Wednesday, March 21, 2012

HP Merges PC And Printer Groups, What It Means To You

There have been a lot of headlines today regarding HP's confirmation of reports that the company plans to restructure their Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) (printing division) merging it into the Personal Systems Group (PSG) (pc division) and creating the new combined entity to be officially called the Printing and Personal Systems Group. From these reports several questions have spawned with many consumers concerned about what it might mean to them.

In short the blending of the two divisions will have almost no impact on consumers!

This move is a corporate restructuring and cost saving move only. Something that internal for HP is meant to unify and streamline certain key business functions such as go-to-market strategy, branding, supply chain and customer support.

"This will lead to a better customer experience and drive innovation across personal computing and printing," the company explained on Wednesday. "This realignment is expected to provide opportunities for cost savings and accelerate HP’s ability to pursue profitable growth and reinvest in the business."

What all this means is that at the consumer level not much will change. You'll still have support for your HP printer, ink and other supplies will still be available and you'll still see printers on sale. This isn't the same as the proposed spin-off of the PC business we saw last year. In fact its the exact opposite with HP becoming more committed to both divisions.

One area we may see some changes in is the further advancement of combination all-in-one printing units. HP has already suggested units based on WebOS and they already have devices with full functionality or detachable tablets like the HP Photosmart eStation. The combined efforts of the two teams might mean further integration of PC features right on your printer!

Intel Ultrabook Temptations What Would You Do For An Ultrabook?

Even if a crowd of people were watching would you break the law in order to get your hands on the latest geek gadgets? How about use your powers of persuasion in order to talk several strangers into helping you out? Exactly how far would you go to get your hands on one of the hottest gadgets our there?

That’s exactly the question Intel Corporation asks in Ultrabook Temptations, a series of six light-hearted experiments filmed in four cities across three countries and recently posted to YouTube.

“People are drawn to Ultrabooks. When you see one, you just want one,” said
Claudine Pache, digital marketing manager for Intel Australia and New Zealand. “We created the ‘Ultrabook Temptations’ to see just how far people would go to get their hands on one.”

The six spontaneously filmed experiments were “temptations” for consumers, encouraging them to go a little beyond their everyday comfort zone to get their hands on a new Ultrabook. For example in one ”daring temptation” an Ultrabook is installed in a display case near a busy area with the simple instruction to “Smash Glass to Win Ultrabook” and a small hammer. Film crews were rolling as several passers-by looked on.


Would commuters prove daring enough to smash the glass in public and claim the prize? As the video above shows the answer is a resounding yes!

All six of the Ultrabook Temptations series videos can be seen at www.intel.com/ultrabooktemptations

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Poor Android Smartphone Or Tablet Battery Life? Blame Those Free Apps

Are you experiencing poor battery life on your new Android based smartphone or tablet? According to a  new report conducted by Purdue University and touted by Microsoft suggests that this may be due to in-app advertising.

Using a new specially-developed energy profiling tool called EProf the research team at Purdue University monitored the power use of Android and Windows Phone devices. For the Android tests the team tested power consumption while using five popular Android applications - Angry Birds, Free Chess, the Android browser, MapQuest and the New York Times app all running on an HTC Passion (Nexus One) running Android 2.3. The results were quite eye-opening.

PcToolsThe researchers found that up to 70 percent of the power used by free apps was caused by downloading advertisements and tracking users. The team claims that this excessive battery consumption is due to poorly-coded ad modules which leave connections open for up to ten seconds after downloading information.

Poorly coded Ads aren’t the only thing with negative impacts on your battery life. Both the Android browser and the New York Times app consumed around 15 percent of battery power on user tracking alone. The EProf tool also discovered bugs in apps such as Facebook’s Android app that also cause the battery to be drained more rapidly than necessary by not allowing the CPU to enter sleep mode even after the app has been terminated.

In the case of the very popular game Angry Birds, just a fifth of the power used was caused by actually playing the game, with almost half accounted for by location services used for location based targeted advertisements.

My thoughts: No real surprises here

I can't say I'm all that surprised. Years on the internet should tell anyone that advertisements and games tend to suck up more power even on your PC. Bad coding has been an issue in the computing world forever. The one thing I am a bit surprised about however, is that the team decided to only presented its conclusion on the Android OS and apps, and not their finding on Windows Mobile OS.

Given that the study was at least partially funded or conducted in collaboration with Microsoft it comes across a bit more like Android bashing than quantitative research.

EA Shutting Down Servers For Several Less Popular Older Games

Electronic Arts (EA) has announced, beginning April 13th the company will shut down online servers for more than a dozen of the its less popular and older online console titles.

"The decisions to retire older EA games are never easy," EA said in their announcement. "But as games get replaced with newer titles, the number of players still enjoying the older games dwindles to a level – fewer than 1 percent of all peak online players across all EA titles – where it's no longer feasible to continue the behind-the-scenes work involved with keeping these games up and running."

The games affected by the April 13th shutdown include:
  • BOOM BLOX Bash Party for Wii
  • Burnout Revenge for Xbox 360
  • EA Create for PC, PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360
  • EA Sports Active 2.0 for PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360
  • EA Sports Active NFL Training Camp for Wii
  • FIFA 10 for PlayStation Portable and Wii
  • The Godfather II for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • MMA for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • Need for Speed ProStreet for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • The Saboteur (loss of The Midnight Club access) for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
  • Spare Parts for PlayStation 3 Xbox 360

Additional gaming titles that will be shuttered March 31st include:
  • BATTLEFIELD 3: Aftershock for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
  • Fantasi Safari for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch
  • Ghost Harvest for iPhone

If you have further questions about your account or the shut down of these services, please visit http://support.ea.com.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Apple's New iPad Tops 3 Million Sold Claims Record First Weekend Sales

Apple has announced it has sold three million of the company's new third generation iPads, since its launch on Friday, March 16.

“The new iPad is a blockbuster with three million sold―the strongest iPad launch yet,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Customers are loving the incredible new features of iPad, including the stunning Retina display, and we can't wait to get it into the hands of even more customers around the world this Friday.”

Its really unclear how quantify what Apple is calling "record weekend," since Apple general doesn't discuss opening weekend sales numbers and didn't provide similar reports last year when they launched the iPad 2. The only time Apple has boasted about early tablet sales was in April 2010, when it said it had sold 300,000 first-generation iPads on the first day of availability.

Apple's claims were reiterated by AT&T whom also reported record sales figures and activations. AT&T didn't provide specific numbers on its iPad sales, but did say the new iPad set single-day records for sales and activations and that it saw "robust demand for the new iPad."

Reviews of the new iPad have been greatly mixed with most consumers loving the new features but many stating they wish Apple had done more to refresh the device line. The new iPad features a new 2048X1536 Retina display, which has been called nothing less than extraordinary. A dual core 1Ghx Apple A5X chip and 5 megapixel iSight camera.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

iFixit Does An iPad 3 Teardown

Is it "The New iPad?" "iPad HD?" "iPad 3?" Does anyone really care?

The wonderfully geeky crew over at iFixit flew to the land down under to get there hands on the new iPad 3 when March 16 rolled past the International Date Line just so they could tear it apart and show the rest of the world what kind of magic Apple has hidden inside.

Courtesy iFixit


iFixit's teardown team flew to the Telstra store in Melbourne Australia to be the first ones in line to buy the third generation iPad and of course being the geeks they are they rushed over to the shop at Macfixit Australia and immediately began disassembling the device.

So what kind of magic did Apple hide under the hood? Well to be honest nothing all that amazing!

As expected they found a slightly thicker 42.5Whr battery. The already confirmed 1GB of RAM, coming in the shape of two sticks of 512MB Elpida LP DDR. A 1Ghz Dual-core Apple A5X processor which features a package on package (PoP) system-on-a-chips (SoCs) design that also packs a quad-core graphics processor. There is also a 5MP camera and of course that Samsung 9.7 inch LED LCD with 2048×1536 pixel Retina display.

All in all the specs are fairly reasonable for an upgraded version of the iPad. For full details as well as a picture guide of the teardown be sure to head over to iFixit to get a closer look.

New iPad Goes On-sale Tomorrow What You Need To Know

Apple's new third-generation iPad will officially hit store shelves tomorrow, March 16, here's a bit of what you need to know before reaching for your wallet and shelling out that hard earned cash.

When and where can I get my iPad?

Apple will be opening the doors to their retail stores at 8 a.m. local time. There may or may not be long lines, some areas are prone to higher traffic so plan ahead. Another option would be to head to AT&T or Verizon locations, assuming you're interested in one of the LTE-enabled iPad models. Verizon In Store Sales begin 8:00 AM local time with Online Sales beginning at 3:01 AM EST.

The third option would be opting to try to find it available and in-stock at the select Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Sam's Club and Radio Shack stores that will be carrying it. I'd check with your stores tonight to see if they will have them.

Reports are indicating that Walmart will begin selling a limited quantity of the new iPad at 12:01 AM. Supplies and selection will be limited and will vary by store.

How much id the new iPad going to cost me?

Depending on the option you choose and the amount of storage you need you'll spend anywhere from $499 to $829. Here are your options:
  • 16GB Wi-Fi-only for $499
  • 32GB Wi-Fi-only for $599
  • 64GB Wi-Fi-only for $699
  • 16GB Wi-Fi + 4G for $629
  • 32GB Wi-Fi + 4G for $729
  • 64GB Wi-Fi + 4G for $829

With Apple's new retina display images and image files, as well as applications are going to be growing in size. For this reason I strongly suggest buying something other than the 16GB model. You may find yourself running out of space very quickly!

Each model will be available in your choice of white or black. You will be able to choose either AT&T or Verizon as your carrier if you select one of the LTE-enabled models. You'll also need to sign up for data service with either company and rates vary from $14.99 to $50 per month on AT&T and $20 to $80 on Verizon. No long-term contract is required with either option as there is no subsidized pricing.

The early reviews for the new iPad

I usually take early reviews with a grain of salt and I don't like to put a lot of stock in Apple's hand picked "reviewers" but the early reviews can be nice to read just to get the idea of what you are looking at. Here are just a few:



Should I buy it, keep my old iPad or what?

If you read Geek News very often you know I'm not a big Apple fan, nor am I a big early adopter. I can usually wait on new tech to hit, get some decent reviews and then make a well informed decision. The third-generation iPad looks impressive in some areas and really lacking in others. If I were an owner of an iPad 2 or one of the latest Android tablets I probably couldn't see the justification to buy the new iPad. If however I were the owner of the original iPad an older Android or I was buying my first tablet I could see the iPad at the top of my list of choices.

The problem for me is as Michelle Maisto of eWeek said, "this new version lacks a specific “wow” factor that's been common to Apple products." There isn't anything there that really pushes me over the top in comparison to anything else I can get at a cheaper price. You can find some screaming deals on the iPad 2 or even better in my opinion some great deals on some of the new Anrdoid tablets.

I'm sure the third-generation iPad is going to be a major hit, aren't all Apple products these days? For me however, I'll be relaxing at home tomorrow watching my March-madness while any Apple-madness ensues.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Amazon Adds Top Discovery Communications Programs To Prime Instant Video Service

Amazon and Discovery Communications, the parent company to many of our favorite television channels, today announced a licensing agreement that will allow Amazon Prime members access to streaming videos of the company's prior seasons of hit series and specials.

Videos from some of our favorite shows on the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Science and Military Channel as well as content from the company’s 25-year programming library will now be available as a free video stream or download to Amazon Prime subscribers. Among the programs included in the agreement are Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs, Deadliest Catch and geek favorite Mythbusters. TLC viewers will get Say Yes To The Dress and Cake Boss while Animal Planet will add Whale Wars. In all Amazon's Prime Instant Videos has added 3,000 new titles from Discovery Communications, bringing the total number of videos available to subscribers to 17,000

“Discovery Communications is committed to delighting audiences on all platforms supported by the right business model, and we are pleased to work with Amazon to help satisfy our existing viewers’ curiosity and introduce new audiences to our engaging content,” said Rebecca Glashow, Senior Vice President, Digital Distribution and Partnerships, Discovery Communications. “This library offering will be a wonderful complement to our current array of multi-channel video services and most importantly, a win for viewers.”

Prime Instant Video is a subset of the company’s video streaming, rental, and download service that allows U.S. subscribers, who pay $79 a year for two-day shipping and other goodies, to stream videos as often they’d like.

Fore more details read the full Amazon press release.

Checkout The Dell Treasure Hunt And Win A New Dell XPS 15z Laptop

Dell is offering web guru's the chance to treasure hunt their way to a new a new, fully loaded Dell XPS 15Z laptop or a $499 coupon – if you can follow the clues and find the right page!

To kick off the adventure and find the first clue visit the Dell Laptops page and click on the treasure hunt banner. Follow the clues found along the way and if you are the first to find the winning web page on dell.com the new Dell XPS 15Z laptop is yours!

Also, by linking to the Treasure Hunt on your Twitter or blog with the hashtag #delltreasure, you’ll be entered into a sweepstakes to win a $499 coupon towards any Dell purchase of $499.99 or more – just for sharing the news with your friends and family!

Here’s how to play:
  • 7 clues for how to find the winning landing page will be placed throughout the Home segment of dell.com. The first two clues are live and the last five will be released each day over five days with the last one appearing on 3/18/12.
  • The first person we find Tweeting or blogging the location of the correct treasure page will win an XPS 15z. All others who tweet or blog about the correct treasure page will be entered into the sweepstakes for one of ten $499 coupons.
  • You will simultaneously be entered for the sweepstakes if you tweet or post a blog about the Treasure Hunt itself.
  • All tweets or blog posts related to the contest or sweepstakes must include the hashtag #delltreasure. And you also must follow @DellHomeUS Twitter account so that we can direct message you to let you know you won. Otherwise, you will stay lost and not win.
Official promotion rules can be found here: http://www.dell.com/treasure-hunt-rules

Here is the first clue:
  • This laptop delivers the power you need inside the thinnest 15” PC on the planet.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Firefox And Chrome To Get Windows Metro Style Apps

By the time Windows 8 arrives later this year most of your favorite browsers will be ready with a Metro style version built specifically around the new operating and its new user interface.

Earlier this week Mozilla confirmed that developers have stared development on the Firefox for Metro project with plans to unveil a concept version of it next quarter, and push out alpha and beta versions in the second half of 2012. Following suite Google is also reportedly working on a version of Chrome that runs on the Metro UI of Windows 8.

An unnamed Google representative discussed the company's plans with Mashable. The official said Chrome for Windows 8 will be based off the existing desktop browser, as opposed to the Android version of Chrome. Google will improve touch support on the desktop side, but will also build a Metro version for the tablet-friendly side of Windows 8.

Windows 8 is currently in a prerelease Consumer Preview state with no know official release date. Neither Mozila or Google have set official release dates for either browser and there is currently little information available on potential features the software may carry.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Firefox, Chrome And IE9 All Fall At Pwn2Own 2012

This year's Pwn2Own hacking contest saw almost all of your favorite browsers falling to "zero-day" exploits with only Apple's Safari standing untested at the end of the day.

HP TippingPoint's Zero Day Initiative (ZDI), Pwn2Own's sponsor, as well as Google who sponsored their first-ever hacking event called "Pwnium," have confirmed that Chrome, Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) and Firefox have all fallen to zero-day attacks exploiting a previously unknown vulnerability in the most up-to-date versions of each browser. In each case the security teams were able to bypass the browsers security to take complete control of the target machine and run malicious code.

ZDI has confirmed that for the first year Safari was the only browser not attacked.

This marks a significant change for Google. As to date, there are no known reports of a zero-day attack ever hitting Chrome in the wild, and at the previous three years' contests, Chrome was the only browser to escape unscathed. With Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari all being brought down by exploits.

Final results from Pwn2Own 2012: 1 Chrome and 1 Internet Explorer 0day from @VUPEN and 1 Firefox 0day from @_snagg and @_dvorak_. @VUPEN took 1st place netting $60k while @_snagg, and @_dvorak_ too 2nd places netting $30k.

Google also paid out $60k to Sergey Glazunov, a regular Chrome bug hunter, who during the first day of the contest, demonstrated an exploit that completely bypassed Chrome's sandbox. This exploit was later fixed and detailed by Google's Chrome team in a security update.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Android Market Relaunches As Google Play An All-In-One Storefront For Music, Books And Apps

Today Google has announced the company is streamlining their online storefronts for music, books and digital goods, incorporating the Android Market, Google Music and the Google eBookstore into what is now going to be called Google Play.


Google Play is meant to be an all inclusive repository where users can download and share their favorite music, movies, books and apps from their Android based smartphones or tablets. Google Play is going to be entirely cloud-based so all your files will be stored online, always available to you, and synce-able across all your devices.


With Google Play you can:

  • Store up to 20,000 songs for free and buy millions of new tracks
  • Download more than 450,000 Android apps and games
  • Browse Google's selection of eBooks
  • Rent thousands of your favorite movies, including new releases and HD titles

To celebrate the announcement, Google will be offering a different album, book, video rental and Android app at a special price each day for the next week in what is being dubbed a “7 Days to Play” sale. In the U.S., today’s titles include the collection of top 40 hits Now That's What I Call Music 41, the popular game Where's My Water (which oddly was Apple's 25 billionth download) , the novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and the movie Puncture for just 25 cents each. In addition, you'll find great collections of hip-hop, rock and country albums for $3.99 all week, detective novels from $2.99, some of our editorial team's favorite movies from 99 cents, and our favorite apps from 49 cents.

To learn more, head over to play.google.com/about or keep up with the latest on Google Play's Google+ page.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Best Buy Extends Perfect Match Promise Offers 30 Day Support, Returns And Price Matching

Starting this past weekend Best Buy has extended its Perfect Match Promise to include all product categories for customers shopping either their retails stores or online website. Under the new policy Best Buy will be consolidating many of its service offerings, providing 30-day price matching, free support, and returns across all of its product lines.

The Perfect Match Promise is simple: 30.30.30
  • 30-day free phone support to get product up and running
  • 30-days of easy returns with no restocking fees
  • 30-days of competitor price matching

"We've created the Perfect Match Promise to ensure customer peace of mind. From selection to set-up and beyond, we're giving consumers the confidence they need to make the technology decisions that best fit their lifestyle," said Drew Panayiotou, senior vice president of U.S. marketing at Best Buy. "The Perfect Match Promise is a simple and straightforward guarantee from us to our customers that combines 30 days of free phone support to get products up and running, 30 days for returns with no stocking fees, and 30 days of price match guarantees."

Previously Best Buy Perfect Match was only offered on specific products meeting a required price level. Prior to the changes Best Buy's Perfect Match applied just to TVs priced at $899 and higher, as well as appliances priced at $429 and above. Now all customers at all pricing levels will be able to take advantage of the new price matching policy and return or exchange periods.

As sales have undoubtedly slumped for the electronics giant they have been proactive in changing policies based on customer feedback. Due in big part to customer feedback, prior to the 2010 holiday season the company dropped their 10% to 15% restocking fee found on returned items. We've also seen extended return dates for items bough during the holiday season.

Looking For A Job In The Tech Sector? Microsoft Suggests Cloud Computing

Are you looking to break out in the tech sector but not sure where to go? According to Microsoft you may want to focus on cloud computing.

Recent research commissioned by Microsoft suggest that cloud computing may be one of the fastest growing tech segments in the coming years with spending on public and private IT cloud services generating $1.1 trillion a year in new business revenues and creating nearly 14 million jobs worldwide from 2011 to 2015.

“The cloud is going to have a huge impact on job creation,” says Susan Hauser, Microsoft corporate vice president of the Worldwide Enterprise and Partner Group. “It’s a transformative technology that will drive down costs, spur innovation, and open up new jobs and skillsets across the globe.”

The IDC study released today discovered that cloud computing will help create nearly 1.2 million U.S. and Canadian jobs by 2015 and that the U.S. accounted for 62 percent of worldwide spending for public IT cloud services last year. The highest percentage of new jobs will occur in emerging markets, according to the study, especially China and India, which together are expected to produce nearly 6.8 million cloud-enabled jobs between 2011 and 2015. This can partly be attributed to the size of their workforces, and partly to the fact that many Chinese and Indian companies aren’t bound by large legacy system investments.

IDC developed its results by analyzing cloud spending trends in more than 40 countries and then using this information to forecast the number of jobs this spending will create.

Apple’s App Store Tops 25 Billion Downloads Lucky Chinese User Gets $10k iTunes Card

Apple's App store has officially reached the 25 billion download mark, topping off what has been an incredible run by Apple. The company has said the 25 billionth app downloaded was Where's My Water? a free version of Disney's Where's My Water? game downloaded by Chunli Fu of Qingdao, China. As the winner of the App Store Countdown to 25 Billion Apps, Chunli Fu will receive a $10,000 iTunes Gift Card.

“We’d like to thank our customers and developers for helping us achieve this historic milestone of 25 billion apps downloaded,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “When we launched the App Store less than four years ago, we never imagined that mobile apps would become the phenomenon they have, or that developers would create such an incredible selection of apps for iOS users.”

According to Apple the App Store offers more than 550,000 apps to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users in 123 countries around the world. The company also said it has more than 315 million iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices worldwide.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Installing The Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Earlier today Microsoft released their Windows 8 Consumer Preview, showcasing many of the changes of the company's new operating system. If like me you are chomping at the bit to take it for a test drive but aren't sure what the best way of installing it will be I'll give you a few options and suggestions below.

No matter which option you choose you'll need to enter this product key: NF32V-Q9P3W-7DR7Y-JGWRW-JFCK8. So write it down and keep it handy!

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Fresh Install

Doing a fresh install is typically the best, easiest and most effective way of testing out new software. You won't have access to all your old files and folders but at the same time you won't have to worry too much about any incompatible products, software ect. The downside is in order to do a stand alone fresh install you'll need a secondary drive or to completely erase your current drive. There is the option of dual-booting, however that too has its downsides.

Doing a fresh install of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is fairly easy. To begin with as mentioned you'll either need to completely format your old drive or use a secondary hard drive. From there you'll need to grab the install media. Microsoft has given you two great options.

Option 1 - Download and install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview Setup. This will take a few minutes to scan your current system and install and make sure everything is compatible with the new OS. After the scan is complete you'll see a list of items that may or may not work. This will include software and hardware. Since you are doing a fresh install you'll need to re-install all your software so that isn't a big deal. However, if there are hardware issues you'll need to decide if its nothing too important. If not you can continue on. The scanner will prompt you to download the installer files it think s are best for your setup.

Note: It took several attempts for me to get through the setup process. First it didn't want to complete the task of getting the install key. Then it didn't want to download the installer. I suspect this is due to high demand and user traffic.

Option 2 - Directly download the ISO files. With these all you'll need to do is burn the images onto installation media, such as a DVD or USB bootable flash drive. The easiest way to convert an ISO file to a DVD in Windows 7 is to use Windows Disc Image Burner, you can use whatever DVD software you want its really up to you. On a PC running Windows XP or Windows Vista a third-party program is required to convert an ISO file into installable media—and DVD burning software often includes this capability.

Another option is the USB/DVD download tool provided by the Microsoft Store. This will allow you to create a bootable USB drive.

With either option installation is a snap. You'll need to be able to boot from the disk, or USB drive. So you'll need to restart your computer, enter the bios and change the boot order to DVD, or USB. These options will vary depending on your computer so check the manual before beginning. If you have a fresh drive you can proceed with the install as normal. Windows has simplified installation over the years so we won't go into that. If not and and you need to format the drive you can do that direct from the setup. Just make sure you don't choose the option of an upgrade. You'll need to select custom or advance installation.

You can then choose to format and partition your drive as you see fit. Just note if you have several partition and are using one or two for backup you don't want to format those. Just the one you want the operating system on.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Via Virtual Machine

Due to screen resolution restriction of the new user interface and many of the features available in the preview Microsoft is suggesting that you do not run the preview in a virtual machine. That doesn't mean it won't run, just that some of the features might not work as well as expected. We tested the install on two VM's and had mixed results.

With VirtualBox, not matter what settings we used, we could not get the operating system up and running. This really wasn't a surprise as I saw several people mention issues with the developer preview. I got an endless boot cycle over and over again and could never get past it. This could be a hardware issue with out test setup or it could be the software. Either way we couldn't get it running We'll try some test at a later date and post back the results.

For now VMWare Player gets the nod. We had some issues at first but we got things worked out and here's what you'll need to know.
  1. Go here and download the ISO version of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview you want to run. I suggest using the 32bit version at it was easier to get up and running
  2. Then follow this link and download the latest version of VMWare Player
  3. Once installed launch the software and check for any possible updates. I just downloaded everything, but you likely don't need to.
  4. Click create new virtual machine - here you will have the option to use an install disk or use the ISO file you just downloaded. Select installer disk file and navigate to the folder the ISO file is located in.
  5. Once you have the right file click next. Here you'll see the option to select the guest operating system, you want to select other and then select other from the drop down menu. DO NOT select Windows. You will not see Windows 8 listed there and using any of the other options didn't work!
  6. Click next and name your VM, any name works
  7. The next screen brings you to disk capacity, select at least 20 Gbs and I prefer using a single file
  8. On the next screen click the "customize hardware" button. Here you need to make a few changes. Select memory and increase the total to at least 2 Gbs. You may also need to change your network adapter settings. More on that later.
Now you should be all set. Click finish and let VmWare Player launch and do its thing. If all goes well you'll see a standard looking Windows Setup and instal page. You'll need to enter this product key: NF32V-Q9P3W-7DR7Y-JGWRW-JFCK8. Everything from there should be self explanatory.

Dual-Booting Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Windows 7

Note: You may run into a few issues related to doing a dual boot setup. If you do please refer to the bottom of the page and the steps we took to get things up and running

When setting up a dual-boot effectively you are setting up two operating systems side by side on either the same drive, with separate partitions or an active secondary drive. This is great because you can keep your existing version of Windows all while having the option to checkout the new Consumer Preview. During start-up a dual-boot setup will give you the option of selecting either the older install, in this case Windows 7, or the newer install of Windows 8.

The two operating systems do not run simultaneously, nor do you share applications. However you can still access files on one or the other. The down side is that if there is the need to remove Windows 8 for some reason you'll then need to make some changes to the boot records which can lead to some headaches.

To setup a dual-boot with Windows 8 Consumer Preview and Windows 7 or Vista you'll need the following steps:

  1. Download the Windows 8 ISO files (linked above), you'll then want to create a stand alone install DVD
  2. Make sure you have a partition with at least 20 Gb on your Windows 7 drive. If you don't have one but you have enough space you can use a tool like GParted to create a second partition. A second option would be a secondary drive.
  3. Once those steps are complete you'll need to restart your PC and change the boot order so that you can boot from your new DVD rather than your hard drive.
  4. Booting from your Windows 8 install DVD you'll want to go through the initial Windows setup just as you were doing a fresh install
  5. When asked if you want to update or do a custom/advanced install make sure you click advanced install. This will give you the option of doing a clean install on either a second partition or hard drive.
  6. Be very careful here! Make sure you are selecting an empty drive or partition and not the one with your current install. If you make that mistake you'll overwrite all the information and you most likely won't get it back!
From here the installation process should be fairly self automated. Setup will proceed to install all the Windows 8 files just like any other normal Windows install. Upon competition of the installation your computer should reboot and will boot directly into the new Windows 8 setup screen.

Now this is where we ran into some issues!

We found out that Windows 8 totally overwrites the boot records and does not include the option to boot to Windows 7. This had us a bit stumped at first but we found a work around that worked. Unlike our Windows 7 disk the Windows 8 disk did not have the start-up repair option. At least we didn't see it. So I grabbed my Windows 7 install DVD, booted it up and ran the startup repair. This located both the Windows 7 boot records and Windows 8 boot records and did an automatic repair for me.

When you reboot it will boot to Windows 8 and you'll see a screen that says attempting recovery. Once its done you'll reboot again and again you'll see a Windows 8 startup screen but you should then see a prompt for either operating system.

A second work around my be running the Windows Bootrec.exe tool. We didn't try that, but it should work none the same.

Microsoft Releases The Windows 8 Consumer Preview

The Windows 8 Consumer Preview (a pre-beta build) is now officially live on Microsoft's servers and ready for the masses to download and test out. The Consumer Preview will feature most, if not all of the 100,000 code changes and feature updates that we'll see in the new operating system.


The new OS will bring a ton of improvements including Metro which will feature an entirely redesigned UI, less painful Windows Update process, faster boots, decreased OS resource consumption, and improved file transfers, a streamlined upgrade process for the initial installation and switching to a primarily online sales distribution model.

The system recommendations for the Consumer Preview include:
  • 1 GHz or faster processor
  • 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver 

One new element to Windows 8 is the requirement that Metro style applications have a minimum of 1024x768 screen resolution, and 1366x768 for the snap feature. If you attempt to launch a Metro style app with less than this resolution (e.g. 800x600, 1024x600) you will receive an error message. For this reason MS is suggesting that you do not run the preview in a virtual machine. For now they are suggesting a full install. You can upgrade from the Developer Preview or directly from Windows 7, or install a fresh clean installation. I recommend the later, with a dual boot option just in case there are issues.

You can download the Consumer Preview starting now at http://preview.windows.com.

For more details checkout the following posts from Microsoft:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Apple Event Coming March 7th, Is An iPad 3 Inevitable

Apple fans should know by now that they shouldn't count there eggs, or well iDevices, before they hatch. Apple does things on their terms and inspite of months of speculation even when an event is scheduled until the official announcement is made they are the only one that know for sure what is coming. Case in point the iPhone 4s announcement

That said, it appears as though the wait for a new iPad may soon be over. Several sites and news sources are reporting the receipt of and invitation to an event on March 7 in San Francisco, where it’s said Apple will be releasing the third generation iPad.

The invitation features the picture below, clearly showing an iPad screen and the caption “We have something you really have to see. And touch.”


There are many rumors and speculation about what the new device will provide. Most experts believe the iPad 3 will feature a higher-resolution screen, a faster processor, perhaps even Apple's first quad-core and more internal memory. There is also speculation well see better cameras and a few other features to "boost" performance over the current iPad 2.

Even wilder rumors suggest we might see a smaller version of the iPad. Perhaps something in the 7 inch range. Or something that comes in with slightly less performance and a cheaper price tag.

For now its really just all speculation. If the supposed iPhone 5 event has taught us anything its that we really never know what Apple will have up their sleeve!!

Google Offering Up To $1million In Rewards For Chrome Exploits At CanSecWest

Google may come under fire for many things but you have to admit when it comes to security of its browser they tend to put their money where there, well security is. The company has continually showed its willingness to pay up when it comes to bugs, exploits and hacks, consistently extending funding for the Chromium Security Rewards program.

This year Google wants to go even further. At the upcoming CanSecWest security conference, Google will once again sponsor rewards for Google Chrome exploits.  The aim of the program is simple: Google feels they have a big learning opportunity when working with security researchers and receiving full end-to-end exploits. Not only can the Google team then fix the bugs, but they can studying the vulnerability and exploit techniques used by security teams to can enhance mitigations, automated testing, and sandboxing. This enables us better protection for end users.

To up the ante, and of course provide some extra incentive for researchers to share their exploits, Google has upped the ante from their standard reward program and past bonuses given at CanSecWest. This year they will directly sponsor up to $1 million worth of rewards in the following categories:

  • $60,000 - “Full Chrome exploit”: Chrome / Win7 local OS user account persistence using only bugs in Chrome itself.
  • $40,000 - “Partial Chrome exploit”: Chrome / Win7 local OS user account persistence using at least one bug in Chrome itself, plus other bugs. For example, a WebKit bug combined with a Windows sandbox bug.
  • $20,000 - “Consolation reward, Flash / Windows / other”: Chrome / Win7 local OS user account persistence that does not use bugs in Chrome. For example, bugs in one or more of Flash, Windows or a driver. These exploits are not specific to Chrome and will be a threat to users of any web browser. Although not specifically Chrome’s issue, we’ve decided to offer consolation prizes because these findings still help us toward our mission of making the entire web safer.

There will be multiple rewards offered per category, up to the $1 million limit, on a first-come-first served basis. There is no splitting of winnings or “winner takes all.” Google will require each set of exploit bugs to be reliable, fully functional end to end, disjoint, of critical impact, present in the latest versions and genuinely “0-day,” i.e. not known to us or previously shared with third parties. Contestant’s exploits must be submitted to and judged by Google before being submitted anywhere else.

This is a new program for Google, who withdrew their sponsorship from the annual Pwn2Own contest over concerns that contestants are allowed to enter Pwn2Own without having to reveal the full exploits to software vendors. Full exploits have been handed over in previous years, but it’s an explicit non-requirement in this year’s contest which Google felt was unacceptable.

Chrome will still be on the list of Pwn2Own targets, which also includes Microsoft Internet Explorer, Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox. However, there won't be the bonus bounty offered last year.

Motorola Offers Business Users Up To $200 To Switch To Android

Motorola Mobility wants professional consumers – or “prosumers” -- to make the switch to an Android powered device and they are offering you cash back to do so.

Motorola has announced a new program targeting the enterprise level consumer and business users. The company will be offering up to $200 cash back for a consumer’s old device when a Motorola Business Ready smartphone is purchased. In addition, Motorola Mobility will be offering the MotoAssist™ IT service to give business users access to IT professionals who can help set up accounts, transfer contacts seamlessly, and even work directly with corporate IT departments.

The new program went live this afternoon at http://www.motorola.com/switch. Businesses and consumers looking for more information about the company’s Business Ready devices will find resources at motorola.com/businessready, including information on the company’s Business Ready product portfolio, security and software features, numerous support resources, and industry case studies.