Sunday, February 28, 2010

ATI Introduces The New Radeon HD 5830

ati logoAMD last week introduced the ATI Radeon HD 5830 graphics card, a new mid-ranged DirectX 11 gaming card with full support for ATI Eyefinity technology, and ATI Stream capabilities priced less than $250 USD.

“The ATI Radeon HD 5830 graphics card makes enthusiast-level performance even more accessible to gamers, adding another compelling choice to the award-winning ATI Radeon HD 5800 series,” said Matt Skynner, Vice President and General Manager of the AMD Graphics Division. “Cutting-edge features such as full DirectX 11 support, ATI Eyefinity multi-display capabilities and ATI Stream technology position the ATI Radeon HD 5830 graphics card to become a favorite with the gaming community.”

Radeon HD 5830 Specifications:

  • Engine clock speed: 800 MHz 
  • Memory clock speed: 1GHz (4GHZ data rate) GDDR5
  • Stream Processors: 1120
  • Processing power (single precision): 1.792 TeraFLOPS
  • Processing power (double precision): 358 GigaFLOPS
  • Polygon throughput: 800M polygons/sec
  • Data fetch rate (32-bit): 179.2 billion fetches/sec
  • Texel fill rate (bilinear filtered): 44.8 Gigatexels/sec
  • Pixel fill rate: 12.8 Gigapixels/sec
  • Anti-aliased pixel fill rate: 51.2 Gigasamples/sec
  • Memory bandwidth: 128 GB/sec
  • Maximum board power: 175 Watts
  • Idle power: 25 Watts

Radeon HD 5830 Key Features:
  • 1.79 teraFLOPS of GPU power
  • 2.15 billion 40nm transistors 
  • Compliant with DirectX 11 and earlier revisions
  • ATI Eyefinity technology with support for up to three displays
  • ATI Stream technology
  • Supports OpenCL
  • ATI CrossFireX multi-GPU support for highly scalable performance
  • ATI Avivo HD video and display technology
  • Dynamic power management with ATI PowerPlay technology
  • HDCP-Capable
For more information, please visit this page.

Radeon HD 5830 Reviews
More information

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Microsoft Offering Second Shot Vouchers

Update: The deal listed below expired Jun 30th 2010, for the latest information please visit the MS Specials Offers Site. The newest offer i:

Buy a Microsoft Certification Pack with Second Shots and save up to 20%

Microsoft Certification Exam Packs provide large discounts plus a Second Shot for every exam in the pack. The Second Shot offer allows you to retake an exam if you do not pass it the first time.

Planning on a career in IT? You'll likely be heading down to the local test center and taking a shot at a few Microsoft certifications. If that's the case Microsoft is giving you two chances at getting it right. Should you fail your first test you may qualify for a Second Shot offer giving you a free retake if you do not pass an IT professional or developer Microsoft Certification exam the first time.

You must take both the first and (if necessary) the retake exam before June 30, 2010.

Offer details:

  • Dates: January 13, 2010 – June 30, 2010.
  • Details: You must register, obtain a voucher code, schedule, pay, and take the first and (if necessary) the retake exam before June 30, 2010.
  • Applicable exams: This offer applies to all Microsoft Learning IT professional, developer, project management, and Microsoft Dynamics exams, including academic exams.
  • Eligible countries and regions: This is a worldwide offer that is available at Prometric test centers only.
Note Only one Second Shot voucher is available per purchased exam.

How to use your Second Shot voucher

Note You must wait one day after taking your initial exam before you can register for a retake exam.

For more details checkout the Microsoft Learning Center

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

NVIDIA Confirms GeForce GTX 480 and GTX 470 To Launch March 26, 2010

Following yesterday's unimpressive announcement NVIDIA today confirmed that their new FERMI GF100 based GPU's will launch at PAX East 2010. The company apologized for the previous announcement and confirmed the release date via Twitter and Facebook

We want to apologize for the confusion around our most recent GF100 update. To clarify, the launch date for GeForce GTX 480 and GTX 470 is March 26, 2010. This date also coincides with the GeForce LAN event NVIDIA is hosting at PAX 2010. Hope you can attend the show. For more info, please visit:

Monday, February 22, 2010

Android Users Get Google Earth

Google Earth is now available for Nexus One and Android users. Starting today Google Earth will be available in the Android Market for most devices that have Android 2.1 or later versions.

With this release of Google Earth for Android Google has also introducing the Roads layer, a popular feature of the desktop version of Google Earth. With this new feature you get displays of road map information for the viewing area, including major highways, county roads, and streets.

"As with other versions of Google Earth, you can also browse photos, places, and local businesses, whether it is in your local community or on the far side of the globe," says Product Manager Peter Birch. "Click on an icon to see photos, videos, and read about prominent places in the world. You can easily customize your version of Google Earth to display the layers that most interest you."

2010 Flooded With Waterproof Cameras

At this years PMA several companies have announced either new or updated waterproof cameras. Some are rather plain and boring while others look extremely interesting.

Last year when I was looking for a nice pocket size waterproof camera I found only a few reasonably priced options namely the Fuji Finepix Z33WP, Olympus 550-WP and Polaroid T-833. This year it seems like everyone has jumped on the boat and is now releasing a waterproof camera of their own.

Major manufactures like Samsung, Sony and Casio have all joined Olympus, FUJI, Pentax and Polaroid in their underwater ventures pushing out several new cameras at varying price points.

On the budget end is the newly introduced GE G5WP a successor to last year's G3WP. The G5WP offers a metal enclosure, 4x internal zoom and a 12.2 megapixel sensor. GE won;t have the G5WP on store shelves until late in Q2 but the camera will be fairly price at an MSRP of $179.99.

Adding to the success of their FinePix Z33WP Fuji has added the new FinePix XP10 / XP11. Available in late February 2010 and priced at $199.95 is Fujifilm’s first ‘Four-Proof’ digital camera, which is waterproof up to 10 feet, shockproof up to 3 feet, freezeproof up to 14°F, and dustproof. The camera will feature a 12 Megapixel CCD sensor, ISO up to 1600, a Fujinon 5x optical zoom lens with a reinforced protective lens barrier, and a 2.7-inch High-Contrast LCD display. The FujiFilm XP10 has feature Face Detection, Digital Image Stabilization, Movie Editing Mode and Blog mode, Scene Recognition Auto, and Facebook/YouTube Automatic Web Upload function.

Samsung enters the market with their budget minded AQ100 underwater camera which they introduced just ahead of the PMA show. The AQ100 is a 12-megapixel ultra-compact that much like most the rest of the camera mentioned here is waterproof down to about 10. It has an internal 5x zoom lens, a 2.7-inch LCD, digital image stabilization and can record video at resolutions up to 720p at 30fps. The 12MP Samsung AQ100 will start shipping this Spring and has an MSRP of $199.99.

On the higher end of the scale are the newly introduced cameras from Casio, Pentax and Sony. Just last week Sony introduced the new Cyber-shot DSC-TX5 which will be hitting store shelves this April and will retails for about $350.The DSC-TX5 will feature a 10.2 megapixel sensor, a 4x optical zoom Carl Zeiss Vario Tessor lens and will be waterproof to 10ft, freeze proof down to -10°C (14°F) and shock-resistant for drops of up to 1.5 meters.

One of the recent additions that really caught our eye is the new Casio Ex-G1. Dubbed "the world's slimmest shock-resistant digital camera" this rugged 12 megapixel digital camera has looks to match it's toughness. Featuring IEC/JIS Protection Class 8 (IPX8) waterproofing at depth of 10ft and shock-resistance of drops at up to 7ft this camera might be one of the toughest in the bunch. Casio has already released the EX-G1 with an MSRP of $299.99. Learn more at the G1 Special Site

This years tough new camera that has caught our eye is the much rumored Pentax Optio W90 waterproof camera. Pentax has a long standing of making great waterproof, freezeproof cameras and the W90 is reportedly going to be the next in that great line-up.

The Pentax W90 features a 12.1 Megapixel image sensor and a 5x optical zoom lens covering focal lengths from 28 to 140 mm. Combining 12.1 megapixels with the Pentax-developed imaging engine and high-performance Pentax zoom lens, the Pentax Optio W90 should be able to deliver high quality pictures. The Pentax Optio W90 is also shockproof to 4 feet so it can withstand the rigors of outdoor use. Suggested retail is yet unknown however reports say we can expect it to be in the $400 range.

(update) Pentax has made the W90 official, announcing the release on 2/25

Not to be left behind Olympus has announced a few updates to both their "Tough" line-up as well as their WP line. The new Stylus Tough-8010 will be the new flagship of the "tough" line replacing the Tough-8000. This shockproof camera can withstand drops of 6.6 feet and is waterproof to depths of 33 feet. It caries a price tag of $399.99.

The 14 megapixel Stylus Tough-6020 will take over for the Tough-6000 and features shockproofing to drops of 5 feet and waterproof to depths of 16 feet. Both cameras are freezeproof to temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

For budget consumers Olympus has added the STYLUS TOUGH-3000, a little brother of the other tough line. The camera features similar specs to the Tough-6020 with a smaller price tag of only $229.99. Additionally they've add the X-560WP for $169.99. The X-560WP is predecessor to the Stylus 550-WP and features a 10mp sensor, 3x optical zoom and waterproofing to 10ft.

At the highest end of the spectrum is the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2/DMC-TS2 the predecessor to the Luminx DMC-FT1/DMC-TS1. These tough little cameras feature full HD Movie support in AVCHD Lite not to mention a 14.1-megapixel High-resolution CCD, 4.6x Optical Zoom, 6x Intelligent Zoom and 9.8x Extra Optical Zoom. MSRP is set at $399

All these newly announced waterproof rugged cameras have us drooling. Having been able to test the FinePix Z33WP last year I'll say that having a waterproof camera is a must for the outdoor enthusiast. Rafting trips, boating trips and fishing just aren't the same when you don't have a good camera along to take snap shots. So look for some reviews as I'm sure I'll get my hands on at least one or two of these new toys.

NVIDIA's "Major Announcement" Failed To Impress

Last week NVIDIA posted a teaser on their Facebook page asking "are you ready". The question raised eyebrows in anticipation that the company might be announcing the release of their new FERMI based GPUs. All weekend we waited and wondered, and finally the clock ticked down to the 9am pst time set for the announcement.

The announcement:

The wait is almost over! The world's most anticipated--and fastest--PC graphics gaming technology ever created will be unveiled at PAX 2010. Visit for more information and to find out how you can compete to win a free trip to Boston!

Talk about a disappointment! NVIDIA fans will have to wait for PAX 2010 which is a whole month away to see the real announcement.

Adding an interesting twist to the story, online PC hardware store,, has listed an XFX Geforce GTX 480 and the PNY Nvidia Geforce GTX 480 for pre-order. Both cards are listed at $699 with a $20 pre-order savings. SaberPC also has the XFX GTX 470 and PNY Geforce GTX 470 listed for $499.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Devil Mountain Software CTO Outed As Liar

As many might have read around the web recently Devil Mountain Software, makers of community-based (XPnet) stated that most (86%) Windows 7 PCs max out memory resulting in slow-downs as the systems were forced to increasingly turn to disk-based virtual memory to handle tasks. At the time I read the reports I summarily dismissed them as the utter nonsense they seemed to be and refused to pass the information on to our readers. Now it sounds like my original sentiments might be accurate as "Craig Barth" the supposed CTO of Devil Mountain Software is actually Randall C. Kennedy, a now former InfoWorld contributor.

Kennedy acting under this assumed identity misrepresented himself to several major sites including Infoworld, Computerworld, the Associated Press, WindowsITPro, and Gizmodo in stories regarding several Microsoft products. Acting as "CTO Craig Barth" he spread information and metrics that was allegedly found via Devil Mountain Software's program XPnet. Information that many now have very serious reasons to question.

According to a posting on ComputerWorld Kennedy holds to his claims and states that everything but his identity was legit (yeah right we believe that one!):

On Friday, Kennedy claimed that everything but his identity was legit: Devil Mountain, which is a registered corporation in the state of Florida; the fact that he developed the performance benchmarking software, which had come out of consulting work he did for Intel; the customers the company had sold its software to; and the data from XPnet. "The research content I've published to date was always based on an unbiased interpretation of the data at hand," he said.

So this brings me to the question, did reports trusting "Barth" do their due diligence? Did they actually do some fact checking before trusting their source? Its one thing to be duped by a smooth talker but you'd think being a mass media outlet these companies would have a enough sense to check with a few other sources to see if there is any validity to the claims. One commenter wrote:

Part of a reporter's job is to evaluate the veracity of a source
Gregg, you never did that. You are a poor excuse for a reporter. You report every potential "news" as long as it may be damaging to Microsoft or controversial enough to generate page hits. Time for you to reflect on your habits. Time to up your source verification and evaluation. You had this coming. And are you *sure* you didn't know RCK was involved with exo performance network (xpnet)? Really?

I don't question that Gregg Keizer whole heartily didn't know that Barth was a fictitious character I do however call into question the integrity in which the story was posted. Gregg and ComputerWorld are not to blame as several sites ran with the story but as a matter of journalistic integrity mass media publications and sites are not supposed to be hit chasers!

If there really was such an issue with W7 leaking memory or being that bad a memory hog there would have been tons of claims protests from users all around the web. It would have been discovered during the beta and RC and you can bet MS detractors would have made sure it made it's way to the web by now.

A great post by Windows Blogger Paul Thurrott - "Insane Blogger Fools Reporter, Gets Fired" and more details on DMS and Barth from ZDNet - "Why we don't trust Devil Mountain Software (and neither should you)"

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tired Of NBC Delays, Watch The Olympics Online

NBC and their taped delays in my opinion is killing the Olympic spirit here in the states. If like me you are getting tired of hearing about the results hours before you get a chance to see the videos there is an answer. All you have to do is find sites in other countries that are live streaming the videos, or are showing highlights well before the NBC airings.

NBC is the games' official media outlet in the United States, and the network will be providing thousands of hours of content on the web. This does not mean that they hold the exclusivity rights to content, nor does it mean they are the only game in town. (in the USA maybe but not worldwide)

The International Olympic Committee has broadcast-rights agreements with dozens of news outlets around the world, and all of them are able to stream video to viewers in their territories. That means that several sites around the world are featuring live online content, we just have to find away around the NBC blockade and find US/English friendly sites that are easy to navigate.

Here are a few sites that are English friendly, I'm sure there are more so you might want to look around.

Eurovision is showing live coverage of all major events, which you can watch for free, if you're viewing from somewhere within the European Broadcasting Union (most countries in Europe and their various territories around the world).

Yahoo7. Australia's official online Olympics portal offers live streams, video coverage on demand, and behind-the-scenes interviews, specials and features.

CBC Olympics. Canadians can tune into the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation online for supplemental streams, video coverage on demand, and behind-the-scenes interviews, specials and features.

TSN.Ca - Canada's sports station

How to bypass the country filters

In order to watch most the videos from other countries we'll need to use a proxy server located within that country, or if you can otherwise trick the streaming server into thinking you're from a country where it's allowed. This is because in most cases, users in the United States will be blocked from viewing the footage anywhere but NBC's site. To do this we'll need to find a free web based proxy, or an IP based proxy that will allow us to bypass the country restrictions.

First thing we can try is finding a free web based proxy that works. I suggest using Google for whichever country you are searching. In this case we used Google.Ca and Google.AU. This option might take a little digging to find one that actually works. The other down fall is many web based service overlay ads or generate pop-ups.

The second option, which I like best, is to use an IP based proxy. is a site with a great list of proxies available and they offer the option to search by country, making it easier to find one that works. is another very useful site with a great list. You could also try using a proxy service like xroxy or proxify.

Configuring Your Web Browser

If you use a web based proxy you don't need to do anything other than enter the URL on their site. For IP proxies you'll need to do the follow. Just keep in mind all your traffic will be sent through their service. So you'll want to change your settings back afterward. You might also need to try several different settings to get it to work.

For FireFox users go to (Tools > Options > Advanced > Network > Connection Settings) and select "Manual Proxy Configuration", and enter in an IP and Port from our list into the text boxes.

For Internet Explorer users go to (Tools > Internet Options > Connections > Lan), select "use proxy server" and enter in an IP and Port from our list.

FireFox Proxy Add-ons

FireFox users have another option besides trying to manage their proxy connections on their own. There are a few very useful add-ons that make swtiching back and forth a breeze.
  1. FoxyProxy - FoxyProxy is an advanced proxy management tool that completely replaces Firefox's limited proxying capabilities. It offers more features than SwitchProxy, ProxyButton, QuickProxy, xyzproxy, ProxyTex, TorButton, etc.
  2. SwitchProxy Tool - SwitchProxy lets you manage and switch between multiple proxy configurations...
  3. QuickProxy - QuickProxy adds a tatusbar button to turn the proxy on and off with a single click.

NVIDIA Poised For "Major Announcement" Monday

Today, via their Facebook page, NVIDIA asked, "ARE YOU READY?" A question that is garnering a great deal of speculation. Could it be the company finally has their FERMI based GPU's ready, or will the announcement be something else entirely?

If a picture is worth a thousand words then what does the one posted above say to you? Showing off the case on the right might be a tell-tale sign that the announcement which will take place Monday morning at 9:00 a.m. PST might have nothing at all to do with GPU's but rather a major announcement regarding something else altogether.Either way it looks like NVIDIA's question has the gaming world buzzing. We'll just have to wait until Monday to see whether or not the buzz is noteworthy.

Motorola BACKFLIP To Be AT&T's First Android Phone

AT&T and Motorola, Inc. have announced that beginning March 7 the Motorola BACKFLIP will become AT&T's first Android based smart phone.

The BACKFLIP not only features the Android OS but a 3.1" touchscreen and "flip-out" QWERTY keyboard which as its name infers is designed to be opened more like a book than like a traditional slide-out keyboard. Other features include a five megapixel camera with flash and camcorder functionality, Wi-Fi, and the ability to tap into AT&T's fastest 3G network, the new HSPA 7.2.

The BACKFLIP will also offer AT&T users their first look at MOTOBLUR, a social networking tool that allows users to keep track of contacts by syncing with sites such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. From the MOTOBLUR home screen, consumers can update their status to Facebook, MySpace and Twitter all at once. The service also offers users simplicity and peace of mind, as lost devices can be located from a secure personal information portal and GPS can be used to locate them. One user name and password brings back a user’s contacts, messages and connectivity to previously configured networks and email providers.

“Motorola BACKFLIP brings together the best of social networking with the nation’s fastest 3G network,” said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “With the ability to ride on our newest and fastest 3G network, access to more than 20,000 AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots, and the ability to talk and surf at the same time, BACKFLIP boasts a better Android experience.”

The Motorola BACKFLIP will be available March 7 at AT&T retail locations nationwide or at for $99.99 after $100 mail-in rebate. (Pay $199.99 and after mail-in rebate receive $100 AT&T Promotion Card. Two-year agreement and smartphone data plan required.) For more information on the Motorola BACKFLIP, visit

AT&T says this is the first of five Android handsets the carrier expects to bring out this year. All of which will support access to the 20,000+ Apps on the Android Market 

Source: AT&T Press Release

Review: Dymo LabelManager 260p

Today we are taking a look at the newly introduced Dymo LabelManager 260P Label Maker. A hand held rechargeable label maker designed for printing labels on the go.

Dymo has a reputation of making great products and while we absolutely love the Dymo LabelWriter 450 Twin Turbo we reviewed last year we regetfuly don't feel the same about the Dymo LabelManager 260P and regretfully we didn't think it lived up to it the quality we came to enjoy from its bigger brother.

 Dymo LabelManager 260P Features

Featuring a rechargeable lithium-ion battery a large 1.18” x 2.36” screen that displays two lines of text and a weight of 1.5 pounds the LabelManager 260P is packed with plenty of new features that make it useful for every day labeling.

  • Large 1.18" x 2.36" screen displays two lines of label text
  • Graphical display lets you see text effects on screen before you print. This means no more guessing what the label will look like. What you see is what you get!
  • Work faster with an improved user interface that displays all menu options onscreen without scrolling, and includes intuitive icons for formatting options
  • Customize labels and add emphasis by choosing from 3 fonts, 6 font sizes, one of the many styles, and one of 8 different box styles or underline
  • Uses DYMO D1 labels in 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2"widths
  • Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery – the same technology used in mobile phones and laptops
  • Eliminates the AA battery inconvenience, waste and disposal
  • 9-label memory and “save text” feature
  • Print up to 10 copies of the same label
  • Enter text quickly using the familiar ABC-style keyboard
  • Quick access to special symbols including punctuation and currency
A new and improved user interface makes it easier to select the appropriate fonts and text styles while displaying all menu commands without scrolling. The UI includes easy-to-read user friendly icons for formatting options, making printing text faster and a whole lot easier.

Choose from 3 fonts and 6 text styles; highlight your text with 8 box styles or underlining. Print up to nine copies of the same label, and prevent repeated work with a 9-label memory and “save text” feature.

The LabelManager 260P uses DYMO D1 labels in 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" widths. Enter text quickly and naturally with the familiar ABC keyboard layout, and use special function keys for fast access to punctuation marks, currency and other special symbols.

Thoughts and opinions

For a handheld device the LabelManager 260P was just a little too bulky and oversized. I've used several smaller inexpensive machines in the past and despite their smaller size I was able to use them for effectively.

The key layout was a bit odd as I am use to a standard QWERTY style keyboard for most of me tech gadgets. Having to use the ABC style input took some getting use to. As did using the very tiny number keys! I miss keyed almost every number entered at least once.

The tactile response on the keys left a lot to be desired so to dud the input response time. I noticed several times keys failed to rebound smoothly almost acting stuck. Several more times I noticed either miss-keys or no faulty entry when trying to type faster.

On the positive side setup was quick and easy. The labels were easily added and changed when needed. Our re-chargeable battery pack slide right into place and seemed to charged quickly. We found the UI very user friendly making it simple to make changes to our text formatting. Print was fast and reliable and the test labels we printed turned out great.

Overall I'd say I was more than a bit disappointed. The size issue can be overlooked but poor key response is a big downer.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Microsoft Confirms Alureon Rootkit To Blame For BSODs

Microsoft has confirmed that a rootkit is responsible for a recent outcropping of blue screens of death (BSODs) currently occurring with Windows XP. The BSODs occurred following a recent update intended to fix a 17-year old security vulnerability in the virtual DOS machine.

According to a post on Microsoft's Security Response Center blog, all of the affected systems were infected with the Alureon rootkit. The BSODs and subsequent restarts are the result of modifications the Alureon rootkit makes to Windows Kernel binaries, which places affected systems in an unstable state.

The Microsoft Security Response Team worked with the Microsoft Malware Protection Center (MMPC) on several systems that were delivered to the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond last week. Using these systems the two teams confirmed that all of the affected systems had the Alureon Rootkit installed.

Given the ability of rootkits to hide and the seriousness of the malware that compromised these systems Microsoft suggests that users back up important files and completely restore the system from a cleanly formatted disk. In many cases the company found that customers could not confirm removal of the Alureon rootkit using their chosen anti-virus/anti-malware software. Therefore it might be best that anyone feeling they are infected go ahead and back-up, format and start fresh!

Apple Starts MacBook Repair Extension Program For Failed Hard Drives

Recently Apple announced they had discovered an issue affecting a "small percentage of hard drives" used in MacBook systems bought and sold between May 2006 and December 2007. To remedy the issue the company has decided to extend the warranty on affected systems and replace faulty drives.

Anyone with a MacBook sold between sold between May 2006 and December 2007 that has experience hard drive failure will be eligible for a free replacement under the warranty extension. Should you own one of these machines it should be noted that at this time Apple "recommends that you back up your data" just in-case. A drive replacement will not restore data should your system or drive fully crash!

Eligibility in the program extends your warranty to either three years from the date of purchase or August 15, 2010 (whichever is longer), so you've got about six months for your hard drive to crash. If it happens after the cutoff date you are likely to be SOL!

Identifying Affected MacBook Systems

Symptoms include a flashing question mark that appears on screen when the affected MacBook is turned on.

Affected MacBook models
13-inch black and white MacBook models with the following processor speeds and hard drive capacities:
  • Processor speed - 1.83GHz, 2GHz, or 2.16GHz
  • Hard drive capacity - 60GB, 80GB, 100GB, 120GB, or 160GB

For additional information checkout Apple Support MacBook Repair Extension Program for Hard Drive Issues

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sony Releases The New Slim Rugged Cyber-shot TX5 Waterproof Camera

Sony today unveiled what it's calling the world’s thinnest and smallest certified waterproof (up to 10 feet deep) digital camera the Cyber-shot DSC-TX5. The TX5 is Sony's first rugged compact, designed to be dustproof, waterproof up to 3 meters (10ft), freeze proof down to -10°C (14°F) and shock-resistant for drops of up to 1.5 meters.

The TX5 camera will be available in silver, black, pink, green, and red this April and will retails for about $350.

Full Sony press release
Feb. 17, 2010 – Leading the industry in innovation and design, Sony today unveiled two new Cyber-shot digital still cameras (models DSC-TX5 and DSC-H55).

Slim enough to fit in your pocket or purse at less than an inch thin -- about the size of a deck of cards -- the TX5 is the world’s thinnest and smallest certified waterproof (up to 10 feet deep) digital still camera with Optical SteadyShot image stabilization and touch operation. Additionally, the 10.2 megapixel model is Sony’s first digital still camera with an “Exmor R” CMOS sensor that is also certified to be freeze proof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, shockproof up to about a 5-foot drop and dust proof.

“Only Sony can deliver a technology-packed, ultra slim, fashionable T-series camera that is also durable. Until now, you couldn’t have it all in one camera” said Kelly Davis, director of the Digital Imaging business at Sony Electronics. “It is so versatile because it’s a great camera for both indoor and outdoor usage. You can easily take it from a day at the beach with the kids to a cocktail party with friends. This camera is also great for activities such as snorkeling, snowboarding or boating.”

Waterproof, Freeze Proof, Shockproof and Dust Proof

Waterproof in up to 10 feet of water for an hour, the TX5 lets you take high-quality photos, including panoramic pictures, and 720p high definition videos of your friends, family or pets underwater. From the tropics to the top of the mountain, the camera is also freeze proof down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can take pictures of the kids sledding or snowboarding. Not only is it ready for cold weather, but the TX5 is durable enough to withstand an accidental drop from up to approximately 5 feet. Additionally, it is dust proof, so you can take it with you on a camping trip or a mountain bike ride.

The camera features an “Exmor R” sensor and offers 10fps continuous burst shooting for capturing action shots, so you can get great photos of the perfect moment such as when your kids are in mid air while jumping into the pool. Additionally, the sensor provides outstanding low-light performance so you can take high-quality photos even after the sun sets.

In one easy press-and-sweep motion, take panoramic photos of the underwater landscape or breathtaking views from the top of the mountain using the Intelligent Sweep Panorama™ feature. Another benefit of the “Exmor R” sensor, this innovative feature combines separate captures, detects faces and subject motion and intelligently adjusts the width while stitching the images together, resulting in natural looking panoramic photos.

Equipped with a foldable, 25 mm equivalent wide-angle 4x optical zoom Carl Zeiss Vario Tessor lens, the TX5 delivers outstanding sharpness and high-quality photos while helping to keep the camera compact. The camera also has a three-inch (measured diagonally) Clear Photo LCD Plus (230,400 pixel) wide touch screen display that functions—even underwater. You can focus on your subject, operate the menu and share photos and videos with a touch of the screen—wet or dry. Additionally, you can decorate your photos using the paint feature or scroll through images by simply sweeping your finger across the screen.

Adesso Adds WKB-4200UB Wireless Keyboard

Readers know that we reviewed several Adesso products last year, some of which we loved, some not so much. This week the company added to an already packed line-up of wireless keyboards with the introduction of the new KB-4200UB model.

The full sized Adesso KB-4200UB packs many of the features we've loved in older models along with a newly more conveniently place trackpad (non-multitouch, it seems). The new location of the trackpad should make it slightly more convenient for most users, an issue we noted in our review of the Adesso WKB-4000UB.

Available at various retailers, the WKB-4200UB has an MSRP of $119.99 and should be available for purchase over the coming weeks.

How To: Completely Disable Google Buzz

If like many off the masses out there you aren't happy with the fact that Google has force fed us Buzz there is an answer. Up until now, you were only able to "disable" Buzz from a relatively small link find at the bottom of your Gmail page. Unfortunately, disabling it this way just hides Buzz from you it doesn't disable the service. If you had a public profile, your status changes would still be buzzed, and people could still see them and find you.

Today Google has stepped up and responded to many complaints over privacy concerns and released a simple and complete way of disabling the service completely.

Under your Gmail settings, (right next to the themes tab) there will now be a tab called Buzz. The "turn off buzz" link at the bottom of Gmail will also bring you to this tab. The new tab allows you to control various things, as well as disable Buzz altogether, profile and all. If you want, you can also choose to just hide Buzz from your Gmail, leaving it to still work through your mobile device.

  (Credit: Screenshot by CNET)

At this time the Buzz tab is not yet available to all users (it wasn't on any of my accounts). But fear not, if you don't already have it it should show up in your account soon.For those that don't want to wait to disable Buzz, you can follow the laborious approach of editing your Google profile as posted via CNet last week.

Intel, Epic Games Reveal $1M Innovation Winners

At this week's 2010 D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas, Nevada, Epic Games, Inc. announced the grand prize winners in its "$1 Million Intel Make Something Unreal Contest". The contest rewards top modifications, or "mods," created for Unreal Tournament 3.

The grand prize winners in the Best Game Mod category can be viewed at and are recognized as follows:

First Place: The Haunted by Michael Hegemann and The Haunted Team
Prize: $50,000 + commercial license for Unreal Engine 3
Fourth Place: Prometheus by Rachel Cordone and The Prometheus team
Prize: $20,000
The grand prize winners in the Educational category are recognized as follows:
First Place: IT University of Copenhagen
(Steam Racers, The Witching Hour, Cubes of Serenity, Chalupa, Takeshi’s Gladiators)
Prize: $10,000
Second Place: Art Institute of California, L.A.
(UT2D Killing Time, vCTF-Boilerplate Team Art Mod, Millagun UT2D, Deadman's Tales)
Prize: $5,000
Third Place: Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia
(Hazard: The Journey of Life, Steel Halo)
Prize: $5,000
Fourth Place: Högskolan i Skövde, Sweden
Prize: $5,000

The grand prize winning mod team was awarded an Unreal Engine 3 commercial license in addition to a check for $50,000, with runner-up winners receiving $40,000, $30,000, $20,000 and $10,000 in cash prizes. Educational category winners also received a total of $25,000 in cash, for a grand total well in excess of $1 million in cash and prizes awarded through all phases of the competition. 

Verizon Adding Skype Support In March

skype logoVerizon Wireless and Skype this week have announced a new partnership that will bring Skype to Verizon Wireless smartphones coming in March. The new Skype mobile product enhances Verizon Wireless’ smartphones for users who have data plans by offering a new way to call around the globe, while also giving hundreds of millions of Skype users around the world the opportunity to communicate with friends, family and business colleagues in the United States using Verizon Wireless.

The two companies have created an exclusive, easy-to-use Skype mobile offering for 3G smartphones. Verizon Wireless 3G smartphone users with data plans can use Skype mobile to:
  • make and receive unlimited Skype-to-Skype voice calls to any Skype user around the globe on America’s most reliable wireless network;
  • call international phone numbers at competitive Skype Out calling rates;
  • send and receive instant messages to other Skype users; and
  • remain always connected with the ability to see friends’ online presence.
Initially, Skype mobile will be available on millions of best-selling Verizon Wireless 3G smartphones with data plans, including the BlackBerry Storm 9530, Storm2 9550, Curve 8330, Curve 8530, 8830 World Edition and Tour 9630 smartphones, as well as DROID by Motorola, DROID ERIS by HTC and Motorola DEVOUR.

You can read more at the About Skype Blog

EVGA Folding@EVGA Promotion

Use your CPU's down time to earn EVGA Bucks for Folding with EVGA!

Folding@home is a distributed computing project - who's goal is to perform simulations of protein folding and misfolding enable the scientific community to better understand the development of many diseases, including sickle-cell disease (drepanocytosis), Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, mad cow disease, cancer, Huntington's disease, cystic fibrosis, osteogenesis imperfecta, alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency, and other aggregation-related diseases.

Through the program people from throughout the world download and run the F@H software to group their PCs into a cluster that works together to make one of the largest supercomputers in the world.The software uses your unused PC/GPU cycles to run therefore the user experience no slow down during the process. Each computer makes a small part of the larger group, off-loading the need to buy several expensive supercomputers.

EVGA's Promotion

Over the past year EVGA has offered an on going promotion to everyone that folds under the EVGA team. This year they have revamped the way it works completely and we upped the ante as well.

Every month you must pass one or two milestones to earn EVGA bucks: 100k and 250k points per month. If you pass 100k you will earn 5 EVGA bucks, if you pass 250k you will earn 5 more EVGA bucks for a total of 10. That's a total of 60 EVGA bucks for 1,200,000 points and 120 EVGA Bucks for 3,000,000 points - but only if you fold all year!

How it works:

At midnight of the first of every month, EVGA will take a capture of your points. This time, you can earn up to 120 EVGA bucks, 10 per month, for getting 250,000 per month. That's about 8,500 PPD. There will be another option to earn 5 EVGA bucks per month for those that earn 100,000 points. That's about 3,500 PPD. Your count will then reset the following month so you will need to earn 100k or 250k more points that month to get more EVGA bucks. For each milestone, you will need to check in on the My Folding page to request your EVGA Bucks. To check your current 'folding year' point totals, check your My Folding page.
    Points per month: EVGA bucks earned
  • 250,000: 5 EVGA Bucks (for a total of 10)
  • 100,000: 5 EVGA Bucks

What you get:

You can use you credited EVGA bucks as cash in the EVGA store, for purchase of any items offered. EVGA Bucks are essentially equal to one (1) US Dollar and used like a gift certificate in the online store. They are non-transferable to other accounts or to real currency and they do not expire.
  • EVGA Bucks are not redeemable for cash or credit
  • EVGA Bucks can only be used on the website for new and recertified product purchases
  • EVGA Bucks cannot be used to purchase shipping, EAR, step-up or other exclusive EVGA programs
  • Awarding EVGA Bucks is subject to verification of your account validity
  • EVGA Bucks can never be transfered to another account

For more details on Folding with EVGA checkout the EVGA promotion page and be sure to checkout Folding@home for more details on this very worthwhile program!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Jailbreak Your iPhone Get Banned From The App Store?

According to a recent report from Redmond Pie Apple has begun banning or disabling Apple ID's of some "jailbroken" iPhones essentially blocking or banning them from the App Store.

Citing “security reasons” Apple has banned the accounts of two well know iPhone hackers Sherif Hashim, and "iH8sn0w". Hashim is the iPhone developer and hacker who recently found an exploit in the latest iPhone OS 3.1.3, which could enable the unlock on 05.12.01 baseband for iPhone 3GS and 3G devices while  iH8sn0w who is behind Sn0wbreeze – the PwnageTool.

Both hackers posted confirmation via their Twitter accounts (@sherif_hashim & @iH8sn0w).

So far this doesn't look like a widespread banning of accounts, rather a targeted banning of two rather heavy hitters in the jailbreaking community. However this doesn't mean that its not a sign of more things to come. This might be Apple vamping up a mass blockage of Apple ID's before the iPad hits the streets.

Amazon Prime Subscribers To Get Free Kindles?

Late last week the guys over at TechCrunch reported that Amazon is pondering the idea of giving a free Kindle to Amazon Prime subscribers. The subscription based service, currently priced at $79 per year, offers free two day shipping and $3.99 next day shipping on orders shipped by Amazon.

TechCrunch points out that Amazon Prime subscribers are generally the companies very best customers – the ones who tend to make multiple purchases per month. So they are likely to be the customer that would buy multiple books per month on their Kindle devices. If those users buy enough books, and Amazon gets the production costs of the Kindle down enough, Amazon can get Kindles into “millions” of people’s hands without much loss.

The approach is simple and really nothing new. Take a small up front hit by giving away the device hoping that once you get the Kindles out there to the people who would likely order lots of books you'd make all your money back plus on the back-end.

Nokia And Intel Join Forces, Combine Moblin-Maemo Into MeeGo

During the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Nokia and Intel disclosed that the two companies with combine the forces of their Linux distributions Maemo (Nokia) and Moblin (Intel) into a joined Linux platform called MeeGo.

MeeGo blends the best of Maemo with the best of Moblin to create an open platform for multiple processor architectures. MeeGo builds on the capabilities of the Moblin core OS and its support for a wide range of device types and reference user experiences, combined with the momentum of Maemo in the mobile industry and the broadly adopted Qt application and UI framework for software developers.

In order to run the whole thing as an open-source project MeeGo will be under the control of Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux.

MeeGo run on a wide range of PC-like devices, including pocket portable mobile PCs, netbooks, tablets, smartphones, connected TVs and in-vehicle infotainment systems. Building upon a partnership the companies announced in June 2009, MeeGo is expected to be widely adopted by OEMs, device manufacturers and network operators. For more information, visit

"Our vision for seamlessly communicating between computing devices from the home, auto, office or your pocket is taking a big step forward today with the introduction of MeeGo," said Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini. "This is a foundational step in our evolving relationship with Nokia. The merging of these two important assets into an open source platform is critical toward providing a terrific experience across a variety of devices and gaining cross- industry support."

Watch the Intel-Nokia Press Conference Webcast Replay from Barcelona

Source: Intel Press Release

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Apple Announces "Countdown to 10 Billion Songs" Contest

Help Apple and iTunes reach 10 billion song downloads, and you could win a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card.

iTunes is closing in on their 10 billionth download mark and to mark the event Apple willing be giving one luck downloader, or entrant, a $10,000 iTunes gift card.Want to enter, well start downloading your favorite songs from iTunes or for the Non-purchase method: Go to, fully complete an online entry, including your name, complete mailing address (P.O. Boxes not acceptable), telephone number, and birth date. Once your online entry is complete, hit the “Submit” button to submit an entry. Entry via this method constitutes one (1) entry into the Promotion.

Regardless of which method of entry is used to enter the Promotion, only twenty-five (25) entries per person and/or iTunes account and/or email address, per day will be granted. 

For full details checkout the iTunes celebrates 10 billion page

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mozilla Confirms Infected Add-Ons Found

The Mozilla Add-Ons team has recently post an advisory and update confirming that at least one reported Add-On contains a valid instance of a trojan.

According to the original Mozilla advisory users had reported that version 4.0 of Sothink Web Video Downloader is infected with password sniffer Win32.LdPinch.gen and Master Filer was infected with the backdoor trojan Win32.Bifrose. Working with McAfee and other source Mozilla has since updated the details to confirm that only Master Filer is infected and all version of Sothink we simply issuing false positives.

Despite the fact that only a single experimental add-on was infected this new threat shows the potential of a mass outbreak.Several years ago a similar issue arose when the Xorer Worm was shipped with the Vietnamese Add-On package. In that case the malware was fairly benign only  displaying advertising, but it could, according to Mozilla developers, also have been used for more nefarious activities.

One way or the other this latest issue should raise some alarms. Users should always be aware of were, who and how they are getting their add-ons. Don't install something from a trusted site just because you think its safe. Always double check your source and scan anything you or downloading. Don't rely on a the safety of a known site when it comes to third party add-ons.

Logitech Wireless Desktop MK 710 Now With 3 Year Battery Life

Today Logitech took the wraps off the new Wireless Desktop MK710 a wireless keyboard and mouse combo that the company claims has an amazing 3 year battery life. That is assuming you can stick to an estimated two million keystrokes/year in an office environment.

Don't get me wrong the Logitech Wireless Desktop MK710 is a sleek new addition to the logitech line-up, but the company is making some pretty bold claims. Three years of battery life would be pretty amazing as the company states, it would "practically eliminating the need to ever replace the batteries."

I currently own and use a Logitech MX 3200 setup, which I've had a few years and love dearly. But one complaint I have on all my wireless setups has been battery life. Following my first wireless combo I took the leap to re-chargeable batteries, even then I've had to replace a few, not to mention remember to recharge them.

Battery life aside the he MK710 which only costs $99.99 from the Logitech online store, is packed with several other great features that we've come to love from Logitech.

Other features include:

For the $100 price tag and features you get, along with a possible 1.5-2yrs (3max) of battery the Mk710 doesn't sound like a bad offering. Having used several Logitech keyboards in the past I can say if it lives up to their reputation it should be a nice setup!

For more checkout BLogitech

Opera Showing Off Opera Mini For iPhone At MWC

iPhone owners wanting to ditch Safari rejoice, Opera Software plans to reveal Opera Mini for iPhone in an exclusive press and partner preview during the 2010 Mobile World Congress (MWC) next week in Barcelona Spain. While the app still has to go through the rigors of the approval process and Opera Mini for iPhone is not going yo be publicly available its good to see that Opera has pushed out an app at all.

Opera also says they will be unveiling a host of other Opera-powered devices at its exhibit.
  • Opera Mobile 10 beta 3 on Symbian S60 and Windows Mobile handsets
  • Opera Mobile 10 beta running on Android handsets
  • Opera Mini 5 beta, running on a variety of handsets and platforms
  • Opera’s cross-platform Widgets Manager beta, running on Windows Mobile and S60 handsets

To hear more from Opera about the future of the Web, drop by the Opera booth during the following time sat MWC:

Monday, February 15, 2010
15:00 — Jon von Tetzchner, Vodafone panel discussion on “Mobile Web developments, W3C standards, using Web APIs and the live creation of widgets”, in Hall 7, Auditorium 1
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
14:00 — Håkon Wium Lie, panel discussion on “Mobile security in an IP world”, Hall 5
14:00 — Christen Krogh, presentation on “Creating a connected cloud for the perfect mobile storm”, Hall 5
15:45 — GSMA Awards ceremony, Opera Mini shortlisted for “Best Mobile Internet Service” and “Best Mobile Technology Breakthrough”, Hall 5, Level 3, Auditorium 1

Get your hands on an Opera-powered device by visiting our stand in Hall 1, C44, during Barcelona’s annual Mobile World Congress, or schedule a meeting with Opera

Source: Opera

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Symbian Opens The Door, Goes Open Source

The Symbian Foundation today completed the open source release of the source code for the world’s most widely-used smartphone platform. The Symbian platform, which has been developed over more than 10 years and has shipped in more than 330 million devices around the world, is now completely open and the source code is available for free. The transition of this market-leading platform from proprietary code to open source is the largest in software history. The move has been completed four months ahead of schedule and provides the basis for unlimited mobile development based on innovation and openness.

Any individual or organization can now take, use and modify the code for any purpose, whether that be for a mobile device or for something else entirely. This strategic move provides the Symbian ecosystem with greater potential for innovation, faster time-to-market and the opportunity to develop on the platform for free. Symbian’s commitment to openness also includes complete transparency in future plans, including the publication of the platform roadmap and planned features up to and including 2011. Anyone can now influence the roadmap and contribute new features.

Lee Williams, Executive Director of the Symbian Foundation, comments: “The development community is now empowered to shape the future of the mobile industry, and rapid innovation on a global scale will be the result. When the Symbian Foundation was created, we set the target of completing the open source release of the platform by mid-2010 and it’s because of the extraordinary commitment and dedication from our staff and our member companies that we’ve reached it well ahead of schedule.”

More details of the open sourcing of the Symbian platform can be found via the Symbian Foundation blog, in a their press release and in an introductory video. The source code is available to download from

Source: Symbian Foundation

ATI Radeon HD 5450

ati logoAMD/ATI today announced the introduction of the ATI Radeon HD 5450 graphics card, the latest addition to the ATI Radeon HD 5000 Series graphics cards. The ATI Radeon HD 5450 graphics card delivers a state-of-the-art HD multimedia and game experience at value-lined pricetag.

Sharing the same leading edge features found in the critically-acclaimed ATI Radeon HD 5800 Series - support for DirectX 11, ATI Eyefinity multi-display technology and ATI Stream technology - the ATI Radeon HD 5450 provides an uncompromising Microsoft Windows 7 experience in a budget package.

 ATI Radeon HD 5450 Features:
  • Engine clock speed: 650 MHz
  • Processing power (single precision): 104 GigaFLOPS
  • Polygon throughput: 650M polygons/sec
  • Data fetch rate (32-bit): 20.8 billion fetches/sec
  • Texel fill rate (bilinear filtered): 5.2 Gigatexels/sec
  • Pixel fill rate: 2.6 Gigapixels/sec
  • Anti-aliased pixel fill rate: 10.4 Gigasamples/sec
  • Memory clock speed: 400 MHz DDR2 and up to 800 MHz DDR3
  • Memory data rate: 0.8 Gbps DDR2 and up to 1.6 Gbps DDR3
  • Memory bandwidth: 6.4 GB/sec (DDR2) and up to 12.8 GB/sec (DDR3)
  • Typical power: 19.1Watts
  • Idle power: 6.4Watts

ATI Radeon HD 5450 Reviews:
More information:

App Developers, AT&T Announces "Open Call - Apps For All!" Contest

AT&T today announced the fifth annual “Open Call - Apps For All!” contest, taking place at the CTIA Wireless convention in Las Vegas March 23-24.

The “Open Call - Apps For All!” contest is open to any developer who wishes to present new apps that will be used on AT&T phones. The contest is divided into four categories: Brew Mobile Platform (BMP), Android, Java & RIM, and an “Open” category reviewing applications and content of all platforms.

AT&T will award a total of $40,000 in cash prizes, $10,000 to a winner in each of the four categories.

The deadline for submissions is midnight Pacific Time on March 1, 2010. Developers can enter only one contest category at An AT&T representative will contact presenters in early March to schedule the Open Call meetings. Those invited to present will have five minutes to pitch their applications to a panel of judges in private meeting rooms, with time for Q&A afterwards. Content and applications can be presented on a working handset or simulator, if needed.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Microsoft Announces Windows Azure Platform General Availability

Windows Azure platform hits general availability

"As expected, Microsoft has announced the general availability of the Azure platform (Windows Azure, SQL Azure, and AppFabric) in 21 countries. Starting today, Microsoft customers and partners in those regions will be able to launch their Azure production applications and services with the support of the full Service Level Agreements (SLAs). The Windows Azure platform AppFabric Service Bus and Access Control will continue to be free until April 2010 for those that sign up for a commercial subscription." Read more at Ars Technica

Fro full details see Windows Azure Platform and for more information checkout the Windows Azure Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) from Microsoft.

Putting The iPad Accessories Before The iPad

Yes selling accessories for a device that isn't even available is exactly like putting the cart before the horse. The thing is companies want to try to get a jump on one another and get them out there as quickly as possible. So it comes as little surprise that this week two manufactures, LaCie and Skooba Design, have announced the release of iPad ready travel bags, sleeves and wraps.

LaCie Unveils Stylish Sleeves for MacBook Computers and the New iPad

LaCie announced a colorful series of sleeves for protecting and carrying compact netbooks and MacBook computers – LaCie Coat and LaCie ForMoa, design by Sam Hecht. For early adopters the new sleeves make a perfect carrying companion for the recently-announced Apple iPad.

The LaCie Coat and LaCie ForMoa come in five colors and offer a stylish way to protect your favorite portable computer. Made with a double layer of neoprene and soft inside lining, it protects your laptop from spills and scratches. The LaCie Coat includes an inside zippered pocket, allowing you to store a power supply and accessories.

Offering even more versatility, the LaCie ForMoa carrying case features handles that you can use or tuck away – giving you the option to carry your laptop with you or use the ForMoa as a sleeve. The ForMoa also includes three pockets for superior organization of your power supply, accessories, and paperwork. Carry a new iPad, with room to pack the power supply and accessories too.

A perfect companion to the iPad and MacBook computers, the LaCie Coat and ForMoa come in a 10.2", as well as three laptop sizes that fit 13", 15" and 17" MacBook and MacBook Pro computers – providing a perfect fit for any notebook. The LaCie Coat and LaCie ForMoa come in five vibrant colors: red, blue, pink, orange, and black.

Skooba Bags "iPad-Ready"

Skooba Design has announced that several of its new products are "iPad-ready": The Netbook/iPad Messenger, Neo Sleeve, and RAPS “portable padding” are all available now.

The Netbook/iPad Messenger is a slim, lightweight but full featured courier-style shoulder bag with over a dozen pockets and organizer compartments. It has a dedicated, padded sleeve that’s perfectly sized for the iPad, with or without Apple’s optional leather folio cover. The sleeve also fits all popular netbooks, for those who prefer computers that fold. Available in 4 color combos at $49.95 suggested retail.

The Neo Sleeve is a stretchy, neoprene (wetsuit material) skin that hugs and protects the tablet, keeping it safe from the daily bump-and-grind, as well as the elements. And it’s “checkpoint-friendly,” so it can go through airport screening without taking the iPad out of the case—faster and much safer than throwing the tablet in a gray plastic bin. 4 color combinations, $19.95 suggested retail.

Skooba RAPS take a different, much simpler (and very economical) approach. These padded squares wrap around the iPad and self-fasten. The medium size wrap is perfectly sized to “origami” itself around the tablet, creating a nearly weightless, bulk-free envelope to protect the device in a school bag or briefcase. Other sizes available too, to wrap and protect just about anything. The medium wrap retails for $14.95.

Running Windows 7 RC? Upgrade Now Before The Shutdown Begins

For those of you still running the release candidate of Windows Seven time is running out, literally.

Starting Feb. 15, people still using the Windows 7 RC will begin to receive a notification that their trial software is about to expire. These very annoying little bi-hourly notifications will remind Win 7 RC users that their PCs will "begin experiencing bi-hourly shutdowns" as of March 1.

Microsoft blogger Brandon LeBlanc sent out a friendly reminder this week on The Windows Blog outlining some of the friendly reminders we'll see. According to his post and Microsoft Support, you can expect the following:

Starting Feb. 15:

  • An expiration notification appears in the task bar once per day.
  • The Notification Wizard pops up once every four hours, and then once per hour.

Starting March 1:
  • The task bar nagging continues.
  • Your PC restarts every two hours
  • During shutdowns, your work won't be saved.
Starting June 1:
  • Windows boots to a black desktop. Yikes.
  • A Windows Activation screen reminds you that your Win 7 copy isn't genuine.
  • The two-hour reboots continue. 
RC users should keep two things in mind:
  1. To move to a released version of Windows 7, you’ll need to do a custom (clean) install to replace the installation of the Windows 7 RC. 
  2. You can still enjoy a freebie version of the full release by getting the Windows 7 Enterprise 90-day Trial
If you are looking for a low cost way to upgrade and you are a college student you can still get discounted versions through or for us standard shoppers I suggest checking out Amazon or