Monday, October 25, 2010

Google Sued for Violating the Privacy Rights of Millions of Americans

Class action suit filed for Google's systematic practices of sharing the personal information and search queries of its users with third-parties.

A class action lawsuit filed yesterday challenges Google's alleged practice of illegally sharing the search queries of its users with third-parties. Not only does Google, whose company motto is "Don't be evil," promise in its privacy policy not to do this, but Google has publicly denounced this very practice in the past.

In 2006,Google successfully fought a subpoena filed by the Department of Justice that sought to compel the release of search queries. Google argued: "[S]earch query content can disclose identities and personally identifiable information . . ." It further stated that it "will keep private whatever information users communicate absent a compelling reason."

The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in San Jose, Calif., is brought by Paloma Gaos of the San Francisco Bay Area. Ms. Gaos is represented by Kassra Nassiri of Nassiri & Jung LLP and Michael Aschenbrener of Edelson McGuire LLC. The class action seeks monetary relief for those whose search queries were wrongly shared, and injunctive relief to prevent continued privacy abuses.

"Because of its dominance in the search business, Google, more than any other company, presents a great risk to citizen privacy. As recent events have made clear, the selling and reselling of personal information is a multi-billion dollar business that shows no signs of slowing down," says Kassra Nassiri, co-lead attorney. "By systematically disclosing user search queries, Google is adding more fuel to the privacy fire than most people realize."

"For many people, Google is the first place they turn when they need help with a private matter. Google knows this and for this reason has promised to hold user searches completely private. Any search engine that fails to maintain this promise risks losing its place as a trusted adviser," says co-lead attorney Michael Aschenbrener.

Nassiri & Jung LLP and Edelson McGuire LLC are also prosecuting other high-profile privacy cases against major Silicon Valley companies, including Facebook and Zynga.

Nassiri & Jung LLP is a boutique litigation firm based in San Francisco that focuses on complex business disputes. www.nassiri-jung.com.

Edelson McGuire LLC is a leading class action firm that focuses on Internet, technology, privacy, banking, and consumer issues with attorneys in Illinois, New York, California, and Florida.
www.edelson.com

Source: PRNewswire

Skype Tells Nimbuzz To Buzz Off

According to reports Skype has officially asked popular mobile communication service provider Nimbuzz to discontinue use of the Skype services starting October 31, 2010. Reasoning behind the move is as of yet unclear however Nimbuzz believes it comes as part of a strategy for Skype to disconnect all open third party support ahead of its impending IPO.

Evert Jaap Lugt, CEO of Nimbuzz, "Skype’s decision is unfair to its own and our users. People want to choose how they communicate and to be able to make calls and send messages, regardless of service, social network, device or operator network. Nimbuzz gives them the freedom to do so, Skype does not."

Skype has responded with this canned statement:

“Skype has been in discussions with Nimbuzz regarding our concern and belief they were using Skype’s software in ways which it was not designed for, in a breach of our API Terms of Use and End User Licence Agreement. Skype offered to meet Nimbuzz and discuss the issue however we have not heard back from them since our last correspondence to them in early August. As we have said before, Skype encourages openness and supports developers to build products that work with the Skype platform.”

Nimbuzz isn't going to slip quietly into the night. The company points out users will remain free to communicate with their contacts using other VoIP/SIP, instant messaging services and social networks, including Facebook, Yahoo, Windows Live Messenger, AIM, Google Talk, Twitter, MySpace, ICQ and others. They have also decided to offer current users a discount on their own paid VoIP services, NimbuzzOut.

The offer is as follows:
  • A 15% bonus credit to use on NimbuzzOut. That’s 15% extra on top of the credits you want to purchase. To access the 15% bonus credit, go to http://www.nimbuzzout.com and once logged-in, use this code NIMBUZZ15 (valid until end of November 2010).
  • NimbuzzOut now lets you call mobile phones and landlines in 45 countries for only 2 cents per minute!
  • NimbuzzOut is supported on more than 115 Symbian devices, all iPhone / iPod Touch, and all of the Android handsets.

Read more via Nimbuzz - What the Skype/Nimbuzz Breakup Means To You

Thursday, October 21, 2010

AMD Launches Radeon HD 6800 Series

AMD today introduced the companies next generation of PC gaming GPUs, the AMD Radeon HD 6800 series, designed to be the “perfect graphics cards” for gamers by delivering unprecedented game performance. The new AMD Radeon HD 6800 series graphics cards provide more than 30 percent greater game performance than competing products, harnessing AMD’s second-generation Microsoft DirectX 11-capable architecture, best-in-class energy efficiency, and an unmatched feature set, including AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology.

“AMD is the market share leader by a landslide in DirectX 11 graphics,” said Matt Skynner, corporate vice president and general manager, GPU Division, AMD. “Through our sweet spot strategy and our open, industry standards approach, we’ve worked to deliver the best possible experience for gamers. Today, our laser focus on gamers continues with the introduction of what we think is far and away the best graphics card series today, the AMD Radeon HD 6800 series. With exceptional game performance, an unrivaled feature set including breathtaking DirectX 11 gaming, AMD Eyefinity multi-display technology, AMD Accelerated Parallel Processing, and more, the AMD Radeon HD 6800 series will have all gamers wanting to get Radeon in their systems.”


The first two cards released under the 6800 series are the Radeon HD 6870 and Radeon HD 6850. Both cards are built with AMD's 40nm chips with a 255mm die size, 1.7B transistors and feature 1GB of GDDR5 with a 256-bit memory interface and 32 render back-ends. The two cards sport a dual-slot design and provide 2 mini-DisplayPort 1.2 connectors, 1 HDMI 1.4a connector, and 2 DVI ports with HD3D technology, AMD Eyefinity technology and AMD EyeSpeed visual acceleration support.




Pricing is set at an MSRP of $239 for the Radeon HD 6870 and $179 for the Radeon HD 6850.

AMD Radeon HD 6870 and 6850 Benchmarks and Reviews:


Related News:

Newegg Radeon HD 6870 Pricing

Newegg Radeon HD 6850 Pricing
Product page: AMD Radeon HD 6800 series product information
Source: AMD Press Release

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Apple Updates The MacBook Air And I Want One

Call it a notebook, call it a netbook, call it what you want but damn you have to admit the two newly introduced MacBook Airs are sexy looking machines!


When Apple released the original MacBook Air even the biggest Apple detractors had to be a bit impressed. The sleek stylish notebook was nothing short of amazing. The starting price tag of $1,799 however was not!

MacMall Ad
Nearly three years has passed since the original MacBook Air made it's debut and today Apple has gone and wow'd us yet again. This time it's with the release of two even smaller, thinner, lighter (and whats more impressive) cheaper versions packing even more power than before.

First off is the new 13.3-inch device. This new model will pack a 13.3" LED backlit display, with 1440x900 resolution, an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, Nvidia GForce 320M graphics, 2GBs of DDR3 ram, an SSD drive for storage, full size keyboard, multi-touch trackpad, FaceTime camera and an 'instant on' OS. All this will be backed into a an aluminum unibody design that measures 12.8" x 8.94" is only .11-.68 inches thick and weighs 2.9 lbs. This model is currently priced at $1299 and $1599 with additional options for a 2.13 GHz CPU, 4GBs of ram and up to 256GB of storage.

The second device is Apple's new 'netbook' at least that's what I'd call it. It a new 11.6in MacBook Air which also packs an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU, Nvidia GForce 320M, full size keyboard, FaceTime camera and multi-touch trackpad. The 11.6 inch model comes with a smaller 11.6" LED backlit display that features 1366x768 resolution. This model measures 11.8" x 7.56" and weights a scant 2.3 pounds. There are currently two price points $999 and $1199 with a 1.4 Ghz CPU and 64 or 128 GB storage respectively although Apple suggest you can upgrade to a 1.6GHz CPU and 4GBs of ram.

Both models are available today on Apple.com. More details via Apple "Apple Reinvents Notebooks With New MacBook Air"

Verizon First To Offer The Samsung Galaxy Tab At $600

Samsung has officially announced the price of the companies iPad rival, the new 7-inch Android-based Galaxy Tab. It will cost $600 and will eventually be available on all four major U.S. carriers, but Verizon is the first to come up with a concrete release date and price.

“This is an incredible time in mobile technology, and as a company we’re excited to add the Samsung Galaxy Tab to our portfolio,” said Marni Walden, vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless. “The Samsung Galaxy Tab brings together the reliability of Verizon Wireless’ 3G network and the power of Android 2. .2 to deliver on our promise of providing consumers and business customers with a host of options to help manage their lives.”

Starting November 11th Verizon will be offering the Samsung Galaxy Tab for the contract-free price of $599. A data plan is optional and will cost $20 per month for 1GB, $35 per month 3GB plan, and a $50 per month 5GB plan.

For those of you that are looking for a better deal or offers from different carriers rumor has it that the Sprint version of the tablet would launch around Nov. 14 for $400 with a contract, with a non-contract version going for $600. It was also speculated that T-Mobile would offer the tablet for $650 without a contract or $400 with a two-year contract after a $50 mail-in rebate.

Running on Android 2.2, the Samsung Galaxy Tab features a 7-inch touch screen; a full Web browsing experience with support for Adobe Flash 10.1 for video and mobile gaming; and a 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird Application processor. Thee are two cameras a 3MP back and 1.3MP front, bluetooth 3.0 support and wireless N adapters.

For additional features and specifications on the Samsung Galaxy Tab, visit www.verizonwireless.com/galaxytab

Source: Samsung/Verizon press release

Monday, October 18, 2010

Microsoft Kinect To Have 17 Titles At Launch

Today Microsoft's countdown to the official launch of the new Kinect gaming platform begins, as Microsoft Corp. announced the launch of a multiyear advertising campaign and revealed the complete lineup of 17 controller-free games that will be released starting on Nov. 4.

The all-in-one Xbox 360 4GB Console with Kinect includes the new Xbox 360 4GB console, Kinect sensor and “Kinect Adventures,” priced at $299.99 ERP (U.S.). Or for those who have an Xbox 360 console1 at home, the stand-alone Kinect for Xbox 360 priced at $149.99 ERP (U.S.) includes the Kinect sensor and “Kinect Adventures” and works with the 42 million Xbox 360 consoles currently in homes worldwide.

With 17 Kinect-enabled titles debuting in November, Kinect for Xbox 360 offers something for gamers (and nongamers) of every stripe.

Family Game Night … With a Kinect Twist

Befriend a playful tiger cub, collect treasures from around the globe or cast a spell in the wizarding world. Whether adopting a new family pet in “Kinectimals” (Frontier Developments Ltd./Microsoft Game Studios), or embarking on a wet and wild rafting trip in “Kinect Adventures” (Good Science Studio/Microsoft Game Studios), Kinect for Xbox 360 is the one gift the whole family will enjoy this holiday season.
  • Kinect Adventures” (Good Science Studio/Microsoft Game Studios), included with every Kinect sensor, Nov. 4. Float in outer space. Experience the thrill of roaring rapids. Tackle mountaintop obstacle courses. And dive into the deep sea to save a leaky underwater observatory — all from your living room. With “Kinect Adventures,” you are the controller as you jump, dodge and kick your way through exciting adventures set in a variety of exotic locations. “Kinect Adventures” is designed with something for everyone to enjoy and will be available with every Kinect sensor and Kinect bundle sold.
  • Kinectimals” (Frontier Developments Ltd./Microsoft Game Studios), $49.99 ERP (U.S.)/$59.99 ERP (U.S.) limited collector’s edition, Nov. 4. “Kinectimals” invites children, their parents and animal lovers of all ages to build lasting friendships with some of the world’s most exotic creatures. Just like real pets, your feline cubs will come running when they hear your voice, respond to commands such as “jump,” “roll over” and “play dead,” and purr with joy when you scratch them behind their ears. Limited collector’s editions of the “Kinectimals” game packaged with a 7” plush toy that unlocks a new animal and toy in the game will be available exclusively at Toys “R” Us and GameStop.
  • Game Party: In Motion” (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment), $39.99 ERP (U.S.), Nov. 18. The popular party game value series comes to Kinect for Xbox 360. “Game Party: In Motion” lets players engage in true-to-life motions with 16 games appealing to people of all ability levels, ranging from sports such as Hoop Shoot and Darts to arcade and party games, including Rootbeer Tapper, Table Hockey and more.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 The Videogame” (Electronic Arts/EA Bright Light), $49.99 ERP (U.S.), Nov. 16. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 The Videogame” is the most challenging yet, packed from start to finish with action and combat. Playing as Harry, you are on the run from the opening sequence, fighting for survival on a desperate and dangerous quest to locate and destroy Voldemort’s Horcruxes. And with 22 exclusive Kinect challenges, conjure the weapons of magical warfare where your motions make the magic, only on Xbox 360.

Off the Couch and Into the Gym

Kinect gives you all-new ways to swing, sweat and step up your workout with a range of exclusive dance and fitness games. From martial arts and yoga to a variety of activities in “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” (Ubisoft) to the iconic personal trainers of “The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout” (THQ), you’ve never had a living room workout like this before.
  • Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” (Ubisoft), $49.99 ERP (U.S.), Nov. 4. With Kinect for Xbox 360 and “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved,” you will experience the most advanced fitness technology available, your way and on your schedule. The advanced feedback system detects when your body is out of alignment and coaches you to correct your form. Personalize your workout, challenge your friends and share your progress while achieving real results.
  • Dance Central” (MTV Games/Harmonix), $49.99 ERP (U.S.), Nov. 4. From the creators of “Rock Band” comes the next great music experience: “Dance Central,” the first controller-free, body tracking, fully immersive dance video game that helps you take your moves to the next level. Featuring more than 90 routines and 650 dance moves, every routine has authentic choreography for beginners and experts alike to master, alongside a killer soundtrack that spans today’s current pop, hip-hop and R&B artists. You won’t just learn the dance moves — you’ll own the dance floor.
  • The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout” (THQ), $49.99 ERP (U.S.), Nov. 4. Based on the hit television show, “The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout” comes to Kinect offering the ultimate workout experience. Complete your fitness program using the interactive motion control sensors providing real-time feedback. From a body analyzer and recipes to personalized tips and a video diary to track your journey, “The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout” fitness game has it all to drop the weight and change your life.
  • DanceMasters” (Konami), $49.99 ERP (U.S.), Nov. 4. The pioneer of the franchise that started the dance game craze, Konami introduces a brand new way to experience music and rhythm. The next generation in full-body dancing is finally here.
  • EA SPORTS Active 2” (EA SPORTS), $99.95 ERP (U.S.), Nov. 16. “EA SPORTS Active 2” with Total Body Tracking will combine motion tracking from Kinect and heart rate data from the included wireless heart rate monitor to provide true fitness results. Users will be able to track and share their workout data online through automatic uploading from their online connected Xbox 360 consoles to their personalized EA SPORTS Active profile.
  • Zumba Fitness” (Majesco), $49.99 ERP (U.S.), Nov. 18. Join the party with “Zumba Fitness,” a one-of-a-kind, dance fitness workout set to sexy, high-energy Latin and international music. Find your rhythm and let go as “Zumba” instructor fan favorites Gina Grant, Tanya Beardsley and “Zumba” creator, Beto, guide you through 30 routines that will work you into a sweat and make you forget you’re even exercising.

Co-Op or Compete? The Choice Is Yours

Step onto the field with the first generation of sports games that turn your whole body into the controller. Want to play soccer? With Kinect, you use your feet — not your thumbs! Hone your skills solo, or compete with friends at home and afar over Xbox LIVE. Beach volleyball, boxing, skiing and more — Kinect offers something for athletes of every stripe.

  • Kinect Sports” (Rare/Microsoft Game Studios), $49.99 ERP (U.S.), Nov. 4. The first full-body, controller-free sports game that lets you physically compete with friends over Xbox LIVE, “Kinect Sports” is so real, you will almost feel the wind in your hair as you fly over hurdles and the sand in your toes as you set, bump and spike your way to volleyball victory. With six full sports — Soccer, Beach Volleyball, Track & Field, Boxing, Bowling and Table Tennis — “Kinect Sports” is the only title with a Team vs. Team mode, allowing the whole family to play in a fast-paced tournament style competition.
  • MotionSports” (Ubisoft) — $49.99 ERP(U.S.) — Nov. 4. Grab your friends and rush the living room, it is time to catapult into the wide world of “MotionSports.” Race down the slopes of a Super G slalom, score a mind-blowing penalty kick, duck-and-run your way to a game-winning touchdown, or throw punches at the champ as you test your skills in more than 40 awesome sports challenges. The “MotionSports” live in-game commentary will follow your hits and misses, as you compete to go from local hero to a global sports phenomenon.
  • DECA SPORTS FREEDOM” (Hudson Entertainment), Price TBA, Holiday 2010.Hudson Entertainment is taking sports to the next level with 10 sporting events you play using your own body in “DECA SPORTS FREEDOM.” No controller necessary — just move yourself as if you were playing the sport in real life. Spin, throw and smash your way to victory across all of the included events: tennis, boxing, archery, paintball, beach volleyball, dodge ball, kendo, mogul skiing, snowboard cross, and even figure skating.

Thrills, Spills and All-Out Action

Get your adrenaline fix with new, controller-free ways to race and rumble. Kinect removes the barrier between you and your games, delivering action and excitement like nothing you’ve experienced before.

  • Kinect Joy Ride” (Big Park/Microsoft Game Studios), $49.99 ERP(U.S.), Nov. 4. “Kinect Joy Ride,” the first controller-free racing game, will take you and your friends on the ride of your lives — no driver’s license required. “Kinect Joy Ride” combines wild kart-racing excitement with the effortless fun of full-body gaming possible only with Kinect for Xbox 360. Go solo or compete with up to eight players over Xbox LIVE to take on the world.2
  • ADRENALIN MISFITS” (Konami), $49.99 ERP(U.S.), Nov. 4.“Adrenalin Misfits” thrusts gamers into unbelievable fantasy worlds with exciting, sideways-stance boarding battles in amazing environments. It's not just a race, it’s a battle!
  • Fighters Uncaged” (Ubisoft), $49.99 ERP(U.S.), Nov. 4. Charge head-first into the vicious world of illegal free-fighting tournaments, where you will use every muscle in your body to battle your way to the top. Forced into a secret tournament, Simon must use what he learned from his father, an ex-boxing champ, as he faces off against violent combatants who will brutally unleash a range of mixed martial arts attacks to take him down. No guns. No blades. Your body is the deadly weapon.
  • SONIC FREE RIDERS” (SEGA), $49.95 ERP (U.S.), Nov. 4. Sonic is speeding onto Kinect for Xbox 360 in an action-packed experience unlike any other. Become your favorite character as you jump on your board and compete in adrenaline-fueled races against tough competition. For the first time use full-motion body control to twist and turn your way through a range of stunning courses.

The full press release can be read here.

Garmin GPS Now Offers In-Store Trade-In Program

Trade-in programs are all the rage these days and it seems like everyone has one for almost everything out there. Well now there is one more kid on the trade-in block. Garmin GPS has announced a new in-store trade-in program that is launching exclusively at the Garmin Chicago Store.

With the new program owners of qualifying automotive or fitness GPS units can trade-in their used equipment for credit toward the purchase of a new device. Garmin customers can call the store today for more information or visit the Chicago Store online to see if you have a qualifying automotive or fitness unit.

As with most these trade-in programs the trade-in value isn't much compared to selling it yourself, however it does take some of the hassle out of selling the items yourself. A qualifying automotive trade-in will land you a $35 credit toward a new purchase, and a qualifying fitness trade-in will get you $25 toward a new purchase.

Note that not all Garmin product model types are eligible for the trade-in program. Even if a particular model is eligible, a particular unit will only be accepted for trade-in if it is functional, unaltered, and has no screen damage. Other restrictions apply. See a store associate for complete details.

Worried About Germs On Your Cellphone? VIOlight Has You Covered!

VIOlight, the leading brand of toothbrush sanitizers, announces today the availability of the first ever UV Cell Phone Sanitizer that eliminates up to 99.9% of germs and bacteria on cell phones, and other small electronic devices. VIOlight's germicidal UV light - the same ground-breaking technology used in hospitals - decreases the number of strep, E. coli, salmonella, listeria, and H1N1 virus germs and bacteria in three minutes.


Studies show the average cell phone carries more germs per square inch than doorknobs, soles of shoes and most toilet seats. "Our goal is to help make people's lives healthier with every product we develop," said Joel Pinsky, co-developer and founder of VIOlight. "Consumers can now utilize the same UV technology used to clean their toothbrushes for their cell phones and other small electronics devices they use every day."


The VIOlight Cell Phone Sanitizer is battery operated, portable, and easy to use. To activate, place your cell phone, earbuds, Bluetooth headsets or other small electronic device into the cradle, close the lid, and a blue-violet indicator light signals that the sanitizer is working. The twin UV bulbs automatically shut off after three minutes when your device is ready.

The Cell Phone Sanitizer is available now for $49.99 at Brookstone, Hammacher Schlemmer, and Cellphone.violight.com.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Staples Now Offers Rebates Via PayPal

I've played the mail-in-rebate game for as long as I can remember, all the way back to the mail them in and hope and prey that your check comes in the mail days. Now days the rebate game has changed dramatically. For some sites gone are the days of filling out forms you can submit all your rebate information online - no clipping, no mailing, no hassles.

Staples has always led the way in the new paperless MIR game. They were one of the first large retailers to take all the hassles out of the rebate game and make the rebate process easier. For years now they've used the Easy Rebate system which allow you to submit almost all of their rebate offers online which removes the delay in mailing along with the postage cost and there is no worry that Staples didn’t receive the rebate. You can track the rebate online and so far I haven’t had any issues with rebate payment.

Now they've gone a step further and are allowing you to receive your payments electronically through PayPal. With the new PayPal payment system users can skip the snail mail process altogether which should actually make receiving rebate payments quicker and easier as there is no wait time for the check to arrive. This new option should also help ease concerns from many rebate shoppers who note that the rebate postcards often get lost in the mail.

Staples has said that not all their rebates will allow for PayPal payment so you'll need to check for the option when submitting. Staples has a short FAQ about the PayPal rebate payment option. It unclear, what if any, PayPal fees might apply, so users might check into that before opting for the option. But getting your rebate a little quicker might be worth a few pennies.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Skype And Facebook Unite

skype logoSkype today announced the launch of the new Skype 5.0 for Windows, with Facebook integration.

The Facebook integration makes Skype even more social. For the first time Skype users can keep up-to-date and interact with their Facebook News Feed, including posting status updates, commenting, and liking, directly from Skype. Even better, the Facebook Phonebook in Skype allows users to call and SMS their Facebook friends directly on their mobile phones and landlines with just a few clicks. If your Facebook friend is also a Skype contact, you can make a free Skype-to-Skype call.


With Facebook integration, you can:
  • see your Facebook News Feed in Skype
  • post status updates that can be synced with your Skype mood message
  • comment and like friends’ updates and wall posts
  • call and SMS your Facebook friends on their mobile phones and landlines
  • make a free Skype-to-Skype call if your Facebook friend is also a Skype contact
"We're working with companies such as Skype to make it easy to find your friends anytime you want to connect," wrote Ethan Beard, director of Facebook's Developer Network, in a blog posting.

Source: Skype Blog

Tom's Hardware Wants Your Help Choosing CPU Tests For 2011

Tom's Hardware wants you, well not literally, but they do want your input as to which tests you'd like to see featured in their updated CPU charts for 2011. That's right if there is a new benchmark, game application or something else out there you'd like to see featured on the new CPU test charts for 2011 now is your chance to tell them and they might just listen!

Here’s the current list of test they'll be featuring:
  • Apple iTunes 10.0.1
  • TMPG 4.7 with DivX 6.9.2 and Xvid 1.2.2
  • MainConcept Reference 2.0
  • HandBrake 0.9.4
  • Autodesk 3ds Max 2010
  • WinRAR 3.92
  • 7-Zip 4.65
  • Adobe Photoshop CS5
  • AVG Anti-Virus 11.0
  • 3DMark Vantage
  • PCMark Vantage
  • SiSoftware Sandra 2010
  • Metro 2033
  • Just Cause 2
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
  • DiRT 2
Two things to keep in mind: Tom's would prefer to use free/trial/open source software, making reproducibility an option for as many of our readers as possible and the apps they are going to be willing to use will likely be the ones most applicable to the largest number of readers out there. So don't go all crazy suggesting some lame duck software no one has ever heard of or some totally niche test that only the geekiest of geeks would be willing to try. The have said there 'may' be room for a handful of more fringe tests but I'm sure that doesn't included something totally out there!

Fro more details checkout Tom's Hardware Wants You: CPU Tests For 2011

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Google TV Now Taking Over Televisions Near You

Late last week Logitech became the first company to officially announce a Google TV device when they introduced the world to the $300 Logitech Revue. This week Sony is following suite with the introduction of several new Google TV devices. Sony's announcement includes five devices in all. Four HDTVs (24-, 32- , 40- and 46-inch) with prices from $599 to $1,399, plus a rather oddly built white set-top box with built-in Blu-ray player for $399.

sony tv


The new Sony Internet TV devices are built on the Google TV platform featuring the Android OS, running the Google Chrome browser and includes a powerful Intel Atom processor offering the ability to quickly search across Internet and television content for easy access to entertainment and information.

The models also feature Dual View, allowing users to watch television while tweeting about what they’re watching, checking their fantasy football scores, or finding related content on the web.

They also deliver a truly personalized entertainment experience with the ability to bookmark content for easy access and add applications from the Android Market (coming in early 2011). The models feature Sony’s premium streaming service “Video On Demand powered by Qriocity” as well as pre-installed apps including CNBC, Napster, NBA, Netflix, Pandora, Twitter, and YouTube.

Each set will feature an oddly shaped hand-held RF QWERTY keypad remote which incorporates an optical mouse making it easier to navigate content, type in search terms, and control the TV’s user interface. Additionally, Sony promises that select mobile devices such as an Android phone, can control the TV with an app that will be available for download from the mobile Android Market later this fall.

The Logitech Revue with Google TV includes a compact companion box that connects to any HDTV and a Logitech Keyboard Controller – a wireless compact keyboard that’s built specifically for the Google TV.



Additional accessories include the Logitech TV Cam which allows you to connect your TV Cam to your Google TV system, and have high-definition video calling directly from your HDTV, right in your living room. There is also a Logitech Mini Controller a compact palm-sized keyboard/ touch pad/remote control combo with the same power as the Keyboard Controller. The mini controller allows y to search, play, pause, rewind and fast-forward shows. And you can surf the web with a built-in combination touch pad/D-pad.

For Android and iPhone users Logitech has created the Logitech Harmony app for Android and iPhone. With the Harmony’s activity-based control, just one touch of “Watch Google TV” on your smartphone screen turns on all necessary devices and gives you control of your home entertainment system, including volume and video playback.

The Logitech Revue is currently only available for Pre-Order directly from Logitech while the Sony Internet TV and the Sony Internet TV Blu-ray Disc Player are currently on pre-sale at www.SonyStyle.com and www.BestBuy.com.  They will be available for purchase at Sony Style on October 16 and at Best Buy shortly after.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

NVIDIA GeForce GT 430 Introduced

nvidia logoNVIDIA this week introduced the latest addition to its Fermi class of graphics processing units (GPUs), the NVIDIA GeForce GT 430, which was specifically designed to provide the horsepower needed to power today's digital media PCs and provide the high definition video and audio experiences that desktop customers demand.

The GeForce GT 430 utilizes the Company's latest 40nm GPU, codenamed GF108, which is already designed into a variety of desktop and notebook platforms from the world's leading OEMs, including Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Samsung, Sony and others. For customers looking for a viable desktop upgrade from lowly integrated solutions, the GeForce GT 430 is a major step up, delivering unparalleled experiences in photo and video editing, Blu-ray 3D, as well as the next generation of GPU-accelerated Web browsers and Web content. And, when combined with NVIDIA 3D Vision™ technology and a compatible display, the GT430 is also the only GPU in its class that allows consumers to experience their digital content in full stereoscopic 3D.

nvidia geforce gt 430

Offering up to 1.5x the gaming performance of previous generation products, the GeForce GT 430 also adds support for DirectX 11 (DX11), the industry standard for game development. Most importantly, the GT 430 delivers unmatched out-of-the-box game compatibility(i) and playable frame rates in all of today's top 30 games(ii), when compared to integrated graphics solutions.
Key features of the new GeForce GT 430 include:

  • Support for HDMI 1.4a, a TV standard for delivering 3D content and advanced multi-channel digital audio
  • Special video engine to accelerate Blu-ray 3D content, delivering optimal 3D visuals at a full 1080p resolution
  • High-definition 24-bit multi-channel audio up to 192KHz, and lossless DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD audio bit streaming
  • Dedicated video processing engine for reduced system power and heat
  • Support for NVIDIA PhysX technology, the industry's most comprehensive, cross-platform physics solution 
GeForce GT 430 Specifications:

GPU Specs:
  • 96 Cuda Cores
  • Graphics Clock 700 MHz DDR3
  • Processor Clock 1400 MHz
  • Texture Fill Rate 11.2 (billion/sec)
Memory Specs:
  • Memory Clock 800 - 900 MHz DDR3
  • Standard Memory Config 1 GB DDR3/GDDR5 (2GB per GPU)
  • Memory Interface Width 128-bit
  • Memory Bandwidth 25.6 - 28.8 GB/sec
Feature Support:
  • NVIDIA 3D Vision Ready
  • NVIDIA PureVideo Technology HD
  • NVIDIA PhysX ready
  • NVIDIA CUD Technology
  • Microsoft DirectX 11
  • OpenGL 4.0
Display Support:
  • Maximum Digital Resolution 2560x1600
  • Maximum VGA Resolution 2048x1536
  • Standard Display Connectors HDMI
  • VGA (optional)
  • Dual Link DVI

    GeForce GT 430 Benchmarks and Reviews

    Related News:
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    PNY Debuts GeForce GT 430 Graphics Card (PDF)
    SPARKLE Announced GeForce GT 430 Graphics Cards
    ZOTAC Unleashes GeForce GT 430 Series Graphics Cards
    GeForce your PC for the Ultimate Performance Upgrade with Inno3D GeForce GT430!
    GIGABYTE Launches Brand New Home Theater Solution NVIDIA GeForce GT 430 Graphics Card
    The EVGA GT 430 Has Arrived!


    Source: NVIDIA Press Release

    Saturday, October 09, 2010

    Google No Longer Offering Free 411 Service

    On November 12, 2010 Google will be officially saying goodbye to GOOG-411 the companies free voice-powered directory assistance service.

    Originally launched back 2007 GOOG-411 was the first of Google's services to use speech recognition. At the time of its launch the 411 service was a great idea and very well received by users that were tired of being hit with directory assistance fees from their cellphone carriers. Google has said the company is making the change because many cell phone users are moving to smartphones with internet access and they no longer need to dial 411 to get contact information. However for those of us still in the stone age and not using smartphones it is sad to see the service shuttering.

    Google will ve offering a bit of a reprieve for GOOG-411 that don’t use a smartphone, and you’re trying to call a business. Those users can send a text message with the name and location of the business to 466453 ("GOOGLE") and Google will text you back with the information.

    Friday, October 08, 2010

    Get Looney Tunes Character Voices On Your TomTom GPS

    Voice navigation is a great feature on any GPS unit but lets face it sometimes those voice can just be flat out annoying. So I say lets add a little fun to the mix, and that's just what the folks at VoiceSkins.com have done in the form of some of our favorite Looney Tunes characters.

    VoiceSkins.com, in association with Warner Bros., Consumer Products and TomTom, brings the classic and official Looney Tunes characters to TomTom navigation devices for the very first time. Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam are the first two out of five Official Celebrity GPS VoiceSkins to have recently launched with Daffy Duck and Sylvester/Tweety launching this month and another long time Looney Tunes favorite Pepe Le Pew coming in November.


    All Looney Tunes voices will be available in English. The Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam voices are available for download immediately for $12.95. TomTom customers will also be able to download free of charge various official warning alert sounds voiced by Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam, along with free start up screen wallpapers for customizing their devices.
    To hear clips of the voices -- and to find out more about them -- visit www.tomtom.com/looneytunes.
    If Looney Tunes isn't your thing VoiceSkins.com offers several other great packages including the original Homer Simpson voice, recorded by Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Snoop Dogg and the official Star Wars voices.

    Thursday, October 07, 2010

    Don't Pay Best Buy $30 For PS3 Firmware Upgrade

    It appears as though Best Buy is screwing bilking non-tech customers out of their hard earned cash by charging them a $30 fee for upgrading their new Sony PS3 to the latest firmware. A practice which we see as very unscrupulous!!

    According to gaming siteDualShockers, who originally reported seeing the advertisements at the Best Buy in Staten Island, New York City, Best Buy has the audacity to advertise a service that even the most un-tech friendly of users can do themselves.That's right folks even grand-ma can update the firmware on the PS3, its that easy! Bu the folks are misleading their none-tech customers and are charging them $30 for something that can be done for free at home!

    Here's the breakdown from the reports and the advertisement:




    A PlayStation 3 Slim 120GB is $299.99 at most retail stores and online. But if you head to you local Best Buy you may see it priced at $329.98 as part of a 'package deal' This package deal is advertised as including the latest firmware upgrade from Sony. The firmware includes the following changes/fixes
    • Play all Blu-ray movies & PS3 games
    • Eliminates bugs & glitches
    • System runs smoother
    • Improved connection to Facebook
    • Power save settings
    • Photo gallery and video editor
    • Adds PlayStation Plus (Subscription Based)
    • Improved System Settings

    The issue at hand here is that the $30 'upgrade' that Best Buy is charging it's customers for is something that basically runs by itself on any internet connected PS3 for nothing. Yes that's correct folks it practically installs itself and I all but guarantee its easy enough anyone can do it.

    Performing a firmware update on the PS3 is as simple as going to the system menu and selecting system updates and requires nothing more than a few button presses on the controller (and of course an internet connection).

    Best Buy has done some pretty shady things in the past but to me this one takes it. The sad part is that they seem to see nothing wrong with bilking unsuspecting customers. When asked by Industry Gamers confronted Best Buy about the policy the company stated the upgrade offer had been in place for nearly two years and the company denied any wrong doing stating:


    "While many gamers can handle firmware upgrades easily on their own, those customers who do want help can get it from Geek Squad, and we continue to evaluate this offering to ensure it meets their needs," said a Best Buy spokesperson. "The service goes beyond a firmware updates, and includes user account setup, parental control setup and other components."

    Sadly many customers out there will see the deal and think its something they need to spend the extra cash on not knowing its something they can do on their own within a few mins times.

    Intel Releases New Acronis Based SSD Cloning Utility

    Cloning your drives can be a useful tool for migrating to another newer drive or just for having a duplicate copy of your entire installation for back-up. This week Intel, along side Acronis, released a new tool aimed at existing Intel SSD users that will do just that.

    The Intel Data Migration Software, powered by Acronis, is an easy-to-use cloning utility that allows users to create a full working copy of their operating system, applications, documents and personal settings to be moved to their new Intel SSD in a matter of minutes.

    The software creates a complete working copy of your old hard drive right down to the very last byte. This copy is then moved over to your new drive, assuming that is the amount of data on your old drive doesn't exceed the size of your new SSD.

    Tuesday, October 05, 2010

    AT&T Adds Three Android Based Motorola Smartphones

    AT&T today announced it is significantly expanding its portfolio of Android devices by introducing three new Motorola smartphones powered by Android, the Motorola BRAVO, Motorola FLIPOUT and Motorola FLIPSIDE. All three smartphones will feature the Android 2.1 platform and the latest version of Motorola’s MOTOBLUR

    MOTOROLA FLIPOUT

    MOTOROLA FLIPOUT delivers an enhanced user experience, with a stylishly square, affordable and innovative pivot design. FLIPOUT whips open to reveal a full keyboard below its touch screen with a dedicated fifth row for numbers. Users can customize the color to match their mood with Dark Sapphire and Saffron battery covers included in the box for personalization. Additional colors will be available for purchase in AT&T stores and online. Get all the MOTOROLA FLIPOUT details at http://att.com/flipout.



    MOTOROLA BRAVO

    BRAVO offers the power of Android, an 800 MHz processor and a large screen all in a compact design. The device features a 3.7-inch full WVGA touch screen experience, enhanced Web-browsing and entertainment while on the go. With a 3-megapixel camera with digital zoom and auto focus, customers can catch memorable moments to share with one-touch social media uploads to Facebook, MySpace, Picasa and PhotoBucket. Motorola BRAVO is a Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) enabled device, so customers can stream, store and share entertainment with multiple devices around the home—including PCs, TVs and other mobile devices using an existing home Wi-Fi network. Get all the MOTOROLA BRAVO details at http://att.com/bravo.



    MOTOROLA FLIPSIDE

    MOTOROLA FLIPSIDE enables users to seamlessly manage their work and personal life. With a full slide-out QWERTY keypad, FLIPSIDE’s 3.1”-inch high-res HVGA display supports pinch to zoom gesturing, while the laptop-like track pad provides an alternative way to navigate with one hand while keeping your fingers off the screen. Users can stay connected to work with full push corporate e-mail, support for Microsoft Exchange, unified inbox and enhanced features for IT compliance like remote wipe and password enforcement. Get all the MOTOROLA FLIPSIDE details at http://att.com/flipside.




    Enhanced MOTOBLUR

    MOTOBLUR is Motorola’s exclusive experience that syncs contacts, posts, messages, photos and much more — from your favorite social media sites, work and personal e-mail, and last.fm — and automatically delivers them to the home screen. MOTOBLUR can locate or remotely wipe lost or stolen devices, MOTOBLUR can also automatically restore a user’s contacts, log-in information, home screen customizations and e-mail with one username and password.
    The new and enhanced MOTOBLUR functionality and features include:
    • Filter social networking and Messages widgets – filter by social networking account, by contact(s) or by contact group to only see the information you want.
    • Screen customization – move and resize preloaded widgets on up to seven home screens
    • Battery Manager – manage battery consumption by operating in one of three performance modes
    • Personal and Corporate e-mail – pushed directly to the device
    • Improved social networking functionality – Retweet, like Facebook comments and more

    Pricing

    FLIPOUT will be the cheapest of the three phones will a list price of $79.99 while the FLIPSIDE will be available for $99.99 and BRAVO will come in with the highest price tag of $129.99. Each requires a new two service agreement and 2 year smartphone data plan from AT&T. The phones are expected to be available by this holiday season.

    Source: Motorola

    Skype Hits Android Market

    skype logoSkype today announced the release of Skype for Android, a client for mobile handsets, built for smartphones running Android OS version 2.1 or above. With this latest release, the majority of smart phone users globally will now be able to experience the benefits of Skype on the move using either a WiFi or mobile data connection (GPRS, EDGE, 3G). Skype for Android is downloadable for free from the Android Market or consumers can visit www.skype.com/m to find out more details about how to get the application.
    Skype for Android enables users to:
    • Make free Skype-to-Skype calls over WiFi or mobile data connection (GPRS, EDGE, 3G)* to other Skype users anywhere in the world using Skype’s SILK codec for CD-like audio quality.
    • Make low rate Skype calls to landline or mobile phones
    • Send and receive instant messages to one or a group of friends on Skype
    • Synchronize contacts between Skype and the native address book and after synchronization place Skype calls directly from the native address book.
    • See when Skype contacts are online and available to call or chat
    • Easily import names and numbers to the Skype application from the native address book
    • Receive calls on their Skype online number
    Mark Douglas, Product Manager of Android said: “The Skype experience is ubiquitous today. More and more people are using Skype to do things together when apart. With the addition of Android, we are pleased that Skype is now available on three of the most popular mobile platforms today: Android, iOS and Symbian”S


    Skype Press Release

    Sunday, October 03, 2010

    Microsoft Announces Windows Phone 7 Worldwide Launch Event

    Update: Microsoft has been making changes to the official invite page ever sense this story broke last night. Originally the site was quoted stating "T-Mobile reps will be present for device showing and their service offering discussion / Microsoft developer architect will demonstrate Windows Phone 7 applications." That has since been changed to read "We will present a Windows Phone 7 device / Microsoft developer architect will demonstrate Windows Phone 7 applications."

    The event invitation, which was located here has since mysteriously been removed. Leaving many with unanswered questions. Several sites however have been reporting that when the new Windows 7 phone debuts on October 11th devices from T-Mobile as well as AT&T will be available.


    Microsoft has made it official, the company will be holding a worldwide launch event October 11th for the new Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7 Series.

    The event will be held Monday, October 11, 2010 from 3 pm – 4:30 pm at the NYC Microsoft Technology Center. According to the the announcement the company will provide an "Insider's look at Windows Phone 7 and the Microsoft experience it brings to life."

    Perhaps and even more interesting aspect of the event is that T-Mobile reps will be present for device showing and their service offering discussion. So it appears as though the announcement confirms that T-Mobile will be a launch partner.

    More details can be found via the event invite page (link now dead).

    Thursday, September 30, 2010

    NVIDIA Settles In Laptop GPU Class Action Lawsuit

    Considering the time frame involved, and the lack of recent publicity many of you out there may have long forgotten about the issue by now, but anyone that was hit by those defective NVIDIA GPUs back in 2008 will want to take notice.

    NVIDIA has finally reached a settlement in the class action lawsuit that was the result of hundreds of thousands of laptop users being afflicted with defective GPUs. That means that anyone with an affected Apple, Dell or HP laptop will be eligible for some form of compensation. In the case of Apple and Dell laptops, that includes a replacement of the GPU or MCP, while users of an affected HP laptop will actually get a full replacement laptop "similar in kind and value." Anyone that has already paid to have their laptop repaired due to the GPU issue is also entitled to a full reimbursement provided they have the necessary documentation for the repairs.

    A list of the models affected can be found here. You can also click here to see if your specific model is affected by this settlement. For full details checkout the NVIDIA Settlement home page.

    iFixit Tears Down the New Apple TV Device

    We just can't get enough of the geeks over at iFixit. It seems like every week they are tearing down something new and we love it. This week they got their geeky little hands on one of the new Apple TV box and as all good geeks do they immediately stripped it down to see what's inside.

     
    Image courtesy iFixit.com

    The 15 step teardown shows disassembly of the device, however it is not recommended that users use them as disassembly instructions. As with all iFixit teardowns there are tons of great pics and step by step instructions and descriptions of what you are looking at.

    Want more iFixit goodness? Checkout these related articles:

    Apple Launches New Gaming Site

    Apple last week launched a new section on its site that aims to sell its gear to gamers. Available at www.apple.com/games, the new site promotes gaming on the Mac, iPod, and iPod touch, pairing game trailers and downloads with Apple-written coverage of the most important titles. In addition, the site lets you buy games via the online Apple store and includes cheat codes, game mods, community tools, online gaming guides, peripherals, game histories, and hardware specs of interest to gaming aficionados.

    Featured Mac games at press time included Diablo 3, The Sims 3: Fast Lane Stuff, Supreme Commander 2, Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, and more. Cherry-picked iOS titles included Fruit Ninja, The Sims 3: Ambitions, Time Crisis 2nd Strike, Real Golf 2011, Pizza Boy, and Spider-Man: Total Mayhem, with a special focus on iPad-optimized titles like The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, Puzzle Agent HD, Epic Citadel, Mirror’s Edge, and others.

    Verizon Launches Trade-In Program For Old Phones

    Verizon has introduced a new program that might be interesting for those of you out there that are wanting to get a little cash back from your old cellphones and don't want to be bothered with the eBay or Craigslist route. The program is called the Verizon Wireless Trade-in Program.



    Under the new program you can trade in any wireless device, working or not, for credit towards a Verizon wireless purchase in the form of a gift card. The one downside however is as with many of these trade-in programs Verizon doesn't offer much money for your device. For instance, a working iPhone 3GS with a cracked screen will get you a messily $12.60 while the same device with a screen that is undamaged will get the user $36. On the upside however the service might be a safer alternative than going through the standard reselling procedures as I'm sure Verizon will be extra careful to remove any and all user data before doing anything else with the phones.

    The service is fairly straight forward and easy to use. Select your phones manufacture, select the model and then check off a few questions such as: Does the display work? Once the device is appraised you then have the option to agree to the appraisal. Once this is complete Verizon will send you a prepaid envelope to ship them you phone. Your Verizon Wireless gift card will arrive within 2 weeks of receipt of your device and can then be used as cash at Verizon stores.

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010

    Movie Studios Think We'll Pay $30 To Watch New Movie Releases At Home

    Sony Pictures, Warner Bros. and Walt Disney Co. are reportedly in talks with In Demand, Cox Communications, Comcast, and Time Warner to offer customers the option of watching newly released films in the comfort of their own homes for as much as $30 per showing. According to the reports the new releases would be available, via Video-On-Demand, shortly after hitting theaters and several weeks before being releases to DVD.

    Testing for the new services has already begun with Sony Corp. testing the market with users of its Bravia TV by offering the Will Smith movie “Hancock” in 2008 and the animated film “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” in 2009 for $24.95. Time Warner Inc. Chief Financial Officer John Martin told the Goldman Sachs conference in New York last week that the company’s Warner Bros. studio expects to begin tests on the service later this year. He said he expected the offering to be priced at $20 to $30 per viewing.

    The major question is why would consumers opt for such a high priced single viewing service option? Well for one, if you are a larger family (3 or more) and the movies are released within a shortened time frame the $30 cost could actually save you quite a bit over in theater costs. Ticket prices have been skyrocketing over the years with adult tickets costing well over $10/person and kids tickets averaging well over $6/child.

    The National Association of Theatre Owners, a Washington-based industry group, is obviously opposed to the idea of offering the new VOD option stating “Any promotion, advertising, marketing or testing of premium VOD needs to be done within the existing in-home window time frame [of the exclusive 120-day theatrical “window” exhibitors have for a typical release]."

    The NATO is concerned that any deviation from the 120-day theatrical window would not only affect ticket sales but also undercut the value of "theatrical exhibition".

    I for one don't see this as being a very viable option. Personally rising ticket costs and expenditures have kept me out of theaters over the past few years and I don't see that changing anytime soon. So I don't think I'd be willing to shell out an additional $20-25 just to see a movie that has already been in theaters for a few weeks. I'd be perfectly willing to wait the extra time saving me my hard earned cash to see a new release on DVD or Blu-Ray as apposed to spending the extra money for thew VOD service.

    Want To Know Whats New At Google? There's A Page For That

    Google is constantly releasing or updating products or features and while the official Google Blog Network covers all the changes following the more than 100 blogs can be a bit overwhelming. Enter  Google New, a new site from Google new site from the company covering all kinds of products, policy issues, technical projects and much more.


    Google New was created to help all of us Google users find the latest product and feature launches from Google. The site is an aggregate of all the our favorite Google Blogs providing an all in one approach to delivering information on various Google projects.


    Official Google Blog: One place to find everything new from Google