Friday, May 22, 2009

eBay Off The Hook In Another Lawsuit

ebay logoCosmetics company L'Oreal has become the latest company to find themselves on the short end of the stick when filling charges against eBay. The company's recent lawsuit sought to hold eBay legally accountable for the sale of fake L'Oreal goods, including perfumes and face creams, on its Web site.

According to a decision in the U.K. High Court eBay could take better steps top police its site the court however still ruled that the company could not be held legally accountable. The court did offer 10 steps that it felt eBay should take would help curb the sale of fake or counterfeit goods including filtering listings before they are posted and using additional filters to detect listings of that are samples and other not-for-sale products.

The is just the latest in a line of victories regarding trademark infringement and the sale of counterfeit goods for the auction giant. Last summer, eBay also won a case brought by Tiffany & Co., which claimed the online auction site didn't do enough to curb the sale of counterfeit Tiffany goods on its site.

CircuitCity.com Being Re-Launched Under Systemax

circuit city logoEarlier this year when Circuit City filed bankruptcy and began liquidating their stores it looked like the Circuit City name would be gone for good. Now however it appears that the Circuit City name will live on, perhaps not in the brick and mortar form we are accustom to but rather as an online only incarnation of it's former self.

Systemax Inc., which is probably best know as the owners of TigerDirect and as the company that purchased a bankrupt CompUSA, is Re-Launching the Circuit City brand. The company promises new lower prices, a wider selection, faster shipping and a customer first policy.



According to a statement by Systemax Chief Executive, Gilbert Fiorentino:

Systemax Inc. is Re-Launching the Circuit City brand with new Lower Prices, new Wider Selection, new Faster Shipping, and a better 24/7 Customer First Service Department.

Circuit City served American Shoppers for 60 Years. We're here to continue that tradition online with lower prices and special deals, a better selection of the products you want most, award winning customer service and same day shipping, starting at $1.99.

Americans love to get great products at great prices. We promise you that is exactly what you'll find at the Re-Launched CircuitCity.com.

We have a team of folks feverishly working to put up the finishing touches on the new website. We ask that you come back in a few days and experience the New CircuitCity.com.


For more details checkout CircuitCity.com and follow their progress via Twitter @CircuitCity.com

Thursday, May 21, 2009

2009 Doodle 4 Google Winner Announced

On Wednesday Google announced the winner of their Doodle for Google contest. The top prize of $15,000 a laptop and a $25,000 tech grant goes to Christin Engelberth, a sixth grader at Bernard Harris Middle School in San Antonio, Texas.



Christin's winning entry titled "A New Beginning" was selected by Google users from the more than 400 state and 40 regional winners. Earlier this month Google invited users to vote for their favorites. A total of four winners where selected at a special event held at the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, where Google unveiled an exhibit of the top doodles that will be on view until July 5, 2009.

Engelberth along with the other three national finalists were treated to a day in New York City that included activities which promote peace, sustainability and wellness — all inspired by this year's theme, "What I Wish for the World."

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sophos Launches New Klingon Anti-Virus

Trekkies everywhere now have a new line of defense they can call their own the new sophos Klingon Anti-Virus. The software is actually a tweaked version of Sophos' Threat Detection Test translated into the popular (among trekkies at least) Klingon language.



According to Carole Theirault, a senior security consultant with Sophos, the company hired a Klingon translator identified as "naHQun," a Dallas man who is a member of the Klingon Language Institute -- to translate the software's text from English. "He translates all kinds of things," said the clearly-amused Theirault. "He's done some Shakespeare plays, I believe. And his next project is the Kama Sutra. Really."

Google Announces PowerMeter Partners

Originally announced earlier this year Google's new PowerMeter program is a new tool aimed at helping users better understand their energy usage and bills. The application which is utilized with a "smart meter" allows users to track energy usage in real time charting the energy consumption of several different appliances at once.

Google has now partnered with several major utilities that are installing (or have already installed) this equipment in their customers' homes.

Google PowerMeter partners include:
For now, Google PowerMeter is only available to a limited group of customers, but Google fully expects to to expand their roll out later this year.

Microsoft Teams With Netflix Adds Netflix To Windows Media Center

Microsoft and Netflix Enhance Movie and TV Watching on the PC

Latest content addition offers more than 12,000 choices of movies and TV episodes that can be watched instantly on a PC with Windows.

Microsoft Corp. today announced that more than 12,000 movies and TV episodes from Netflix Inc., the world’s largest online movie rental service, are now available to watch instantly on the PC using Windows Media Center on PCs with Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate. This newest content addition builds on Microsoft’s goal to create a consistent experience on the PC for consumers to easily enjoy the entertainment of greatest interest to them.

With Windows Media Center, consumers no longer need to jump from Web site to Web site to find the TV shows, movies, sports and news they want to watch. Windows Vista customers who are also Netflix members can simply start Windows Media Center on their PC and then select the new Netflix tile under TV+Movies to begin streaming movies and TV episodes instantly. People can also search the entire Netflix library, manage both their instant and DVD Queues, and even filter searches by titles that are available to watch instantly. Windows Media Center takes advantage of the Netflix recommended category lists to make it even easier to quickly find the movies and TV shows that consumers want to watch. Conveniently, Netflix in Windows Media Center is also designed to work with any Windows Media Center-compatible remote control.

Acronis True Image 2009The availability of Netflix in Windows Media Center marks the second recent content milestone for Windows, following the March 2009 launch of the Sports Channel, which offers a variety of interactive sports content from CBSSports.com, FOX Sports, MSNBC.com and more.

“Netflix is excited that the majority of the Windows Vista users in the U.S. can now access a vast array of movies and TV episodes from Netflix through Windows Media Center,” said Steve Swasey, vice president of corporate communications. “There’s no better way to enjoy movies than with Netflix, and this latest offering is another milestone that gives Windows Media Center customers a great experience using the Netflix service.”

The Netflix instant watching in Windows Media Center is powered by Microsoft Silverlight, one of the industry’s most comprehensive and powerful solutions for the creation and delivery of applications and media experiences. The use of Silverlight means that customers will have more accessible, more discoverable and more secure experiences. Windows Media Center is available on Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Ultimate.

In addition to Windows Media Center users, Xbox 360 system owners already have access to watch movies and TV episodes instantly from Netflix via an Xbox LIVE Gold Membership. The offerings through both platforms allow customers to enjoy more than 12,000 movies and TV episodes.

“We’re continuing to work with the top content providers today to make watching TV on the PC a mainstream experience for the future,” said Craig Eisler corporate vice president of entertainment client software for the TV, Video and Music Business Group at Microsoft. “Consumers understand that content is the driving force when it comes to experiences, and with Netflix, we’re underscoring our broader commitment to deliver a rich experience with Windows Media Center.”

Source: Microsoft PressPass

Your New GPS System Could Soon Be Useless

A recently released Government Accountability Office (GAO) report indicates that a number of the 30 satellites currently operated by the U.S. Air Forces may soon begin to fail resulting in a significant drop in "the overall GPS constellation". According to the report should these satellites fail the results would mean that the number of satellites in use would fall below the number required to provide the level of GPS service that the U.S. government commits to.

GPS operates via a network of satellites positioned in orbit around the globe. Many of these satellites are nearly 20 years old and are dated and aging and may begin to fail in the near future. The system is fault-tolerant in that it can still operate with one or more satellites out of action, but in such a case performance would suffer, with users encountering blackspots or receiving less accurate positioning data.

In an attempt at staving off complications the U.S. government is expected to invest almost $6 billion into new GPS satellite technology over the next four years. This attempt at getting back on schedule comes after several years of suffering "significant" technical issues. If the Air Force is unable to get back on track, however, the GAO warns there could be wide-ranging ramifications for all GPS users.

"It is uncertain whether the Air Force will be able to acquire new satellites in time to maintain current GPS service without interruption," said the report, presented to Congress. "If not, some military operations and some civilian users could be adversely affected."

Should the number of satellites in use drop significantly enough the system could be shut down entirely! However even the briefest of interruptions in service might cause major headaches. The current GPS system is not only utilized by the US government but is also used by air traffic controls, farmers, trains and just about every major transportation system in the world.

Should you really be concerned?

I'll admit the news does sound a bit alarmist and extremely dire, but its really not that bad. We are talking some worst case scenarios here, The fact is that we really only need somewhere around 24 satellites in good working order to have assured accuracy, and there are currently 31 operational in the current network. The odds of seven or more failing before replacements get into orbit is rather low.

The satellites are aging yes and they may be reaching the end of their expected lifespans, but that doesn't mean they will fail as military equipment often lasts much longer than its expected lifespan. The problem is that we are dealing with a tough set of economic times, and we all know how well that government machine runs. If the current delays are any indication then we could see some effects as soon as next year and possibly see major drops as soon as 2014.

**Update 5/22**

The Air Force has responded to the GAO's report downplaying the affect the lose of GPS satellites might have on the military's readiness.

Air Force officials acknowledge that a series of launch delays or on-orbit failures could cause problems for civilian users, but said the military would only be affected minimally, even if the system fell to fewer than 24 satellites. Operators could buy extra time with the remaining satellites by shutting down nonessential systems to save power, extending the satellites’ life.

“We would still have GPS capability, and … we would manage the constellation to optimize performance … to support war-fighting activity, so we probably wouldn’t see much of a difference,” said Col. Dave Madden, commander of the GPS wing at Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif. “The bottom line is we have high confidence [in our] plans to sustain and modernize the constellation,” he said.

Walmart Is Not Getting Into The Used Game Arena

Following several reports of sightings of e-Play game trade kiosks at several Walmart locations the speculation machine revved up and began running with the story that Walmart may be getting into the used game business. According to Alan Rudy, the CEO of e-Play that is not the case.

Rudy tell Ars Technica "Walmart is [only] providing vestibule space to e-Play at 77 of its Northeast region stores. Some stores have Video Game Buy Back only kiosks and some kiosks are full-functioning, but e-Play manages all aspects of kiosk operations for both types. While we have over 200 other retail locations, this is currently a pilot program with Walmart, but we are optimistic of its success and future expansion."

So it would seem that at least for now Walmart has no plans of directly being involved in the used gaming arena.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Microsoft Creates New Windows 7 Support Site

Microsoft has created a new video based support site geared toward sharing and educating users about the new Windows 7 operating system.

The new site, TalkingAboutWindows.com features videos uploaded by IT professionals and Microsoft engineers discussing the in's and outs of Windows 7 as well as offering end users a candid look into the product decisions they’ve made.

Videos from Microsoft engineers provide genuine insight from the engineers themselves and a behind the scenes look at the process and thoughts involved in the creation of the new OS. Microsoft hopes the site will serve as an entirely new forum for the company to interact with the community and actively join the conversation surrounding Windows 7.

Gadgets: Summer Time Toys

With all this great weather we've been enjoying out here in Cali. I've been thinking, and well planning ahead to summer. And of course that means I've been shopping for some new toys for all those adventures. While most of the items don't fit within my current budget I still love to shop around and look at what I could be buying.

Now being a geek most of the items are gadgets, some aren't necessarily the most practical and some probably aren't the best bang for your buck but they are some of the cooler items that I've come across in my shopping.

Camping Gear:


Coleman 36-Qt. Electronic Cooler with Radio & Clock
This is one of those items within my budget but it doesn't have wheels so I'm not buying it.
Not just a cooler, the Coleman 36-Quart Electronic Cooler is a whole entertainment center great for the campsite, BBQ, tailgate, or wherever the party is. Built into the cooler's case are an AM/FM radio with Weather band, a digital clock, an MP3 player jack and headphone jack, and 1/2-watt speakers.

Igloo 100Dt. All-Terrain Cooler
This thing is the ultimate wheeled cooler. You can almost take this cooler anywhere you want to walk! Durable all-terrain tires support up to 300 lbs. Wheel swing arm locks up when not in use. Tow handle makes it easy to move/pull even when completely full.

Ozark Trail 9 x 9 First-Up Dome Tent
Sorry I couldn't find a link, they might not make these anymore!
I've owned several tents in my life, I've even had a few of those instant up tents. But this thing is by far one of the best tents I've ever owned. Everything folds in on itself. So all you do is spread it out, pull up on the center piece and its setup. Takes less than 2mins.


Coleman Rechargeable Portable Blender
Blend mixed drinks, smoothies, soups and more, right at the campsite, picnic, tailgate, or BBQ. The Coleman Rechargeable Portable Blender runs on a powerful, high-RPM motor that chops ice and blends ingredients quickly and finely. Make a 48-ounce pitcher of frozen drinks in less than a minute! The blender is easy to use, with a push-button on/off control. The stainless-steel blender blades, polycarbonate pitcher and molded black finish are durable and long-lasting. The lid features three convenient Pour settings: Open, Close, and Strain. The pitcher locks into the base, so it's easy and safe to transport.
The Portable Blender can blend 20-30 pitchers on just one full battery charged

Backpack Fishing Chair or camping folding directors chair
For get your standard folding chairs these things are a must have. The fishing chair is great for anyone stuck sitting shoreline waiting to catch the big one. It comes complete with rod holder and a handy beer/beverage holder. The directors chair has storage and small table.

SlumberJack Cot
If you absolutely must sleep in a tent forget about the airbed or mattresses a cot is the way to go. Throw a cot pad on there, your favorite sleeping bag and you'll feel right at home.

Water Gear:

Last year I was on the river tubing almost every weekend. The lakes were low so boating was out and the river was the funnest cheapest way to stay cool while soaking up some sun. This year will probably be no different.

Intex River Run River Tube
This is my tube of choice! With a mesh bottom you site just low enough in the water that you stay cool yet not so low you are uncomfortable. Two beer/beverage holders are great for keeping cans handy. A tie rope and handles are perfect for adding on accessories.

Intex River Run II
This is my newest addition. I love the single version of this tube but wanted the option of taking another person along or adding a cooler. They have a double version with a built in cooler however it only holds six cans so it wasn't practical. With this I can go solo and pack some gear on the other side or add a hot friend and we can enjoy the river together.

Lexan Medium Waterproof Utility Box
I got mine at Wal-Mart for about 1/2 the price and I'll say it was one of the best buys I made last year. This thing is perfect for anyone that is in or one the water for an extended amount of time. It has enough room for a wallet, cellphone and maybe even a pack of smokes and a lighter. Everything is held nice and tight in a completely waterproof nearly indestructible box, that floats (assuming a reasonable amount of weight is in it).

Atlantic EGO iPod Waterproof Sound Case
I don't have any iPod but if I did this would be a must have for the river trips or a day lounging poolside
Bring your iPod right into the pool with the Atlantic EGO iPod Waterproof Sound Case. This floating unit is shatter-proof, spill-proof and resistant to chlorine and saltwater corrosion. The crystal-clear body can be submerged up to 3.3' underwater, and provides 30 hours of big sound with expansive bass. The shatterproof polycarbonate casing comes equipped with two speakers and exterior controls.


Gadgets:

Garmin Astro GPS 220 and DC 30 Bundle
Ever been out camping and worried your dog might get lost. Well no fear with this cool setup. The Garmin Astro GPS 220 is a feature packed GPS reciever that when coupled with a DC 30 dog collar will allow you to know where your pet is up to 7 miles away. This thing is truly one of the coolest gadgets I've had a chance to play with, unfortunately you can't use them while hunting here in Cali. But they are great for anyone that has pets out in the woods.


Olympus Stylus Tough-8000
At it's current price tag of $330 this camera is definitely out of my price range however if I had the extra cash available I'd say this is probably the one thing I'd splurge on and buy. The camera is shockproof, waterproof, freezeproof and even crushproof up to 220lbs of pressure (I didn't know that was an option.) Needless to say for the outdoorsman this is possibly the best camera on the market right now.

Pentax Optio W60 Waterproof 10MP Digital Camera
This was a secondary option to the Olympus line and another one of those items out of my price range at the moment, but I might have to get one just to check it out.
Perfect for taking pictures in all conditions especially for those crazy water fights, a day skiing or just floating on the river. Pretty much whenever you are just out having a blast and water is or might be invloved. This lightweight and fully waterproof camera features 10 megapixels and a 5x zoom lens with 28mm wide-angle capability. The enhanced design of the Optio W60 allows the camera to operate up to 13 feet underwater for two hours and at extreme temperatures well below freezing.

Sony ZS-H10CP Heavy-Duty CD Radio Boombox
If you need music that you can take with you on any rough and tumble adventure, look no further than the Sony ZS-H10CP CD Boombox. This tough unit is perfect for the job-site, workshop, or backyard, with a rugged and durable design that incorporates a water and dust resistant seal that protects it from the elements.

Solar Waterproof Phone
Not yet introduced, this waterproof solar-powered phone is one of the new products under Sharp's "Green Road Project" this is, according to Sharp, the first water-proof handset to be manufactured.

These are just a few of the gadgets I've had my eye on. There are so many more than this post would likely go on forever so I tried to keep it short and list some of the more appealing items I would actually buy and use. Sure a $4k satellite phone would be nice, or a $300 gas powered blender but I'm not likely to buy those anytime soon!

Palm Pre Releasing June 6th Priced At $199 AMIR

Sprint has officially set the release date for the much anticipated Palm Pre today announcing that that Pre will be available on June 6. Sprint announced that it will be available nationwide in Sprint stores, as well as at Best Buy, Radio Shack, and select Wal-Mart stores. The webOS-based phone will retail for $199 after $100 mail-rebate and 2-year contract.

For more details checkout Sprint's Palm Pre page

Hitachi Software Introduces WT-1 Interactive Wireless Tablet

Hitachi Software Engineering America, Ltd. today announced the introduction of the new StarBoard WT-1 Interactive Wireless Tablet, providing educational facilities and corporate environments with the latest in presentation technology. The new tablet comes equipped with an interactive pen with two customizable buttons, and will debut at InfoComm 2009. The new WT-1 tablet provides presenters with the ability to create interactive and dynamic presentations.



The WT-1 features a range of up to 30 feet by deploying RF technology, and has a battery life of up to 16 hours of continuous use. The tablet includes 16 shortcut function keys, handwriting recognition, search engine integration, and a built-in LCD indicator screen, alerting users of available battery life. Volume control from tablet to computer as well as the ability to advance PowerPoint slides with a function button provides the user with full control. The tablet’s pen also features two shortcut options. Additionally, presenters have the ability to connect up to seven WT-1 systems to a PC.

“We have taken a great product and made it even better with the WT-1. Its development represents our commitment to provide the most interactive and productive presentation systems to educators, presenters and businesses. We are confident that users will find the WT-1 as a great addition to other Hitachi presentation tools and that it is a great solution for any classroom, training room, lecture hall, or media conferencing system,” stated John Glad, product manager for Hitachi Software Engineering America, Ltd.

The compact, StarBoard WT-1 Wireless Tablet is just 10.9” H x 11.1” W x 0.8” D and weighs approximately one pound. The WT-1 tablet also features a writing resolution of 2000 Lpi.

The StarBoard family of products includes the StarBoard FXDUO series of interactive whiteboards and the StarBoard T-Series interactive panels with applications in lecture halls and training rooms. These products provide presenters and teachers with the ability to interact with the class, while manipulating the screen.

Gadgets: Cy•Fi Wireless Sports Speaker

Cyclist, hikers and other outdoors enthusiasts looking to ditch their earphones yet still enjoy the sounds of music now have a stylish rugged alternative, the Cy•Fi Wireless Sports Speaker. Utilizing bluetooth technology for a wireless design the minuscule new Cy•Fi Wireless Sports Speaker weighs in at just under 4oz and features a footprint about as large as a man's wallet. Making it mountable on just about any bike, jogging stroller or backpack – almost anywhere for user friendly portability.

The Bluetooth version has been designed to play music on any device that supports A2DP, such as a Windows Mobile Pocket PC Phone or Smartphone, iPod or iPod nano or any other supported MP3 player. The Cy∙Fi also doubles as a hands-free speakerphone allowing you to receive phone calls even while you listen to music. If your phone supports voice recognition you can even use the system to easily make speed dialing calls.

Cy∙Fi is the brainchild of Los Angeles entrepreneur and cycling enthusiast Jeff Lotman, who wanted to find a safer way to bike with his iPod. “Music makes biking more fun,” he says. “It enhances the experience and motivates you to push harder.” Jeff determined that the solution was a small, wireless speaker that he could mount to his bike frame.

cy•fi Features:
  • Mountable, wireless speaker weighing less than 4 ounces
  • Bluetooth enabled with any device supporting A2DP such as cell phones and MP3 players
  • Transmitter broadcasts sound up to 30 feet away from the device
  • Battery life provides at least 6 hours of digital sound without recharge
  • Change tracks, volume and playlists with the ease of one hand
  • Includes docking station for charging, transmitter, and mounting brackets
  • Water and shock resistant
  • Available in: red/black, black/black, and silver/black
Retail pricing for the Bluetooth version is $179 and $199 for the iPod version and can be purchased through the Cy∙Fi store.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Iomega Announces New eGo Portable Hard Drives

Iomega Announces New Generation of Award-Winning Ultra-Stylish eGo Portable Hard Drives

Industry-Leading Protection Suite (Including McAfee VirusScan Plus) And Drop Guard Ruggedness Redefine Portable Hard Drives

Iomega, an EMC company and a global leader in data protection, today announced the worldwide availability of a new generation of the exciting Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive, featuring new look USB 2.0-powered models with superior ruggedness and the broadest suite of bundled data protection software in the industry, and all backed with a three-year limited warranty. Available in four different colors and up to 500GB* in capacity, the new Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive is the ultimate embodiment of style and function in portable drives today.

"The new Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drives are the perfect companions for home users and professionals that want to take their files anywhere with the assurance of a superior rugged portable drive that has style to spare and a compact form with flair," said Jonathan Huberman, President of Iomega and the Consumer and Small Business Products Division of EMC. "After two very successful years with the previous model, the new eGo drive sports a compact, sleek new aluminum enclosure in eye-catching colors and comes complete with a suite of backup and anti-virus software to protect your data and your laptop, netbook or personal computer. Top it all off with the best drop spec in the industry and the new eGo drive is the portable hard drive this summer for dads and grads and everyone else."

A key element of the Iomega Protection Suite is McAfee VirusScan Plus, the market-leading anti-virus, anti-spyware software.

"In today's world of increasing attacks on consumers' data by the bad guys, it's as important to protect your external hard drive data as it is to protect your PC's local data," said Todd Gebhart, President, Consumer Products, McAfee, Inc. "Iomega is the first to recognize this fact and we're pleased to be partnering with them in this fight."

Cool Hardware with Superior Functionality

The new USB 2.0-powered eGo Portable Hard Drive comes in variety of colors and capacities: the bright Ruby Red model is available in 250GB, 320GB and 500GB capacities; the sparkling Silver model comes in 320GB; and the deep Midnight Blue model is available in 320GB. (Color and capacity combinations vary in international markets.)

Inside an anodized aluminum shell little more than a half-inch thick (16 mm) and weighing less than 7 ounces (200 grams) is a state-of-the-art 2.5-inch portable hard drive. Iomega's Drop Guard feature protects data on the new eGo drive from drops of up to 51 inches, or 40% above the industry average! The new 500GB Iomega eGo BlackBelt Portable Hard Drive USB 2.0, available in June, comes complete with a black eGo Power Grip Belt and Iomega's Drop Guard Xtreme, which provides unparalleled protection for the drive from drops of up to 7 feet (2.1 mm) - over twice the industry average!

All of the new USB 2.0 eGo Portable Hard Drives receive power from a laptop or computer's USB port so there's no power supply to carry around. And unlike other portable hard drives, the new USB 2.0 eGo Portable Hard Drives ship with a "Y" cable which gives users the flexibility to use two USB ports to power the drive, if needed. And with up to 500GB of capacity, the new eGo drive can store up to 2,000,000 photos, over 9,250 hours of music or 750 hours of video**.

Most Powerful Software Package Bundle with a Portable Hard Drive Today

Bundled free of charge with the new USB-powered eGo Portable Hard Drives is the new Iomega Protection Suite, a one-stop portfolio of backup and anti-virus software giving users added protection for their photos, videos, music and other files.

The Iomega Protection Suite includes:

  • McAfee VirusScan Plus: a free six-month subscription to this market-leading software that protects your PC with anti-virus, anti-spyware, 2-way firewall, and web security protection (PC only).
  • Iomega QuikProtect: backup software for simple scheduled file-level backup of data to hard drives and network-attached storage devices (for Windows and Macintosh desktops and notebooks).
  • EMC Retrospect Express or Express HD: backup all of your data plus applications and settings (for Windows and Macintosh desktops and notebooks).
  • MozyHome Online Backup: Convenient online backup service with 2GB of online capacity for free (unlimited online storage for $4.95/month). MozyHome Online service allows you to restore your most important data from any computer with internet access, at any location in the world.

All of the software elements in the Iomega Protection Suite are accessible via easy download to new eGo Portable Hard Drive owners.

Compatibility

The new Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive USB 2.0 models are compatible with Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP, and Windows Vista™, and Mac OS X 10.4 or above. MozyHome software is available for Windows XP and Windows Vista, along with Mac OS X 10.4 and above. EMC Retrospect software is available for both Windows and Mac OS X operating systems.

New eGo Portable Hard Drive Accessories

Available for purchase at www.iomega.com are two new accessories for the new USB-powered eGo Portable Hard Drive: a durable black carry case, and the Iomega Power Grip Belt (like the one on the eGo BlackBelt Drive), available in black and translucent colors.

Pricing, Availability and Warranty

The Iomega eGo Portable Hard Drive USB 2.0 family of drives are available today, except for the new Iomega BlackBelt Portable Hard Drive 500GB USB 2.0, which will be available in June. The 250GB Ruby Red eGo model is priced at $84.99; the 320GB Ruby Red, Midnight Blue and Silver eGo models are $94.99; the 500GB Ruby Red is $134.99; and the 500GB BlackBelt eGo model is $139.99. (All pricing is U.S. suggested retail.) All of the new USB-powered eGo models include a 3-year limited warranty, and are available from online retailers, VARs, resellers and select retailers, as well as at www.iomega.com.

In June, Iomega will announce additional new eGo Portable Hard Drive models with multiple interface combinations.

Source: Iomega Press Release

Wolfram Alpha Goes Live, What Does That Mean For You

discover cardWolfram Alpha, the newest kid on the search engine block has launched with a flurry of web excitement, but what does that mean for us regular folks? Personally I say not much and here's why.

Wolfram Alpha was written by Steven Wolfram, a British physicist, mathematician, and businessman and the author of the Mathematica software. The site which claims to be the internet's first "computational knowledge engine" is not your standard search engine. Instead it generates results by doing computations from its own internal knowledge base, instead of using spiders to search the web and return links.

The focus of the new service is truly different from other engines as it's scope is more related to history, mathematics and science. Attempting to provide direct answers and factual knowledge to questions related to the subject matter at hand. The service avoids the more traditional searches and will rarely yield results related to such things as as pop culture references.

Wolfram Alpha's "answer engine" would be more comparable to sites like Wikipedia or Answers.com than it would a tradition search engine like Google, Yahoo or Live.com. While currently the site has fewer articles and the range of answers might be limited, it provides more pertinent information on the topics it covers as well as a bit more accuracy than that of Wikipedia or Answers.

What this all really means is that for everyday searching Wolfram Alpha wouldn't be very effective to use. For research or education purposes however the site would be very useful. As per example plugging in any date (e.g. a birth date) june 23, 1988 provides a detailed overview of the date in history. When entering in any calculation $250 + 15% or any math formula x^2 sin(x) you get a very detailed answer that would be very useful for homework help.

While it might be a little early in the game to judge Wolfram Alpha when it comes to comparisons with Wikipedia and Google I'll say that I don't see myself using it that much at least not at this time. The fact that they allow user submitted content might mean that the site may eventually contain enough results to catch my attention, however I believe if its not broke don't fix it and the combination of Google and Wikipedia have worked well for me.

Napster Making A Come Back With New $5/mo Service

Napster might best be known for their years of running a peer to peer file sharing service that was eventually shut down due to massive copyright violations. However the new company has been working for years to shed the stigma associated with their sorted past.

Starting today, the new Napster which was bought by Best Buy last year, will unleash its new $5 per month deal that will provide subscribers with unlimited on-demand streaming access to Napster's full library of music packed with more than 7 million tracks from several major and independent publishers. Along with the stream audio service subscribers will also be allowed to download and keep up to five unrestricted "CD quality" MP3 tracks each month from Best Buy's music service.

There are a few strings attached that really drag the deal down. Mainly there is the fact that those 5 monthly downloadable tracks are going to be DRM'ed unlike the MP3 downloads, and you can only listen to those tracks on your desktop PC. Not wanting to give up on Napster Mobile they are disallowing users to move those free tracks to a portable device. Instead limiting that ability to Napster Mobile subsections only.

For more details on the new service you can checkout the full press release below:

Napster Unveils Latest Digital Music Service

Napster Offers MP3s With its Popular On-Demand Streaming Service for One Low Monthly Price

LOS ANGELES – MAY 19, 2009 – Napster, the pioneer of digital music, today unveiled its latest music offering combining the freedom of MP3s with the discovery benefits of a high-quality streaming music service – all for one low price. For as little as $5 per month, Napster users get five unrestricted MP3 downloads, and unlimited access to Napster's award-winning on-demand music streaming service.

Music fans now have the best of both worlds: MP3s to keep forever, play, transfer and burn as much as they like, as well as unlimited music listening from Napster's catalog of more than seven million tracks. "There's no need to settle for 30-second clips to decide if you want to buy a song," said Chris Gorog, CEO of Napster. "For five bucks now you can have access to our entire music catalog and get five MP3s to add to your permanent collection."

Napster users can now:
• Get five MP3s each month to download, with their choice of songs from the Napster MP3 library that covers all types of music from all the major labels and includes the largest catalog of independent artists available.
• Listen to any track, as often as they like, in CD quality from Napster's catalog of more than seven million songs.
• Choose from more than 60 commercial-free radio stations and more than 1,400 expertly programmed playlists.
• Discover new music and artists through personalized recommendation tools.
• Enjoy the top hits from more than 50 years of Billboard charts. Want to know what was popular when you graduated high school? Now you can.
• Play MP3s on any MP3 player, including iPod®, iPhone® and music-enabled MP3 mobile phones.

"A decade ago, Napster revolutionized the way people discovered and enjoyed music," said Julie Owen, senior vice president of entertainment for Best Buy. "The brand that started it all is shaking things up again with this new service that provides music lovers continued access to the entertainment experience they've come to expect of Napster and Best Buy."

The new Napster offering is now available for U.S. residents at www.napster.com.

Friday, May 15, 2009

HP Recalls 200K Laptop Batteries Worldwide

Hewlett-Packard Co. in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled more than 70,000 lithium-ion batteries used in several models of laptops sold in the US because of a potential fire hazard, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday. In all HP expects the recall to affect more than 200,000 laptops worldwide.

According to the CPSC Web site the recall currently affects 21 different models of HP and Compaq notebook computers sold at computer and electronics stores nationwide, hp.com and hpshopping.com from August 2007 through March 2008 for between $500 and $3000. The battery packs were also sold separately for between $100 and $160.

For additional information, visit the HP Battery Replacement Program Web site at http://www.hp.com/support/BatteryReplacement or call (800) 889-2031 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. CT Monday through Friday.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Futuremark Announces "World's Largest" PC Overclocking Competition

Sponsored by MSI, Huntkey, Thermaltake, GlacialTech, Enermax, Patriot Memory, this worldwide contest will see three regional winners crowned the "Lords of Overclocking"

SARATOGA, CA – MAY 18, 2009 – Futuremark Corporation today announced a new competition for PC overclockers everywhere. The contest will see game, DIY, and overclocking enthusiasts from Europe, Asia and the Americas competing for the “Lord of Overclocking” title for their region. With Futuremark anticipating over 200,000 entries the online contest will be the largest overclocking competition ever staged.
http://www.futuremark.com/community/competitions/overclocking/regional09

The contest will run from May 18th to June 14th with prizes on offer for the top weekly and overall winners in each region. Furthermore one overall top winner will also be invited to attend the MSI Master Overclocking Arena 2009 event in Beijing, China in September 2009.

Grand Prize include: MSI P45 Diamond motherboard and N260GTX VGA card, Huntkey X7 900W power supply, Thermaltake Element S pro case, GlacialTech XWing NB Cooling Pad, Enermax Apollo (8cm+12cm) cooling fans, Patriot Memory 3GB 1600Mhz Tri-Channel memory kits.

Weekly prizes include: MSI X58 Pro-E motherboard and N250GTS VGA card, Huntkey X7 800W power supply, Thermaltake V9 gaming case, GlacialTech UFO CPU Cooler, Enermax Cluster, Everest, Magma (8cm+12cm) cooling fans, Patriot Memory 3GB 1600Mhz Tri-Channel memory kits.

"Overclocking is growing in popularity all the time and on average we see a new benchmark result submitted to our database every 4 seconds. This worldwide competition gives people in three regions the chance to compete for great prizes. We will be surprised if records are not broken," said Jukka Mäkinen, Futuremark's Vice President, Products and Services.

"This is the largest overclocking event of its type we've ever seen. We’re delighted to be supporting overclockers everywhere with this community building competition," said Jason Lee, MSI's Marketing Director.

Contestants will be competing to see who can achieve the highest score with 3DMark06, a benchmark program from Futuremark that measures the 3D gaming performance capabilities of PCs. 3DMark software has been downloaded more than 45 million times. The 3DMark06 edition is currently the world’s most popular benchmark and can be downloaded for free from the Futuremark website. http://www.futuremark.com/benchmarks/

For further details of the "Lords of Overclocking" competition visit
http://www.futuremark.com/community/competitions/overclocking/regional09

From MSI

Dell Wants Your Feedback On The Future Of Dell Minis

Dell is seeking customer feedback on its popular line up of netbooks asking consumers to weigh in on several questions regarding the future of the line.

The company has posted two main questions and is asking the public to share their ideas plus vote and comment on others via IdeaStorm in the Netbooks category

  1. So what would you like to see in future Dell Minis? (Things like form factor, new features, personalization ideas, operating system support, etc.)
  2. What features are most important in a netbook? (Things like HD capability, network connectivity options, battery life, usability, etc.)

Beyond IdeaStorm, members of Dell’s netbook development team will also be listening and responding via a new Twitter account, @Dell_Mini. If you’re into micro-blogging, give the team a follow and share your thoughts on what you would like to see in the future.

AMD Comments On EU's Intel Ruling

AMD Comments on European Commission Ruling that Intel Violated EU Law and Harmed Consumers

EU Orders Intel to Change Business Practices

Third Global Antitrust Agency Condemns Intel’s Anticompetitive Conduct


SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- May 13, 2009 --The European Commission today found Intel guilty of abusing its dominant position in the global x86 microprocessor market, saying that “Intel has harmed millions of European consumers by deliberately acting to keep competitors out of the market for computer chips for many years. Such a serious and sustained violation of the EU’s antitrust rules cannot be tolerated.” The Commission also stated that “there is evidence that Intel had sought to conceal the conditions associated with its payments.” The EC decision requires Intel to change its business practices immediately and fines Intel a record EUR 1.06 billion (US $1.45 billion).

“Today’s ruling is an important step toward establishing a truly competitive market,” said Dirk Meyer, AMD president and CEO. “AMD has consistently been a technology innovation leader and we are looking forward to the move from a world in which Intel ruled, to one which is ruled by customers.”

“After an exhaustive investigation, the EU came to one conclusion – Intel broke the law and consumers were hurt,” said Tom McCoy, AMD executive vice president for legal affairs. “With this ruling, the industry will benefit from an end to Intel’s monopoly-inflated pricing and European consumers will enjoy greater choice, value and innovation.”

The EC decision stated specifically that:

  • “Intel gave wholly or partially hidden rebates to computer manufacturers on condition that they bought all, or almost all, their x86 CPUs from Intel”.
  • “Intel made payments to major retailer Media Saturn Holding from October 2002 to December 2007 on condition that it exclusively sold Intel-based PCs in all countries in which Media Saturn Holding is active.“
  • Intel “interfered directly in the relations between computer manufacturers and AMD. Intel awarded computer manufacturers payments - unrelated to any particular purchases from Intel - on condition that these computer manufacturers postponed or cancelled the launch of specific AMD-based products.”

Intel has so far failed to convince any antitrust enforcement agency that its business practices are lawful and pro-consumer.

In 2008, the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) issued a 26 billion won fine (approximately $25.4 million USD) saying that Intel’s abuse of its dominant position included coercing and paying customers millions of dollars on the condition that they use only Intel chips, delay launches of AMD products, and/or not develop any new products with AMD chips. The KFTC also found that, “South Korean consumers had to buy PCs at higher prices as domestic PC makers were forced to buy Intel’s pricier CPU.” In addition to a fine, the KFTC ordered Intel to stop the practice of offering payments to PC makers conditioned upon them not doing business with AMD. Intel is in the process of appealing the ruling.

In 2005, the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) ruled that Intel had violated the country’s anti-monopoly laws by illegally forcing full or partial exclusivity with five Japanese PC makers. Intel did not appeal the ruling.

In the United States, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and New York Attorney General’s office are investigating Intel for abuse of its monopoly position. In 2005, AMD filed private litigation in the US District Court of Delaware, which is scheduled for trial in spring 2010.



Source: AMD Press Release

EU Slaps Intel With $1.44B Fine In Antitrust Case

The European Commission concluded their ongoing investigation on Wednesday finding Intel guilty of antitrust violations in the market for PC CPUs fining the company a record amount of $1.44 billion. The Commission also ordered Intel to stop illegal sales tactics that have shut out Silicon Valley rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

Intel president and CEO Paul Otellini issued the following statement regarding the EC decision on Intel's business practices:

"Intel takes strong exception to this decision. We believe the decision is wrong and ignores the reality of a highly competitive processor marketplace characterized by constant innovation, improved product performance and lower prices. There has been absolutely zero harm to consumers. Intel will appeal."

"We do not believe our practices violated European law. The natural result of a competitive market with only two major suppliers is that when one company wins sales, the other does not. The Directorate General for Competition of the Commission ignored or refused to obtain significant evidence that contradicts the assertions in this decision. We believe this evidence shows that when companies perform well the market rewards them, when they do not perform the market acts accordingly."

"Intel never sells products below cost. We have however, consistently invested in innovation, in manufacturing and in developing leadership technology. The result is that we can discount our products to compete in a highly competitive marketplace, passing along to consumers everywhere the efficiencies of being the world's leading volume manufacturer of processors."

"Despite our strongly held views, as we go through the appeals process we plan to work with the Commission to ensure we are in compliance with their decision."

AMD president and CEO Dirk Meyer was also quick to comment on the decision saying, "Today's ruling is an important step toward establishing a truly competitive market and AMD has consistently been a technology innovation leader and we are looking forward to the move from a world in which Intel ruled, to one which is ruled by customers."

"After an exhaustive investigation, the EU came to one conclusion – Intel broke the law and consumers were hurt," said Tom McCoy, AMD executive vice president for legal affairs. "With this ruling, the industry will benefit from an end to Intel's monopoly-inflated pricing and European consumers will enjoy greater choice, value and innovation."

AMD also pointed out that in the US, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and New York Attorney General's office is also investigating Intel for abuses of its monopoly position. Meanwhile, in 2005, AMD filed private litigation in the US District Court of Delaware, which is scheduled for trial in spring 2010.

Google Announces Knol For Dummies.com Winner

Earlier this week Google announced their Knol for Dummies contest winner. "How to talk to your doctor" by Dr. Jennifer Frank, whose knol about "getting the most out of a short-but-sweet office visit" was selected to be featured on Dummies.com, and she will receive $1,000 as part of the contest.

Google's Knol for dummies contest which was announced back in January invited Google users from around the world to create their own "how to" knol about a subject their are well versed in. Judges selected five finalists to be eligible for a featured spot on the Dummies.com site. Of the five entries Dr. Frank's was determind to be the best earrining her the $1000 top prize.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Apple Just Says No To iPhone BitTorrent Handler

Citing concerns over the apps possible use to download copyrighted materials and the potential of copyright infringement concerns, Apple did as Apple often does and denied the inclusion of new app BitTorrent client to the App Store.

According to Wired.com Apple rejected Maza Digital’s Drivetrain, saying “this category of applications is often used for the purpose of infringing third-party rights. We have chosen to not publish this type of application to the App Store.”

The irony invloved in the story is that Drivetrain is only a remote application handler, it doesn't actually act a BitTorrent client. You still need to use the Transmission BT Client. The app itself has nothing at all to do with Bittorrent. As Drivetrain doesn't actually upload or download anything, it's just used to manage Transmission running on your desktop.

The apps developer Aaron Scott told Wired he felt that Apple’s decision was “ridiculous.”

“I do think that some people might choose to download pirated works. But they can not outlaw a program because of a few who choose to do the wrong thing. The BitTorrent protocol and client apps are not illegal,” he said.

Greenpeace Launches New iPhone App

Greenpeace Launches iPhone Application Version of its Recycled Tissue and Toilet Paper Guide

Tool allows shoppers to find the greenest tissue products

SAN FRANCISCO – Greenpeace announces today the release of an iPhone application for its popular “Recycled Tissue and Toilet Paper Guide.” The tool created by 3rd Whale, gives consumers a quick and easy way to choose the greenest toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, and paper napkins sold at the supermarket.

The guide gives a thumbs-up to Green Forest, Natural Value and Seventh Generation, while recommending that shoppers avoid products like Kleenex, Charmin, Angel Soft, Cottonelle, Brawny, and Scott.

Greenpeace recommends companies manufacturing paper products that: 1) contain 100 percent recycled content; 2) at least 50 percent of which is from post-consumer materials); and, 3) avoid the use of chlorine or chlorine compounds in the whitening process.

The guide rates facial tissues, paper towels, toilet paper, and paper napkins with a “Recommended,” “Avoid,” or “They Can Do Better” ranking.

Features of the application include:
  • The ability to quickly compare household paper brands while in the grocery store;
  • A list of environmentally preferable tissue, toilet paper, paper towel and paper napkin brands.
  • Brand specific information including the percentage of recycled content, the percentage of post-consumer content, and the bleaching method.

“Tissue products made from recycled content help to reduce our impact on ancient forests, protecting forest ecosystems and wildlife habitat,” said Greenpeace Forest Campaigner Lindsey Allen. “Customers who download the iPhone or Android version of the Greenpeace Recycled Tissue and Toilet Paper Guide can compare brands available at their local grocery store to find which brands are most environmentally sustainable. For those interested in protecting ancient forests from clearcutting and supporting truly sustainable companies, this application makes informed decision making even more convenient.”

The application is now available for download for the iPhone and Google Android at www.greenpeace.org/tissueguide

Windows 7 On Track For The Holidays, Maybe As Early As August

Microsoft has yet to confirm an actual release date of the upcoming operating system that has had the web a buzz since its beta release, but today executives have said they are confident that the OS will be ready in time for the upcoming holiday season.

newegg"With early RC testing and extensive partner feedback we've received, Windows 7 is tracking well for holiday availability," Bill Veghte, senior vice president of the Windows Business at Microsoft, told attendees at the TechEd 2009 conference in Los Angeles.

These sentiments were later echoed by Windows 7 team member Brandon LeBlanc. In a blog post posted this afternoon LeBlanc said "If the telemetry we receive from the Windows 7 RC meets our expectations in terms of quality, then we expect to hit RTM in 3 months or so. Again, check out Steven’s blog post on this process. If this happens, it looks like we’ll be able to have Windows 7 done in time for the holidays."

Utilizing that statement and doing a little math you can figure that the RTM would be sent out in early August. Meaning if the Windows 7 goes RTM 3 months from today it would be around Aug. 11 and Windows 7 could go on sale and be available on new PCs as early as Oct. 11.

Windows 7 Upgrade Program:

As we mentioned back in January TechARP.com reported that Microsoft will unveil a program for Windows 7 that would be similar to their Vista Express Upgrade program which provided free or discounted Vista licenses to buyers of Windows XP in the months leading up to Vista's release.

TechARP has adjusted the availability date from July 1st to June 26, 2009, but they are still standing by the original reports. The June 26th availability date would make sense when factoring in the 3 month leeway from the date of last week's Release Candidate release to the RTM. That would mean OEM's would be offering the program a week or two before the RTM is shipped out, which is inline with the previous Vista program.

New Pentium Dual Core E6300

No this is not a typo, or the rehashing of old news, we are talking about a new 45nm Pentium Dual core not the old 65nm Core 2 Duo.

Images courtesy of ASCII.jp

According to Japanese website ASCII.jp the new E6300 retail boxes have been spotted at a few retailers. The new boxes carry the rather interesting part number "E6300", however this "new" E6300 is a faster more efficient chip. While the Core 2 Duo E6300 is clocked at 1.86 GHz, with 2 MB of L2 cache and a 1066 MHz FSB, the new Pentium E6300 is clocked at 2.80 GHz with the same FSB speed and L2 cache size.



Images courtesy of ASCII.jp

Bedsides the faster clock speeds the new E6300 It is based on the 45 nm Wolfdale-2M core meaning the chip will not only be faster but will require less energy and should run slightly cooler. Pricing on the new chips was another interesting aspect. ASCII.jp notes its price to be at ¥8,880 around US $90 placing it just about the current street price of the slightly slower Intel Pentium E5400 and slight cheaper than the similarly spec'd Intel Core 2 Duo E7400.

Vote For Your Favorite Doodle 4 Google

Google has announced the selection of approximately 400 state finalists and the 40 regional winners in their second annual Doodle 4 Google contest.

Google launched the contest back in February, inviting school kids from around the country to create a doodle inspired by this year's theme, "What I Wish for the World,". This year the national winner will receive a $15,000 college scholarship and the school district that submits the most high-quality entries will receive a $10,000 prize.

You can place your votes for your favorite design on the Doodle 4 Google website until May 18 at midnight Pacific time. Gogle will be announcing the results — along with the winner — on May 20th, and the winning doodle will appear on the Google homepage the following day. If you happen to be visiting New York City, you can drop in and see the doodles of all 40 finalists in an exhibit at the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, which will run May 21 - July 5, 2009.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

White Paper: "The New Encryption Generation: Closing the Gap"

Full disk encryption no longer makes sense. Learn about next-generation encryption and why your organization needs it. Concerned about the damage and liabilities of lost and stolen data, enterprises are turning to encryption as a backstop to prevent corporate and customer information from ending up in the wrong hands. Outdated, first-generation encryption technologies, however, often deliver less than promised—either leaving critical gaps in security, preventing the legitimate recovery of data or, even worse, encouraging operational compromises that can be exploited. Organizations today need a more intelligent, multilayered approach to encryption that automatically safeguards data without complicating essential IT and user operations.

This white paper examines the limitations of first-generation encryption processes that often deliver less-than-promised performance, spur user resistance, conflict with operational infrastructure and process requirements, and can even leave data stored in unencrypted locations where it is easily visible to unauthorized users. This white paper covers:
  • Data in the Line of Fire
  • Changing Needs of Security Management
  • Data on the Move
  • Endpoint Data Protection

Click here to get this free white paper now


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Dell Offers Best Buy Customers More Tech Support Options

dell logoDell customers purchasing their computers or peripherals from Best Buy retail locations now have the option of obtaining support from either Best Buy’s Geek Squad or Dell’s Technical Support.

According to the Direct2Dell Blog, Best Buy customers were often hit with some confusion and nagging questions as to who to get their technical support from. Both customers and members of Dell's Techs team and Best Buy’s Geek Squad members were often confused over which company was to provide the limited hardware warranty and tech support on these systems. Making it confusing for customers who weren't sure if they should take their PCs or laptops back to their local Best Buy or if they should be contacting Dell for support.

Customers that purchase Dell systems or monitors at Best Buy can get limited hardware warranty support from either Best Buy’s Geek Squad or Dell’s Technical Support. If it’s easier for you to contact Dell via telephone, email or online chat, then that’s the option for you. If you prefer to take your system into a store and have a Geek Squad Agent work on it then you can get support that way as well. You can even switch between Dell and Geek Squad as your needs change.

Here are the details for which source you'll need to contact for your support options:

Best Buy:

Dell:

System returns will only be handled by Best Buy and can only be returned according to their return policy, you do not need to contact Dell for returns. Normal Dell limited hardware warranty limitations such as data recovery, advanced software support, accidental damage, and out of warranty still apply. For more details, go to http://www.Dell.com/warranty.

If you purchase a Dell system from Best Buy you'll want to register your system with Dell as soon as possible to make sure there are no delays in the event you need to contact Dell support teams.

  • Go to the Internet and visit Dell’s Product Registration website at http://www.Dell.com/register
  • Select the language, country, and retailer from where you purchased and fill out the online form.
  • Once the form is complete, click Submit.

AT&T Offering $3/Day Unlimited Calling Plan For GoPhone Users

Starting tomorrow AT&T GoPhone users will have a new option a prepaid cellular plan that gives users unlimited voice service for $3 a day. The new plan rates will only be applied on days when customers make or receive voice calls on the company’s national wireless network

The break down:

AT&T pay-as-you-go customers will need to pay credits towards the days they expect service. Basically pay $3 up front for every day you want to make or receive calls on your GoPhone. Each day you have paid for in advance you'll receieve unlimited voice service for the entire day including no roaming or long distance fees on the company’s national wireless network.

If users do not make or receive any calls during the day then there will be no fees collocted from your account and it will rollover.

Customers on the new GoPhone Unlimited Calling plan won't be limited to calls only. AT&T said users will be able to use text messaging and data service at the same pay per use rates as all other GoPhone Pay As You Go plans, or customers can add messaging or data packages.

For customers who primarily call other AT&T mobile subscribers, AT&T also offers an Unlimited Mobile-to-Mobile plan, which provides unlimited calling to and from all 78 million AT&T wireless customers, and $0.10 for all other calls, for $1 a day.

The new AT&T GoPhone packages, which include a new device (prices vary by device selected) plus $15 airtime credit. You can purchase them online, at AT&T stores or other retail locations including Wal-Mart. Current GoPhone customers will be able to switch to the unlimited calling plan by calling 611 from their handset, or 800-901-9878 from a landline phone. Feature packages such as unlimited text messaging for $19.99 can be added by choosing the option 'Buy Features.' More information will be available at www.att.com/gophone.

Source: ATT Press Release

Thursday, May 07, 2009

WGA By Any Other Name Might Still Be A Pain For Users

Microsoft has decided to let the Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) label slide to its death with Windows XP, instead opting to rename their anti-counterfeit/anti-piracy technology Windows Activation Technologies (WAT).

Full details of the new anti-piracy program were disscused in a Microsoft Press Pass interview with Joe Williams, general manager, Worldwide Genuine Windows at Microsoft.

At its heart the program will remain the same both WGA and WAT look for a valid product key and use repeated verification efforts to determine if a copy of Windows is legitimate. The main differences will be how the customers of "flag" installations will be notified. WGA would enter "reduced functionality mode" crippling users machines WAT will rely more on an increased number of on-screen nagging messages.

Alex Kochis, Microsoft's director for the Genuine Windows group said , "We heard feedback from customers that while the notifications that appeared in Windows Vista were effective at helping alert customers, there might be more we could do and say that would be helpful. So for Windows 7 our goal was to do a better job of helping customers make decisions with confidence about which action to take."

According to Kochis the new WAT messages in Windows 7 will be more descriptive about what Windows is actually doing and providing more information about what, if any, actions the user should take as a result.

For example, with Windows Vista Service Pack 1, if a PC was not activated or hadn't passed the genuine activation testing prior to the login process, users would periodically see a dialog box as a visual reminder they still needed to activate their copy of Windows. Within this prompt, they could choose to activate immediately or later. But the option to push the “activate later” button was grayed out for 15 seconds.

According to the feedback MS has recieved users didn't fully undertand what why they needed to activate immediately and that the delay was annoying. In Windows 7 MS had modified this process: When a users choose to activate later they will see a dialog box highlighting how activation helps them identify if their copy of Windows is genuine and be allowed to proceed immediately without a 15-second delay. In Windows 7 the changes will be made so that users will see more informative notifications messages and be able to more easily complete the tasks they need to.

For Windows 7 and WAT the company has also added a few new validation tools which should enable Windows to get smarter over time. While exact details weren't released WAT will have the ability to receive new information that Windows can use to detect and protect against the latest activation exploits, tampering or other attempts to circumvent product activation. MS also added to the online service and servers that supports activation and validation on the Microsoft side with extensive systems monitoring, geo-redundancy and a focus on accuracy.

Clearly Microsoft hopes to avoid some of the mistakes brought forth with WGA which has been plagued with issues including falsly indetifing legitamate copies of Windows as pirated. WGA was also fairly easily cracked or disabled altogether.

"Best Job In The World" Winner Announced

Tourism Queensland's Islandreefjob.com promotion has come to an end after a 5 month search. As you might recall from previous posts the state run site was offering up what was billed as the "best job in the world". The job, Island Caretaker of the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef will net a lucky chap from the UK $100k for his services.

Ben Southall from United Kingdom has secured The Best Job in the World. He'll spend his time lounging around on his own tropical island doing little more than blogging, interviews with the local press and occasionally feeding the fish.

Ben was chosen from more than 34,000 applicants for the Best Job in the World after a selection process that culminated on beautiful Hamilton Island. Today Ben was offiically handed the keys to his new home - the gorgeous Blue Pearl villa overlooking the Coral Sea and his base from which to explore Queensland's magnificent Islands of the Greaat Barrier Reef.

AT&T Considers Lowering Pricing On The iPhone Plan

According to analyst Michael Cote there is a "strong possibility" that AT&T lower the cost of the entry-level iPhone plan from to $59 from $69 saving customers as much as $240 over the life of their contract.

Cote believes the new plan pricing will probably accompany the launch of the new iPhone, which is expected to come on June 8, during Apple's World Wide Developers Conference.

Over the past year AT&T and Apple have worked to steadily drop the costs of the iPhone slashing prices twice already. The first generation iPhone, which is nearly two years old, was originally priced at $599 for the 8GB version. A few shorts months after the release Apple made a less than popular move when they drastically cut the price to $399.

When the new iPhone 3G was introduced, AT&T looked for ways to make the phone more appealing to a braoder range of customers by subsidizing the cost of the phones. Subsidizing the cost allowed the company to offer the phone at a much more appealing price of $199 with a two-year contract. Now AT&T is selling refurbished iPhones for as low as $99, but the monthly service charge, which starts at $69 for the iPhone is still a hard pill to swallow.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

LaCie Introduces Two Network Storage Servers For Workgroups

Popular portable hard drive manufacturer LaCie has announced the availability of two new high capacity Network Attached Storage (NAS) solutions – Big Disk Network and d2 Network. These professional file servers are optimized for users to instantly store, share, and back up files, from any PC or Mac on a wired or wireless network. LaCie's new NAS solutions deliver high-performance and professional-class reliability, in an easy-to-use network solution for the home or small office.



The d2 Network supports up to 1.5TB capacity, while the Big Disk Network combines two drives in a RAID 0 setting, for up to 4TBs of storage. Both NAS solutions are perfect for advanced users or small to medium sized offices that want to develop workgroup environments for up to 50 users (15 at one time). Network administrators can choose from various security levels for user profiles, groups, and public or guest access. Users can connect an external USB drive to increase security through scheduled backups, or even expand capacity. The d2 Network also includes an eSATA connection for storage expansion.

In addition to high-performance hardware, LaCie's NAS solutions offer a comprehensive software bundle for easy set up, back up and administration. The LaCie Network Assistant enables quick access and configuration of your NAS solution. Both solutions also ship with Genie Backup Manager Pro for Windows and Intego Backup Manager Pro for Mac users, which allow customers to reliably and efficiently backup documents, emails, and other digital assets directly to their NAS device. They also support computer disaster recovery for extra security.

"Data storage needs are becoming increasingly significant in homes and small offices," said Edin Del Mar, LaCie product manager for office network solutions. "The Big Disk and d2 Network provide professional server functionality and large storage capacities that satisfy the needs of any workgroup environment, with superior design and better performance than comparable products on the market today."

The Big Disk and d2 Network integrate easily and efficiently into most small office networks thanks to Active Directory support, which allow the product to seamlessly join Windows domains. It also supports most of the network protocols for Windows and Mac users, including SMB and AFP. Network administrators can take advantage of the Wake-on-LAN (WOL) for turning on the drive remotely, and be sent email alerts for backups, downloads, and risk indicators.

For optimal use in the home, the d2 and Big Disk Network allow users to leverage two convenient usage scenarios without being connected to a computer. The first is the ability to download large files using the BitTorrentTM protocol. The second use lets users play media from the NAS solutions through a UPnP-AV compatible device such as a PS3 or Xbox, directly to a television. Both NAS drives are compatible with any DLNA multimedia device.

Designed exclusively for LaCie by the world-renowned designer Neil Poulton, the Big Disk and d2 Network drives were engineered to maximize reliability and are remarkably compact for their enormous capacity. Its sturdy aluminum body with a unique heat sink design offers natural heat dissipation by providing 60% more surface area. The versatile design allows users to place the drive in an upright or vertical position, depending on the environment. If users desire multiple d2 drives for backup or increased capacity, the drives can be rackmounted using the LaCie d2 rack accessories for desktop and standard 19" IT equipment racks.

Availability and Pricing
The LaCie NAS solutions are available now, with the retail cost starting at $189.99 for d2 Network and $379.99 for Big Disk Network. LaCie products are available through the LaCie Online Store or LaCie Resellers.

Source: LaCie Press Release

Green Day Teaming With Comcast For Exlusive Video Content

Comcast Partners With Green Day To Provide Exclusive First Look At Live Performances From New Album

More than 30 Green Day Videos, Concerts and Behind-the-Scenes Footage Also Available Together for the First Time in HD

Philadelphia – May 6, 2009 – Comcast is providing exclusive, advance access to live performances from Green Day’s first new album in nearly five years, “21st Century Breakdown” due out on Reprise Records on Friday, May 15th, as well as more than 30 of the band’s videos and concerts in HD, the company announced today. Comcast Corporation, the nation’s leading provider of entertainment, information and communications, is providing this one-of-a-kind HD collection, including 10 live songs from a recently recorded concert at Oakland’s Fox Theater - in HD - along with the music video for the album’s first single, “Know Your Enemy,” starting May 7, On Demand and on comcast.net/greenday. Comcast also has created a breakthrough television ad featuring the band performing the new single.

"Comcast is debuting an exclusive collection of 30 Green Day videos, plus live performances of nine songs from the band's yet unreleased new album, all in crystal-clear HD," said Derek Harrar, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Video Services for Comcast. “If you like music and you like HD, Comcast is a must have.”

"The Comcast On Demand service brings people who weren't able to attend the Fox Theatre show right to the performance, allowing us another way to connect with our fans," says Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong. "The technology is amazing — now people can watch this performance, as well as 30 of our videos whenever they want either on TV or on the web."

As part of this partnership, these brand new videos of live performances from a soon-to-be-legendary Green Day concert, which David Fricke of Rolling Stone described as a “stunning” performance of music from “Green Day’s best album,” the upcoming “21st Century Breakdown,” two videos will debut On Demand every week for five weeks. Comcast will make this content, including an exclusive interview with the band discussing the making of the new album, available On Demand under “Top Picks,” under “Green Day HD” and on comcast.net/greenday. With 50-60 million music videos watched every month, music continues to be one of the most popular categories of On Demand programming and Comcast offers everything from videos to live performances across a wide range of music genres.

Comcast’s Green Day partnership, blockbuster movies, new television series and other new viewing choices are part of the company’s commitment to deliver exponentially more quality content choice on TV, including more HD, sports, movies, kids’ programs and network TV shows. On Demand currently offers customers thousands of kids and family entertainment choices among the more than 10,000 programs available throughout the course of a month, including more than 1,000 choices in HD available at any time. Currently, Comcast customers view more than 300 million On Demand programs a month.

AMD Releases Windows 7 WHQL Certified Drivers

AMD Releases WHQL Certified Graphics Driver For Windows 7 on Day One of Windows 7 Logo Program

—WHQL certification delivers the stamp of approval to AMD graphics drivers, ensuring that the combination of ATI Radeon graphics cards and drivers delivers an incredibly stable, high-performance Windows 7 experience—

Underlining the company's leadership in developing hardware and drivers to support the Windows 7 operating system, AMD today announced that its Windows 7 driver has received Windows Hardware Quality Lab (WHQL) certification on the first day of the certifying program.
  • WHQL certification sets a high bar for quality and reliability, and is considered essential by many home and business users.
  • WHQL certification demonstrates AMD’s ability to deliver the stability, incredible 3D game performance and smooth multimedia playback needed in order to help bring the new features of Windows 7 to life.
  • As a testament to its ongoing commitment to reliability and stability, AMD is the only graphics hardware company in the world delivering monthly WHQL-certified graphics driver updates.

For users of ATI Radeon HD 2000, HD 3000, and HD 4000 series products, the ATI Catalyst™ software suite delivers:

  • Industry-leading driver stability and reliability.
  • Full WDDM 1.1 WHQL certified support under Windows 7.
  • Scheduled performance and new feature innovation every month.
  • Enablement of ATI Stream technology for general purpose GPU (GPGPU) computing on supported graphics cards.

“By delivering a WHQL certified driver for the Windows 7 operating system at the earliest possible opportunity, AMD has once again demonstrated its driver leadership,” said Ben Bar-Haim, corporate vice president, Software Engineering, AMD. “AMD is working closely with Microsoft to ensure superior performance and a reliable Windows 7 experience throughout our line of graphics processors.”

Microsoft WHQL certified graphics drivers for Windows 7 are scheduled for release on AMD.com on May 5, 2009, and a fully unified WHQL-certified driver supporting Windows Vista and Windows 7 is planned for the release of ATI Catalyst 9.5 later in May.

To learn more about the first AMD WHQL certified graphics driver for Windows 7, please visit www.amd.com.

About the Windows 7 Hardware Logo Program

Introduction

The Windows 7 Logo Program is designed to help your company deliver compatible and reliable systems, software, and hardware products. End users trust the logo as an assurance of compatibility and reliability. This program is intended to help you develop systems and devices that have been tested to ensure that they meet Microsoft standards for Windows 7 as well as the quality level that ensures a good Windows experience for end users. After your system or device passes Microsoft-designed tests, your company will be able to take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Customer confidence that the systems and devices they choose have passed Microsoft-designed tests for reliability and compatibility with Windows 7.
  • Support for your systems and devices through Windows Error Reporting, and reduced support costs through the ability to update error messages and post updated drivers on Windows Update (WU).
  • A variety of marketing benefits, including public relations support, preferential treatment on Windows 7 Compatibility Center, and Microsoft's promotion of the Windows Logo Program.

Compatible with Windows 7 Logo

The Windows 7 Logo Program is a unique opportunity for your company to help customers identify devices that are designed and tested to be compatible with Windows 7. As a participant in the Windows 7 Logo Program, your company can use logo artwork, messaging guidelines, and marketing campaign assets in association with devices that have met the logo program requirements. Using these assets helps you to extend your marketing by taking advantage of Microsoft's continued investment in promoting "Compatible with Windows 7" devices to consumers, businesses, and retail channel partners.

windows 7 logo

Participation in the Windows 7 Logo Program will also help you to:

  • Ensure that your device is tested for reliability and compatibility with Windows 7.
  • Take advantage of logo program creative guidelines, artwork, messaging, and customizable templates.
  • Qualify for the logo through a simplified self-test process.
  • Take advantage of Windows brand recognition.
  • Reduce support calls and maximize returns by passing Microsoft-designed tests for compatibility and reliability.
  • Support devices in the market through Windows Update.
  • Receive quality rating information on crashes and problems that customers are encountering, through Windows Error Reporting.
  • Receive preferred listing on Windows 7 Compatibility Center.
  • Take advantage of Microsoft's e-tail syndication, reaching over 30 sites in the US and Europe and delivering over 3.7 million logo impressions per month.
  • Be eligible to participate in public relations opportunities with Microsoft.

Additional Qualifications

In addition to qualifying for the Windows 7 logo, systems and devices that deliver enhanced user experiences through select new technologies in Windows 7 can earn optional additional qualifications (AQs). Systems and devices that qualify for the Windows 7 logo may also qualify for the following AQs:


  • Device Stage. A simple way to interact with your phone, camera, printer, or portable media player from the Windows desktop.
  • Windows Media Center. Available for television tuners, graphics adapters, personal computers (PCs), remote controls, and Media Center Extenders that turns your PC into a powerful DVR and let you take your television shows with you.
  • Windows Touch. Available for display monitors and PCs that support multiple touch points for more intuitive and natural interaction.
  • Windows HD Imaging. Available for printers and cameras that provide the best end-to-end digital imaging experience with Windows, preserving the full color fidelity of high definition photos through image capture, editing, and printing.


When a system or device qualifies for an AQ, you can:

  • Take advantage of partner marketing guides that have marketing assets and messaging that align with key Windows scenarios and technologies.
  • Showcase a specific user scenario or experience.
  • Increase customer confidence and purchase intent associated with additional qualifications.
  • Enable customers to easily find specific devices and solutions that leverage specific technologies and enjoy a richer integration with Windows 7.
  • Reach millions of users per month through a network of touch points including Windows.com, e-tail syndication, and Windows 7 Compatibility Center.
  • Be promoted through additional Windows.com highlights for key technologies and hardware products.
  • To start participating in the Windows 7 Logo Program, register for the Windows Ecosystem Readiness Program and download the Windows Logo Kit (WLK).