Monday, August 31, 2009

Google Translate Adds Nine New Languages, Now Tops 51

Google announced today that they have added nine additional languages to the Google Translate program. Bringing the grand total of available languages up to 51, as well as 2,550 language pairs, including all 23 official EU languages.


The nine new languages include:
    Afrikaans
    Belarusian
    Icelandic
    Irish
    Macedonian
    Malay
    Swahili
    Welsh
    Yiddish

Jeff Chin, product manager at Google says, "The translation quality of these newest languages is still a little rough, but it will improve over time — and we're continuously working to improve quality for all languages supported by Google Translate." According to the Google research blog the company's goal is to provide automatic translation for as many languages as possible. So far they have been working on collecting data and building systems for more than 100 languages.

The company is also working to integrate Google Translate into some of their other products. At this time you can use Google Translate to translate emails within Gmail, webpages using the Google Toolbar, RSS feeds in Google Reader and most recently, documents within Google Docs.

AMD Officially Announces New 40w Six Core Opteron EE Processors

amd logo

More Choices Available for Cloud and Dense Computing Environments with New Six-Core AMD Opteron EE Processor

Increased performance in same 40-watt ACP power band as previous generations; meets unique requirements of hyperscale datacenter

AMD today announced the immediate availability of the new Six-Core AMD Opteron™ EE processor at 40W ACP. Delivering up to 31 percent higher performance-per-watt over standard Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors¹, the Six-Core AMD Opteron EE processor is tailored to meet the demands of customers who need strong performance, but must trim out every watt possible in a server system and reduce the datacenter’s power draw.
  • Many customers requiring this very low power processor deploy dense, large-scale IT projects where system power trumps raw performance and every watt of power savings can have significant positive impact on the bottom line.
  • AMD offers a wide range of energy-efficient processors; customers now have 15 low and very low power server processor choices available.
  • All of AMD’s low power processors are fully-featured and available with the same AMD Virtualization (AMD-V™) technology and AMD-P features for advanced virtualization and power savings capability as standard power versions.
  • This 40W ACP processor is currently being integrated in custom solutions programs and will be available from system builders for cloud and Web 2.0 customers where density and low power are key considerations.

“It’s important for our industry to look at how technology is being used and where customers have emerging needs,” said Patrick Patla, vice president and general manager, Server and Workstation Division. “The AMD Opteron EE processor enables OEMs to deliver energy-sipping servers that don’t compromise on power management, virtualization or performance features. It is specifically designed to help address the challenges that are generating a great deal of discussion these days - building and running very dense data centers for Web services, while doing more with less.”

Supporting Resources


Source: AMD Pres Release

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Review: Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP

Summer might be winding down but its never too late to buy water toys and gadgets. The best part is often times towards the end of the season you can find some great deals out there. Over the last few months I've been watching prices on a select group of ‘waterproof’ cameras with my main focus being on the sub $200 range.

Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP 10 MP Waterproof Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom (Green)

Last month the timing was right for me to make my purchase and when it was all said and done I ended up with the Fujifilm FinePix Z33WP. Currently priced from $145-179 the FinePix Z33WP falls in the same price range as the OLYMPUS Stylus 550WP, the Polaroid t833 and just below the OLYMPUS Stylus 850WP and Stylus 1050SW.

Featuring 10 megapixels CCD sensor, 3x optical zoom and waterproofing up to 3m (10ft) this little camera looked like the perfect companion for my many rafting trips. It was compact enough and easy enough to carry that it wouldn't be bothersome, yet had enough features to make shooting pictures fun and easy.

Picture Quality

One of the hardest things to find in a budget camera is one that does it all and unfortunately the Z33WP didn't handle many of the tasks I threw at it. The camera is equipped with 6 scene SR AUTO (Scene Recognition Auto) which is supposed to automatically detect and select one of the 6 appropriate camera settings: Portrait, Landscape, Night, Macro, Night Portrait, and Backlit Portrait. Sadly this really didn't help much.

Picture quality during the day was top notch however during low light or night time shots it was horrible. Being someone that has an active nightlife a camera that could take great night time pics is a must. Pictures often turned out blurry, grainy, dark or just plain bad. Even manually adjusting the setting couldn't help. This was really disappointing considering the quality of the day time shots.

Functions and Features

The Z33Wp has several great functions and features as well as several shooting modes that actually worked well. Shooting modes Underwater and Auction mode for instance really came out well when utilized. Shooting shots in the pool using underwater mode adjusted the color about perfectly while auction mode took great snap shots with just the right amount of flash and good color balance.

Movie recording left a lot to be desired as did some of the other shooting modes like Night, Party, Flower and Text. As mentioned night shots were horrible!

In terms of effectiveness the waterproofing and dustproofing were great. I never attempted to test the actual depth but I did do a lot of swimming and photo taking with the camera around my wrist. We even dunked it into a pitcher off beer to show it off at the nightclub (not a recommended test). I strongly recommend the floating strap as the camera is pretty small and easily dropped!

Conclusion

I didn't keep my FinePix Z33WP had I had it a little longer I might have found a way to work around the issues with night time shooting but its toward the end of summer and I need a better camera for shooting shots in the club. Overall its a nice little camera and would be great for fun in the sun days, parties at the beach or for those moments at the pool. For anyone looking for an all around camera though I'd suggest looking elsewhere.

ASUS Announces 'Absolute Pitch Series' Motherboards For Audiophiles

ASUS Absolute Pitch Series Motherboards Offer a Rich Sound Experience with Exclusive Audio Enhancements

ASUS today announced the launch of a series of specially-developed motherboards that lets theater-sound aficionados and audiophiles build their dream home-theater PC. The ASUS Absolute Pitch Series features three audio technologies for different forms of aural enjoyment. The DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC delivers theater-like sound on modest equipment for an affordable, full-range sound, ENVY HD delivers a comprehensive 10 channels of audio output for a professional audio experience, and BD 192/24 delivers high-fidelity Blu-ray decoding for a dynamic sound output similar to a live entertainment experience.



Theater-like Sound with DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC

To deliver an awe-inspiring audio experience to amateur enthusiasts, ASUS partnered theater sound experts DTS to offer the exclusive DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC technology. This feature raises the bar in surround sound delivery, even on existing 2.1 speaker systems, with voice clarification that boosts barely-audible speech to enhanced clarity; bass enhancement that provides dynamic lows to recreated sound landscapes; and soundstage expansion technology for an extremely powerful virtual surround sound output.

Exceptional 10-channel Sound Reproduction and Professional Interface with ENVY HD

Audiophiles seeking a first-class audio experience and a professional user interface can turn to the critically acclaimed ENVY HD. ASUS has perfected the technology, previously available only on professional sound cards, for the PC platform—delivering a comprehensive 10 channels of audio output. Additionally, enhanced with a professional-looking interface, ENVY HD delivers a plush user experience to aspiring studio enthusiasts with its comprehensive controls and an intuitive graphical user interface.

Next-generation HD Entertainment with True Blu-ray Decoding for PCs

Users looking for the best standard in home-theater entertainment can enjoy real, high-fidelity output with the BD192/24. This feature supports the decoding of Blu-ray Discs on the PC platform for an overwhelmingly dynamic sound that resembles live performances. With a 192kHz sampling rate and 24-bit sound output, BD192/24 gives users a comprehensive sonic experience with all highs and lows—previously available only in a cinematic environment.

The Best Audio Enhancements Available with the M4A785G HTPC Motherboard

Embedded with all the Absolute Pitch performance tools, the new ASUS M4A785G HTPC motherboard ushers in a new generation in sound delivery. PC users and DIY enthusiasts can experience virtual surround sound without extra investments in equipment, 10-channel audio output with a professional GUI, and high-fidelity entertainment. Additionally, the M4A785G HTPC is equipped with Home Theater Gate—an intuitive software suite—for users to easily access the media applications. A remote control can be used to manage the audio settings and output from a distance of up to 10 feet away from the monitor or TV. To achieve exceptional sound delivery, only superior components are used in the M4A785G HTPC. They include independent power connectors for a purer sound and significantly lower electronic noise, and gold-plated RCA audio connectors that maximize conductivity and signal transmission while enhancing durability. Embedded with all these key features, the M4A785G HTPC is the best motherboard choice for DIY sound enthusiasts when building a home-theater PC.

Specifications
Model M4A785G HTPC/RC M4A785G HTPC
CPU AMD® Socket AM2+/AM2
Supports AM3 Phenom™ II
Chipset AMD 785G/ SB710
System Bus Up to 5200MT/s; HyperTransport™ 3.0
Memory Dual-channel, DDR2 1200(O.C.)/1066/800/667, Max. 16GB
Graphics - Hybrid CrossFireX™, Full HD 1080p, and DirectX 10.1 support
- HDMI/DVI/RGB output at back panel
- Maximum shared memory of 512MB
Audio ASUS Absolute Pitch Hi-Fi:
- 10-channel High Definition Audio
- Lossless Blu-ray 192kHz/ 24-bit audio
- DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC
- 2-ch Gold-plated RCA output at back I/O
- Optical S/PDIF out port at back I/O
Storage - 1x PATA controller up to 2 devices
- 5x SATA ports with RAID 0, 1, and 10
- 1x external SATA
Expansion Slots - 1 x PCIe 2.0 x16
- 2 x PCIe x1
- 1 x PCI
Accessories Includes a remote control Does not include a remote control

The New Adesso WKB-4000UB Mini Wireless Keyboard

Looking for a new compact wireless keyboard? Then you might want to consider Adesso's new WKB-4000UB model, which packs some nice features into a keyboard no larger than a sheet of paper.



With a tiny 11.75 x 8.25-inch package that weighs just over a pound the sleek new design of the WKB-4000UB is built for space saving applications. The small foot print is fitting for mobile, point of sale, kiosks, living rooms and business environments. Essentially anywhere space and weight would be a factor.

The WKB-4000UB features an ultra-slim and stylish design. It has clean lines with a minimalistic design to keep space at a premium. Featuring an integrated touchpad and two built-in buttons this mini keyboard will help cut down on the need for added accessories. Add to that an embedded set of numeric keys,meant for ten key application, and 12 function keys for one-touch commands. You get a keyboard that would be perfect for a kiosk or POS terminal.

The WKB-4000UB features the following:
  • 2.4GHz wireless RF technology with 12 channels (65000 IDs per channel)
  • Wireless range distance up to 30 feet
  • Compact layout featuring 87 keys in an ultra-stylish design
  • Include power “ON/OFF” switch for increased energy saving
  • Include “Connect” button for easy connection
  • Include Battery Low LED indicator
  • Include 2 AAA Battery
  • Include Mini USB Receiver dongle (Dimensions: 1.65" x 0.75" x 0.25")
  • Magnetic receiver holder on the back of keyboard
  • Power Sleep Mode: 5 minutes (if not used)
  • Keyboard Technology: Scissor Switch
  • Switch Life: six million cycles
  • Switch Travel: 3.0+/- 0.3mm
  • Touchpad: 2 button Glidepoint Touchpad with scrolling feature
  • Touchpad working area: 3” x 1.75”
  • Dimensions: 11.75" x 8.25" x 0.8”
  • Weight: 1.25 lbs.
The Adesso Wireless SlimTouch Mini carries a list price of $109.99, placing it on the higher end in terms of pricing for most compact keyboards. But if space is a factor this little keyboard might fill the bill.

The fine folks over at Adesso were nice enough to send us out one for review. So I'll be testing it out over the next few weeks and will have a full write up of the new keyboard then. Please be sure to check back to see how the WKB-4000UB fairs.

Friday, August 28, 2009

OCZ Technology Unveils the Agility EX, the Industry’s Most Affordable SLC-Based Solid State Drive

ocz logoOCZ Technology Group, Inc., a worldwide leader in innovative, ultra-high performance and high reliability memory, power supplies, and solid state drives, today unveiled the OCZ Agility EX Series which makes SLC (single-level cell) NAND-based storage truly affordable in a solid state drive for the first time. The Agility EX provides the best of both worlds —the performance and advantages of SLC NAND technology at an incredible value. Based on the quality Indilinx controller, the Agility EX Series delivers an enhanced computing experience with faster application loading, snappier data access, shorter boot-ups, and longer battery life.

ocz agility ex

“Though SLC has traditionally been more expensive than MLC flash there are both performance and lifespan advantages to SLC based solid state drives, it is for consumers that require the extended reliability of single level cell flash that we are now introducing the Agility EX series of SSDs,” commented Eugene Chang, VP of Product Management at the OCZ technology Group. “The Agility EX offers consumers the most cost effective SLC solid state storage solution on the market, and when customers take all the benefits of SLC into consideration the total cost of ownership of these drives truly shines through.”

With superior performance over both conventional hard drives and MLC (multi-level cell) SSDs, the SLC-based Agility EX features incredible sequential and random write speeds for an unparalleled computing experience across the complete spectrum of applications. In addition to exceptional performance the Agility EX series provides an improved total cost of ownership (TCO) with its superior write/erase cycle endurance. Agility EX SSDs feature industry-dominating speeds, up to 255MB/s read and 195MB/s write speeds, 64MB of onboard cache, and unique performance optimization to keep the drives at peak performance.

OCZ will initially release the Agility EX in a 60(64)GB solution with an MSRP of $399 and a leading 3-year warranty and award-winning technical support, ensuring unparalleled peace of mind.

For more information regarding the OCZ Agility EX Series 2.5" SSDs, please visit our product page here

Source: OCZ Press Release

Nokia Unveils The Nokia N900 A Linux-based Maemo Phone

Maemo 5 injects speed and power into mobile computing

Nokia today marked the next phase in the evolution of Maemo software with the new Nokia N900. Taking its cues from the world of desktop computing, the open source, Linux-based Maemo software delivers a PC-like experience on a handset-sized device.
The Nokia N900 has evolved from Nokia's previous generation of Internet Tablets and broadens the choice for technology enthusiasts who appreciate the ability to multitask and browse the internet like they would on their desktop computer.

nokia n900

Running on the new Maemo 5 software, the Nokia N900 empowers users to have dozens of application windows open and running simultaneously while taking full advantage of the cellular features, touch screen and QWERTY keyboard.

"With Linux software, Mozilla-based browser technology and now also with cellular connectivity, the Nokia N900 delivers a powerful mobile experience," says Anssi Vanjoki, Executive Vice President, Markets, Nokia. "The Nokia N900 shows where we are going with Maemo and we'll continue to work with the community to push the software forward. What we have with Maemo is something that is fusing the power of the computer, the internet and the mobile phone, and it is great to see that it is evolving in exciting ways."

Designed for computer-grade performance in a compact size, Maemo complements Nokia's other software platforms, such as Symbian, which powers Nokia's smartphones.

"Just as Nokia continues to expand and diversify its device portfolio, so it is deploying multiple platforms to allow it to serve different purposes and address different markets. While we have seen continued growth in Symbian as a smartphone platform, Maemo enables Nokia to deliver new mobile computing experiences based on open-source technology that has strong ties with desktop platforms," says Jonathan Arber, Senior Research Analyst in Consumer Mobile at IDC.

More multitasking with Maemo

The Nokia N900 packs a powerful ARM Cortex-A8 processor, up to 1GB of application memory and OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics acceleration. The result is PC-like multitasking, allowing many applications to run simultaneously. Switching between applications is simple, as all running content is constantly available through the dashboard. The panoramic homescreen can be fully personalized with favorite shortcuts, widgets and applications.

To make web browsing more enjoyable, the Nokia N900 features a high-resolution WVGA touch screen and fast internet connectivity with 10/2 HSPA and WLAN. Thanks to the browser powered by Mozilla technology, websites look the way they would on any computer. Online videos and interactive applications are vivid with full Adobe Flash(TM) 9.4 support. Maemo software updates happen automatically over the internet.

Messaging on the N900 is easy and convenient thanks to the full physical slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Setting up email happens with only a few touches and the Nokia Messaging service mobilizes up to 10 personal email accounts. Text message or IM exchanges with friends are shown in one view and all conversations are organized as separate windows.

The Nokia N900 has 32GB of storage, which is expandable up to 48GB via a microSD card. For photography, the Maemo software and the N900 come with a new tag cloud user interface that will help users get the most out of the 5MP camera and Carl Zeiss optics.

The Nokia N900 will be available in select markets from October 2009 with an estimated retail price of EUR 500 excluding sales taxes and subsidies. The Nokia N900 will be displayed at Nokia World, Stuttgart, on September 2. More information on Maemo is available at http://maemo.nokia.com.

Microsoft Ends Bing Promotion After Overwhelming Response

Microsoft's Double Cashback Bing Promotion was a big hit with online bargain hunters. So much so that the company has had to pull the plug a full four days early after all the funds that were set aside were depleted.

According to the site InternetRetailer.com and later confirmed via the Bing Cashback Facebook page Microsoft has officially pulled the plug: “Due to an overwhelming, positive response from our Bing cashback shoppers, we’ve now closed our limited time back-to-school promotion where Microsoft increased the percentage of cashback rewards on behalf of retailers."

“We launched this on Aug. 10 as a limited time promotion. There was a set cap on the amount of additional cashback we were able to offer. The promotion was intended to run until we reached the cap, or Aug. 30, whichever came first,” the spokesman says.

Reportedly the majority of retailers involved in the promotion reported large spikes in traffic from consumers taking advantage of the double cashback offer, in which the retailer offered a rebate and Bing matched that offer.

Some companies saw so much traffic that Microsoft had to ask them to reduce the amount of the cashback rewards so the other Cashback partners could take advantage of the promotion before Microsoft their spending hit the cap.

Bing, which is Microsoft's latest entry into the search engine chase, has managed to carve out a decent market share since its introduction on May 31. According to analytics firm comScore Bing fielded 8.9 percent of U.S. Web searches in July an increase of .5% from the month prior and nearly a full percentage point from its introduction.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

NVIDIA CEO Predicts A Staggering 570x GPU Performance Increase By 2015

nvidia logoNVIDIA CorporationDuring his keynote for the 21st annual Hot Chips conference NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang made a staggering prediction that GPU performance will outpace CPU performance by a factor of 200 over the next six years. Huang predicted that GPU computation performance is likely to increase its current capabilities by 570x, while 'pure' CPU performance will progress by a limited 3x.

The Hot Chips conference, which is being held at Stanford’s Memorial Auditorium, brings together both academic and industry leaders for a three-day event focused on the latest technology trends in the computer chip business.

Huang's statements might seem fairly outlandish, however when you look purely at performance numbers of GPU's made 5-6 years ago and compare those numbers to the high end cards we see today the numbers are staggering. I'll admit they are no where near the 570'x factor he is predicting but they are staggering none the less.



Huang also predicts the advancement would open the door to advanced forms of augmented reality and the development of real-time universal language translation devices. During his speech he also discussed a number of "real-world" GPU applications, including energy exploration, interactive ray tracing and CGI simulations.

For more on Huang's speech checkout the NVIDIA nTersect blog

Mininova Hit With Court Order To Remove Copyrighted Content

Popular torrent sharing site Mininova has been stuck a blow today when a Dutch court ordered the site to remove all links to copyrighted content.

Today's decision was handed down by the Utrecht District Court in regards to a lawsuit against Mininova by Stichting Brein, a Dutch copyright group. The court ordered Mininova to remove links to all copyrighted content from its site—or pay up to €5 million in penalties.

Much like The Pirate Bay case, Mininova and its operators weren't actually accused of copyright infringement. Since in a peer-to-peer system, the actual files being transferred reside on millions of users computers around the globe, the site itself could not be held for direct infringement. The direct infringement would be the responsibility of those users. The Netherlands however recognizes "contributory copyright infringement," which means that the site contributes the infringement by collecting and displaying links for users to download. This was the charge in this case.

$7.49.com sale at GoDaddy.comIn a blog post Mininova has said it is considering an appeal to the Brein ruling. Erik Dubbelboer, co-founder of Mininova said, “We are obviously not satisfied with this ruling. The result of this ruling for Mininova is that we have to reevaluate our business operations. At this time, we cannot determine what this will actually entail or imply. We will have to examine the verdict thoroughly first. We are considering to appeal this judgment.”

My Opinion:
Should this case stand it would be the second major blow to torrent sites this year. The loss of The Pirate Bay trial and now the Mininova decision might mark the end of several major sites. Of course it won't kill off file sharing, in fact I think it will do little more than shut down a few sites or cause them to shift gears.

Despite the fact that its founders were hit with millions in fines The Pirate Bay hasn't closed, in fact it was sold off and remains up and running today. The site will undergo some changes and is trying to go legit, much like Napster did back in the day. But that had little impact on file-sharing itself. The medium is such that you can never really kill it off. You might cut off one or two sites and force some change but you can never totally kill it.

Nokia Launches New "Nokia Money" Mobile Banking Service

Nokia today introduced a new mobile service that allows anyone with a Nokia phone to send and receive money with a text message or voice call. Dubbed Nokia Money, the new financial service is aimed at the the millions of people who have a Nokia device and have limited or restricted access to banks or other financial institutions.

The Nokia Money service will be operated in cooperation with Obopay, a leader in developing global mobile payment solutions, which Nokia invested in earlier this year. The service is based on Obopay's mobile payment platform, with unique and newly developed mobile elements. Nokia intends the service to be open and interoperable with other payment services as well.

"Obopay shares Nokia's vision for bringing mobile financial services to millions of people worldwide. We're excited that Nokia has chosen Obopay's platform. Nokia's leading market position, strong brand recognition and global distribution channel, using the Obopay platform with uniquely developed mobile elements, means the Nokia Money service is well positioned to bring the next generation of mobile payment services to the world," said Carol Realini, Founder and CEO of Obopay.

The Nokia Money service will be shown for the first time at Nokia World on the 2nd and 3rd of September 2009 in Stuttgart, Germany, and it is planned to be rolled out gradually to selected markets, beginning in early 2010.

For more details on the new Nokia Money service checout the full Nokia press release - "Nokia brings mobile financial services to millions"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

DroidSecurity Launches Security Suite For Android Based Phones And Netbooks

Downloaded over 100,000 times during beta by security-conscious Android users, DroidSecurity is ideal for protecting against malware, SMS spam, and unauthorized access

August 2009 – DroidSecurity, an innovative new start-up dedicated to protecting mobile devices, smartphones and netbooks, today launched DroidSecurity Internet Security Suite, the first full-featured consumer anti-malware and physical security app for Google's Android operating system.

DroidSecurity Internet Security Suite ($4.99 USD), available at www.droidsecurity.com for immediate download, is a powerful, mature security application that provides a wide-range of protection against viruses/malware and SMS/text spam, plus enables users to track lost smartphones and remotely wipe data for enhanced security and control. The core platform was publicly beta-tested by Android users under the DroidHunter brand, and was downloaded over 100,000 times during the six-month beta. DroidSecurity Internet Security Suite is the first Android antivirus application to leverage the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) technology.

"Smartphones today are essentially unsecured mini-computers hosting your email, documents, contact lists and much more," said Eran Pfeffer, chief executive officer at DroidSecurity. "Smartphones, and their future Android-powered netbook cousins, are much more prone to being lost - and therefore physically falling in the wrong hands. People are worried about security, yet are depending on cloud apps because of hardware limitations, opening up new attack vectors. GPS enables hijacking and transaction fraud. And new operating systems, like Android, are incredibly tempting to hackers looking for new victims."

"As with laptops and desktops, all smartphones and netbooks will eventually require an independent security layer," said Dror Shalev, chief technology officer at DroidSecurity. "The threats follow the users, and however hackers can access your data, they will. We customized DroidSecurity specifically for mobile behaviors, while still adhering to the core fundamental security features that consumers rely on today for their PCs."

DroidSecurity Internet Security Suite includes:

  • VirusFree & VirusFree Pro: Inspects and cleans Android smartphones from malware, viruses, SMS spam and suspect applications to secure device integrity.
  • FindR: Tracks and locates lost/stolen phones, enables remote memory clearing to protect data privacy.
  • CheckMate: Manages the security rating of Android and issues warnings on suspect security profiles.
An enterprise edition, including the ability to centrally manage and update company smartphones and devices, is currently in development and expected in 2010.

DroidSecurity was founded in 2009 by former Check Point Software (NASDAQ: CHKP) security researcher Dror Shalev, CEO Eran Pfeffer, and Omri Sigelman, and is based in Tel Aviv Israel. Shalev is well known in the Black Hat and Defcon community, and received accolades for his "Hacking a Toaster" presentation at Defcon 2007.

More information about DroidSecurity products is available at www.droidsecurity.com or via email at info@droidsecurity.com.

Source: DroidSecurity Press Release

PlayStation 3 Slim Repair Guide From Rapid Repair

Good news, the fine folks over at Rapid Repair got their hands on the PlayStation 3 Slim this afternoon and they are working feverishly disassembling it. Rapid Repair of course is best know for iPhone, iPod and Zune repairs, however they've been adding to their forte by creating disassembly guides for things like the Palm Pre and Amazon's Kindle.

Images of the PS3 Slim disassembly can be found at the link below:

http://www.rapidrepair.com/guides/playstation-3-slim-ps3-repair/playstation-3-slim-ps3-repair-guide.html

Please note that images are being posted live so there may be a significant delay between steps. Rapid Repair anticipates that the final step of the disassembly will post around 11pm EST tonight.

MSI's MOA Global Overclocking Final Competition to be Held in Beijing

World renown mainboard and graphics card manufacturer, MSI, has been solidifying a solid reputation in the overclocking market for years. The company is also the host of the Master Overclocking Arena (MOA) Global Overclocking Event, which gathers the world's best overclockers together in one fierce competition. Expanding upon 2008's overclocking enthusiasm, this year’s MOA 2009 featured three months of regional competitions designed to filter out the best of the best. In the end, 20 teams representing the best overclocking talent from around the world will meet in the Olympic capital, Beijing, on August 29, in the head-to-head Olympics of overclocking.


This year, MSI's MOA 2009 event is even bigger than before, and selected a truly international crowd of participants from over 64 countries! Since May, MSI has been holding both online and local area selections, and, after three months of grueling matches, 20 teams representing 17 countries have been selected – including the Beijing overclocking champs. The participants this year have shown stratospheric levels of talent, with such pros as Poland's Ryba and Chaos who broke the 3DMark 03 world record during the European selection match. Taiwan's Nick and Kevin made a name for themselves when they broke the 3DMark 06 world record at software giant Futuremark's LOC online overclocking competition. Another person the multi-national overclocking championship could not do without, Taiwan's own Coolaler (Fang Bin Luo), who himself holds many world records and attended last year's MOA as a model gamer, will be representing the overclocking site, Coolaler, to cover all the action of the overclocking challenge. Indonesia's Ekky will be back to defend his crown as the MOA Champion. From the United States, Charles is an experienced overclocking competition participant, while Brazil's Ronaldo is the number one overclocker in all of Brazil. When China's online selection is over, the results will be announced on August 27 and two teams will be selected to take part in the August 29 event. Without a doubt, MOA 2009's level of competitiveness is comparable to the Olympics - excellence is expected.

During the MOA 2009, participants will use the MSI Eclipse SLI mainboard and the MSI N275GTX graphics card to test the limits of the Intel Core i7 platform. MSI is fully confident that the equipment will perform outstandingly in both overclocking capabilities and range of combinations. The event will not only let the overclocking experts tryout MSI's mainboard and graphics card performance, but will help them in their quest to reach new overclocking heights! For all those with an interest in overclocking, August 29 will be date that is not to be missed.
For more information about MSI's MOA 2009, please see below: http://www.oc-arena.com/

Paypal And Woot Offer New Sites Just For Kids

Earlier this month two companies that I'm sure all our readers are familiar with launched new sites aimed directly at the younger generation. Woot officially launched kids.woot, which as its name implies, it’s going to specialize in items for kids. While Paypal officially introduced Student Accounts, which had been in beta testing since late last year.

Kids.Woot will continue in the same style as any other Woot! brands with the exception that they are going to only be selling stuff to parents (yes you must be 18+ to join) for their youngsters. By “stuff” Woot says, "We mean everything from carseats to apparel to educational toys & games to non-educational toys & games – all the accoutrements that make your little bundle of joy so damn expensive. By “kids” we mean anybody from 0 to 99, obviously skewed toward the lower end. If you’re 100 or older, beat it. We don’t want your business..."

For more details than I can cover here today checkout the what is Kids.Woot page.

Paypal's new offering, Student Accounts, allows parents to deposit money to a kids only limited spending account. Children are provided with a Student Card that can be used to shop online and in stores, and parents can view all transactions as they occur.

"The Student Account was designed for the way parents and teens really live today - on cell phones and computers, and with plastic as much as with cash," Don Fotsch, PayPal's vice president of customer experience and design, wrote in a blog post.

The new Student Account program will provide both you and your kids a little extra freedom, as well as promoting a healthy understanding of money and its use. Now you'll be free to charge their account with funds and let them have a little freedom in spending those funds. No longer will they have to bug you for your credit card number every time they see something online they want to buy. And since these account have a parental overview feature you can keep track of what, and where, they are shopping and buying.

The Student Account offers many features to help teens learn by doing - with their parents' guidance:

  • Permissions: Parents can set permissions for individual teens to designate how the account can be used. They can also require that their approval is required when a teen receives money in the account.

  • Mobile Features: Parents can use their mobile phones to check account balances and transfer money to their teens' account. Additionally, teens can check their account balance and easily request money from their parents via simple text message.

  • Alerts: Parents can receive alerts notifying them when their teens' payments exceed a certain amount or when a specified low balance is reached.

  • Built-in security: As with all PayPal accounts, the Student Account allows teens to shop online without exposing any financial information.

The Student Account is currently available in the United States. To learn more or sign up, please go to https://www.paypal.com/StudentAccounts.

Microsoft Hiring At New Retail Stores

Last week Microsoft announced the location of their first two retail stores, in Scottsdale, AZ and Mission Viejo, CA and the company has immediately begun hiring new staff.

Job posted include, full time and part time Retail Customer Service Associates, Retail Inventory Associates and Retail Technical Advisors. Requirements aren't all that stringent, those of you applying for customer service, inventory or technical advisor positions must be able to lift and carry 75 pounds. Sales associates, retail associates and assistant store managers must be able to lift and carry 50 pounds.

If you're interested in working for Microsoft and want to apply you can check out the full post on the MicrosoftJobsBlog by clicking here. All of the positions listed above (and a few more) can be found there along with links to the relevant job requirements.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Windows 7 RC Downloads End Thursday

Users wanting to get their hands on the Windows 7 release candidate have one last day to do so. Microsoft will officially shut off and remove the download links Thursday around 11 a.m. ET.

The Windows 7 RC will remain fully active until March 1, at which time the OS will start shutting down every two hours. The software fully expires on June 1st at that time users will either have to pony up and purchase the new OS or reinstall another operating system.

Microsoft has slated Oct. 22 as the on-sale date for new PCs packing Windows 7, as well as for retail copies of upgrades to the operating system.

If you want to get your hands on the official download before the expiration date head over to the Windows 7 download page before its too late.

Intersections Inc. Provides College Students 10 Tips To Avoid ID Theft

Intersections Inc. advises college students on ways to avoid identity theft as they head back to school

What students need to know to keep their personal information safe when away from home

Intersections Inc., a leading global provider of consumer and corporate identity risk management services, wants students and parents to become more aware of the threats of identity theft and to learn how to protect themselves from becoming the next victim. Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the country and the 18-24 year old age group of consumers is often hit hard by hackers and identity thieves. Each year, thousands of students go off to college and are unaware of the numerous threats to their identities that exist on campus.

“Some college students are more susceptible to identity theft because they may be first-time account holders – they’ve never had to balance a checkbook or pay bills online and they are simply not aware of the identity threats that exist today. They also may not realize that the social networking sites they’ve essentially grown up with, expose way too much of their personal information. Unfortunately, if a college student’s identity is stolen, they could be faced with years of bad credit ahead including damaged credit scores and even lost job opportunities,” said Intersections CEO and founder, Michael Stanfield. “Intersections believes that education and awareness can help consumers, and in this case, students, modify their behaviors and minimize the impacts of identity theft and fraud. We’ve always believed education is one of the best weapons against identity theft. We want to help students understand the risks, and, if theft does occur, know what to do.”

Intersections recommends the following tips for college students and their parents to proactively protect their identities:

1. When using campus computers and Wi-Fi hotspots, be aware that they aren’t always secure. Ensure you are using encryption (i.e. anti-key logging software, or password protection) to scramble communications over the network. It is best not to view personal information on open campus networks.

2. Keep your information secure by changing your passwords frequently. Keep your anti-virus and anti-spyware software up-to-date with the latest releases. And if you’re using your laptop around campus, always take it with you to ensure your hard drive isn’t compromised.

3. Credit offers abound on college campuses. Walk through a student union and you can stop and smell the free t-shirts, water bottles, and key chains that banks offer college students when they sign up for credit cards. While it’s a great idea to start building credit, read the offers – and the fine print carefully – and understand exactly what you’re signing up for.

4. Social networking sites are hot spots for most college students. Reveal as little as possible about yourself, especially family name, address, phone numbers, date of birth – identity thieves only need two or three pieces of this information to steal your identity.

5. Protect and memorize your Social Security number. Don’t carry your SSN card with you, and if your college uses Social Security numbers as student IDs, request they generate a random number instead. Most schools will do this when asked.

6. Invest in a good cross-cut shredder and properly dispose of all personal and financial materials. Be aware that information you receive contains personal information that, if stolen, could have serious ramifications. Credit card offers you receive in the mail should be shredded. Bank statements, tax documents – and other documents with personal information – should be securely stored until it is appropriate to shred. And never leave this information out in your dorm room or anywhere it could be compromised.

7. Online shopping is convenient, but be sure the sites you use are secure by looking for “https” in the URL. Check with sites’ privacy policies so you know what they may be doing with your personal information, or if they’ve attached cookies to your computer, enabling them to track your viewing and usage patterns.

8. Start the process of routinely reviewing your credit report. Under a new Federal law, you have the right to receive a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies. To request your free annual report under that law, go to www.annualcreditreport.com.

9. If you’re using peer-to-peer file sharing programs, be sure to configure the files securely so personal information is not accessible to others.

10. Be wary of telemarketing scams. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Never give your personal information to a caller.

Monday, August 17, 2009

NVIDIA Confirms Tegra Processor Provides The Multimedia Muscle In Zune HD

nvidia logoNVIDIA Corporation today announced that Microsoft’s new Zune HD portable media player is powered by the NVIDIA Tegra processor, which gives it exceptional multimedia capabilities.

The Zune HD player, which Microsoft recently announced is available for preorder, is the first portable media player to combine HD-compatible video1, HD Radio receiver, full-screen Internet browsing, an organic light emitting diode touch screen, and Wi-Fi. These features will connect consumers to a whole new world of entertainment, while delivering excellent battery life. Working closely with Microsoft and optimizing the Tegra processor, NVIDIA has played an important role in helping to bring the next-generation Zune HD portable digital media player to market.

“Tegra provides the multimedia muscle in Zune HD,” said Michael Rayfield, general manager of NVIDIA’s mobile business. “Users will love the device’s new design, amazing multimedia features and HD video out capability. Zune HD is a must-have for anyone looking for the best portable digital media player on the market.”

Key to Tegra’s rich multimedia features are eight independent processors, each designed for a specific class of tasks - among them are an HD video processor, an audio processor, a graphics processor, and two ARM cores. The processors can work together or independently to minimize power consumption. The Microsoft Zune HD2 uses the following NVIDIA Tegra technology to deliver a unique visual experience:

  • an HD video processor dedicated to HD video, providing unprecedented picture quality and ultra-smooth, vivid movie playback with low power consumption
  • an ultra-low power graphics processor for a compelling and intuitive user interface
  • NVIDIA nPower technology, which optimizes system power use and enables extended HD video and MP3 playback time

Based on NVIDIA’s decade of graphics leadership, Tegra processor has been engineered over the past five years to bring high performance and low power capabilities to the next generation of mobile computing devices such as portable media players, smartphones, smartbooks, netbooks and tablets. Tegra processor-based devices are delivering the experiences that today’s mobile consumers demand, with HD video playback, always-on HD Internet, and intuitive 3D user interfaces. There are 50 active Tegra processor-based design projects currently in the works today.

More details at Tegra Powered Device - Zune HD

Source: NVIDIA Press Release

TomTom iPhone App Now Available

TomTom announces that the TomTom for iPhone navigation application can be purchased in the Apple iTunes App Store starting today.

“With TomTom for iPhone, millions of iPhone users can now benefit from the same easy-to-use and intuitive interface, turn-by-turn spoken navigation and unique routing technology that our 30 million portable navigation device users rely on every day,” said Corinne Vigreux, Managing Director of TomTom. “As the world’s leading provider of navigation solutions and digital maps, TomTom is the most natural fit for an advanced navigation application on the iPhone.”

The TomTom app for iPhone 3G and 3GS users includes a continental map of Europe or map of UK & Ireland from Tele Atlas, and is available to download through www.tomtom.com/tomtom-app from £59.99GBP.

TomTom app for iPhone key features
TomTom app for iPhone includes the exclusive IQ Routes technology. Instead of using travel time assumptions, IQ Routes bases its routes on the actual experience of millions of TomTom drivers to calculate the fastest route and generate the most accurate arrival times in the industry. TomTom IQ Routes empowers drivers to reach their destination faster up to 35% of the time.

Furthermore, the TomTom app for iPhone comes with an extensive safety camera database including verified safety camera information in 11 European countries². This means drivers are informed ahead of time about any safety cameras on their route, encouraging road safety, while saving money on fines at the same time.

Additional TomTom app for iPhone features include:

Best routing and maps

    • Navigation software including fast route planning and clear voice instructions
    • Automatic re-routing if a turn is missed
    • Route demo or map of route when trip planning
    • Latest Tele Atlas maps of the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand

Easy to use and personalise

    • User interface fully optimised with iPhone
    • Multiple display options including landscape and portrait navigation view
    • Night and day colour mode for optimised screen visibility in varying light conditions
    • User interface available in 18 languages
    • Change view settings (2D or 3D map display)
    • Easy to download from iTunes App Store

Complete phone and map integration

    • Multi-touch gestures such as tap, swipe, pinch and zoom to operate the application and zoom in and out of the map
    • Navigation to contacts in address book
    • Points-of-interest search and call capabilities from iPhone

Pricing and Availability
Apple will make continental and regional versions of the TomTom for iPhone application for iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS users, available today on www.tomtom.com/tomtom-app.

    • The TomTom app for iPhone including map of Western Europe is available for £79.99 GBP
    • The TomTom app for iPhone with maps of UK & Ireland is available for £59.99 GBP

Compatibility with iPod touch and other iPhone models coming soon.

Requirements for use on the iPhone 3G or 3GS include phone installation of OS3.0 and installation of iTunes on the PC or Mac.

Source: TomTom Press Release

Friday, August 14, 2009

Google Books Now Featuring Creative Commons Books

Google is now making it easier for publishers who release their work under Creative Commons (CC) licenses to distribute their books through Google Books.

Announced yesterday via blog post, Google has implamented the ability for rightsholders to distribute their CC-licensed book on Google Books. Rightsholders will need to upload their works through the Google Books Partner Program. Once uploaded you can select from one of seven Creative Commons options, and usage permissions will vary depending on the license.

With a Creative Commons license, you can keep your copyright but allow people to copy and distribute your work provided they give you credit — and only on the conditions you specify.

A few of the most common questions about attributing a Creative Commons license to your book in Google Books are below. For further information, please see the Creative Commons FAQ site.

Are there required settings before I can apply a Creative Commons license to my book?
Yes. In order to participate, you will need to provide the worldwide rights for your books. In addition, you must show your books 100% browsable to users, with downloading enabled. You can read more about enabling download here.

Where can I edit my book settings to apply a Creative Commons license?
Partners can update individual book settings from the Books tab within their account. Simply click on the pencil icon () alongside the book in question and edit the settings directly. More information on editing book settings can be found here.

How do I know which Creative Commons license to choose?
Various licenses specify whether you allow others to use, share, or modify the book. There's also a wizard available at http://creativecommons.org/choose/.

What does it mean for a Creative Commons license to be perpetual?
This allows others who have used or modified the book (based on the license you've granted) to continue to be able to do so and to give others the same license.

Can I allow downloading of my book without using Creative Commons?
Yes.

Types of Creative Commons licenses

Here is a summary of all of the available types of licenses, along with links to the Creative Commons site for further details on each type:

  1. Creative Commons (Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works)
    Allows distribution of your book with attribution but prohibits commercial use or derivative works. Terms available here.

  2. Creative Commons (Attribution-Noncommercial)
    Allows distribution of your book and derivative works provided there is attribution in each case, but prohibits commercial use. Terms available here.

  3. Creative Commons (Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike)
    Allows distribution and also creation of derivative works of your book, in each case with attribution and under the same or similar license as this license, but prohibits commercial use. Terms available here.

  4. Creative Commons (Attribution-No Derivative Works)
    Allows distribution of your book and commercial use provided there is attribution in each case, but prohibits derivative works. Terms available here.

  5. Creative Commons (Attribution-Share Alike)
    Allows distribution, commercial use and derivative works of your book, in each case with attribution and under the same license as this license. Terms available here.

  6. Creative Commons (Attribution)
    Allows distribution, commercial use, and derivative works of your book provided there is attribution in each case. Terms available here.

  7. Creative Commons (CCO)
    Waives all copyrights to the Authorized Title and dedicate the Authorized Title into the public domain. Terms available here.

According to Google a few authors have already made their CC books available for you to download on Google Books, including:

  1. 55 Ways to Have Fun with Google by Philipp Lenssen
  2. Blown to Bits by Harold Abelson, Ken Ledeen, Harry R. Lewis
  3. Bound by Law? by Keith Aoki, James Boyle, Jennifer Jenkins
  4. Code: Version 2 by Lawrence Lessig
  5. Democratizing Innovation by Eric von Hippel
  6. Federal Budget Deficits: America's great consumption binge by Paul Courant, Edward Gramlich
  7. The Future of the Internet -- And How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain
  8. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
  9. A World's Fair for the Global Village by Carl Malamud

Xiotech Debuts 'Cash for Disk Clunkers' Storage Stimulus Program

Xiotech to Pay Customers $1,000 Per Terabyte to Replace Outdated, Inefficient Disks

In a nod to the federal economic stimulus program "Cash for Clunkers," Xiotech Corporation is doing its part to stimulate the data storage economy via its "Cash for Disk Clunkers" program. With no complicated formulas or lengthy approvals required, this new program provides immediate savings for organizations looking to upgrade to the latest in storage technology.

This new program allows organizations to trade in old, inefficient disk drives and receive $1,000 per terabyte toward the purchase of an equal amount of capacity on a new Emprise(TM) 7000, Emprise 7000 Edge or Emprise 5000, or VM Storage Solution. There is no limit to the amount of capacity organizations can trade in, and consequently no limit to the money they can save on their new storage systems. Organizations must act fast, though, because the program ends on September 30, 2009.

For more information on the "Cash for Disk Clunkers" program, please visit Xiotech's Web site.

"We are committed to providing our customers with the best storage systems for their needs, at the lowest total cost of ownership and best value possible," said Xiotech Vice President of Marketing Mike Hoch. "This program offers an unprecedented, no-strings-attached opportunity to take advantage of our patented Intelligent Storage Element (ISE(TM)) technology, which has emerged as a proven and advantageous alternative to traditional disk arrays."

All of the Xiotech storage systems included in this program are built on ISE technology, which features a self-healing, high-performance architecture, 100 percent usable capacity and the industry's only five-year hardware warranty. These systems include:

  • Emprise 7000: Supports up to 64 ISE (1,024 terabytes) and is managed by dual controllers. It includes Web Services-based storage management via ICON Manager, a distributed cluster architecture, Intelligent Provisioning and a suite of data replication solutions.
  • Emprise 7000 Edge: Supports up to 10 ISE (160 terabytes) and can be easily upgraded as needs evolve to the Emprise 7000 system. It also includes Web Services-based management via ICON Manager, Intelligent Provisioning and a suite of data replication solutions.
  • Emprise 5000: A self-enclosed, virtual storage system that can be attached to servers either directly or via a switch. Four storage tiers are available, with a maximum capacity of 16 terabytes. Performance scales linearly, so that two systems roughly double the performance of one.
  • VM Storage Solution: Supports up to 64 ISE (1,024 terabytes), is managed by dual controllers and offers high-speed integration and automation with virtual machine environments. The customized virtual storage solution provides management of storage for virtual machines in one pane of glass, and automates virtual machine tasks with intuitive wizards.


Source: Xiotech Press Release

Thursday, August 13, 2009

AMD's New Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition

amd phenom ii logoAMD today announced the world’s highest clocked quad-core processor for desktop PCs, the AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition processor. As an integral part of Dragon platform technology, this new processor features a stock frequency of 3.4 GHz, massive headroom, high-speed DDR3 memory support and AMD OverDrive 3.0 technology* to deliver an enthusiast-class performance that fits into value-based budgets.

Since its initial launch in January 2009, Dragon platform technology has provided great performance at a great price. From the only company with unlocked CPUs and backwards compatibility for DDR2 memory, the AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition processor helps customers pay less for more, period. Available for a Suggested System Builder Price of $245, users opting for Intel may be paying more for less or equal performance.

Benefits: With this platform, AMD is combining its fastest processor ever with the massive graphics processing muscle of its most powerful GPUs to enable the following features:

  • Record-setting overclocking capabilities
  • AMD OverDriveTM 3.0 tuning software
  • High-speed DDR3 memory support
  • Planned future DirectX 11 support for the latest games
  • AMD Black Edition Memory Profiles for custom experiences
  • Cool’n'Quiet 3.0 technology to enable improved efficiency and help keep your PC running cool and quiet

AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition Reviews

Pricing:


AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition 3.4GHz Socket AM3 140W Quad-Core Processor
Newegg.com - AMD Phenom II X4 965 Black Edition 3.4GHz Socket AM3 140W Quad-Core Processor $249.99

Zer01 Mobile dissolves relationship with Buzzirk Mobile/Global Verge

zer01_logo
Due To Breach Of Contract, MVNE Zer01 Mobile Cuts All Ties With Buzzirk Mobile For Distribution Services

Facing serious questions about the validity of their service Zer01 Mobile has moved to distance themselves from Buzzirk Mobile and Global Verge.

Earlier this week we reported that Zer01 mobile was facing tough question reguarding their relation with Buzzirk Mobile and Global Verge who's CEO, Mark ,is reportedly currently on probation after pleading guilty to securities fraud.

In a press statement released today Zer01 Mobile announced that it is formally dissolving its business relationship with Buzzirk Mobile for distribution services based upon breach of contract. The agreement for distribution services was originally announced in May 2009. However, due to violations of the agreement made by Buzzirk Mobile, Zer01 Mobile has concluded as of today its relationship with Buzzirk Mobile.

"The Zer01 Mobile team wishes Buzzirk Mobile the best of luck for all future endeavors. However, Zer01 Mobile has decided to formally sever our business relationship due to the breach of contract by Buzzirk Mobile," explained Lance Dascotte, COO, Zer01 Mobile.

Creating interconnect agreements throughout North America and abroad, Zer01 Mobile is the first mobile service to offer a truly unlimited voice, data and Internet plan that is priced affordably with taxes and fees included. Zer01 Mobile's international plan also reaches out to the most popular calling countries around the world and is also economically priced. The company has licensed patent pending proprietary VMC technology that allows each smart phone user to make voice calls or transmit data by sending voice communications through a VoIP system.

During the three-month business relationship between Zer01 Mobile and Buzzirk Mobile, questions by the general public and journalists were raised about the business agreement and Buzzirk Mobile's ability as a distributor. "Overall, there were a number of news articles and blogs that misreported a lot of the facts about each company and its services," commented Ron Dresner, Zer01 Mobile spokesperson. First, Zer01 Mobile and Buzzirk Mobile are two very separate and distinct companies, only joined by this now dissolved agreement. Previous reports erred in applying facts about the questionable background of Buzzirk Mobile executives to Zer01 Mobile team members; Second, industry ‘insiders' commented about the new Zer01 Mobile service stating their doubts about the credibility of the service because no details about the interconnect agreements were released. From the start, Zer01 Mobile stated that it needed to protect and honor the confidentiality of its business partners and could not release this information. It has invited any and all industry ‘insiders' to visit with Zer01 Mobile at any of the upcoming industry conferences and use a Zer01 Mobile phone; Third, Zer01 Mobile has never promoted or mentioned facts regarding its service that were misleading. News reports specifically quoted Buzzirk Mobile sales associates sources as to communication speed rates and frequencies; and fourth, questions about Zer01 Mobile's patent pending technology in the news are totally unfounded and motivated by marketplace competitors. Any visit to the patent office will prove Zer01 Mobile's VMC technology registration."

"We hope that our actions and statements put many concerns to rest. We believe that statements made publicly about the nature of our relationship with certain entities and the legitimacy of our mobile products by certain third parties are erroneous and untrue and are not based upon sufficient knowledge of the facts involved. Currently, our counsel is in the process of preparing a response to these false and misleading statements. Our company reserves all its legal rights and remedies that may arise from any and all erroneous and untrue statements made by third parties. We consider the reputation and integrity of Zer01 Mobile to be of utmost importance to our future success and we intend to vigilantly defend it," concluded Dascotte.

My thoughts:

This might come too little too late for a company whose reputation has already come into question. While the move does help easy some of the questions it doesn't alleviate most of the major concerns. Mainly those about about Zer01’s network and whether it can offer the coverage it promises. The company says it has interconnect arrangements with GSM providers yet refuses to report who they are. AT&T denied to reports that they have any agreements with Zer01, and as of yet T-Mobile has declined to comment.

Personally I'd like to see some of the questions and concerns answered before I jump back on the companies bandwagon. I like their approach and would really like to see things work out for them, but right now there are just too many unanswered questions.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

ASUS Announces New AMD 785G Based Motherboards

Designed-enhanced ASUS Motherboards with New-generation Chipset Deliver Stunning Performance

ASUS M4A785D Series Motherboards with Built-in GPU NOS Deliver First-ever Intelligent GPU Overclocking

ASUS today announced the launch of the ASUS M4A785D Series motherboards with the new AMD 785G chipset for enhanced graphics performance through new features such as DX10.1 and UVD 2.0 support, dynamic contrast, and high-quality video scaling. Additionally, the M4A785D Series supports up to 16GB of DDR2 memory, CrossFireX, and high-definition, 8-channel audio output. Developed under ASUS' rigorous "Xtreme Design" methods, the ASUS M4A785D draws on 20 years of design excellence to deliver the best in motherboard performance, safety, and reliability.

Overclocked Graphics Performance with GPU NOS
Once You Know, You Newegg

With the ASUS GPU NOS, users can enhance graphics performance in a simple and technologically-advanced way. As the world's first automatic GPU overclocking tool, the GPU NOS intelligently detects real-time graphics load and automatically boosts performance to handle the most demanding graphics jobs. The GPU NOS also provides advanced overclocking options with its intuitive user interface. Users can easily change overclocking parameters by choosing their preferred voltage and frequency settings from an onscreen display.

Optimized Power and Cooler Operation with Xtreme Phase

ASUS Xtreme Phase power design delivers ultimate performance and power efficiency. With two extra power phases built for the memory controller, Xtreme Phase helps lower the overall system temperature during overclocking. The operating lifespan of components is also extended with better cooling. Xtreme Phase was designed to work proficiently with the latest AM3 CPU. It can also be seamlessly upgraded to meet future requirements.

True Real-time Boost with TurboV and Turbo Key

Equipped with the first-ever real-time overclocking tool—TurboV—the M4A785D Series lets users increase system performance without rebooting their system. TurboV and Turbo Key are easy to use and satisfy both novice and advanced users. By simply choosing the displayed profiles from TurboV's user-friendly graphical user interface and pushing the physical Turbo Key, users can experience an instant overclocking boost—without stopping ongoing work or gaming.

Specifications
Model M4A785TD-M EVO M4A785D-M PRO M4A785TD-V EVO
CPU AM3 AM3/AM2+/AM2 AM3
Chipset AMD785G/SB710 AMD 785G/SB710 AMD785G/SB710
System Bus 5200MTps 5200MTps 5200 MTps
Memory DDR3 1800 (O.C.) DDR2 1200 (O.C.) DDR3 1800 (O.C.)
LAN Gb Gb Gb
PCIe x 16 1 1 2
Audio 8-CH 8-CH 8-CH
SATA 5 5 5
ESATA 1 1 1
USB2.0/1.1 12 12 12


Source: ASUS Press Release

T-Mobile Blocks Jailbroken iPhone Users From Sidekick Data Plan

T-Mobile has struck a blow to iPhone users that have brought their jailbroken or unlocked phones over to their service. The company has officially decided to block iPhone users from using the prepaid Sidekick plan. (or possibly any other prepaid data plans from the looks of it)

The announcement came from T-Mobile earlier this week via tweet on their official Twitter account.

It would appear as though T-Mobile decided there are too many people realizing a loophole. The prepaid Sidekick Data plan was previously available to any phone or device that was unlocked and able to use the network. The plan offered unlimited internet/data and text messaging within the U.S. for $1 per day on top of any per-minute charges for calls. As a prepaid plan with no long-term contract attached, unlocked iPhone users had flexibility combined with reasonable plan costs.

In response to Tweets from former data plan users T-Mobile has stated that they do not currently offer any data plans that will work with the iPhone. So this move essentially blocks all iPhone usage on their data network.

Here is a brief breakdown of the conversation between user @Neil_Dhanda and @TMobile_USA:

  1. From @Neil_Dhanda to @TMobile_USA if i call customer support and tell them im running iphone on sidekick data plan will they care? 12:31 PM Aug 10thin reply to TMobile_USA from web
  2. From @Neil_Dhanda to @TMobile_USA are fucking ass wipes why the fuck does it matter what phone i use when im paying for the damn sidekick plan you fuckers 12:34 PM Aug 10th from web
  3. From @TMobile_USA to @Neil_Dhanda The Sidekick Data plan is meant for a Sidekick device. You may want to look into changing your data plan if ur using an iPhone
  4. From @TMobile_USA to @Neil_Dhanda Yes. You will no longer be able to use an IPhone with the Sidekick data plan. 12:52 PM Aug 10th from TweetDeck in reply to Neil_Dhanda
  5. From @Neil_Dhanda to @TMobile_USA ok well can i change my data plan iif i call??? will there be any extra charges? 1:02 PM Aug 10th from web in reply to TMobile_USA
  6. From @TMobile_USA to @Neil_Dhanda To our knowledge, their is no other prepaid data plan that will work 1:05 PM Aug 10th from TweetDeck in reply to Neil_Dhanda
@Neil_Dhanda did eventually find a plan that would work with his/her iPhone however there is no mention as to what the plan is or at what rate.

There’s really little doubt that the T-Mobile offer was being abused, and being widely abused by a lot of people. But I think it’s a bit sad and a very alarming approach by T-Mobile that mobile carriers are willing to block certain exclusive phones. The companies are willing to charge a flat rate fees it really shouldn't matter which phone is used on the network, after all they are all using the same network and there is no preferential treatment to data from one phone versus the other.

videoNEXT Launches Free IP Surveillance Software on the iPhone

CAVU, CAVU PRO and CAVU FREE Now Available on Apple's App Store

videoNEXT, developer of leading-edge surveillance software and physical security information management (PSIM) solutions, today announced the availability of its mobile video apps in the Apple App Store for the iPhone and iPod touch handheld devices. videoNEXT's new CAVU, CAVU FREE and CAVU PRO provide large organizations, small businesses and consumers with remote video monitoring features over 3G and Wifi networks anywhere.

The CAVU family of mobile surveillance solutions brings videoNEXT's proven video surveillance application, Security Knowledge Manager (SKM), to Apple's innovative mobile devices. CAVU is available in three versions:

  • CAVU FREE - allows users to directly connect to IP cameras (Axis and Panasonic BB & BL Series) and monitor them remotely. Cost: None.
  • CAVU - connects to any of videoNEXT's SKM video management solutions (SKM-Cirrus, SKM-Stratus and SKM-Altus). Provides a live camera matrix; live full screen video with pan, tilt and zoom controls; playback of recorded video from any camera; a real-time alarm/event log with video playback; and alarm acknowledgment. Cost: $19.99.
  • CAVU PRO - includes features of CAVU, plus multi-server capability. It uses the iPhone's camera to stream live video back to any SKM-video management system. CAVU PRO also offers GPS position tracking on Google Earth maps and allows the use of pan-tilt-zoom pre-sets. Cost: $49.99.

"Our CAVU offerings are the top mobile surveillance applications available at the Apple App Store. They are the most comprehensive surveillance and security applications available on Apple's iPhone and iPod touch today," said Andriy Fomenko, vice president & chief technology officer for videoNEXT. "The iPhone is an ideal mobile platform for viewing your security cameras, and our two-way streaming of video is nothing short of ground breaking."

"We are excited to offer our powerful video surveillance solutions to iPhone and iPod touch users," said Chris Gettings, president & CEO for videoNEXT. "It is very powerful and valuable to view live and archived video, control cameras and receive alarms and real-time event video from your home or business on your iPhone. The visibility is clear with CAVU."

videoNEXT's SKM is an open, standards-based software solution that works with nearly any IP, digital or analog camera, runs on any Intel or compatible server and uses an organization's existing security and data infrastructure in new and powerful ways. It provides the easiest and most scalable IP surveillance and physical security information management solution available today. Combining this with full policy-level administration and its unique flexible high availability Storage Volume Manager - organizations now have a highly capable, powerful, scalable and easy-to-use physical security information management tool that truly synchronizes security. videoNEXT SKM is offered in three levels: SKM-Altus for enterprises, SKM-Stratus for mid tier features and SKM-Cirrus for the consumer market.

CAVU and CAVU PRO require SKM-Cirrus to manage the video. This consumer video management system is a proven and cost-effective solution that operates on the Mac platform. It can be purchased and downloaded from www.cavu.me. This website provides information on all the features and benefits of the product, FAQs, a quick-start guide, as well as instructions on how to simplify security using Apple and videoNEXT innovations.

Source: videoNEXT Press Release

Pirated Copies Of Windows 7 On-Sale In China

According to recent IDG News Service reports pirated copies of Windows 7 have begun surfacing at China's electronics bazaars. The copies have hit bazaars in Beijing and have been reported as being sold for 40 yuan or $5.86US.

At this time both legal and cracked copies of Windows 7 have surfaced online. Microsoft Developer Network subscribers received links for the download of the RTM (release to manufacturing) version last week. A a cracked version of Windows 7 has begun hitting torrent sites over the last few weeks. Its unclear if the cracked version is one of the RTM copies or a cracked version of one of the release candidates.

Its likely that the pirated copies contain data from the image file of the Windows 7 Ultimate RTM that was stolen from Lenovo. The image file and a manufacturer product key had been stolen and placed on a Chinese hacker forum last month. Microsoft however acted quickly to blacklist the OEM master key

Intel Releases SSD Firmware Fix Resumes Shipments

Intel Corp. has resumed shipping of their latest consumer solid-state drives (SSDs) after resolving a firmware bug that causes data corruption is drives that had bios passwords set. The bug which we originally reported on late last month affected the companies new 34nm X25-M G2 "Postville" SSDs

Earlier this week Intel issued the updated firmware for the Intel X25-M and X18-M SSDs. The firmware as well as a brief description as to how to update it is available on Intel's Web site.

Intel introduced the new X25-M and X18-M SSDs on July 21. The new lower cost drives are being offered in sizes of 1.8 inches and 2.5 inches, with capacities of 80GB and 160GB. At the time of release, Intel said the drives delivered close to double the random write performance compared to their predecessors.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Zer01 Mobile Coming Under Fire

zer01_logoZer01 Mobile has recently come under fire for major delays in the launch of their new unlimited voice & data mobile service. The company which was reportedly set to launch the new service back in July is still not up and running leaving speculation about the company, its investors and whether or not the service will ever be launched.

IDG News Service recently questioned whether or not the unlimited mobile voice and data service that Zer01 had advertised was actually too good to be true. The offer was so attractive and the hype over the company was such that it garnered loads of media coverage in top business and technology publications. We did two writes up about the new service and their recent award of "best in show" from Laptop magazine.

IDG News Service in their investigation of the company found that Zer01's service is being marketed through an MLM program run by a company called Global Verge. That company has has had to face some tough questions of its own with CEO Mark Petschel. Petschel is reportedly currently on probation after pleading guilty to securities fraud. According to a bankruptcy filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Petschel allegedly promised to invest $168,000 that he collected from several people, but instead spent some of the money on items like jewelry.

With the recent questions regarding their marketing and delays Laptop magazine rescinded the award it offered to Zer01 at the CTIA wireless conference.

"We're taking this extraordinary step because of serious ethical questions that have arisen about the company. We can no longer endorse its service and therefore are compelled to warn our readers to avoid it," the magazine wrote Laptop magazine's Mark Spoonauer in a blog post.

Spoonauer voices several concerns over the company stating:

"The company claimed that it would offer unlimited voice and data for $69.95 per month and use VoIP technology to let users make calls. We were informed at CTIA that Zer01 would launch its service by July 1. However, the company has since broken its promises both to consumers and to us.

Serious questions have also been raised about Zer01’s network and whether it can offer the coverage it promises. The company says it has interconnect arrangements with GSM providers yet refuses to tell us who they are. AT&T denied to us that they have any agreements with Zer01, and T-Mobile declined to comment. As we’ve reported, Zer01’s coverage map is identical to that of AT&T’s, which raises even more doubts.

We also take issue with the fact that Zer01 changed its business plan after CTIA Wireless 2009. Initially, the company claimed it would offer its service directly to consumers. Then in May, Zer01 said it would provide its unlimited voice and data service to Buzzirk Mobile subscribers, a chosen distributor whose parent is a multi-level marketing company called Global Verge. A report from Network World recently revealed that Global Verge’s CEO, Mark Petschel,has plead guilty to securities fraud. When we asked Zer01’s CEO Ben Piilani about it, he told us that Petschel had resigned, though we have no independent confirmation of that.

As of July 1, according to Network World, Zer01 changed the content of its Web site and began calling itself a mobile virtual network enabler. Even more unsettling is the fact that sales associates for Buzzirk Mobile, which is the public face of Zer01, have deceived the public by claiming that Zer01 owns 2100 MHz spectrum when it does not.

When we interviewed Zer01 CEO Ben Piilani on July 22nd and confronted him about our concerns, he promised to deliver a phone for us to test by the following week. However, to date we have yet to receive an evaluation unit. In addition, an e-mail message sent to Zer01’s public relations firm last week, which warned that we may rescind our Best of CTIA Award, was not answered.

At this time we can only urge extreme caution to those interested in using or selling Zer01’s service."


IDG News Service and Laptop magazine aren't alone in their suspicions of the company. In a follow up story posted to PC World today Gartner analyst Tole Hart, who was once big on Zer01's concept, is now suspicious about the company and its promises. Hart is quoted as question Zer01's claims to have partnerships that give it nationwide coverage using GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) technology. To date it has not been confirmed by any of the nationwide GSM operators that they say they are working with Zer01.

Hart ask, "why would they let someone come on their network and undercut them?" A good question as Zer01's unlimited offering would cost far less than that of many of the operators, which also typically impose a cap on data usage. I highly doubt AT&T which already struggles keeping up with high data usage from iPhone customers would allow a third party service to suck up more bandwidth at a lower price!

For now it's really unclear as to what is going on at Zer01. I'll admit I for once was very interested in checking out the new service when I first heard about it. But now I think I'm glad I didn't get overly involved. I think I'll take a page from Laptop and warn readers to avoid it, at least until we get some solid answers.