Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Intel Releases Solid-State Drive Toolbox Optimizer, Almost Immediately Retratcs It

intel logoEarlier this week Intel released a new TRIM toolbox. The SSD Optimizer and firmware update originally designed for Intel's 34nm X25-M Mainstream SATA SSDs was meant to help better manage and retain the out-of-box performance of the drives.

The firmware upgrade and Intel SSD Optimizer use the Windows 7 ATA Data Set Management Command (known as Trim) to help keep the Intel SSD running at continued high performance. However the update had some unexpected affects which resulted in data corruption amongst Windows 7-based systems. This resulted in Intel's almost immediate retraction of the firmware update.

In place of the download page Intel has now added the following statement:

Intel has been contacted by users with issues with the 02HA firmware upgrade on Windows 7* systems and are investigating. We take all sightings and issues seriously and are working toward resolution. We have temporarily taken down the firmware update while we investigate.
Shortly after the update was released threads began popping up on the Intel support forum. With one rather long thread of user complaining that the TRIM updated hosed their Windows 7 systems. Those reports appear to be the catalyst for Intel's swift move to temporarily remove the update.

What TRIM Does

Giving a detailed explanation might be lengthy so I'm going to keep it as simple as possible. So basically SSD's have no way of knowing when a file is deleted and a sector on the drive is opened. So the drive must keep track of every last bit of data that’s written to it until that particular address gets used again.

What TRIM does is essentially unlock those tracked segments. In a supported OS like Linux or Windows 7, whenever you permanently delete a file or format your drive, the addresses that are erased are sent along with the TRIM command to the SSD’s controller. The TRIM instruction tells the SSD that those locations don’t contain valid data and that it no longer has to track them. This frees the drive from having to track all the addresses that are no longer holding data.

For a look at what the new Optimizer can achieve checkout these benchmarks from some of our favorite sites

Intel X25-M 'G2' TRIM Enabled Firmware

DROID By Motorola Arrives Nov. 6

Verizon Wireless DROID By Motorola: World’s First Smartphone with Android 2.0


motorola droid

High-speed Web browsing, voice-activated search, customizable large screen, access to thousands of Android applications and hundreds of widgets and the best 3G mobile network in the country: DROID by Motorola arrives on Nov. 6.

Verizon Wireless, the company with the nation’s largest wireless 3G broadband network, and Motorola, Inc., a pioneer in the mobile industry, today unveiled DROID by Motorola, the first smartphone powered by Android™ 2.0. DROID by Motorola features the brainpower and breakneck speed of a modern smartphone, designed to outperform where other smartphones fall short.

“We’re proud to work with Verizon Wireless and Google on the first smartphone to feature Android 2.0,” said Sanjay Jha, co-chief executive officer of Motorola and chief executive officer of Motorola Mobile Devices. “DROID by Motorola delivers a rich consumer experience with warp-speed Web browsing, a mammoth screen, and Motorola’s expertise in design and voice quality. Combined with Android’s open, flexible graphical user interface and the power of Verizon Wireless’ 3G network, DROID is a smartphone that simply doesn’t compromise.”

“This is an exciting announcement for Verizon Wireless, as the DROID by Motorola is the first device that we are bringing to market under our ground-breaking strategic partnership with Google,” said John Stratton, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless. “DROID by Motorola gives customers a lifestyle device with access to more than 12,000 applications that will help them stay in touch, up to date and entertained, using the best 3G network in the country.”

DROID by Motorola has a solid exterior, intelligent interior and is one of the thinnest full-QWERTY slider phones available. It is a no-fuss, high-tech, location-aware, voice-recognizing, over-the-air updating, multi-tasking machine – and it is available just in time for holiday wish lists.

With DROID by Motorola, you can:
  • Zip through the Web: Access the Internet at 3G speeds via the nation’s largest and most reliable 3G network or from any Wi-Fi hotspot. The multi-window HTML browser with a massive processor delivers the Web the way you expect.
  • See it all in cinema-style: View the Web, e-mail, Google Maps, videos and more in widescreen on a brilliant 3.7” high-resolution screen. Boasting a width of 854 pixels to reduce the need for side-to-side panning and more than 400,000 pixels total, DROID has more than twice that of the leading competitor.
  • Run multiple applications at once: Customize your DROID with thousands of applications and hundreds of widgets available on Android Market™. Toggle back and forth between up to six applications at a time to juggle the universe and your apps.
  • Perform Google Search at the speed of sound: Simply tell DROID what you’re looking for using voice-activated search, and it will serve up Google search results based on your location. If you want more, simply type what you’re looking for into the search bar on the home screen and DROID will also search content on your phone, such as apps and contacts, and the Web.
  • Capture moments: Snap digital camera-quality photos with a 5 megapixel camera loaded with the works, such as a dual-LED flash, AutoFocus and image stabilization, or capture your friend’s antics in 16 million colors with DVD-quality video capture and playback. Store it all on the included 16 GB memory card, so you always have it on hand.
  • Multi-task like a master: Keep tabs on all your messages with integrated Gmail™ and Exchange e-mail pushed directly to you, but don’t let them get in your way. With the handy Android notification panel, go straight to the message or simply ignore it, and get back to the task at hand. And, a smart dictionary learns as you type and automatically includes your contacts.
  • Get where you need to go with Google Maps Navigation (Beta): DROID is the first device with Google Maps Navigation, providing turn-by-turn voice guidance as a free feature of Google Maps. It’s powered by Google and connected to the Internet. Use voice shortcuts and simply say “Navigate to [your destination],” and you’ll be on your way. See live traffic, use Street View or satellite imagery to view your route, and get access to the most recent maps and business information from Google Maps without ever needing to update your device.
Pre-loaded Applications and Enhancements to Google Mobile Services:
  • Google Maps: With layers in Google Maps, view geographic information, such as My Maps, Wikipedia, and transit lines, right on the map.
  • Gmail: Multiple accounts support and undo for common operations.
  • YouTube: One-touch recording and playback from homescreen widget or app, one-touch sharing with friends, and the ability to view your own uploaded videos and high-resolution videos.
  • Google Talk: Easily switch between chats, search your chat history, and preview pictures and videos sent by links.
  • Android Market: Browse and download applications created by third-party developers.
  • Calendar: Ability to see who has R.S.V.P.’d to your meeting invitations.
  • Facebook: Syncs Facebook contacts to your address book, and a live widget gives the ability to update status and view latest updates from friends.
  • Amazon MP3 Store: Download the latest tracks over the air.
  • Verizon Wireless Visual Voice Mail: Delete, reply and forward voice mail messages without having to listen to prior messages or voice instructions.
Pricing and Availability:
  • DROID by Motorola will be available in the United States exclusively at Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online on Friday, Nov. 6, for $199.99 with a new two-year customer agreement after a $100 mail-in rebate. Customers will receive the rebate in the form of a debit card; upon receipt, customers may use the card as cash anywhere debit cards are accepted.
  • Experience the all-new DROID by Motorola at www.droiddoes.com.
  • To get the most from DROID by Motorola smartphone, customers will need to subscribe to a Nationwide voice plan and an Email and Web for Smartphone plan. Nationwide voice plans begin at $39.99 for monthly access for 450 minutes and an Email and Web for Smartphone plan is $29.99 for monthly access.
  • For additional information on Verizon Wireless products and services, visit a Verizon Wireless Communications Store, call 1-800-2 JOIN IN or go to www.verizonwireless.com.

Source: Motorola

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Upgrading Your Opertaing System Just Got Easier With Ninite

Upgrading To Windows 7? Or perhaps you've tried it and now want to downgrade back to your old OS. Either way you go re-installing several of your favorite programs just got a lot easier with Ninite

Ninite is a multi-app installer tool that builds and installer package packed into a single executable file which will run all your selected installations in one go. You simply choose the applications you want from the aggregated list of popular PC applications which vary from your favorite browsers like Firefox and Chrome, all the way down to developer tools like Eclipse, Python and Putty. Once you have made your selections simple click the submit button and Ninite builds your installer.



From there you can move the installer to a disk, separate partition or other portable device. Once you have your new operating system in place simply run the installer and sit back while all your favorite programs are installed. No need to run off to every individual site and sit through downloads.

Universal Cell Phone Charger Standard Set

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), which is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology issues, has given its stamp of approval to an energy-efficient one-charger-fits-all new mobile phone solution.

The announcement which was made yesterday couldn't make more sense in my opinion and comes far to late. I for one hate the fact that every single phone company seems to utilize their own charger connection, with some of them using several different ones. I can't tell you how many old chargers I have laying about!

blockbuster total accessThe new charger will be based on the micro-USB standard and is backed by the GSMA along with 17 mobile carriers, whom have all been pushing for a universal charger to be in place before 2012.

This new Universal Charging Solution (UCS), which enables the same charger to be used for all future handsets, regardless of make and model will greatly reduce the current number of chargers produced, shipped and subsequently discarded as new models become available. The new standard will mean users worldwide will be able to charge their mobiles anywhere from any available charger, while also reducing the energy consumed while charging.

The new UCS standard was based on input from the GSMA, which predicts a 50 per cent reduction in standby energy consumption, elimination of 51,000 tonnes of redundant chargers, and a subsequent reduction of 13.6 million tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions each year.

Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), Malcolm Johnson said: "This is a significant step in reducing the environmental impact of mobile charging, which also has the benefit of making mobile phone use more straightforward. Universal chargers are a commonsense solution that I look forward to seeing in other areas."

Standardization of the solution within ITU was completed by Study Group 5 - Environment and Climate Change, and will hasten broad adoption by industry. Based on the Micro-USB interface, UCS chargers will also include a 4-star or higher efficiency rating - up to three times more energy-efficient than an unrated charger.

You can read more in the full ITU press release.

User Confusion To Blame For Windows 7 Upgrade Woes?

As we previously reported Microsoft and Digital River had confirmed that several purchasers of their $29.99 Student Upgrade pack had experienced difficulties with their installations. Sunday in a follow up response posted to the Microsoft Answers forum a Microsoft support engineer appears to be blaming user "confusion" for the errors.

The issue arises from the fact that there is no direct upgrade path between the older 32bit operating systems and the new Windows 7 64bit OS. Despite that fact that it clearly states this one the Windows 7 upgrade page customers that had been running a 32-bit version of Windows such as Windows Vista purchased the 64-bit version of Windows 7 resulting in the the confusion.

neweggLast week, users reported that an error message prevented them from unpacking files downloaded from Digital River. The message read: "We are unable to create or save new files in the folder in which this application was downloaded."

"This error occurs when you are in the unloading phase of the 64-bit Windows 7 download process and are running a 32-bit version of Windows such as Windows XP or Windows Vista 32-bit," Michael a Microsoft support engineer posted to the Microsoft Answers support forum. "This is by design," he added, stating, "you cannot launch setup for the 64-bit version of Windows 7 while running a 32-bit operating system."

Some versions of Windows can't be upgraded with the installation disc or in this case the download the users were trying to use. For example, you can't upgrade a 32-bit version of Windows to a 64-bit version, or upgrade from a higher edition of Windows, such as Windows Vista Ultimate, to a lower edition, such as Windows 7 Home Premium. If this is the case, you'll need to use the Custom option during installation.

If you're running a 32-bit version of Windows Vista, you can only upgrade to a 32-bit version of Windows 7. Similarly, if you are running a 64-bit version of Windows Vista, you can only upgrade to a 64-bit version of Windows 7. Otherwise, you'll need to use the Custom option to install Windows 7.

Where to go for support for the Windows 7 Student offer?

For users who are having difficulty downloading the three files required for the Windows 7 Student Offer, please review the information on the Digital River help page including use of the “Contact Us” link at the bottom of the following page. http://windows7.digitalriver.com/servlet/PromoServlet/promoID.46353900 This includes error messages reported during the download phase and during the unloading phase. The most common are:

1. Error “We are unable to create or save new files in the folder in which this application was downloaded.”

This error occurs when you are in the unloading phase of the 64-bit Windows 7 download process and are running a 32-bit version of Windows such as Windows XP or Windows Vista 32-bit. This is by design as you cannot launch setup for the 64-bit version of Widows 7 while running a 32-bit operating system.

2. Error “This version of the file is not compatible with the version of Windows you’re running.”

The cause for this error is the same as #1 above and occurs if you attempt to launch the Windows 7 setup program located in the unboxed folder “expandedSetup”.

3. The download appears to hang at some % and will not continue or resume. Digital River and Microsoft are investigating reports of this issue. This appears to be a series of isolated issues that are often related to the user’s internet provider or installed 3rd party software. If you continue to encounter this problem without resolution, please contact Digital River at the following link.

http://windows7.digitalriver.com/servlet/PromoServlet/promoID.46354000

4. Error “An error has occurred. Unspecified error.”

Digital River and Microsoft are also investigating reports of this issue. While not wide spread, this issue appears to be caused when one of the downloaded files is incomplete or has become corrupted on the user’s computer. Users encountering this issue you should try and re-download the files by logging into your order from the following link. http://windows7.digitalriver.com/servlet/PromoServlet/promoID.46353900

If you continue to encounter this problem without resolution, please contact Digital River at the following link.

http://windows7.digitalriver.com/servlet/PromoServlet/promoID.46354000

According to the last post by Michael there is additional information regarding the Windows 7 64-bit download process. For those customers of the Student Offer, who wish to install the 64-bit version of Windows 7, but are currently running a 32-bit Operating System, there is now an optional downloadable ISO file of Windows 7 64-bit to allow for install.

If you have already purchased the 64-bit version of Windows 7 from the Windows 7 Student Offer Online Store, please contact Digital River at the following link: http://windows7.digitalriver.com/servlet/PromoServlet/promoID.46354000

In the Web form select the Download Option in the drop down menu and include "64-bit Windows 7 Solution" in the first line of your problem description.

If you haven’t yet purchased your product, please download the Window 7 upgrade advisor to determine which version is right for you.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Google Gives Us The Social Search Expirement

Google today launched what they are calling a new experiment on Google Labs called Google Social Search. The newest search function that is automatically integrated into your search results that helps you find relevant content from your friends and inner social circle.





All the information that appears as part of Google Social Search is published publicly on the web — you can find it without Social Search if you really want to. What we've done is surface that content together in one single place to make your results more relevant. The way we do it is by building a social circle of your friends and contacts using the connections linked from your public Google profile, such as the people you're following on Twitter or FriendFeed. The results are specific to you, so you need to be signed in to your Google Account to use Social Search. If you use Gmail, we'll also include your chat buddies and contacts in your friends, family, and coworkers groups. And if you use Google Reader, we'll include some websites from your subscriptions as part of your social search results.

To learn more about how Social Search works behind the scenes, including the choices and control you have over the content you see and share, read our help center article or watch this video:



This new feature is listed as an experiment meaning it may or may not stick around for the long term. In order use the feature to its fullest Google reminds users they will need to create a public Google profile and be logged in while searching expand your social circle search results and more easily find the information you're looking for.

Kingston Digital Releases Budget SSD

Kingston Digital Releases SSD Desktop Upgrade Solution

40GB Solid-State Drive to Boost Desktop Performance; Aggressive Launch Promotion with Newegg.com Announced

Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced the release of the SSDNow V Series 40GB Boot Drive, the latest addition to its V (Value) family of solid-state drives (SSD). The Kingston SSDNow V Series 40GB Boot Drive is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to accelerate any desktop's boot, shutdown and application load times. It is available for as low as $84.99 after rebates (U.S. only) at e-tailer Newegg.com at launch*.

"The SSDNow V Series 40GB Boot Drive offers instant performance enhancement coupled with reliability and lower power consumption at a fraction of the cost of a new system," said Ariel Perez, SSD business manager, Kingston. "The 40GB Boot Drive is the latest offering in our V Series SSD line. It provides a low-cost upgrade solution that complements the installed hard-disk drive to extend the life cycle of existing desktop computers and workstations in homes and offices."

Using the industry-standard PCMark Vantage Advanced HDD Suite, the 40GB Boot Drive received a score of 13,883, whereas a 7200RPM hard-disk drive attained a score of 3,708**. PCMark Vantage Advanced HDD Suite runs a series of tests such as Windows Vista® startup, importing photos, adding music to Windows Media Center and application loading. The score is an indicator of how many bytes were moved per second.

Kingston's SSDNow V Series 40GB Boot Drive is designed for novice SSD users looking to increase their current desktop performance. As part of Kingston's goal to provide an easy upgrade path for first-time SSD users as well as do-it-yourself system builders, the drive is also available with a bundle that includes cloning software, 2.5" to 3.5" brackets and SATA data and power cable extenders. The SSDNow V Series 40GB Boot Drive is designed for a desktop system to be used in conjunction with an existing hard-disk drive (HDD). A PC operating system and key applications reside on the SSD while all data such as documents, music, files and photos remain on the HDD.

The Kingston SSDNow V Series 40GB Boot Drive has an MSRP of $115.00 (U.S.) and will begin shipping on November 9, 2009. It is backed by a three-year warranty, 24/7 tech support and legendary Kingston reliability. For more information visit www.kingston.com.

Kingston SSDNow 40GB Boot Drive Features and Specifications:
  • Sequential Speed***: up to 170MB/sec. read
    40MB/sec. write
  • Performance: enhances productivity; makes users more efficient
  • Innovative: 2.5" form factor; uses NAND Flash memory components
  • Silent: runs silent and cool with no moving parts
  • Reliable: less likely to fail than a standard hard drive
  • Shock Resistant: no moving parts; handles rougher conditions than a hard drive
  • Supports S.M.A.R.T.: Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology
  • Guaranteed: three-year Kingston warranty, 24/7 tech support
  • Capacity¹: 40GB
  • Storage temperatures: -40° C to 85° C
  • Operating temperatures: 0° C to 70° C
  • Vibration operating: 2.17G (7-800Hz)
  • Vibration non-operating: 20G (20-2000Hz)
  • Power specs: Active: 0.15W (TYP); Sleep: 0.06W
  • Life expectancy: 1 million hours MTBF

Kingston SSDNow 40GB Boot Drive

Part NumberCapacity and FeaturesMSRP (U.S. only)
SNV125-S2/40GB 40GB 2.5" SATA SSD (stand-alone drive) $ 115.00
SNV125-S2BD/40GB 40GB 2.5" SATA SSD (desktop bundle) $ 130.00


My thoughts:

Many people are going to argue that a 40GB drive just isn't going to be big enough, well to be honest when you are talking about a boot only drive then 40 GBs should be plenty. These drives are budget offerings meant only to hold your operating system
and key applications while all your data such as documents, music, files and photos would need to be placed on a secondary, more spacious HDD.

The new lower pricing of SSD's make them almost affordable enough to hit the mainstream and these are by far the cheapest drives I've seen however the downside I see here is the rather slow 40MB/sec. sequential write speed. That's just under half the speed of most "budget" SSD's on the market now. So while the price seems right the performance might be lacking.

Source: Kingston

Friday, October 23, 2009

Microsoft Confirms Install Issues With Windows 7 "Student Edition"

Last month we posted that students with a valid .EDU email address could purchase Windows 7 for $29.99, today however it seems as though that deal might have fallen a tad flat.

Microsoft has confirmed via a support thread, that several users that have purchased Windows 7 from Digital River are receiving the error ‘We are unable to create or save new files in the folder in which this application was downloaded” when going through the “Unloading the Box”.

According to the post Microsoft and Digital River are aware of the issue and it’s being investigated. In the mean time Microsoft is offering refunds to users or they have posted a very easy workaround that seems to be working well for most users.

The quickest easiest way to accomplish the workaround involves creating am ISO image of the files and creating a bootable disk. To do so follow these steps as provided

To start with, make sure your downloaded Windows 7 files (the 'expandedSetup' directory) is unzipped into C:\ -- it'll make things easier later.

1. Download this tool -- alternatively you can obtain the official pack from Microsoft, but that's a whole darn gigabyte.

2. Unzip and move oscdimg.exe to your System32 directory (likely to be C:\Windows\System32)

3. Open an elevated command prompt. In Vista you do this by typing 'cmd' into your 'Start Menu' and hitting ctrl+shift+enter. In XP, just type 'cmd' into the Run dialogue (Windows Key+R or from your Start Menu).

4. Type (or copy and paste) the following into your command prompt (this will vary a little, depending on where you've put your expandedSetup folder):

oscdimg.exe –u2 –b"C:\expandedSetup\boot\etfsboot.com" –h "C:\expandedSetup" C:\WIN7.ISO

5. Ta'da! You've got a burnable ISO!

All you need to finish the job is a good burning application like ImgBurn, PowerISO or CDBurnerXP.
If you haven't purchased Windows 7 yet and you are a member of a qualifying University you can still get your cheap download upgrade copy of Windows 7 for just $29.99. All you need is to be part of an eligible college or university. Find out more here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Amazon Releasing Free Kindle For PC App

Introducing "Kindle for PC" -- The Free Application for Reading Kindle Books on the PC

Latest Kindle Application Brings over 360,000 Kindle Books, Including New York Times Bestsellers and New Releases, to the PC

Amazon.com, Inc. today announced "Kindle for PC," the free application that lets readers around the world enjoy Kindle books on their personal computers (PC). The U.S. Kindle Store (www.amazon.com/kindlestore) currently offers over 360,000 books, including New Releases and 101 of 112 New York Times Bestsellers, which are typically $9.99 or less. The Kindle Store is the only place to find some of the most popular books of today in digital format. Kindle books can now be read on the Kindle, Kindle DX, iPhone, iPod touch, and PC.

Kindle for PC features Amazon’s Whispersync technology that automatically saves and synchronizes bookmarks and last page read across devices. Whether you read Kindle books on a Kindle, Kindle DX, or one of the free Kindle applications, you can always have your reading with you and never lose your place. With Kindle for PC, you can read some on your PC, read some on your Kindle, and always pick up right where you left off. Whispersync helped make the Kindle for iPhone application the most popular books app in the Apple App Store.

"Kindle for PC is the perfect companion application for folks who own a Kindle or Kindle DX," said Ian Freed, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. "Kindle for PC is also a great way for people around the world to read the most popular books of today even if they don’t yet have a Kindle."

With Kindle for PC, readers can take advantage of the following features:

  • Purchase, download, and read hundreds of thousands of books available in the Kindle Store
  • Access their entire library of previously purchased Kindle books stored on Amazon’s servers for free
  • Choose from over 10 different font sizes and adjust words per line
  • Add and automatically synchronize bookmarks and last page read
  • View notes and highlights marked on Kindle and Kindle DX
  • Zoom in and out of text with a pinch of the fingers (Windows 7 users only)
  • Turn pages with a finger swipe (available in a future release for Windows 7 users)

Microsoft demonstrated Kindle for PC for the first time ever at the Windows 7 launch event today in New York City. “Customers have told us that they want access to a wider variety of content and an increasingly diverse set of form factors,” said Mike Nash, corporate vice president of Windows Platform Strategy at Microsoft. “With the announcement of Kindle for PC, Amazon is making its massive selection of Kindle books available on the world’s most widely used platform. The new Kindle for PC’s use of Windows 7 features such as Jump Lists and Windows Touch demonstrates how Windows 7 makes new things possible.”

Kindle for PC takes advantage of capabilities in the new Windows 7, including Windows Touch technology. In addition to Windows 7, Kindle for PC will also be compatible with Windows XP and Windows Vista. Kindle for PC will be available to customers around the world as a free download next month. Sign up to receive an email when Kindle for PC is available for download at http://www.amazon.com/KindleforPC.


Source: Amazon

So Windows 7 Is Out, Now What

I promised myself that I wouldn't write a post today hyping the already over-hyped release of Windows Seven, however I broke down and had to write something.

By now, unless that is you have been living under a rock, you know that the latest greatest OS from Microsoft has hit store shelves and OEM PCs worldwide. I'm sure more than a few of our readers have already been playing with the released version and I'm sure even more rushed out this morning to get their hands on retail copies. I for one signed up for the Windows 7 house party so I got my copy a few days ago.




Hype what hype?

If like me and the 8 million or so other beta testers you've been using W7 for several months you shouldn't be surprised to find out you won't see many changes. The OS really looks and feels no different from anything we already tested. So whats all the hype about, well I guess it was for the rest of the world that didn't want to participate in the open beta, after all those of us currently running the RC can still do so until next year. So I for one have been a little annoyed by the over hyping of the release, but hey I'll let MS have their day in the sun.

I've said it before, several times in fact, that I just don't see what all the hype is about. Sure its a nice OS. Sure it looks great, but it doesn't make toast. There really isn't anything that Windows Seven does that Windows XP didn't do and it really doesn't do it any better. It looks a little cooler than both XP and Vista but that's all about personal preferences. So forgive me but I'm not seeing it!

Once the wow factor has worn off what do you do next?

By now those of you that didn't run the beta test have had a chance to run out and buy your shiny new operating system and you should have it installed. I'm sure you are sitting there and checking out all the new flashy features like Aero Peek and the new toolbar. At this late date you should all be aware of all the Windows 7 features so I'm not going to go into depth there. I'll also assume that, like me when I first tried it, you'll spend the next few weeks being enamored by all the changes you are seeing.

But what do you do once you realize that all the hype was for nothing, and that you just spent $200+ on a new OS that you really could have lived without. You customize it baby!!

Oh yeah, that's what this is all about. That all important step of making the operating system you own. For starters I'd suggest dropping by the Microsoft Windows 7 themes site. There you can pick-up some new theme sets, a few that are actually ad oriented? I'd also suggest checking out DeviantArt, most of the user submitted themes over there are actually quite cool.

Once you've got it looking cool its time to speed things up

Oh yes Windows 7 might be the new kid on the block but that doesn't mean that tweaks and tips aren't already out there to help you get the best performance possible. BlackViper.com is one of the best know sites on the web for information regarding service configuration and speed tips. They have a very useful Windows Seven Service Configuration table which takes the guess work out of what services can and can't be disabled.

BlackViper also has a Windows Seven SuperTweaks page, that has several great tips for speeding things up and making things like UAC less annoying. Most of these tips are a must for any new installation on any of my PCs.

But wait I haven't upgraded yet

If you haven't bought into the hype and haven't made the leap yet but you still want more information on Windows Seven you'll want to start with the Windows Seven Upgrade Advisor The Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor is a downloadable tool from Microsoft that checks your PC for compatibility issues. Any problems that might arise with say older software or hardware that you are currently running will be listed. From there you'll need to decide if you want change to a newer, or different piece of software or newer hardware.

Another option is checking out the Windows Seven Compatibility Center. At the Windows Seven Compatibility Center you can manually check software and hardware compatibility via several drop down menus.

Once you are ready to buy run over to Newegg.com and pick-up the version that best suites your needs. If you aren't entirely sure which version to get you can compare the version here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rumor: Google Music Service In The Works

Popular tech blog TechCrunch reported this morning that Google might have a new service up it's sleeve and this one looks like it might be musical in nature.

Citing "several source" Micheal Arrington wrote that the company is developing a music service, which he aptly dubbed Google Audio. Arrington's report wasn't too far, the name however did miss the mark by a mile. TechCrunch and CNet are both providing more information on what is now being called "One Box for music."

One box is said to be a partnership between Google, Lala and iLike. The new service will be integrated into Google Search, and will allow users to quickly discover song previews, artist info, pictures, video and more. One Box, seems to be a play on one search box for everything, will feature thumbnail photos of the searched artists, background information, as well as a listing of the music that the searcher can preview, according to the sources.

Basic details aside neither CNet nor TechCrunch have been able to offer much. None of the companies involved will confirm the new Google Music service – Arrington writes, "we have “no comments” or absolute silence from Google, LaLa, MySpace and iLike. But the new service is all but confirmed. And we have the screenshots showing how the service, which will be announced on October 28, will look to prove it."

It looks like we are stuck waiting for another week for more details!

Follow-up (11-2-09)

Google has made it official your search results will now include links to an audio preview of those songs provided by our music search partners MySpace (which just acquired iLike) or Lala. When you click the result you'll be able to listen to an audio preview of the song directly from one of those partners. For example, if I search for [21st century breakdown], the first results provide links to songs from Green Day's new album. MySpace and Lala also provide links to purchase the full song.

For more details read the full announcement via the Official Google Blog.

ASUS CrossLink Cable Syncs Data, Allows Optical Disc Drive Sharing and Makes File Management Easy

The new easy-to-use and lightweight ASUS CrossLink cable offers a highly efficient way of transferring and synchronizing data, as well as sharing Internet access and optical disc drive (ODD) functions. With its flexible and customizable file management system, users can organize their data with minimal effort, as well as synchronize their emails, contacts, calendar entries, journals, tasks and notes. Doubling as a removable flash drive, the CrossLink cable comes in two colors—black and white. The black version is equipped with 2GB storage and features a full suite of PC functions, while the white option is available in 2GB or 4GB storage, and can be used on both PC and Macintosh platforms.


Data Synchronization with ODD and Internet Sharing Functionality

The ASUS CrossLink cable is designed to allow for rapid transmission and synchronization of data between two PCs. Users can browse, copy and transfer files and folders to and from the PC they are connected to via USB. Users can also use the CrossLink cable to utilize another PC or notebook's ODD. For instance, to perform a CD-based software installation on a computer without an ODD, users can simply hook up the Crosslink cable to a notebook or PC equipped with one and run the installation off it. Users can also synchronize their folders using the Folder Link, ensuring their data are kept up-to-date. Likewise, other essential data such as mail, contacts, calendar entries, journals, tasks and notes can also be synchronized between two PCs via the Outlook Link. Finally, the CrossLink cable allows users to share the Internet connectivity of a connected PC*.

An Effortless Data Storage and Management Solution

The ASUS CrossLink cable is available in two colors. The black ASUS CrossLink cable serves as a 2GB removable storage device. The white CrossLink cable is available in both 2GB and 4GB capacities, and features a Macintosh-compatible data-link—perfect for cross platform usage. Users can monitor storage levels, transfer data, and even toggle between full interface and icon display modes for easy data storage and retrieval. For further file management flexibility, the interface allows data to be sorted by symbol marks or file types. The symbol mark can be customized to suit users' requirements. File filters also allow users to sort and locate with a few convenient clicks.

What it does in layman's terms

Sorry ASUS but your press release left a little to be desired, even some of my geekiest friends had a hard time deciphering the tech gar-gin. So we had to break down what the Crosslink does into the simplest explanation possible.

For starters the ASUS CrossLink cable comes with a 2GB flash drive, nice but hardly worth the cost. No that is not really what the CrossLink is all about. What it does is allow you to connect two PC's via a usb cable. This is nifty for swapping files back and forth, but hardly revolutionary. You could easily do this across a network or a crossover cable, however the CrossLink adds some nifty software that makes connecting your PCs quick and painless.

The second feature that makes this a handy geek gadget is the addition of optical disc drive (ODD) functions. Now this is where most of you might have been lost. The ODD support function means you can use the CrossLink to connect your netbook, MacBook Air or some other PC or ultra-portable device that currently doesn't have an optical drive (CD, DVD or even Blu-Ray) and use the second PC's optical drive. This really comes in handy when needing to install things like an OS or large applications.

Specifications
Model ASUS CrossLink Cable
Connector USB USB
Color Black White
Dimensions 52.5mm x 20mm x 12mm 52.5mm x 20mm x 12mm
Weight 0.04kg 0.04kg
Storage Space 2GB
  • 2GB
  • 4GB
Cable Length 1.2m 1.2m
Contents
  • CrossLink & USB cable
  • Quick installation guide
  • CrossLink & USB cable
  • Quick installation guide
System Requirements Windows XP / Windows Vista/ Windows 7
1.0GHz CPU or later
RAM: 512MB minimum
Storage space: 100MB minimum
Built-in USB port: 1.1 or 2.0
Mac OS X 10.4 or later
PowerPC G4 processor or later
RAM: 512MB minimum
Storage space: 100MB minimum
Built-in USB port: 1.1 or 2.0
Launch Date October 2009 December 2009


Source: ASUS

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

U2 Concert Free On YouTube

As part of U2's new 360 tour those zanny rockers from Ireland are offering up a free showing of their concert from the Pasadena Rose Bowl Stadium this Sunday. Fans in the United States and 15 other countries will be able to watch the whole show, live and for free, on YouTube. The show will mark a first for the website which has offered several similar broadcasts but has never broadcast a complete concert live.

You can watch the live event at YouTube.com/U2 starting at 8:30 p.m. PT on Sunday, October 25, if you are in any of the following countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Italy, Spain, Japan, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Mexico, India, Israel, South Korea and the Netherlands. Following the show, an archived version will be available at YouTube.com/U2official.

'YouTube is thrilled to be able to provide our global audience with a live streaming performance from one of the world's greatest bands,' said Chris Maxcy, Director of YouTube Partner Development. 'We are always looking for new ways to connect fans around the world with their favourite artists, and this is the perfect opportunity to do just that.'

Barnes & Noble Introduces Nook eBook Reader

Barnes & Noble, Inc., the world’s largest bookseller, announced today the launch of nook, the Barnes & Noble eBook reader, which marries innovative technology and sleek minimalist design with access to the company’s digital store of over one million eBooks, newspapers and magazines.

nook features many industry firsts as it is the first Android™-based eBook reader and the first to offer a color touch screen for navigation along with a best-in-class E Ink display for an immersive, enjoyable e-reading experience. For fast connectivity, nook is the first eBook reader to provide, at no additional costs to customers, both 3G wireless access on AT&T’s mobile broadband network and access to Wi-Fi for Barnes & Noble in-store browsing and enjoyment. And to help friends share their joy of reading, nook is the first eBook reader to offer digital lending for a wide selection of eBooks.

“We asked our customers what they wanted in an eBook reader, and specifically designed nook to be the most full-featured, fun, stylish and easy-to-use eBook reader on the market,” said William J. Lynch, President of Barnes & Noble.com. “With our nationwide footprint, Barnes & Noble customers can see, touch and hold nook. Our 40,000 booksellers are ready to help customers discover how easy it is to download and read eBooks on nook, and what a pleasure it is to have access to their favorite eBooks, magazines and newspapers any time and anywhere.”

nook: The Device

The centerpiece of Barnes & Noble’s strategy to deliver any book, any time, anywhere, nook was created expressly with the reader in mind, with features and functionality to create an immersive, seamless and fun experience:

  • A Gripping Read, by Design
    nook’s sleek, minimalist design puts the focus on the content, not the technology, and the combination of color and touch make navigation intuitive and simple. nook feels great in hand and features a contoured, easy-to-hold back. About the size and weight of a paperback book, nook is thin, small and portable. Its best-in-class E Ink Vizplex™ display is easy on the eyes with text as clear and crisp as a printed book. And with no glare or backlight and adjustable text size, you can read comfortably for hours without straining your eyes.
  • Color Touch for Easy Navigation
    The beautiful lower color touch screen offers an immersive experience, inviting you to virtually browse through brilliant cover art, flip through an expansive library, or search using a virtual keyboard. nook presents the controls, navigation and keyboard you need, only when you need them.
  • Download eBooks Wirelessly
    With fast 3G wireless and Wi-Fi access, nook is the most-connected eBook reader. Browse and instantly download eBooks, magazines and newspapers simply and seamlessly on AT&T’s 3G wireless network, the nation’s fastest, with no set-up required or additional wireless costs. Connect to the complimentary Wi-Fi, provided by the AT&T Wi-Fi network, in Barnes & Noble stores and download at broadband fast speeds.
  • Lend eBooks to Friends
    With nook’s breakthrough LendMe™ technology, lend a wide selection of eBooks to friends free of charge, for up to 14 days at a time. Just choose the book you want to share and send it to your friend’s nook or iPhone, iPod touch, select BlackBerry® and Motorola smartphones, PC or Mac® with Barnes & Noble eReader software.
  • A Continuous Reading Experience
    With “Reading Now,” your virtual bookmark, nook brings you back to the last book you’ve read, right where you left off. And it works across a range of devices. If you forgot your nook at home, Barnes & Noble’s free eReader software on your iPhone, select BlackBerry and Motorola smartphones or laptop lets you pick up where you left off, including annotations. And when you’re reunited with your nook again, the Reading Now page will be updated and ready to go.
  • A Wealth of Content, in the Palm of Your Hand
    nook can hold up to 1,500 eBooks and other printed content, and the sky’s the limit for your digital library when you use nook’s expandable memory slot. A 16GB MicroSD card holds up to 17,500 eBooks.
  • Portability and Personalization
    You can also easily transfer PDF-format documents from your computer to access and read business documents, legal contracts and travel information on your nook. And transfer your photos to create custom screensavers.
  • Protect Your nook in Style
    nook comes with a removable back cover you can personalize from a selection of four additional great colors. You can also choose from a range of accessories by renowned designers kate spade new york, Jack Spade, Jonathan Adler, Tahari and others. From classic and colorful portfolios to an innovative book light, Barnes & Noble will offer stylish and elegant accessories designed exclusively for nook both in stores and online.

Over One Million eBooks, Newspapers and Magazines

As part of nook’s introduction, Barnes & Noble has further expanded its wide selection of content to satisfy every reader.

  • Expanded eBookstore
    From fiction to horror and romance to thrillers, with the launch of nook, Barnes & Noble’s eBookstore now offers the most eBook titles – over one million – with most bestsellers and new releases for just $9.99.
  • Your Daily Newspapers on nook
    Read your “morning paper” any time, anywhere you go. Barnes & Noble now offers subscriptions to more than 20 newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Los Angeles Times. Barnes & Noble expects to offer, in digital form, subscriptions to every major U.S. daily.
  • Read Your Favorite Magazines
    As the nation’s second largest retailer of magazines, Barnes & Noble is now pleased to offer its customers digital subscriptions. Enjoy reading publications including Forbes, Newsweek and The Nation on your nook, at home or on the go.

Experience nook at Your Local Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble’s nationwide network of stores enables its customers to see nook and get hands-on demonstrations from its booksellers. Furthermore, nook owners get added benefits.

  • Stunning Retail Displays
    Barnes & Noble has created stunning storefront displays for nook that begin rolling out tomorrow in its highest-volume stores, including 17 College bookstores such as DePaul University, Harvard University, Southern Methodist University, University of Pennsylvania and Washington State University. nook will be on display at its fully staffed customer service centers in every store.
  • Dedicated Booksellers
    Barnes & Noble’s 40,000 booksellers are ready to help customers get the most of their nook e-reading experience, demonstrate the eReader applications on other devices, and assist and support purchases, browsing and downloads in-store.
  • Free Complete eBook Browsing
    Customers will also be able to browse complete eBooks for free on nook at any Barnes & Noble store, whether or not the actual book is in stock, beginning later this year. Plus settle into the cafĂ© and get exclusive in-store-only content, free eBooks, special offers and much more using Barnes & Noble’s complimentary Wi-Fi, provided by the AT&T Wi-Fi network.

Availability

nook, the Barnes & Noble eBook reader, will begin shipping at the end of November with a price of $259.00. Barnes & Noble is taking pre-orders now at www.nook.com and in stores starting tomorrow. In celebration of nook’s launch, Barnes & Noble will also offer a free eBook of Malcolm Gladwell’s widely acclaimed best-seller, “The Tipping Point,” for the first 10,000 customers to pre-order nook.

To learn more and experience nook, visit www.nook.com. Follow our eBooks and other updates on www.bn.com/twitter. To learn more about the free Barnes & Noble eReader software and Barnes & Noble eBookstore apps, visit www.barnesandnoble.com/ebooks.

Skooba Launches Search For The Ultimate Techie

Skooba Design has announced a first-ever contest to find and reward the ultimate digital gear-head. The inaugural "Master of the Digital Universe" contest (http://www.skoobadesign.com/master/home.html) invites serious techies to make a case for why they deserve the title.

Among other goodies, the grand prize includes something truly uniquethe opportunity to work directly with a Skooba designer to create a custom-made, one-of-a-kind laptop/gadget bag, to be handmade by a Skooba craftsperson, only for the winner. As the company says, "as is fitting for the Master, it will be the only bag of its kind in the universe, made to the winner's wants, needs and specifications. Once it is made, there will never be another." The grand prize winner will get other merchandise and gadget gift card prizes as well, and may be featured in Skooba advertising and promotional activities. 2 runners-up will receive prize packages as well, and all entries will be included in a "second-chance" prize drawing. The total value of prizes is more than $6,000.

"We wanted to do something fun and different to end what has been a not-so-fun year for many people," says Skooba CEO Michael Hess. "We know how proud and serious some people can be about their attachment to technologywe get e-mails all the time from people saying that they are the heaviest of heavy-duty users. This gives them a chance to put themselves up against other gadget elites and win some great stuff."

The contestto be judged by the design staff and management of Skooba Designis not just about who has the most stuff. Hess says "Though the type and number of devices certainly counts, the winner will not necessarily be the person who owns the most gadgets, it will be the one with the best overall story and presentation. It could be based on the degree to which electronics are integrated into the entrant's everyday life, it could be about the most incredible road warrior's traveling tech arsenal. We are looking for overall uniqueness, interest, and even entertainmentwe want people to make it fun and really 'sell the story.'"

The "Master of the Digital Universe" entry page allows contestants to tell their stories free-form, and to add photos or links to videos to support their claims of techno-greatness. Skooba's staff will begin judging entries on November 23rd and select winners on November 30th. Complete contest and prize information, rules and entry form may be found at http://www.skoobadesign.com/master/home.html.


Grand prize (approximate total value more than $5,000):

• A Skooba Design product designer will create a custom, one-of-a-kind laptop/gadget bag to the winner's personal needs and specifications. The winner will be the only person on the face of the Earth to have this bag—as is only fitting for the Master of the Digital Universe. Some parameters and restrictions apply, see rules for complete details.

PLUS:

• $500 Skooba Design shopping spree

• $500 Best Buy® gift card

• "Master of the Digital Universe" may be featured in Skooba marketing and advertising.

Second prize (total value $350):

• $250 Skooba shopping spree

• $100 Best Buy® gift card

Third prize (value up to approximately $190):

• Winner may select any one Skooba product of his/her choice.

Everyone who enters will get an entry confirmation e-mail containing a special code good for a hefty discount on any order at www.skoobadesign.com

All qualifying entries meeting the submission requirements will also be entered in a second-chance drawing to win a $500 Skooba shopping spree

Source: Skooba Design

Microsoft Releases Sidekick Data Recovery Tool

Following up on their promises to help restore user data as quickly as possible the Danger/Microsoft team has released a new set of tools for T-Mobile customers that should help in their data restoration efforts.

Beginning [early Tuesday], T-Mobile Sidekick users were invited to log into the My T-Mobile website, where there will be a recovery tool to restore contacts you may have lost during the recent service outage. This tool will enable you to view the contacts you had on your device as of October 1. With a few clicks and a confirmation, you will be able to restore these contacts to your Sidekick. If you have recreated some of the same contacts on your Sidekick since October 1, you can choose to keep both sets of contacts, merge them, or just keep the set of contacts now on your device. You may also edit any partial or complete duplicates on your Sidekick after restoration.

"We continue to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to restore your data. We’re making solid progress on the next phase in this restoration process, including your photographs, notes, to-do lists, marketplace data and high scores," the company said in the full statement.

No date has been set for beginning that second phase of the data recovery, however the companies both remain optimistic that they'll be able to retrieve most if not all of the lost data.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Microsoft Apologizes For Data Loss, Confirms Data Recovery To Begin Soon

Microsoft today has issued a formal apology to all T-Mobile Sidekick users affected by the recent data loss and has confirmed that effort to recover users data have been successful for many, if not most of the affected users.


Microsoft Confirms Data Recovery for Sidekick Users
Data Restoration to Begin as Soon as Possible for Affected Customers.

Dear T-Mobile Sidekick customers,

On behalf of Microsoft, I want to apologize for the recent problems with the Sidekick service and give you an update on the steps we have taken to resolve these problems.

We are pleased to report that we have recovered most, if not all, customer data for those Sidekick customers whose data was affected by the recent outage. We plan to begin restoring users’ personal data as soon as possible, starting with personal contacts, after we have validated the data and our restoration plan. We will then continue to work around the clock to restore data to all affected users, including calendar, notes, tasks, photographs and high scores, as quickly as possible.

We now believe that data loss affected a minority of Sidekick users. If your Sidekick account was among those affected, please continue to log into the T-Mobile Sidekick forum at http://www.t-mobile.com/sidekick for the latest updates about when data restoration will begin, and any steps you may need to take. We will work with T-Mobile to post the next update on data restoration timing no later than Saturday.

We have determined that the outage was caused by a system failure that created data loss in the core database and the back-up. We rebuilt the system component by component, recovering data along the way. This careful process has taken a significant amount of time, but was necessary to preserve the integrity of the data.

We will continue working closely with T-Mobile to restore user data as quickly as possible. We are eager to deliver the level of reliable service that our incredibly loyal customers have become accustomed to, and we are taking immediate steps to help ensure this does not happen again. Specifically, we have made changes to improve the overall stability of the Sidekick service and initiated a more resilient backup process to ensure that the integrity of our database backups is maintained.

Once again, we apologize for this situation and the inconvenience that it has created. Please know that we are working all-out to resolve this situation and restore the reliability of the service.

Sincerely,

Roz Ho

Corporate Vice President

Premium Mobile Experiences, Microsoft Corporation

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Opera Unite now available in new beta release of Opera 10.10

You have never experienced the Web like this

Opera Unite now available in new beta release of Opera 10.10

Opera Software today released the beta version of Opera Unite, available in Opera 10.10 beta. Opera Unite is a novel technology platform that shakes up the old client-server computing model of the Web. Opera Unite turns any computer into both a client and a server, allowing it to interact with and serve content to other computers directly across the Web. Download Opera 10.10 beta from http://www.opera.com/browser/next/.

You have never created applications like this

Opera Unite is an extremely powerful platform that opens up a new category of client-to-client applications. Harnessing this power is as easy as coding a Web page. This dramatically simplifies the complexity of authoring advanced Web applications. To create an Opera Unite application, a Web developer needs only to know the same open Web standards they use every day, such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Additional tutorials on building Opera Unite applications are available at http://dev.opera.com/articles/unite/. Opera Unite applications can be accessed by any modern Web browser on any device.

Opera 10.10 beta includes the following Opera Unite applications for you to try:

  • Photo Sharing
    Create instant Web photo galleries from your PC.
  • Messenger
    Chat live with your friends in My Opera.
  • File Sharing
    Share a file from your personal computer without having to upload it.
  • Web Server
    Turn your Opera browser into an instant Web server that hosts your Web sites directly from your computer.
  • Media Player
    Stream your entire music catalog from anywhere, instantly, using any Web browser.
  • Fridge
    Post a note on your friends’ virtual refrigerators.

More applications are available from http://unite.opera.com/.

“You have never enjoyed music like this”

You have used a media player, but have you tried an Opera Unite media player? See a band use Opera Unite to teach an old media player new tricks, such as streaming their newly recorded songs, instantly and directly, from their computer to a Facebook friend: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eak_o_1Kzd0

What we say

“We invite developers all over the world to use their creativity and imagination to push the boundaries of what is possible with Opera Unite,” said Jon von Tetzchner, CEO, Opera. “We are moving closer to our goal of reinventing the Web and are excited to see Opera Unite continue to evolve in powerful and compelling ways.”

It is easy to use Opera Unite:

  1. Download the Opera 10.10 beta with Opera Unite from http://www.opera.com/browser/next/.
  2. To start Opera Unite, click the Opera Unite button in the lower left-hand corner of the browser and log in with your existing Opera ID — the same Opera ID used for other Opera services such as My Opera and Opera Link. Opera Unite will prompt you to register an Opera ID if you do not have one.
  3. Now you are ready to use Opera Unite. Simply access your Opera Unite applications from the Opera Unite panel of the browser.
  4. New applications can be installed from http://unite.opera.com/.
  5. Running an application will give you a direct Web address to the Opera Unite application on your device, for example: http://[notebook].[username].operaunite.com/[media_player]/, where [notebook] is the name of the local device serving content, [username] is your username, and [media_player] is the Web application being accessed. This link will also allow others to access the same Web application from your computer through their Web browser.

FAQ

The FAQ answers the most common questions about Opera Unite: http://unite.opera.com/support/#general



Source: Opera

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

WD Unveils WD TV Live HD Media Player

wd logoWD Unveils WD TV Live HD Media Player With Network Capability and Enhanced User Experience

Consumers Can Stream HD Content from USB Drives, Network Drives and Popular Internet Sites to Their Big Screen TVs



WD, the world's leader in external storage solutions, today introduced the WD TV Live HD media player featuring network capability and Full-HD 1080p resolution. The new WD TV Live HD media player makes it easy for anyone to play HD (high definition) videos stored on USB and network drives, as well as Internet content from popular Web sites, on the biggest screen in their home -- their HD television. Building on the success of the WD TV HD media player, the WD TV Live HD media player offers a new, more responsive interface to help consumers enjoy a world of digital content in their living room, without a computer.

The network capability of the WD TV Live media player enables users to stream or transfer movies from PC or Mac computers or a network-attached storage device such as WD's My Book World Edition and WD ShareSpace network drives to their HD TVs. The WD TV Live media player also allows users to stream rich content from YouTube, Flickr and Pandora. The HD onscreen menu brings together all of the users' available media in an elegant and simple-to-navigate interface.

Consumers are amassing large libraries of digital videos, photos and music on their computers. According to research firm Parks Associates, the average consumer had 123 GB of videos, photos, and music in 2009 which will grow to 1.3 TB by 2013 (Digital Lifestyles: 2009 Outlook). In addition, an increasing number of consumers are looking for seamless access to their personal media, as well as to Internet media. According to Parks Associates, the sales of connected consumer electronics devices, such as connected TVs and digital media adapters, is expected to more than double from 57 million units in 2009 to 115 million units in 2013 (Home Networks for Consumer Electronics 2009).

Consumers are investing millions of dollars in HD TVs, with HD televisions representing more than 50 percent of TVs sold in the U.S., according to Parks Associates (Home Networks for Consumer Electronics 2009). But consumers' digital content is often relegated to the relatively small screen on their PC or Mac computers. The WD TV Live HD media player is the newest member in the family of WD TV media players by WD, which make moving digital content from a computer to playing it on a big screen TV simply plug-and-play.

Like the popular first-generation WD TV HD media player introduced last fall, the WD TV Live media player connects directly to a users' HD TV and plays almost any file stored on a connected USB drive such as My Passport(TM) portable drive. The WD TV Live media player features powerful media processing, which enables playback in Full-HD 1080p resolution. WD TV Live media player also will play movies and photos stored on other popular USB devices such as digital camcorders and digital cameras.

"The media enthusiast community has embraced the first WD TV HD media player and given us tremendous feedback," said Dale Pistilli, vice president of marketing for WD's branded products group. "With the new WD TV Live media player we're giving them what they asked for -- network connectivity and Internet-content streaming capabilities -- and offering them a simple way to enjoy all of their digital media and enjoy it on their HD TVs."

WD TV Live HD Media Player
Features of the WD TV Live HD Media Player include:
  • Full-HD 1080p video playback and navigation with the included remote control and crisp, animated navigation menus;
  • Play a wide variety of file formats including support for a wide variety of the most popular file formats with no need to spend time transcoding;
  • Play videos, music and photos from the Internet on your big screen TV and discover new music with Pandora Internet radio or listen to thousands of radio stations via Live365 Internet radio;
  • Ethernet port for wired or WiFi connection(1) to access files anywhere on the network to play movies, music, and photos from any PC or drive on a home network;
  • Turns a USB drive into an HD media player and plays content from most popular USB drives, and digital cameras, camcorders, and portable media players that can be recognized as mass storage devices;
  • Unlimited media collection, just add more USB drives for more space;
  • Two USB ports for seamless media playback from multiple USB drives and ability to access them simultaneously while a media library feature collects the content on all the drives into one list sorted by media type;
  • Transfer files by copying, moving or deleting files stored on a USB drive, a network drive, camcorder, or a camera to the attached USB drive using the on-screen menus;
  • Picture Transfer Protocol support to show photos and movies directly from digital camera or video camera and or any digital imaging device that supports Picture Transfer Protocol;
  • Advanced navigation options including thumbnail and list views, media library and search;
  • Photo viewing to create custom slide shows, zoom and pan and search;
  • Movie viewing with fast-forward, rewind, pause, zoom and pan, view subtitles, and search;
  • Music playback with fast-forward, rewind, pause, shuffle, repeat and search;
  • File copying between USB devices;
  • HDMI 1.3 port, composite video and component video output(3) for the highest quality HDTV or home theater;
  • SPDIF digital output that sends digital signals to your AV receiver for the best surround sound experience; and,
  • Ultra-compact design to fit easily into a home entertainment center.
Pricing and Availability
The WD TV Live Media Player is available now at select retailers and online at shopwd.com. Covered by a 1-year limited warranty, the MSRP for WD TV Live Media Player is $149.99 USD.
Source: Western Digital

Monday, October 12, 2009

NVIDIA Inroduces The New GeForce GT 220 Edition

Not every computer or computer user needs to have the fastest most powerful card on the market. In fact the majority of users out there can get by with the on-boarding offering most new motherboards have. I know I know this is crazy talk coming from a true geek, but the truth of the matter is more low-end budget minded cards are ever sold than high-end GPU's. The reason why is obviously painful, high-end cards are extremely expensive!

Enter the new budget minded low end GT 200 series cards from NVIDIA. Now most the time you hear us say budget pr low end we mean lower in priced or performance compared to what's currently on the market. Well that's not the case here. These cards are lower in performance than some of the cards that have been out for two years.

So why would you be interesting in these new low power cards. Well for starters the new manufacturing tech uses less power, creates less heat and well in general out performs some of the older cards. Maybe not by much but every bit counts. Now I'm not saying if you have a card with similar specs, like the ATI 4670 or the NVIDIA 9600 GSO or 9600 GT you should upgrade. I'm saying if you don't have either you might want to look at the GT 220 before you buy one of the older models. The price to performance ratio isn't there but its another option if the pricing is right.

GeForce GT 220 Specs
  • 40nm core
  • PC!-E 2.0 Interface
  • 48 processing cores
  • Shader clock: 1360 MHz
  • Core clock: 625 MHz
  • 512MB or 1GB DDR3 or DDR2 memory
  • 128-bit memory interface
  • DirectX 10.1 with Shader Model 4.1 compatible
  • OpenGL 3.1 compatible
  • NVIDIA CUDA & PhysX ready
  • NVIDIA PureVideo HD technology

NVIDIA GeForce GT 220 Reviews

After reading the reviews you'll notice a common thread. The performance of the GT 220 is horrible when compared to other value cards at it's price point. NVIDIA wants to see these cards sell for $69-$79, with the best cards (those with GDDR3) selling at that $79 price point. Current Newegg pricing put these cards a $49-79 depending on model and MIR's. So depending on your taste for rebates, you can get a Radeon HD 4670 for between $59 and $69, or on the NVIDIA side a 9600GT for between $69 and $79 either of which would blow the GT 220 away.

Related Articles

Zotac Announces GeForce GT 220 and 210-based Graphics Cards
MSI releases N220GT/N210 Series Graphics Cards
Inno3D Introduces GeForce GT 220, and GeForce 210
Enjoy unique gaming experience within your budget with ECS GT 220 and G210 graphic cards
Point of View Announces its New Entry-Mid Range GeForce 200 Series Products
EVGA Announces GeForce 210 and GT 220 Series Graphics Cards

Get A Free Copy Of ZoneAlarm Pro

Starting on Tuesday and running for 24 hours Check Point makers of the popular free ZoneAlarm firewall will be giving away free licenses to its ZoneAlarm Pro firewall software.

The free giveaway is part of a "Patch Tuesday" promotion running this Tuesday, Oct. 13th. For more details on the promotion checkout ZoneAlarm's Web site.

ZoneAlarm Pro includes several upgrades over the freeware version including the two-way firewall, download monitoring, anti-phishing protection, plus a couple of advanced features: OSFirewall, which looks for changes in the OS that might have been missed by an antivirus program, and credit monitoring with the three major credit bureaus. The latter feature typically comes with a year's subscription.

Review: Able Planet Clear Harmony NC200 Foldable Headphones

Think a great set of noise canceling headphone need to cost an arm and a leg, well think again. The budget minded NC200 Clear Harmony Foldable Headphones, which retail for $99.99 (but can be found as low as $70 online) are priced perfectly for the budget-conscious market of audio-lovers who don’t want to pay $300 for a set of top-flight cans but still want first-class sound.



For the budget minded these compact headphones offer top-notch active noise cancellation, very comfortable ear cups and overall great sound quality for their relatively slim price. I wouldn't go so far as to place them next to the top offerings from Sony, Bose, Dennon or Sennheiser, however I would place them on the top of my list for the sub $100 market.

Features
  • Featuring Award-Winning Patented LINX AUDIO-a Hear the Difference technology
  • In-Line Volume Control for Easy Adjustment to Safe Listening Levels
  • Lightweight and Comfortable fit
  • State-of-the-art active noise cancellation (ANC)
  • Small and compact foldable design perfect for travel

Specifications
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz - 20,000Hz
  • Sensitivity at 1 kHz: 115 dB (Off); 121 dB (On)
  • Plug: 3.5mm w/ 1/4 home stereo adapter and airline adapter


Able Planet Clear Harmony NC200 Review

Personally I have never used headphones for a long period of time, most of my movie watching or music listening is done at levels that really wouldn't be noticeable by anyone else in the house or around the office and most of the headphones I've used bothered my ears.

This is one area that the Clear Harmony NC200's passed with flying colors. The ear cups were by far some of the best I've used in recent memory. The amount of flex and tension on the headband was just about perfect. The one down side noted in this area was with the adjustment which wasn't as smooth as I'd like and while I didn't notice any slippage it didn't feel very sturdy.

Other reviews of the headphones warned that enabling noise cancellation will add a faint hum to the headphones when no signal is played, this was only slightly noticeable when I first began my test.

The background noise is a by-product of the noise-canceling technology actively tuning out environmental sounds. The hum or buzz wasn't noticeable during playback but I did find it was becoming slightly more noticeable as time went on and eventually became annoying during long gaps when searching for new tracks or changing movies. If the slight hum becomes to noticeable you can disable the noise-canceling feature which is enabled via a single AAA battery, which can be turned off and on.

The LINX Audio technology, which supposedly makes the audio clarity a lot better, seems to work well. Personally I had to read up on the feature to understand exact what it did, but it does make a noticeable difference in listening.

Sound volume was generally good and using the built in volume controls was great. The controls were smooth and adjustment seemed precise. One trade-off that we found was that at higher volumes others might hear your music. The generous padding that made added to our comfort level seemed to offer little protection from noise seepage.

Blasting away during a few games I was told the noise spilled out and other around me could over hear my game play. You won’t like annoy anyone if you keep the volume at 50 percent or lower with noise cancellation turned on, but for some the fact that you even have to think about seepage might be a bit annoying.

The foldable design and light weight made traveling a breeze. During my review I took the chance to pack the headphones on a camping trip for use with my laptop and MP3 player. Folded they are slightly larger than a soda can making them easily stowed in a back pack or travel bag. Couple that with the airline adapter and the NC200's would seemingly be perfect for frequent fliers.



My overall opinion is that the Able Planet Clear Harmony NC200's are a great set of headphones. I personally haven't tested many headphone on the market but when compared to some of the offerings that I have used I'd say they are definitely a step up.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

T-Mobile Looses Sidekick Data

Over the past weekend T-Mobile has confirmed that data originally lost two weeks ago is indeed gone for good. T-Mobile issues the following statement via their customer forums;

T-Mobile and the Sidekick data services provider, Danger, a subsidiary of Microsoft, are reaching out to express our apologies regarding the recent Sidekick data service disruption.

We appreciate your patience as Microsoft/Danger continues to work on maintaining platform stability, and restoring all services for our Sidekick customers.

Regrettably, based on Microsoft/Danger's latest recovery assessment of their systems, we must now inform you that personal information stored on your device - such as contacts, calendar entries, to-do lists or photos - that is no longer on your Sidekick almost certainly has been lost as a result of a server failure at Microsoft/Danger. That said, our teams continue to work around-the-clock in hopes of discovering some way to recover this information. However, the likelihood of a successful outcome is extremely low. As such, we wanted to share this news with you and offer some tips and suggestions to help you rebuild your personal content. You can find these tips in our Sidekick Contacts FAQ. We encourage you to visit the Forums on a regular basis to access the latest updates as well as FAQs regarding this service disruption.

In addition, we plan to communicate with you on Monday (Oct. 12) the status of the remaining issues caused by the service disruption, including the data recovery efforts and the Download Catalog restoration which we are continuing to resolve. We also will communicate any additional tips or suggestions that may help in restoring your content.

We recognize the magnitude of this inconvenience. Our primary efforts have been focused on restoring our customers' personal content. We also are considering additional measures for those of you who have lost your content to help reinforce how valuable you are as a T-Mobile customer.

We continue to advise customers to NOT reset their device by removing the battery or letting their battery drain completely, as any personal content that currently resides on your device will be lost.

Once again, T-Mobile and Microsoft/Danger regret any and all inconvenience this matter has caused.



According to reports the data loss came as a result of a server failure at Microsoft/Danger. T-Mobile along with Danger are still looking for a way to recover user information but the above statement looks pretty hopeless. Customer have reported that it appears as though servers are still on the fritz and the companies are warning all Sidekick owners not just those that have experienced issues not to let their devices power down because anything that's still on there will be lost the next time the device is turned on.

T-Mobile has promised more details and a further report will be released later on Monday to give everyone a status update on the recovery efforts, but at this point, it's not looking good at all.

According to PC Magazine T-Mobile had already begun promising customers who had been hit by the outage a month of free data service. A quote from a T-Mobile spokesperson also implied that more compensation would be coming soon: "We also are considering additional measures for those of you who have lost your content to help reinforce how valuable you are as a T-Mobile customer," the company said.

**Update**

NetworkWorld is reporting that some users have had their data restored. According to the report an undetermined amount of users have been posting response to the T-Mobile customer forums reporting that their data has been restored.

"I was just on my phone and when I got off my phone all my contacts returned," wrote tommyd2107 this morning. "I do not know if this will last for long but the [sight] of my contacts returning is encouraging." He had begun last night manually importing his contact data into his Sidekick. "[T]hen today when I went out on my phone and after I hung up the rest of my contacts came back."

In one response, Dariahna wrote, "The same thing happened to me...I shut my phone off several times without removing the battery...voila! My contacts returned!" Another frustrated but relieved user, Generalblue, reported his phone had frozen completely. He took out the Sidekick’s battery and replaced it (a common step for users in restarting their phone). "Once my phone was on about 5 minutes later I checked my address book for some reason and they were all there. I saved all my contacts to my simcard."