Saturday, March 20, 2010

5 Reasons Tablets Suck And You Won't Buy One

Tuan Nguyen, from Tom's Hardware, has put together a great piece outlining some of the issue faced by the newest wave of tablet pc's. Mainly the article points out the fact that tablet, or slate pc's have been around for ages and yet despite that fact many out there in the tech world look at this newest wave of enthusiasm towards the platform as being the one that will finally catch on.

Nguyen opens the article with a great sub-headline:

"Let's admit it: tablets suck. They've been around for at least a decade and many are faster and offer more capabilities than Apple's iPad. But why haven't you bought one yet?"

For more checkout his full article "5 Reasons Tablets Suck And You Won't Buy One" , personally I think he brings out some really interesting points. A few of which some of you might take notice of since I'm sure there are several readers out there dying to jump on the bandwagon.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Make Older Firefox Extensions Compatible With Easy Hack

Ever wanted to run older extensions with your new Firefox release just to find the author hasn't created an updat3e yet. Well there are two easy ways to force compatibility of older extensions with some of the newer versions of the popular browser.
The first and easiest way is to use the Nightly Tester Tools Add-on. This extension is a quick easy way to run those add-ons and extensions you use with either new or nightly builds of Firefox, Thunderbird, Sunbird and Toolkit Seamonkey (Suiterunner).

The following is a brief list of the extension’s features, for the full set of features please take a look at the features list.
  • Extension compatibility fixing
  • Titlebar customisation
  • Build ID retrieval
  • Screenshots
  • Breakpad information
  • Restoring tabs from previous session
  • Leak log analysis
Another easy way is to simply hack the existing code in the old add-on itself. This might sound a bit more complicated however it's a fairly simple process that only requires a user to change a few things.

To perform the hack for yourself, you'll want to start by downloading and saving the Firefox extension from .XPI to .ZIP. Once you've done that you can use your favorite ZIP program, I recommend 7Zip, and unzip it. From there you need to look for the install.rdf file open that file with “Notepad” so that you can change the number for the “maxVersion”.

The exact code looks like this

Once you've changed the "maxVersion" to whichever build you are working on now zip up the contents again, rename the file from .ZIP back to .XPI, and then you can simply drag the file into the Firefox add-ons window to install it.

It should be noted that forcing an incompatible extension to install is risky. There are many cases where Firefox will stop working completely or behave incorrectly because an incompatible extension is being forced to work where the author never intended.

i-Got-Control App Turns iPhone, iPod touch, iPad Into Universal Remote

i-Got-it Corp. announces the launch and immediate availability of i-Got-Control, a plug-and-play accessory that turns an iPhone, iPod touch or iPad into a universal remote, allowing the user to control virtually any infrared device — TVs, stereo systems and more — at home or on the go.

Boasting an industry-leading database of more than 40,000 IR codes for consumer electronic devices worldwide, the i-Got-Control accessory and its associated iTunes app support a nearly unlimited number of IR electronics worldwide, making it easy to take control anytime, anywhere. And, with i-Got-Control's built-in IR library, users can CONNECT, SELECT and CONTROL their A/V components quickly and hassle-free — with no Wi-Fi network, wires or batteries needed.

"i-Got-Control empowers users to operate A/V devices, as well as many other pieces of IR equipment, including lighting and HVAC systems, no matter where they are," said Doug Schwartz, president of "It also features an extensive built-in IR library, which means that — unlike most remote controls and other similar products in the marketplace — i-Got-Control does not require 'learning,' making it simple and easy to set up and use."

Getting started with i-Got-Control is easy. Simply download the free i-Got-Control application via iTunes and connect the compact accessory to an iPhone (OS is 3.0 or higher), iPod touch or iPad. Launch the i-Got-Control application and select the devices to control via pre-defined, user-friendly screens. Last, choose the make and model of the IR devices and save the settings. It's that simple.

The graphic user interface is highly intuitive, providing master volume control, as well as both audible and visual feedback. In addition, if a particular device's IR code cannot be found, i-Got-Control's user-friendly learning capabilities make it easy to control virtually any device. And, with a price of only $69.95, i-Got-Control makes it simple to take control anywhere, anytime.

For more information, please visit

Source: i-got-it-corp

Monday, March 15, 2010

iPads Go On-sale, We Hit The Snooze Button

Apple began accepting pre-orders for its hotly anticipated iPad tablet last Friday and according to at least one report the iPad is a very hot seller possibly selling as many as 120k units on Friday alone.

Pricing on these hot little devices range from $499 for a 16GB Wi-Fi version up to $829 for the 64GB Wi-Fi 3G enabled iPad. The devices will not ship until April, but Apple fans can now place their orders via Apple's online store.

Given the fact that most of the general public has yet to set eyes on the device, let alone handle it these preliminary numbers are a bit surprising (at least to this geek). I've mentioned before that I was not overly impressed by the initial details of the iPad, nor do I plan on buying one anytime soon. But I do stop short of saying I'll never own one, at least not before I have the chance to set eyes and hands on the device.

I know the iPad is based on the same OS that drives the iPhone and iPod Touch and much of the functionality of the device should be similar. However until you actually get your hands on one and test it you will not now how they compare. For one the device might simply be to large to offer the same ease of use. They may also lack the same responsiveness and feel that their brethren do.

Apple fanboys can be Apple fanboys but this geek is going to sit in a holding pattern and wait and see what other device come down the chutes before making a move.

Intel Tries To Match OCZ With New $125 SSD's

Earlier this month OCZ made a big move in the SSD market when they announced their new sub $100 Onyx series solid state drives. Today Intel looks to keep pace by offering a new more affordable 40 GB Intel X25-V Value series SATA SSD priced at $125.

Both the OCZ Onyx series and the Intel Value series will come in 2.5" form factors and will feature Intel's feature sustained sequential read speeds up to 170 MB/s and write speeds up to 35 MB/s, while the Onyx series is slightly slower read speeds at up to 125MB/s but a more robust write speed at up to 70MB/s.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

WD Introduces My Passport AV Designed Specifically For Audio Video Devices

With the ever increasing number of media devices featuring USB ports for USB drives to add storage and play multimedia content from the drive to an HD TV more consumers are opting to add ultra portable drives to their systems. Today WD introduced the new My Passport AV portable media drive designed specifically to meet the requirements of this demanding video streaming environment. These new drives delivers the formatting and low-power consumption that assures out-of-the-box compatibility with many leading CE (consumer electronics) devices.

The new 320 GB My Passport AV portable media drives are designed to operate seamlessly with the Direct Copy feature offered in Sony's new Handycam video recorders Blu-ray Players gaming consoles, televisions and many other popular media players.

My Passport AV Compatibility
My Passport AV portable media drives are formatted FAT32 and are compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Mac OS X and Apple's Tiger, Leopard, and Snow Leopard. My Passport AV portable media drives utilize the same drive technology found in WD AV drives inside leading cable and satellite set-top boxes and DVRs (digital video recorders) around the world.

The My Passport AV portable media drives are compatible with the following devices:

  • WD TV family of media players;
  • 2010 and later Sony camcorders with Direct Copy functionality;
  • Sony 2010 Blu-ray Disc Players including BDP-S370, BDP-S470, BDP-S570;
  • Sony 2010 Blu-ray Disc Home Theater Systems including BDV-E370, BDV-E570;
  • JVC LT-32P689 television;
  • Samsung LN32A550 television;
  • Phillips 42PFLA332D television;
  • Microsoft Xbox 360 (compatible with the USB media playback feature); and,
  • Sony PlayStation 3.

For a complete list of devices compatible with the My Passport AV portable media drives, please visit the WD Web site. A product specification sheet and photos of My Passport AV drives are available on the company's Web site at

Source: Western Digital

New HDD's Won't Affect XP Users And Why The BBC Has It Wrong

An article provided by the BBC News stating that "Hard drive evolution could hit Microsoft XP users" has garnered a ton of attention this afternoon, most of which is nothing more than a knee jerk reaction to mass media sensationalistic nonsense.

Background on the new format
The BBC article point to an ongoing move by hard drive manufactures to an advanced format where as drives which are typically formatted into 512byte sectors will now be formatted into blocks of 4K sectors. The change means about eight times less wasted space but will allow drives to devote twice as much space per block to error correction.

The problem is this is not new news. Western Digital already made users aware of the new formatting and has already provided an Advanced Format Alignment Tool. In fact most of this was covered by Anandtech (article) and HotHardware (article) as early as Dec of '09.

The issue at hand
The BBC grabbed a lot of attention with their claims, some of which is totally misguided.

First off they claim "Windows XP was released before the 4K format was decided upon." Well this is not true, in fact as MS points out in this KB article and again in the Windows Professional Product Documentation Windows XP does write 4k block segments for all drives over 2GBs. Problem is that XP writes 4K as eight 512 byte sectors and does not start with a multiple of 8 for the first sector. So the drive reads a full 4K then updates the part of the 4K that corresponds to the sector numbers XP sent. Then finally does the write. This creates a lot of overhead and creates unaligned sectors.

Again this is an issue already addressed by WD with their alignment tool.

Secondly, as the article already points out the new advanced format drives utilize 512 byte emulation which is meant to help Windows XP cope (even if it doesn't need to) by pretending they still use sectors 512 bytes in size.

"When reading data from a drive this emulation will go unnoticed." said David Burks, a product marketing manager for storage firm Seagate. He added, "However  in some situations writing data could show a hit performance. In some cases the drive will take two steps to write data rather than one and introduce a delay of about 5 milliseconds." Burks, added that, in some circumstances, it could make a drive 10% slower.

10% slower, this is hardly something that should warrant some of the alarm bells that have rang out across the web.  Look at it this way, you are likely to get a 15-20% boost from newer drive tech over drives that are currently performing very well with XP. So you might drop that by lets say 1/2. You are still seeing a size-able gain in not only performance but available space. Making these claims that "New Harddrives May Force Windows XP Upgrades" pretty unreasonable.

Lets not forget
Most computer users out there that are running Windows XP and have refused upgrades aren't likely to add new drives anytime soon and even if they do there are tons of drives out there now that we can use w/o issues. By the time these drives are dated to the point they are no longer viable Windows XP will be at the end of its life-cycle and we'll likely be running Windows 8, 9 or 10 or whatever and most drives will be ssd's or something better.

So as I said the BBC's article looks like nothing more than sensationalistic, alarmist junk to me!

Biking Geeks Can Now Get Directions Via Google Maps

Today Google has announced a new map feature that should make life for you riding geeks out there a lot easier: Google Maps now offers biking directions!

Yes that's right in addition to the many features Google Maps already has like walking, car, and public transit maps, users can now pull up detailed turn by turn directions specifically meant for a "bike friendly" ride. The new maps uses biking specific algorithms to plot the best way to get from point A to point B on two wheels. The new "bike friendly" maps plot roads and tails that are two wheeled in an attempt to avoid biking obstacles like steep hills, traffic and unnecessary stops.

Here's what you get out of the new biking map tools:

  • Bike trails: The new Google maps will contain over twelve thousand miles of biking trails. In cooperation with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Google has managed to map out 12k miles of trails and incorporated them into the routing algorithm. The algorithm is weighted to prefer routing on these trails rather than roads open to automobile traffic, so your directions will try to put you onto a trail as long as it won't take you totally out of your way. On the bicycling layer (found under the 'More' button), these trails show up in dark green.
  • Bike lanes: Included in the new maps are dedicated bicycle lanes for more than 150 cities in the US. These too are prioritized when coming up with a routing suggestion so as to keep riders of busy streets without bike lanes. On the bicycling layer, you’ll see these roads indicated in bright green.
  • Recommended routes: For many of the included cities Google has worked to provide information on streets that have been designated as "good for cyclists", essentially roads that are more bike friendly than others. These roads are indicated with dashed green lines on our bicycling layer.
  • Uphill/Downhill slopes: Most of us would much rather have a nice gradual incline or decline, unless of course you are doing some serious training. However for the average commute rider or day to day rider its nice to know where those killer hills are. Google's new biking directions are based on a physical model of the amount of power your body has to exert given the slope of the road you’re biking on. Assuming typical values for mass and for wind resistance, Google will compute the effort you’ll require and the speed you’ll achieve while going uphill. Taking this data into account the maps will more accurately  determine the time estimate for your journey, as well as presenting the best route possible to avoid an unreasonable degree of exertion. Sometimes the model will determine that it's far more efficient to make you ride several extra blocks than to have to deal with a massive hill. As per example Google uses a ride in San Francisco to show that this does indeed work!
  • Terrain Layer:  An added feature for checking your uphill/downhill slopes is the terrain layer. With this feature you can check out the hilliness of an area for yourself. Perhaps you are looking for a more challenging ride, or you want to avoid some steep declines, either way looking at the terrain first had will give you a better feel for what you can expect.
  • Busy roads: Cyclists, especially the casual riders, prefer to stay off of fast roads, and most try to avoid crossing them unless it's necessary. This is roughly the inverse of driving directions, where you want to stay on arterials and freeways, so Google had to rework a lot of those fundamental calculations when coming up with our biking directions algorithm.
  • Busy intersections: The new mapping system will try to avoid making you cross busy streets with a lot of car traffic and long wait times.

For more details checkout the official announcement on the Official Google Blog

Google Launches Apps Marketplace

Google has announced the addition of a newly formed Apps Marketplace intended to allow small business and website owners the ability to install and share apps on their domains.

The Google Apps Marketplace, announced this evening at Campfire One, allows you to publish applications which integrate with Google Apps and sell them to more than 2 million businesses. Listing your integrated cloud app on the Google Apps Marketplace enables it to have seamless OpenID-based single sign-on with Google Apps, OAuth-authorized access to Google Apps data and makes it easy for customers to access your application from Google Apps' universal navigation bar.

Once installed to a domain, these third-party applications work like any other native Google applications. With administrator approval, they may interact with calendar, email, document and/or contact data to increase productivity. Administrators can manage the applications from the familiar Google Apps control panel, and employees can open them from within Google Apps. With OpenID integration, Google Apps users can access the other applications without signing in separately to each. The Google Apps Marketplace eliminates the worry about software updates, keeping track of different passwords and manual syncing and sharing of data, thereby increasing business productivity and lessening frustrations for users and IT administrators alike.

For more information on the Google Apps Marketplace to businesses check out the Google Enterprise Blog post. Developers interested in learning how to integrate with Google Apps can check out the Google Code Blog. Or, you can explore the Google Apps Marketplace directly at

ASRock Motherboards Get Core Unlocking Feature UCC (Unlock CPU Core)

ASRock joins ASUS as the second top level motherboard manufacturer to add a simplified way of unlocking disable AMD CPU cores.

ASRock motherboards will feature what the company is calling UCC (Unlock CPU Core) a bios option that simplifies AMD CPU activation. Just a simple switch of the BIOS option ‘UCC’, and with a little luck you can unlock you CPU's disabled cores to enjoy an instant performance boost. Additionally, some CPU can even increase L3 cache size up to 6MB.

The company has gone a step further than ASUS by not only adding the feature on AMD 8xx series motherboards, they have implemented the UCC feature on entry Nvidia N68 series motherboards as well.

Please be noted that UCC feature is supported with AM2+ / AM3 CPU only, also, not every AM2+ / AM3 CPU can support this function because some CPU's hidden core may be malfunctioned.

AMD Foundation to Sponsor Video Game Design Category for The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

amd logoAMD today announced the AMD Foundation, in support of AMD Changing the Game, has awarded a grant to the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. The $65,000 grant will be used to help fund the Alliance’s new video game design category for the 2010 and 2011 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards.

The Alliance for Young Artists & Writers is a nonprofit organization that runs The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the most prestigious and longest-running competition in the United States recognizing teenagers’ intellectual creativity, innovation and artistic talent. Through this competition, scholarships and other activities, the Alliance annually reaches more than three million students in seventh through 12th grades, and 400,000 Art and English teachers. Including the new video game design category in the competition increases the reach of the program to math and science teachers and presents video game production as an art form requiring imagination, technical skill, planning and storytelling.

AMD’s partnership with the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers will help to significantly broaden the reach of the AMD Changing the Game signature education initiative to its target audience. The AMD program is designed to promote the use of youth game development as a tool to inspire learning and improve science, technology, education and math (STEM) skills.

“The Alliance’s addition of a video game design category to its annual competition validates the growth of game design as a creative learning tool for teens,” said Allyson Peerman, President, AMD Foundation. “Digital gaming is the universal language of teens, and teaching them in that language can result in more engaged and better prepared students.”

“The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have always represented the cutting edge of student creativity,” said Virginia McEnerney, Executive Director of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. “That tradition is well-represented with the addition of the video game design category.”

During its 87-year history, The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards has recognized more than nine million creative teenagers, including Andy Warhol, Robert Redford and Sylvia Plath. For the 2011 program year, the Alliance anticipates receiving 700 student submissions for the video game design category. The AMD Foundation grant also will help the Alliance host game design workshops and help fund cash awards and summer program scholarships for students. Each year top video game submissions will be showcased online.

“The ability to design computer and video games taps into a deep-seated passion for today's youth and fosters critical 21st Century skills such as creativity, collaboration and critical thinking,” said Alan Gershenfeld, Chairman, Games4Change. “The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards video game design competition is a phenomenal outlet to spotlight teens’ passion and talent for shaping this powerful new medium. I tip my hat to the AMD Foundation for recognizing that when kids are motivated to learn they can move mountains.”

AMD Changing the Game
AMD Changing the Game is designed to take gaming beyond entertainment and inspire youth to learn critical education and life skills by equipping them to create digital games with social content. The program’s purpose is to promote the use of youth game development as a tool to inspire learning and improve science, technology, education and math (STEM) skills. The initiative is rooted in AMD’s commitment to and experience in supporting education, and the company’s passion and expertise in the graphics processor and gaming industries.

Since its launch in June 2008, AMD Changing the Game has:
  • Funded 13 organizations that enable youth game development
  • Funded the development of a youth game development curriculum with PETLab and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA). Earlier in 2010, BGCA chapters in Larimer County, Colorado and Marlborough, Massachusetts kicked off new “Game Tech” programs that teach club members how to understand game design and create their own games.
  • Co-sponsored the Malaysian Cybergames Festival 2010, including the “Dare to Create” digital game design and development workshop
  • Co-sponsored the 2008 and 2009 Games for Change Festival
  • Funded an online toolkit to help nonprofits create games on social issues
  • Sponsored a video contest exploring the intersection of education and gaming
 Source: AMD

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Adobe Pushing HP's Slate PC

HP along with Alan Tam from Adobe's Flash Product Marketing show off the new HP Slate (HP's new tablet device), featuring Adobe Flash and Adobe Air functionalities.

HP introduced the Windows 7-based Slate back in January at the Consumer Electronics Show, but as of yet the company has released few details and so far has not announced a ship date besides "mid-2010." The device is reportedly going to be priced "below $500", a price that was considered underwhelming at the time of its introduction.

Rock Band 3 Coming This Holiday Season

Details are a bit scant at the moment however Harmonix and MTV Games have confirmed via Facebook today that Rock Band 3 is set for release this holiday season. Electronic Arts will once again be handling distribution duties.

Harmonix Communications Manager John Drake has also confirmed the news when he tweeted at 2 P.M. Eastern: "Viacom CEO and President Philippe Dauman has confirmed that Harmonix is working on Rock Band 3, for release Holiday 2010! WOOO!"

Intel Investigating Case Of Newegg Counterfeit Core i7s

Last weekend details of a major snafu at Newegg began to emerged, at the core was inforamtion that several people who had purchased Core i7 processors from had instead received fake chips in the mail. Newegg originally stated that the company had received as many as 300 fake Core i7s in a shipment of 2,000 chips from one of their distributors, IPEX, with whom the company has now severed ties.

Reports were that Newegg originally claimed the fakes were actually demo units sent from D&H Distribution via Intel but more recent reports have Newegg now laying blame on IPEX.

Newegg's Statement Via PC MAG
Newegg is currently conducting a thorough investigation surrounding recent shipments of questionable Intel Core i7-920 CPUs purchased from

Initial information we received from our supplier, IPEX, stated that they had mistakenly shipped us "demo units." We have since come to discover the CPUs were counterfeit and are terminating our relationship with this supplier. Contrary to any speculation, D&H Distributing is not the vendor that supplied us with the Intel Core i7-920 CPUs in question.

On Monday Intel confirmed the reports and said the company is investigating the issue thoroughly!

"Intel has been made aware of the potential for counterfeit i7 920 packages in the marketplace and is working to how many and/or where they are being sold," a spokesman told PC Mag Monday. "The examples we have seen are not Intel products but are counterfeits. Buyers should contact their place of purchase for a replacement and/or should contact their local law enforcement agency if the place of purchase refuses to help."

At question were images and videos posted by several customers. Including the video posted by forums, user Dreadlok

As you can see from the video this is clearly not a case of demo models being shipped. For anyone who received one of the defective units, you can contact Newegg's customer service right here.

Cisco Unveil News That Will 'Forever Change the Internet'

Cisco Systems today introduced the companies next-generation Internet core router, the  Cisco CRS-3 Carrier Routing System (CRS) , with about three times the capacity of its current platform. The new routers are designed to serve as the foundation of the next-generation Internet and set the pace for the astonishing growth of video transmission, mobile devices and new online services through this decade and beyond.

With more than 12 times the traffic capacity of the nearest competing system, the Cisco CRS-3 is designed to transform the broadband communication and entertainment industry by accelerating the delivery of compelling new experiences for consumers, new revenue opportunities for service providers, and new ways to collaborate in the workplace.

"The Internet will scale faster than any of us anticipate," Cisco Chairman and CEO John Chambers said during a webcast announcing the product.


  • The Cisco CRS-3 triples the capacity of its predecessor, the Cisco CRS-1 Carrier Routing System, with up to 322 Terabits per second, which enables the entire printed collection of the Library of Congress to be downloaded in just over one second; every man, woman and child in China to make a video call, simultaneously; and every motion picture ever created to be streamed in less than four minutes.
  • The Cisco CRS-3 enables unified service delivery of Internet and cloud services with service intelligence spanning service provider Internet Protocol Next-Generation Networks (IP NGNs) and data center.  The Cisco CRS-3 also provides unprecedented savings with investment protection for the nearly 5,000 Cisco CRS-1 deployed worldwide.  Cisco's cumulative investment in the Cisco CRS family is $1.6 billion, further underscoring the company's commitment.
  • AT&T, one of the world's largest telecommunications companies, recently tested the Cisco CRS-3 in a successful completion of the world's first field trial of 100-Gigabit backbone network technology, which took place in AT&T's live network between New Orleans and Miami.  The trial advances AT&T's development of the next generation of backbone network technology that will support the network requirements for the growing number of advanced services offered by AT&T to consumer and business customers, both fixed and mobile.
  • The Cisco CRS-3 is currently in field trials, and its pricing starts at $90,000 U.S. 
Data sheet and more info on CRS-3.

Source: Cisco

Malware Found On New Vodafone HTC Magic Phone

According to a recent blog post Panda Security researchers have discovered as many as three pieces of malware on a brand new Vodafone HTC Magic with Google’s Android OS.

The discovery was made after a n employee of a software security firm plugged the device into a Windows based PC running Panda Cloud Antivirus. The malware programs were on the phone's 8GB microSD memory card, which mounts as an external drive when plugged into a PC. Panda's Cloud AV instantly detected both an autorun.inf and autorun.exe as malicious. A quick look into the phone quickly revealed it was infected and spreading the infection to any and all PCs that the phone would be plugged into.

Upon further investigation, Panda found that the employee's phone contained three malware programs: a client for the now-defunct Mariposa botnet, the Conficker worm as well as a password stealer for the Lineage game, said Pedro Bustamante, Panda Security's senior research adviser.

It is likely that this is an isolated incident which may have been caused by Vodafone selling a refurbished/returned phone without clearing the old user settings. However at this time nothing has been confirmed and Vodafone says they will be looking into the incident to "make sure that any necessary changes to their security policies are put in place."

Additional Reading:

Monday, March 08, 2010

iPad On Sale April 3, Available For Pre-Order From March 12

The wait is almost over, Apple much hyped, much anticipated iPad will officially go on-sale this Friday and will be available April 3rd. Apple's online store will accept orders for all models, and Apple retail stores will be accepting orders for Wi-Fi-only models.

“iPad is something completely new,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’re excited for customers to get their hands on this magical and revolutionary product and connect with their apps and content in a more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before.”

iPad will be available in Wi-Fi models on April 3 in the US for a suggested retail price of $499 for 16GB, $599 for 32GB, $699 for 64GB. The Wi-Fi + 3G models will be available in late April for a suggested retail price of $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB and $829 for 64GB.  iPad will be sold in the US through the Apple Store (, Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers.

Source: Apple

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Enter AT&T's Third Annual Big Mobile on Campus Challenge

Earlier this month AT&T launched its 2010 AT&T Big Mobile on Campus Challenge, a national higher education contest that invites students to design the next generation e-learning mobile application.

The contest, which opened on March 1, 2010, and ends September 15, 2010, seeks mobile applications in the e-learning category that demonstrate usability, quality, innovation, utility and marketability. AT&T will choose five finalists and then select three overall winners. The Grand Prize Winner(s) will be presented with a $10,000 scholarship –– either as an individual or team and they will receive a mobile device of choice as well as being invited to participate on the 2011 AT&T Big Mobile on Campus Challenge Judging Committee.

The top five finalists’ schools will receive complementary memberships to AT&T’s Developer Program. Additionally, the two runners-up will receive a $5,000 scholarship, given to the individual or divided among the team members, as well as a mobile device of choice for each entrant.

Contest rules, application forms, and further details on the 2010 AT&T Big Mobile on Campus Challenge can be found at

Nvidia Blames GPU Re-Branding On OEMs

According to several reports Nvidia is blaming their rounds of GPU re-branding on OEMs stating that OEMs want new GPU naming schemes in order to make their spec sheets look fresh and cutting edge. The company also said that re-branding is something it does at the request of large PC OEMs, but did not name specific brands.

Nvidia also said that despite how much consumers complain about its re-branding exercises and how confusing it makes buying a new graphics card, most re-brands are OEM-only products and will "never be seen within the retail space."

I for one hate it when Nvidia and Ati do this crap, not only with re-brands but with their "adjusted" naming schemes. Sure they wan't the product lines to look fresh and hot but come-on give us some naming schemes that make sense. A newly released low end 4xx series card shouldn't be half as powerful as a top end older 3xx series card.

Sure consumers should try to educate themselves before making purchases but the companies shouldn't make it so confusing that you have to spend an hour trying to figure out which card is the best bang for your hard earned dollar

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Asus M4A89GTD PRO Unlocks Disabled Phenom II CPU Cores

Earlier this week ASUS introduced two new AMD 890GX based motherboards the M4A89GTD PRO and the M4A89GTD PRO/USB3, two boards that in and of themselves are seemingly two more great additions to the ASUS line-up. These particular boards however offers a slight advantage over some of the other boards on the market. They come with the ability to "unlock," or enable processor cores that were originally disabled by AMD.

Core unlocking is nothing new, in fact we reported early last year that with the right motherboard you could Turn Your Phenom II X3 Core Into A Quad Core. AMD however pressured motherboard manufactures to block the feature by adding a new microcode in the companies motherboard BIOS updates. With the new updated bios gone was the ability to make your lower prices CPU run like its much more expensive counter part.

The ASUS M4A89GTD PRO and M4A89GTD PRO/USB3 are the first boards to officially offer a "Core Unlocker" switch on the motherboard, turning select processors into triple or quad core CPU. ASUS's Core Unlocker simplifies the activation of a latent AMD CPUs. User can toggle the switch, turn on the disabled cores and enjoy an instant performance boost by simply unlocking the extra cores, without performing complicated BIOS changes. Asus has said, "Not all processors are supported nor will all supported processors operate correctly with unlocked cores." Asus did not say which processors the Core Unlocker feature would support.


Intel Announces Atom Developer Million Dollar Development Fund

intel logoAnnouncing the Intel Atom Developer Program Million Dollar Development Fund!

This new fund provides $1 million to support developers who are creating innovative applications for the Intel Atom processor-based products. The fund will be available to individual and student developers as well as small, medium and large software companies.

The Intel Atom Developer Program Million Dollar Development Fund is a multi-faceted fund to help accelerate innovation in software applications for Intel Atom processor-based products, starting with netbooks, and eventually supporting smartphones, consumer electronics and more devices. The netbook market is growing fast at 35 million in 2009 to 139 million in 2013. Now more than ever, there is a rising demand for applications that have been designed for the netbook form factor and for the mobile, on the go audience. This new fund is designed to address this very challenge and to provide you with the support you need to build and sell these applications.

The fund is available to individual and student developers as well as small, medium and large software companies to support the development of compelling user experiences and applications on the netbook platform. The fund provides hardware and incentives to developers with the objective of reducing barrier to entry for new application development and accelerating time to market.

The first two elements of the fund available today are:

Fast Track 2010
Accelerate your time to revenue. 250 validated apps with the most compelling attributes will be awarded $500. Submit your apps before March 31, 2010 to be eligible!

Dollars for Downloads 2010
Increase application revenue. We will match application revenue in the Intel AppUp SM center for 4 months for 100 apps! Apps must be submitted before March 31, 2010 to be eligible.

Project Runway Winner Teams With Nuo Tech On New Laptop Cases

Nuo Tech Announces Chloe Dao Line of Mobile Technology Cases that Combine Contemporary Design with Ultimate Protection

Travel In Style This Summer with Designer Laptop Cases and Luggage Designed by Project Runway Winner

Nuo Tech, LLC, designers of technology cases for today’s fashionistas and mobile professionals, announces the Dao Chloe Dao for Nuo Collection. The Collection features a rolling laptop brief, a slim laptop brief, a flip tote, a mini backpack, 20" carry-on trolley, over the shoulder satchel and a netbook envelope clutch. Cases start at $24.99.
The Chloe Dao Collection is fashion-forward and without boundaries, and has been designed by Project Runway winner, Chloe Dao, with a play on colors, geometry and shapes to create a line that is "classic trendy" and modern that will not go out of style.  The full line of mobile technology cases is not only chic, but it is functional and durable for protecting expensive, electronic devices and travel essentials.

"I design for working men or women like myself - professionals who do not want to sacrifice style for function. The Dao Chloe Dao Collection has the best of both worlds," commented Chloe Dao. "I am a woman that is always on the go, literally. It has been wonderful to be able to work with Nuo to design accessories that are functional and fashionable that help me navigate my busy life with style."

The Collection is now available at Nuo’s online store at as well as Chloe Dao’s Lot 8 boutique which draws a diverse clientele of celebrities, fashionistas and career women. Nuo’s products may also be purchased at retailers such as Dell, eBags, and

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Microsoft Confirms Free Office 2010 Upgrade For Recent Office 2007 Buyers

Microsoft CFO Peter Klein has confirmed that the company will offer a free upgrade to the upcoming Office 2010 suite for some Office 2007 buyers. The program entitled the "Microsoft Office 2010 Technology Guarantee Program" will start on March 5 and run through Sept. 30. Anyone that purchases an eligible copy of Office 2007 during that period will automatically qualify for a free upgrade to Office 2010 when the new suite launches in June.

Users buying Office Home and Student 2007 will receive a free copy of Office Home and Student 2010, while buyers of Office Standard 2007 will be eligible for a free copy of Office Home and Business 2010, a new addition to the Office lineup. Purchases of either Office Small Business 2007 or Office Professional 2007 will be eligible for a free copy of Office Professional 2010.

Office 2007 Home and Student currently sells for $104 at, $45 less than the planned $149 list price for Office Home and Student 2010.

Add Location Awareness To Windows 7

One of the exciting new features found in Windows 7 is the Windows 7’s Sensor and Location Platform. With this new feature your computer and applications can use location based information to adapt to their current environment. With location sensors -- including GPS devices, WWAN radios, and even triangulation technology -- your applications and gadgets can know exactly where they are, enabling them to provide more locally relevant content and functionality.

Geosense, a newly introduced free app utilizes these functions to pinpoint a users specific location. Utilizing a mix of WiFi triangulation, cell tower triangulation and IP lookup information the app gathers information from geolocation service providers and various other Essentially turning any Windows 7 based device into a GPS unit. Even those that aren't equipped with GPS chips.

The idea, is that with Geosense for Windows installed, your Windows 7 system will know roughly where you are in the world and will consequently be able to provide a localized computing experience. Search results, application information ect. could then become more locally aware. The hope is that more third-party developers will eventually take advantage of the Windows 7 location APIs and make more location based applications such as those commonly found on your iPhone and other similar smartphones.

I've downloaded the app just to play around with it and see what kind of features it includes. I assume since there aren't many geo-aware apps out there at this time it doesn't have a ton of features but being the geek I am I like to play around with new toys. Anyone wanting to checkout the app should also checkout this great tutorial on getting it up and running from Lifehacker. How to Add Location Awareness to Your Windows 7 PC - windows 7 - Lifehacker.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Apple Sues HTC Claims Hardware/Software Infringement

In a brief statement released today Apple announced it is suing HTC for infringing on 20 Apple patents related to the iPhone’s user interface, underlying architecture and hardware. The lawsuit was filed concurrently with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and in U.S. District Court in Delaware.

"We can sit by and watch competitors steal our patented inventions or we can do something about it," Apple's CEO Steve Jobs said in the statement, "We've decided to do something about it. We think competition is healthy, but competitors should create their own original technology, not steal ours."

Apple feels that the vast majority of HTC's smartphones including: the Nexus One, Touch Pro, Touch Diamond, Touch Pro2, Tilt II, Pure, Imagio, Dream / G1, myTouch 3G, Hero, HD2, and Droid Eris - (pretty much everything) infringe upon either software or hardware related patents held by the company.

According to Engadget the news of the fillings comes as a shock to HTC who reportedly stated they had yet to be served with a complaint. In a brief statement HTC told Engaget "We only learned of Apple's actions based on your stories and Apple's press release. We have not been served yet so we are in no position to comment on the claims."

Apple has submitted over 700 pages of exhibits to the Delaware District Court many of which can be viewed over at Engadget

My opinion

Apple undoubtedly makes a ton of money on the iPhone and the company is looking to keep their edge in the market. Most of the software based complaints appear to revolve around multi-touch and gestures. How a company can be allowed to patent something I do with my hands I don't know, but Apple has shown ion the past they are willing to fight to keep try to keep these gestures off other phones.

I didn't read all of, nor would I claim to fully understand, most of the complaints filed but they looked fairly vague and most look like complete nonsense. I mean come on "Unlocking A Device By Performing Gestures On An Unlock Image" I guess that means moving my hand over to the power button and pressing on is now patented? Lets get real here!

Update: Engadget now has a great break down on the suit that includes more patent details - Apple vs HTC: a patent breakdown

AMD's New 890 GX Series Chipset

AMD alongside several of the companies motherboard partners today announced the release of the new AMD 890GX Chipset featuring ATI Radeon HD 4290 on-board Graphics.

The new 890GX platform not only includes superior graphics but will also feature support for ATI CrossFireX, the SATA 3.0 6Gbps hard drive interface, USB 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet, HyperTransport 3.0 technology, and PCI Express Generation 2.0.

Among the first companies to announce boards based on the new chipset are Gigabyte, MSI and ECS.

 AMD 890GX Chipset Reviews:
 @ Techgage
 @ Neoseeker
 @ PCPer
 @ HotHardware
 @ HardwareHeaven
 @ Hardware Canucks
 @ Tweaktown
 @ OCC
 @ Hardware Secrets
 @ TechwareLabs

More details from AMD

Got An Older Windows Phone? No Windows Phone 7 OS For You!

Bad news for those of you currently using a Windows phone, Natasha Kwan, general manager for Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business in the Asia-Pacific region, told APC Mag that none of the current Windows Mobile OS based phones will be eligible to be upgraded to Windows Phone 7 Series because they don’t meet the hardware criteria that Microsoft has mandated for phones running the new OS.

Last month when Microsoft introduced the new Windows Phone 7 Series at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain they set forth a strict set of required specifications and upgrade guidelines to address the growing issue of fragmentation — a complex hardware ecosystem that requires developers to code several versions of one app to sell on one platform for different types of phones. By setting stricter requirements Microsoft hopes developers won't have to work as hard to get apps coded for their new OS. However until now the company has been vague about exactly what the required specifications would be for Windows 7 Series phones.

Kwan doesn't give specific details on what the new requirements will be but she does say “Because we have very specific requirements for Windows Phone 7 Series the current phones we have right now will not be upgradable."

Microsoft says it will not completely abandon the current Windows Mobile 6.x platform once Windows Phone 7 arrives. The OS will be incrementally upgraded and rebranded as Windows Phone Classic thus being retained for budget-minded smartphone buyers as well as business customers with 6.x-based apps.

Western Digital Unveils New My Passport Studio Drives With E-Label

wd logoWD Introduces New My Passport Studio Portable Drives, Delivering Super-Fast, Go-Anywhere Performance for Mac Computers

E-Label Smart Display Helps Creative Professionals Organize Their Storage

WD, the world's leader in external storage solutions, today introduced its new My Passport Studio portable drives featuring the super-fast FireWire 800 interface and a customizable e-label that's always visible, even when the drive is unplugged. Sporting a sleek and stylish design, the new high-performance My Passport Studio drives are formatted for Mac(R) computers, compatible with Apple TimeMachine software, and feature automatic and continuous backup with WD SmartWare software, and 256-bit hardware-based encryption. Available now at select retailers and, the new My Passport Studio drives are offered in capacities of 320 GB, 500 GB and 640 GB. WD's My Passport Studio drives are designed for creative professionals and Mac enthusiasts. Their production and use of many large files require the fast transfers from computer to My Passport Studio drives that FireWire 800 provides. Professionals such as photographers also benefit from the e-labeling system to effectively organize their work.

The e-label smart display on the front of the My Passport drives can be changed as often as desired using the included WD SmartWare software. Users can easily create a label to personalize their drive or remind themselves of its contents. The e-label also shows available capacity and whether the drive is locked. Utilizing e-paper technology, the information on the display remains clearly visible, even when the drive is unplugged.

According to research firm Parks Associates, the average U.S. broadband household currently has over 120 GB of digital media and files which is projected to grow to over 1 TB of data by 2013.

"Many of our customers store their content on multiple external drives, making it difficult to know what content is on each drive," said Dale Pistilli, vice president of marketing of WD's Branded Products group. "The e-label smart display is an elegant and practical solution for organizing and keeping track of one's digital life and work. WD SmartWare software makes it easy for users to protect their valuable content with automatic and continuous backup and encryption."

The new My Passport Studio is fully compatible with Apple TimeMachine software for easy backup of your most important files. It also offers the option of the simple and intuitive WD SmartWare software, with automatic continuous backup and real-time visual interface, giving users a reassuring view of their backup as it happens. After the first backup, users' files are backed up automatically every time they change or add a file.

My Passport Studio drives also feature user-selected password protection combined with 256-bit hardware-based encryption, which scrambles files before they are stored. Typically found only on much more expensive drive systems, the encryption acts as a virtual padlock to keep users' data safe.

Price and Availability
The new My Passport Studio drives are offered in capacities of 320 GB, 500 GB and 640 GB and have a 3-year limited warranty. My Passport Studio ultra-portable drives are available now at select retailers and online at MSRP for the My Passport Studio drives ranges from $149.99 USD to $199.99 USD depending on capacity.

My Passport Studio
The new WD My Passport Studio ultra-portable drives feature:
  • Smart display - a customizable e-label that reminds users of what is stored on the drive and provides available capacity and security status at a glance even when the drive is unplugged;
  • FireWire 800 - users can save and access data at top speeds with the high-performance FireWire 800 interface;
  • Plug-and-play, designed for use with Mac computers and compatibility with Apple TimeMachine software;
  • WD SmartWare software that visually presents consumers' data in a software control center;
  • 256-bit hardware-based encryption and password protection for peace of mind knowing that data is protected from unauthorized access;
  • USB 2.0 interface - for convenience and compatibility among multiple computers;
  • Planet-friendly packaging derived from recycled materials to minimize waste;
  • HFS+ Journaled formatting and are compatible with Mac OS X Tiger(R), Leopard(R) and Snow Leopard(R); and,
  • 3-year limited warranty.
WD SmartWare Software
  • Visual backup displays that show content in categories and shows the progress of backup;
  • Automatic, continuous data backup will instantly make a second copy whenever you add or change a file;
  • Retrieve valuable data to its original location whether it's lost data or the file has been overwritten; and,
  • Customizable data backup that allows users to set drive security, run diagnostics, manage the power settings, and more from the WD SmartWare control center.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Update: Sony PSN Service Restored

Earlier today we reported that Sony PS3 owners were having issues with the consoles and the Playstation network. About 6pm PST Sony reported via Twitter that those issues have now been resolved. According to the full post on the Playstation Blog the issue was caused by an internal clock glitch that reported 2010 as a leap year.

We are aware that the internal clock functionality in the PS3 units other than the slim model, recognized the year 2010 as a leap year. Having the internal clock date change from February 29 to March 1 (both GMT), we have verified that the symptoms are now resolved and that users are able to use their PS3 normally.

If the time displayed on the XMB is still incorrect, users are able to adjust time settings manually or via the internet. If we have new information, we will update you through the PlayStation.Blog or

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

iTunes 10 Billionth Download Winner Announced

Last Week when 71-year-old retired real estate broker Louie Sulcer of Woodstock, Ga., clicked the “Buy Song” button at the iTunes store he had no idea that that one song would net him a $10,000 iTunes gift card. Sulcer won the 10 billionth download contest Apple had been running in honor of their 10 billionth song being downloaded from the company’s iTunes Store since the site went active in April 2003.

Mr. Sulcer will receive a $10,000 iTunes gift card for his fortuitous purchase of Johnny Cash’s “Guess Things Happen That Way.” Mr. Sulcer said in an interview that he learned about his achievement when Apple CEO Steve Jobs personally called on Wednesday night. On Thursday Sulcer heard from Rosanne Cash, Johnny Cash’s daughter, who thanked him for buying one of her father’s tunes. She then put her husband, the musician John Leventhal, on the phone to play the winning song. Mr. Sulcer said he hadn’t had much time to think about how he would spend the winnings. “That’s the $10,000 question,” he said, though he said he expects that his three children and nine grandchildren would most likely benefit. “I don’t think I’ll have to worry about buying birthday and Christmas presents anytime soon.”

More details from Apple

Skooba Launches New Products for Tech Organization and Protection

Skooba Design has added a new cable/accessory organizer, as well as a new collection of multi-use protective wraps, to its ever-expanding line of tech-travel carrying cases and accessories. The new Cable Stable DLX and SkoobaWraps are the first few items to be introduced in what the company says will be the most significant year of new product introductions in its 10-year history.

The Cable Stable DLX is a completely redesigned edition of a unique accessory storage concept that the company first developed and introduced in 2000. The case, which looks and opens like a book, features a grid of elastic hold-downs in different sizes and orientations. The elastic strips “float” freely under reinforced retention strips, so they can easily stretch and contract to accommodate a nearly limitless assortment of portable gadgets, cords, adapters, and other accessories. According to Skooba spokesperson Lorri Diggory, “It’s not at all unusual to travel with a laptop, phone, music/media device, digital camera or compact video camera, and more. That means bringing along at least a half-dozen cords, adapters, media cards, extra batteries, and other ‘support gear.’ The Cable Stable offers a versatile and efficient alternative to a snake pit in the bottom of a laptop bag, or items stuffed haphazardly into random pockets or pouches.” Diggory says that the demand for this compact and protective organizer has greatly increased with airline baggage constraints, as a traveler can now easily and safely store all of these accessories in one carrier and pack it neatly in a suitcase. The company says that the original Cable Stable was one of its best-selling products for years, and it developed the new DLX version with new styling and features, designed to efficiently organize the things that road warriors and other techies carry today.

With the storage grid, pockets on the opposite side, elastic loops for batteries, pens and thumb drives, and an exterior document/CD pocket, the Cable Stable DLX offers approximately 18 different storage spaces in a 12 ounce case the size of a traditional day planner. According to the company, customers have come up with many creative high- and low-tech uses for the Cable Stable, including using it as a netbook case, cosmetic/toiletry kit, and even a storage case for kids’ travel distractions. “It’s really a versatile, sensible, all-around organizer,” says Diggory.

Also keying off a very popular Skooba product design, the new SkoobaWraps are simple, “portable padding” that can be wrapped and self-secured around virtually any suitable object, from a compact camera in the small wrap, to a compact laptop in the large one. Much like the Cable Stable, the Wraps are an ideal way to cope with the challenges of air travel. They can be used to instantly protect and pack just about anything, from handheld video games to netbooks, iPads and e-readers, to travel souvenirs. SkoobaWraps pack flat when not in use, and add negligible weight when traveling. As Skooba puts it, “Roll them, fold them, make protective origami—it’s like always having a supply of bubble wrap with you, only thinner, easier to use, more durable, and a heck of a lot better looking.”

The new Cable Stable DLX is available now at a suggested retail price of $39.95. SkoobaWraps, also shipping now, come in 3 sizes with suggested retails from $12.95 - $17.95. Full specs and dealer/ordering information at

Network Issues Render PlayStation 3 Units Inoperable

Sony has confirmed that a networking glitch, which originally appeared yesterday afternoon, continues to leave some customers unable to connect to the PlayStation Network. The networking issue by itself really isn't that big a deal, however this glitch seems to be affecting the ability to play offline single-player games.

Sony says they believe they have identified the problem which they think is being caused by a bug in the clock functionality incorporated in the system.

According to a post on the Playstation Blog Sony says they hope to resolve this problem within the next 24 hours. In the meantime, if you have a model other than the new slim PS3 it is advised that you do not use your PS3 system, as doing so may result in errors in some functionality, such as recording obtained trophies, and not being able to restore certain data.

Errors include:
  • The date of the PS3 system may be re-set to Jan 1, 2000.
  • When the user tries to sign in to the PlayStation Network, the following
    message appears on the screen; “An error has occurred. You have been
    signed out of PlayStation Network (8001050F)”.
  • When the user tries to launch a game, the following error message appears
    on the screen and the trophy data may disappear; “Failed to install
    trophies. Please exit your game.”
  • When the user tries to set the time and date of the system via the
    Internet, the following message appears on the screen; “The current date
    and time could not be obtained. (8001050F)”
  • Users are not able to play back certain rental video downloaded from the
    PlayStation Store before the expiration date.

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.