Thursday, March 25, 2010

Miller Snubs Apple and MS Says 'Find Your Own Bugs'

Following his feats at Pwn2Own security researcher Charlie Miller gave the snub to software giants Apple, Microsoft and Adobe when he refused to provide the companies with the more than 20 vulnerabilities he has found in their software.

When Miller took the floor at CanSecWest many believed that his intent was to fully disclose the vulnerabilities he found, however that was never his intention. He instead demonstrated how he found the vulnerabilities, hoping that Apple, Microsoft and other vendors would listen to what he has to say.

Using a "dumb fuzzer", which is basically just a few lines of code that search for flaws in software by inserting data to see where the program fails, Miller quickly uncovered 20 vulnerabilities ranging across several different applications including; Apple's Mac OS X 10.6, aka Snow Leopard, and its Safari browser; Microsoft's PowerPoint presentation maker; Adobe's popular PDF viewer, Reader; and in OpenOffice.org, the open-source productivity suite.

"People will criticize me and say I'm a bad guy for not handing over [the vulnerabilities], but it actually makes more sense to me to not tell them," Miller said. "What I can do is tell them how to find these bugs, and do what I did. That might get them to do more fuzzing." That, Miller maintained, would mean more secure software.

"We find a bug, they patch it," said Miller. "We find another bug, they patch it. That doesn't improve the security of the product. True, the software gets incrementally better, but they actually need to make big improvements. But I can't make them do that."

Miller's hope is that vendors like Microsoft, Apple and Adobe, which spend millions of dollars and have teams of security engineers and scores of machines running fuzzers looking for flaws, will sep up and learn from something that one researcher with three computers has done in a short time. If the companies will duplicate his work, and maybe, just maybe, be motivated to do more of their own research prior to releasing the software they can learn to find these flaws before the release rather than taking findings from researchers after the fact and creating a reactionary fix. 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Set to Open at Universal Orlando Resort June 18

Not your typical Geek News from us we know but hey its hard to be a geek and not love Harry Potter!

One of the most widely anticipated theme park entertainment experiences ever created – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort – is set for a public grand opening on June 18.


Universal Orlando Also Unveils Details for the Highly Anticipated New Attraction: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

Today, Universal Orlando Resort also revealed details about what is expected to be one the most exciting theme park experiences ever created:  Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey.  It will be one of three themed attractions within The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including Flight of the Hippogriff and Dragon Challenge.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is the heart of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This all new adventure combines a powerful storyline with spectacular new technology so effectively that guests will be completely immersed in the experience.

And as they live their adventure, guests will feel things no one has ever felt inside a theme park attraction, move in ways no one has ever moved, experience film like no one else ever has, explore vast sets punctuated by amazing special effects – and have an adventure only possible in Harry Potter's world.

The new attraction lies deep within Hogwarts castle, a majestic structure that towers over The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - the only place in the world where the wonder, excitement and adventure of the Harry Potter books and films comes to life.

The Adventure
Imagine...
...meeting Harry, Ron and Hermione as if they were in person
...soaring over Hogwarts castle with Harry
...being swept into a Quidditch match
...feeling the chilling effect of a Dementor
...exploring your favorite places inside Hogwarts castle
...living adventures you've only been able to imagine – until now.

HARRY POTTER AND THE FORBIDDEN JOURNEY

The Story
Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey draws you into the excitement and chaos of Harry's life.  As you venture through Hogwarts castle, you meet Harry, Ron and Hermione who convince you to skip a planned lecture and follow them. Upon taking their advice, you travel by Floo powder, and begin the adventure as you soar over Hogwarts, narrowly escape a dragon attack, have a close encounter with the Whomping Willow, get pulled into a Quidditch match and more.

"Guests will experience firsthand a completely new adventure featuring the iconic characters, amazing creatures and recognizable locations they've only read in the books or seen in the films," said Thierry Coup, creative director for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

The Location
The Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey experience starts as soon as you walk through the gates of Hogwarts.  Within the towering Hogwarts castle, you explore a truly magical place. You journey through iconic locations taken from the films and take in the extraordinary detail of each scene.  They include:
  • Dumbledore's office: Here, you meet the Headmaster as he welcomes you to Hogwarts
  • Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom:  Where you first meet Harry, Ron and Hermione
  • Gryffindor common room: You meet three additional characters who prepare you for your journey
  • Room of Requirement: Here, with hundreds of floating candles above, you take your seat on an enchanted bench and begin the Forbidden Journey
  • Other locations: In addition, guests will pass through the Dungeon passageway and hallways of Hogwarts where they will have the chance to see hundreds of wizard portraits from the films, including several magical talking portraits created exclusively for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, including the four founders of Hogwarts. Guests will even get a glimpse of the Sorting Hat.

The Innovation
This is more than just an attraction and it is unlike any theme park experience ever created.  It's a revolutionary, 360-degree theme park experience and first-ever combination of live-action, advanced robotic technology and innovative filmmaking – specially designed and developed for this brand-new adventure.
"We have created an entirely new way to place our guests into the heart of one of the most compelling stories of our time," said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative.  "What we have done will forever change the theme park attraction experience."

The attraction's newly created ride system envelops guests in filmed action scenes and moves those scenes with them as they travel through the ride, allowing more time in the center of the adventure and with their favorite characters.  This fusion of robotic technology and filmed scenes has never been achieved until now.  In some cases, technology had to be invented to achieve the highest level of guest experience.   The combination of pioneering, state-of-the-art technology, innovative filmmaking and surprises around every corner make this attraction the embodiment of the Harry Potter book and film series—and the future of theme park entertainment.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Quick Facts
  • Storyline: As you venture through Hogwarts, you meet Harry, Ron and Hermione , who convince you to skip a planned lecture and follow them. Upon taking their advice you travel by Floo powder, and begin your adventure as you soar over Hogwarts, narrowly escape a dragon attack, have a close encounter with the Whomping Willow, get pulled into a Quidditch match and more.
  • First-ever combination of advanced robotic ride system technology with innovative, immersive filmmaking
  • Award-winning composer John Williams oversaw the creation of the attraction’s score
  • The queue includes the following Harry Potter book and film elements: Headmaster Dumbledore’s office, Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, Gryffindor common room, Room of Requirement, and the greenhouse; talking portraits including the Fat Lady and the never-before-seen four founders: Godric Gryffindor, Salazar Slytherin, Helga Hufflepuff and Rowena Ravenclaw; the Sorting Hat, the One-Eyed Witch statue and the Mirror of Erised
  • Duration of ride: The full attraction experience, including the queue, takes about an hour
  • Number of scenes in the attraction: 12
  • Characters (featuring Harry Potter film talent): Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Albus Dumbledore, Rubeus Hagrid and Draco Malfoy


    • You may also catch a glimpse of Fred and George Weasley, Ginny Weasley and Neville Longbottom

For the latest news about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com.

Source: PR NewsWire

Blizzard Announces BlizzCon 2010

 Blizzard announced today its fifth BlizzCon gaming convention will kick off on Friday, October 22 in Anaheim, California. Details about ticket availability and pricing will be announced on the official BlizzCon web site in the near future. The company did state tickets will be sold in much the same way as last year, meaning a Battle.net account is required, and tickets will be sold to the lucky few that queue into the system first.

Anyone wanting to attend better get on the ball because lastt year's show sold out in just eight minutes.

Adobe Wowing Users With CS5 Preview Videos

Adobe this week released a new video showing users a sneak peak of some of the tools that will be available in Photoshop CS5 when i'ts launched in April. Beware after viewing this video you may feel the urge to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the new software!!

This video is for the new 'Content-Aware Fill Tool'. This new tool allows you to remove unwanted items, like camera lens flare or stray objects, even big things like trees with a few clicks. Adding, moving and repairing items within your pictures just got a whole lot easier – all you have to do is select the problem area with the Content-Aware Fill Tool, click and Photoshop does the rest.




Honestly all I can say is WOW!! I'm ready to give it a test drive.

Skype Mobile for Verizon Wireless Launches Today

skype logoBeginning today, new and existing Verizon Wireless customers with Android 3G smartphones and BlackBerry 3G smartphones can get Skype mobile in a number of ways. Visit www.verizonwireless.com/skypemobile or www.skype.com/go/mobile from a PC to enter the mobile phone number to receive a text message with a link to the application. Verizon Wireless customers can also text “SKYPE” to 2255 to receive the link. In addition, Android customers will be able to download the app from Android Market. New BlackBerry customers will find the application on their 3G smartphones’ home screens in the Downloads folder when activated.

Skype mobile gives Verizon Wireless 3G smartphone users with data plans a simple new way to stay in touch with friends, family and business colleagues around the corner and around the world while on Verizon Wireless’ network. Skype mobile users can:
  • make and receive unlimited Skype-to-Skype voice calls to any Skype contact around the globe;
  • send and receive unlimited instant messages with other Skype users;
  • manage the Skype contact list directly from the mobile application; and
  • call international phone numbers at competitive Skype calling rates.

Customers need a Verizon Wireless smartphone and data plan to use Skype mobile. Skype-to-Skype calls will not be charged against their monthly minute allowances or data plans. Verizon Wireless customers can visit www.skype.com to purchase Skype Credit to make Skype Out calls and make calls to international landline or mobile numbers.

Skype mobile will be available initially on millions of best-selling Verizon Wireless 3G smartphones, 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.

More details can be found via the Skype Blog

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hackers Go Four-for-Four As Firefox 3 on Windows 7 Falls at Pwn2Own

I see a reoccurring theme here, all four teams that have competed at this years Pwn2Own contest have successfully exploited their targets and compromised the machines at hand. This time it was a Windows 7 equipped machine running Firefox 3.

@TheZDI Nils from MWR InfoSecurity (@MWRLabs) succeeded against Firefox on Windows 7 with the quintessential calc.exe launching payload.

As with most of the hacks there aren't many details given out as to how they were accomplished. Its really not surprising me that most have fallen but what is surprising me is the rate at which they are being exploited. In most cases it has taken less than 30mins. Now keep in mind most of these target hacks are exploiting third party software and not the OS itself, but it's still a bit unnerving.

Update: Via Threat Post

A 26year old German hacker known simply as "Nils" exploited a previously unknown vulnerability in Mozilla Firefox to take complete control of a 64-bit Windows 7 machine. "Nils" who heads up the security research team at U.K.-based MWR InfoSecurity, used several tricks to bypass Address Space Layout Randomization (ALSR) and Data Execution Prevention (DEP) to get his drive-by download to load an executable on the target machine.

ASLR+DEP are held up as significant roadblocks to thwart malware attacks on the newest versions of Windows but, as this contest shows, skilled hackers with enough motivation and resources can bypass those mitigations easily.

Nils said Mozilla can do a better job of opting into ASLR on Windows, a clear hint that implementation errors make it easy to bypass the Windows defenses.

Windows 7 And IE8 Fall At Pwn2Own

So far the hackers are three for three at Pwn2Own, with the ZDI now confirming that Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 8 have fallen.

@thezdi Peter Vreugdenhil (@WTFuzz) succeeded against Internet Explorer 8 on Windows 7 with a technically impressive exploit bypassing DEP.

It'll be interesting to see if the rest of the smartphones the, RIM Blackberry Bold 9700, Nokia E72 device running Symbian and HTC Nexus One running Android as well as the two browsers Google Chrome 4 and Mozilla Firefox 3 can withstand the onslaught.

Update: Via Threat Post
Dutch hacker Peter Vreugdenhil pulled off an impressive CanSecWest Pwn2Own victory here, hacking into a fully patched 64-bit Windows 7 machine using a pair of Internet Explorer vulnerabilities.

Vreugdenhil, an independent researcher who specializes in finding and exploiting client-side vulnerabilities, used several tricks to bypass ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) and DEP (Data Execution Prevention), two significant security protections built into the Windows platform.

“I started with a bypass for ALSR which gave me the base address for one of the modules loaded into IE. I used that knowledge to do the DEP bypass,” he added.

Update: Via PCWorld

"[The exploit] reuses Microsoft's own code to disable DEP," said Vreugdenhil. "You can reuse Microsoft's own code to disable memory protection."

In a paper he published today ( download PDF ), Vreugdenhil spelled out how he evaded both ASLR and DEP in more detail.

"It was a two-step exploitation," Vreugdenhil said of the unusual attack. "I could have done it with one, but it would have taken too long." Using the double-exploit technique gave him control of the machine in a little over two minutes; if he had used only one exploit, the task would have required 50-60 minutes.

"I didn't know how much time I would have at Pwn2Own," he said, referring to the constraints of the contest, where hackers had limited time slots. And he didn't want to bore his audience. "I put some eye candy in the exploit," he said, referring to a progress bar he inserted that read "Please be patient while you are being exploited..."

Mac Book Pro Running OS X Falls In Under A Minute @Pwn2Own

 Correction: Miller actually hacked the full patched MacBook Pro in under 10seconds!!

Wow Charlie wasn't kidding when he said he had a bag full of hacks ready for this years Pwn2Own. The ZDI just confirmed that Miller (@0xcharlie) successfully hacked the MacBook Pro running OS X via Safari what looks like less than a minutes time. His payload returned a full command shell.

@thezdi Charlie Miller (@0xcharlie) popped the MacBook Pro via Safari. His payload returned a full command shell.

As we reported a few days ago Miller said he was ready to report on no less than 20 zero day exploits that he had discovered within OS X. It looks like he might have know at least a few that are affecting Safari as well ;)

"I can't talk about the details of the vulnerability, but it was a Mac, fully patched, with Safari, fully patched," said Miller on Wednesday, not long after he had won the prize. "It probably took five or 10 seconds." He confirmed that he had researched and written the exploit before he arrived at the challenge.

iPhone Hacked Via Safari At Pwn2Own

 Hackers,  Iozzo and Weinmann compramised their fully patched iPhone in a total of 20 seconds.

The Zero Day Initiative (ZDI), an initiative founded by TippingPoint which organizes the security competition Pwn2Own, has confirmed via Twitter that contestants Vincenzo Iozzo and Ralf Philipp Weinmann successfully exploited the iPhone via a 0day Safari hack! 

@thezdi Vincenzo Iozzo and Ralf Philipp Weinmann successfully exploit the iPhone via Safari! Their payload pulled the SMS database. #pwn2own

The team of Iozzo and Weinmann were the first candidates in the hacking contest and the iPhone, which was hacked in less than 10 minutes, is the first smartphone to fall in the contest in the last two years. The iPhone was a 3GS model and was running iPhone OS 3.1.3.

Up next Charlie Miller gets to take his crack at exploiting Safari I believe on an Apple Macbook Pro running OS X. Stay tuned for more details.

Update: additional details courtesy the ThreatPost:

The exploit crashed the iPhone's browser session but Weinmann said that, with some additional effort, he could have a successful attacked with the browser running.

"Basically, every page that the user visits on our [rigged] site will grab the SMS database and upload it to a server we control," Weinmann explained. Iozzo, who had flight problems, was not on hand to enjoy the glory of being the first to hijack an iPhone at the Pwn2Own challenge.

Halvar Flake, a renowned security researcher who assisted with the winning exploit, said the biggest hiccup was bypassing the code-signing mitigation implemented by Apple on its flagship mobile device.

"This exploit doesn't get out of the iPhone sandbox," Flake explained, noting that an attacker can do enough damage without escaping from the sandbox.

"Apple has pretty good counter-measures but they are clearly not enough. They way they implement code-signing is too lenient," Flake added.

In addition to hijacking the SMS database, Weinmann said the winning Pwn2Own exploit could have exfiltrated the phone contact list, photographs and iTunes music files. He was unsure if the exploit could have hijacked e-mails.

Weinmann declined to publicly discuss the techniques he used to find the vulnerability. "We're working on developing techniques to find a certain class of vulnerabilities. I don't want to discuss it too much."

Aaron Portnoy, a security researcher at TippingPoint Zero Day Initiative (the company sponsoring Pwn2Own), described the attack as "very impressive."

"It was a real world exploit against a popular device. They exfiltrated the entire SMS database in about 20 seconds. It was as if a Web page was loading."

TippingPoint ZDI acquired the exclusive rights to the flaw information. The company will report the issue to Apple and will withhold details until a patch is released.

Weinmann and Iozzo won a $15,000 cash prize and got the keep the hijacked iPhone.

Review: Adesso WKB-4200UB Wireless Keyboard

We've reviewed our share of Adesso products over the last several months and while we've thought they all were good enough products in their own right however we had yet to find one that stood out head and shoulders above anything else we've reviewed. Well that all changed when Adesso sent us the Adesso WKB-4200UB. A few weeks ago this little beauty showed up at our door and almost immediately took over as our every day keyboard.


For starters the new keyboard is sleek and stylish. It features a black and grey design, which fittingly reminded me right away of the Oakland Raiders (no I'm not a fan). Gone is the center placement of the trackpad, which was one of the issues we had with the WKB-4000UB we previously reviewed.

Keyboard dimensions are 16.5" x 8.0" x 0.75" making it roughly 2" shorter and 1.5" skinner than our everyday keyboard which is the Logitech MX3200. The micro usb receiver is also much shorter than that of our Logitech receiver, although we still had to use both considering the WKB-4200UB lacks a compatible mouse/ 

The full specifications are as follows:
  • Connection: 2.4 GHz RF Smartlink with 12 Auto-Changeable channels (65000 IDs per channel)
  • Wireless Range Distance: 30 ft
  • 4 Internet Hotkeys: (Scroll Up/Down, Home, E-mail and Forward/Back
  • 6 Multimedia Hotkeys:(Play/Pause, Stop, Previous Track, Next Track, Vol+/Vol- and Mute )
  • 3 PC Hotkeys:(My Computer, Search and Sleep)
  • Keyboard Dimensions: 16.5" x 8.0" x 0.75"
  • Mini USB Receiver Dimensions: 1.65" x 0.75" x 0.25"
  • Weight: 2.0 lbs
  • Number of Keycaps: 87 Keys Mini Layout in an ultra-stylish design.
  • Keyboard Technology: Membrane Switch
  • Mouse Function: Touchpad with two Buttons
  • Switch Life: 5 Million Cycles
  • Switch Travel: 3.0+/- 0.3mm
  • Includes 2 AAA Battery
  • Power Consumption:

As you can see from the images the numeric keypad is gone, replaced by a very functional, very well placed trackpad. The trackpad along with the new hotkeys and media keys make this keyboard ideal for use in a media center, or office presentation type environment, yet the size and layout make it suitable for everyday use.
ADESSO Pro Touchpad Keyboard

When used for everyday things like browsing, document writing, blog posting emails ect. the trackpad is very convenient. The right hand placement is aligned almost perfectly with the position held by a normal users mouse.  Touch sensitivity is very responsive and not overly assertive. For more advanced use such as gaming or apps that need a more precise faster mouse response you'll be disappointed. The response just isn't up to par in that area.

Tactile response on all the keys is fairly good. The keys are a bit noisier than I'd like and are a little firmer what I'm accustom to. Being a slim keyboard they keys are a bit smaller than normal and some are a bit cramped, but nothing that can't be overcome by a few weeks adjustment. Integrating the numeric keys into the right side of the keyboard adds a little more functionality for a kiosk environment but seems to serve little purpose for any daily needs. You'll find yourself either forgetting to switch off/on the num lock or not using then at all.

Conclusion

I'll admit the $100 price tag we found the WKB-4200UB listed for at Newegg seems a bit high, especially when you take into consideration the fact most people are going to want to add on a decent wireless mouse. I'd like to have seen Adesso packaged it with at the very least a generic three button wireless mouse for when I'm gaming or just plain get tired of using the trackpad. But when compared to other offerings out there in terms of size, functionality and features it's really hard to beat.

From what I've seen on the market you just can't find a 2.4ghz slim wireless keyboard out there with both a trackpad and full sets of both media and hot keys. For what I'd use it for, which would mainly be a media center PC, I think the Adesso WKB-4200UB might just be perfect. You get a size and shape that easily fits on your lap, or a sleek stylish keyboard that would show nicely on the coffee table.

AT&T Launches New Music Service

AT&T today announced a new AT&T Music application that combines the most popular mobile music services – song and album downloads, streaming radio, song match, lyric search and an enhanced music player – into a single, cohesive experience for AT&T mobile phones. The service is available first as a download on three of AT&T's most popular quick messaging phones, delivering the tightest integration of mobile music services available to this category of devices.

Within one mobile broadband application, subscribers to AT&T Music can:
  • Listen to 40 commercial-free genre radio stations;
  • Customize unlimited personal radio stations;
  • Use song match to identify the tune by holding their phone up to music playing on the radio, TV or elsewhere;
  • Search for lyrics to identify song title and artist;
  • Preview, buy and download songs and albums straight to their phone; and
  • Listen to personal music saved on their mobile device, including the ability to create and manage playlists and find music by artist, album, song or genre.

"We've long been a leader in mobile music and have been at the forefront in evolving the category to offer some robust experiences, but those experiences have largely been available though separate applications," said Mark Collins, senior vice president of Data and Voice Products for AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. "We recognized a need to create a 'no dead-ends' experience that weaves together all of the most popular music services, so customers don't have to jump in and out of different applications depending on how they want to access mobile music."

The app was designed to deliver deep integration of tasks while maintaining simple, easy-to-use navigation. A customer with a song line stuck in his or her head can enter those lyrics into the lyric lookup function to identify the song and artist and, from there, view full lyrics, access the artist's bio, preview and buy the song, or create a personalized radio station from that song.

AT&T plans to enable full song and album downloads through direct deals with Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music and indie music distributor The Orchard. Details on additional content providers will be announced in the future.

The new AT&T Music experience is available today on the LG Xenon, Samsung Solstice and Samsung Impression. AT&T plans to make the service available as a download on additional handsets soon and will begin preloading the service on devices beginning this summer.

Feature enhancements, such as the ability to purchase and manage ringtones and ringback tones from within the application, are also planned.

The service is available for $6.99 per month to customers who subscribe to an unlimited data plan. Song and album purchases are charged a la carte.

Customers with currently compatible handsets can download the new AT&T Music experience through the AT&T App Center, available directly from their phone or www.att.com/appcenter. Customers can also text MUSIC to 7299 to receive a link to download the application; messaging rates apply.

Source: AT&T

Users Continue To Open Spam Despite Warnings

According to a recent research study by MAAWG (Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group) tens of millions of people continue to open, read, forward or respond to spam. This despite the fact that they are aware of how bots and viruses spread through risky email behavior.

In the new survey (found here), more than half of the users said they had opened spam, clicked on a link in spam, opened a spam attachment, replied or forwarded it – activities that leave consumers susceptible to fraud, phishing, identity theft and infection. While most consumers said they were aware of the existence of bots, only one-third believed they were vulnerable to an infection.

"Consumers need to understand they are not powerless bystanders. They can play a key role in standing up to spammers by not engaging and just marking their emails as junk," said Michael O'Reirdan, MAAWG chairman.

"When consumers respond to spam or click on links in junk mail, they often set themselves up for fraud or to have their computers compromised by criminals who use them to deliver more spam, spread viruses and launch cyber attacks," O'Reirdan said.

The research findings on awareness of bots, email security practices, and attitudes toward controlling spam were generally consistent with the first MAAWG consumer survey in 2009 covering North America. The new 2010 survey was expanded to cover Western Europe and looks at consumers' attitudes in Canada, France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.


It Won't Happen to Me Syndrome

Less than half of the consumers surveyed saw themselves as the entity who should be most responsible for stopping the spread of viruses. Yet, only 36% of consumers believe they might get a virus and 46% of those who opened spam did so intentionally.

This is a problem because spam is one of the most common vehicles for spreading bots and viruses. The malware is often unknowingly installed on users' computers when they open an attachment in a junk email or click on a link that takes them to a poisoned Web site, according to O'Reirdan.

Younger consumers tend to consider themselves more security savvy, possibly from having grown up with the Internet, yet they also take more risks. Among the survey's key findings:
  • Almost half of those who opened spam did so intentionally. Many wanted to unsubscribe or complain to the sender (25%), to see what would happen (18%) or were interested in the product (15%).
  • Overall, 11% of consumers have clicked on a link in spam, 8% have opened attachments, 4% have forwarded it and 4% have replied to spam.
  • On average, 44% of users consider themselves "somewhat experienced" with email security. In Germany, 33% of users see themselves as "expert" or "very experienced," followed by around 20% in Spain, the U.K. and the U.S.A., 16% in Canada and just 8% in France.
  • Men and email users under 35 years, the same demographic groups who tend to consider themselves more experienced with email security, are more likely to open or click on links or forward spam. Among email users under 35 years, 50% report having opened spam compared to 38% of those over 35. Younger users also were more likely to have clicked on a link in spam (13%) compared to less than 10% of older consumers.
  • Consumers are most likely to hold their Internet or email service provider most responsible for stopping viruses and malware. Only 48% see themselves as most responsible, though in France this falls to 30% and 37% in Spain.
  • Yet in terms of anti-virus effectiveness, consumers ranked themselves ahead of all others, except for anti-virus vendors: 56% of consumers rated their own ability to stop malware and 67% rated that of anti-virus vendors' as very or fairly good.  Government agencies, consumer advocacy agencies and social networking sites were among those rated most poorly.

The survey was conducted online between January 8 and 21, 2010 among over a thousand email users in the United States and over 500 email users in each of the other five countries. Participants were general consumers responsible for managing the security for their personal email address.

Both the survey's key findings and the full report are available at the MAAWG Web site, www.MAAWG.org. The 2010 research was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs, and the full report includes country comparisons for many of the questions along with detailed charts.

My thoughts

Honestly this doesn't surprise me much, not when you consider the billions of dollars that are being made each and every year off the same old tried and true spam tactics. What did surprise me was the shear volume of people that said they opened and forwarded the spam knowingly. I mean its one thing to want to check it our for yourself but its another to forward it on to an unsuspecting friend who then thinks its coming from a credible source.

Think people, think! Your action not only affect you but others around you. That suspicious email you might be reading just for the hell of it might be the one that not only steals your identity but that of a friend or relative or worse causes millions of dollars of information to be stolen from your company. Please practice safer internet habits!

Source: MAAWG

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Adobe to Launch CS5 April 12th

Adobe will release the next major version of its Creative Suite collection April 12 via Adobe TV. A teaser site is now live where you can watch some video previews, keep track via a countdown clock and register to watch the global launch on the 12th. Overall, we can't wait to see what new features CS5 will have to offer even if it is out of our price range.

Readers wanting to checkout the launch are invited to pre-register by clicking the image below.

Adobe CS5 - First look April 12

Samsung Announces The Android Powered Galaxy S

Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., a leading mobile phone provider, today introduced the Galaxy S (Model: GT-I9000), a smart phone that makes users’ lives more convenient, more exciting, and more integrated. JK Shin, president and head of Samsung Electronics’ Mobile Communications Business announced the global launch of the Galaxy S at his keynote speech at the International CTIA Wireless 2010. The Galaxy S will be available in Europe, North America, Latin America, Australia, and Asia soon.

samsung galaxy s

The Android-powered Galaxy S incorporates a 4-inch Super AMOLED screen and a 1 GHz application processor that enables vibrant HD videos, rich augmented reality content through Layar Reality Browser, and advanced LBS (Location Based Services). The ‘Social Hub’ provides always-on social networks connectivity allowing users to enjoy communications with their friends, colleagues, and families whenever they want and wherever they are.

The Galaxy S is designed to provide immersive, intelligent and integrated experiences, with the power to enrich people’s lives through best-in-class services and technologies. The Galaxy S will allow users around the world to experience the “Smart Life,” which Samsung anticipates will shift the way that consumers view smart phones and how they interact with them in their daily lives.

The Galaxy S immerses users in a world of rich multimedia. The large 4-inch Super AMOLED display delivers unrivalled screen quality, with less reflection, free viewing angles and super-fast touch-response. The mDNIe (mobile Digital Natural Image engine) – a technology used in Samsung’s best-selling LCD and LED TVs – boosts an even sharper and crisper viewing experience for photos, videos, and e-books. It creates a perfect environment to record, edit and play HD video, to browse the Internet, and to read your favorite e-books. A variety of applications from Android Market™ allows users to even more extend the benefits and excitement of smart phone experience. Plus, users have access to Google mobile services, such as Google Search, Gmail, and Google Maps.

Living a “Smart Life” requires intelligence, and the Galaxy S delivers just that by utilizing personal preferences to gather information online that each user needs and wants. With a user-defined daily briefing, lightning-fast processing speeds and location-based search options like Layar Reality Browser – the Galaxy S gives users the information they need wherever and whenever needed. The Galaxy S represents the next level of intelligence in smart phones.

The Galaxy S integrates every aspect of life in a smart and sophisticated way. In addition to wireless integration with a variety of other devices, such as notebooks, TVs and cameras, the highly advanced Social Hub plugs users quickly and conveniently into their complete world of social networking and email.

“The Android-powered Galaxy S will set a new standard for smart phones,” said JK Shin, president and head of Mobile Communications Business. “The Galaxy S is the perfect device for people in all corners of the world who want that extra edge; to be more effective, productive, better connected, and in tune with their smart life – both personal and professional – all in a very easy and simple way.”

Key Features
  • Daily Briefing: Offers instant access to weather, news, stocks, and the scheduler.
  • All Share: Enables inter-device connectivity via DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) technology.
  • Home Cradle: Enables use as a digital photo frame, table clock, calendar, and music station.
  • Write and go: Jot down an idea first and later decide on a format such as SMS/ MMS, email, calendar or memo.
  • Swype: Provides fast and easy way to input text on screen while on-the-move.
  • ThinkFree: Apps to view and edit Microsoft Office 2007 documents.
  • Smart Alarm: Wakes up with a natural alarm sound and automatically turned-on display light.
The Galaxy S is exhibited at The International CTIA Wireless at booth # 1023.

Source: Samsung

AT&T's Cup Runneth Over With Smartphones

AT&T may have exclusivity to sale the iPhone, which is one of the hottest phones on the market, but that's not keeping the company from adding even more hot phones to their line-up.

Last month the company made the move to Google's Android platform when they added the Motorola Backflip, the companies first Android powered device. Then they continued adding to an already packed line-up when earlier this month they added four new smartphones, the Pantech Link and Pursuit as well as the Samsung Sunburst and Strive.

This week the company made slightly bolder moved when they added the Palm Pre Plus and Pixi Plus and their second Android-based smartphone the Dell Aero. Add to that the announcement from Google that they have released a 3G ready Nexus One that is compatible with AT&T's network and it looks like AT&T customers might have a tough decision to make when it comes to buying that next phone.

Opera Mini Submitted to Apple's App Store Will It Get In?

As of today Opera has officially submitted their Opera Mini for iPhone application for inclusion into the Apple App Store now the question is will the popular mobile browser be accepted or denied by the iron fist of Apple?

We are all very aware that Apple likes to keep a strangle hold over the app's it accepts and denies and they often remove, or simply reject, any applications that might compete against their own software. So the question is will they step up and allow users to use Opera Mini over their own Safari Browser?

According to Opera the Opera Mini for iPhone browser is fast, really fast, powering through Web pages up to six times faster than Safari. They give credit for the speeds due to server-side rendering, Opera Mini compresses data by up to 90 percent before sending it to the phone, resulting in rapid page loading and more Web per MB for the end user. This allows Opera mini to deliver more information MB/MB than Safari meaning it would substantially drop a users data usage.



I for one hope it gets in not because I'm an Opera fan, in fact I'm not even an iPhone/iPad user. But I hate to see good hard work kept out because someone is afraid of a little competition. 

Check out Opera's iPhone count-up counter on My Opera community site and enter the contest to win an iPhone.

Monday, March 22, 2010

What Does Hacker Charlie Miller Have Up His Sleeve For Pwn2Own 2010?

Charlie Miller quickly gained notoriety two years ago at the CanSecWest security conference when he and his team used an exploit in the Safari web browser to hack the brand new MacBook Air in just under 2mins winning himself and his team not only the new MacBook Air but also $10,000 from security firm TippingPoint Technologies.

A year later he repeated the feat when he used yet another of his already known exploits to win him his second MacBook Air and an additional $5,000.

This year looks like it will be a three-peat for Miller who took second slot and first draw for Safari yet again. The security expert claims to have found no less than 20 zero-day exploits within OS X. Miller via Twitter last week stated he will present details on how he found the exploits during the conference but he made it clear he will not reveal the exact details on how the exploits work.

While the full details will not be disclosed Miller eluded to the approach in finding the zero-day flaws. According to his interview with Heise Security, Miller discovered the new vulnerabilities by fuzzing, a process which involves bombarding an application's input channels with as much corrupted data as possible. His presentation is subtitled: "An analysis of fuzzing 4 products with 5 lines of Python". The expert explained: "The talk is about what you really find when you fuzz and it tries to draw conclusions about what to expect in the future when you fuzz a mature product." Parts of the presentation apparently consist of statistics, for instance, about which percentage of flaws causes crashes, and which percentage can be exploited remotely.

Pwn2Own 2010 should be an interesting event this year, not only because of the flaws Miller found but because many including Miller himself are predicting the fall of the iPhone this year, this coming in-spite of the fact that last year not a single smartphone was hacked.

If you want full detail on the event including a schedule checkout the TrippingPoint Blog and to follow along with real-time updates and real-time feedback follow the TippingPoint Zero Day Initiative via theirTwitter account @theZDI.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Linux Geeks Get Their Very Own Store

Earlier this month The Linux Foundation, a non-profit organization well know for their supports in the efforts in accelerating the growth of Linux, announced the launch of Linux.com. The new site is a Linux themed merchandise store where people can purchase a newly launched line of original T-shirts, hats, mugs and other items that reflect “geek culture.”

The Linux Store has been open for a few weeks now and features tons of great geek items. You can check them all out at http://store.linux.com/.

In addition to the new Linux store The Linux Foundation has also launched a desing contest for your would be graphic artists and designers. The Linux.com T-shirt Design Contest is calling for your best designs themed around the Linux and or Geek culture. 

Design submissions are due by April 11, 2010. The top five designs will be available for community vote at Linux.com through June 6, 2010. The winning design will be included on T-shirts available for purchase in the Linux.com Store and the designer will be awarded with travel to Boston, Mass., to attend LinuxCon (http://events.linuxfoundation.org/events/linuxcon) in August.

All revenue generated from the Linux.com Store will go directly towards Linux Foundation activities, events and strategic initiatives. The Linux Foundation uses funds from a variety of revenue streams to support the work of Linux creator Linus Torvalds and to sustain important services such as technical events; travel grants for open source community members; a vendor-neutral forum for projects such as MeeGo; and free training resources direct from the kernel community; among others.

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 i-Got-it.com. "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 www.i-got-it.com

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 http://www.westerndigital.com/MyPassportAV.

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 http://google.com/appsmarketplace.

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 Newegg.com 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 Newegg.com.

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 Overclockers.com 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.



Overview:

  • 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 (www.apple.com), 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 http://bigmobileoncampus.wireless.att.com.