Wednesday, July 14, 2010

ScareWare Now Features 'Live Tech Support'

Nicolas Brulez of Kaspersky Labs has discovered that scareware vendors have ramped up their rogue AVs and are now spreading this malicious software with an “Online Support” button. Users installing the fake anti-virus software Security Master AV and clicking on the 'Online Support' button are directed to a chat window in which they can ask questions, or get "tech support", directly from the scareware 'vendor'.

Pressing Support takes you into a live chat with the rogue AV Tech Support. Brulez says he wondered whether it was a bot answering questions based on keywords or real people – and he reports, "yes, they turned out to be real!"

Kaspersky Labs learned that they not only offer Technical Support by chat, but also by phone and email. The email is especially useful if you don’t speak English. The live chat tells you (in English) to send an email in your native language to a given email address to receive support in your native language.

Once you are in the live chat one of three 'tech support agents' (Debora Brown, Kendra Grace or David Lee) attempt to convince victims in fluent English that their free trial software is genuine adding that the first rogue AV is a ‘Free Scanner’ only and that in order to remove the infections users will need to install the bogus full product. The newer products “clean” the machine, unlike the previous ones.

Below are some videos captured by Brulez and the Kaspersky Labs team:




This new hands on approach is like nothing ever seen before. It shows how well organized some of these groups have become.

Twitter's @earlybird Service Kicks Off With New Deals

Last week, Twiiter unveiled a new daily deal service that will deliver tweets on exclusive offers, previews, and events from the companies select advertising partners. The new service called, @earlybird, officially launched their first set of offers this morning partnering with The Walt Disney Studios.

For a limited time, @earlybird followers in the U.S. can get a special deal on tickets for “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” a new feature film from Walt Disney Pictures and Jerry Bruckheimer Films that opens in theaters today.

Get 2 for 1 tickets at Fandango theaters to Sorcerers Apprentice while supplies last! Click for rules and limitations! http://t.co/zEgBXjn.

Twitter has not announced any further official partners but they are promising deals ranging from entertainment, fashion, technology, beauty and travel in the coming days and weeks.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Apple Silencing Detractors Censors Forums Over Negative iPhone 4 Remarks

Throughout the web Apple's reputation may be taking a beating over reported the iPhone 4 antenna issues the latest of which comes via Consumer Reports. The popular review site/magazine recently gave the new iPhone the negative rating of "can't recommend".

The report made big news around the web and has surfaced along side several other tests verifying the reported antenna issues. There is one place however you will not find mention of the new report. If you browse through Apple's own support forum you will not find a single post mentioning the Consumer Reports rating.

Why not you may ask? Well according to several reports the company has taken to censoring remarks and deleting threads even mentioning the negative rating.

According to Endgaget this is nothing out of the norm for the company. They state, "Apple deleting threads from its support forums is nothing new; outside of "regular" moderation, the company routinely deletes discussion of hardware flaws that it's not ready to 'fess up to, or just generally negative lines of thought about its products."

Personally I think its sad commentary that Apple has to stoop so low as to silence their own consumers. If there is an issue and even your staunchest of supporters is out there trying to voice and opinion you should be listening and trying to rectify that issue. Not sweep it under the rug in the hopes that it will just go away! 

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460

nvidia logoEven though Newegg and a few other retailers jumped the gun a bit and started posting the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 a bit early today marks the card's official release by NVIDIA.

As previously mentioned the new card packs 336 CUDA cores, core clock speeds of 675MHz, 1,350MHz shader speeds and an effective memory clock of 3,600MHz with 768MB of GDDR5 memory running through a 192-bit interface. The 768MB variant will have an msrp of $199 while a more robust GTX 460 1GB, with a 256-bit memory interface will also be available at an estimated US price of $229.

For more details on the card checkout the official NVIDIA GTX 460 page

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 Benchmarks and Reviews:


Related Content:

Review: Adesso iMouseT1 Desktop Optical Trackball

The trackball may not be as popular as it once use to be but a few companies out there are still offering up these rather unique input devices. Adesso is one such company that is still churning out new models. The latest of these is the Adesso iMouse T1 Desktop Optical Trackball, an optical trackball featuring an 800 DPI sensor tacking a 1.8-inch ball ergonomically jammed front and center for easy manipulation.



Adesso iMouseT1 Specification:
  • Tracking Technology: Optical trackball sensor technology
  • Buttons: 2 left and right click buttons
  • Scrolling Wheel: 1 scroll wheel to navigate easily
  • Resolution: 800 DPI
  • Switch life cycles: 1,000,000 times
  • Connection: USB
  • Cable length: 5ft
  • Dimensions: 6" x 3.4" x 2"
  • Weight: 0.4 lbs
  • Operating System Supported: Windows 7 / Vista / XP / 2000 and Mac OSx or OS 9

The iMouse T1 features dimensions of 6" x 3.4" x 2" making this a rather large device with a large oddly shaped body. Flanking the trackball are three standard buttons left and right and a side mounted scroll wheel, all three of which are quit large. The overall size and shape will make for easy use for some but will provide a rather uncomfortable feel for others.

Those with large hands or that have accessibility concerns such as carpal tunnel, arthritis or any other hand related issues should find the size ideal. Users with smaller hands will likely find the iMouse T1 a bit hard to use as hand positioning feels stretched and out of place.

Tracking is very smooth and with some adjustment to mouse settings very precise. Both the top buttons provide a nice tactile feel and show good responsiveness. The one issue we found was that they scroll wheel on our iMouse feels stiff making for jagged scrolling and the location makes using the third (usually middle click) button near impossible.

Conclusion:

Overall we had no major complaints about our iMouse T1. There were a few issues with the scroll wheel and I'm a bit disappointed in the overall size as well as the lack of a wireless option. I've become rather spoiled by using a wireless mouse and keyboard combo and would have preferred not being tethered to my desk. Being a geek with smaller hands the bulk and shape of the iMouse made for an uncomfortable feel until I made a few adjustments to my hand position. I actually found it easier to use left handed than I did right. This was likely due to being use to the feel a mouse has in my right hand. Size and shape aside we'd definitely give the iMouse a recommendation rating.

Pricing:

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Get Your NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 At Newegg Now

Retailers have begun listing the latest incarnation of NVIDIA's Fermi based cards the GeForce GTX 460. The card which has yet to be officially released packs 336 CUDA cores, core clock speeds of 675MHz, 1,350MHz shader speeds and an effective memory clock of 3,600MHz with 768MB of GDDR5 memory running through a 192-bit interface.

Currently Newegg is offering twelve models in all from the usual suspects ASUS, EVGA, Gigabyte, MSI and Palit. Prices range from $199 for the based edition GTX 460 to $245 for a SONIC PLATINUM 1GB 256-bit version from Palit.

Full specs and details from NVIDIA will be posted as soon as they become available!

Tether Your Android Phone For Free

AT&T customers and iPhone fanboys may want to look away as today we are going to give you the low down on a quick easy way of tethering your Android powered phone for free.

For starters we'll offer some words of warning this is a bit of an advanced approach you have to gain root access to your phone, something that involves a multi-step process that uses an unofficial Android add-on which can brick your phone or have other nasty implications if applied incorrectly. Unless you are totally comfortable with what you are attempting you probably shouldn't try it, or at the very least get some help from someone that knows a bit more than you do.

That said for an average PC user that has done things like a bios flash, firmware upgrade or something similar it's really not going to be an overly complicated process, I just offer the warning as some users might not be aware of the dangers. So if you're up for the challenge here is a great tutorial from the Android and Me blog. This is a fairly easy to follow three step process that involves unlocking your phone's bootloader, flashing a recovery image, and flashing an add-on to the default Nexus One firmware.


Once you have you Android phone rooted you need to bounce over to the Google Code site and grab the Android Wi-Fi Tether application. This program enables tethering (via wifi and bluetooth) for "rooted" handsets running Android (such as the Android DevPhone 1). Clients (your laptop for example) can connect via wifi (ad-hoc mode) or bluetooth and get access to the internet using the 3G, 2G mobile connection or (in case you are using bluetooth) the wifi connection which is established by the handset.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Blizzard Responds To RealID Concerns

 **Update**
In a message posted on the company's Web site shortly before 1 p.m. EDT Friday, Activision Blizzard CEO Mike Morheieme said the company changed the plan announced earlier after receiving a raft of feedback, much of it criticizing the move, from users posting to the company's forums.

Saying that Blizzard's recent announcement to include users real names not only in-game but also on the companies Battle.Net gaming forums has come with a little backlash is a serious understatement. Blogs, forums and various other sites have been flooded with complaints from concerned gamers voicing various opinions about the issue.

Today a Blizzard rep spoke at length with gaming site Gamasutra trying to alleviate some of those concerns. Oddly enough some of the discussion leaves more questions for us than it did actual answers.

"Players can continue to read the forums anonymously regardless of whether they choose to post in them, and their gameplay experiences will not change if they choose not to use the Real ID communication features in game," the Blizzard rep stated. This we actually already knew...yeah optional go figure huh

The rather mystifying part of the statements was that he explains that players can actually register any name they wish when signing up for their Real ID. HUH? Correct me if I'm wrong here but that seems like an utter FAIL. I thought the point was that users had to use their REAL names and that they were somehow going to verify these real names. I assumed via CC information.

The rep does continue to state that each RealID user name must be tied to a unique CD key for that game, and Blizzard says it plans to attempt to enforce the use of legitimate names. I'm assuming they will be blocking names like Mike Hunt, Wi Tard eect ect

"We have multiple teams here who will be monitoring the forums and looking for inappropriate names," the rep explained. "When the situation does arise, our community and customer service representatives will investigate and determine if any action is needed."

The rep continues to explain further benefits of not providing fake names adding that using fake names only hinders the company's ability to provide timely service. The Terms of Use agreement also require that players provide Blizzard with accurate information, as certain aspects of customer service rely on identity verification.

The new Real ID system will be integrated into the StarCraft II forum later this month. The service is expected to invade World of Warcraft sometime around the launch of Cataclysm.

Maybe I'm lost here, or maybe Blizzard is doing a complete 180 based on the negative reaction from their user base, either way it seems like there are now more questions about this new Real ID system.

Pirate Bay User Database Hacked, Millions Of Email And IP Addresses Exposed

According to Brian Krebs, at KrebsonSecurity.com, an Argentinian hacker named Ch Russo reported that he and his group had discovered a SQL injection vulnerability in The Pirate Bay's website that allowed them to obtain and expose personal information of all the users registered at the site. This includes not only identifiable information like email addresses and usernames, but also more important information like users IP addresses.

Russo maintains he and his group did not alter, copy or delete information in The Pirate Bay database. But he acknowledges that they did briefly consider how much this access and information would be worth to anti-piracy companies like the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

“Probably these groups would be very interested in this information, but we are not [trying] to sell it,” Russo told KrebsOnSecurity.com in a phone interview. “Instead we wanted to tell people that their information may not be so well protected.”

Russo's original post has since been removed and they site is now returning "403" errors, most likely due to some sort of retaliation attack. Before the site was taken down Russo admitted that The Pirate Bay administrators had removed the Web site component that facilitated access to thepiratebay.org user database, although he added that he’s had no direct contact with the site administrators about his findings.

Other than financial gains possible from selling the information to the RIAA or MPAA the leak could potentially be threatening to the millions of users out there that use the Pirate Bay. Not only could spammers utilize the emails for a mass phishing scheme or spam attack but hackers could utilize IP information obtained for sniffing attacks to attempt to gain control of a Pirate Bay users computer.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Add Fonts Into Photoshop Without Adding Them To Windows

If like me you use a ton of fonts for your Photoshop or Illustrator projects but you don't want to drag down the performance of other applications or you don't want to take the time to add them all to the Windows font folder then here is a quick easy way of adding them without facing these issues.

The trick is to put them into the Adobe common fonts folder under you program files folder (usually “C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Fonts\”) or if you are running a 64 bit OS such as Windows 7 64 bit (“C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Adobe\Fonts\”).

You can get to this directory by going to Start > Run and issuing the following:
%ProgramFiles%\Common Files\Adobe\Fonts
This should bring you to a directory called “fonts”, from there you can either add all your fonts directly into that folder or an even better step is to create sub-folders for easier organization. Then you add in all the fonts you want to use in and they will be loaded when Photoshop loads. Just keep in mind the more fonts you add the longer it takes Adobe Photoshop to load all these fonts so it will slow down load times. The benefit however is that Windows and all your other font using applications will perform better overall and load times for those applications will bemuch faster

Once you your fonts installed and hopefully organized you don’t have to reload Photoshop for the new fonts to start working, they should appear in the drop down menu right away.

This tip should work on any version of Photoshop above 5.5, including Photoshop 6, 7, CS, CS2, CS3 and CS4 (I haven't tested it on CS5).

Tip on font organization: I typically organize my fonts according to styles, type face ect. You won't notice the difference from the Photoshop drop-down however if you find a new artistic font you want to use in say MS Office and you have a bunch of artistic fonts loaded into an "artistic fonts folder" then its much easier to locate that individual font. Rather than than having to dig through hundreds of fonts you know its located in with the few artistic fonts in one single main folder.

Enter The Palit GeForce GTX 480 Giveaway

Officially kicking off yesterday (July 6th) and running until Aug 16th, the gang over at Palit have launched a contest right up any geeks alley. Up for grabs are a GeForce GTX 480, 470, or 465 graphics card (first, second and third prizes). Entering is easy, all you need to do is hit the company's three social media web pages and show a little love.

Step 1: Facebook
  • (a) Head here and click on "LIKE."
  • (b) Make sure you comment on the contest entry and insert the code phrase "I got game."
Step 2: Twitter
  • (a) Head here and then click "Follow."
  • (b) Retweet the Palit name once with the code phrase "I got game."
Step 3: MySpace
  • (a) Head here and then click "Add to Friends."
  • (b) Make sure you comment on MySpace with the code phrase "I got game."

To learn more about the contest--including the terms and conditions--head here.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Review: BullGuard Internet Security 9.0

With an ever growing threat from viruses, spyware and malware its important that every user take action and protect themselves with not just a good anti-virus application but also a great security suite. These should include not just a passive anti-virus program but active protections as well. They should also include a good firewall, email protection, built in spyware/malware protection, phishing protection and preferably some sort of back-up plan.

Generally here at Geek-News we advocate using the latest in freeware protection such as Avast, AVG or Avira. While we know these are all great pieces of software in their own right they don't offer the full protection that a full fledged security suite can offer, and many times must be supplemented by other software packages. So this past few weeks we decided to stray from the norm and test out BullGuard Internet Security 9.0, a full featured packaged costing $59.95.

Testing BullGuard

We are not software security experts, nor do we want our review to reflect that. We wanted to test the security suite from the home geek's perspective. So we started off with a clean install of Windows 7 went through the standard installation procedures, and took notes of what we saw. Mostly we focused on user related information like the controls, settings and basic usage information. For actual testing we downloaded new copies of several of our favorite programs, visited several questionable sites and then tried downloading several test files. Essentially we did the things we think every home user will do every day to see how well we though the software would stack up.

The Good:
  • Clean interface, easy to navigate and use
  • Small footprint, uses very little memory even when scanning so it was lite on the resources
  • Fully packed with lots of features

The Bad:
  • Lacks customization: You install all the components or nothing (only bad if you want to use other products in conjunction with BullGuard)
  • Integration: There was a serious lack of integration controls, components such as toolbars attach themselves to browsers without permission. This is something I really dislike!
  • Poor firewall controls: All installed applications are seemingly always set to allow unless you manually block them. This can be a serious concern.
  • Overly simplified feel: Without the above controls the security suite feels dumbed down to an advanced user.
  • Questionable AV protection: Several test files were overlooked

Conclusion

Sadly I see a trend in the software world of "simplifying" user controls. For me it feels more like the dumbing down of the applications or OSs more than anything. Unfortunately BullGuard Internet Security 9.0 falls victim to this trend. For the basic user the security suite might be ideal however for advanced users wanting greater customization, more control and much tighter security you'll find the suite severely lacking.

I never actually installed any malicious software that needed an internet connection I did test with the GRC Leak Test (which was auto allowed) however the fact the firewall allowed almost every piece of software I did install an automatic connect was alarming to me. I checked the firewall settings several times and saw no options to change these settings. Its my opinion even trusted software should be set to the "ask me" setting for the first time.

The Anti-virus protection was moderate at best. I tried and successfully downloaded several test files that weren't flagged by BullGuard but were by Windows Defender and my testing on a few "keygens" that are typically flagged as malicious turned up no hits. On the plus side BullGuard did not only block many of the high priority tests but it also blacklisted the site URLs. A very proactive step towards potential future infections.

Given all the above issues I would not recommend BullGuard for most users. For the basic home users wanting lightweight protection and a simplified feel you might be ok. I however feel there are other better alternatives out there that are more well know, more reliable and just as user friendly.

Activision Adds 12 New Songs To The Guitar Hero Music Library

Activision has announced the addition of twelve new songs the the Guitar hero library. The new songs will be compatible with both Guitar Hero 5 and Band Hero, as well as forward compatible with the upcoming releases of Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock when it's released this fall.

These latest additions to the music library will feature tracks from GRAMMY Hall of Fame Award winners Queen, heavy metal rockers Avenged Sevenfold and Disturbed, and the Guitar Hero debut of hard rock band, Shinedown.

Available for download beginning today, the Queen 2 Track Pack will feature three of their biggest hits, including "Crazy Little Thing Called Love," "Killer Queen" and "Somebody To Love."

The Avenged Sevenfold Track Pack will allow fans to shred along with three hit singles, "Afterlife," "Almost Easy" and "Scream," from their self-titled, fourth studio album.

The Disturbed Track Pack on July 20, which features "Down With The Sickness," the second single off their debut album, The Sickness, "Stricken," the lead single off the band's third studio album, Ten Thousand Fists, and "Indestructible" the fourth single off their fourth studio album similarly titled, Indestructible.

Starting July 27, fans can enjoy the Shinedown Track Pack, which features "Devour," "Second Chance" and "Sound of Madness," three of the biggest hits off their certified Platinum album, The Sound of Madness.

The Queen 2, Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed and Shinedown track packs will be available on Xbox LIVE Marketplace for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft for 440 Microsoft Points, on the PlayStation Store for PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system for $5.49 and for Wii for 550 Wii Points. All songs in each track pack will also be released as downloadable singles for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft for 160 Microsoft Points, PlayStation 3 system for $1.99 and Wii for 200 Wii Points each. In addition to the in-game music store and Xbox LIVE Marketplace for Xbox 360, Xbox 360 owners can expand their Guitar Hero music library using the Guitar Hero VIP Pass Music Store, available exclusively on Xbox LIVE online entertainment network.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Amazon Buys Woot, Will We Now See An AmazonOff?

As of today Amazon has officially purchased Woot but don't hold your breathe on seeing an AmazonOff anytime soon. The deal which was formally announced on Woot's company blog leaves Woot as an autonomous unit and not part of the main Amazon.com shopping experience so its highly unlikely we'll see any cross integration marketing strategies and ideas like the all to popular WootOff. (sorry folks)

In a note to Woot employees, founder Matt Rutledge utilizes his all to familiar hilarity and promises that the site and the how its ran will likely go unchanged.

"We plan to continue to run Woot the way we have always run Woot - with a wall of ideas and a dartboard. From a practical point of view, it will be as if we are simply adding one person to the organizational hierarchy, except that one person will just happen to be a billion-dollar company that could buy and sell each and every one of you like you were office furniture. Nevertheless, don’t worry that our culture will suddenly take a leap forward and become cutting-edge. We’re still going to be the same old bottom-feeders our customers and readers have come to know and love, and each and every one of their pre-written insult macros will still be just as valid in a week, two weeks, or even next year. For Woot, our vision remains the same: somehow earning a living on snarky commentary and junk."


For the most part there was little information that was actually disclosed but it does make for some funny reading, hey this is Woot after-all.

The Texas-based company was originally launched way back in 2004 as a single site and has since grow not only in size but in popularity. Today hundreds of thousands of deal seekers flock to the site. One of the more popular deals is the Woot-bag-o-crap, Two for Tuesdays and of course the aforementioned WootOff.

Lawyers Gearing Up For Possible iPhone 4 Class-Action Lawsuit

Are you one of the 1.7 million new iPhone 4 owners, and are you experiencing the dreaded "grip of death"? If so there may be a lawsuit for that!

"If you recently purchased the new iPhone and have experienced poor reception quality, dropped calls and weak signals, we would like to hear from you," said the law firm Kershaw Cutter & Ratinoff in a recent statement.

Kershaw Cutter & Ratinoff is best known for filing a massice class action lawsuit against Facebook and Zynga, the social gaming company behind Farmville and Mafia Wars, over allegedly misleading third-party offers.

According to their recent statements the firm is actively searching for individuals that might be unhappy with their recently purchased iPhone 4. If they find enough individuals to make a lawsuit work the firm has promised it will head the action and seek adequate compensation from Apple.

So if you are one of the many out there that have complained about problems with your iPhone and you want to try and sign up for a future class action you can contact KCR directly.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hulu Announces Hulu Plus $10 A Month Subscription Service

No longer do we need to sit back and listen to the rumors and speculation as today the fine folks over at Hulu announced the limited launch of Hulu Plus.

The new ad-supported premium subscription service will run users $9.99 per month and includes HD access to full season runs of shows from Fox, ABC, and NBC. Hulu Plus will work across a multitude of platforms, including PCs, the iPad, iPhone, some Samsung Blu-ray players, and soon, the PlayStation 3. The service is currently only available to select Hulu members who have been invited — you can request an invite here.

hint: If you want to get an invite a little faster follow Hulu on Twitter ( www.twitter.com/hulu) or “Like” Hulu on Facebook ( www.facebook.com/hulu), they have suggested that they will be handing out invites to a random set if friends from each of those groups from time to time over the coming months.



Microsoft Talks Windows 8

Windows 7 may still be in its infancy but that's not stopping Microsoft from moving forward with their next operating system. Appropriately dubbed Windows 8 the new OS is supposedly slated for real sometime in 2012 (when Windows 7 will have become 3 years and 2 service packs old).

Over the past week several confidential presentations were leaked to the public domain. The presentations were intended to be released to Microsoft's industry partners to outline the ideas in store for the developers. Several sites including Microsoft Kitchen successfully nabbed most of the slides and are now keeping them online for all to see. The information outlined on the slides is mostly high-level and conceptual, likely dating back to even before Windows 7's retail release – but it's still very interesting to see what Microsoft's goals and inspirations are for Windows 8.

Big goals for Windows 8

Instant On - Microsoft wants to cut down on the wait time between powering on and the user being able to access the information or functionality of the OS. This includes both faster boot times and faster resume from sleep. Many of the newly designed operating systems out there are adding in features that considerably cut boots times and there are several instant boot OSs that provide limited functionality. MS however wants to give you access to the full operating system as quickly as possible.

Facial Recognition - Microsoft has proposed that all new PCs are equipped with several new sensors including infrared proximity sensors, accelerometers, ambient-light detectors and web-cameras. These will let PCs detect its user nearby, verify the user's identity by face-recognition, and load-up (or unlock) the user's account on the PC. Later, the user can just walk away from the PC, and it will standby, hibernate, shut-down, or simply lock the PC and turn-off the display, to save power.

Moving to the cloud - MS wants to move more of the OS, and presumably the users information to cloud based computing. Much like Jolicloud, the Chrome OS or any of the new lightweight operating systems we see being developed Microsoft wants to move user account including things like a user's bookmarks and Windows settings onto servers stored via Microsoft. This could lead greater access to user information even from other people's computers.

App Store - Another major development would be the adoption of a major software and content delivery platform along the lines of Apple Store or Valve Steam, where users will be able to buy content and proprietary software. For now the medium is referred to as the "Windows Store".

Conclusion

These are just a few of the improvements MS is looking at and again these are conceptual ideas so there is no guarantee that we'll actually see any of them built into the final release of the new system. Sadly looking at most of these "major improvements" you'll see that they are ideas and features already built into several operating systems out there. The only thing I see that is new and somewhat revolutionary would be the implementation of facial recognition. This would be a nice feature around the office, at home or in any other environment where you have multiple users. It would be nice being able to simple walk up to the PC and have it wake to each individual users own personal settings.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Harry Potter Theme Park Has Hidden Easter Eggs

Planning a visit to the newly opened Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park at Universal Studios Orlando? Then keep your eyes peeled and you may just find a few hidden treasures.

According to Wired.com the castle corridors of Hogwarts and the shop windows of Hogsmeade aren’t just filled with magical-looking junk from a Universal prop house. The attractions designers have scattered Harry Potter Easter eggs throughout the set, filling the park with little details designed to reward observant fans.

So far more than 10 Harry Potter Easter eggs have been spotted in various locations around the attraction and who knows how many more may be waiting to be found. So if you are planning a trip out there look carefully and maybe you'll find a few the guys over at Wired missed.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

iPhone 4 Teardown Shows Off the Goods

Undoubtedly blessed by the hands of early deliveries the gang over at iFixit have managed to get their geeky little hands on the new iPhone 4 and have promptly begun tearing it asunder. As of post time the teardown is still ongoing, but here's what we know so far:

Powering this little beast is a 1GHz ARM Cortex A8 processor with 512MB of RAM (confirming earlier rumors). The screen is made with chemically-strengthened Gorilla Glass for a more enduring scratch resistant front panel. Their 32 GB iPhone has an actual capacity of 29.06 GB. There is a rear-facing 5 MP camera with 720p video at 30 FPS, tap to focus feature, and LED flash.

Beyond all that is just a bunch of flashy sexiness that will have all you Apple Fanboys drooling!

As always the iFixit crew are posting several great pics as they tear apart the iPhone and of course they are providing a well written step-by-step guide so you too can tear apart your iPhone. So go check it out at: iFixit iPhone 4 Teardown

Monday, June 21, 2010

Internet Kill Switch Back In The News

Legislation originally introduced early last year by Senators John Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe has reared its ugly head again. This time spearheaded by Sen. Joseph Lieberman.

Dubbed the "Internet Kill Switch" Lieberman's new Cybersecurity bill could potentially give the president the power to switch off internet services in the event of an immediate threat. The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act of 2010, or. S3480, would create an Office of Cyber Policy in the White House with a director accountable to the public who would lead all federal cyberspace efforts and devise national cyberspace strategy. A National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications within the Department of Homeland Security, also led by a director accountable to the public, would enforce cybersecurity policies throughout the government and the private sector. The bill would also establish a public/private partnership to set national cyber security priorities and improve national cyber security defenses.

In addition to the creation of the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications (NCCC) the bill adds provision that would effectively allow the disconnection of several sectors of the civilian infrastructure including parts of the Internet that runs the electric grid, the telecommunications grid and the transportation gtid in the event of attack.

According to transcripts from CNN's State of the union Sen. Joseph Lieberman feels the government "Needs the capacity to disconnect the American Internet from all traffic coming in from another foreign country" stating we are "constantly being probed by nation states, by some terrorist groups, by organized criminal gangs."

Lieberman feels there is a need for the government to protect itself and its citizens should a war or organized attack occurs. Sadly (and yes this is a US senator) he compares the US to China stating "Right now, China, the government, can disconnect parts of its Internet in a case of war. We need to have that here, too."

On Sunday Lieberman dismissed the idea that the new bill would give the president access to an Internet kill switch as "misinformation." What misinformation you might ask? Lieberman feels confident that even though the government has the power it "never take over -- the government should never take over the Internet."

Yeah right we all believe that the government will never do that. History has shown us otherwise! To me its sickening that Lieberman, a sitting US senator, can sit there and compare us to China. Sure we need to "protect" the government but saying that this bill is good for the people sounds pure communistic to me. The private sector has the right to shut down their networks in case of attack, the government does not need the power to be able to interject.

As I mentioned in last years post "New Bill Would Give Obama An Internet Kill Switch" the wide sweeping power this legislation could give is utterly scary. It could be enacted in the event of almost any perceived threat, real, imagined or otherwise.

Apple iPhone iOS 4.0 Released Today

You may not be able to get your hands on the new iPhone 4 until Thursday, but that doesn't mean you have to wait to checkout Apple's new iOS 4 operating system. As of 10am PST Apple officially released the latest version of the iPhone operating system for download for those of you that own the iPhone 3G and iPhone 3GS, and second- and third-generation iPod Touch models. First gen owners are sadly out of luck.

The the UI hasn’t changed too much since the release of the first firmware, but Apple has made more than 100 improvements to the basic functionality and support for the mobile operating system, and several major improvement including the much anticipated addition of multitasking.

iOS 4 is free for all compatible devices, and can be downloaded via iTunes 9.2 or later.

For more details on features checkout the official Apple IOS4 update page.

Toshiba Libretto W100 High Priced Dual Screen Sexiness

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the company's laptop business, Toshiba introduced three new portable devices - the Portégé R700, the AC100, and the sexy new dual touchscreen Libretto W100.



Touted as he world's first dual touchscreen device to run Windows 7, the ultra portable 7.95" by 4.84" by 1.2" inch Libretto weighs just 1,8lbs and feratures dual 17.8cm (7") 1024 x 600-resolution screens. Powering the W100 is a 1.2GHz Intel Pentium U5400 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 64GB SSD and of course Windows 7 Home Premium. For connectivity the W100 features a 802.11 b/g/n WiFi card and Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR5. There is also a 1-megapixel HD Webcam with facial recognition a USB port and built-in memory reader.

For your typing needs there are four virtual keyboard modes simple, thumb and 10-key, plus a quick-launch button all with haptic technology—which offers a sort of tactile feedback that makes typing feel more authentic — as well as a virtual touchpad.


Toshiba is calling the Libretto W100 a "concept PC," however the company is actually planning to bring it to market sometime in August. The price is reportedly going to be a rather high $1,099 with only a limited number available.

For more details checkout the full Toshiba press release and for more images checkout the Libretto W100 set on Flickr

Futuremark Lords of Overclocking 2010 Competition

Starting today and running four weeks to July 18 the Futuremark Lords of Overclocking contest features overclocking enthusiasts from Europe, Asia and the Americas. The goal is to achieve the highest 3DMark06 results utilizing MSI motherboards and their choice of commercially available components.

The contest is divided into three regions - Americas; Europe and Africa and Asia Pacific -region. Entries are separated into these regions according to submitting IP address. There is no limit to number of entries, so you can run the tests, tweak your systems and try as many times as you want to win!

Entry period runs from June 21st (11 am GMT) to July 18th, divided into four weekly periods. To enter just submit your 3DMark06 score to Futuremark ORB. Login or register to ORB to submit your contact details to win prizes.

The grand prize, awarded to the top two contestants across the whole contest period in each region is a trip to Taipei with paid travel and hotel for the winner and one friend/teammate to compete in MOA 2010 Grand Final. This prize is personal and non-transferable. If any highest scoring contestant elects not to participate, this award passes to the next eligible contestant. Weekly prizes are awarded to the highest scoring contestants in the region during that week. Lucky draw prizes are drawn weekly among all contestants who submitted a valid result to the contest. Each contestant is only eligible to win one prize (grand prize or weekly).

The prize pool includes MSI Big Bang XPOWER and P55-GD85 motherboards, MSI N470GTX-M2D12 and R5770 Hawk VGA cards, Antec P193 Advance Super Mid Tower and Twelve Hundred gaming cases, Antec CP-1000 Watt and TP-750 Watt power supplies, Kingston HyperX T1 DDR3 and HyperX DDR3 LoVo memory modules, GlacialTech F101 CPU coolers and Enermax Apollish cooling fans. Two overall grand prize winners from each region will also win the chance to participate in MSI’s Master Overclocking Arena 2010 event in Taipei, Taiwan in August.

For further details of the Lords of Overclocking 2010 competition please visit http://www.futuremark.com/lords