoft that no infringement had occurred. The case had been remanded back to the District Court for a trial last August by the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Wednesday's decision will likely be appealed again by MS and certainly won't signify the end of the lawsuit.

"We believe that we do not infringe, that the patent is invalid and that this award of damages is legally and factually unsupported," said a Microsoft spokesman. "We will ask the court to overturn the verdict."

The case: Uniloc USA, Inc., et al v. Microsoft Corp., et al, U.S. District Court District of Rhode Island (Providence), 1:03-cv-00440-S-DLM.

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!”