Saturday, March 05, 2011

Fix Ink Issues On Your Brother MFC All-In-One Printer

Using ink refills or generic ink is a great way to save money. But what do you do when your printer doesn't accept the new ink? Sometimes you can find reset codes, some times you can use the old tape trick and tape the ink cartridges fooling the ink sensors into accepting the new ink however sometimes you are just stuck with new ink and a printer that won't work.

Recently my Brother MFC-230C ran out of ink so I decided to buy some cheap replacements on eBay that were "guaranteed" to work. The first set worked fine for a month or two even though it appeared as though they ran out a little quicker than usual. When it came time to replace those I ran into nothing but issues. At first the black ink would show "no ink cartridge" and the colored inks would still show low or nearly empty. I managed to do a hard rest and get the black ink to show however this only worked for a short time.

Being fed up with these hassles I almost when out and paid for the original Brother ink cartridges to see if this would alleviate my issues. Then I came across a great tutorial on how to fool your ink sensors into thinking they are always full. Not only did this solve my issues with incompatible cartridges it also allowed me to use nearly all the ink in my carts before replacing them.

This worked on my Brother MFC-230C, and is verified to work on the Brother MFC-240C and Brother MFC-440CN and rother MFC-665CN, others might be similar if not the same.

See images below
  1. Pull the top up and remove the control panel, you'll see 3 screws under the top lid. You'll need to pry the panel out pulling towards you and up.
  2. Locate and unplug the connector with 9 wires (it should be labeled "cartridges" on the circuit card)
  3. Disconnect only the center wire (5th cable from either end). Its a bit of a pain to get out but I didn't want to cut mine right off until I knew for sure it would work.
  4. Reconnect the the 9 wire connector
  5. Close the lids and restart the printer
All ink levels should now show full...




Although I've tested it on my own printer and it works fine for me there is still some risk involved and results can not be guranteed. Try this at your own risk!

Credit goes to cano14 over at Tech Support Forum for the information and the images.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

How To Get Top Dollar For Your Used iPad

So the iPad 2 is out and you can't wait to get your hands on it but you don't know what to do with that old iPad you have sitting there on your desk. You have a couple options: you can sale it yourself via Craigslist or eBay or you could try one of the many trade-in programs out there. The choice is going to be a tough one and one will net you more cash than the other. So weight your options before making your decision.

You want top dollar you say

Selling your used iPad yourself is really the best way to get the most money. This however comes with a few drawbacks. First off you have to make sure you wipe away any personal data. You don't want the next owner getting copies of those private emails or potentially having access to stored passwords or anything else that might be used to access your personal information. Second you have to take the time to list it and possibly answer a magnitude of questions. If you list it on Craigslist you have to deal with potential of meeting buyers and perhaps dealing with them for the exchange. Third you have those pesky eBay and PayPal fees and maybe even unscrupulous buyers that try to scam you.

All these can be rather time consuming, annoying and potentially risky so you might want to look into a trade-in program. These are generally quicker, easier and more reliable but will cost you in the long run.

Trade-in Programs and how they work

There are several options when it comes to trade-in programs and some are better than others. Some give you cold hard cash via a visa gift card or PayPal while others force store gift cards on you. I'd recommend skipping the later unless of course you get a really really good deal or plan to shop at that particular store anyways.

Most all trade-in programs work the same way. You visit the site of the program you like, enter the information on the device (say iPad 16GB WiFi model), describe the condition (working great, none working, ect) and any accessories you have (power cords, cases ect)  and then they give you a value. If you like the price they give you you then confirm your deal. In most cases they will send you all the packing materials and pay for the shipping cost. All you need to do is box it up securely and send it off.

Yes you'll have to ship them your iPad and yes this can be risky so do your homework and make sure you can trust the site you choose. Go with a well know site, do just pick something at random and remember if it sounds too good to be true it probably is!

Once you have shipped them your iPad they will evaluate it to make sure that it is in working order or at least in the condition you described to them. If anything is not up to snuff they will let you know and might rescind their original offer. You WILL have the chance of accepting or declining this new offer if one is made. If you don't like the new offer they will ship your iPad back to you. For the vast majority of items, payment is issued within a week once your items arrive and has been evaluated.

Which site is best?

The site you choose is entirely up to you but I suggest checking with a few different ones to see what they are offering. You might get a few dollars more at most but you never know. Best BuyBuyMyTronics.com, Gazelle.com, NextWorth.com, EzTradeIn.com and CExchange.com are amongst the top site out there. PowerMax is another option as an Apple Authorized Specialist and I'm sure there are more. Just make sure you do your homework and pick a reputable site.


So how much can I expect?

At the time of this post, the following iPads, if in perfect condition with all the accessories, would yield the following amounts on Gazelle.com:
  • Apple iPad 16GB WiFi: $300
  • Apple iPad 16GB WiFi+3G: $320
  • Apple iPad 32GB WiFi: $340
  • Apple iPad 32GB WiFi+3G: $350
  • Apple iPad 64GB WiFi: $405
  • Apple iPad 64GB WiFi+3G: $510
*These are a drop from earlier in the day when they were anywhere from $50-75 higher

eBay currently remains the best place to sell your iPad. Based off resale prices of a 32GB iPad Wi-Fi+3G in excellent condition the average final price from 25 completed listings is about $580. This will likely fluctuate as more and more people list their iPads and auction become convoluted so be prepared for the fact you may not get as much as others or as much as you think you might. eBay's instant sale site is another great option for those looking to leave out the hassle of dealing with auctions. Just keep in mind in most cases you'll get hit with eBay listing fees, final value fees and possibly PayPal fees.

Sale now or what until later?

Honestly, in my opinion and opinion only, if you have an iPad now the iPad 2 isn't enough of an upgrade to warrant spending a couple hundred dollars. Sure its the newest thing on the market and it has that new dual core chip. But can you say you would even notice. Not likely! If however you can't wait and absolutely must have it on March 11th when it comes out then by all means sale ASAP. As more and more iPads hit the market the price will come down.

Malware Infects Android Market Several Apps Removed

Some rather unscrupulous developers dumped several nasty pieces of malware into the Android Marketplace over the weekend. A total of 50 apps were affected in one way or the other totaling about "50k-200k downloads combined in 4 days."

A full list of the 50 programs that were either pirated or renamed versions of legitimate Android software can be found at Android Police, who originally reported the issue. Following those reports several more applications were found to have been intentionally infected with a piece of malware dubbed "DreamDroid."

Those applications were from publishers named Kingmall2010 and we20090202 and Myournet, all users have since been removed. In total, more than 50 programs have been pulled from the Android Market.

An analysis of the DroidDream malware by Kaspersky Lab malware researcher Tim Armstrong showed that it's quite stealthy and efficient at its tasks.

"So what is the purpose of this Trojan? The application will attempt to gather product ID, device type, language, country, and userID among other things, and then upload them to a remote server. Unlike most of the other samples seen so far, there is no attempt at sending or receiving premium rate SMS messages," Armstrong wrote in his analysis of the Android malware.

"DroidDream is packaged inside of seemingly legitimate applications posted to the Android Market in order to trick users into downloading it, a pattern we've seen in other instances of Android malware such as Geinimi and HongTouTou," said Lookout CTO Kevin Mahaffey. "Unlike previous instances of malware in the wild that were only available in geographically targeted alternative app markets, DroidDream was available in the official Android Market, indicating a growing need for mainstream consumers to be aware of the apps they download and to actively protect their smart phones."

Google doesn't utilize the stringent application processes other companies use ofr inclusion into their app store. Developers can essentially upload any app they want without so much as a twinge. This openness is part of what has made Google and Android as success. But that same openness leave users open to attacks such as these.Perhaps the only actual protection users have lies in Google's ability to remotely remove applications that are found to be harmful, as it has done here but this action tends to be reactive, not proactive.

Symantec security researcher Mario Ballano recently posted an analysis of "Android.Pjapps," a backdoor Trojan that Chinese hackers used to hijack the legit Steamy Windows app. The malware infiltrated a user's smart phone to send invisible text messages to premium rate numbers, that would then reward the hackers with a commission.

These are only a few of a number of increasingly popular attacks on smartphones as use of devices increase. More of these types of attacks are immanent so users should make themselves more aware of the potential threats they face and not let themselves be blindly led.

Refurbished iPads Now $349-659, Get 'Em While Their Hot

Looking for a great deal on the 'old' iPad, well no fear the fine folks over at Apple have just dropped the price on their refurbished models to make way for the new thinner lighter iPad 2.

The new iPad 2 might be thinner and lighter and pack a bit more punch but last year's model was no slouch. So why pay top dollar for the new one when you can get yesteryear's model at such a great price! Apple has lowered the price of the basic model refurbished iPad down to an incredible $349 or $150 less than the new iPad 2. The Apple Store has all of the details. The prices range from:

  • $349 for the 16GB WiFi model
  • $479 for the 16GB WiFi + 3G model
  • $529 for the 64GB WiFi model
  • $559 for the 32GB  WiFi + 3G model
  • $659 for the 64GB WiFi + 3G model

Apple notes regarding their refurbished Apple iPad devices:
  • Stringent refurbishment process prior to sale
  • Covered by Apple's One-Year Limited Warranty 
  • AppleCare Protection Plan can be purchased
  • Engraving and gift wrap not available for refurbished iPads
  • Supplies are limited
  • Comes with all manuals and accessories
  • New battery and outer shell (to me this makes the device look brand new)
  • Brand new white box?? (ha!)

    So if you aren't into the latest greats and want to save yourself a little of that hard earned cash you might want to head over to the Apple Store and see what they have to offer.

    Update: For those of you looking for deals on new iPads Apple has slashed prices on them as well. Pricing is listed as follows:


    That would be $100 off the original pricing making these a pretty decent deal.

    Good Sites Affected By Google Algorithm

    Last week we reported that Google had made a significant algorithm change targeting low-quality content farms and scrapers removing them from the top of search results. To the dismay of several webmasters the new changes have now taken full affect and some well know, highly publicized, highly followed sites have taken a hit.

    Well webmasters rejoice, there might be a reprieve in your future.

    “We deeply care about the people who are generating high-quality content sites, which are the key to a healthy web ecosystem,” Google Fellow Amit Singhal told Wired. “However, we don’t manually change anything along these lines. Therefore any time a good site gets a lower ranking or falsely gets caught by our algorithm — and that does happen once in a while even though all of our testing shows this change was very accurate — we make a note of it and go back the next day to work harder to bring it closer to 100 percent. That’s exactly what we are going to do, and our engineers are working as we speak building a new layer on top of this algorithm to make it even more accurate than it is.”

    Cult of Mac, an Apple-centric blog took a beating following the new changes — losing nearly all of its Google juice causing traffic to the site to fall by one-third to one-half over the weekend. Since that time Cult of Mac’s editor Leander Kahney has wrote a follow-up to Wired.com to say that his site suddenly recovered its Google juice Tuesday a.m. before a report outlining Google's attempts to help some site owners.

    Google has not said they are specifically looking at sites on a case by case basis. Nor have they said they will, or have they offered to look into any particular site. In fact the company states:

    So what changed for Cult of Mac. It could be nothing, it could just be the algorithm working itself out. Its likely that with any of these changes that most site owners are going to need to site and wait this one out for a few days.

    In an odd twist of fate Cult of Mac, was at least for a time, outranked by sites that have reprinted it's original content without permission. For now, the site plans to send copyright notices to some of the sites, stop publishing full RSS feeds to make re-posters have to work harder and contact Google in hopes of restoring the site’s search traffic. Hopefully they will report the content scrapers to Google as well to get them taken down!

    My thoughts

    Its interesting that Wired points out sites like Associated Content and Mahalo. I always thought that Google should have excluded these sites from day one. Now it appears as though they are two of the highly visible sites that are taking a serious hit from the Google changes. Allen Stern over at CenterNetworks reported yesterday that Mahalo will be cutting 10% of it's headcount. This may just be a preemptive strike by Calacanis and crew but it shows the power of Google.

    Sadly sites like Cult of Mac, and the few others mentioned in the Wired story, are casualties of war. But I did find it odd that in some of my own searches I saw the same paradox CoM faced. I found scrapped content and content farms actually ranking higher than their original counterparts. So to me it seems Google's new algorithm might have had the opposite affect.

    Thinner, Lighter, Faster iPad 2 Announced

    It comes as no surprise that during today's Apple press event the new iPad 2 was announced. What may be a surprise is that it is supposedly going to be available next week. Yes that's right, Apple said you'll be able to get your geeky little hands on the new iPad 2 March 11th.


    The breakdown

    The new iPad will be shrink in thickness some 33% from13.4mm down to 8.8mm. It will also shed some weight dropping from 1.5lbs down to 1.3 lbs and it now comes in two colors, traditional black and a new white version that will be ready on the first day of shipments.

    Specs wise there are some pleasant surprises and some not so pleasant ones. You'll now get that front facing VGA camera for FaceTime you've always wanted. You'll also get a new three-axis gyroscope to work in conjunction with the accelerometer and compass to sense which direction your iPad is heading and how it’s moving. So games, maps, and other apps know your every twist, turn, tilt, and 360. The best part might just be the addition of a new dual core Apple ARM Cortex-A5 processor for 2x the speed and up to 9x the graphics power.


    iPad 2 comes with iOS 4.3 preinstalled, with all the new features including faster Safari mobile browsing performance; iTunes Home Sharing; enhancements to AirPlay; the choice to use the iPad side switch to either lock the screen rotation or mute audio; and Personal Hotspot to share an iPhone 4 cellular data connection over Wi-Fi. Additional iPad 2 features include HSUPA support for enhanced 3G upload speeds on iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G on AT&T, and HDMI Video Mirroring that lets users mirror their iPad screen on an HDTV using an optional adaptor.

    What is surprisingly missing is the rumored retina display and SD ports as well as a very questionable rumor of a price drop. Apple has decided to keep the prices unchanged despite some rather minor updates.

    Pricing & Availability
    iPad 2 with Wi-Fi will be available on March 11 for a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 32GB model, $699 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G will be available for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad 2 Wi-Fi + 3G compatible with the Verizon network will be available in the US only for a suggested retail price of $629 (US) for the 16GB model, $729 (US) for the 32GB model and $829 (US) for the 64GB model. iPad 2 will be sold in the US through the Apple Store (www.apple.com).

    For more information see the Apple press release or visit Apple.com/iPad.

    Update: For those of you that want to view the entire keynote Apple has posted the video online.

    Tuesday, March 01, 2011

    Is This The New Windows 8 UI? We Sure Hope Not

    The folks over at Microsoft have released a new video showing of a radically new user interface that many are speculating could end up in Windows 8.

    >

    In the above video, Craig Mundie, Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer, shows off a new user interface that could conceivably be incorporated into Windows 8. This is pure speculation of course but it is certain that MS is working on some new radical designs.

    As you can tell from the video this new interface is something out of this world for MS and a huge risk to say the least. Gone are the traditional taskbar, start menu and icons that are all to familiar to traditional operating systems. In their place are "bubbles" that interact with files and post streaming information off the internet.

    Bubbles are auto-generated in various categories (personal, entertainment, gaming, etc.) and can also be created by a user. Clicking on a bubble brings up a program or interaction item. For example clicking on a bubble for an upcoming flight will display alternate flight times with weather-based probability for delays. Users could use the interface to switch their flight, should the desire.

    From my perspective it looks like it would be a very user friendly touch interface but hardly one meant for a traditional desktop. Many sites have already reported that Windows 8 is getting a new UI make over and the main interface will be codenamed “Wind" and is supposedly going to incorporate more 3d effects but I really question that this would be it. It could be a new UI for touch specific devices but I doubt MS would take this big a risk on their desktop OS. I like the idea of real-time updates but I'm not big on the "bubbles" look. I recall seeing a website out there awhile back that had this type of interface and it was too easy to get lost jumping from place to place.

    Friday, February 25, 2011

    Pre-Order Homefront Get A Free OnLive Gaming System

    OnLive is doing an exclusive promotion now through March 14th. Order a FullPlay Pass of Homefront at $49.99 and you'll receive a free On-Live gaming system as well as free FullPlay Pass for Metro 2033.You'll be on the hook for taxes and shipping but you are getting a $99 system and free $39.99 FullPass for just 50 bucks.

    Here is the cavit, OnLive says this is open to a limited number of subscribers while supplies last but does not mention the exact number. So this could be a bit of a crap shoot on the "free" system, you'll still get the free game however.

    The full details:

    ALL SALES ARE FINAL. NO REFUNDS. NO RETROACTIVE DISCOUNTS. Purchase a Full PlayPass for “Homefront” between February 25, 2011 (2:00 PM PST) and March 14, 2011 (11:59PM PDT) and receive a promo code for a Full PlayPass to “Metro 2033” shortly after purchase. A limited number of OnLive subscribers will also receive an email after March 14, 2011 (11:59PM PDT) containing a promo code for a FREE OnLive Game System. Shipping, handling and tax for the OnLive Game System not included. The free OnLive Game System offer is valid during “Homefront” pre-order while supplies last. Promo codes for “Metro 2033” and free OnLive Game System (while supplies last) must be redeemed by March 31, 2011 (11:59PM PDT). Terms are subject to change without notice. Only valid within the contiguous United States while connected to the OnLive Game Service. Game purchases are not transferable. No cash value. Game pre-orders may be cancelled and refunds are available at any time before the game is released on the OnLive Game Service. Cancellation of the pre-order cancels offer promo codes, the “Metro 2033” Full PlayPass, and the free OnLive Game System offer. Contact OnLive Customer Service for cancellation and refund requests at support@onlive.com or 1-888-ONLIVE-5.

    For more details you can checkout this On-Live Blog post.

    AntennaGate All Over Again Verizon iPhone Suffers 'Death Grip'

    The Verizon iPhone 4 may be a new incarnation of the old AT&T iPhone but it appears as though Apple didn't fix one of the phones old issues, the so called 'death grip' problem that led to AntennaGate.

    According to Consumer Reports, lab tests have shown that the Verizon iPhone 4 suffers from a "death grip" problem similar to last summer's AT&T model. This resulted in the phone suffering the same issue of dropping calls, weak signals, the inability to place calls and an overall poor performance.

    "The problem is similar to the one we confirmed in July with the AT&T version of Apple's newest smart phone. It can occur when you hold either version of the phone in a specific but quite natural way in which a gap in the phone's external casing is covered. The phone performs superbly in most other respects, and using the iPhone 4 with a case can alleviate the problem," said Paul Reynolds, the magazine's electronics editor, in a blog post.

    The issue facing the new iPhone meant Consumer Reports again declined to put the device on its "recommended" list, even though the device is among its highest-rated smartphones.

    Apple no longer offers a free case to buyers of the iPhone 4, as it did for a time limited time after the problem was first discovered on the AT&T version. However Consumer Reports says that a bumper for the Verizon version should alleviate the problems much like it did previously with the AT&T phones.

    Thursday, February 24, 2011

    Google Makes An Algorithm Change Promises More High-Quality Sites In Search

    In an attempt at returning more high-quality sites in their search results Google has made a major shift in their search algorithms. The move seems to be a major shift for Google as it says the new algorithms will "noticeably impact 11.8% of queries."

    "This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.

    We can’t make a major improvement without affecting rankings for many sites. It has to be that some sites will go up and some will go down. Google depends on the high-quality content created by wonderful websites around the world, and we do have a responsibility to encourage a healthy web ecosystem. Therefore, it is important for high-quality sites to be rewarded, and that’s exactly what this change does."

    Personally I think its a great move! Spammers and content farms creating sites with nothing more than great SEO and very little (if any) original content shouldn't be rewarded with high rankings and front page turnouts. Sites that work their collective butts off and provide users with good quality content should garner more attention and be reward.

    Its a little early in the game to tell how well the new algorithm works, or if it will have any impact on my own searches or our site. But hopefully it will silence some of the critics like Michael Arrington over at TechCrunch (one of my favorite haunts). He has been  heavily criticizing Google for several weeks of what he call "a lack of quality search results", particularly in certain categories like travel and commerce.

    Hopefully as Arrington says "sites like Demand Media, Associated Content and Mahalo" are on the cut list, but I kind of doubt it!

    Apple Updates MacBook Pro, Previews Mac OSX Lion

    Today made two exciting announcements for Apple fans. The first announcement being an update to the MacBook Pro lineup to include the latest Intel CPUs and AMD based graphics and even more interesting the inclusion of Intel's new high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology. The second major announcement came in the form of a developer preview of Apple's next generation operating system dubbed Mac OSX Lion.

    Apple Updates MacBook Pro with Next Generation Processors, Graphics & Thunderbolt I/O Technology

    The announcement of the new MacBook lineup should be an exciting one for Apple fanboys. The new Intel chips are expected to boost performance significantly with Apple touting a perform boost of up to twice the speed of the previous generation. The GPUs in the new MacBook also got a major overhaul with Apple making a surprising move and dropping long time partner NVIDIA for AMD.

    MacBook users will have the option to select either an AMD Radeon HD 6490M graphics processor with 256MB of GDDR5 memory on 2.0GHz configuration; or AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics processor with 1GB of GDDR5 memory on 2.2GHz configuration. Other users will get Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with main memory. Apple is claiming the new GPUs will perform up to 3x faster than the previous generation.

    In addition to the new CPUs and GPUs the MacBook Pro is the first computer on the market to include the new ultra fast Thunderbolt I/O technology. Developed by Intel with collaboration from Apple, Thunderbolt enables expandability never before possible on a notebook computer. Featuring two bi-directional channels with transfer speeds up to an amazing 10Gbps each, Thunderbolt delivers PCI Express directly to external high performance peripherals such as RAID arrays, and can support FireWire and USB consumer devices and Gigabit Ethernet networks via adapters. Thunderbolt also supports DisplayPort for high resolution displays and works with existing adapters for HDMI, DVI and VGA displays. Freely available for implementation on systems, cables and devices, Thunderbolt technology is expected to be widely adopted as a new standard for high performance I/O.

    Buy The New MacBook Pro
    Pricing & Availability

    The new 13-inch MacBook Pro, 15-inch MacBook Pro and 17-inch MacBook Pro are available through the Apple Store (www.apple.com), Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is available in two configurations: one with a 2.3 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i5 and 320GB hard drive starting at $1,199; and one with a 2.7 GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7 and 500GB hard drive starting at $1,499. The new 15-inch MacBook Pro is available in two models: one with a 2.0 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6490M and 500GB hard drive starting at $1,799 and one with a 2.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6750M and 750GB hard drive starting at $2,199. The new 17-inch MacBook Pro features a 2.2 GHz Quad-Core Intel Core i7, AMD Radeon HD 6750M and 750GB hard drive and is priced at $2,499.

    Configure-to-order options include faster quad-core processors up to 2.3 GHz, additional hard drive capacity up to 750GB, solid state storage up to 512GB, more memory up to 8GB DDR3, antiglare and high-resolution display options and AppleCare Protection Plan. Additional technical specifications and configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at www.apple.com/macbookpro.


    Apple Releases Developer Preview of Mac OS X Lion

     In their second announcement today, and possibly the most exciting news for Apple fans, Apple gave developers a preview of Mac OS X Lion. This the eighth major release of Apple's operating system takes some of the best ideas from iPad and brings them back to the Mac.

    Lion features Mission Control, an innovative new view of everything running on your Mac; Launchpad, a new home for all your Mac apps; full screen apps that use the entire Mac display; and new Multi-Touch gestures. Lion also includes the newly introduced Mac App Store, which allows users to install and automatically update Mac apps via iTunes.

    The Lion preview is available to Mac Developer Program members through the Mac App Store today, and the final version of Lion will ship to customers this summer. 

    Additional features in Lion include:
    • a new version of Mail, with an elegant, widescreen layout inspired by the iPad; Conversations, which automatically groups related messages into one easy to read timeline; more powerful search; and support for Microsoft Exchange 2010;
    • AirDrop, a remarkably simple way to copy files wirelessly from one Mac to another with no setup;
    • Versions, which automatically saves successive versions of your document as you create it, and gives you an easy way to browse, edit and even revert to previous versions; 
    • Resume, which conveniently brings your apps back exactly how you left them when you restart your Mac or quit and relaunch an app; 
    • Auto Save, which automatically saves your documents as you work;
    • the all new FileVault, that provides high performance full disk encryption for local and external drives, and the ability to wipe data from your Mac instantaneously; and 
    • Mac OS X Lion Server, which makes setting up a server easier than ever and adds support for managing Mac OS X Lion, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices.

    Wednesday, February 23, 2011

    iFixit Does A Motorola Atrix Teardown

    Thanks to the folks at iFixit Motorola Atrix fans get to see the inner workings of their new toy.

    Courtesy iFixit


    The iFixit geeks have done the usual awesome job on their Motorola Atrix teardown which reveals the full details of the inner workings of the Atrix as well as the usual easy to follow step by step guide on how to get to those workings.

    The phone is equipped with 16GB of NAND flash, 4" qHD (Quarter High Definition) PenTile LCD Display capable of 960x480 resolution , 1GB DDR2 RAM and a beast of a chip in the 1 GHz Cortex-A9 Dual-Core NVIDIA Tegra 2 CPU. There are also two cameras one 5 MP Rear-facing camera with 720p video capture (A software update to be released soon will reportedly allow for full 1080p video capture.) and VGA Front-facing camera

    Even more exciting for DIY'ers is that the teardown reveals that the glass panel is not glued to the LCD. This means that for those of us that are clumsy and drop and break our phone's screens or those that are always scratching the screens there is hope that we may be able to swap out the glass on our own.

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Kmart Is Looking For Gamers To Send To E3

    The Consumer Electronics branch of Kmart is giving a few lucky blogging gamers the chance chance to attend the E3 expo on the company's dime. So if you are a gamer, can write a good blog post and want the chance to attend E3 listen up!

    Beginning today through March 30, KmartGamer, an online resource and community for video gamers, is seeking submissions from gaming bloggers interested in attending the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) which takes place June 7 – 9 at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

    You will attend the gaming trade show on behalf of KmartGamer and will be reporting on all the E3 action for the site. Foe consideration you must
    • Be a skilled storyteller that's both passionate and knowledgeable about gaming, or a specific platform or genre. This passion must shine through clearly in your writing, photography, video -- everything you do that's gaming-related. In addition to being a general gamer and gaming enthusiast, you also have a clear passion in a specialty. This could be a platform, or a genre (e.g. sports, FPS).
    • Bloggers must be actively involved in gaming forums, sites or other channels (e.g. Twitter) where they talk about gaming. They're a recognized, trusted name on those channels and have a following. (Meaning they didn't just sign up for CAG yesterday.)

    To be considered, video-game bloggers must follow the simple, two-step submission process:
    • Step One: Write a blog post that states why KmartGamer should select them for participation, including providing the following information within their post:
      • Why are you interested in going to E3?
      • What would you be excited to see and cover at E3?
      • Why do you want to go to E3 with KmartGamer?
      • Describe your experiences with KmartGamer, such as how you learned about this call for submissions or how you discovered the various KmartGamer online resources.
    • Step Two: Link their individual blog submission as a comment on the official KmartGamer.com blog announcing the call for submissions, located at http://www.mykmart.com/mykmart_blog/KmartGamer-bloggers-e3-2011. Bloggers are also required to supply their e-mail and mailing addresses in the necessary entry fields found on the KmartGamer.com blog by Wednesday, March 30.

    Following the submission process, a team of Kmart Consumer Electronics representatives will review the applicants and select three bloggers to attend E3 on its behalf and blog about their experiences. KmartGamer will also provide bloggers with travel and hotel expense and a daily per diem for the three-day expo.

    Gaming enthusiasts can also follow KmartGamer on Twitter at twitter.com/kmartgamer or on the KmartGamer blog at www.kmartgamer.com. Additionally, to learn about the latest Kmart consumer electronics offers and news visit, www.kmart.com/electronics.

    For more details checkout the KmartGamer blog post "KmartGamer is going to E3 2011 -- and you can too!"

    Linux Foundation Hosting Android Builders Summit and Embedded Linux Conference

    The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, has announced the 2011 Android Builder Summit to take place from 13 to 14 April at the Hotel Kabuki, San Francisco. Following the Embedded Linux Conference, the ABS will run for one and a half days, starting at 1 pm on the 13 April. The ELC runs from the 11 to 13 April.

    The Android Builders Summit is a technical summit for OEMs, their device manufacturers, integrators, custom builders, and the growing Android and Linux Kernel developer communities. Android is expanding to an increasing number of industry segments in addition to smart phones and tablets. There is a need for the ecosystem of builders to collaborate on a common solution for existing limitations and desired features across all of these device categories.


    The Android Builders Summit provides an intimate forum for collaboration at the systems level and discussion of core issues and opportunities when designing Android devices.

    The summit addresses topics ranging from custom builds, alternative middleware, network functionality extensions, Peer to Peer frameworks, USB device support, security, unification of power management, tools and hybrid Android devices among many other topics.

    Co-Located with the 2011 Embedded Linux Conference, the Android Builders Summit is 1.5 days, beginning at 1:00pm on Wednesday, April 13th and continuing on April 14th with a full day of exclusive Android content including keynote presentations from Qualcomm Innovation Center and Motorola. This is an excellent opportunity for companies participating in Android-based product development to interact and exchange ideas with their industry colleagues and other participants from the Android community. Immediately following the summit, The Linux Foundation will be offering its recently announced Android Training classes.

    Who Should Attend:
    • Android OEMs and Device manufacturers and integrators
    • Android Custom Builders, and those wanting to bring Android to new market segments
    • Android and Linux Kernel developer communities

    If you are interested in attending the Android Builders Summit it is encouraged that you to sign up early as there is limited space, and the event always reaches capacity. You can find registration information here.

    Registration Fees

    • General Registration Fee: $295
    • Embedded Linux Conference Attendees: $100 - If you are attending the Embedded Linux Conference, you can register for this event as part of your ELC registration.  Do not use this registration form if you are attending ELC.
    • Student Registration Fee: $100 (Be prepared to show your valid student id onsite)
    • Group Registration Discounts: If your organization if planning to send three or more people to ABS, please contact usThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for a 20% discount code.

    Amazon Gives Prime Members Unlimited Instant Video Streaming

    Amazon Prime members got a great gift this morning when Amazon announced the company's plans to offer them a new benefit: unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of more than 5,000 movies and TV shows. This new benefit is being added at no additional cost to current and new Amazon Prime members and whats even better the membership will continue to only cost $79 per year.

    There is one downside however, the free service is only available to those that actually pay for an Amazon Prime membership – those that receive a free Student or Amazon Mom Prime membership are out of luck.

    "Millions of Amazon Prime members already enjoy the convenience of free Two-Day Shipping," said Robbie Schwietzer, vice president of Amazon Prime. "Adding unlimited instant access to thousands of movies and TV shows at no additional cost is a great way to give members even more value for their $79 annual Amazon Prime membership."

    Movies and TV shows included with an Amazon Prime membership can be watched instantly on Macs, PCs and nearly 200 models of Internet-connected TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes that are compatible with Amazon Instant Video. The selection of videos available for instant streaming currently includes movies, such as "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" trilogy, "Amadeus," "Syriana," and "Chariots of Fire," noted documentaries such as "Food Inc.," "March of the Penguins" and "Ken Burns' National Parks," plus TV shows, such as "Doctor Who," "Farscape," "Fawlty Towers" and children's shows, such as "Arthur," "Caillou," "Super Why!" and "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood."

    Customers can learn more about an Amazon Prime one-month free trial and start watching instantly at www.amazon.com/primevideos. For more information on Amazon Instant Video, visit www.amazon.com/instantvideo.

    Winodws 7 SP1 Now Available

    The first service pack for Windows 7 has finally made its public debut.

    Six days ago, Service Pack 1 for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 became available for MSDN/TechNet subscribers and had been leaked to the web via torrent for several days. Today however it is officially available for the rest of the world. Other than all the incremental hptfixes that Microsoft has released to date SP1 only contains two major new features, which will not affect the majority of users. The first being RemoteFX, a standalone product that requires Windows Server 2008 R2 to be used. The second feature is an update for HyperV in Windows Server 2008 R2 called "Dynamic Memory". The feature is as simple as it sounds -- it dynamically allocates memory to virtual machines as required and is able to remove memory from virtual machines when others need higher resources.

    You can read more about the new features over on the Windows Server Team Blog.

    Download Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (KB976932) directly from Microsoft.

    Google Hit With More Antitrust Charges Over Advertising

    A French Internet company 1plusV has filed a complaint with the European Commission claiming Google Inc. is abusing its dominant market position to stop smaller competitors from generating advertising revenues.

    1plusV is the parent company of  French search engine eJustice.fr. which offers users a thematic search engine but claims it has been forced to adopt Google technology to access commercially vital advertising services. The Versailles-based firm is a competitor to Google's own thematic search but has claimed Google forced thematic search engines to adopt its own technology if they wanted to use its advertising service, thus limiting the development of alternative technologies.

    The company also claims that Google ignored requests by certain websites not to be listed among search results, which gave it a competitive advantage over search engines that did respect those requests. 1plusV is also claiming that Google is prioritizing its own vertical, or thematic, searches for books over those of competitors, without visually differentiating them from the rest of the searches.

    The European commission opened an investigation into the market dominance of Google last November after months of mounting complaints.Under those charges the commission was investigating whether Google lowered the position among unpaid results of services with which it competes, such as price comparison or specialized search, and placed its own services higher to shut out competition. The commission is also investigating allegations that Google lowered its quality score for sponsored, or paid, links of competing search services.

    "We continue to work cooperatively with the European Commission, explaining many aspects of our business. We believe there is always room for improvement, so we are working to address any potential concerns," said Google spokesman Al Verney, referring to the new complaint on Tuesday.

    Friday, February 18, 2011

    New Anti Kill-Switch Bill Introduced

    The three U.S. senators that were initially responsible for legislation that many dubbed the "Internet Kill-Switch" have introduced a new bill that would clearly and concisely remove those powers from government control.

    The new legislation entitled the Cybersecurity and Internet Freedom Act (PDF) explicitly states that “neither the President, the Director of the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications or any officer or employee of the United States Government shall have the authority to shut down the Internet.” It also provides an opportunity for judicial review of designations of our most sensitive systems and assets as “covered critical infrastructure.”

    In a statement released this afternoon Senator Lieberman the original author of the "Internet Kill Switch" said:

    “We want to clear the air once and for all. As someone said recently, the term 'kill switch' has become the ‘death panels’ of the cybersecurity debate. There is no so-called ‘kill switch’ in our legislation because the very notion is antithetical to our goal of providing precise and targeted authorities to the President. Furthermore, it is impossible to turn off the Internet in this country. This legislation applies to the most critical infrastructures that Americans rely on in their daily lives – energy transmission, water supply, financial services, for example – to ensure that those assets are protected in case of a potentially crippling cyber attack.  

    The so-called ‘internet kill switch’ debate has eclipsed discussion of actual, substantive provisions in this bill that would significantly improve the security of all Americans by creating a new national center to prevent and respond to cyber attacks, requiring critical infrastructure owners - for the first time - to shore up cyber vulnerabilities, and establishing a strategy to secure the federal IT supply chain.  I look forward to working with Senator Reid to bring comprehensive cyber security legislation to the floor early this year.”

    I haven't yet had the chance to review all of the new 221-page bill but have noticed the addition of the the new provision and have to say this is definitely a major step in the right direction. The old versions of the bill were very vague and offered broad wording.

    Much of the old bill remains and many of the provisions are still in place. For instance the new bill would require the creation of the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications, the creation of a Directors position for that agency and the establishment of a cybersecurity research and development program in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    Other provisions include the creation of regulations to require owners of critical infrastructure to fix cyber-vulnerabilities and would create a national center focused on preventing and responding to cyberattacks. The bill also would reform the cybersecurity rules for federal agencies, and it would setup guidelines for the hiring and training of federal employees and contractors engaged in the design, development, or operation of agency information infrastructure.

    Intel Now Shipping Fixed 6-series Chipsets

    According to DigiTimes Intel has begun shipping revised 6-series (Sandy Bridge) chipsets to first-tier notebook and motherboard manufactures. The new B3 stepping chipsets will replace the previously released defective units in the marketplace.

    Late last month Intel announced they found a flaw in their new 6-Series 'Sandy Bridge' motherboards that resulted in degradation of some of the Serial ATA ports on those boards. Intel immediately halted shipments of the affected chipset and manufactures began a recall.

    Originally the Cougar Point revision wasn't slated to hit OEMs until the end of the month. However pressures from manufacturers and a strong push towards AMD may have driven the company to bring a solution sooner than expected.

    Thursday, February 17, 2011

    Report: DOJ And FTC Have Antitrust Questions For Apple

    According to reports from the Wall Street Journal the Justice Department and the FTC are both interested in examining whether Apple is violating U.S. antitrust laws by funneling media companies' customers into the payment system for its iTunes store—and taking their 30% cut.

    Even though this sounds like bad news this new scrutiny may never materialize into anything more than a preliminary report. Both agencies threatened formal revues when Apple blocked third party development applications. Apple later eased off those restrictions leading both agencies to back down. Its likely that could happen in this case and even more likely that the government is posturing to appease the masses.

    Several antitrust lawyers have chimed on the antitrust issues raised from Apple's new in app subscription policy with many stating that Apple may actually face little risk of antitrust violations.

    "It would be a steep, uphill climb," Hillard Sterling, an antitrust attorney and partner with the Chicago-based law firm of Freeborn & Peters told ComputerWorld.com. "The challengers would have to show that Apple has precluded competition in the marketplace. But there are plenty of platforms where publishers can offer their products outside the App Store."

    To make a case against Apple, antitrust enforcers would have to show that Apple has market power and is abusing it. This will all come down to how they choose to define a market. Apple's iPhone currently only has a 16% share of overall smartphone sales while the iPad currently has three-quarters of world-wide tablet-computer sales.

    Apple's Control Over Their Market

    It all comes down to what the goverment will consider a 'market'. To make an antitrust case, plaintiffs would have to show that the new App Store rules prevent companies from selling their content. Sterling argues, "And that's a no brainer. They can offer their products through alternatives, such as Google's Android Market."

    The major problem I see, and the point that I think is continually lost, is that Apple controls everything in their market. They preclude any competition from forming since they only allow iOS and MAC OSX on Apple branded devices and only those devices can use the App store and Mac store. If developers want to share in the 'Apple Market' they have to play by Apple's rules.

    MacBook Pro The fastest, most powerful MacBook Pro

    Exclusivity in and of itself isn't anti-competitive. Apple has the right to maintain control over their products as long as it doesn't hurt consumer choice or stifle competition. Apple has had a long standing position of exclusivity and has always sandboxed themselves from any outside competition. They don't allow any other company to create iOS or MAC OSX devices which quells all means of competition against them as a manufacture. The question here will be are they now using the position as not just hardware developers but software developers to create a hostile position.

    Apple locks their devices to only be able to install apps through the App store and iTunes. This means they control the devices, the store and the means of distribution for hundreds of thousand of apps and millions upon millions of devices. Companies and developers not trying to work within the App store could potentially take a serious hit to business!

    Apple Positions It's Software To Thrive

    The second side of an antitrust inquiry could bring up the issues of tying software and creating a better environment for your software to thrive than outside competition. This is similar to what Microsoft has faced with Internet Explorer and other bundled Windows software.

    Clearly Apple's own software such as iTunes, iBooks and Safari have been unfairly positioned. Apple blocks outside browsers, media players and media viewers. By this means alone they could be violating antitrust laws. Now with the "tax" on subscriptions they are putting competing content providers like Rhapsody, Sony and Amazon at a clear disadvantage.

    Jon Irwin, the president of Rhapsody International Inc. has said that the new 30% fee would cut so deeply into the companies profit margins that they would no longer be able to compete.

    "We have to pay rights holders, the music labels and publishers, for our content," said Irwin. "With all those fees that go out, [adding] Apple's 30% will exceed the revenue on our product. It's not a matter of making less money, it would be zero profit."

    Companies like Rhapsody would be forced to raise prices in order to recoup lost revenues putting their prices significantly higher than Apple's own offerings. This would seriously hamper any competition within the App Store. Apple has maintained that users can go outside the app to buy those subscriptions although it seems clear by means of ease of use and the 'single-click sign-up option' iTunes offers iTunes would likely become the dominant means for subscribers to subscribe. This means that devs could lose out on hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Why Now After All This Time

    You really have to question the timing in which Apple has chosen to enforce the subscription policy. Apple has stated the policy was already within the terms of service yet they have waited until developers have spent hundreds on development dollars, man hours and advertising revenues to bolster a position within the App store and draw customers. But its only now that Apple decided to enforce those rules.

    The company has clearly benefited from the works of outside developers yet they wait until now when they have a strong position in the market to enforce their rules. This seems like strong arming and sounds very extortionistic to me. It wreaks of Apple saying we want our cut or we'll dump your app and you can kiss all those customers and advertising dollars good bye!

    No I'm Not An Apple Hater!

    As much as I speak out against Apple I'm not a hater. In fact I applaud them for pushing not just the PC/Tablet industry but also the smartphone industry at a time that they both were rather stagnant. I also applaud them for seeing the potential in a device (or string of devices) and doing a great marketing job. Through their actions the company has done some pretty great things to push others.

    The flip-side to that is that I feel you should hold all companies equally accountable. We should not grant top tier companies the right to completely exclude competition in the way Apple does. In short terms I think turn-about should be fair play. If Apple want to push to get Safari on Windows and other OSs then shouldn't they in-turn be forced to allow IE, Firefox and Chrome on iOS.

    Intel Offers Advice On Protecting Your Handheld Device or Laptop from Water Damage

    Anyone that has ever killed their phone or laptop because of an accident spill or splash down in the pool has inevitability asked themselves 'isn't there a way I could have saved my device". In fact there may just have been a chance that you could have revived your device. You just needed a little quick thinking, some ingenuity and of course a few essential tools.

    Well today Intel comes to the rescue and gives us an article that we thought would be useful for our readers on how to protect and recover from water damage.

    Contact with Liquid is not the End of Your Smartphone or PC

    A TV ad shows a woman seated at a local coffee shop, surfing the web on her laptop for a last-second gift.A passer-by bumps the table and knocks the woman's hot coffee onto the computer.

    If this has ever happened to you, you probably think it's time to buy a new handheld or computer.

    Not so fast. While no computer or handheld is impervious to water or other liquids, you might be able to bring your workhorse device back from near-death in a few easy steps. It will take you about a day or so, but it could be worth the effort.

    Here's what to do after a liquid-based accident involving your handheld or laptop.

    Resurrecting a Smartphone or Cell Phone
    In the popular crime scene/criminal investigation-type television shows, there's always an episode where a murder victim's phone is found in a swimming pool. The phone contains vital information to solving the murder, and the detectives somehow manage to dry the phone off and get it running again. Sound impossible? Not really. Here's how to bring your handheld back from a watery demise:
    • Get it out of the water as soon as possible. Plastic covers on cell phones are fairly tight, but water can still enter the phone within 20 seconds or less.
    • Remove the battery. Many circuits inside the phone will survive immersion in water if they are not attached to a power source when wet.
    • Remove the SIM and memory cards, if your phone has them. SIM and memory cards survive water damage well, as long as you don't heat them. Just pat them dry with a paper towel and set them aside until you need to reconnect your phone to your cellular network.
    • Remove any covers and external connectors. This will open up as many gaps, slots, and crevices in the phone as possible to allow for more thorough drying.
    • Get the water out. Carefully shake the phone without dropping it, then use a cloth towel or paper towel to gently remove as much of the remaining water as possible. Dry excess moisture by hand.
    • Rinse carefully. If your phone falls into the ocean or another form of salt water, rinse it with fresh water before salt crystals can form in the phone after removing the battery.
    • If possible, use a vacuum cleaner. This will remove all residual moisture by drawing it away from internal circuitry. Hold the vacuum at least two inches away over the affected (and accessible) areas for up to 20 minutes to avoid problems with static.
    • Use a can of compressed air. Hold the air can straight up (holding it upside down, sideways, or at an angle will shoot out the customary freezing liquid) and shoot into the crevices, speaker, microphone, and keypad. Any excess water should come out. 
    • Use a water-soaking substance water to help draw out moisture. An overnight dry "soak" in a bowl or bag of uncooked rice or desiccant gel works well.
    • Let the phone sit on absorbent towels, napkins, or other paper. Check the absorbent material every hour for four to six hours. If moisture is evident, change cloth or paper and continue to let the phone sit.
    • Test your phone. After you have waited a day or so, make sure everything is clean and looks dry. Then reinsert the battery and try turning it on. If your phone does not work, try plugging it into its charger without the battery.
      • If your phone works, you need a new battery.
      • If not, take your cell phone to an authorized dealer. Don't try to hide the fact that it has been wet—internal indicators will prove the presence of moisture.

    A Second Life for Your Laptop
    Even though most laptops now have sealed keyboards to keep fluid from leaking into the computer circuitry (or at least slow its progress for up to an hour), spills are still one of the major causes of laptop deaths. Here's how to minimize damage if a spill occurs.
    If it's water you're dealing with:
    • Immediately turn off the machine. If necessary, do a hard shutdown by pressing and holding the power button. 
    • Use a soft cloth to blot up—not wipe up—excess liquid. A wiping motion will merely push the liquid around.
    • Remove any external cables, drives, network cards, and bays. Blot up liquid that may have gotten onto the removable media.
    • Don't take apart the casing. This can damage internal components and void your warranty, if applicable.
    • Tilt the laptop gently from side to side to allow liquid to drain out. Do not shake the machine.
    • Turn the laptop upside down to drain remaining excess liquid.
    • If you have one, use a blow dryer on the coolest setting and carefully dry the keyboard and any parts you have removed. Keep the dryer moving over all parts.
    • Let the laptop air dry upside down for at least one hour; 24 hours is preferred.
    • When the laptop is dry, reattach any removable components and start up the machine.
      • If it starts with no problems, test-run several programs and try using the external media.
      • If you see sparks or smell any foul odors, immediately power down the system. Take the unit to a repair specialist.

    If you're dealing with a sticky or residue-based spill such as soda, juice or coffee:
    • Follow the above procedures, but carefully clean the surface of the unit after initial drying. Use a lightly damp, soft cloth with a diluted, 50-percent solution of isopropyl alcohol or watered-down window cleaner, a non-abrasive brand name cleaner or professional keyboard cleaner.
    • Don't forget to clean the touchpad in similar fashion.
    • Turn unit down and let it air dry for at least an hour; a day is preferred.
    • If necessary, take the unit to a repair specialist.

    Remember to back up your laptop's contents following the spill. Even if you successfully revive it, the machine may be on borrowed time and could malfunction in the future.

    Wednesday, February 16, 2011

    Don't Expect A Nokia Windows Phone Anytime Soon

    By now I'm sure you've heard that Nokia has announced a partnership with Microsoft to release Windows Phone OS based mobile products and services. What you might not have heard is that Nokia is not adopting Microsoft's current Windows Phone 7 platform – which means that there is no chance of any handsets running Microsoft's software before the end of summer.

    According to reports Nokia has decided to forgo development of a new handset or any other mobile devices based on WP7, the current version of the Windows Phone platform. Instead the company is going to wait until the next major release of the operating system, codenamed "Mango", is made available this coming October – and that is expected to have a slightly different name from the current Windows Phone 7 name.

    The reports cite the odd exclusion of “Windows Phone 7,” only the mention of a new “Windows Phone” in last weeks announcements. That coupled with Nokia's refusal to confirm a likely release date for its first Microsoft-powered handsets has many convinced the company will be waiting until at least fall of this year. Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia, has stated that we will see the Windows Phone operating system on a Nokia device this year, but the company will be shipping them "in volume" in 2012. So its possible we won't actually get hands on the device until early next year.

    Sony Tells Gamers "Crack Your PS3 Get Banned From PSN"

    Sony really really doesn't want PS3 gamers to crack their game consoles. The company is so adamant about the issue that it has been fighting what may be a long, ugly legal battle to remove all traces of the PlayStation 3 hacks and cracks available online. Now they are taking the fight to consumers and looking to block all cracked PS3's from the PlayStation Network

    Notice: Unauthorized circumvention devices for the PlayStation 3 system have been recently released by hackers. These devices permit the use of unauthorized or pirated software. Use of such devices or software violates the terms of the “System Software License Agreement for the PlayStation 3 System” and the “Terms of Services and User Agreement” for the PlayStation Network/Qriocity and its Community Code of Conduct provisions. Violation of the System Software Licence Agreement for the PlayStation 3 System invalidates the consumer guarantee for that system. In addition, copying or playing pirated software is a violation of International Copyright Laws. Consumers using circumvention devices or running unauthorized or pirated software will have access to the PlayStation Network and access to Qriocity services through PlayStation 3 system terminated permanently.

    To avoid this, consumers must immediately cease use and remove all circumvention devices and delete all unauthorized or pirated software from their PlayStation 3 systems.
    Sony announced today.

    "By identifying PlayStation 3 systems that breach our guidelines and terminating their ability to connect to PlayStation Network, we are protecting our business and preserving the honest gameplay experiences that you expect and deserve," Jeff Rubenstein, Sony Computer Entertainment's Social Media Manager, wrote on the company's official blog.

    It looks like Sony means serious business. The company is already suing George "Geohot" Hotz, the hacker that originally discovered the PS3 root key for DMCA violations. A judge already ordered Hotz to remove the code from his website and also demanded he remove a how-to YouTube video.

    Apple Blocking iBooks On Jailbroken iPhones?

    Several reports have indicated that users of the latest greenpois0n jailbreak code on iPhones running iOS 4.2.1, have experienced issues that prevent iBooks from opening DRM-protected e-books.

    According to reports on the blog Social Apples after jailbreaking an iOS device and attempting to open content purchased from the iBookstore users have noted receiving the following error message: "There is a problem with the configuration of your iPhone. Please restore with iTunes and reinstall iBooks."



    Later reports and comments via users at Ars Technica and several other sites back the claims with many saying this is nothing but a a "screw you" to jailbreakers from Apple.

    Ars explains the error is caused by the process that handles verifying and decrypting FairPlay-protected content, Apple's DRM protections scheme which is used on any protected song or other form of media purchased from the iTunes Store. FairPlay is performing a number of checks before decrypting protected e-books. It tries to execute several small, specially crafted binaries—each one made to fail on a standard iOS install but likely to run on jailbroken devices. If these binaries can run—one is unsigned, for instance, while another is improperly signed—then fairplayd can assume the device is jailbroken and refuse to decrypt the content. That triggers iBooks to display its error message.

    The iPhone Dev Team has announced a new version of Pwnage Tool that will jailbreak your device using the “feedface” exploit developed by Chronic Dev. This new jailbreak fixes the iBooks issue. There will also be Cydia packages available to fix the iBooks jailbreak checks so we can all go back to reading our books. Now that @comex and @pushfix patched the problem, we’ll probably see the fix become universal and make its way over to the greenpois0n jailbreak as well.

    If Apple can work this into iBooks one has to wonder what applications will be next.The US Government has ruled that jailbreaking, at least for now, is legal. However this clearly doesn't mean that Apple has to support it or that they can't find ways to work in protection schemes that block many of their applications from working.

    Google And Apple Launch Competing Digital Subscription Services

    Apple clearly holds a dominate positions in the smartphone application market with the huge success of the App store. With their recently announced in app subscription service they are pushing to become a major player in the digital magazine and newspaper business. Not to be out played Google's Eric Schmidt has announced Google One Pass, a service similar to that of Apple's that lets publishers set their own prices and terms for their digital content.

    With Google One Pass, publishers can maintain direct relationships with their customers and give readers access to digital content across multiple websites and mobile apps. Offering a true purchase once view-anywhere functionality suvrscribers who purchase from a One Pass publisher can access their content on tablets, smartphones and websites using a single sign-on with an email and password.

    Google says One Pass is easy to implement and simple to manage. The set up is minimal and content will be managed through a simple online interface, so publishers can try out different approaches to selling content with minimal development cost and see what works for their business. It is powered by Google Checkout, so publishers’ e-commerce and payment processing needs are covered, and there is no need to build a third-party payment system into publishers sites.

    Publishers have control over how users can pay to access content and set their own prices. They can sell subscriptions of any length with auto-renewal, day passes (or other durations), individual articles or multiple-issue packages. Google One Pass also enables metered models, where a publisher can provide some content or a certain number of visits for free, but can charge frequent visitors or those interested in premium content based on the business model that the publisher prefers.

    Unlike Apple's service which takes a 30% cut right off the top Google is reportedly letting publishers keep about 90% of subscription revenue gained through One Pass. One Pass also operates across multiple sites, on multiple formats unlike that of Apple and their iTunes only model.

    "Our goal is to provide an open and flexible platform that furthers our commitment to support publishers, journalism and access to quality content. Like First Click Free, Fast Flip and Living Stories, this is another initiative developed to enable publishers to promote and distribute digital content," writes

    Speaking at an event at Humboldt University in Berlin Chief Executive Eric Schmidt takes a clear jab at Apple, "Our intention is to make no money on it we want the publishers to make all the money." Clearly the battle between Google and Apple is starting to heat up and it looks like nothing but great news for developers and consumers alike!

    For more details checkout the Google One Pass page or the Google One Pass announcement

    Friday, February 11, 2011

    AT&T Fighting To Keep iPhone Users Offers 1,000 Free Rollover Minutes

    According to 9to5Mac, AT&T is trying its best to keep iPhone users by offering the up more perks than ever. Some iPhone customers have confirmed they are receiving text messages which say users can get 1,000 bonus rollover minutes at no cost. You simply have to reply “YES” to the 11113020 number and you will receive a text that says your account has been credited!

    Comment's over at 9to5Mac have confirmed this works for any iPhone customers even if they have not yet received the text. We are not sure if anyone else has tried it or not but it might be worth a shot.

    Update: I just tried it from my regular AT&T cellphone and got the confirmation reply so we'll see if it works or not!

    This is just one of the latest moves by AT&T stop the masses from fleeing over to Verizon or other networks.

    Earlier this week the company announced the launch of a new plan that offers unlimited talk and text with any mobile number on any U.S. carrier regardless of your recipient's provider. Users simply need to activate their unlimited mobile-to-mobile promotion by visiting www.att.com/anymobile. The new promotion is available on $39.99 and higher Nation plans and $69.99 and higher FamilyTalk plans.

    All this follows reports several weeks ago that AT&T was offering iPhone owners free microCells to boost in-door coverage using the consumer’s broadband connection. The 3G microcells($199.99) went on sale from AT&T last year and are mainly popular for those living in low coverage areas. The microcell works like a signal extender boosting your broadband connection by actually creating a new 3G signal using your broadband connection.

    A few caveats to the deal are that in order to accept it you must sign on to an additional 12-month contract. If the customer decides to break or cancel the agreement before the 12-month contract ends, they will have to return the microcell to AT&T or pay the pro-rated cost for it. This agreement won’t have any effect on your handset contract end date or your ability to upgrade your phone.

    All these promotions are great for consumers as it actually drives a little competition. So for now at least kuddos to AT&T for not just throwing in the towel.

    AMD 's New Chips May Get New 'Vision' Naming Scheme

    According to X-Bit Labs AMD will be restructuring and renaming their entire CPU lineup starting with the upcoming release of the "Bulldozer" platform. The new naming structure is an attempt to emphasize the company's corporate AMD Vision trademark and hopefully make things less complicated for users

    Essentially there will be three series separated by performance levels.
    1. Enthusiast Chips - the FX-Series - AMD Vision Black and AMD Vision Ultimate labels
    2. Mid-range/mainstream Chips - A-Series - AMD Vision Ultimate and AMD Vision Premium platforms
    3. Budget/Entry level Chips- E-Series - AMD Vision
    The new FX-Series will consist of "Zembezi" processors based on Bulldozer micro-architecture with four, six or eight cores. These will be your high end enthusiast/gamer level chips.The A-Series processors will consist of the "Llano" APUs (accelerated processing units). These will have two or four cores and an ATI Radeon HD 6000-class graphics core. These will consist of the mainstream market mid-range chips. As for the E-Series, this group will serve the low-end market with APU's using one or two cores and a basic Radeon HD 6000-class "Zacate" graphics core.

    The new naming scheme is really nothing new to AMD fans as they have been using the AMD Vision name and logos to differentiate platform levels for awhile now.  However if the plans proceed according to the reports  specific brand-names like Athlon, Phenom, Phenom II and Sempron will vanish into oblivion. User can also expect a new set of updated logo's (I've seen these and depending on which they choose they look cool) that will stand out a little more making it easier to differentiate the products.

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Official X-Men: First Class Trailer Released

    X-Men: First Class, the latest addition to the X-Men film series, is slated to hit theaters June 3, 2011. This much anticipated prequel is set in 1962 and reportedly depicts the beginnings of the X-Men team.



    From the looks of the trailer we not only get a good look at the origins of the team and early lives of our favorite characters but it looks like we'll be introduced to a few new characters as well. So far the reception has been mixed but from what I see it looks fairly decent.

    This Week In Apple, Verizon iPhone On Sale, iPad 2 Rumors And A New Jailbreak

    Apple has had a busy week this week, what with the Verizon iPhone 4 going on sale and rumors that the company has ramped up production of the new iPad 2. There has also been speculation about the new iPhone 5 and even a few rumors about iPad 3, yeah I know!

    So here's a quick breakdown:

    Yesterday Apple and Verizon officially began accepting orders from the masses. Verizon was accepting pre-orders for current customers beginning Feb 3rd but now any of the millions of Apple Fans out there can order them. Just drop by Apple.com or Verizon.com and pick out your plan. For users that want a more hands on approach Walmart and BestBuy both confirmed that they will start selling the Verizon iPhone 4 today, Thursday, February 10.

    The smartphone will be available at almost 600 Walmart in-store wireless areas, and the store will also have a variety of accessories like cases, car chargers, wraps, and hands-free options.

    Speaking of the Verizon iPhone 4, for those of you that want to jailbreak your device there is an app for that. The device might not have been in users hands yet but the Chronic Dev Team has already released a new jailbreaking tool. Dubbed GreenPois0n RC5.4, the tool works with all Apple devices running iOS 4.2

    So now that you have your iPhone fix you'll want your latest iPd rumors. Well Apple has reportedly started manufacturing the iPad 2 and it should be ready for release just as soon as they have enough stock on hand. It’s still unclear when the iPad 2 will be formally introduced however some speculation suggests it may be here just in time for spring.

    The Wall Street Journal reports, based on "people familiar with the matter,"  that the new version of the iPad will be skinnier and lighter than the first edition, plus boast at least one front-facing camera that would enable FaceTime videoconferencing, like that available on the Apple iPhone 4 smartphone.  The Journal also reports that the device will be lighter, boast more memory and a more powerful graphics processor. These reports should comes as no real surprise as most of these rumors were already floated around. The iPad 2, like the iPhone, is also rumored to be available from both AT&T and Verizon this time around!

    If that's not enough iPad joy for you Appleinsider and several other sites are floating around a new rumor fueld by ohn Gruber of Daring Fireball that Apple may be prepping iPad 3 for a fall 2011 launch. This is a very very speculative rumor and could be nothing more than guess work but we'll keep an eye on it anyways and report our findings down the road.

    But wait you mentioned the iPhone 5, so where are those rumors?

    Well here goes, the team over at iFixit recently did a Verizon iPhone 4 Teardown. Upon opening the device the team found a World-Mode CDMA/GSM Chip which means we could see a phone from Apple that works on both GSM and CDMA networks down the line. There were also a few upgrades such as dual antenna, lighter battery and a new GPS chip. All of which are expected to be seen in the iPhone 5.

    Other rumors point to a totally new design as well as updated specs with a new 1.2GHz processor or even a dual core setup. Rumors also point to a larger screen: 3.7" instead of 3.5" and a massive graphical boost as it moves to a dual-core GPU - this could herald true 1080p output from the new device.

    There has been some speculation that Apple might include Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in the iPhone 5G, turning it into a kind of credit/debit card. We know Apple want a piece of the swipe to pay pie so there is no doubt they are working on something we just don't know what yet!

    Speculation puts the release sometime near summer with June or early July being the most likely.

    Update: According to Bloomberg Apple is reportedly working on another set of iPhone that will be smaller and cheaper. The reports suggests Apple has considered selling the new iPhone for about $200, without a two-year service contract.

    The prototype was about one-third smaller than the iPhone 4, said the person, who reportedly saw it last year. The smaller phone will use a processor, display and other components similar to those used in the current model, rather than pricier, more advanced parts that will be in the next iPhone

    Microsoft Says IE9 Is Now 'Feature Complete' Gives Users A Release Candidate

    According to Microsoft the latest version of Internet Explorer (IE9) is all but ready to be released to the masses. So today the company release what it is calling a Feature Complete Release Candidate (RC). Readers wanting to checkout the new RC can download it via Beauty of the Web.

    “The release candidate is a major milestone that signals it’s time for developers to start taking advantage of IE9’s features,” Ismail said. “Our focus with IE9 has been on creating the platform for the next class of Web experiences built around HTML5 and tapping into the power of the whole PC.”

    The IE9 RC introduces several features that build on those themes and on extensive feedback from users. These include smaller changes like being able to close a tab without making it active – a small addition that users really care about, Ismail said. 

    But there are also bigger changes. IE9 has made improvements to Pinned Sites, which enables users to take their favorite sites and place them directly on the Windows 7 Taskbar like any other application. “A pinned site is more than just a shortcut,” Ismail said. “We have already seen sites use this to create experiences that are always visible to the user and pull the users back into the experience with notifications as important things happen.” 

    Other major improvements include the new Tracking Protection feature, some user interface tweaks, more support for the emerging HTML5 Web standard, and even faster performance on standard benchmarks. 

    The Tracking Protection feature  is the new privacy feature in Internet Explorer 9 designed to help keep third-party websites from tracking your Web behavior. With Tracking Protection, consumers can filter content in a page that may have an impact on privacy. Here you see a stock ticker, links for social sharing, videos, advertisements and single pixel images used for tracking page usage by third parties. 

    Wednesday, February 09, 2011

    So Long Dell Adamo We Barely Knew You

    Dell's expensive MacBook Air Rival the Dell Adamo line has sang its last hurrah. According to CNet the company has officially discontinued the product line moving the last few new Adamos out the door at steep discounts.

    First introduced back in 2009 the Dell Adamo was immediately tagged as a competitor to the new MacBook Air. While the Adamo matched the MackBook Air not only in styling and specifications it unfortunately matched the MBA in price as well, which might have ultimately led to its demise. When initially introduced the sleek little laptops fetched a $2000 price tag putting them well out of reach for most consumers and in many peoples eyes far to pricey for a Dell.

    Dell has repeatedly slashed prices over the last several months finally cutting the price on the 13-inch Adamo down to as low as $799. Dell had to downgrade a few components in order to slash the additional 200 bones from the previous $999 price tag and initial price of $1099.

    The laptops are still listed on the Dell site, however there is no pricing information and it is noted that they might not be available in your area.  As a final note, refurbished 13-inch Adamos are still available at low prices.

    Tuesday, February 08, 2011

    Gaming In 2011

    The following is a guest post from Jennifer Anderson an NCTJ trained journalist. She writes regularly for a range of technology and gadget websites, with a particular focus on the gaming community and gaming technologies Her post today comes to us via 3Wisemonkeys.co.uk


    Gaming in 2011

    2011 is set to be one of the most exciting years for gamers in quite some time. In addition to two breakthrough portable game consoles being newly released, the Nintendo 3DS and the Sony Next Generation Portable, the gaming trends that continuously changed through 2010 will continue to develop. From social network gaming to games on smartphone apps, the market for these games should continue to grow in 2011.

    The biggest breakthrough in gaming in 2011 may well be in portable gaming. The Nintendo 3DS will produce 3D effects and yet the player will see these without any special glasses. Not only will this happen in games but 3D movies and videos can be stored on the console which will increase its popularity. Released in March the Nintendo 3DS is bound to make a big splash in the market and will be a popular choice for gamers. The device will most likely be in competition with the Sony Next Generation Portable which is going to have a similar amount of power as the PS3. No date is set on its release but with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth tied in it is also going to be a popular choice for gamers.

    The internet is becoming an increasingly popular destination for gamers. Online multiplayer games, such as World of Warcraft, free internet games and social network games are being played with growing regularity. Of course along with these, games such as The Sims and Call of Duty will continue to be popular choices on the PC as well as elsewhere. For this reason gaming PCs are growing in number.

    Games with highly detailed graphics or fast paced action rely on the PC that they are played on to be up to standard in terms of graphic cards and central processing units. For that reason more and more computers in 2011 will be bought for gaming itself. The Cyber Power PC Black Pearl for example is one such computer and brings to the table a lot of RAM memory power, it uses the most powerful CPU around and has received high praise for its video and audio capabilities. Of course, such machines are very difficult to afford for the average gamer and so different standard of computers will be used by different people. Video and audio are particularly important as the better the sound and visual content the better chance gamers have of excelling and enjoying the overall experience. For that reason speakers and surround sound systems used are becoming ever more important in the gaming world and as such their sales figures with regard to gaming will also most probably rise in 2011.