Monday, December 21, 2009

LG Display Unveils World’s Thinnest LCD TV Panel Measuring 2.6mm

LG Display Co., Ltd., a leading innovator of thin-film transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) technology, announced today that it has developed the world’s thinnest LCD TV panel measuring 2.6mm.




The development of extremely slim LCD panel was possible by applying the company’s accumulated “slimming” technologies including the use of an ultra-slim, edge-lit LED backlight system and proprietary optical film technology.

The 42-inch panel weighs less than 4 kilograms — making it ideal for wall mounted TVs. Moreover, the new product offers 120Hz refresh rate technology with full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution for clear and sharp image.

In May, LG Display broke the record by unveiling 42- and 47 inch LCD TV panels measuring 5.9mm - the world’s thinnest panels at the time. By nearly halving its record in just seven months, the company maintains its position as the technology leader in ultra-slim LCD panels.

Dr. In Jae Chung, LG Display’s CTO and Executive Vice President noted, “With the development of the world’s thinnest LED LCD TV panel that is only 2.6mm thick, LG Display has once again demonstrated its technical prowess to satisfy customer demand for high resolution and slim design products. We will continue to spur R&D activities in order to provide our customers and the market with the differentiated products that they desire.”

LG Display will showcase the product and its newest cutting-edge display technologies in a private room at the Bellagio Hotel during the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2010 in Las Vegas.

Source: LG Display

Barnes & Noble Offering $100 Gift Certificate For Nook Shipping Delay

Barnes & Noble announced today that the company will be giving $100 gift certificates to Nook e-reader buyers who placed pre-orders for the popular e-reader expecting the devices to be delivered before the holidays.  The overwhelming demand for the devices means the company won't be able to make all the delivery deadlines and several customers won't receive their Nooks until after Christmas.

Barnes & Noble said that they are working hard to ensure that most customers who pre-ordered the Nook would receive their device in time for Christmas but with today's announcement the company had to concede that delays which they said affected "a very small percentage of customers" meant that several people may not receive their Nook in time for Christmas Eve. In that event the company is going to provide those customers with a $100 gift certificate — representing more than a third of the value of the Nook.

The company blames the problems on higher than expected demand for the Nook.

Nook supply is so thin that devices ordered today won't ship until Feb. 1, according to Barnes & Noble's Web site. The bookseller has had to change the ship date several times since introducing the $259 product Oct. 20. Orders placed before Nov. 20 were promised by Dec. 24.

Magellan Launches Premium Car Kit for iPhone and iPod Touch

New Cradle Provides Complete Hands-Free Navigation Solution

Magellan, one of the leading GPS brands, today announced an innovative new vehicle mount for the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and second generation iPod touch. With a built-in GPS receiver for improved navigation accuracy, the Premium Car Kit features an amplified speaker for crystal clear directions and enhanced Bluetooth hands-free calling and clear turn-by-turn directions.

For iPod touch 2G users, the GPS receiver in the Magellan Premium Car Kit allows true navigation functionality, turning the iPod touch into a complete car navigation system. Once the iPod touch is connected to the Premium Car Kit, a separate Bluetooth enabled mobile phone can be connected to it via Bluetooth for hands-free calling.

"Building on the ease of the Magellan RoadMate app, we are proud to introduce a cutting-edge Premium Car Kit that gives our consumers the entire in-car navigation experience from their iPhone or iPod touch," said Peggy Fong ,Chief Operating Officer for Magellan.

Features of the Premium Car Kit include the following:
  • Secure vehicle mounting for iPhone or iPod touch
  • Accommodates most silicon skins and hard shell cases
  • Adjustable mount securely rotates iPhone to either portrait or landscape mode for optimal positioning and widescreen route display
  • Recharges battery via the vehicle power outlet
  • Amplified speaker with volume control for loud and clear phone calls and directions
  • Noise canceling microphone for full duplex speakerphone operation
  • Auxiliary audio output (for connection to your car stereo)
  • Works with all navigation applications (including the Magellan RoadMate for iPhone application)
  • Bluetooth enables hands-free calling

Available now for pre-order, the car kit will retail for $129.99 and will be available at Amazon.com, Best Buy, and MagellanGPS.com.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Adobe And Avid Sponsor 5th Annual Editors Retreat


Future Media Concepts (FMC), the premier authorized digital media training organization for postproduction, broadcast, and content creators, announces Adobe and Avid as the main technology sponsors of the 5th annual Editors Retreat held in Miami Beach, Florida from January 13-16th 2010. As returning sponsors, Adobe and Avid show continuous commitment to the postproduction community. Their contributions and participation greatly enhance the Retreat's advanced workshops, discussions on emerging trends, cutting-edge technology application and workflow techniques. Avid editor Christopher Nelson, Emmy-nominated editor of the hit series "LOST" and "Mad Men," will deliver this year's keynote speech.

"This is Adobe's 4th consecutive year sponsoring the Editors Retreat. Our involvement with high-impact events such as the Editors Retreat provides an important opportunity to engage with the creative community," says Giles Baker, group product manager editing workflows, Adobe. "This Retreat gives us an opportunity to meet industry leaders and use their feedback to enhance the overall Adobe product experience for our customers."


Angus Mackay, marketing manager for professional segment, Avid, says, "We recognize the Editors Retreat as an invaluable opportunity for Avid's creative professionals to engage directly with today's digital content visionaries. The exchange of ideas that occurs during these sessions helps ensure our integrated audio and video solutions continue to align with customers' needs. In an ever-changing media production landscape, Avid seeks out these events to be a resource to the postproduction community, knowing the high caliber of attendees and presenters, and the depth of knowledge and industry insight that will be shared."

In addition to Adobe and Avid, Automatic Duck, CGM, Digieffects, Freeplay Music, NAB and Noise Industries are sponsoring the Editors Retreat, providing attendees with a phenomenal gift bag valuing over $5000 dollars. A variety of award-winning plug-ins, software, licenses and training are incorporated into this substantial gift, including:

  • Digiteffects Megasuite ($799)
  • Automatic Duck Plug-in ($495)
  • CGM DVE Favorites ($199)
  • Adobe Premiere Pro CS4 ($799)
  • FMC Training Course ($1,500)
  • NAB Post Production Conference Pass ($895)
  • Free Play Music, Music License ($100)
  • Noise Industries' FxFactory Pro ($399)

"We are excited to have Adobe and Avid back on board as our main sponsors. Because of their continuous generosity, we can guarantee attendees a truly unique experience," says Ben Kozuch, co-founder and President, Future Media Concepts. "They walk away with fresh skills and newfound confidence; compliments of the amazing trainers, speakers and keynotes that come out to the Editors Retreat year after year. I'd like to thank both Adobe and Avid, as well as our other sponsors for helping us establish such a great industry reputation. We look forward to seeing everyone in Miami in January."

Editors Retreat 2010 Details
The Editors Retreat is produced in association with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). It will take place at the Deauville Beach Resort Hotel, located at 6701 Collins Avenue in the exotic Miami Beach, Florida. To view footage from the 2008 Editors Retreat or for more information about the Editors Retreat 2010, including schedules and speakers, please visit: www.editorsretreat.com.

Pricing and Registration
Registration is still open and a minimum of 5-years extensive professional experience is required to apply. Attendance is limited and pricing varies per package, but until December 1st, 2009, the promoters of Editors Retreat 2010 will continue to offer $500.00 off the total cost by giving attendees the option to prepare a Peer Presentation on a technical topic they have done commercially. Limited to 75 minutes, sessions can utilize any platform. Past examples include:

  • Producing from the Editor's Chair: The Hurricane Katrina Project by Stig Daniels (Avid)
  • Cutting the Independent Film by Abba Shapiro (Final Cut Pro)
  • Documentary Work and Workflow by Steve Audette (Avid)

LaCie Introduces New Super Small 2.5" Rikiki HDD

Earlier this week, LaCie introduced the most compact 2.5" hard drive on the market – LaCie Rikiki, in metal. Measuring just a mere 110cm3, its sophisticated form factor holds up to 640GB of media that you won't mind storing in a pocket or purse.



Encased in brushed, sturdy aluminum, the LaCie Rikiki, which means "tiny" in French, represents a resilient aesthetic that protects your media from everyday blunders and unwelcome fingerprints. Its lightweight design makes it a perfect companion for keeping your digital world close at hand.

"We are part of a generation that wants more from our electronics, but in the smallest form factor possible, and with a competitive price," said Anne-Sophie Marchand, Consumer Product Manager. "With the LaCie Rikiki, we have done just that by fitting high-performance and high-capacity in the palm of your hand, for under $100."

Leveraging the versatile USB 2.0 interface, the LaCie Rikiki is instantly compatible with your PC or Mac. Simply plug it in and you're ready to store and share your favorite media with high-speed performance. LaCie Rikiki also offers USB Boost software for enhancing speeds up to 33% (Windows only).

LaCie Rikiki also comes with a simplified software suite – for quick setup and easy-to-use backup management – enabling complete configuration in just a few clicks. The LaCie Rikiki is an all-in-one solution for storage mobility.

Availability
The LaCie Rikiki will be available in 250GB, 500GB, and 640GB capacities through the LaCie Online Store, LaCie Reseller+, and LaCie Corner, starting at the suggested retail price of $74.99 (excluding VAT). For more information, visit www.lacie.com.

Final 3-D Blu-ray Specification Announced

The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) today announced the finalization and release of the “Blu-ray 3D” specification. It leverages the technical advantages of the BD format to deliver “unmatched picture quality” as well as uniformity and compatibility across the full range of Blu-ray 3D products, both hardware and software. The specification is also designed to allow the PS3 to play back Blu-ray 3D content in 3-D.

Notably, the specification allows every player and movie supporting it to deliver full HD 1080p resolution to each eye. Moreover, the specification is display agnostic, meaning that Blu-ray 3D products will deliver the 3-D image to any compatible 3-D display, regardless of whether that display uses LCD, plasma or other technology and regardless of what 3-D technology the display uses to deliver the image to the viewer's eyes.

Regarding compatibility, the specification supports playback of 2-D discs in forthcoming 3-D players and can enable 2-D playback of Blu-ray 3D discs on the installed base of Blu-ray Disc players currently in homes around the world.

The Blu-ray 3D specification calls for encoding 3-D video using the Multiview Video Coding (MVC) codec, an extension to the ITU-T H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) codec currently supported by all Blu-ray Disc players. MPEG4-MVC compresses both left and right eye views with a typical 50% overhead compared to equivalent 2-D content, and can provide full 1080p resolution backward compatibility with current 2-D Blu-ray Disc players. The specification also incorporates enhanced graphic features for 3-D. These features provide a new experience for users, enabling navigation using 3-D graphic menus and displaying 3-D subtitles positioned in 3-D video.

The completed specification will be available shortly and provides individual manufacturers and content providers with the technical information and guidelines necessary to develop, announce and bring products to market pursuant to their own internal planning cycles and timetables.

“Throughout this year, movie goers have shown an overwhelming preference for 3-D when presented with the option to see a theatrical release in either 3-D or 2-D,” said Victor Matsuda, chairman, BDA Global Promotions Committee. “We believe this demand for 3-D content will carry over into the home now that we have, in Blu-ray Disc, a medium that can deliver a quality Full HD 3-D experience to the living room.”

“From a technological perspective, it is simply the best available platform for bringing 3D into the home,” said Benn Carr, chairman, BDA 3D Task Force. “The disc capacity and bit rates Blu-ray Disc provides enable us to deliver 3D in Full HD 1080p high definition resolution.”

“In 2009 we saw Blu-ray firmly establish itself as the most rapidly adopted packaged media format ever introduced,” said Matsuda. “We think the broad and rapid acceptance Blu-ray Disc already enjoys with consumers will be a factor in accelerating the uptake of 3-D in the home. In the meantime, existing players and libraries can continue to be fully enjoyed as consumers consider extending into 3-D home entertainment.”

Source: Blu-ray.com

Intel Releasing 17 Chips In January?

Intel has already confirmed that at this years CES the main focus will be on the release of several new chips, including those based on the new Core i3 and next-generation 32-nanometer technology platform. But just how many chips can we expect? Sources say the company has as many as 17 new chips lined up for release.



The majority of the new chips will be from the company's new Core i3 and Core i5 line-up, which are already in mass production and shipping to PC makers, said Stephen Smith, director of PC client operations at Intel at a press event in San Francisco. In addition to the new CPU's Intel will introduce three chipsets and various wireless components, in all 27 new products will launch at CES.

Company executives did not talk about specific clock speeds or pricing information, saying those figures would be released at the Consumer Electronics Show, which will be held in Las Vegas between January 7 and 10.

Intel will share CES-related news, photos and videos on the Intel Fan Page in Facebook, on Twitter and the Inside Scoop blog. A live video stream of Otellini's keynote will be on the Intel Fan Page with "Check-ins" and special badges available on Foursquare. A full media press kit is also available at www.intel.com/pressroom/ces.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

McDonald's Giving Customers Free Unlimted WiFi

According to the Wall Street Journal and other similar report McDonald's is planning on offering free unlimited Wi-Fi to all their customers.

The free Wi-Fi will come with no time limits, all the better to encourage visitors to stay longer and buy McDonald's coffee drinks and hamburgers.

According to the reports starting mid-January, the fast food restaurant will eliminate the $2.95 fee that it had previously charged for two hours of Internet access. The company also plans to expand the free Wi-Fi service to all 14,000 of their U.S. restaurants over time.

For more details or to find a McDonald's location near you checkout http://www.mcdonalds.com/wireless.html

Monday, December 14, 2009

Adobe Warning Of Potential Adobe Reader and Acrobat Vulnerability

Adobe is warning users of a potential new attack that is out in the wild. According to new reports hackers are attacking a previously unknown bug in the latest version of the company's Reader and Acrobat software.

This afternoon, Adobe received reports of a vulnerability in Adobe Reader and Acrobat 9.2 and earlier versions being exploited in the wild (CVE-2009-4324). We are currently investigating this issue and assessing the risk to our customers. We will provide an update as soon as we have more information. Please continue monitoring the Adobe PSIRT blog for the latest information.

As of tonight the Adobe PSIRT blog had few details to report. Computerworld reports they have searched security mailing lists and sites, including Bugtraq, Full Disclosure and milw0rm.com but turned up no reports of exploits in the wild.

An Adobe representative described why, saying, "The reports came to PSIRT directly from partners in the security community," Adobe's Wiebke Lips said. "As of this moment, I have not seen any public reports aside from the Adobe PSIRT blog post that just went live."

Update:According to Shadowserver, a volunteer-run group that tracks vulnerabilities, users should disable JavaScript in Adobe's Reader and Acrobat tools to protect themselves until a patch is available.

To disable JavaScript in Adobe Reader or Acrobat on Windows, users must select Preferences from the Edit menu, choose "JavaScript," then uncheck the "Enable Acrobat JavaScript" option. (On the Mac, Preferences is under the "Adobe Reader" or "Adobe Acrobat" menus.)

12 Days Of Christmas Intel Style

Nintendo Unveils 2010 Video Game Lineup


Nintendo has unveiled their line-up of expected games to be released in the first quarter of 2010.

"During the holidays, tens of millions of Americans are going to spend enjoyable hours with both Wii and Nintendo DS," said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America's executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. "And the enjoyment will only grow in the early weeks of 2010, whether your taste in gaming comes from exploring ocean depths, catching, training and battling Pokémon or even designing your own micro-games."

In addition to the games listed below Nintendo has also announced the company will release two new colors for its Wii Remote controller. Starting Feb. 14, the controller will come in Pink or Blue and will be bundled with a Wii MotionPlus accessory.

Below is a partial list of upcoming packaged and downloadable games for the Wii, Nintendo DS and Nintendo DSi systems. Note that game titles and launch dates are subject to change.

Wii

2K Sports
Major League Baseball 2K10 - March

Activision

How To Train Your Dragon - March 23

The American Game Factory, Inc.
Build-A-Bear Workshop - Friendship Valley - March 17

Atlus U.S.A., Inc.
Shiren the Wanderer - Feb. 9

Capcom
TATSUNOKO VS. CAPCOM: ULTIMATE ALL-STARS - Jan. 26

City Interactive USA
Combat Wings: The Great Battles of WWII - Feb. 16
Chicken Riot - Feb. 9

Collision Studios
City Builder - February

D3Publisher
Family Party: 30 Great Games Winter Fun - February

Deep Silver, Inc.
Let's Play Ballerina - March
Let's Play Garden - March

Disney Interactive Studios
Alice in Wonderland - March

Hudson Entertainment
Rooms: The Main Building - Spring
Calling - Spring

Konami
Walk it Out - Jan. 10
Yu Gi Oh! Duel Trancer - Q1
DanceDanceRevolution - Q1

Majesco Entertainment
Data East Arcade Classics - January
The Daring Game of Girls - February
Pizza Delivery Boy - March

Nintendo
Endless Ocean: Blue World - Feb. 22

SEGA of America
Super Monkey Ball Step & Roll - Feb. 9
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing - March

SouthPeak Games
Sled Shred featuring the Jamaican Bobsled Team - Feb. 1
Fast Food Panic - Jan. 5

Storm City Entertainment
Bermuda Triangle: Saving the Coral - February

UFO Interactive Games, Inc.
Arcade Shooter: Ilvelo - Q1
Rock Blast - Q1
Jaja's Adventure - Q1

Ubisoft
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle - late January
Sleepover Party - Jan. 12
Racquet Sports - March
Red Steel 2 - Q1

XSEED Games
The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces - Jan. 5
FRAGILE DREAMS: FAREWELL RUINS OF THE MOON - March 16

WiiWare

Akaoni Studio S.L.
Zombie Panic in Wonderland - Q1

Broken Rules
And Yet It Moves - Q1

Capcom
Phoenix Wright:Ace Attorney - January
Mega Man 10 - March

Ghostfire Games
Rage of the Gladiator - Q1

Hudson Entertainment
Military Madness: Nectaris - Q1

Nabi Studios
Toribash - Q1

Nintendo
WarioWare D.I.Y. Showcase - Q1

Press Play ApS
Max & the Magic Marker - Q1

Team Meat
Super Meat Boy - Q1

Nintendo DS/Nintendo DSi

2K Sports
Major League Baseball 2K10 - March

Activision
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief - Feb. 2
How To Train Your Dragon - March 23

Aksys Games
World Cup of Pool - Feb. 9

The American Game Factory, Inc.
Build-A-Bear Workshop - Welcome to Hugsville - March 17

Atlus U.S.A., Inc.
Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey - March 10

Capcom Entertainment, Inc.
Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth - Feb. 16

City Interactive USA
Animal Country: Life on the Farm - Feb. 16
Art of Murder - March 16

Deep Silver, Inc.
Let's Play Flight Attendant - March
Let's Play Ballerina - March
Let's Play Garden - March

Disney Interactive Studios
Sonny With a Chance - Spring
Alice in Wonderland - March

GameMill Publishing
Escape the Museum - Jan. 12
Hidden Mysteries: Buckingham Palace - Feb. 9

Hudson Entertainment
Rooms: The Main Building - Spring
DECA SPORTS - Spring

Konami
Scene It! Twilight - Q1
Puzzle Chronicles - Jan. 10

Majesco Entertainment
Super Speed Machines - February
The Daring Game for Girls - February
Dawn of Heroes - February
ATV Revolution - March

Nintendo
Glory of Heracles - Jan. 18
Pokémon HeartGold Version and Pokémon SoulSilver Version - March 14
WarioWare: D.I.Y. - March 28
America's Test Kitchen: Let's Get Cooking - March 28

Natsume Inc.
Squishy Tank - February
Cheer We Go! - March

PopCap Games
Bejeweled Twist - Q1

SEGA of America
Sands of Destruction - Jan. 12
Infinite Space - March
Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing - March
Sonic Classic Collection - Spring

SouthPeak Games
Crime Scene - Feb. 1
Dementium II - Feb. 2
Fast Food Panic - Jan. 5
Sushi Go Round - Feb. 1
Montessori Music - March 1

Storm City Entertainment
Bermuda Triangle: Saving the Coral - February
Myst - February
ATV Quad Kings - March
T.A.C Heroes: The Big Red One - March

TECMO
Monster Rancher DS - March
AGAIN - March

Telegames, Inc.
Puzzle Overload -Spring
Solitaire Overload Plus - Spring

THQ
Daniel X: The Ultimate Power - Jan. 12

Tomy Corporation
Lovely Lisa and Friends (enhanced Nintendo DSi content) - February

Ubisoft
Imagine Reporter - Jan. 20
Imagine Party Planner - Jan. 13
Imagine Sweet 16 - Feb. 10
Imagine Gymnast - March 10

XSEED Games
KORG DS-10 Plus - Jan. 19
Ragnarok DS - Feb. 16

Nintendo DSiWare

EA
Downtown Texas Hold'em Poker - Q1
Surviving High School - Q1

Gameloft
Legends of Exidia - Q1
Let's Golf - Q1
Real Soccer 2010 - Q1
Gangstar 2: Kings of L.A. - Q1

Nintendo
Trajectile - Jan. 4
Number Battle - Jan. 25
Starship Defense - Jan. 18
Touch Solitaire - Jan. 11
X-Scape - February
Link 'n' Launch - February

Subatomic Studios
Fieldrunners - Q1

WayForward
Shantae: Risky's Revenge - Q1

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jolicloud Netbook OS Enters Beta

Google's Chromium OS might be stealing all the limelight these days but that is only one of the netbook optimized operating systems that is sitting on the horizon. In fact there are several new offerings that are currently in full beta testing including Intel's Moblin and the independently devolved Jolicloud.

Earlier this week Jolicloud's primary developer Tariq Kim presented the first public beta release of the new netbook optimized OS. As of the announcement, anyone can download and install Jolicloud Express on most Windows netbooks out there.

Jolicloud's Wubi-derived installer make the process fairly simple and pain free. Users have three options for installation. You can opt for the pain free way and download the 600Mb .exe [or the torrent] from their website, or you can opt to use an .ISO to build a bootable disk. For those with no optical drive there is the third option which is to build a USB version. For those that choose the executable its as simple as launching the program, making a few selections and within a few moments you're system can dual-boot into Jolicloud or Windows.

Jolicloud hopes to have it first full version out in early 2010. From the looks of my initial testing it looks as though they are really close to an official release.

Can I Use Jolicloud?

Jolicloud is only offering support for netbooks therefore the OS and the included driver packs are optimized around the hardware found most common in those devices. As such anyone running a netbook should be able to download and install the operating system and it should run fine, however you can check the list of the currently supported models beforehand to make sure. Sadly this also means there isn't much support for laptops and desktops although since the OS is built around the Linux 2.6.32-rc6 kernel it should work on most laptops and desktops but the company will not provide any end user support.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Linux Foundation Launches "Get One, Give One" Membership Program For Students

Linux Foundation Announces “Get One, Give One” Holiday Membership Program

For every new individual member who joins the Linux Foundation this month, a student will receive a one-year free membership

The Linux Foundation (LF), the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that for every new individual member who joins the organization between today and January 31, 2010, the Linux Foundation will give a free membership to a student for one year.

New members can elect to sponsor a student on the Linux Foundation wait list or can request the membership be given to a friend or family member with a valid student ID. Students who are interested in obtaining a sponsored membership can sign up at the Linux Foundation website and will be sponsored on a first-come, first-served basis. Proof of student status must be provided. Details can be found at the website: www.linuxfoundation.org/about/join/individual/get-one-give-one-promotion

“Individual members are the heartbeat of the Linux Foundation, and students bring to the table new ideas and energy required to advance Linux into a new decade,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director at the Linux Foundation. “New members who join during our holiday program will get the additional benefit of contributing to the advancement of Linux by bringing the next-generation of architects, maintainers and experts into the community.”

Members have access to exclusive benefits, including a Linux.com email address (ex: joe@linux.com); a Linux Foundation t-shirt; employee purchase pricing at Dell, HP, and Lenovo with savings up to 40% on purchases of hardware and accessories; 35% off O’Reilly books and e-books; a variety of deep discounts to attend events or subscribe to industry publications; and the ability to run for a Linux Foundation board seat, among others.

Both corporate and individual members are helping the organization that employs Linus Torvalds and supporting programs that promote and protect Linux. The annual membership fee for individuals is U.S. $99. Students receive all the same benefits as individual members.

Source: Linux Foundation Press Releases

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Dell's Sexy New Super Slim Vostro V13


dell logoMeasuring in at 0.65 inches thick Dell's new Vostro V13 is super slim and super sleek and I want one now! With a starting price of only $449 this super-thin laptop from Dell is definitely an eye catcher and a like win for Dell.

The new Vostro V13 comes with options for either a 1.2GHz Celeron, 1.3GHz Core 2 Duo or 1.4GHz Core 2 Solo with integrated Intel X4500MHD graphics, a 13.3-inch screen, up to 320GB of hard drive storage and up to 4GB of DDR3 RAM. For operating systems you get your choice of Ubuntu Linux version 9.04 for the base package or Windows 7 Home Premium, Business or Professional for the upgraded models.

As with most ultra thin laptops there is no option for an optical drive, users instead can opt for an external drive or simply do without. Its powered by a six-cell lithium-ion battery with a purported five-hour run time on a single charge.

One key note is the battery is integrated directly into the case, much like unibody Mac notebooks. Which means that the battery will not be user serviceable so should you ever need to replace the battery, you'll have to get your machine serviced via Dell or an authorized tech.


For now the V13 is targeted at small and medium businesses, initially launching on the Dell Small Business Site. Given the sleek design and ultra portability its likely the average consumer will be intrigued by the Vostro V13 as well.



All I have to say is after looking at the price and sizes of the V13 I want one. The 13" screen offers plenty of viewable space and the CPU, RAM and HDD options are exactly in-line with what I'd want from my next laptop. With the light weight of only 3.5 pounds and only 0.65 inches thick it should be perfect for totting around just about anywhere. It would be a perfect match for this blogger while he's on the go!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Intel's Core i3 Shows Up On Retail Sites

Although there has been no official word on a release date yet Intel's new Clarkdale Core i3-530 processor has begun making its way onto retail sites.

Canadian retailer A-Power listed the Core i3 530 BX80616I3530 chip running at 2.9GHz. The dual-core chip has 512KB and 4MB of L3 cache, and is priced at around $150.

The "Clarkdale" CPU core is built on the 32nm 2nd generation Hi-K manufacturing process and the integrated graphics manufactured on the 45nm Hi-K manufacturing process. This means that there are two dies located under the integrated heat-spreader (IHS). The Clarkdale processor is drop-in compatible with with current LGA1156 motherboards that are on the market today, so an Intel P55 Express chipset is all you need to run one of these chips when they are officially released.

The Core i3 530 is reportedly the first chip in the i3 line which will also include Core i5-660, i3-540, G6950 processors.

UK Schools To Teach Kids Internet Safety

As part of a new Government endorsed program schools in the UK plan to teach children how to safely navigate their way around the web.

The campaign, called "Zip it, Block it, Flag it" will be adopted by retailers, social networking sites, schools and charities and displayed where appropriate. The programs aims at giving parents and children access to  a one-stop shop website for internet safety advice hosted by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre (CEOP). As part of the new program online safety will be a compulsory part of the curriculum for children age 5 and up beginning in Sept. of 2011 .

The goal is to encourage children to not give out personal details online, to block unwanted messages on social networks and to report inappropriate behavior to an appropriate person or organization, such as the website, a teacher or the police.

The program is part of "Click Clever, Click Safe" a new government strategy backed by the UK Council on Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), a body comprising of more than 140 organizations. UKCCIS features several major players in the online arena including Google, Microsoft and Facebook, which have all pledged support for the campaign.

A Google spokesman said most of the websites represented by the group already had controls that "help users manage their personal information and block or report unwanted contact". The Google spokesman said, "We're strong supporters of the 'Zip it, Block it, Flag it' educational campaign as another way to get this message out and help young people to remember how to stay safe online."


The Government also announced today that:

All 270,000 computers to be provided under the Government’s Home Access scheme will incorporate the CEOP Advice, Help, Report button, to help children and their families quickly report inappropriate content or internet approaches from strangers as well as get help and advice on issues such as cyberbullying, viruses and hacking.
Government will lead the way globally, by exploring how child internet safety can be improved through the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said:

"The internet provides our children with a world of entertainment, opportunity and knowledge - a world literally at their fingertips. But we must ensure that the virtual world is as safe for them as this one.

"Today we are launching our online version of the 'green cross code'. We hope that ‘zip it, block it, flag it’ will become as familiar to this generation as ‘stop, look, listen’ did to the last."

More details can be found via the UKCCIS website and you can click here to download a full PDF copy of the Click Clever, Click Safe Strategy.

To see the press notice relating to the Strategy and the first annual UKCCIS Summit please click here.

Google Chrome Adds Extensions, Betas For Mac And Linux

Google has finally officially released beta version of the Chrome browser for both Linux and Mac platforms. The company has also officially announced the beta of extension for Google Chrome for Windows and Linux.

Google Chrome for Mac (Beta)
Google says they have worked hard on Google Chrome for Mac to get it right, and they also claim that it is much faster. Download Google Chrome for Mac
We’ve been working hard to deliver a first-class browser for the Mac — it took longer than we expected, but we hope the wait was worth it! We wanted Google Chrome< to feel at home on the Mac, so we’ve focused on uniting our clean, simple design with subtle animations and effects to create a snappy and satisfying browsing experience on OS X. As you might expect, the speed of Google Chrome for Mac is something we’re very proud of. If you have a Mac, try installing the beta and see how fast it launches — there’s hardly even time for the icon in the dock to bounce!
For more details on this beta release of Google Chrome for Mac, read on in the Google Mac blog or watch this video from one of our engineers, Mike Pinkerton:






Google Chrome for Linux (Beta)

Google enlisted the aid of more than 50 developers from the open source community to finally release their first Google Chrome Beta for Linux. The beta works with both  Gnome and KDE, and is updated via the normal system package manager. Google says the beta has been developed as a true open source project, using public mailing lists, IRC channels, bug tracker, code repository, and continuous build and test farm. Google invites you to download and try the Linux version of Google Chrome 

(note if you've already installed the dev channel version, you may need to uninstall that before installing the beta version -- we tried to make that work smoothly, but a few rough edges remain.)

Extensions in Google Chrome for Windows and Linux (Beta)

Google topped all the beta news with the most exciting feature, the addition of extensions for both the Windows and Linux platforms (sorry Mac guys). Extensions are one of the most requested features for Google Chrome and one of the main reasons I've been avoiding the browser.




Today Google officially opened the extension gallery, which, as of now, contains almost 400 extensions! Chrome users can browse and download extensions via the extension gallery. As of now they aren't categorized which makes browsing a bit painful, however its likely that Google will make the page a little more user friendly as more and more extensions are added.

For developers looking to build and upload an extension Google has listed a limited set of restrictions and says extensions will be available to users immediately will only a few manual reviews in limited situations.

Boxee Enters Beta, Teams With D-Link To Give Us A Set Top Uh Box?

Online video management software Boxee has officially entered Beta and thanks to a teaming with D-Link plans to become a set-top box (well kinda) in 2010.

For the most part Boxee has hidden away in a bit of obscurity, until now that is.

Boxee is a free media center software that allows you to navigate your way through all your stored movies, TV shows, music and photos, as well as allowing you to stream content from websites like ABC, NBC, MLB, Netflix, Hulu, Joost, YouTube and many more with a remote.

In addition to video content, Boxee users can access music from sites like Pandora, last.fm, shoutcast, and We are Hunted as well as finding and viewing photos from sites like flickr, Picasa and the Facebook. There is also and interface to connect to Bittorrent sites for one way sharing of legal torrents.

Today the company announced they have entered their first official beta which includes several improvements to its interface that Boxee says will make finding, organizing, storing and sharing web video content much faster and easier. The company also announced a few more content partners, including Clicker, The Escapist, and Suicide Girls.






In addition to the beta announcement Boxee also announced the Boxee Box by D-Link. The new oddly shaped Boxee Box, which apparently is supposed to look like a black square that has sunk halfway into the surface it's sitting on, will work as a standalone device and connects to your home network using Wi-Fi (802.11n) and/or wired ethernet. The device connects to your TV via HDMI, SPDIF, RCA Audio, and has 2 USB expansion ports.


According to a D-Link company rep the new box will be available in shops in the first half of 2010. As of yet there is now word on pricing other than the price "has yet to be determined."

Monday, December 07, 2009

Seagate Enters The SSD Arena With New "Pulsar" Drives

seagate logoSeagate has officially entered the SSD market with the announcement of their new enterprise class Pulsar solid state drives (SSD).

Seagate today introduced the Seagate Pulsar drive, the first product in its new enterprise solid state drive (SSD) family. Designed for enterprise blade and general server applications, the Pulsar drive uses single-level cell (SLC) technology, delivers up to 200GB capacity, and is built in a 2.5-inch small form factor with a SATA interface. The Pulsar drive leverages Seagate’s 30 years of leadership in meeting large enterprise customer needs in product development, qualification, and support.


“Seagate is optimistic about the enterprise SSD opportunity and views the product category as enabling expansion of the overall storage market for both SSDs and HDDs,” said Dave Mosley, Seagate executive vice president, Sales, Marketing, and Product Line Management. “Our strategy is to provide our customers with the exact storage device they need for any application, regardless of the component technology used. We are delivering on that strategy with the Pulsar™ drive, and you can expect additional products in the future from Seagate using a variety of solid state and rotating media components.”

The Pulsar SSD delivers the necessary performance, reliability, and endurance to match the application environments of enterprise blade and general servers. It achieves a peak performance of up to 30,000 read IOPS and 25,000 write IOPS, 240MB/s sequential read and 200 MB/s sequential write. Its SLC-based design optimizes reliability and endurance and helps provide a .44% AFR rating with a 5-year limited warranty. As an additional safeguard, the Pulsar drive leverages Seagate’s enterprise storage expertise to protect against data loss in the event of power failure.


Seagate began shipping Pulsar units to select OEMs for revenue in September 2009. With Seagate’s enterprise knowledge and expertise, OEMs have peace of mind knowing that Seagate has the global enterprise systems, people and processes in place to support their largest requirements.

“To deliver and serve the enterprise SSD marketplace effectively, it is critical for suppliers to understand the needs of their storage system customers with respect to design, manufacturing, supply chain delivery, and support,” said Dave Reinsel, IDC group vice president. “With its well-established OEM and eco-system relationships and a long history of serving global storage OEMs, Seagate is in a unique position to fortify its leading enterprise storage position with its entry into the enterprise solid state storage market.”

As the worldwide market leader in enterprise storage and the first enterprise HDD vendor to deliver an enterprise-class SSD solution, Seagate brings credibility, experience and leadership to this new market segment.

“The enterprise SSD market is now primed and well-positioned for growth from both a revenue and unit perspective, with Gartner estimating unit growth to double and sales to reach $1 billion for calendar year 2010,” said Joseph Unsworth, research director at Gartner. “Superior enterprise SSDs provide transformational capabilities when optimized in storage and server environments.”

The Seagate Pulsar SSD is available to OEM customers for qualification. More information can be found at http://www.seagate.com/www/en-us/products/servers/pulsar/pulsar/

Source: Seagate

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Two New Tools From Google Help Speed Up Your Web And Your Website

Google this week introduced two new tools meant to help speed up not only your browsing experience but the browsing experience of visitors to your blogs and websites.

Google Public DNS

Google has launched their own public DNS resolver called Google Public DNS. The goal of Google's new DNS service is to make users' web-surfing experiences faster, safer and more reliable.

Acronis Backup & Recovery 10 FamilyGoogle explains: The average Internet user ends up performing hundreds of DNS lookups each day, and some complex pages require multiple DNS lookups before they start loading. This can slow down the browsing experience. Our research has shown that speed matters to Internet users, so over the past several months our engineers have been working to make improvements to our public DNS resolver to make users' web-surfing experiences faster, safer and more reliable. You can read about the specific technical improvements we've made in our product documentation and get installation instructions from our product website.

Google Site Performance

With Google's new Site Performance tool webmasters will see real time how fast their pages load, how they've fared over time, how their site's load times compare to that of other sites, examples of specific pages and their actual page load times, and page speed suggestions that can help reduce user-perceived latency.

The data given is derived from aggregated information sent by users of your site who have installed the Google Toolbar and opted-in to its enhanced features. The tool will only show the performance charts and tables when there's enough data, so not all of them may be shown if your site has little traffic. The data currently represents a global average; a specific user may experience your site faster or slower than the average depending on their location and network conditions.

To get the new tools, install the Firebug add-on and head to the Site Performance section of Google Webmaster Tools. At the bottom of the page you’ll see a button to install the new Firefox plugin. Once installed, head to your site, click the Firebug icon and look for two new tabs: Page Speed and Page Speed Activity.

New Light Weight Chrome OS Available

A UK student and programmer known as Hexxeh has developed a new slimmed down version of Google's Chrome OS. This new 300MB version only requires a 1GB drive compared to most other version floating around the web which typically require 4GBs or more.

Hexxeh's Web site offers instructions on how to install the lighter Chromium build on Windows, Mac and Linux machines. You can also find detailed instructions over at Make Use Of.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Walmart To Offer $50 Walmart Gift Card With Wii Purchase

In an attempt at getting more gamers through the door Walmart and many more of the nation's largest retailers are using deals to lure customer to their stores.

Reuters reports that beginning December 5th Walmart will be offering a $50 Walmart Gift Card with the purchase of the Nintendo Wii for $199. Walmart has also cut prices on several popular video games by as much $10 each.

Now through December 24, Walmart will sell "Rock Band: Beatles" for the Wii for $40, down from $50, and it will offer "Left 4 Dead 2" for Microsoft's Xbox 360 for $50, compared with its previous price of $60.

Nintendo reported that they sold more than 550,000 Wii consoles during the week of Thanksgiving, so far topping the console sales charts. The down side being sales dropped some 30 percent from the estimated 800,000 or so the company sold during the same period in 2008. Trends suggest more consumers are buying frugally this holiday season and are so far are shunning the big ticket items.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

New Avast Update Causes False Reports

Update: Avast - confirmed Win32:Delf-MZG [Trj] was a false positive the newest update should fix the issue. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to restore the files from the Virus Chest:

Avast latest update has apparently caused a stir as users are flooding forums wondering if they have been hit with a new infection.
Malware name: Win32:Delf-MZG [Trj]
Malware type: Trojan Horse
VPS version: 091203-0, 12/03/2009
Avast sent out a new update this afternoon that has been causing grief amongst the online community. The new update has begun reporting a new trojan dubbed Win32:Delf-MZG. According to users on the DSL Reports forums the apparent false positive shows up on almost any application.

Doing a quick Google search shows user have been posting similar issues across several other sites including the Avast forums (post 1 - post 2).

There has been no official word from Avast as of yet confirming that this is indeed a false positive however given the reach and the volume of applications reportedly infected it looks like that is indeed the case.

For now you may want to check your system with an online scanner such as Panda Active Scan or Trend Micro's house call. Once you have confirmed that your system isn't infected then you can exclude the files from scanning and submit the file as a false positive so Avast will have a sample to work with. Send the sample to virus@avast.com zipped and password protected with the password in email body, a link to this topic might help and false positive in the subject.

Update: It looks like the Avast forums are being flooded with hits right now. The site hasn't been reachable for the last 30-40 mins. Avast is on Twitter @Avast_AntiVirus, there still has been no official word confirming or denying this is a false positive. For now I'd suggest rolling back to the previous VPS version or not updating if you haven't already.

Skype expands Skype for SIP beta program - About Skype

skype logoBusinesses can now use SIP-based PBX & Unified Communications systems to make voice calls via Skype

Skype is opening up the Skype for SIP beta program to allow businesses of all sizes to utilize Skype for SIP with their existing SIP-based PBX or Unified Communications (UC) systems. By using Skype for SIP, companies can save money on calls around the world, while also changing how customers globally reach them.

A company's IT administrator just creates and registers a Skype Business Control Panel (BCP) for the organization and then follows the instructions to configure Skype for SIP to work with its existing SIP-enabled communications system. This Web-based tool allows a company to control its Skype usage from a single point and enables centralized billing, easy allocation of Skype Credit, subscriptions and online numbers to users, as well as reporting about both usage and spending. Furthermore, it gives companies the ability to manage internal employee accounts, including who uses Skype and who doesn't and what features they can use.

"We have received applications from nearly ten thousand businesses and service providers around the world about using Skype for SIP to seamlessly connect their existing communications systems with Skype," said Stefan Oberg, VP and General Manager of Skype for Business. "Now that we are opening up the beta program, the companies on the waiting list and any new applicants can set up Skype for SIP and experience how it can help them save money on outgoing calls, as well as accept free incoming Skype calls from the more than 520 million registered Skype users around the world."

One company that has started testing Skype for SIP is Maxim Integrated Products, a Fortune 1000 company that designs, manufactures, and sells high-performance semiconductor products used in the industrial, communications, consumer, and computing markets.

To date, Maxim has deployed Skype's desktop software to more than 2,000 employees in 70 locations around the world, a move that supplemented its existing PBX systems and has already saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars on long distance calling. This enabled Maxim to avoid a costly multi-million dollar upgrade of its aging legacy PBX systems. Maxim has now rolled out a trial of Skype for SIP using a ShoreTel PBX in its Dallas office, which is configured to use 22 concurrent channels for domestic calling.

"Our Skype deployment has already turned Maxim into more of a real-time organization where we get our work done better, faster and cheaper," said Walter Curd, CIO of Maxim Integrated Products. "With Skype for SIP, our ShoreTel PBX will now enable calls from desktop phones to go out via Skype. This will allow us to capture more calling traffic via Skype and save even more money, while making it invisible to our employees."

Key Features

Skype for SIP beta enables businesses with interoperable PBXs to:

  • Place calls to landlines and mobile phones worldwide from any device connected to a SIP-enabled PBX or UC systems via Skype;
  • Receive and manage inbound calls from Skype users worldwide on SIP-enabled PBXs by either connecting the company Web site to the PBX via Skype click-to-call buttons or purchasing online Skype numbers; and
  • Manage Skype calls using existing PBX or UC system features, such as call routing, conferencing, phone menus and voicemail; no additional downloads or training required.

"Businesses are looking for ways to better organize their communications across mobile devices and their PBX, while also saving money," said Rebecca Swensen, analyst at IDC covering IP Communications Services. "SIP interoperability is the key to delivering this type of service; vendors looking to stay competitive in the business market need to offer it as a fundamental component of their communications platform."

Pricing and Availability

Companies using Skype for SIP must purchase a monthly channel subscription from Skype based on the number of concurrent calls being made or received. Each channel allows for one inbound or one outbound call at any given time. Incoming Skype calls to the SIP-enabled PBX or UC system are free of charge to the Skype user. Calls to landlines and mobiles made using Skype for SIP are billed at Skype's standard per-minute calling rates (a connection fee may apply).

As part of the Skype for SIP open beta program, Skype has created a low introductory price for the monthly channel subscription of just €4.95 / $6.95 per channel.

For more information or to sign up for the Skype for SIP beta, visit www.skypeforsip.com.

Source: Skype

Acer Plans To Be The First To Launch Chrome OS Netbook In 2010

Digitimes today reported that Acer plans to launch a Chrome OS based netbook in 2H10.According to the report Acer chairman JT Wang expressed confidence that Acer will be the first vendor to officially launch Chrome-based netbook to the end user market.

Acer has been well known to be an early adopter as they were first first-tier vendor to launch a Google Android-based netbook in the market.

Acer might have some competition in being the first company to launch a Chrome OS based unit as a group of Dell employees have already created a build that is compatible with the Dell Mini 10. Dell hasn't officially said they are working on build however it is reasonable to assume that given enough support they would be interested in taking up the project.

Google's Chromium OS source code was released to the public late late month with Google pormising that new devices would be ready by this time next year.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Ticktetmaster.com Finally Adds Interactive Seating Map

One of the biggest gripes of buying tickets online via Ticketmaster was the lack of seating selections. Generally you were limited to sorting tickets via price or level and then you were given the option to buy what the system chose as the best available. Often times even those these seats were a row lower, or a section over from other available they weren't the "best" option out there.

Gone are the days of that hassle! Recently the ticket giant introduced an interactive seating map. The new map is full of great features that will help you look through all the available seating so you can find the perfect seat for your next concert or sporting events.


This useful interactive guide will show you exactly how it all works, but the key benefits are that it allows you to view available seats in each section row by row seat by seat. No longer do you have to guess as to how far away from the aisle you are, or wonder if there are seats one row back closer to the middle of the Arena.


The seating map is still listed as being in beta so its not going to be available for all events but it was available for several of the sporting events I browsed. Ticketmaster hasn't officially announced the new feature, in fact it looks like it just went live today. So don't be surprised if your event doesn't have an interactive map. I'll try to get more details on future roll outs ASAP.

My thoughts

I'll definitely give Ticketmaster kudos for this one. I've complained for years about the poor seat selection process through their website. I can't wait to see if they do a full rollout on this and expand it to include all their events and venues. Now if we could just get them to drop some of their processing fees I'd be a full on supported!

New Ransomware Blocks Internet Access, Demands Money

Ransomware is nothing new, we've all seen Windows trojans resorting to a little blackmail, and locking up a users PC waiting for them to spend money on fake anti-virus that turns out to be more malicious than the original infect. Today however has to be the first I've ever heard of a piece of Ransomware that blocks a users internet access flat out demanding a ransom before it will return control.

Computer Associates' Internet Security Business Unit, first discovered the new trojan bundled with software named uFast Download Manager. Once downloaded the software was installed along side the uFast download manager without informing the user. The trojan then goes to work blocking internet access until the user enters an activation code. This activation code is obtained by sending an SMS containing a particular number to an expensive premium rate phone number – CA does not mention the sum involved.

The malware, dubbed 'Win32/RansomSMS.AH', appears to be Russian in nature, as it uses a Russian language GUI. The ransom page translates to state:

Internet access is blocked due to violation of the
license agreement schedules of uFast Download Manager
You must activate your copy

Get a registration code by sending an SMS with the following
code fw0004199 to number ****

In response you will receive an activation message.

Enter the activation message received from the SMS response ________

CA withheld the details of the amount involved in sending the SMS to the premium rate phone service however past ransomware programs demanded upwards of $50-60 for removal. This time around CA ISBU found a way to circumvent the activation scheme and created an activation code generator for this particular ransomware. As of yet there has been no word on actual removal tools. It is suggested that you keep your AV, anti-malware and anti-spyware update to possibly stave off infection.

Source: CA Security Advisor Research Blog

AT&T Offers Voicemail To Text Service

AT&T has finally stepped up and has begun offering a new voicemail to text service, the cost? A whopping $10/mo!! Yes I said $10/mo!

AT&T's Voicemail to Text lets you:
  • Receive your voicemail messages as text messages, emails, or both
  • Respond how you want – call back, send a text, or reply by email
  • Forward your voicemail messages to others by text message or email
  • Save your messages in your phone or on your computer for as long as you want
In addition, the service lets you archive the messages forever, instead of deleting them in 21 or 30 days. You can also read or listen to them in any order whenever you want.

I applaud AT&T for stepping up and finally offering the service, but $10/mo come one. I've been testing Google Voice and Ribbit Mobile and both of those are currently free. I haven't tried the new service, nor do I plan to. However I've seen a few of the early reviews and most people say the transcription service isn't all that great.

For the most part most basic voicemail-to-text services aren't going to be 100% accurate, but if I'm spending an extra $10 I want a top notch service. According to Appscout's Sascha Segan the service has has "serious trouble with proper names. It never gets my wife's name right - she's Leontine, and she's become Ilene, Jane, and Nancy when processed through Nuance's system. Union Square has become Indian Square. My own name has become Natasha."

The one intriguing feature that Sascha mentioned in his review was the forwarding of a wav file along with the text transcription. The feature isn't listed on the AT&T Voicemail To Text site but that would be one feature that could be handy.

ZiiLABS Announces The New TRINITY Smart/Media Phone

Zii TRINITY Smart Phone Platforms Capable of Supporting 3.5G/4G Devices in Super High Definition Video and 3D Graphics


ZiLABS, a cutting-edge media processor and platforms company and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Creative Technology Ltd., today announced Zii TRINITY, a complete 3.5G/4G Smart Phone and development platform supporting the Optimized Android and native Linux-based Plaszma operating systems. The Zii TRINITY delivers superior High Definition 1080p video output and accelerated 3D graphics to enable OEMs and ODMs to quickly and cost effectively bring differentiated Android and Plaszma based solutions to market.


Superior multi-format media processing is enabled by ZiiLABS' StemCell Computing array which lies at the heart of ZiiLABS' ZMS-05 and ZMS-08 media-rich applications processors, offloading the ARM® CPU to deliver the low-power, high performance media-rich processing required of next-generation mobile devices. Accelerated OpenGL ES 3D graphics enable developers to create rich 3D experiences in the form of enhanced user interfaces, games and pedestrian navigation.

"The growth in Smart Phone use to incorporate multimedia features is driving the demand for manufacturers and operators to deliver differentiated products and services faster than ever before," said Hock Leow, President of ZiiLABS. "The Zii TRINITY is a proven media-rich platform that offers our partners a complete market-ready solution with the built-in flexibility for customization. We are showcasing an exciting 3.5G concept phone at the Zii Summit 2009."

Features of the Zii TRINITY 3.5G Concept Phone

  • Quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE, Tri-band WCDMA, HSDPA Cat 8 at 7.2mbps
  • Full featured platform featuring ZMS-05 StemCell Processor
  • Linux-based Zii Optimized Android and Plaszma Support
  • Accelerated OpenGL ES 3D Graphics, Video and Imaging
  • 3.1" 480x800 16M colour Active Matrix OLED with capacitive multi-touch
  • Mini HDMI port for 1080p video output
  • Xtreme Fidelity#8482 X-Fi audio technology
  • 5M pixel rear facing, auto-focus camera
  • VGA forward facing camera for video conferencing
  • USB 2.0 Micro port for connectivity and charging
  • MicroSD storage expansion and SIM card slots
  • 256MB low-power DDR memory
  • Integrated Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth 2.1 EDR and Hardware GPS
  • Composite Video output
  • 1130mAH lithium polymer battery
The Zii TRINITY Platform can be supplied to potential cellphone manufacturers as a complete design package including schematics, Gerbers, mechanical drawings, Board Support Package, middleware and OS.
A Zii Development Kit '3G Phone Edition' provides a modular development platform that enables developers the flexibility to innovate around the Zii TRINITY platform to create product solutions based on their own preference of hardware components. The Zii Development Kit supports both the ZMS-05 and the recently announced ZMS-08 processors.

Future versions of the Zii Development Kit Phone Edition will be made available for 4G networks such as WiMAX or LTE.

Source: ZiiLabs

Monday, November 30, 2009

AV-Comparatives List Top Antimalware Software

AV-Comparatives is an Austrian based Non-Profit-Organization, which provides independent Anti-Virus software tests free to the public. During the course of the year the company has tested 16 of the most commonly used Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware programs out there.

The following products are tested in the current main comparatives:

avast! Professional Edition 4.8
AVG Anti-Virus 8.5
AVIRA AntiVir Premium 9
BitDefender Antivirus 2010
eScan Anti-Virus 10
ESET NOD32 Anti-Virus 4.0
F-Secure Anti-Virus 2010
G DATA AntiVirus 2010

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2010
Kingsoft Antivirus 2009
McAfee VirusScan Plus 2009
Microsoft Live OneCare 2.5
Norman Antivirus & Anti-Spyware 7.10
Sophos Anti-Virus 7.6
Symantec Norton Anti-Virus 2010
TrustPort Antivirus 2009



During the most recent test the AV-Comparatives used two sets of malware: Set A, which contains malware signatures found from December 2007 to December 2008 (of which most products could detect over 97 percent), and Set B, which contains malware from the last seven months (1.6 million samples). The set included the following categories of malware: Trojans (69.5 percent), Backdoors/Bots (20.7 percent), Worms (6.1 percent), other malware (1.5 percent), and Windows viruses (0.4 percent).

This test focused on how well each piece of software detected the malware proactively, without it being executed, using complex generic signatures, behavior analysis, heuristics, and so on. The basic idea is to see how well new malware can be caught without having to be updated or having to download new signatures.

In the basic summary results Avira won out hands down, however the software listed 21 false positives, dropping its overall ranking.
  1. AVIRA AntiVir Premium 9.0.0.446: 74 percent
  2. G DATA Antivirus 20.0.4.9: 66 percent
  3. Kaspersky AntiVirus 9.0.0.463: 64 percent
  4. ESET NOD32 Antivirus 4.0.437.0: 60 percent
  5. F-Secure Antivirus 10.00.246: 56 percent
  6. Microsoft Security Essentials 1.0 beta: 56 percent
  7. Avast Professional Edition 4.8.1348: 53 percent
  8. BitDefender Antivirus 13.0.13.254: 53 percent
  9. eScan AntiVirus 10.0.997.491: 53 percent
  10. AVG Antivirus 8.5.406: 49 percent
  11. Trustport Antivirus 2.8.0.3017: 49 percent
  12. McAfee VirusScan Plus 13.11.102: 47 percent
  13. Symantec Norton Antivirus 17.0.0.136: 36 percent
  14. Sophos Antivirus 7.6.10: 34 percent
  15. Norman Antivirus & AntiSpyware 7.10.02: 32 percent
  16. Kingsoft Antivirus 2009.08.05.16: 32 percent


In the overall rankings AV-Comparatives gives the nod to G DATA, Kaspersky, ESET, F-Secure, Microsoft, Avast, BitDefender and eScan. All of which earned their 3 stars "advanced plus" ranking. AVIRA (based mainly on false pos), AVG and Symantec all earned 2 stars for an "advanced" rating. While standard (one star) rating went to McAfee, TrustPort, Sophos, Norman and Kingsoft.

It should be noted during the AV-Comparatives Malware removal tests from Oct 2009 none of the 16 software packaged tested actually tested "very good". eScan, Microsoft and Symantec were the only three to achieve "good" ranking at both removal of Malware and removal of leftovers (reg entires, executables ect).

For more details checkout AV-Comparatives.org.

Woot Builds A Community Based Deals Site

Leave it to the crazy folks that brought us the Woot Off to jump headlong into a community based deals site. That's right the bargain site Woot.com is creating a new user-generated site apply names Deals.Woot

Deals.Woot is a social bookmarking/forum version of Woot that, much like our other favorite deals sites, lets users post, vote and discuss deals.

The site itself was launched just before the holiday shopping season, and features a familiar Woot(esq) feel. The top of the site currently features a frame with five "Sponsored Deals." The deals aren't chosen by the users (in this case, money does talk), but the community can still comment.



The bottom of the site features the more familiar thread look with user generated deals and discussion. Deals can be listed via freshness or popularity with either being broken down a little further according to other parameters such as most votes, most comments ect. Popular deals are broken down according to days, weeks ect and according to Deals.Woot are listed not by actual user popularity but popularity based on their "fancy algorithm". I take that to mean most discussion and most clickthroughs.

In My opinion (IMO)

Just browsing the site I don't are for the layout much. I personally prefer the forum structure of SlickDeals or FatWallet. The search function worked well enough, however I had to tinker with it to get more relevant posts.

I checked a few deals that I found interesting and found several bad or dead links and what looks like several spam posts. When I say spam posts I mean several members that only posted deals from a single site and none of the sites where sites I've heard of.

Given a bit more moderation and a bit more structure the site might not be that bad. After all it is from the same guys that gave us Woot, Sellout.Woot and Wine.Woot.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

'Black Friday', Not So Black After All

Black Friday is meant to be the one day a year that most retailers can finally get their number into the "black", however it appears as though this year might not have been as profitable as most had hoped.

The early numbers indicate sales increased slightly over last year but the numbers weren't as good as most companies wished for. According to the National Retail Federation roughly 195 million consumers waded through heavy traffic to shop in stores and online over the Black Friday weekend. Those numbers are nearly 23million from the 172 million last year. But in a reversal average spending dropped to $343.31 per person from $372.57 a year ago.

The increase in traffic did however lead to an overall increase in sales, just not as much as most had expected. ShopperTrak, which measures traffic and sales in 500,000 locations across the country, said it estimated Black Friday in-store sales at $10.66 billion, versus $10.606 billion on Black Friday 2008, an increase of just 0.5 percent.

Overall sales for the four-day weekend totaled $41.2 billion, up marginally from $41 billion last year, the NRF estimated. The trade group bases its figures on a survey, conducted Thursday through Saturday, of roughly 5,000 consumers and includes a projection for Sunday.

“Shoppers proved this weekend that they were willing to open their wallets for a bargain, heading out to take advantage of great deals on less expensive items like toys, small appliances and winter clothes,” said Tracy Mullin, NRF President and CEO. “While retailers are encouraged by the number of Americans who shopped over Black Friday weekend, they know they have their work cut out for them to keep people coming back through Christmas. Shoppers can continue to expect retailers to focus on low prices and bargains through the end of December.”


The lower than expect spending levels showed that most consumers in this tight economy are being more bargain conscious leaving the high ticket items on the shelves and reach for more discretionary items.

According to the survey, nearly one-third (32.2%) of shoppers purchased toys, an increase of 12.9 percent from last year. Additionally, more people purchased sporting goods (12.6% vs. 11.4% last year), personal care or beauty items (22.4% vs. 19.0%) and gift cards (21.2% vs. 18.7%).

In a surprising reversal of trends this year more shopper chose to visit retail stores or department stores over online shopping. The favorite amongst shoppers being department stores, with nearly half (49.4%) of holiday shoppers visiting at least one, a 12.9% increase from last year. Experian Hitwise reported that compared to a year ago traffic to retail web sites was down 9%, though traffic to Black Friday-themed web sites was up 9% compared to last year.

ComScore reported Black Friday saw $595 million in online sales, making it the second heaviest online spending day to date in 2009 and representing an 11-percent increase versus Black Friday 2008.

For the second straight year Amazon.com was the most visited Web site on Black Friday receiving 13.55% of top retail traffic in the U.S., followed by Wal-Mart with 11.18%, Target with 5.65%, Best Buy with 4.62%, and Sears with 2.95%.

As for Black Friday themed sites, comScore studied eight Black Friday deal sites for the five days ending Black Friday (Nov. 23-27) compared to the corresponding days last year, finding that BFads.net led the pack with 3.9 million unique visitors, up 4 percent versus last year. BlackFriday.info followed with 3.5 million visitors, while Black-Friday.net (up 136 percent to 2.3 million visitors) showed the fastest growth.

With the weekend nearly over, and most of the BF deals behind us its time to look towards Cyber Monday.

According to a BIGresearch survey funded by the NRF, 96.5 million Americans plan to shop on Cyber Monday this year, up from 85 million in 2008. About 87.1 percent of retailers plan to hold special Cyber Monday sales, an increase from 83.7 percent last year.

Several sites including, BestBuy.com, Newegg.com and Walmart.com posted their Cyber Monday deals early. With several other sites starting the sales as early as midnight on Sunday. A few great place to track the best Cyber Monday deals include Cybermonday.com, Cybermonday.fm and Dealighted.com.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Chromium OS Early Benchmarks - The Results Don't Look Good

Google's Chromium OS hasn't been officially released yet however developers have been working with the recently released source code to compile testbed version of the new OS and so far things look fairly disappointing.

Phoronix took their preview build of the Chromium OS and tested it against Moblin, Fedora 12, openSUSE 11.2 and Ubuntu on a Samsung NC10 and well Chromium's initial numbers just don't look good.

Phronix's tests included H.264 video playback, OpenArena, LZMA compression, 7-Zip compression, IOzone, PostMark, dcraw, OGG Encoding, FFmpeg and x264 video encoding. They also tested for CPU use battery life with Chromium coming in dead last in every single area. Phoronix did admit that some of the test results might be skewed because of various issues.

Enhanced Intel SpeedStep Technology does not appear to be functioning appropriately under Chromium. Then there is the use of the EXT3 file-system by default in Intel's Moblin and Google's Chromium OS which caused them to suffer in some of the tests compared to the others running with EXT4.

In their conclusion Phoronix said, "It is far too early to say how Google's Chromium OS will perform in the end considering that it is roughly a year out from shipping with any netbooks or other devices. Our first benchmarks of Chromium OS show that its system performance is nothing too spectacular at this time, but we will certainly be looking at its performance again as this Google distribution matures."

I personally have yet to play around with Chromium, personally I don't care much for the Chrome interface which the OS is built largely around. Nor do I care for the "cloud" design that requires applications to be utilized online. That said these early numbers really aren't that surprising. Chrome is very much in the alpha state therefore it hasn't been optimized and tweaked as much as any of the other OS's tested. Then there is also the fact that a lot of the benchmarking done really can't effectively test what a cloud-based operating system is meant to do.

So for now at least I'm going to take these early tests with a grain of salt and remain open to giving it a chance. I say say give it a year, at least let it hit beta and then we can see how it performs. If the numbers are still well below the competition then we can talk.