Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Packet 8 VoIP Service Down

The web is a buzz with Packet 8 VoIP users looking for answers as to whats going on with their service.

Several users in the DSLReports VoIP forum as well as several Twitter users have independently reported that VoIP operator Packet8 appears to be completely offline. Apparently whatever the issue is it is not just affecting their customers services but the company's websites as both packet8.net and 8x8.com appear to be down.

From the latest info given by forum members customers aren't getting much in the way of answers. When they call in the company says they're working on the issue, but has yet to offer specifics. Several other users have reported that Packet 8 isn't even bothering to answering their phones. (Packet 8 customer service 888-898-8733)

We'll continue to investigate and see if we can find any answers for our readers so stay tuned!

Update: As of an hour ago, the company posted the following statement about the issues:

At this time, due to an IP issue with our underlying carriers some customers may be experiencing a loss of phone service. We know of a few internet providers still affected by this issue. These currently include but are not limited to Cox, Comcast, Roadrunner, and AT&T. Our teams are currently working with our underlying carriers to quickly resolve this issue. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience.
Thank you.

Packet8 Operations.

Follow-up: January 12th 2010 3:45PM PST
Packet 8 has posted the following statement in-regards to today's outage

Today we experienced a disruption in our services that impacted your voice service. The outage appears to have been caused by a data failure with one of our underlying carriers, and we are working on identifying the root cause and why our backup services did not failover as they are designed to do. Service has since been restored to most of our customers, and we are in the process of fully restoring service to all customers. We know of a few internet providers still affected by this issue. These currently include but are not limited to Cox, Comcast, Roadrunner, and AT&T.

If you are currently without service, please unplug the power connection to your 8x8 equipment, wait a few seconds, and then reconnect the power connection. We understand the importance of providing reliable phone service to you and deeply regret the interruption this issue has caused. Delivering on, and exceeding, the service level goals we set for ourselves is our top priority. We value your business and thank you for your patience.

Thank you
8x8 Operations

U.K. Prime minister Promises Free Laptops, Broadband For 270,000 Low Income Families

U.K. Prime minister Gordon Brown has pledged more than £300m ($484m US) to provide free laptops and broadband access for 270,000 low income families so that they could "better follow their children's progress at school."

Speaking to an international education forum in Westminster, Brown said: "We want every family to become a broadband family, and we want every home linked to a school. For those finding it difficult to afford this, today I can announce the nationwide rollout of our home access program to get laptops and broadband at home for 270,000 families. It will mean all families can come together, learn together and reap rewards together."

The move is designed to back up the government's "guarantee" that all parents will be able to access school reports about their children's progress online – by 2010 for secondary schools, and 2012 for primary schools.

The details of the plan have yet to be finalized and it still has to be ratified by the Commons which is hearing the children, schools and families bill. The program was added to the bill which aims to provide guarantees for parents and pupils, setting out what they are entitled to expect from the schools system. It will also reform the curriculum and introduce a new licensing scheme for teachers.

Intel Launches AppUp Application Center For Netbooks

During last week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Intel Corporation launched a beta version of its new software application (app) store -- the Intel AppUp center. The new AppUp center is meant to be a hub for applications designed to run on netbook computers. The first apps are now available for free download or purchase by visiting www.intelappup.com.

The beta store will host applications for both the Microsoft Windows and the open source Moblin-based operating systems, which Intel has been collaboration on. Moblin is the first operating systems to target netbook computers specifically powered by the Intel Atom processor.

Over time, Intel and its partners expect to expand the stores to include applications for the large categories of handheld CE devices, smartphones, consumer electronic appliances, TVs and other devices based on future Intel processor families.

Source: Intel Press Release

Android App Used In Phishing Attack Steals Bank Login Details

It was recently discovered that an application found in Google's Android Market was infected with a trojan designed to steal users' bank login details. The program uploaded by Droid09 has already been removed from the Android Market following some quick action and publicity following a warning issued by US credit union First Tech from the 22nd of December, 2009.

According to First Tech's advisory, the application originated from the Android Market and didn't  specifically target First Tech customers. Apparently the application targeted several banks however First Tech was the only one seeming reporting the incident. The bank insured their customers that no First Tech customer suffered any financial damage, nor would they should they fall victum to the malicious app.

The application reportedly pretended to simplify the customer's mobile access to accounts at various different banks. Commenting on the issue Google spokesperson said "The Android Market Content Policy clearly states that we don't allow applications on Android Market to identify themselves with third-party marks without permission. If an application violates the content policy, we will remove it from Android Market, and developer accounts will be terminated for repeated violations."

The developer has been banned, but It's not clear how many people downloaded the fraudulent app before it was pulled by Google. Users who downloaded the app, or think they may have, should be sure to visit the "My Downloads" section of their Android phone to remove the application. 

While this may be one of the first know Android based malware attacks it certainly isn't the first to hit cellphones. Early last year we reported that Kaspersky Labs had discovered a new piece of malware that targets Symbian based cell phones provided by an Indonesian mobile phone operator. The virus know as Trojan-SMS.Python.Flocker, sends SMS messages with instructions to transfer part of the money in the user’s account to another account, which belongs to the cybercriminals.

This news should be a reminder that users should be extremely careful when downloading applications to any device! And be sure to take notice where and how your information is being used.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Google Nexus One Teardown

The folks over at iFixit have got their geeky little hands Google's new Nexus One smartphone and as all geeks do they just had to tear it open and see what was inside. They were nice enough to put together a handy slideshow of the whole process. Check it out below.

For a full, step-by-step guide or to see the individual images, head on over to iFixit.

Android 2.1 SDK Now Available

Google Android developers can now get their hands on the latest SDK, version 2.1 directly from Google.

SDK 2.1 is said to only contain a few minor updartes from the previous version. Google has described the new Android 2.1 development kit as follows: "Android 2.1 is a minor platform release deployable to Android-powered handsets starting in January 2010. This release includes new API changes and bug fixes."

If you're an Android developer, you can find information about the 2.1 SDK release here, plus the official release notes here.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Iomega Introduces iConnect Wireless Data Station

Earlier this  week Iomega introduced a new user friendly NAS device to the masses, known as the iConnect Wireless Data Station. This simplehubs  provides an easy user friendly way off adding USB storage into a network enabling users to connect, share and access files anywhere, even over the Internet.

Debuting at CES 2010, the iConnect Wireless Data Station does not have any onboard storage, although it does enable users to hook up to a router (wired or wireless) in order to share content off four USB devices (hard drives or USB flash drives) automatically. This makes it a snap to share data, as it also works from any networked Windows PC, Mac or Linux workstation.

iConnect Wireless Data Station Features:
  • Easy file sharing, data backup and print serving from any networked Windows PC, Mac or Linux workstation.
  • Gigabit Ethernet and wireless connectivity by connecting directly to your router in either a wired or wireless (802.11b/g/n wireless protocol) configuration.
  • Remote access allows you to connect securely from anywhere in the world and get full access to pictures, videos, files - everything stored on the connected USB drives. An added bonus: remotely access and administer the iConnect device through a personalized web address.
  • Simple expandability means you can add storage capacity by simply connecting more or larger external USB drives.
  • Device-to-device replication for data protection allows you to define a job to copy and/or synchronize files to and from the connected USB drives or any other shared storage on your network. Iomega makes it easy with one-touch copying with the QuikTransfer button on the front of the iConnect device.
  • Print Serving with intelligent print sharing capability for up to two USB printers.
  • Time Machine support allows Apple users to easily backup any Mac computers running OS X (10.5 or later) using Time Machine.
  • UPnP™ DLNA Certified AV Media Server provides the ability to stream photos, audio content and videos to a variety of media devices, such as game consoles (Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3), audio bridges, iTunes players, networked digital picture frames, Iomega ScreenPlay™ products and more.
  • Photo slideshow capabilities with an integrated utility based on the Cooliris technology for quick browsing of pictures stored on the connected USB drives.
  • Torrent download manager allows the iConnect device to manage peer-to-peer file transfers without the need of a dedicated PC.
  • Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) provides no touch, automatic transfer of photos from digital cameras via one of the four USB ports on the iConnect device. 
The Iomega iConnect Wireless Data Station will be released worldwide later this month and will retail for $99.99 with a three-year warranty.

Source: Iomega

Acer Recalls Notebook Computers

aspire logo
Acer Inc. is recalling more than 22,000 laptop computers from six different model lines due to reports of computers short circuiting, resulting in slight melting of the external casing.

The company warns that users using any of the affected models should stop using the recalled notebook computers immediately and contact Acer to determine if their notebook is affected and to receive a free repair.

The recalled notebook computer models are the Acer AS3410, AS3410T, AS3810T, AS3810TG, AS3810TZ and AS3810TZG. The computer's screen size is about 13.3 inches measured diagonally. Not all units are affected. The majority of units said ot be affected were sold at ABS Computer Technologies, D&H Distributing, Fry's Electronics, Ingram Micro, Radio Shack, SED/American Express, Synnex Corporation, SYX Distribution, Tech Data Corporation and other retailers nationwide and Amazon.com from June 2009 through October 2009 for between $650 and $1,150.

For additional information, contact Acer toll-free at (866) 695-2237 anytime, or visit the firm's Web site at www.acer.com.

Source: NewsWire

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Activate GodMode in Windows 7

Behold Windows Seven users now have the power of God, well GodMode anyways.

No this isn't some crazy hack or mod that lets gamers control their virtual worlds. Its a trick that allows users to view the control panel with a slightly different view than you normally see. The "trick" was first revealed by CNet's Microsoft Correspondent, Ina Fried.

By creating a folder titled GodMode (or any other) with a specific CLSID ID String {ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} users can create a  folder that brings together a long list of customization settings allowing you to change all your settings from one place.

I've broken it down into five-step process to avoid confusion:

Step 1: Right click.

Step 2: Click create folder.

Step 3: Name your new folder this, "GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}" and press enter.(again any name works as long as you add the last string)

Once that is done, the folder's icon will change to resemble a control panel and will contain dozens of control options all listed in one nice neat little package!

Microsoft has released an unofficial statement, from MS blogger Brandon Paddock, explaining the feature.  Microsoft points out that you can change the text from "GodMode" to anything -- so the "GodMode" is really just a power feature.  However, it's not intended for use and should not be relied upon, according to Microsoft.

Writes Mr. Paddock:
The second thing you’ve discovered is the “All Tasks” folder.  This is a special shell folder which is used as the source of the “Control Panel” search results seen in the Start menu.  This folder was not designed to be browsed to directly, as the normal Control Panel folder (accessible via Start -> Control Panel) contains all the same items but with a custom view designed to be easier to navigate.  The “All Tasks” folder has no custom view, so you just see the standard Explorer list view and little else.
The existence of this folder and its CLSID are implementation details and should not be relied upon by anybody for any purpose.
God Mode?  Hardly.
Despite what MS says the "trick" has been used by many users, including myself and we've all agreed that this is a handy tool for any power-user arsenal.

Update: Here is a list of other similar strings, as with GodMode none of them provide access to anything that you couldn't already do in Control Panel but they do provide easier access. For a complete list of strings like these and what they give you access to, you can visit Canonical Names of Control Panel Items on MSDN's Windows Developer Center.

Default Location - {00C6D95F-329C-409a-81D7-C46C66EA7F33}
Biometrics - {0142e4d0-fb7a-11dc-ba4a-000ffe7ab428}
Power Settings - {025A5937-A6BE-4686-A844-36FE4BEC8B6D}
Notification Area - {05d7b0f4-2121-4eff-bf6b-ed3f69b894d9}
Manage Credentials - {1206F5F1-0569-412C-8FEC-3204630DFB70}
Get New Programs - {15eae92e-f17a-4431-9f28-805e482dafd4}
Default Programs - {17cd9488-1228-4b2f-88ce-4298e93e0966}
NET Framework Assemblies - {1D2680C9-0E2A-469d-B787-065558BC7D43}
Wireless Networks - {1FA9085F-25A2-489B-85D4-86326EEDCD87}
Network Neighborhood - {208D2C60-3AEA-1069-A2D7-08002B30309D}
My Computer - {20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}
Printers - {2227A280-3AEA-1069-A2DE-08002B30309D}
RemoteApp and Desktop - {241D7C96-F8BF-4F85-B01F-E2B043341A4B}
Windows Firewall - {4026492F-2F69-46B8-B9BF-5654FC07E423}
Performance - {78F3955E-3B90-4184-BD14-5397C15F1EFC}
GodMode - {ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}

Video: Google's New F-U-iPhone

Kudos to the guys over at LandlineTV for this great video. I've seen some great satires in my day but this one really takes it.

Meet the “Fuck You iPhone” Phone.

AT&T To Sell 5 Android Phones This Year

Reuters is reporting that AT&T plans to sell as many as 5 Anrdoid based smartphones in the first half of 2010.

AT&T's head of consumer services, Ralph de la Vega, said Wednesday that AT&T plans to sell five Android phones from Dell, HTC and Motorola. De la Vega was speaking at an event Wednesday ahead of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Each of the five phones AT&T plans to offer will be available exclusively from the carrier, raising the question as to what new phones they might be bringing along.

Dell has already confimed plans to offer an Android-based Mini 3 through AT&T. Making their Mini 3 one of the first Android-based smartphones to run on AT&T's 3G network. There are currently about 20 Android based phones on the market, including ones made by Motorola and HTC and Google Inc.'s new Nexus One, which was announced Tuesday.

Alongside the announcement to joi the Droid market AT&T announced 'Apps to All', a new agreement with Qualcomm to standardize apps development by adopting BREW Mobile Platform.

Executives outlined details including:
  • New devices that will give customers the most robust choices of major operating systems (OS), including Android™, in the U.S.
  • A goal to offer all major smartphone OS app stores
  • An agreement with Qualcomm to standardize apps development for mid-range Quick Messaging Devices using BREW Mobile Platform. These devices are used by millions of customers who historically have not had the same convenient access as smartphone customers to the market’s hottest apps
  • A new AT&T SDK (software developer kit) to help developers immediately begin to develop apps for these devices
  • A significantly enhanced developer program and new relationships with global carriers that are intended to make it easier for developers to distribute apps in markets outside the U.S.
  • Future initiatives to enable developers to create more apps for AT&T’s U-verse TV, emerging consumer electronics devices, and businesses
  • A new AT&T Virtual Innovation Lab and two new Innovation Centers, which will help developers and spur apps development
“Applications help consumers realize the full value and benefits of mobile broadband networks, services and devices,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “Today some AT&T customers can take advantage of more than 100,000 apps – but only if they have the right handset. Our goal is to bring more apps to millions more of our customers who want convenient access to the market’s hottest apps. At the same time, in the future, we plan to go well beyond mobile devices to spur apps development.”

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

CyberLink PowerDVD Linux Supports Intel Moblin Version 2.1

CyberLink Corp. an innovative solutions provider for the connected media lifestyle, today announced that they have developed a Linux version of PowerDVD to support Intel’s Linux-based Moblin 2.1 operating system. Moblin 2.1 operating system is specifically designed to run on the Intel Atom processor delivering minimized boot times and efficient power consumption on netbooks, Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) and embedded devices.

CyberLink developed PowerDVD Linux designed for mobility and smaller screen size on the netbook platform. PowerDVD utilizes the efficient microarchitecture of the Intel Atom processor to deliver a smoother playback experience while improving the overall performance.

"We are excited to expand the multimedia experience to all consumers adopting the Linux platform," said Alice H. Chang, CEO of CyberLink Corp. "With support for Moblin 2.1 operating systems, consumers can enjoy the best movie playback experience with a breakthrough in performance and energy efficiency on netbooks and MIDs."

Google Makes Nexus One Official

Details from today's Google's Android press gathering really came as little surprise as most the tech world already speculated that the event was going to be little more than the company's official announcement of the new Nexus one smartphone. But that didn't stop the blogoshpere from going crazy over the shiny new gadget.

Manufactured by HTC, the Nexus One features a large 3.7" OLED with a 100,000:1 typical contrast ratio spanning 800 x 480 pixels. Powering the phone is the Qualcomm QSD 8250 1 GHz Snapdragon chip and 512MB RAM. For an OS the Nexus One is running on Android 2.1, the newest version of Eclair, the software includes innovations like a voice-enabled keyboard so you can speak into any text field, fun Live Wallpapers, a 3D photo gallery for richer media experiences and lots more. Of course, it also comes with a host of popular Google applications, including Gmail, Google Voice and Google Maps Navigation.

Acronis - True Acronis True Image Home 2010
For now there are only two option when buying your Nexus One. Either you can buy the unlocked version for $530 or you can opt for a discounted price of $180 with a 2-year contract on T-Mobile's network. If a consumer buys the phone unlocked the customer can use the phone on AT&T's network, but without access to the high-speed 3G network. Due to radio frequency limitations the phone can't currently be used on Verizon Wireless' or Sprint's network.

“Google Phone” doesn't live up to the hype
Not so surprising is the fact that many detractors are saying the Nexus One doesn't live up to all the hype. In fact many in the tech arena feel today's announcement fell a bit flat, with most people hoping that Google would "wow" us with a great price or some hot innovative way of getting past overly excessive network fees.

The truth is the phone really lacks that much anticipated wow factor that we've come to expect from Google. We still see no tethering option, no mulitouch and an extremely limited set of networks. Short of a faster processor, better screen and updated software you are looking at nothing more than a better version of the Droid! In other-words nothing that would blow any other phone out of the water.

Why the phone itself might be a tad of a let down it wasn't the only aspect of the Android gathering that we felt fell flat. Many thought that Google might have chosen to subsidize the Nexus One so it was half the price of an iPhone, instead we see a phone that comes in at the same price.We don't see any major changes to carrier contracts or incentives, nothing really that "frees" us from carrier suppression.

More to come
The real news at Google's event this morning indeed might not have been surrounded around the Nexus One but the new Google online storefront that, if successful, could free users from the stymied US carrier model and result in faster, cheaper, more flexible service for mobile users.

The Nexus One is only the first if what might be several Google branded products to be sold in the new web store. In fact Google is promising to not only sell phones but "a series of products" from several operator and hardware partners. Google says it wants to provide a place where consumers can go to easily shop for smartphones and service plans, and get support on setting up and using new phones.

Related Articles

Wired.com: Analysis: Yawn, Google Introduces iPhone Clone
ComputerWorld.com: What Google's Nexus One isn't
Ars Technica: Google's biggest announcement was not a phone, but a URL
NetworkWorld: Google Nexus One vs. Motorola Droid: Breaking down the basics

To learn more about Nexus One, visit google.com/phone. Google also has plenty of Nexus One action to satisfy your Android fix, head over to the official Nexus One YouTube page for tons of videos showing off the phones features.

Skype Now Offering HD Video Calls

skype logoSkype today announced support for Skype video calls on PCs in 720p high definition (HD), as well as Skype software embedded into Internet-connected widescreen televisions from its consumer electronics manufacturer partners.

The latest version of Skype for Windows can deliver up to 720p HD-quality video calling at 1280 x 720 resolution, at up to 30 frames per second, giving individuals an even smoother and richer video calling experience. To make an HD video call, users will need a high-speed broadband connection, a new HD webcam, a PC with a 1.8 GHz processor and Skype 4.2 Beta for Windows.

“With HD-quality Skype video calls, we can bring our users even closer to the ones they love through an even richer, more meaningful video calling experience,” said Josh Silverman, CEO of Skype. “Imagine being able to see the sparkle of your grandchild’s eyes or the setting of your best friend’s engagement ring. Through the innovation of Skype’s engineers and our hardware partners, these scenarios are now possible without having to buy expensive equipment or software.”

New HD webcams are due to arrive in early 2010. At CES, faceVsion and In Store Solutions introduced new HD webcams that are optimized to work with Skype. In order to make HD video calling available to as many people as possible, the new Skype Certified™ HD webcams handle the video encoding and processing onboard, removing the need for a high-performance computer to encode the HD video.

faceVsion developed the FV TouchCam N1, an HD encoding webcam optimized for Skype video calling. Two versions of the faceVsion webcam will ship, beginning in February 2010: one with a microphone and one without. In Store Solutions introduced two new HD encoding webcams, the FREETALK HD PRO ($120) and FREETALK HD PRO PLUS ($140), which will be available in March 2010. Both the faceVsion and FREETALK webcams will be available for purchase online via the Skype Shop.

Skype-enabled Televisions

At CES, Skype announced partnerships with LG and Panasonic to offer Skype–enabled HDTVs. Skype software will be embedded into Panasonic’s line of 2010 VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVs and LG’s 26 new LCD and plasma HDTVs with NetCast Entertainment Access. Both lines are expected to be available in mid-2010. Both LG and Panasonic will offer specially-designed HD webcams that are optimized for Skype video calls as separate accessories that can be plugged into the televisions. These webcams support 720p HD and include special microphones and optics that can pick up sound and video from a couch-distance.

The new HDTVs will deliver familiar Skype features including:
  • Free Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls
  • Calls to landline or mobile phones at Skype’s low rates
  • The option to receive inbound calls via a user’s online Skype number
  • Skype voicemail, if it is set up
  • Being invited to participate in voice conference calls with up to 24 other parties
  • Support for up to 720p HD video calls, depending on the availability of high-speed broadband and a HD webcam

Source: Skype

AT&T Completes HSPA 7.2 Rollout

AT&T Upgrades 3G Technology at Cell Sites Across Nation

Software Upgrade Sets Stage for Faster 3G Speeds, Enhanced Mobile Data Performance to Come with Capacity Upgrades Planned for 2010-2011

AT&T today announced completion of a software upgrade at 3G cell sites nationwide that prepares the nation’s fastest 3G network for even faster speeds.

The deployment of High-Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 technology across 3G cell sites is the first of multiple initiatives in AT&T’s network enhancement strategy designed to provide customers with the best possible mobile broadband experience, both today and well into the future. After full testing of HSPA 7.2 software, AT&T decided to expedite deployment of this initial upgrade, which will result in a better overall customer experience by generally improving consistency in accessing data sessions. The software upgrade also prepares the network for faster speeds and increases network efficiency.

Faster 3G speeds will come as AT&T combines the new technology with enhanced cell site backhaul connections over the course of 2010 and 2011. AT&T is in the midst of this second initiative to dramatically increase the number of high-speed backhaul connections to cell sites, primarily with fiber-optic connections, adding capacity from cell sites to the AT&T backbone network. The combination of HSPA 7.2 technology and enhanced backhaul will support theoretical peak maximum speeds of 7.2 megabits per second, though as with any mobile broadband network, actual speeds will be lower than the theoretical maximum and will vary due to a number of factors.

In addition to the HSPA 7.2 software, initial deployment of backhaul is already underway in the six U.S. cities announced in 2009 as initial HSPA 7.2 markets – Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, and Miami, with capabilities being turned up on a site-by-site basis beginning last month. Further backhaul deployment will continue in these markets and begin in additional markets across the nation. We anticipate that the majority of our mobile data traffic will be carried over the expanded fiber-based, HSPA 7.2-capable backhaul by the end of this year, with deployment continuing to expand in 2011.

“We are focused on providing our customers with the industry’s best combination of mobile broadband speed, performance, coverage and available devices,” said John Stankey, president and CEO, AT&T Operations, who announced the network updates at the Citigroup 20th Annual Global Entertainment, Media & Telecommunications Conference today. “As we light up new backhaul connections across the country, we’re able to deliver a meaningful 3G speed boost for millions of customers who are already using HSPA 7.2-compatible devices. At the same time, we’re also looking to the future with these backhaul enhancements, which will support our move to next-generation LTE technology starting in 2011.”

As new backhaul connections are completed, AT&T 3G wireless customers will benefit from enhanced mobile broadband capacity, and the millions of AT&T customers who already have HSPA 7.2-compatible devices will immediately see the faster speeds enabled by the new technology. AT&T offers a total of 10 HSPA 7.2-compatible devices today, including the iPhone 3G S. Additional HSPA 7.2-compatible devices will be introduced in 2010.

The backhaul upgrades are also a key step in the evolution toward next-generation LTE mobile broadband technology. AT&T is designing its new backhaul deployments to accommodate both faster 3G and future LTE deployments. AT&T currently plans to begin trials of LTE technology this year, and to begin LTE deployment in 2011, matching industry time lines for widespread availability of compelling devices and supporting network equipment.

“Even as we look forward to LTE, 3G will be the predominant mobile broadband network technology worldwide for smartphones for the next few years,” said Stankey. “AT&T’s strategy will deliver faster 3G speeds over the next two years, while also allowing us to build the foundation for the LTE future.”

The 3G and LTE upgrade initiatives follow a series of major enhancement projects in 2009 that have dramatically enhanced performance of AT&T’s wireless network. AT&T last year deployed five times the number of backhaul connections compared with 2008. Additionally, AT&T in 2009 deployed high-quality 850 MHz spectrum in hundreds of markets to support 3G services and added thousands of new cell sites to expand and enhance 3G coverage. All told, in 2008 and through Q3 of 2009 AT&T invested approximately $19 billion toward wireless, with a focus on expanding and enhancing network capabilities, including network infrastructure, spectrum purchases and acquisitions.

These efforts have resulted in AT&T continuing to deliver the nation’s fastest 3G network, and in delivering 3G national call retainability of 98.92 percent, meaning that only 1.08 percent of calls are dropped nationwide, based on 3G-specific, internal data.

Source: AT&T

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Source Confidentiality Bloggers Vs. The Government

I was just over at TechCrunch reading a post by Michael Arrington (The Tyranny Of Government And Our Duty Of Confidentiality As Bloggers) and felt a need to chime in on this issue. At hand is the question of whether or not a blogger should be given equal protection under shield laws as a reporter or journalist.

A shield law is a law that gives reporters some means of protection against being forced to disclose confidential information or sources in state court. There is no federal shield law (although a limited one has been passed by the House and awaits a Senate vote as of July 2008), and state shield laws vary in scope, as further discussed in this article. In general, however, a shield law aims to provide the classic protection of, "a reporter cannot be forced to reveal his or her source" law. Thus, a shield law provides a privilege to a reporter pursuant to which the reporter cannot be forced by subpoena or other court order to testify about information contained in a news story and/or the source of that information.
By definition reporters are journalists working for mass media, by my thought and the wikipedia definition a reporter should be expected to report in the most objective and unbiased way to serve the public good. The are to be held to a certain journalistic integrity, something that sadly most bloggers don't follow.

By my own admission I don't feel as though I'm a journalist, reporter or otherwise. I'm a blogger, an individual, not a part of the so called "media". My posts are made from my personal thoughts and opinions. Yes I try my best to do hold myself to a set of standards (perhaps above most). I try to maintain a high level of integrity by doing my research and confirming my reports and my sources as best as possible. But I'm not unbiased nor am I totally objective!

Arrignton's Very Subjective Opinion

Arrington takes a rather bold stance calling out fellow bloggers Steven Frischling and Chris Elliot whom were visited by TSA agents and threatened with jail time if they did not reveal their source of the TSA Travel Directive that they each published shortly after the attempted terrorist attack on Christmas day. In his post he says, "He [Frischling] lacked the courage to stand up for what’s right....He let all bloggers down."

Arrington contends that Steven Frischling, a self employed photographer, founder of The Travel Strategist, and blogger for the blog Flying With Fish, should have "taken one for the team". Even if it meant spending time in jail. He thinks by Frischling taking a stance it may have led to stronger laws protecting all bloggers.

To my opinion I think the first responder daesin says it best. "Fundamentally and philosophically I agree with you, Michael. But currently most bloggers are not protected constitutionally or by the courts in the same was as journalists for traditional and recognized media. Most bloggers would be considered, legally, as just private citizens and thus fully subject to subpoenas or search warrants."

Where Arrignton is wrong!

As bloggers and individuals we are given a certain set of freedoms that most of the press are not. We are rarely ever held to the same set of standards, nor do most of us wish to be. Many bloggers seem to loose site of the truth we are not journalists nor are we the media. Sure we might like to think so and sure the line is blurred in many occasions but its the cold hard fact, we are what we are!

As @dasein said bloggers are individuals, sure some might be professionals, but most aren’t. We can’t stand up and say we want the same protection of free speech and free media then stand back when we make false/inaccurate statements, over-zelus assumptions or false accusations and then say we can’t be held liable as the “media” would be.

Apparently Michael wants to play both sides of the fence on this one.He wants to have all the rights and none of the responsibilities.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Years From Geek-News.Net

As the year draws to an end I'd just like to say thanks so all our friends and readers for a fabulous '09. This year was the best the blog has seen so far. We've got lots of new things planned for 2010 which will hopefully lead us to big and better things. So stay tuned!

PS - for all you partiers out there, if you plan to drink please don't drive! Several local tow companies and cab companies offer free/safe ride programs. So pan ahead of time and check with your local companies. Nationwide AAA is offering their free Tow To Go program at 1-800-AAA-HELP, so call if you get in a jam!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Direct2Drive Year-End Blowout Sale Features More Than 50 Games

I really couldn't tell you how long this promotion has been going on because I just ran across it today but you've still got a a day to get in on some great prices on some great games.

In total the Direct2Drive Year-End Blowout game sale features 56 games at reduced prices covering most genres meaning there is something for everyone. Here’s just a few examples of the games available:

  • Resident Evil 5 $19.95
  • Street Fighter IV $19.95
  • Mirror’s Edge $4.95
  • Champions Online $14.95
  • The Witcher: Enhanced Edition Director’s Cut $19.95
  • Battlefiled 2: Complete Collection $14.95
  • King’s Quest Collection $9.95
  • Dragon Age: Origins $39.95
  • Need for Speed ProStreet $4.95
  • Need For Speed SHIFT $24.95

For the full list checkout Direct2Drive

A-DATA's Blazing Fast New USB 3.0 and SATA II Dual Interface N002 Combo Flash Drive

A-DATA Technology, the world leader in DRAM modules and flash memory products, launched the industry first ever combo flash drive N002 that features the dual interface of USB 3.0 and SATA II, designed to maximize data transfer speed to the ultimate. Adopting the industry-leading 8-channel architecture, N002 is able to boost transfer speed tenfold compared to ordinary flash drives with USB 2.0 interface by delivering up to ultra-fast 200 MB/s and 170 MB/s in sequential read/write performance respectively.

Ready to hit the market by January, 2010, N002 makes USB 3.0 a reality. It supports all latest platforms that come with USB 3.0 ports, while also being backward compatible with USB 2.0 ports at a lower speed performance. Available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB, N002 is ideal for users who are thirsty for super-sized storage capacities with unrivaled speed via the innovative USB 3.0 and SATA II dual interface. A combination of speed, storage and portability altogether into one device, N002 is by all means the most effective solution to access and transfer large amount of data, including high-resolution images, multimedia files and whole lot more, at an instant and on the go.

Users can also take full advantage of A-DATA’s free-download value-add software UFDtoGO and the latest Norton Internet Security 2010 (60-day trial) to enhance both mobility and security of their A-DATA USB flash drives with just few easy mouse clicks away.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Garmin Adds New Oregon 450 & Oregon 450t Touchscreen GPS

All you outdoors geeks looking to for the latest in touchscreen mania look no further as today Garmin introduced two new touchscreen based GPS handhelds the Oregon 450 and Oregon 450t (topographic).

The 450 and 450t are the newest of Garmin’s next-generation outdoor handhelds featuring online community compatibility with Garmin Connect as well as Garmin’s free Custom Maps utility for transferring paper or digital maps onto your new handled.

“More than ever, Garmin offers intuitive touchscreen options for anyone exploring and enjoying the world around them,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “Oregon 450t and Oregon 450 provide a bridge between the slimmed-down Dakota family and the top-of-line Oregon 550t, all of which work seamlessly with Garmin Custom Maps in planning your adventure and Garmin Connect for reliving the experience and sharing the memories.”

Weighing only 6.8 ounces, the Oregon 450t and Oregon 450 last up to 16 hours on two AA batteries. Each device has a high-sensitivity GPS receiver with HotFixTM, which automatically calculates and stores critical satellite information and can use that information to quickly calculate a position. The new Oregon models have 850 MB of internal memory and a microSD card slot for photos and optional map data, and you can store up to 2,000 waypoints, 200 routes, 5,000 caches and a tracklog of up to 10,000 points and 200 saved tracks.

Geocachers can help the environment and be more efficient by going paperless with Oregon by quickly downloading cache information directly to the device. Oregon stores and displays key information such as location, terrain, difficulty, hints and description, so that you don’t have to tote printouts with you.

Both units are immediately available to order now on Garmin's site, and the Oregon 450 retails for $399.99, while the 450t will cost you $499.99.

Source: Garmin Press Releases

Is The Google Android Press Event Exciting News?

Several of our favorite news sources are announcing that Google has sent invitations out to join them next week for an "Android press gathering" in Mountain View, with invitations stating:

With the launch of the first Android-powered device just over a year ago, we've seen how a powerful, open platform can spur mobile product innovation. And this is just the beginning of what's possible.

Please join us in Mountain View on January 5, for an Android press gathering.

The question begs, what its the exciting news, or is there any?

Most speculation is that it's likely a Nexus One announcement and most (if not all) of your nagging questions about new phone will get answered. But is that all that exciting? We've seen all the speculation and rumors over the new phone and plenty of specifications have been released. Would that really be worthy of an Android press gathering? I'm wondering if there isn't more to this announcement than just the Nexus One announcement.

Eavesdropping On GSM Calls Just Got Easier

The New York Times is reporting that German computer scientist Karsten Nohl has cracked and published the "secret" code used by billions of wireless connections across the world. The the A5/1 algorithm code, which was originally developed in 1988 and is used to encrypt 80% of worldwide mobile calls, is now publicly available via BitTorrent, leaving GSM calls vulnerable to eavesdropping.

Nohl, with the aid of 24 other people have cracked the keys used to keep GSM calls and communications private. The end result is a database which is much like the equivalent of a large phone book for encryption keys. With a copy of these keys, some rather inexpensive hardware and software any user anywhere in the world could start listening in to calls.

“This shows that existing G.S.M. security is inadequate,” Mr. Nohl, 28, told about 600 people attending the Chaos Communication Congress, a four-day conference of computer hackers that runs through Wednesday in Berlin. “We are trying to push operators to adopt better security measures for mobile phone calls.”

In a statement, the G.S.M. Association said efforts to crack the algorithm were more complex than critics have asserted, and that operators, by simply modifying the existing algorithm, could thwart any unintended surveillance.

The group said that hackers intent on illegal eavesdropping would need a radio receiver system and signal processing software to process raw radio data, much of which is copyrighted.

But Mr. Nohl, during a presentation Sunday to attendees at the Berlin conference, said the hardware and software needed for digital surveillance were available free as an open-source product in which the coding is available for individuals to tailor to their needs.

Not the first GSM crack
This is not the first time the GSM system has been cracked. Back in 2008 security researchers David Hulton and Steve Muller demonstrated a GSM crack that utilized less than $1,000 worth of equipment. Their crack was far less sophisticated than the one using Nohl's database. They simply tracked a phone's mobile subscription identification number and built-in hardware ID. This new crack gives users more widespread coverage across several different devices as once.

The A5/1 algorithm used to encrypt GSM handsets is more than two decades old and is based on a 64-bit security algorithm. The next-generation standard called A5/3 that is considered much more secure is set to be deployed, yet at this time only reaches about 20% of the all devices. Companies have put off upgrading to the new algorithm, a move Knol hopes will be rethought after he posts his findings.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Comcast Settles P2P Throttling Case

Earlier this week Comcast decided to settle a class action lawsuit broght forth by several customers who were using popular P2P programs like Ares, BitTorrent, eDonkey, FastTrack or Gnutella P2P protocols. P2P users claimed wrong doing by the Cable company stating Comcast’s practice of throttling P2P connections was “data discrimination”.

Comcast, looking to stave off what could be a more damning judgment has given up on at least one of the court cases its facing and agreed to settle to the tune of $16M USD.  According tot he terms of the settlement Comcast won't admit any wrong doing instead handing over approximately $16/person affected.

Comcast stands by their throttling approach stating it has every right to "manage" its traffic and says the settlement was because it wanted to "avoid a potentially lengthy and distracting legal dispute that would serve no useful purpose."

Despite the fact they won't admit wrong doing the good news is that Comcast subscribers who "live in the United States or its Territories, have a current or former Comcast High-Speed Internet account, and either used or attempted to use Comcast service to use the Ares, BitTorrent, eDonkey, FastTrack or Gnutella P2P protocols at any time from April 1, 2006 to December 31, 2008; and/or Lotus Notes to send emails any time from March 26, 2007 to October 3, 2007" are entitled to a $16 piece of the settlement pie.

For more details on joining the settlement visit the Hart v Comcast of Alamenda P2P Settlement Website

Hulu Teams With Warner Music Group

Popular video streaming site Hulu.com has added their second major music label this week when they announced it struck a deal to offer some video content from Warner Music Group, one of the four largest recording companies.

"We're pleased to be working with Hulu as we expand our premium ad-supported video strategy to provide our artists with a customized and flexible approach to marketing and monetizing their music," Warner Music executive vice president Michael Nash said in a statement. "Hulu has been a leader and innovator in this space, and we look forward to working with them on creating compelling, content-rich artist channels that will provide a dynamic experience to their fans, while introducing our artists to new audiences online."

Warner, whose music labels include Atlantic Records, Rhino Records and Warner Bros. Records, said artist pages and channels will also be featured on Hulu.

Hulu is most widely known for offering full-length television shows and movies for free but last month the company sign a similar agree with EMI Music, its first major music label. Following that agreement Hulu began offering access to select concert footage and music videos of some of the label's artists.

MSI Teams Up with KODE5 to Announces KODE5 DotA Big Bang

Today, MSI and KODE5 are proud to announce the KODE5 DotA Big Bang – an online tournament that covers North and South America, Europe, and Asia. Featuring three simultaneous tournaments that culminate into an epic online final showdown, the KODE5 DotA Big Bang welcomes DotA gamers from all over the globe to compete for a bevy of fantastic prizes from MSI and Razer.

Event Schedule
The KODE5 DotA Big Bang consists of three simultaneous tournaments hosted from January 1st to February 5th, 2010. These tournaments cover three regions of the globe – Americas, Europe and Asia, and the top 4 teams from each region will then qualify for the KODE5 DotA Big Bang World Finals from February 5th to March 5th, 2010.

Event details are as follows:
EVENT: KODE5 DotA Big Bang - Americas
DATES: January 1st ~ February 5th, 2010
LINK: http://america.dota.kode5.com/
GAME: Defense of the Ancients
NOTES: Top 4 advance to KODE5 DotA Big Bang World Finals

EVENT: KODE5 DotA Big Bang - Europe
DATES: January 1st ~ February 5th, 2010
LINK: http://eu.dota.kode5.com/
GAME: Defense of the Ancients
NOTES: Top 4 advance to KODE5 DotA Big Bang World Finals

EVENT: KODE5 DotA Big Bang - Asia
DATES: January 1st ~ February 5th, 2010
LINK: http://asia.dota.kode5.com/
GAME: Defense of the Ancients
NOTES: Top 4 advance to KODE5 DotA Big Bang World Finals

EVENT: KODE5 DotA Big Bang World Finals
DATES: February 5th ~ March 5th, 2010

Registration for each regional preliminary will take place from December 21st to 31st. To sign up for this event, gamers can go to the corresponding tournament website and register their team. As spots are limited, all teams are encouraged to sign up as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Prize Pool
DotA fans will receive a whole lot more than bragging rights for placing in the top 3 at the KODE5 DotA Big Bang World Finals. The winners receive MSI Big Bang-Trinergy Gaming Motherboards and Razer gaming gears.

"MSI’s Big Bang Series was created with cutting-edge features geared toward serious gamers," said Jason Lee, MSI's Mainboard and Graphics Card Marketing Director. "We are proud to team up with KODE5 to bring the KODE5 DotA Big Bang Tournament to life, and hope that the gaming community can see just how MSI products can take their game to the next level."

"The next KODE5 DotA event has been long past due, and we are thrilled to announce it with our friends at MSI," said Lester Lau, KODE5 Revolutionary-in-Command. "There is a ton of great prizes from MSI and Razer that will be given away at KODE5 DotA Big Bang, and we encourage everyone in the DotA community to sign up and fight for glory!"

For more information on MSI, please visit: http://www.msi.com
For more information on KODE5, go to the official website: http://www.kode5.com

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cooler Master Introduces Hot New USP 100

Cooler Master recently introduced a new mainstream case and power supply combo dubbed theUniversal System P 100 or USP 100. This hot looking black and red case is packed with many of the features sought out by enthusiasts yet its priced at a very seasonable $99 making it a great offering for the budget minded builder.

Special features include a cutout in the motherboard plate to make it easier to swap your CPU cooler, a top I/O panel, a red power-on LED indicator bar, Cooler Master logo as power-on button, PSU at the bottom for better cooling, tool-free design for the 5.25" and 3.5" devices and thumbscrews for add-on cards.

Wide Body Design
USP 100 offers a no compromise interior including many popular innovations from Cooler Master high end chassis. The wide body design includes over 11 inches for VGA card length and over 6.5 inches in CPU cooler clearance height for class leading support of the mainstream CPU coolers and graphics cards. A chassis width of over 8.4 inches makes cable management easy, allowing system cables to be hidden in spacious .5 inch clearance behind the motherboard tray. USP 100 includes a CPU retention hole for easy CPU cooler installation, hassle free tool-free drive bays, and an easy to clean front filter air intake.

Powered by 550W Extreme Power Plus
Answering increasing requests for more value, USP 100 combines a spacious, high airflow chassis with a quality 550W power supply. The Cooler Master eXtreme Power Plus 550W has been field tested for both durability and performance with major graphics cards and CPUs. The combination of a power supply and chassis provides a stable, all-in-one solution perfect for mainstream system building. The USP 100 is exclusively available as a complete chassis and power supply solution.

Air Cooling Aesthetics
Taking cues from enthusiasts, the USP 100 is factory painted in crimson. Using proven all mesh front panel design, the USP 100 provides enhanced airflow to keep internal temperatures minimal. Front air filters increase dust management while reducing system maintenance. A hidden power button, red themed LED front fan, and crimson LEDs add a bold and edgy flair to any system.

USP 100 Availability
The USP 100 will be available Q1 2010 in North America, Canada, Mexico and Latin America. USP 100 with Extreme Power Plus 550W power supply will be available at a suggested market price of $99 USD. Other markets availability and pricing may be different. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

AT&T Hopes Wi-Fi Will Ease Network Woes

AT&T has, for fairly good reason, come under fire in regards to a woefully inadequate 3G network. Complaints are wide and varied but for the most part are centered around poor coverage, delays, and slow up/down speeds. AT&T's plan to deal with the issue, offer  "incentives" that would compel smartphone users, mainly those with iPhones, to switch to wireless Wi-Fi networks whenever possible.

AT&T hopes that by providing free Wi-Fi to iPhone subscribers through a series of partnerships that when iPhone users switch from 3G to Wi-Fi regularly, the strain on the network will be lessened. iPhone users use an estimated 60 percent of mobile web data, though they only have about a 24.7 percent smart phone market share (in a 36 million unit market) according to ComScore.

Cell towers get swamped when as few as a dozen nearby iPhone users simultaneously try to watch a YouTube clip or play a game. To prevent network swamping, AT&T plans to work with various companies such as McDonalds, Starbucks and the bookstore chain Barnes & Noble to give their users free access points to provide a cheaper faster alternative to the taxed 3G network.

Wi-Fi access points, which now days are found just about everywhere, move bits of information directly to and from a wired broadband Internet connection. That's cheaper and faster than transmitting the bits to and from a cell tower, as 3G does.

AT&T hasn't said how much traffic the company feels can be offloaded from its 3G network onto Wi-Fi networks but its clear they feel something has to be done.

In an interview with BusinessWeek AT&T Mobility President Ralph de la Vega said AT&T is looking at various ways to get these demanding users to curtail their consumption. Those remarks and a lack of immediate follow-up led many to believe that AT&T would inevitably move from its $30-a-month, unlimited data plan for iPhone users to a "tiered pricing" model that charges according to usage.

Many analysts believe this is just a case of AT&T not investing nearly enough to keep up with rising iPhone traffic. The company's overall capital spending is expected to drop to $17 billion this year, from $20.3 billion in 2008, although a spokesperson says the company has shifted "billions" of dollars to its wireless network.

My thoughts
For years the tide has been rising and the company has done nothing but set back and watched. They've pulled in tons of profits from the exclusivity contracts with Apple but haven't done as much as they should to strengthen their system. Now they want consumers to bear even more burden.

When the talk of tiered pricing was first making its waves I thought well good, if a consumer is using 4-5 times as much data as I am let them pay more. The problem there lies in the fact that AT&T forces high rate data plans on consumers. If I could be buy my iPhone, limit it to Wi-Fi and forgo the added monthly cost of an overpriced data plan I would. But AT&T won't do that, nor would they be likely to offer users that use less data cheaper plans.

AT&T and other wireless providers are doing their best to push smartphones, netbooks and other 3G connected devices. de la Vega himself says AT&T's network serves more than 24 million devices via its 3G network and they expect the addition of 2million more each quarter. If they can't handle demand now, after how many years of pushing smartphones at us. Then how are they going to handle it in 2010? 2011? 2012?

Howard Schmidt Named As US National Cybersecurity Coordinator

Today the White House has officially announced Howard A. Schmidt has been appointed to the roll of the United State's first National Cybersecurity Coordinator.

"Howard is one of the world’s leading authorities on computer security, with some 40 years of experience in government, business and law enforcement. Learn more about Howard's background and approach to cybersecurity," writes John O. Brennan,
Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.

Schmidt's 40 years of experience includes serving as the White House security advisor to George W. Bush, as well as long-held positions at eBay and Microsoft. He currently serves as president of the of the London-based Information Security Forum (ISF), an independent organization which, according to its own website, supplies guidance on "all aspects of information security", developing and publishing practical solutions for corporate security problems.

Here’s the full-text of the announcement email sent to the White House email list by John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism:
Dear Friend,
Cybersecurity matters to all of us.  Protecting the internet is critical to our national security, public safety and our personal privacy and civil liberties.  It’s also vital to President Obama’s efforts to strengthen our country, from the modernization of our health care system to the high-tech job creation central to our economic recovery.
The very email you are reading underscores our dependence on information technologies in this digital age, which is why it seemed like a fitting way to announce that the President has chosen Howard Schmidt to be the White House Cybersecurity Coordinator.  Howard will have the important responsibility of orchestrating the many important cybersecurity activities across the government. 
Howard is one of the world’s leading authorities on computer security, with some 40 years of experience in government, business and law enforcement.  Learn more about Howard's background and approach to cybersecurity.
Howard will have regular access to the President and serve as a key member of his National Security Staff.  He will also work closely with his economic team to ensure that our cybersecurity efforts keep the Nation secure and prosperous.
Moving forward we will use WhiteHouse.gov, this email program and our other communications tools to keep you posted about our progress in this important area.
John O. Brennan
Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism
P.S. You can play an important role in cybersecurity as well. Learn more about the issue and steps you can take to ensure your own security.

Intel Announces New Atom Platform

intel logoIntel Corporation announced new Intel Atom processors this week that feature integrated graphics built directly into the CPU, enabling improved performance and smaller, more energy-efficient designs in a new generation of netbooks and Atom-based entry level desktop PCs. Major OEMs have committed to having systems on the new Intel Atom processors and a new companion chipset available within the next few weeks.

The newest Intel Atom platform for netbooks consists of a new Intel Atom processor, the N450, and a new low-power Intel NM10 Express Chipset. For entry level desktop PCs, it consists of either the Intel Atom processor D410 or the dual core D510, also paired with the Intel NM10 Express Chipset. The Intel Atom processor was designed from the ground up for small devices and low power, and remains Intel's smallest chip, built on the company's 45nm high-k metal gate manufacturing process. The overall package, including chipset, just got smaller due to the increasing integration and 45nm manufacturing, which means smaller, more compact system designs, lower costs for OEMs and improved performance.

Broad Industry Momentum
Intel continues to see broad industry support for the Atom platform as netbooks in particular have been hot sellers during a recessionary year due to their affordability, function and small size (7-10.2" screens). Additionally, Intel is expecting to see broad channel adoption for Atom in a variety of small form factor entry-level desktop PCs at low price points, including ultra-small designs (less than 1-litre chassis), fanless designs, and low-cost all-in-one designs.

Since Intel announced the first Atom processors for netbooks and entry-level desktop PCs in June 2008, the market has expanded rapidly. Since introduction, Intel has shipped over 40 million Atom chips for netbooks to every major OEM around the world. In the same timeframe, netbooks ramped faster and sold more units than Apple's iPhone or the Nintendo Wii.* According to ABI Research, total Atom shipments for all segments are expected to continue to grow into the 100s of millions by 2011.* Intel is not letting up, offering the next-generation platform for OEMs to continue to innovate around.

"The Intel Atom processor has fueled an entirely new category of computing over the last year and a half and we think the growth will continue for devices like netbooks and entry-level PCs built around basic computing and Internet usage models," said Mooly Eden, Intel corporate vice president and general manager of Intel's PC Client Group. "We're excited to be delivering the next-generation Atom platform and working across the industry as we head into a second phase of growth, powering innovative new system designs with better performance, smaller footprints and better battery life."

Intel has over 80 design wins to-date for the new Atom platform from such leading OEMs as ASUS, Acer, Lenovo, Dell, MSI, Toshiba, Samsung and Fujitsu. While the bulk of the systems will feature the new Windows 7 Starter or Home Basic operating system, consumers will have a choice when it comes to selecting an operating system, with some OEMs offering MoblinTM Linux v2 as an alternative for customers who desire a customizable and differentiated user interface.

Worldwide netbook shipments by telecommunications companies such as T-Mobile, Vodafone, Orange and others are also growing and expected to fuel another round of expansion. Intel has been working closely with mobile operators and modem vendors to advance 3G capabilities in netbooks in established and emerging markets. To-date approximately a dozen service providers offer netbooks in various markets, and the numbers are expected to grow with the newest platform.

Improved processor and graphics performance
One of the most significant features of the new platform is the integration of memory controller and graphics into the CPU, a first in the industry on x-86 chips. That means two chips (CPU+chipset) instead of the previous three (CPU, chipset, I/O controller hub), a lower TDP, and substantial reductions in cost, overall footprint and power. The netbook platform features a 20 percent improvement in average power and a smaller package size over the previous Atom platform. This translates into smaller and more compact system designs and longer battery life. Because of the integration, the total footprint for the netbook platform has decreased by approximately 60 percent. For entry level desktop PCs, it's a nearly 70 percent reduction in footprint and about 50 percent lower TDP than the previous generation.

About the platform
The N450 is a single core Atom processor with 512k of L2 cache and a 7 watt total kit TDP including chipset. The D410 for entry-level desktop PCs is a single-core Atom processor with 512k of L2 cache and a 12-watt total kit TDP including chipset, and the D510 for entry-level desktop PCs is a dual core Atom processor with 1meg L2 cache and a 15-watt total kit TDP including chipset. The new chips all run at 1.66GHz. Pricing and availability will be announced in January as systems become available from OEMs.


Source: Intel

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.

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