Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Intel Announces New Intel Atom Developer Program Accelerator 2010

intel logoToday Intel announced the next phase of the Million Dollar Development Fund, called Intel Atom Developer Program Accelerator 2010. This new addition will provide funds for the development of breakthrough or advanced netbook applications.

Intel is looking for exceptional, compelling applications that will help bring new consumer usage models to Intel Atom processor-based netbooks, especially apps that demonstrate creativity and show potential for significant growth and broad consumer appeal.

Originally launched back in May the Intel Million Dollar Development Fund guaranteed up to $1 million to support developers who are creating innovative applications for the Intel Atom processor-based products.


Intel Atom Developer Program Accelerator 2010 – Speeds time to market.
  • Accelerator 2010 will support software developers and companies creating new experiences through applications for Intel Atom processor-based netbooks. This program will provide funding for companies that pioneer new usage models in the netbook software market.
  • Submissions can be existing applications that are being redesigned for Intel Atom processor-based netbooks OR applications that are being created from the ground-up for the netbook form factor. All applications must demonstrate originality of concept, potential for significant growth and a broad consumer appeal to qualify for funding.
  • Funding per application will vary from $10,000 going up to $25,000 and will depend on the factors outlined above as well as the scope of work required on the application.
  • To apply for Intel Atom Developer Program Accelerator 2010, submit the form here. Please make sure to provide as much information as possible to demonstrate why your app should be selected for funding – what makes your application compelling, features designed for the netbook audience, why your application is poised for growth and more.
  • If your software application is approved for funding, you will receive an e-mail with next steps and instructions
  • Submit your application to the Intel Atom Developer Program for validation. Then, follow these guidelines and instructions to receive your funding. Payment will be made once an application has passed validation.
  • Read these FAQs to know more.
Apply for Funding
How can you apply for funding? The process is simple – if you have a great idea or an app – either something you are getting started on OR an app that you you’d like to port from another platform, just fill out the online submission form here.  Make sure you provide us with as much detail as possible – what makes your application compelling, specific features designed for the netbook audience, why your application is poised for growth, etc..You should hear from Intel on the funding decision within 3 weeks… You’ll find more information here

Straight Off South Park Tiger Woods Sex Scandal Game

When I saw the link to this story in my in-box this afternoon I thought it had to be a joke. I figured it was someone pointing to a video of the recent South Park episode "Sexual Healing" where the SP gang poke a little fun at the Tiger Woods scandal that broke last November. Boy was I wrong!

D-Dub Software, an Albuquerque, N.M., company that has produced over-the-top games since 2005, has released a parody if the Woods scandal titles "Tiger Woods Affair Tour 2010." The game is a sexually explicit raunchy video game that allows gamers to "play as Tiger Woods and bang pornstars and cocktail waitresses."

Marketing director Max Baptist VIII says the company always strives to be current, so when the idea to do a naughty game centered on Woods' alleged off-course activities came up, it was a natural fit.

"We play off of what goes in reality and whatever we think is funny," Baptist said, adding that the company came up with the idea four weeks ago and worked quickly to get the game ready for action.

Before playing the game it seemed more of a parody of the plot line setup by the recent South Park episode than anything else. "Sexual Healing" was the fourteenth season premier of South Park and featured a new edition of the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series games incorporating elements of the alleged physical altercations Woods had with his wife regarding his extramarital affairs. After downloading D-Dub Software's version I can say that the South Park version looks tame and doesn't portray anything nearly as raunchy as the actual game does.

Just unpacking the installer is enough to tell you that this game def. is NSFW! as the archive features a topless avatar. Thirty seconds of game play and you'll get the full effect of the raunchiness this game has to offer. I only played for a few mins but it had me totally cracking up.

You can download the game from ebaumnation. But I will offer this warning even the images on the download load page are a bit graphic, so if you've got your heart set on downloading the game, wait until you get home from school/work/wherever.

Opera Posts State of the Mobile Web Report, Touts iPhone Numbers

Although the acceptance of Opera Mini into the Apple App Store came as big surprise to many the fact that they are now reaping huge rewards because of its inclusion should not. According to Opera in just two weeks since the addition to the App Store the iPhone has already reached the slot of the third-most popular handset for Opera Mini users worldwide.

The full report is available from http://www.opera.com/smw/ (English only). In addition to a short preview of the iPhone’s impact, the report highlights global statistics, reviews the mobile browsing trends in the European Union (EU) and includes a look at worldwide handset metrics.

Opera at this time isn't releasing the full details of the the initial data from Opera Mini’s release on the iPhone. They are however promising that the preliminary numbers will be reviewed in greater depth and will be publish in April’s report next month.

Global trends

  • In March 2010, Opera Mini had over 55.2 million users, a 9.3% increase from February 2010 and more than 140% compared to March 2009.
  • Those 55.2 million people viewed more than 25.8 billion pages in March 2010. Since February, page views have gone up 17.4%. Since March 2009, page views have increased 200%.
  • In March 2010, Opera Mini users generated over 396 million MB of data for operators worldwide. Since February, the data consumed went up by 19.8%. Data in Opera Mini is compressed up to 90%. If this data were uncompressed, Opera Mini users would have viewed over 3.6 petabytes of data in March. Since March 2009, data traffic is up 166%.

iPhone impact preview

  • The Apple iPhone is currently the #3 device used by Opera Mini users worldwide. All the other top 20 devices are Nokia and Sony Ericsson handsets.
  • The Apple iPhone is currently the #1 device used by Opera Mini users in the United States, well ahead of BlackBerry (which previously occupied the top spot).
  • Next month’s top 10 countries may be in for a change. By mid-April, due to the iPhone launch, the United States jumped from #8 to #5 in the top 10 countries list.
  • Out of the top 10 countries according to Opera Mini usage, the United States and the United Kingdom are the two countries where the Apple iPhone has become the #1 device used by Opera Mini users. Beyond the top 10 countries, Australia, Korea, Canada, Germany and Japan are other examples of places where the iPhone has become the device of choice for Opera Mini users.

Jon von Tetzchner, Co-founder, Opera Software say, “These numbers are more than just bragging rights; they are proof that the joint efforts of our industry matter.”

The success of a third party browser on the iPhone just goes to show that user want more openness and the ability to pick and choose the browser that want. Not be force feed Safari or other WebKit based browsers. Perhaps its time for Apple to rethink their running of the App Store.

Read more via the Opera Press Release

Apple WWDC Dates Set, iPhone 4 Expected

Today Apple announced dates for its 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference which will be held June 7-11 in the Moscone West conference hall in downtown San Francisco. Tickets are $1,600, which might be a lot for most users but given the way WWDC has been selling out in recent years it won't be enough to keep the Apple masses at bay.



Various sessions are slated to take place over the week most of which will cover iPhone OS and Mac OS X technologies, though the WWDC 2010 Web site banner leads one to believe the main focus may be centered around the iPhone, iPad and the App Store. Most of the core of the Sessions and Labs also seem to be geared around iPhone OS 4 and porting Apps to the iPad

Sessions covering the application frameworks provide in-depth information about exciting technologies for building innovative, optimized applications for Mac OS X and iPhone OS. You'll find sessions about porting your iPhone application to iPad and how to present an engaging experience for your users, developing with Cocoa Touch, and using the technologies in iPhone OS 4 that provide your application with great new features and options like multitasking, Game Center, and iAd.

The Application Frameworks Labs provide the opportunity for you to bring your code and work one-to-one with the Apple engineers who wrote the high-level frameworks in iPhone OS and Mac OS X to maximize the capabilities of your application. View session list


"This year's WWDC offers developers in-depth sessions and hands-on working labs to learn more about iPhone OS 4," said Scott Forstall, Apple's senior vice president of iPhone software, in a statement. "WWDC provides a unique opportunity for developers to work side-by-side with Apple engineers and interface designers to make their iPhone and iPad apps even better."

Many believe that not only with this year's WWDC focus on the iPhone 4 OS but that we may indeed see the newest incarnation of the iPhone itself being released. Apple revealed its previous two iPhone models — the 3G and the 3GS — at previous Worldwide Developer Conferences and there's no reason to believe Apple will change course this year.

Read more in Apple’s press release

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

BGR Sold For Millions, Owner's Name Finally Outed

Chances are you've never heard the name Jonathan Geller mentioned anywhere around the web, but if you are a cellphone geek or an avid reader of Geek-News.Net you've definitely heard of the site Boy Genius Report.

Geller is the brain child of the mobile technology news site most widely noted for regularly publishing leaked photos and specs of upcoming cellphones. As of today Geller is also reportedly a multimillionaire thanks to Mail.com Media Corporation (MMC) which bought BGR for an un-disclosed sum of money.

BGR has long been one of our favorite sites to checkout for the latest in cellphone news. In fact the site is one of the largest on the web averaging somewhere around a million visitors a month. And according to Jay Penske, the man behind Mail.com, the site is worth "multiple millions." Big kudos to Geller for his success in building one of the webs largest properties, and bigger kudos for cashing in on that success.

You can ready more about the acquisition as well as the full press release on BGR.com

AMD's New 6-Core AMD Phenom II X6 CPU's Now Official

When the first true dual core CPU's made their way to the market geeks everywhere were in awe. Follow that by the Quad cores that had most of us geeks salivating and you come to today where we have hexa core, yes that's six cores of CPU goodness packed into one chip.

AMD today made official the new AMD Phenom II X6 processors featuring AMD's new Turbo CORE technology. Looking to take hexa core chips main stream AMD is offering you its flagship top end model Phenom II X6 1090T running at 3.2GHz at a very reasonable $285. Users wanting an even more affordable option can go with the Phenom II X6 1055T running at 2.8GHz priced at $199. Both chips feature 3MB of L2 cache, 6MB of L3 cache, and a relatively low Thermal Design Power (TDP) of only 125W and whats even better the AMD Phenom II X6 processors will work with almost all of the existing AM3 and AM2+ socket motherboards with proper BIOS support, and will function with DDR2 or DDR3 RAM making these processors an easy upgrade.

“With AMD Phenom II X6 processors, discerning customers can build an incredible, immersive entertainment system and content creation powerhouse,” said Bob Grim, director of Client Platform Marketing at AMD. “AMD is answering the call for elite desktop PC performance and features at an affordable price.”

AMD promises that several more six-core variants will be introduced over the next few months. The Phenom II X6 1035T running at 2.6GHz will launch later this quarter, while the Phenom II X6 1075T running at 3.0GHz will launch next quarter. The Phenom II X4 960T, a 3.0GHz quad-core Thuban chip with two cores disabled will launch later this quarter as well.

Given this relatively ow price users might wonder how the chips stack up especially considering Intel's new high end Core i7 980X 6-core chip tips the scale at $999. Well so far the reviews look great. Anyone who already owns an AM2+/AM3 system and is looking for improved multi-threaded performance would be foolish not to consider jumping on the Phenom II X6 bandwagon. The only down side I see is that in many of the reviews these chips were out performed by slightly older Intel Core i7 chips.

Phenom II X6 Reviews

Read - AnandTech
Read - HotHardware
Read - PC Perspective
Read - Hexus
Read - Legit Reviews
Read - TweakTown 

My thoughts:

Tom's Hardware had a great two part write-up awhile back entitled How Many CPU Cores Do You Need? (part 1 | part 2). In the write-up they explored the differences between dual, triple and core quad core chips. Raising the questions how many cores is good enough for the average user?

A few years ago before many programs, games and other apps were written to be multi-core aware a dual core setup would be sufficient for most users. Even today the average net surfer still won't see much improvement from adding a quad core chip to their system. But most users are becoming more technically proficient and are running more apps that show thread-level optimization and can fully utilize the additional cores.

Does this mean that we should all dump our quad core chips for hexa cores. No not at all. Yes there are users out there that can and will benefit from the additional CPU power but that doesn't mean those users are you. These people are doing video encoding, 3D rendering, and using highly optimized productivity titles. They aren't your average everyday user. If you are running a rig with a decent quad core CPU now then there is not enough of a performance increase to warrant and upgrade. If however you are running an AM2/AM3 rig with an older dual core and you are wanting to add more cores then you'd be silly not to look at the hexa core chips.

Monday, April 26, 2010

$11,000 XFX HD 5970 Auctioned on eBay The Real Deal

$11,000 for a new GPU, you've gotta be kidding me right? Well that's the current price of a limited edition XFX HD 5970 Black Edition found on eBay. The card numbered #68 of 1000 has been confirmed by XFX as the "real deal".

The card and auction, much like a recent YouTube video are all a part of an elaborate viral marketing strategy. XFX originally posted the video showing two guys breaking into XFX and snagging the card. Then the company released a warning to registered consumers, indicating that the hot hardware is now up for sale on the Internet, and to stay away. There was even mention of a criminal investigation.



Following the hoax XFX then added a caption at the bottom of the eBay listing, saying that the auction of #68 was legit, and that the winning bidder would be committed into purchasing the item. Bidders must be serious about getting their hands on the limited cards. As of post time there have been 23 total bids and the auction has topped the $11,000 mark.

I for one think its a bit ridiculous to spend $11k on that card, but hey what do I know.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The New $100 Bill, Franklin Never Looked So Good

Officials from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve Board and the United States Secret Service today unveiled the new design for the $100 note. Complete with advanced technology to combat counterfeiting, the new design for the $100 note retains the traditional look of U.S. currency.


“As with previous U.S. currency redesigns, this note incorporates the best technology available to ensure we’re staying ahead of counterfeiters,” said Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner.

“When the new design $100 note is issued in TBD, the approximately 6.5 billion old design $100s already in circulation will remain legal tender,” said Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board Ben S. Bernanke. “U.S. currency users should know they will not have to trade in their old design notes when the new notes begin circulating.”

The redesigned $100 note includes two new advanced counterfeit-deterrent security features, in addition to effective security features from the previous design. The features are easy for consumers and merchants to check when verifying authenticity.


 
New bill on the top, old bill on the bottom. (Source: NY Daily News)


The blue 3-D Security Ribbon on the front of the new $100 note contains images of bells and 100s that move and change from one to the other as you tilt the note. The Bell in the Inkwell on the front of the note is another new security feature. The bell changes color from copper to green when the note is tilted, an effect that makes it seem to appear and disappear within the copper inkwell.

For a more detailed description of the redesigned $100 note and its features, visit www.newmoney.gov where you can watch an animated video, click through an interactive note or browse through the multimedia center for images and B-roll. 

Adobe Seemingly Throws In The Towel In Fight With Apple

Despite the rumors that Adobe may take it's fight with Apple to the courtroom the company has apparent;y decided to throw in the towel and call it quits. Yesterday Adobe's Mike Chambers, Principal Product Manager for developer relations for the Flash Platform at Adobe, announced via his personal blog that the company would be officially dropping support for iPhone ports after CS5.

Chambers Writes:
A little over a week ago Apple released a new draft of their iPhone developer program license which contained the following clause:
3.3.1 — Applications may only use Documented APIs in the manner prescribed by Apple and must not use or call any private APIs. Applications must be originally written in Objective-C, C, C++, or JavaScript as executed by the iPhone OS WebKit engine, and only code written in C, C++, and Objective-C may compile and directly link against the Documented APIs (e.g., Applications that link to Documented APIs through an intermediary translation or compatibility layer or tool are prohibited).
Essentially, this has the effect of restricting applications built with a number of technologies, including Unity, Titanium, MonoTouch, and Flash CS5. While it appears that Apple may selectively enforce the terms, it is our belief that Apple will enforce those terms as they apply to content created with Flash CS5. Developers should be prepared for Apple to remove existing content and applications (100+ on the store today) created with Flash CS5 from the iTunes store.

We will still be shipping the ability to target the iPhone and iPad in Flash CS5. However, we are not currently planning any additional investments in that feature.

To be clear, during the entire development cycle of Flash CS5, the feature complied with Apple’s licensing terms. However, as developers for the iPhone have learned, if you want to develop for the iPhone you have to be prepared for Apple to reject or restrict your development at anytime, and for seemingly any reason. In just the past week Apple also changed its licensing terms to essentially prohibit ad networks other than its own on the iPhone, and it came to light that Apple had rejected an application from a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist on editorial grounds (which Apple later said was a “mistake”).

In his post Chambers pretty much nails every sentiment I've had regarding Apple and the App store. No I'm not an Apple hater, and no I'm not an MS fanboy, but if the shoe was on the other foot and a company like Microsoft tried to limit the inclusion of Apps based on the same reasoning Apple has listed for removing (or dis-including) them we'd be talking about another MS anti-trust lawsuit or court case.

Apple is using their position to create an un-level playing field and thus engaging in anti-competitive practices. Sure they aren't the only game in town, sure there is Android, Palm, Windows Phone 7, RIM, etc. but they do hold a rather high market share and are a pure monopoly when it comes to Apple products.

Personally I had hoped that Adobe would have tried to make a stand and would have tried to fight to force Apple's hand. Now of course the fact they aren't planning additional investments in the porting tool doesn't mean the fight is over. It simply means at this time they are moving away from the fire.

Fanboy or not, you've got to admit it would be nice to see some of the strangle hold Apple has over Apps and development loosened. You shouldn't have to jailbreak your device, or take up a new programing language in order to appease the Apple gods! 

The its their device argument, my rant begins!

I can't tell you how many times I've heard people (mainly Apple fanboys) say its their device and its their App store they can control it how they want. Come on folks open your eyes here. Imagine for a second that Intel or AMD decided that everyone with a PC based on their platform had to run the OS and Apps they choose. Would you not be complaining then?

Intel is involved in the Meego Project, an open source Linux variant OS for netbooks and mobiles. What if they suddenly said every Intel based PC (Macs included) had to run Meego. I guarantee shit would hit the fan!! So please don't give me this nonsensical argument that they can do with their platform what they want.

Apple seem to be held to a slightly different standard than everyone else and they shouldn't be. Nor should Apple fans blindly accept that its their product and they can control it. Everyone should want an open cross-platform environment that allows good friendly competition. Not a restrictive market that can be closed at a whim.

UPDATE Via CNet: Apple has responded to Adobe’s move "Someone has it backwards--it is HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and H.264 (all supported by the iPhone and iPad) that are open and standard, while Adobe's Flash is closed and proprietary," said spokeswoman Trudy Miller in a statement.

Apple pointing to open standards doesn't impress me. Yes we know CSS, JS and HTML5 are open, that however doesn't mean much when you are dealing with a closed market. The fact that Apple has the power to arbitrarily block a platform or app on whatever basis it decides is my main issue.

If iPhone/iPad users want Flash, and apparently they do then why not be truly open and allow the apps. As Chambers pointed out there are 100's of Apps already approved and in the App store that were built using the Flash-iPhone porting tool that can or will become victims of the new developer program license. If that's truly the case and these Apps are being used, and formerly approved then why not open the standards and accept more? Obviously there was no harm done with the previous Apps.

Note to Apple, just because you support development on an open platform doesn't make you an open no proprietary, cross-development friendly environment.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Google To Provide Details On Government Censorship Requests

Google today has announced details of a new tool that will outline worldwide government request to remove content from their servers.

The new Government Requests tool will provide everyone with information about the requests for user data or content removal Google has received from various government agencies around the world. As of today's launch Google is only providing data from July-December, 2009, with plans to update the data in 6-month increments.

In his post David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer, says "Google, like other technology and telecommunications companies, regularly receives demands from government agencies to remove content from our services. Of course many of these requests are entirely legitimate, such as requests for the removal of child pornography. We also regularly receive requests from law enforcement agencies to hand over private user data. Again, the vast majority of these requests are valid and the information needed is for legitimate criminal investigations. However, data about these activities historically has not been broadly available. We believe that greater transparency will lead to less censorship."

The map shows the number of requests that Google has received between July 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009, with certain limitations.



Google says these numbers are imperfect and may not provide a complete picture of the overall total number of government requests. For example, the US has a total of 3580 data requests and 123 removal requests. Each request may represent more the removal of more than one URL or for the disclosure of information for multiple users. Meaning these numbers may actually be higher than estimated.

See the FAQ for more information.

Mozilla Begins Disabling Unsafe Older Versions of Java Deployment Toolkit

That annoying pop-up you keep seeing asking you to disable the older versions of the Java Deployment Toolkit plug-in in your Firefox web browser are not spyware, malware or some fancy virus. According to security expert Brian Krebs its actually an attempt by Mozilla to "block attacks against a newly-discovered Java security hole that attackers have been exploiting of late to install malicious code."

In a post on his blog, Krebs, details the issue:

By default, installing Java automatically installs the Java Deployment Toolkit plug-in into Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla's browsers. While Oracle Corp. has pushed out an update to its Java software to fix a dangerous security flaw in the program the update does not remove the older un-secure versions of the plug-in. Even uninstalling Java itself can actually leave the plug-in behind.

It has been advised that you go ahead and disable any older versions of the Jave Deployment Toolkit either through the pop-up or by manually going to Tools, Add-ons, click the Plugins and selecting the Toolkit, then hit the “Disable” button.

Here's a full list of Add-ons/Plug-ins Mozilla has blocklisted and the reasons why.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Buy Cheap Pre-owned Games at 7-Eleven

7-Eleven has teamed up with Game Trading Technologies to introduce the 'Great Games Below $20' program. The new program will be available at some 50 percent of the U.S. stores operated and franchised by 7-Eleven Inc, which amounts to roughly 3,000 U.S. Stores nationwide.

"What this means to consumers is that they will have many convenient locations, most open 24/7, to buy value-priced video games," said Todd Hays, president and CEO of Game Trading Technologies, Inc. "The program is available to all 7-Eleven U.S. franchisees, and we hope to have most U.S. stores on board by September."

Games will be available on various platforms at varying costs below $19.99.

Android Users Register Now For Flash and Air for Android Betas

Adobe has posted notification sign-up pages for Android beta versions of its upcoming Flash Player 10.1 and AIR products. Originally announced in February, Adobe's AIR for mobile devices is based on Flash Player 10.1, which the company says is optimized "for high performance on mobile devices".

Users interested in trying the Flash Player 10.1 Beta for Android and AIR for Android Beta can register for email notification of the start of beta testing. Registration requires an Adobe membership.

Adobe membership is free and allows members access to Adobe Labs downloads, sample applications, services, and special community areas including forums and wikis as well as access to membership benefits on Adobe.com.

iFixit Tears Apart The New 15" MacBook Pro

Those geeks over at iFixit are at it again, this time tearing down the new 15" Apple MacBook Pro. These newly announced Intel Core i5 MacBook's feature new a 2.4 GHz Intel Core i5 with 3 MB shared level 3 cache, 4 GB of 1066 MHz DD3 SDRAM a 15.4 inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display powered by Intel HD Graphics and NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M with 256 MB of GDD3 RAM.



Even if you aren't an Apple FanBoy its always cool to see the inner workings of the newest toys on the market. So I suggest that everyone check out iFixit's step-by-step instructions and full gallery of images, especially if you like seeing a lot of aluminum and silicon.

Further reading

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Will An Adobe Vs Apple Lawsuit Lead To An Open App Store?

Rumors are mounting that Adobe is fed up with Apple's tight fisted strangle hold approach to the App Store. In fact many believe that Adobe might be ready to test the waters in court. A move which might force Apple's hand and loosen the monopoly in place.

At issue is the duo’s feud over Adobe’s Flash technology which as of now Apple has refused to let Adobe’s Flash technology anywhere near the iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad system. As of last week Apple basically disallowed anything built on or around Adobe flash. Now Adobe is crying foul over Apple’s decision to not only prevent Flash on the iPhone OS, but also to ban iPhone/iPad apps that were created by converting Flash applications.

This is seems might be the straw that broke the camels back. When Apple released their iPhone OS 4 update they also updated their iPhone SDK developer agreement to rule out the use of cross-compilers like Adobe’s Flash Packager for iPhone – which basically converts Flash apps into native iPhone apps. The updated language in the iPhone OS 4.0 SDK essentially bans any iPhone apps that started their lives as Flash apps.

According to ITWorld sources close to the matter are suggesting that a lawsuit from Adobe is coming in the next few weeks. Officially Adobe's won't make statements about such actions, but there's no question that Adobe wants their slice of the Apple pie.

Apple's Monopoly May Come To An End

The argument that may be the end all for Apple's strangle hold over the App store is that by limiting how and what platforms developers use they are restricting competition with their market share. I've read that Apple accounts for over 90% of all mobile app purchases (personally I think that's an over inflated number), even if the Android market is heating up and other platforms are coming along. With more than 50 million iPhone users, 35 million iPod Touch users, and the growing segment of iPad users they account for a huge share of the market, and by ruling their market with an iron fist they may be opening the door to the anti-trust arguments.

Not only are they blocking Flash but by blocking the flash to iPhone compiler they are effectively blocking several apps that are already built, in the works or slated to be designed. Apple has made no qualms about rejecting apps in the past, but the majority of those haven't had the backing Adobe can muster. If Adobe decides to push the issue and get the courts involved Apple may be forced to loosen their grip which in turn could open the doors for many of those banned apps.

My Thoughts

One thing is for sure it will be interesting to see where things go. Personally I'd like to see the grip that Apple holds loosened a bit. I don't see many other companies out there that have been given the leeway they have when it comes to their reign over the App store. MS faces anti-trust suites constantly over IE, and other proprietary software, yet Apple can ban and block access to Apps like Google Voice, FireFox and others simply because they feel they duplicate apps already loaded on their devices??

New OGON Designs Wallet Protects Against RFID Identity Thieves and Skimmers

OGON Designs has created a new credit card wallet that protects your cards from electronic identity theft and protects the electro-magnetic strip from demagnetization. The aluminum shell protects personal data that could be stolen via special low cost radio scanners, making OGON’s technology far more efficient and threatening against advanced thieves. OGON wallets protects against this infiltration while keeping cards in healthy condition.



These fashionably designed wallets are meant to fit comfortably in a pocket, backpack or briefcase however the hard aluminum case means that most guys like me will likely have to carry them in either a coat pocket or briefcase. The rugged aluminum out shell is great but it also means you can't slide them into a back pocket and it means its a bit clunky for a shirt pocket.

With an overall size of 11cm x 7.5 cm x 1.7 cm, you have plenty of room for up to 7 credit cards and or ID's and if you leave an open slot or two there is plenty of room at add in a few bills in case you want to carry some cash. These little wallets are lightweight at 2.47 ounces, making them ideal for a ladies purse or as mentioned  a mans coat or jacket pocket.

The new Ă–GON Designs Credit Card Wallets retails for $39.00 - $59.00 and come in a wide variety of colors including black, gold, silver, grey, orange, red, green lime, blue, purple, and chocolate. For more information checkout www.thestylecube.com

New Ransomware Targets Copyright Law, Threatens Legal Action

A new piece of "ransomware", a piece of malware that is actually acting like a legitimate program, has cropped up and is now demanding $400 from users that is says are violating copyright laws.

The "ransomeware" informs victims that an "Antipiracy foundation scanner" has found illegal torrents on the users system. If he/she won't pay $400 (via a credit card transaction), they might face jail time and huge fines. Victims are instructed to pay the very FAKE ICPP Copyright Foundation. This company purports to be associated with the RIAA and MPAA, and that a copyright violation has been logged.

Beware all of this is completely fake. There is no "ICPP Foundation", and the messages will appear even if the system contains no illegal material whatsoever.

If you are hit by this trojan, DO NOT PAY. Instead, use an antivirus program that is capable of detecting it to remove the trojan. F-Secure Antivirus detects it as Rogue:W32/DotTorrent.A. You can use F-Secure's free online scanner at ols.f-secure.com to check your system.

More details can be found Via F-Secure's blog post:
ICPP Copyright Foundation is Fake - F-Secure Weblog : News from the Lab

Yawn, Apple Updates MacBook Pros

If you Apple FanBoys are done salivating over the new iPad Apple has updated the MacBook Pro line-up to add in the new Core i5 and Core i7 CPU's from Intel as well as slightly more updated GPU's from NVIDIA.

Among the low-end line (if you can call it that) is an updated 13-inch MacBook Pro running a non-Arrendale Intel Core 2 Duo processor running at either 2.4 or 2.66GHz, NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics and up to 10 hours of battery life starting at $1,199.00.

These are rather mild updates to your older system so there really isn't much to shout about! It’s the new Intel Core i5 and i7 MacBook Pros that everyone’s been waiting for and that most will be salivating over.

The lowest end of the Intel Core based MacBook Pro packs a 2.4GHz Intel Core i5 CPU, 4GB of memory, a 320GB hard drive, and a NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M GPU with 256MB of RAM. This marks a significant update on the previous model, which didn’t have discrete graphics. It starts at $1,799.00. Want to bump that CPU to a 2.5GHz Core i5, that'll cost you $200 more and increases not just the CPU but the hard drive as well up to 500GBs.

Go up to $2199.00 and you get a 2.66GHz Intel Core i7 CPU and double the GPU RAM, you are however still stuck with the rather none impressive NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M.

Finally at the top end is the new 17" MacBook Pros: The only come in one flavor and feature an Intel Core i5 CPU running a clock speed of 2.53GHz, 4GB of RAM, a 500GB hard drive, an ExpressCard/34 slot and NVIDIA GeForce GT 330M graphics with 512MB of RAM for $2,299.

For anyone but an Apple FanBoy the specs on the updated MacBooks are a bit of a yawner. The low end Core 2 Duos aren't really much, even the lower end Core i7's aren’t anything special compared to similarly-priced PCs. Numerous manufacturers offer a PC for around $2000 that comes with quad-core i7’s, 1GB graphics card along with tons of RAM and a higher-res screen than what’s in the new MacBook Pros. The one area however that Apple has most of those PCs covered is going to be battery life. Apple apparently made the trade-off of not going with the most powerful hardware available to boost the projected battery life to previously unheard of levels.

Apple is claiming that the 15- and 17-inch can see between 8-9 hours while the smaller, Core 2 Duo-equipped 13-inch can rock for 10 hours straight. That’s impressive even if Apple exaggerated those claims a bit. A similarly priced, all be it much higher end PC wouldn't be able to touch those claims. You'd be lucky to get 2-3hrs of use.


More details from Apple

Monday, April 12, 2010

Over 25 Companies Pledge Public Support for the MeeGo Project

The Linux Foundation today announced over 25 companies, including Acer, ASUS, BMW Group, Cisco, EA Mobile, Novell, and Wind River have pledged their support and interest in the MeeGo project. MeeGo, which merges Intel's Moblin and Nokia's Maemo Linux-based platform, is an open source software platform for the next generation of computing devices. This participation translates into millions of developer hours dedicated to cross-device compatibility, application portability and the user experience for MeeGo-based devices. 
 
“MeeGo is an exciting new software platform and gives customers mobile computing solutions based on Intel Atom processors which offer innovations for the user experience,” said S.Y. Shian, vice president and general manager of Notebook Business Unit, Asus Corp. “As the netbook market grows, Asus is continually exploring offerings that optimize this computing experience and address the specific needs of today’s netbook customers.” 
 
Contributors are attracted to MeeGo because it extends reach beyond just netbooks and smartphones to also include communications devices, in-vehicle infotainment devices, connected TVs, media phones and more.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Apple Debuts iPhone OS 4.0

Apple latest iPhone OS is currently being showed off today at a media event at Apple's Cupertino, California, headquarters.

Taking the stage this morning at 10am sharp Apple CEO Steve Jobs opened with a list of some rather impressive (and some unimpressive) numbers. Jobs said Apple has sold 450,000 iPads since its debut on Saturday, users have downloaded 600,000 digital books and 3.5 million applications. Add to that some 50m iPhones and 35 iPod touches sold to date.

The main focus today was not the new iPad, but rather then new features in the new iPhone operating system. iPhone OS 4.0 will offer seven main features and over a 100 minor features with multitasking being the most prominent of the major changes. We don't have a full list of all the new features but some of the more minor details include GameCenter, iBooks, in-app SMS, home screen wallpapers, Bluetooth keyboard support, and “tap to focus” for video with 5x digital zoom, spell check and iPod out.

As mentioned multi-tasking was the biggest and most asked for feature. To preview the new feature Apple's Scott Forstall showed off an iPhone using Pandora. Double tapping the home button now brings up a “multitasking dock” which shows up to four programs possibly running at once. From there you simply select the app you want to use tap it and boom you're there. The current application state is saved as you're double tapping in and out of apps.

Forstall showed how users running Pandora and such can now be streaming audio non-stop and how they can now navigate away from the app to use any of the other 3 running apps all while still listening to their songs. This also means Skype users can still run apps while still being able to receive calls. This also applies to navigation apps, which means you can receive calls and do everything else without killing the TomTom app. Social networking apps, however, while able to take advantage of this new service will drop the GPS while in the background and instead run off of the cell-based A-GPS system.

All in all there really haven't been many surprise in today's announcements. The one that did reportedly shock the crowd the most was the delay of the iPhone OS 4 release for the iPad. Jobs told the crowd iPad owners will have to wait until this fall for the new OS to be ready for them. For iPhone 3GS and third-generation iPod Touch users IPhone OS 4 will be available starting summer 2010.

Update: iPhone OS 4 keynote video now online!

If you want to watch the full video of the keynote as given by Mr. Jobs you can head over to Apple and get a copy.

ZZF Adds New 'ZAP' Assurance Warranty Program

Zip Zoom Fly a very popular online retails, and one of our favorite places to shop , has announced a new quality assurance program dubbed 'ZAP' ( ZipZoomfly Assurance Program). Under the new program the retailers offers their customers an extended warranty that exceeds that of the regular manufacture.

Starting April 6th, 2010 and for the rest of April, any purchases of qualifying products made from our website will benefit from our new ZipZoomfly Assurance Program for one year absolutely FREE! This will happen automatically in your shopping cart, no hassles, no hidden fees, no worries. So start shopping today and as always, receive the service, protection and peace of mind that you deserve from ZipZoomfly.com!

For more details as well as the ZAP terms and conditions click here

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

WD Launches Two New Large Capacity WD VelociRaptors

WD announced today that it is now shipping WD VelociRaptor 450 GB and 600 GB hard drives, the next generation of its 10,000 RPM SATA family of hard drives. The new WD VelociRaptor hard drive is designed for blade servers, high-performance PCs, Mac(R) computers, professional workstations, as well as 1U and 2U rack servers that require a balance of high performance and capacity. As the only 10,000 RPM SATA hard drive on the market today, and a favorite amongst enthusiast and enterprise groups, the WD VelociRaptor hard drive now comes packed with twice the capacity and up to 15% performance increase over the previous generation.

The most popular hard drive for high-performance enthusiasts who demand the ultimate SATA drive, the WD VelociRaptor hard drive is built with enterprise-class mechanics that provide 24x7 durability under high-performance demands and packs up to 600 GB of capacity into a 2.5-inch enterprise form factor. The WD VelociRaptor drive is also available in the IcePack(TM) enclosure, a 3.5-inch mounting frame with a built-in heat sink - a factory customization that fits the drive into a standard 3.5-inch system bay and keeps this powerful drive extra cool when installed in a high-performance desktop chassis and 3.5-inch HDD form factor enterprise chassis.

"WD is a leader in the performance and reliability of enterprise SATA hard drives," said Tom McDorman, vice president and general manager of WD's enterprise business unit. "Demand for performance combined with an increase in capacity continues to rise and WD is the leader in this category. WD customers can rely on the new WD VelociRaptor to deliver high performance under the harshest conditions, while continuing to keep user data safe."

Features of the new WD VelociRaptor hard drives include:

  • Killer speed - SATA 6 Gb/s interface and 32 MB cache enhance the next generation 10,000 RPM WD VelociRaptor making it up to 15% faster than the award-winning previous generation.
  • Monstrous capacity - WD VelociRaptor SATA drives are available in capacities up to 600 GB, double the capacity of the previous generation.
  • Rock-solid reliability - Designed and manufactured to mission-critical enterprise-class standards to provide enterprise reliability in high duty cycle environments. With 1.4 million hours MTBF, these drives have the highest available reliability rating on a high capacity SATA drive.
  • Ultra-cool operation - Consumes no more power than the previous generation WD VelociRaptor while offering double the capacity and higher performance.
  • IcePack mounting frame - The 2.5-inch WD VelociRaptor is enclosed in a backplane-ready 3.5-inch enterprise-class mounting frame with a built-in heat sink that keeps this powerful little drive extra cool when installed in high-performance desktop chassis.
  • Rotary Acceleration Feed Forward (RAFF(TM)) -Optimizes operation and performance when the drives are used in vibration-prone, multi-drive chassis.
  • NoTouch(TM) ramp load technology - The recording head never touches the disk media ensuring significantly less wear to the recording head and media as well as better drive protection in transit.
  • Environmentally conscious - In addition to being ROHS compliant, this generation of WD VelociRaptor is also a halogen-free design.
Price and Availability
WD VelociRaptor (model WD4500HLHX and WD6000HLHX - 3.5-inch version with IcePack) hard drives are available now at select distributors and resellers. WD VelociRaptor 2.5-inch hard drives (model WD4500BLHX and WD6000BLHX) are under evaluation with OEM customers and will be available through select commercial distributors within this quarter. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the WD VelociRaptor 450 GB (model WD4500HLHX) is $299 USD and the 600 GB (model WD6000HLHX) is $329 USD. More information about WD VelociRaptor hard drives may be found on the company's Web site at http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=821.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Apple 'We Sold 300k iPads, Not 700k'

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster may want to re-think his revision of predicted iPad sales, as he decided Sunday to nearly double his estimates from the original 200-300k to a whopping prediction that Apple sold between 600-700k iPads (including online pre-orders which started on March 12th) on the first day (4/3).

Apple themselves have released their numbers which are inline with Munster's previous prediction Apple today announced that it sold over 300,000 iPads in the US as of midnight Saturday, April 3. These sales included deliveries of pre-ordered iPads to customers, deliveries to channel partners and sales at Apple Retail Stores.

Were there actually 300k iPads sold? That's rather difficult to say. Apple's notorious for their 'interesting' estimation tactics. They give estimates based on the number of units they shipped out to stores and partners, so these might not be actual sales numbers. Stores could still be sitting on a surplus of iPads and the actual sales numbers could be considerably lower.

Update: I jumped the gun with a bit of misreading, these aren't weekend numbers as I thought. Guess I overlooked the "midnight Sat. part." However considering it was Easter Sunday I still doubt these numbers were much higher for a total weekend sale. I also doubt they sold every unit shipped, which again drops the total sales figures. My guess would be they sold somewhere near 250k.

What does that mean for Apple and the iPad, not much really. The numbers aren't staggering, but they aren't all that disappointing either. Given the fact that it was Easter weekend, and the iPad had very few actual hands on reviews I'd say they did fairly well. Now that more people have their hands on the device and we are seeing a mixed bag of reviews it will be interesting to see if sales continue at a brisk pace or not.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The iPad Stripped Down

The folks at Rapid Repair got their hands on the new iPad and of course as good geeks do they couldn't wait to tear it to pieces. They've posted a ton of great pictures showing the step by step processes, I f you want to check out the complete step-by-step disassembly, click here. Trust me you won't be disappointed!


If you want even more iPad teardown goodness you might also want to checkout the teardown the folks at iFixit have done. It might be a little more thoroughly explained then the RapidRepair teardown.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Today is iPad Day, Did You Run Out And Buy Yours?

Unless you've been living in a cave in Afghanistan or under a rock in Antarctica by now you should know that Apple's new iPad has officially made its debut today. Geeks everywhere are most likely sprinting out to get their first hands on experience with the new device as I type this.


For me personally I don't plan on buying the first generation incarnation of the iPad. I have several reasons for my thinking but the major one has been the inability to actually touch and feel the iPad. I'll be working all day today so I don't have plans on rushing down just to try it out. I do plan to check it out at my BestBuy when I have the chance, but I doubt I'll be a buyer.

For those of you that are planning on jumping on the iPad ship Apple is selling the Wi-Fi only versions of the iPad. Honestly its the one I'd suggest, stay away from the more expensive 3g models. The Wi-Fi models start at $499 and up to $699 with 64GB of storage.