Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Win a Trip to the Game Developers Conference 2010 From Intel

The Intel Software Developer Network is giving one lucky dev an 5 Day All Access Pass to the Spring 2010 Game Developers Conference (March 9-13), plus 5 nights at the W Hotel in San Francisco.

To enter game developers must evaluate their game using one of the new Intel Software Assessment Tools.
Once you've evaluated your app simply visit the contest page here and enter.

As an added bonus all submitted entries will receive a free solar mobile phone charger, simply for submitted an app. Not an Intel Software Partner Program Member? That doesn't matter you still have time to Join now for FREE.

The fine print
Contest Description
The GDC10 competition runs from December 7th, 2009 11:59 pm (Pacific time) through February 12th, 2010 11:59 pm (Pacific time). The GDC10 competition is open to Intel® Software Partner Program members who have completed the following steps:
Started or completed a software project that has been enabled for Intel Multi-Core Technology and/or Intel® Graphics Technology;
Successfully uploaded a Multi-Core and/ or Graphics Tool Report File after running the corresponding Software Assessment Tool(s);
Completed the GDC 10 competition entry form, including both contest questions at the bottom of this form.
Multiple software projects meeting the above criteria may be submitted as separate entries.

How To Enter:
  1. You must be an Intel Software Partner Program member with either an open or closed project to enter this competition. New members are welcome to join Intel Software partner program and open a project plan in order to participate.
  2. Download and run the Intel® Software Assessment Tool for Graphics or Multi-core on against any of your open or closed projects, and submit the Tool Report File.
  3. Complete an on-line Entry Form on the GDC10 Campaign landing page. The Entry Form has two sections that are key to the Competition and to selecting winners 1) submit a creative idea for an online or at-GDC promotion for your software, in 50 words or less 2) Tell us how we can improve your experience with Intel® Software Assessment Tools. All fields on the Entry Form must be completed to be eligible for the Competition.


One Grand Prize Trip Package to GDC10:
A winner for one Grand Prize of a trip package to DC10 will be selected. This package includes:
  • 5 (five) night’s accommodations for 1 (one), March 8-13, 2010 at the W Hotel San Francisco;
  • One All Access Pass to the GDC 10 Conference;
  • Online and/or at-GDC co-promotion of your software, as determined appropriate by Intel Software Partner Program and as agreed to by the Winner.
The online co-marketing campaign will be developed by an Intel-approved agency pending final approval by an Intel representative. Campaign material development will be for the completed application and will be done in conjunction with an Intel-approved vendor and may include marketing materials in online format. An Intel representative will be designated as the winner’s campaign contact and will discuss campaign specifics. Intel brand and legal restrictions will apply to campaign materials. Prize is only for campaign materials and no additional services or subscriptions are included. Winner agrees that the Grand Prize marketing campaign is being provided “as is,” and Intel makes no warranty, representation, or guarantee regarding marketing campaign outcomes, such as acquiring customers or selling products. NO CASH PAYMENT TO THE WINNER. This Trip Package to GDC10 prize has an estimated value of US$5,000.00.
Travel costs including airfare are NOT included in this prize, except as specified below in the “Latin America Special Travel Bonus”

  • Solar Mobile Phone Charger: For the duration of the Campaign, every US-based completed entry will receive one Solar Mobile Phone Charger. Limit of one charger per entry, to be delivered to the individual and address listed on the Contest Entry Form.
  • Latin America Special Travel Bonus: Intel Software Partner Program members based in any Latin America country that win the competition will also get an US$800.00 airfare reimbursement (with proof of purchase).
How to win- Competition Judging Criteria: All submitted eligible entries will be evaluated and judged by a panel of judges from Intel based on the following criteria:
  • Evaluation of creativity, marketing impact and innovation of proposed online marketing campaign to promotion your software application.
  • Evaluation of suggested improvement to the Intel Software Assessment Tool user experience that, if implemented, provides high benefit to other users.
All decisions of the judges are made at the judges’ sole discretion and are final in all matters relating to this Competition.
  • Odds of Winning: Odds of winning depend on the total number of eligible entries received.
  • Timelines: All eligible entry forms must be submitted by 11:59pm (Pacific time), February 12th, 2010 to be eligible for the Competition and all eligible entries will be judged by February 28th 2010. The Winner will be notified by email and/or telephone no later than March 1, 2010.
  • How to Claim Your Prize: For the Grand Prize, you will be contacted by an Intel representative by March 1st, 2010. The winner must meet all eligibility requirements set forth in these Official Competition Rules to qualify for the prize. The prize winner must complete eligibility and liability/publicity release or the prize may be forfeited and awarded to an alternate winner. The winner’s name may be published by Intel in program-related communications and/or on the Intel Software Partner Program Web site. Prize winners will be notified based on contact information supplied by Participants, the accuracy of which information is the responsibility of the Participants. In the event a Participant cannot be contacted as determined in the sole discretion of Intel, or a winner rejects a Prize, an alternative winner will be identified.

Monday, January 18, 2010

PowerColor Announces the ''DirectX 11 Experience'' Contest

Video card manufacturer PowerColor today announced the "How was your first time? DX11 Experience!" contest asking users for artistic picture of themselves and their "First time DX11 experience." The final winner who beats other original pictures from other 3 communities will get a fantastic PowerColor PCS+ HD5870. The other 3 winners join the final and represent each community will also get a brand new PowerColor PCS+ HD5770!

The rules of this competition are simple, just submit a picture of your first DX11 experience moment, you're reaction, or you're cat reaction to your reaction, anything that might relate to your first DX11 Experience! You just have to hope that others will vote for you as the most original.

This competition has five communities as partners where you can submit your picture, later the community you submitted your picture will vote for the most original one to represent their community. The winner of each community will get brand new PowerColor PCS+ 5770.

When each community has found its winner will then go on direct competition with the other communities winners in a voting that will be held here to find the craziest picture of all. The global winner will receive a brand new PowerColor PCS+ 5870.

Participating communities include, TechPowerUp, HardwareHeaven, HardwareLuxx and MeriStation.

The submissions for this competition are open from January 18th to January 31st, 2010. Communities will cast their voting to select their winner from February 1st to February 3rd, 2010. Winners of each community will be posted on the competition main page on 4th February for worldwide voting that ends on 11st of February, 2010. The worldwide winner will be announced on 12nd of February, 2010.

1. You must be 16 years or older to participate.
2. You must own the submitted picture / have the rights to use it.
3. Participants are required to upload their pictures both in the main competition page and the community they choose to participate.
4. No plagiarism of any kind. If you copy you will be disqualified and publicly humiliated
5. It's a open to creativity competition, you can post pictures of anything that might relate to your first DX11 Experience, your reaction, your room's door scratched from your dog that wanted to go for a walk and you were too entertained to remember, well anything original just be creative!
6. Pictures can include artwork and be modified.
7. No pornography, nudity, profanity, nor any kind of material that might be offensive.
8. In case of tie, each community administrator will ultimately choose the winner
9. Only one participation per user/person allowed.
10. PowerColor will do everything in their power to ensure a speedy delivery of all of the prizes.
11. PowerColor and its partners reserves the right to refuse entry into the competition, and any entrant found cheating, plagiarizing, or generally following un-sportsmanlike behavior will be instantly disqualified.
12. No responsibility will be taken for lost entries.
13. These rules may change at any time and you must accept these changes.
14. By submitting your first entry, you have confirmed your acceptance of these terms and conditions.

Apple Tablet Coming January 27?

Apple has confirmed a special event will be held January 27 at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco by sending out invitations to select media outlets. The event will take place at 10am PST. While the invitation is very nonspecific there are hints that indicate that it will be related to creative activities. Just what those creative actives might be are open to much speculation.

The invite, "Come see our latest creation," leaves a lot to the imagination as to what Apple has up its sleeve. But the rumor mill has been very busy of late speculating that Apple will be releasing some type of tablet device over the next couple of months. Could this big even mark the release of said device or will it be something else?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

This Week In Cell Phones: Google, AT&T And Verizon Slash Prices

This week we've seen three great money savings announcements, two companies cutting plan costs and a $100 price drop for a popular new phone.

AT&T and Verizon Slash Plan Rates

Verizon Wireless and AT&T both have announced plans to cut the price of their unlimited calling plans. Beginning Jan. 18, both companies will drop the fees for their  unlimited talk plans to $69.99 a month or for just $89.99 you can upgrade to unlimited calls and texts.

Verizon’s unlimited voice plan for individuals was $99.99, with unlimited text and video messages costing $119.99, according to the carrier’s Web site. AT&T is cutting the price of its unlimited voice plans from $99.99 a month, according to the Dallas-based company’s Web site.

The new AT&T plans include:
  • Feature Phone customers now have the option of unlimited talk plans for $69.99 a month per person or $119.99 a month for a family plan with two lines included. The unlimited texting plans remain $20 a month for individuals or $30 a month for the Family Talk plan.
  • Quick Messaging Device customers may now choose unlimited talk for $69.99, and Family Talk customers may choose unlimited talk for $119.99 per month (two lines included). These plans require a minimum of $20 per month for individual plans and $30 per month for Family Talk plans in texting and/or Web browsing packages for new and upgrading customers.
  • All AT&T smartphone customers, including iPhone owners, can now buy unlimited voice and data for $99.99. For smartphone customers with Family Talk plans, unlimited voice and data is now available for $179.99 (two lines included). Texting plans remain unchanged at $20 for unlimited plans for individuals, $30 for Family Talk Plans.
The new Verizon plans include:

  • Verizon Nationwide Unlimited Talk plan that allows customers to call anyone in the United States for $69.99 monthly access or a Nationwide Unlimited Talk & Text plan to call and send text, picture and video messages to anyone in the country for $89.99 monthly access.
  • Nationwide Family SharePlans will also have new unlimited options. Nationwide Unlimited Talk Family SharePlans will be $119.99 monthly access while the Nationwide Unlimited Talk & Text Family SharePlans will be $149.99 monthly access. All Family SharePlan pricing includes the first two lines of service. Standard text message rates will apply for customers on the Nationwide Unlimited Talk plans who do not sign up for a text messaging bundle.

Google Drops Nexus One Price By $100 For Existing T-Mobile Customers

When Google originally announced the the Nexus One it was released with a $379 price tag for existing T-Mobile customers with data plans wishing to re-up their contract to a new two year agreement with the company. At that time users without data plans or new customers were paying $279. Earlier this week Google announced they'd slash a $100 off the phone price meaning the Nexus One will cost all existing T-Mobile subscribers the same price of $279.

T-Mobile customers with data plans that originally paid the $379 fee for their Nexus One are being refunded the $100 difference.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Linux Foundation launches Job Board

Are you a Linux tech looking for a new job, then you might want to head over to the Linux Foundation. They just announced the launch of a new jobs portal on their community driven Linux.com website.

The foundation's Linux Jobs Board features options for not only job seekers but job posters as well. For those posting there are two options: Jobs can be posted on Linux.com only, with prices starting at $99 for 15 days, or jobs can be posted on both Linux.com and with JobThread Network, which reaches more than 50 additional publishing sites. The Linux.com and JobThread Network option costs 49 cents per matching view.

Job seekers, have several options at hand including the ability to add their LinkedIn details on their Linux.com profile, including resumes, the option to browse job categories or search by location. You also have the option to subscribe to the Linux.com Jobs Board RSS feed and receive e-mail alerts or follow Linux-related job opportunities on Twitter.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Upgrading Your GPU, So Easy A Monkey Can Do It

The folks over at AMD definitely have a good sense of humor and this new video proves it! "Louie the monkey" shows us that performing a video card upgrade truly is "So easy, a monkey can do it!"

Google, Microsoft, Other Tech Companies Pledge Millions To Haiti

Google, Microsoft, Apple and several other top tech companies have pledge to donate millions of dollars in disaster relief aid to Haiti following the January 12 earthquake.

"In order to help the people of Haiti respond to this catastrophe, Google is donating $1 million to organizations on the ground that are rescuing those still trapped and providing clean water, food, medical care, shelter and support for those affected," Jacquelline Fuller and Prem Ramaswami of the Google Crisis Response Team wrote in an Official Google blog posting.

In addition Google has reached out to the YouTube community for help. A Spotlight on the YouTube homepage drives traffic to videos from Oxfam and the American Red Cross, where you can make donations to relief efforts. 

Microsoft has announced it is making an initial commitment of $1.25 million, which includes cash and in-kind contributions.

Other support efforts include:

  • By activating our Disaster Response team- a dedicated group that plans how our company, people and partners can be mobilized during issues such as this-  through outreach to lead government, inter-government and non-government agencies involved in leading local and global response efforts. We’re currently engaged with humanitarian relief organizations to assess how we can make a difference.  More information on Microsoft Disaster Response is on our Microsoft Corporate Citizenship website.
  • We have issued an appeal to our employees to support the relief organizations working in Haiti – we match our US based employees donations up to a maximum of $12,000 per employee.
  • We are working with impacted customers and partners to help get critical systems up and running.
  • We are helping drive awareness and donations for relief efforts through MSN and Bing.
  • The NetHope Emergency Working Group was activated last night to set up the basic telecommunications communications between the relief agencies operating in the affected areas.
  • The NetHope Haiti Emergency Center (a secure Sharepoint application used by all of the NetHope members) is active and serves as a focal point for all reports, events, contact lists and collaboration.
  • Microsoft is committed to supporting the immediate relief and rescue efforts in Haiti and we are working with our NGO partners to provide the necessary support.

Other tech related organizations that have pledge support include Salesforce.com, which has set up a special donation page on its Website, for funneling Haiti-earmarked funds to the Red Cross and World Vision. Apple has also got into the act by placing a "Haiti Earthquake Relief Donate Here" button on iTunes.

Beware Possible Scams

The good in people often brings out the worst in other and there is always someone out there looking to cash in. The FBI has warned that there are several major sites, email scams and other related issue facing potential donors.

People should apply a "critical eye" to requests for financial donations. "Make contributions directly to known organizations rather than relying on others to make the donation on your behalf to ensure contributions are received and used for intended purposes," the FBI said in its advisory.

Scam e-mails are already emerging. Symantec noted a so-called 419-style e-mail that purported to come from the British Red Cross. The fake British Red Cross e-mail uses the real London address of the organization, according to Mathew Nisbet, a malware data analyst with Symantec Hosted Services. The contact e-mail for the British Red Cross is wrong, however, and the organization doesn't collect donations using the Western Union money transfer service, either.

Intel Reports Fourth-Quarter Net Income

Intel Corporation today reported fourth-quarter revenue of $10.6 billion. The company reported operating income of $2.5 billion, net income of $2.3 billion and EPS of 40 cents.

For 2009 Intel posted revenue of $35.1 billion. The company reported full-year operating income of $5.7 billion, net income of $4.4 billion and EPS of 77 cents. The company generated more than $11 billion in cash from operations and paid cash dividends of $3.1 billion.

Fourth-Quarter Results

  • Revenue $10.6 Billion, up $2.3 Billion and 28% Year-over-Year
  • Record Gross Margin of 65%, up 12 Points Year-over-Year
  • Operating Income $2.5 Billion, up $958 Million and 62% Year-over-Year
  • Net Income $2.3 Billion, up $2.0 Billion and 875% Year-over-Year
  • EPS 40 Cents, up 36 Cents Year-over-Year

Fourth-Quarter Results, Excluding the Settlement Agreement with AMD

  • Non-GAAP Operating Income $3.7 Billion, up $2.2 Billion and 143% Year-over-Year
  • Non-GAAP Net Income $3.1 Billion, up $2.3 Billion and 267% Year-over-Year
  • Non-GAAP EPS 55 Cents, up 40 Cents Year-over-Year

Source: Intel

Google Docs Offers 1GB Free File Storage Why No One Should Care

Free online storage is a great thing if it comes in a quantity that really makes a difference, however Google's latest offering of 1GB of free cloud storage using the Google Docs web interface just isn't that.

Sure 1GB might might be ok for some users in the enterprise arena that wish to share a few small documents but for the common user that just isn't enough to get excited about. To start with your files can be no larger than 250MB. This quota counts only against uploaded files not associated with one of the file type supported by Google Docs. In other words, file types that don’t count against your storage include spreadsheets (xls, xlsx, csv, ods, txt, tsv, or tsb format), documents (HTML, txt, doc, docx, rtf, odt, or sxw format), and presentations (ppt or pps format). That would also include items such as PDF files, graphics, raw photos and even unedited home videos, however these would have to be fairly short to fit the size limitations.

Now don't get me wrong I like the ease of use that Google Docs offers and you do have the option of buying additional storage for $0.25 per GB per year, but come on guys a single gigabyte? I've been testing put.io and they offer 50GBs. Heck most everyone these days has a website or access to a free website with hosting that will offer more than 1GB of storage. Even most ISPs these days give you a reasonable amount of storage space. If you really wanted to throw something out there why not toss us 5Gbs?

Other Options

For those of you that know 1GB just isn't enough to get around on these days there are a few other alternatives. Yeah they aren't Google but hey Google has enough of our service these days don't they.

Dropbox offers 2GBs of free online storage
Windows SkyDrive  features 25Gbs
put.io this is a company currently in beta testing of file sharing/file storage site that mainly offers media streaming
Mozy they offer 2GBs of free storage
iDrive 2GBs of storage with tons of features
ZumoDrive another free 2Gbs of file sharing and storage

As mentioned check with your ISP most everyone these days offers at min. amount of storage space.

Intel Science Talent Search 2010

Three-Hundred Young Scientists to be Honored as Semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Search 2010

Three-hundred seniors from 175 high schools across the country will be named semifinalists in the Intel Science Talent Search 2010, a program of Society for Science & the Public. As America's oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition, the Intel Science Talent Search brings together the best and brightest young scientific minds in America to compete for $1.25 million in awards. Each semifinalist receives a $1,000 award from the Intel Foundation with an additional $1,000 going to his or her respective school, resulting in $600,000 in total semifinalist awards.

The Intel Science Talent Search encourages students to tackle challenging scientific questions and develop the skills to solve the problems of tomorrow. Projects submitted for consideration cover all disciplines of science, including biochemistry, chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, behavioral science, and medicine and health.

Semifinalists were selected from 1,736 entrants, up from 1,608 last year, and hail from 37 states and the District of Columbia. To learn about specific semifinalists and view a state-by-state breakdown, visit www.societyforscience.org after 4 p.m. EST.

On Jan. 27, 40 of the 300 semifinalists will be named finalists and will gather in Washington, D.C. from March 11-16 to compete for more than $630,000 in awards from the Intel Foundation. The winners will be selected based on rigorous judging sessions and announced at a black-tie gala award ceremony at the National Building Museum on March 16. The grand prize is a $100,000 award; the remaining top 10 will receive awards totaling $305,000.

More Information
To view ongoing updates about the Intel Science Talent Search 2010, join the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/pages/Inspired-by-Education/32855637280 and follow Twitter updates at www.twitter.com/intelinspire.

To learn more about the Intel Education Initiative, visit www.intel.com/education and the CSR@Intel blog at blogs.intel.com/csr. To join Intel's community of people sharing their voices for change in global education, visit www.inspiredbyeducation.com.

To learn more about Society for Science & the Public, visit www.societyforscience.org.

Source: Intel

Facebook Teams With McAfee To Fight Malware

Facebook has made a bold move to attempt to beef up its security and improve the integrity of its social networking platform by teaming with security giant McAfee Inc. to offer a free antivirus trial to all their users.

Facebook has begun rolling out advertisements with the news of the free six-month trial download of McAfee's Internet Security Suite (along with a discounted price once the six months are up). The software used in tandem with a new light-weight PC scanning and malware removal tool McAfee has developed should help users detect and remove not only spyware but possible phishing hijacks.

McAfee Facebook remediation tool scans hijacked accounts that have been temporarily suspended due to suspicious activity. The tool scans to detect if your account has been compromised by a malicious third-party via a phishing attack. Once the scan is complete should a users PC shows as compromised a security trigger is set off McAfee jumps into action and will prompt you to use a free McAfee Scan and Repair program.

In order to get your free six months' subscription, simply log into your Facebook account, go to the McAfee Facebook page, and click "Become a Fan." Once you are a fan, you'll be able to download the free software by going to the "Protect Your PC" tab--you will be asked to provide a credit card. Facebook says your card will not be charged until the six months is up (and you can cancel before that).

Social Networks Under Attack
Facebook is not alone when it comes to attacks on social networks. Almost every major site it there has faced their share of threats. One of the largest such threats was the social networking worm Koobface, which plagued the site of the last two years. Despite many measures taken Facebook as well as Twitter and MySpace have seen steady rises in the number of accounts being hijacked.

The new services aren't meant to be a magic bullet however when used properly (updated regularly and scanned often) they should help prevent some of the issues we all face. Even then keep in mind this is only one good step toward protecting users from malware, it's still important for users to use common sense and protect themselves. Take steps that go beyond malware protection to ensure your Facebook profile is secure: set proper privacy restrictions, don't share phone numbers and addresses at all, and don't click on links that look sketchy.

Apple Tablet Has $100,000 Bounty

For any off you crazy Apple testers out there that are insane enough to risk a major lawsuit for violating you nondisclosure agreement Valleywag is offering up to $100,000—yes, One Hundred Thousand United States Dollars, if you will provide them with actual proof the Apple tablet exists.

Here's the low down on the payout:

$10,000 for bona fide pictures.
$20,000 for video of one in action.
$50,000 for pictures or video of Steve Jobs holding one.
$100,000 to let us play with one for an hour.

The money will be paid after the tablet is revealed and the material is proven to be the real McCoy.

Personally I don't put much weight behind the offer, as obviously no one in their right mind would want to face down an Apple lawsuit. It looks to me like nothing more than a publicity stunt to either bolster Valleywag readership or add more fuel to the Apple tablet fire. But it still strikes me as an intriguing idea.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

ATI Releases The New Radeon HD 5670

ati logoToday ATI takes the wraps of their newest mid/low range cards, the new Radeon 5600 series, more specifically Radeon HD 5670.

The new cards; fully support Microsoft DirectX 11 as well as featuring ATI's Eyefinity technology. Priced at about $100 USD these new budget minded cards are in direct competition against NVIDIA's GeForce GT 240 and the much older Geforce 9800GT products.

AMD has nicknamed the 40-nm chip based Radeon HD 5670's GPU "Redwood," keeping with the naming scheme of its previously released DirectX 11 Evergreen family. The new cards will come in either 512MB or 1GB version featuring a 775MHz core, and 1GHz(4GHz data rate) on the GDDR5 RAM. With a 128-bit memory bus giving; the card 64GB/sec of memory bandwidth.

“AMD recently celebrated the shipment of its two millionth DirectX 11 graphics chip. AMD has already enabled DirectX 11 support for the majority of the PC market and today’s introduction of the ATI Radeon HD 5670 graphics card is yet another clear indication of AMD’s commitment to address the strong market demand for DirectX 11-capable graphics cards,” said Matt Skynner, vice president and general manager, AMD Graphics Group. “Combined with the successful launches of the ATI Radeon HD 5970, ATI Radeon HD 5800 series and ATI Radeon HD 5700 series, AMD has defined the DirectX 11 gaming experience like no other, bringing graphics innovations like ATI Eyefinity technology and ATI Stream technology to millions of consumers worldwide.”

Reading the reviews shows these new mainstream DX 11 cards from ATI to be a hit. They perform well against the older ATI cards and most of the NVIDIA offerings from the same price range. The cards don't offer the performance figures that would be desirable to the hard core gamer but they do offer a solid mainstream bang-for-buck gaming solution.

Radeon HD 5670 Reviews

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