Thursday, May 31, 2012

Slacker Radio Now Available on Roku ‎

Slacker, Inc. today announced the launch of Slacker Radio on Roku, the leading streaming platform in the U.S. Slacker Radio listeners in the U.S. and Canada can now enjoy the personal radio service on Roku’s popular streaming players.

The Slacker Radio lineup includes more than 200 expert-curated music stations, personalized ESPN Radio and ABC News stations, comedy programming, custom artist-hosted showcase stations and leading music festival stations. With a music catalog that is more than 10 times larger than the leading radio competitor, Slacker Radio offers more personalized content than any other radio service.

“We want to give our listeners access to Slacker wherever they happen to be, and launching on the Roku platform is a big step forward for us in the connected home,” said Jonathan Sasse, senior vice president of marketing at Slacker. “We are excited to deliver Slacker Radio as a free service for Roku owners, effective immediately.”

“Slacker Radio brings an impressive selection of Internet radio programming to Roku and we expect it to quickly become a customer favorite,” said Ed Lee, vice president of business development at Roku. “Customers can find and add the Slacker Radio channel from the Roku Channel Store starting today.”

Delivering entertainment to millions of customers, Roku streaming players are affordable, are easy to use, and feature more than 500 channels of entertainment.

In addition to Roku, Slacker Radio is available for listening on the web, on all major smartphones including iPhone, Android and BlackBerry, the iPad, Ford vehicles with SYNC AppLink and more. To get the free Slacker mobile application, simply direct your mobile web browser to

Windows 8 Release Preview Now Live

As posted yesterday it was leaked that Microsoft was planning on releasing the final build of Windows 8 to would be testers. Earlier today the Windows 8 Release Preview site went live and the full download is now available.

Windows 8 Release Preview Setup will check to see if your PC can run Windows 8 Release Preview and select the right download. Setup also features a compatibility report and upgrade assistance. Make sure your devices are connected to your PC and turned on before you run Setup. Built-in tools for creating an ISO or bootable flash drive are available for some previous versions of Windows (excluding Windows XP and earlier). You can find system requirements and additional information in the FAQ and in the links on this page.

Note before you download: Windows 8 Release Preview is prerelease software that may be substantially modified before it’s commercially released. Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information provided here. Some product features and functionality may require additional hardware or software.

If you would prefer not to use Windows 8 Release Preview Setup, you can download Windows 8 Release Preview in ISO format instead.

64-bit (x64)  Download (3.3 GB)  Sha 1 hash — 0xD76AD96773615E8C504F63564AF749469CFCCD57

32-bit (x86) Download (2.5 GB)  Sha 1 hash — 0x8BED436F0959E7120A44BF7C29FF0AA962BDEFC9


I strongly suggest that anyone that plans on downloading and testing the release preview backs up their system before hand and/or does not test it on a crucial system. There have been no reports of issues but this is still software that is in the testing phase and it might not work with all your applications and recovering from the update might be a tremendously tedious process.

For more details about the release preview checkout this post on the Windows 8 blog "Delivering the Windows 8 Release Preview"

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How To: Restart A Frozen iPad

We've all been there, your iPad seems to be frozen and unresponsive for no reason and no matter what you do it won't power off or reset. Don't worry your iPad is not dead. It might be completely unresponsive to touch but trust me this is an easy fix. All your devices needs is a good old fashioned restart which is only a few simple steps away.

Restarting your iPad
  1. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button for a few seconds until the red "slide to power off" slider appears, or the screen goes dark. If the slider appears you can then power off your iPad. If the screen goes dark it just means it powered down.
  2. Once your iPad is powered down press and hold the Sleep/Wake button again until the Apple logo appears. When the Apple logo appears in the middle of the screen, you can release the Sleep/Wake button. The iPad will then restart again and things should be back to normal.

Follow these steps to reset your iPad

Note: Reset your device only if it is no longer responding and the steps above do not work.
  1. Press and hold the Sleep/Wake button and the Home button together for at least ten seconds, until the Apple logo appears. Ignore the "Slide to Power Off" button when it appears.
  2. Continue to hold the buttons until the Apple logo appears on the screen and then release the buttons. The Apple logo disappears and the iPad turns off.
  3. Press the "Sleep/Wake" button for about 3 seconds to turn the iPad on. It will take about 30 seconds for the device to restart.
  4. Reset the iPad settings by tapping the "Settings" icon on the home screen. Select "General" in the left column, followed by "Reset" at the bottom of the main screen. Select "Reset All Settings" to reset the settings but leave your data and files untouched.

Factory Restore the iPad

If neither of these options work the worst case scenario is to completely restore your iPad. This should be considered a last ditch effort, but one that might save you a trip to the Apple Genius Bar:
  1. First make sure you have a USB 2.0 connection cable from Apple and the latest version of iTunes installed
  2. Connect the iPad to your Mac or PC and launch iTunes
  3. In the Devices section click on the iPad icon then the Summary tab, and then click on the Restore button
  4. When prompted, click on Back Up to back up all your iPad's files and settings
  5. Then click on the Restore button
This will restore your iPad to its factory settings and install the latest version of the iPad operating software. Once this is completed, the iPad will restart. You can now restore all of your iPad's media and settings from your most recent back up file.

Windows 8 Release Preview Available Tomorrow

 *Update: The Windows 8 Release Preview site is now live and the full download is now available.

Several reports are indicating that Microsoft has let slip the details of what looks to be the final release preview of Windows 8 and it looks like the wait is over.

According to ZDnet (and a few other sites) Microsoft accidentally posted blog post on the Windows Hardware and Driver Developer blog outlining plans for the availability for the Release Preview with a “download here” link that is slated to go live on May 31. The post has since been pulled but it wasn't fast enough as a few tech bloggers snagged screen shots and copies of the links.

There have been a number leaks of the Windows 8 Developer Preview, with several recent copies coming out of China. User that don't want to wait might find them via torrent, however I really don't recommend that route.

We tried the Windows 8 Consumer Preview when it was first released. All things considered I doubt I'll try the next release which is more or less a release candidate that should feature most if not all of the changes Microsoft is building into the new OS.

Microsoft officials still haven’t said when they expect a release to manufacturing build of Windows 8 will be ready, nor have they hinted as to when it will be widely available to consumers. Previous reports and speculation have pegged the launch and general availability of Windows 8 for October of this year. Microsoft has already announced the Windows 8 Product Lineup as well as a Windows 8 upgrade promotion so we could see a RTM well before the back to school season.

Windows 8 Release Preview: Download here (not active until May 31st)
Windows 8 Driver Kit: Download here (not active until May 31st)
Visual Studio 2012 Professional: Download here (not active until May 31st)

Sony Releasing Two New Waterproof Smartphones, Xperia Go and Acro S

Summer is right around the corner and what could be better than a new smartphone? How about one that is not only sleek, stylish and packed with all the right components but waterproof too! Sony has introduced two new phones, the Xperia go and Xperia acro S – which pack not only stylish exteriors, impressive specs but a durable and water resistant outer coating that might be perfect for you water loving geeks!

Xperia go

Xperia acro s

Now we realizes waterproof Android based smartphones are nothing new, after-all Samsung has the Samsung Rugby Smart and Motorola has the Motorola Defy. Both are great phones in their own right, but both leave some room for improvement. Enter Sony and the two new Xperia phones. While we haven't got hands on either phone yet, from the specs and the pictures they already have me sold!

Xperia go Features and Specifications

  • 3.5” Reality Display powered by Mobile BRAVIA Engine gives razor sharp clarity
  • 5MP 16x digital zoom fast capture camera goes from sleep to snap in just over a second
  • Scratch resistant mineral glass display with wet finger tracking
  • Highest level of dust and water resistance in a smartphone – IP67 Rating
  • 1 GHz STE NovaThor U8500 Dual Core Processor
  • ARM Mali 400 GPU and NEON CPU extensions.
  • Quad EDGE/GSM/GPRS 850, 900, 1800, 1900.
  • 8 GB (up to 4 GB user-accessible memory) internal phone storage.
  • 512 MB RAM.
  • Memory card slot: microSD, up to 32 GB
  • Launching on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), upgradeable to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
  • Available in black, white and yellow colors
Xperia go also offers access to Sony Entertainment Network, including Video Unlimited and Music Unlimited, Sony's PlayNow service, TrackID music recognition, MediaGo and Facebook inside Xperia

    Xperia acro S Features and Specifications


    • 4.3” 720p HD Reality Display powered by Mobile BRAVIA Engine gives razor sharp clarity
    • 12MP 16x digital zoom Full 1080p HD video recording and 720p HD front camera
    • PlayStation Certified
    • Scratch resistant mineral glass display with wet finger tracking
    • IP55 and IP57 Ratings for dust and water resistance
    • 1.5 GHz Qualcomm MSM8260 Dual Core Processor
    • Adreno 220 GPU
    • GPRS 850, 900, 1800, 1900 W-CDMA Band I, II, V and VIII
    • Internal phone storage 16 GB (up to 11 GB user-accessible memory)
    • 1 GB RAM.
    • Memory card slot: microSD, up to 32 GB.
    • Launching on Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
    • Available in black, white and pink colors
    Xperia acro s also offers access to the Sony Entertainment Network, including Video Unlimited, Music Unlimited, and the PlayStation Network for PlayStation-certified content, Sony's PlayNow service, TrackID music recognition, Facebook inside Xperia and the Sony channel in Play Shop.
      For more information, check out the official Sony press release or view all the Xperia go and Xperia acro s features at "Xperia go and Xperia acro S brings extra durability and stylish water resistance"

      More Companies Monitoring Employees' Social Media Use Your Company May Be Next

      Small and large businesses alike are starting to embrace technologies used to monitor employee Internet usage, and that number is only growing. According to a new report from technology research firmGartner 60 percent off all companies are expected to watch workers' social media use for potential data breach by 2015. That is up from an estimated 10 percent today.

      “The growth in monitoring employee behavior in digital environments is increasingly enabled by new technology and services,” said Andrew Walls, research vice president of Gartner. “Surveillance of individuals, however, can both mitigate and create risk, which must be managed carefully to comply with ethical and legal standards.”

      Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus Free Scan
      To prevent, detect and remediate security incidents, IT security organizations have traditionally focused attention on the monitoring of internal infrastructure. The impact of IT consumerization, cloud services and social media renders this traditional approach inadequate for guiding decisions regarding the security of enterprise information and work processes.

      “Security monitoring and surveillance must follow enterprise information assets and work processes into whichever technical environments are used by employees to execute work,” said Mr. Walls. “Given that employees with legitimate access to enterprise information assets are involved in most security violations, security monitoring must focus on employee actions and behavior wherever the employees pursue business-related interactions on digital systems. In other words, the development of effective security intelligence and control depends on the ability to capture and analyze user actions that take place inside and outside of the enterprise IT environment.”

      Security is a major concern but not the only concern

      Companies are learning that they have to balance the security monitoring and the overall good of the company with the rights and privacy of their employees. The battle to keep employees focused on their tasks at hand and working while at their desks and not "playing" games has been a challenging one for most businesses. The popularity of online and cloud based services, such as Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, iTunes and others not only provides new distraction but also new targets for security breaches. Surveillance of user activity in these services generates additional ethical and legal risks. These risks and rights to privacy are posing a daunting question for many companies: How do we protect ourselves from possible threats and protects the rights of the employee?

      Social media sites in-particular create new challenges for monitoring. There are times when the information available can assist in risk mitigation for an organization, such as employees posting videos of inappropriate activities within corporate facilities. However, there are other times when accessing the information can generate serious liabilities, such as a manager reviewing an employee's Facebook profile to determine the employee's religion or sexual orientation in violation of equal employment opportunity and privacy regulations.

      Earlier this year, headlines where made when it was reported that prospective employers were asking people they interview for their Facebook passwords. The practice was so widely questioned it prompted several states to act, passing legislation to block employers from the practice. While many feel this approach will "gradually fade," companies will mostly likely continue to monitor the social media conversations of employees and customers.

      Educations is the best approach to staying safe

      Education of employees about potential risks it needed. When asked, most employees would likely tell you that they don't see what the problem is or don't see how there could be a threat. Most employees aren't aware of the fact that using their own device on a work network could lead to a security breach. Nor do they know that by bypassing the network security in place they could also allow attackers in.

      For employees the U.S. National Labor Relations Board, in several recent decisions, ruled against employers who fired workers for complaining on social media sites about work conditions. The agency's position is that discussing work conditions with other employees is protected by the National Labor Relations Act. This however does not mean that you should see these ruling as being in favor of your right to use social media sites in the work place. You should be careful about "inappropriate" work-related posts on Facebook and other social media sites. Speaking out against an employer is one thing, posting "inappropriate" material is another.

      More details about the report can be read in Gartner's press release

      Tuesday, May 29, 2012

      Google Unveils New Chrome OS, Chromeook and Chromebox

      When Google first introduced the new Chrome OS almost three years ago it was little more than a project in makings. There were promises that we'd see several manufactures jumping on-board and we'd see several devices powered by the new operating system. Fast forward a couple years and Google alongside partners Samsung and Acer, introduced the first Google Chromebooks, a netbook like device that fell flat in public eye and enthusiasm for both the Chromebooks and Chrome OS waned.

      Today however, Google hopes to get back some of the early enthusiasm that Chrome enjoyed as they have announced they will be launching a major new update to the Chrome OS - and Chromebook partner Samsung announced the company will be releasing two new Chrome OS products a laptop based Chromebook and desktop styled Chromebox.

      The New Chrome OS an app-centric user interface

      The new Chrome OS features all new styling and a new user interface, which can't help but be compared to Windows 7. You get easier app launching with a more tradition task-bar and notification areas. You can pin commonly-used apps for quick access, display multiple windows side-by-side or experience your favorite apps in full-screen mode without any distractions.

      Be much more productive...or not
      • Get more stuff done, online or offline: With the built-in ability to view Microsoft Office files and dozens of the most common file formats, you can access all your content without the hassle of installing additional software. Google Drive makes it easy to create, store and share with just one click. Drive will be seamlessly integrated with the File Manager and support offline access with the next release of Chrome OS in six weeks. With Google Docs offline support (rolling out over the next few weeks), you can keep working on your documents even when offline and seamlessly sync back up when you re-connect. In addition, there are hundreds of offline-capable web apps in the Chrome Web Store.
      • Have more fun: The revamped media player and a built-in photo editor and uploader enable you to easily play and manage your personal media collections. Through the Chrome Web Store, you can access entertainment apps such as Google Play, Netflix, Kindle Cloud Reader and Pandora, and thousands of games including popular games like Angry Birds and console titles such as Bastion.
      • Carry your other computers...inside your Chromebook: With Chrome Remote Desktop Beta, you can now securely connect to your PC or Mac from your Chromebook or Chromebox. With the underlying VP8 technology, it’s almost like you’re in front of your other computers in real time.

      Next-generation devices, the new Chromebook and Chromebox

      Along with Google's announcement of a new Chrome OS Samsung announced a new Chromebook and the industry’s first Chromebox. Like its predecessor, the newest Chromebook is a fast and portable laptop for everyday users. The Chromebox is a compact, powerful and versatile desktop or nettop type device that is perfect for the home or office.

      Speed is integral to the Chrome experience. The new Samsung Series 5 550 Chromebook and Samsung Chromebox will be based on Intel Core processors, which are nearly three times as fast as the first-generation Chromebooks. Both devices will feature 4GB of RAM, Built-in dual-band WiFi and DisplayPort++ Output (compatible with HDMI, DVI, VGA). For graphics users will get Intel based hardware-accelerated graphics, which should provide seamless mulitmedia playback.

      Pricing is listed at $449 for the Series 5 550 and $329 for the Chromebox.For those who want to try the Chromebook and Chromebox first-hand, we’re expanding the Chrome Zone experience centers. In the U.S., Chromebooks will be available to try out in select Best Buy stores in the coming weeks.

      WWDC 2012 Schedule And Companion iOS App Released

      Did you get your tickets for this year's Apple World Wide Developers Conference? If so Apple has released the final schedule for WWDC and a companion iOS app that will help WWDC attendees plan their week, navigate the conference location, and keep up with the latest news.

      The WWDC is one of the largest Apple related conference's and by far the most anticipated Apple conference every year. In fact so much so that the June 2012 conference sold out in only a few hours.

      The full conference schedule is only available to attendees who were lucky enough to bet their $1,599 tickets back in April. So we don't know forsure what attendees can expect. However, we are guessing that the focus will be primarily on Apple's two operating systems, iOS and OS X. The new iOS 6, which will power this year's iPhone, will likely be front and center, along with OS X 10.8, aka Mountain Lion, the desktop operating system slated to ship later this summer.

      This year's annual developers conference will be the first since former CEO Steve Jobs passed away last October most like leaving current CEO Tim Cook as the host of the keynote. As usual, the keynote will take place the first day of WWDC: Monday, June 11 at 10:00am Pacific Time.

      Thursday, May 24, 2012

      Blizzard Investigates Says Diablo III Servers Not Hacked

      Over the past week Blizzard has been investigating claims that the company's Diablo III servers had been hacked. Thursday they reiterated their position that while the accounts had been accessed their was no verifiable evidence that the servers themselves had been breached.

      In an update to the game's official forums at Blizzard addressed security concerns, and questions related to reports from earlier this week.

      Over the past couple of days, players have expressed concerns over the possibility of account compromises. First and foremost, we want to make it clear that the and Diablo III servers have not been compromised. In addition, the number of Diablo III players who've contacted customer service to report a potential compromise of their personal account has been extremely small. In all of the individual Diablo III-related compromise cases we've investigated, none have occurred after a physical Authenticator or Mobile Authenticator app was attached to the player's account, and we have yet to find any situation where a Diablo III player's account was accessed outside of "traditional" compromise methods (i.e. someone logging using an account's login email and password).

      This comes as a response to several earlier reports that user were logging complaint that their accounts have been raided and their virtual, money and goods on Blizzard's gaming site had been stolen. Blizzard still hasn't offered and official account of how and why these accounts had been breached. There had been suggest that account compromises are occurring in ways outside of "traditional" methods such as "session spoofing" a player’s identity after he or she joins a public game.

      Blizzard specifically said it has examined this possibility and found no reason to believe accounts are being hacked in this way and even said such an exploit is "technically impossible."

      In addition to addressing possible security concerns Blizzard also revealed it has made several hotfixes to address gameplay issues in Diablo III since the game launched. A collection of these changes are available at the game's website.

      Google Shares Information About Copyright Removal Requests

      Two years ago Google launched the Transparency Report a site dedicated to showing the number of take-down requests, removal of information from their services and the number of government inquiries received for information about users. Today the search giant has added another section to the site dedicated to sharing the information for requests for removal of content related to copyrights by copyright holders.

      Google says it specifically wants to provide transparency for copyright removals in search by disclosing the number of requests they get from copyright owners (and the organizations that represent them) to remove Google Search results because they allegedly link to infringing content. Google will begin providing information about who sends copyright removal notices, how often, on behalf of which copyright owners and for which websites. For the launch the site will contain data dating from July 2011, and moving forward with daily updates.

      The site gives a breakdown of details based on who sends copyright removal notices, how often they send in requests, on behalf of which copyright owners and for which websites. A chart shows the overall number of requests sent in per week, which Google says tops more than 250,000 per week. (For more about the data in the report, see the FAQ.)

      Wednesday, May 23, 2012

      Yahoo Launches New Visual Browser

      Yahoo, yes Yahoo of all people, has announced the launch of a new browser or well browser add-on, that takes the text out of your web and makes searching a visual experience. Yahoo Axis as it has been dubbed comes in full versions for the iPad and iPhone, and as plug-ins for the desktop browsers Chrome, Firefox, IE, and Safari.

      Axis is a visual search browser extension which overlays search results right in your browser window. Instead of the traditional text-based search results you'd see on Google, Bing or even Yahoo you see visual representations of pages in a carousel or window panes. You see thumbnail representations of the page, or site, and a brief spinet of the content.

      Yahoo Axis also allows for device syncing. Meaning searches and results can be synced between multiple devices on the user same account. For example, a search that begin on an iPhone can be continued on a Windows computer with the Axis browser extension installed. Additionally devices on the same account also share favorites, bookmarks and items to be read later.

      Yahoo offers three ways to sign into Axis. Users can choose between a Yahoo account, Facebook, or Google+.

      My thoughts:

      I'm testing it now and have to say this is one browser extension I'll be passing on. The window panes are a nice thought but the pop-up tool bar and the search button that is added to pages was distracting and annoying. I will say I did like the carousel for image searches, the only problem is when you click the link you are taken to the associated page and not the image itself so you then have to track down the image you wanted to view.

      If you try it out we'd like to hear your thought. Do you love it or hate it?

      Related Articles:

      Facebook IPO Flop Launches Lawsuits

      Last week's headlines were primarily dominated by one thing, the initial public offering of Facebook stocks. The IPO was seen as one of the biggest initial offerings ever and by far the biggest in the tech industry in years. Fast forward a few days and that stock, which was initially offered at $38, has fallen steadily and now sits down nearly 20% at $32.

      The handling of the IPO has been seen by many as a major flop and by some as grounds for lawsuits. Investors have filed lawsuits against not only Facebook but the company's CEO, lead underwriters—Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan and now Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., the company that manages the Nasdaq exchange which handles the Facebook stock.

      Shareholders Wednesday filed a class action lawsuit against Facebook, CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan. The lawsuit alleges that that Facebook executives, including Zuckerberg, CFO David Ebersman, company board members, underwriter Morgan Stanley and others intentionally hid negative views of the company's revenue growth prior to last week's IPO. The analysts at Facebook's IPO underwriters had cut their estimates for the company in the middle of the IPO roadshow, however that information was seemingly not passed down to investors.

      According to several reports the information about the estimate cut was conveyed to several major institutional investors who were considering buying Facebook stock, but not to smaller investors. These estimate cuts may have influenced the investment decisions of some these major players, weakening their position on the Facebook stock, and crucially, affecting the price at which they were willing to buy. This "selective disclosure" and the possibility that it weakened the stock position is at the heart of many of the lawsuits.

      At the heart of it investors feel they should have had access to the same information the major investors had. Many feel that had they had access to that information they wouldn't have taken the gamble on the stock and subsequently wouldn't have lost money.

      On top of the current class action lawsuit, the IPO also is reportedly being investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, an independent securities regulator. Both agencies are siding with investor and asking exactly what information was disclosed, when and to whom.

      But the questions regarding the estimate and earrings cuts is hardly the only one surrounding the  Facebook IPO.

      According to Bloomberg, Phillip Goldberg, a Maryland investor, filed a lawsuit against NASDAQ this week alleging that it "badly mishandled" the opening hours of the IPO, effectively making it impossible for some traders to know if they owned Facebook stock or not. In his complaint filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court Goldberg alleges that he tried to both order and cancel requests for Facebook shares through an online Charles Schwab Corp. (SCHW) account the morning after the May 17 IPO.

      He claims that he tried to make a series of buy orders online, which failed to go through at the time. Meanwhile, one of his trades was processed several hours later when Facebook's stock price had already dropped by more than $3. Goldberg believes that Nasdaq was negligent in failing to ensure trades were executed quickly and correctly, in not exercising effective quality control and in failing to oversee employees and contractors involved in executing the trades.

      Goldberg is seeking unspecified damages and is seeking to move the lawsuit to class action status on behalf of investors who lost money because their buy, sell or cancellation orders for Facebook stock weren’t properly processed.

      No matter how you look at it one thing is for certain, the Facebook IPO was a major disaster for everyone but Facebook's initial stock holders. The IPO netted the company a valuation in excess of $100 billion and turned several people into billionaires and several more into millionaires.

      Tuesday, May 22, 2012

      Review: Thermaltake WATER2.0 Performer and WATER2.0 Pro Water Cooling Systems

      Thermaltake logo
      Thanks to several companies like Thermaltake water-cooling has gone mainstream. Units are cheaper, easier to use and more importantly more reliable, making it much easier for the average consumer to buy and install a cpu liquid cooling unit.

      Being the major geek I am, you'd think that I'd have had some experience in the water-cooling arena in the past. Sadly this couldn't be further from the truth. So when Thermaltake introduced their WATER2.0 line of liquid cooling solutions and offered me the chance to review two of their newest units, the all-new WATER2.0 Performer and WATER2.0 Pro, I jumped at the chance.

      Introducing the WATER2.0 Performer and WATER2.0 Pro

      The Water "2.0" name denotes the progression and improvements that Thermaltake has made in the performance of the company's liquid cooling segment as well as the new approach which WATER2.0 solutions are taking. While traditional D.I.Y. (do-it-yourself) liquid cooling kits offer expandability, essentially the ability to cool both the CPU and GPU, the new mainstream 2.0 kits remove that option. The benefit of openly expandable kits is often the same thing that complicates installation and filling these coolers introduces a risk of mixing water and electronics. With the WATER2.0 kits Thermaltake specifically addresses these concerns by having a closed-loop design, meaning all the fluids that are required for maximum performance are pre-filled and sealed inside so the users do not need to handle any type of liquid during installation or operation.

      Thermaltake Water2.0 Performer

      For the mainstream consumer it breaks down to being what you lose in expandability you gain in reliability and ease of use. You don't have to worry about water leaks when adding in extra water-blocks or concerning yourself with routing extra tubing. You have a single block that fits on your CPU and one set of tubes running to your radiator. This makes for a really easy to use user friendly setup that just about anyone with a dab of tech know-how can install.

      Thermaltake Water2.0 Pro and Water2.0 Performer Specifications

      Water2.0 Pro
      Water2.0 Performer
      Water Block
      Motor speed
      2800±150 RPM
      2800±150 RPM
      Rated Voltage
      Rated Current
      120 x 120 x 25mm
      120 x 120 x 25mm
      Noise Level
      Rated Voltage
      Rated Current
      Max. Air Flow
      4 Pin
      4 Pin
      150 x 120 x 48.8mm
      151 x 120 x 27mm
      Cooling Surface Area
      3730 cm2
      1385 cm2

      Universal compatibility for all new processors and current model sockets including: Intel: LGA 2011, 1366, 1155, 1156, 775 and AMD: FM1, AM3+, AM3, AM2+, AM2

      How We Tested

      Being that the Thermaltake Water 2.0 Pro and Thermaltake Water 2.0 Performer are meant for mainstream users we wanted to test both coolers on our everyday machine which we felt would best represent a mainstream build. This happens to be a bit older build but one that has ran tried and true for us for quite some time. The box is equipped with a Socket 775 Intel Pentium E5200 dual core CPU that we've overclocked to a nice stable 3.1Ghz and baseline cooling tests are done with an Arctic Freezer Pro 7. Using this build we tested temps at both stock and overclocked speeds, running everyday applications like Photoshop, Microsoft Office, WMP, and a few games. For stress testing we pushed the CPU to 100% usage running Prime 95.

      Hardware Configuration
      • Processor: Intel Pentium E5200 Wolfdale 2.5GHz
      • Settings: Overclocked to 3.1Ghz Vcore 1.40v
      • Newegg advertisement
      • Motherboard: ASUS PQ5 SE Plus
      • ASUS Fan controls set to silent for slowest speeds
      • Memory: 4 GBs DDR2 1066Mhz
      • Hard disk: Western Digital 160 GB SATA
      • Video card: EVGA 9600 GSO
      • Power supply: Cooler Master Extreme 500W
      • Case: Enermax Pandora 185 with zero case fans

      Software Used
      • Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit SP1
      • PhotoShop, FireFox, MS Office 2010, Windows Media Player
      • Games -Wolfenstein, Painkiller
      • Prime95 blended stress test


      Both units come with all the accessories needed to make them work with just about any newer socket and cpu. The instructions are fairly straight forward and easy to follow making for a hassle free install. The only areas we really had issues with were:

      A) Having to remove the motherboard to install a back-plate
      B) The back plate grommets moving around
      C) Poor marking on the plastic components

      If this was a new build installing the back-plate wouldn't be any issue so we can skip that. The grommets and the poor markings, however were a bit of a setback. The marking on the plastic components was very hard to read. So at first we weren't sure if we had them in right. After grabbing a flash light for better vision we got things figured.

      The major concern though was the fact that there isn't anything to hold the grommets in place. So when you are trying to line-up the mounting screws they tend to pop out the back of the mounting plate. This causes them to not be able to be tightened. Since I wasn't sure if it was easier to install everything outside the case or wait until the motherboard was mounted we ran into a few snags. We mounted the back-plat and remounted the motherboard, which was a mistake.

      (Note: Install everything outside the case first it makes things a ton easier!)

      Thermaltake Water2.0 Pro and Water2.0 Performer Performance

      AF Pro7
      Water2.0 Pro
      Water2.0 Performer
      Stock Speeds
      47° C
      38° C
      38° C
      App Tests
      51° C
      40° C
      44° C
      50° C
      39° C
      42° C
      Prime 95
      59° C
      45° C
      50° C
      51° C
      38° C
      40° C
      App Tests
      58° C
      44° C
      46° C
      55° C
      41° C
      44° C
      70° C
      52° C
      58° C

      For all three coolers we used the slowest possible fan speeds to try to keep noise levels down. Even at the highest temps fan speeds never reached much higher than 1200rpms. So we had some room headroom even at the top end of the spectrum. Results varied a bit with temps sometimes sliding higher and lower but these were generally the highest recorded results.

      As you can see both coolers performed exceptionally well with the Water2.0 Pro edging out the Water2.0 Performer as should be expected. In my opinion it says a lot that they showed the rather significant differences they did over the Arctic Freezer 7 Pro, which is a great cooler in its own right. I had expected them to perform well but the differences were amazing.

      Being new to liquid cooling it was really an eye opener to see the performance differences. Not only in extreme end of the test pushing the CPU to it's make but with the standard everyday cooling situations. It was also interested to see the faster cool down times and hearing the overall sound level differences. We didn't have the ability to test the sound levels, which would have been nice, but I will say the it was a significant change.


      Overall I'd really have to say that I was pretty impressed with the performance of both coolers. Being that it was a smaller unit and a bit cheaper I was slight more impressed with the Water 2.0 Performer than I was with the Water 2.0 Pro. The Performer gave us great cooling, a bit more flexibility with our case selection and in my mind a bit more band for our buck.

      A few areas of concern!

      The minor details we had with installation aside we had no other performance related concerns. There were a few other installation concerns that we thought we should address though.

      The biggest concern we had came with the overall size of the coolers. Our Enermax Pandora 185 is an ATX mid tower with the ability to accept 120mm case fans. However, when we noticed the additional height of the radiators we thought that might pose a bit of a problem. As it was the fans fit just fine but we noticed there was going to be very little room, if any, between the bottom of our Coolermaster power supply and the top of the radiator. Luckily we made the tight fit work, we aren't sure how that will affect the cooling of the PSU but at least we got the coolers in.

      (Note: This is another area you'll want to double check, measure to make sure you have clearance!)

      Our second concerns was that our case has a tool-less design, with a pci-slot latch. We weren't sure how that would come into play with the fit or the need to add or change cards. Luckily while the latch is closed it's out of the way but once the fans and the coolers are mounted it is impossible to add or remove cards. (This could be a headache down the road!)

      We've also noticed that the overall size of the Thermaltake Water 2.0 Pro takes up a lot of space inside our case. Air flow and access is a bit restricted to other components like our GPU and memory slots. We haven't noticed any issues, again though someone installing either of these units needs to be aware of the space requirements!

      For more details on the Thermaltake "Water 2.0 Series" please checkout the Thermaltake product pages:

      If you'd like to buy either unit you can do so now at Newegg -
      Thermaltake WATER2.0 Pro All In One Liquid CPU Cooler |
      Thermaltake WATER2.0 Performer All In One Liquid CPU Cooler

      Warning! Facebook Cancellation Request May Be Malware

      Check your inbox carefully! That email that appears to be coming from Facebook asking if you’d like to cancel your accounts might actually be malware in disguise.

      According to reports from ZDNet and Sophos, users have been receiving Facebook-centric e-mails that ask users if they wish to confirm or deny a Facebook account cancellation request. In fact these requests are from a malicious third party looking to install malware on your computer.

      These very realistic looking Facebook e-mails ask users to follow a link to confirm a cancel requests to delete their account, something Facebook will never do! If followed, you are then offloaded to third-party Facebook application that will download a Java applet. Once the applet is loaded it will ask you to install a "Facebook Plugin" and continually harass the user to allow it run until they do – if the user allows the applet to run it will trigger a fake Adobe Flash update message. Once users download the update, they'll unsuspectingly install a backdoor Trojan to their computer, allowing attackers to monitor their activities and remotely access their computer.

      Sophos security products detect the malware as Mal/SpyEye-B and Troj/Agent-WHZ. There is no word yet as to what information the malware is collecting, however it could be used to obtain just about anything.

      For more details as well as screenshots of the email view the Sophos security alert posted here.

      Google Closes Acquisition Of Motorola Mobility Names New Motorola Mobility CEO

      Google is confirming today that they have closed the $12.5 Billion Acquisition of Motorola Mobility.

      In a blog post released this morning Google CEO Larry Page writes:
      The phones in our pockets have become supercomputers that are changing the way we live. It’s now possible to do things we used to think were magic, or only possible on Star Trek--like get directions right from where we are standing; watch a video on YouTube; or take a picture and share the moment instantly with friends.
      It’s why I’m excited to announce today that our Motorola Mobility deal has closed. Motorola is a great American tech company that has driven the mobile revolution, with a track record of over 80 years of innovation, including the creation of the first cell phone. We all remember Motorola’s StarTAC, which at the time seemed tiny and showed the real potential of these devices. And as a company who made a big, early bet on Android, Motorola has become an incredibly valuable partner to Google.
      Sanjay Jha will be stepping down from his current post as CEO of Motorola Mobility; Dennis Woodside, currently a senior vice president with Google, will take over the CEO post for the newly acquired company.

      Woodside has promised "fewer, bigger bets" meaning a simpler strategy: Fewer but bigger phone launches for Motorola Mobility, which will be an independent subsidiary of Google.

      For more information read the Motorola Press Release.

      Blizzard Confirms Diablo 3 Accounts Accessed Denies Breach

       In a post on the official Diablo III forums, a Blizzard community manager confirmed reports that several accounts may have been accessed by third parties but falls short of accepting blame. Instead, Blizzard is telling community members that the accounts were not hacked or otherwise compromised, instead insisting that the accounts were accessed via the normal log-in procedures using their usernames as passwords.

      We've been taking the situation extremely seriously from the start, and have done everything possible to verify how and in what circumstances these compromises are occurring. Despite the claims and theories being made, we have yet to find any situations in which a person's account was not compromised through traditional means of someone else logging into their account through the use of their password. While the authenticator isn't a 100% guarantee of account security, we have yet to investigate a compromise report in which an authenticator was attached beforehand.

      If your account has been hacked, please view the previous post for information on contacting our support department.
      Reports began surfacing over the weekend with hundreds of users registering complaints that their accounts have been raided and their virtual, money and goods on Blizzard's gaming site had been stolen.  Many report being the victims of account takeovers while they were online, suggesting that hackers may be taking advantage of a vulnerability in Blizzard's software or gaming platform.

      All the report share the same similar story: "I had my Diablo 3 account hacked today," states one player in this thread. "All my items gone and gold liquidated. Blizzard rolled it back to where I was a day and a half before. Meaning I lost around 20 hours of game time play. My password is a random combination of capitalized and uncapitalized letters, numbers, and special characters. My security question answer is also unknowable by anyone but me."

      Blizzard is blaming the problem on passwords that aren't backed up by an official authenticator. However this doesn't seem t be the case as Diablo 3 players are reporting hacks even after using the authenticator. They have also been able to watch the hacking take place in real time while taking screenshots in the process.

      Related Articles:

      Friday, May 18, 2012

      Microsoft Renews Free Xbox 360 Back-To-School Promo

      Microsoft has announced plans to renew its popular Xbox 360 back-to-school promotion, kicking off the deal this Sunday with an offer of a free Xbox 360 game console to eligible U.S. students who buy a new Windows 7 PC.

      According to Microsoft's blog post the promotion will be fairly similar to last year's. To be eligible you'll need to be either a U.S. (or Canadian) high school or college students with proof of status -- a student ID card or an email address that ends in .edu. You must purchase a Windows 7 PC for $699 ($599 for Canada) or more from one of the qualifying retailers or the Microsoft store. Just like last year's promotion you will then receive a free 4GB Xbox 360.

      For this year's promotion Microsoft has added a few more retailers to the mix. Participating retailers in the US include Best Buy,, Fry’s Electronics,, Microsoft Stores, and In Canada, they include Best Buy,, Future Shop, Staples and The Source.

      To take advantage of this offer or for more information, check with participating retailers as they may have some special restrictions on availability. Students or their parents must provide valid student identification as defined by the participating retailer.

      Depending on when you make your purchase of your new Windows 7 PC you may also qualify for a free or low cost upgrade to Windows 8 Pro when the new operating system launches later this year. Microsoft has not unveiled a Windows 8 upgrade program, but recent rumors have pegged an announcement to the first week of June.

      Related Articles: Buy a New HP PC, Get a Free Xbox 360 
      UPDATE 5/21: Find out more about this offer on the Windows Facebook Page at

      Thursday, May 17, 2012

      Verizon To Kill Unlimited Data, Will Honor Grandfathered Plans

      Verizon customers were hit with some bad news and false reports on Wednesday when the company outlined its goals to kill off unlimited data plans and instead move customers to shared data plans. Unfortunately many people, myself included, incorrectly read the report and believed that meant that Verizon would no longer honor grandfathered plans and would ultimately kill unlimited data plans the instant that shared data plans were introduced.

      Looking to clarify its position Verizon has released a statement as to what will actually happen.

      Customers with unlimited plans will get to keep their unlimited plans. But when shared data plans become available, the unlimited option will no longer be available to customers when they buy a new device at a subsidized price, usually with a two-year service contract. In other words, customers that are now on grandfathered plans will keep their unlimited plans so long as they don't want to upgrade their phone as a discounted price. If they need a new phone they will either have to pay full price or loose their old plan and be ported over to the new shared plans.

      Verizon’s e-mailed statement, in full:
      – Customers will not be automatically moved to new shared data plans. If a 3G or 4G smartphone customer is on an unlimited plan now and they do not want to change their plan, they will not have to do so.
      – When we introduce our new shared data plans, Unlimited Data will no longer be available to customers when purchasing handsets at discounted pricing.
      – Customers who purchase phones at full retail price and are on an unlimited smartphone data plan will be able to keep that plan.
      – The same pricing and policies will be applied to all 3G and 4GLTE smartphones.
      In short, Verizon is hoping the death of grandfathered unlimited data plans will come by way of attrition. They hope when all the people with unlimited data plans want new devices they will give up their old plans for a cheaper price on a new phone.

      Source: NY Times

      Fake Google Chrome Installer Is Trojan In Disguise

      Researchers at Trend Micro have discovered a fake Google Chrome installer named ChromeSetup.exe, that is actually a bank-account-stealing trojan in disguise. he Trojan at present appears to target users in Brazil and Peru however indications are the malware is a work in progress and could potentially affect US users as well.

      According to to their findings an analysis of the file ChromeSetup.exe done by Trend Micro's security researchers has verified that it is a multi-component BANKER malware detected as TSPY_BANKER.EUIQ. Once running on a system, TSPY_BANKER.EUIQ sends information such as the infected system’s IP address and operating system name to a specific IP address. It also downloads a configuration file that contains information it uses to redirect access to fake banking pages whenever a user attempts to visit certain banking websites.

      So far Trend Micro has detected the 3 different binary files have been downloaded from several of the following popular URLs:
      • hxxp://
      • hxxp://
      • hxxp://
      • hxxp://
      • hxxp://
      • hxxp://
      A closer look at the downloads indicated that all downloads are being redirected to two different IPs, instead of the legitimate IPs of the accessed domains. How this is happening is yet unknown, however users should take notice that if they've downloaded the installer from any of the above URLs the might be infected.

      "While we may have a complete picture of this particular attack, the one missing piece now is the same thing that made us notice this malware from the millions of data that we have from our threat intelligence – how it is able to redirect user accesses from normal websites like Facebook or Google to its malicious IP to download malware," Cayanan wrote. "We will continue our investigation related to this incident and will update this blog with our findings.

      "Online threats will continue to evolve and find ways into systems. As such, traditional web blocking technologies may fail to block access to malicious URLs, especially when these are masked with the use of legitimate domains like those of Facebook or Google."

      Tuesday, May 15, 2012

      Wikipedia Warns Users "Ads May Mean You Have Malware"

      In an official statement released today Wikipedia warned its millions of visitors that if they see ads for anything except Wikipedia's own fundraising appeal, which occurs at the end of the year, here's a good chance their computer is infected with malware.

      "We never run ads on Wikipedia," the online encyclopedia said in its statement. "Wikipedia is funded by more than a million donors, who give an average donation of less than 30 dollars. We run fundraising appeals, usually at the end of the year. If you’re seeing advertisements for a for-profit industry (see screenshot below for an example) or anything but our fundraiser, then your web browser has likely been infected with malware."

      Malware installed on your computer may inject advertising into a page on popular websites, such as the above example of an article being displayed from an infected computer. This is only one of a few examples that Wikipedia has said they have seen in the wild. Note the tiny text "ads not by this site" immediately below the ad, which may or may not appear next to these types of injected advertisements.

      Wikipedia suggests you browse using a secure, encrypted HTTPS connection, disable browser add-ins, and run anti-spyware and anti-virus software on your computer. Personally I'd suggest anyone seeing ads on Wikipedia run scans with Ad-Aware and Malwarebytes as well as running scans with anti-virus software like AVG to make sure there aren't any other infections.

      Google 2012 Model Your Town Competition Winner Announced

      Googlers all around the world were invited to build 3D models of the buildings in their community for a chance to win $25,000 for the town's public school district or an individual school in the 2012 Google Model Your Town Competition. Today Google has announced the winning team, two mean Josetxo Perez Fernandez, 36, is a professional who works in computer administration; and Pedro Domecq Aguirre, 45, is a programmer, 3D data specialist and network administrator from Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain.

      The two men created a pretty cool gallery of works that can be seen via the Team Getaria’s collection in the 3D Warehouse. Google even has some video of their work on the winners’ page.

      At final count over 49,000 votes were cast to determine the winner of the Google Model Your Town Competition from six finalists. The other five finalists, and to all the other entrants who collectively modeled almost 25,000 local landmarks are now available for all to enjoy in Google Earth’s 3D Buildings layer.

      Monday, May 14, 2012

      Windows 8 Upgrade Promotion Details Leaked

      With the past few Windows updates Microsoft has offered OEM customers and would be early adopters a deal which features low-cost, or free upgrades from the current operating system on their pre-built computers to the soon to be released next generation OS. This time around it looks like MS is going to change the details of that promotion and add a bit off a cost, but with a bit more reward.

      Reports from Neowin and popular Windows blogger Paul Thurrott are indicating the confirmation of a Windows 8 Pro promotion at the cost of just $14.99 USD. The promotion will be for all Windows 7 systems running the Home Basic edition or higher and will give customers the right to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro edition. While the added fee is something new the addition of the ability to upgrade from any previous version of Windows 7 to the new Pro Edition of Windows 8 is something new and a bit of a benefit for most users.

      In the past users were offered an equivalent edition upgrade Home to Home, Pro to Pro ect. According to the reports this promotion is for any edition, Home Premium and up, to get an upgrade to Pro. So it's kind of like an AnyTime Upgrade and an OS upgrade all wrapped in one.

      According to the leaked marketing material and the sources cites anyone purchasing a pre-built Windows 7 system (Dell, HP ect) after June 2, when Microsoft’s promotional campaign begins, will be eligible for an upgrade from their current Windows 7 Operating system to Windows 8 Pro at that price. That price tag is also specific to the US; regional pricing variations will likely apply.

      More details on the promotion will likely surface as we get closer to the June 2nd starting date so stay tuned and we'll update you ass needed.

      Using Street View To Preview Your Summer Vacation

      Taking a little summer vacation this year? Perhaps you are visiting one of your favorite amusement parks, zoos or other points of interest. Well thanks to Google's Street View partner program you might may be able to preview that summer vacation before you go.

      Over the past few years Street View has added 360-degree panoramic views of several notable attractions around the US. For example, if you’re on the West Coast and want to visit the world famous San Diego Zoo, go to Google Maps and search for "San Diego Zoo." Here you'll find an interactive virtual tour that will allow you to drag Pegmen to some of your favorite spots inside the zoo. You can also virtually explore the zoos in Honolulu, Denver, Detroit and a few more key locations.

      For those of us that love the excitement of rides Street View has imagery and virtual tours of some of the largest amusement parks across the country. You can visit Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida, or preview imagery from Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Universal Studios Hollywood, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Great America, Busch Gardens, and Wet ‘n’ Wild Hawaii. You can zoom in and out on the map to get and overhead view of the entire park, then locate a ride, booth or attraction you want and simply zoom in on that location to see it up close and personal.

      If you are a racing geek like me and like to watch all things fast you can checkout Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca or one of my favorites Infineon Raceway. You'll be able to experience a turn by turn tour of the entire race track, pit road and even the grandstands. For those that like things a little more mellow and relaxing checkout Balboa Park, the Chicago Botanic Garden, or Diamond Head park and trail. Here you can stroll along the path and take in the relaxing views just like you were right there in person.

      For more ideas checkout the full list of popular U.S. locations from the comfort of your desktop or mobile device and to see more popular locations, check out the entire Street View Gallery.

      "Welcome to Life" A Geeks View Of What Your Digital Afterlife Might Be

      Ever thought about the digital afterlife, you know the one. The geeks dream of uploading your collective consciousness onto a server somewhere and keeping yourself alive through computer interface and online interaction. Well blogger Tom Scott created a video that has put things into perspective for us and now we are re-thinking what that afterlife might be!

      In a video called “Welcome to Life,” Scott shows his view of what a digital afterlife might be like. Even more more specifically, he touches on the corporate side of things, with plans, digital advertising, terms of service and even copyright concerns. The video gives viewers a glimpse at what that first after death interaction might consist of.

      Given the current state of the internet and the world we live in you have to admit this might not be far from the reality of what could happen. I mean should the technology every be created of course!

      Video via Tom Scott

      Friday, May 11, 2012

      Enter The EVGA Ivy Bridge Sweepstakes

      Those awesome folks over at Intel & EVGA are teaming up to bring you another great contest: The Ivy Bridge on the River Prize Pack! Including almost all the parts you'll need to build a screaming gaming machine.

      Grand Prize:

      (1) EVGA Z77 FTW Motherboard
      (1) Intel Core i7 3770K CPU
      (1) EVGA GTX 680 Video Card
      (1) EVGA Superclock CPU Cooler

      To enter just follow the instructions below:
      1. Read over the official rules on this page
      2. Read over the EVGA privacy policy
      3. Go to EVGA's Facebook and click on the EVGA Ivy Bridge Sweepstakes app
      4. Alternatively, go directly to the EVGA Ivy Bridge Sweepstakes app
      5. Click on Enter Sweepstakes
      6. "Like" both EVGA and Intel
      7. Fill out your information
      8. Share with your friends
      The drawing will be open from May 10th to May 31st and the winners will be announced on this page on June 5th, so don’t forget to check back and see if you're a winner!Entering the random drawing for the system is very simple.

      Facebook, Instagram Not A Done Deal Yet As FTC Launches Probe

      Facebook made major headlines with its $1 billion acquisition of photo-sharing app Instagram. However that deal is hardly closed as it has been reportedly delayed until the Federal Trade Commission can give it the once-over.

      According to reports by several news sources, the FTC is examining the deal on competition grounds, a move that could push the close of the deal into the third quarter or even perhaps block the deal if there is enough evidence to warrant such a move. The FTC has asked rivals Google and Twitter for their input on the deal, though it was not revealed what information it was seeking.

      According to the Financial Times, who originally broke the news, at the heart of the FTC is investigation is the potential for any anti-competitive practices. The question would seemingly be would Facebook's Instagram acquisition give the company an undo leverage in a particular market. The information the FTC is seeking can be about the markets — here, social networks, photo sharing, and mobile — what the companies do, what their operations are, and whether they are competitors in certain markets and how their merger could impact competition.

      While this might make for good headlines these are fairly routing practices for any acquisition over $68.2 million. Despite that fact it could potentially hurt Facebook for the time being. The social network cannot use Instagram until the investigation is closed and with the IPO reportedly on its way investor might see this as a major setback.

      The Development of First Generation Mobile Phones

      Within the last few decades, technology has grown exponentially. Today we are able to do so much more than previous generations even dreamed of doing. One particular area of technology that has seen significant growth is mobile phone technology. This area has evolved over the years and can be traced through the generations.

      The 1980s featured the first generation of mobile phones. This generation is set apart from others by its usage of multiple cell sites. By using multiple cell sites, users were better able to maintain their signal. While on their phone, they could travel from one area to the next, all the while covered by different cells. During the switch between cell areas, the call could continue. During this generation, mobile phones became more portable. This was significant for the later generation of mobile phone development.

      The first commercial cellular network was launched by the Japanese in 1979. Known as 1G, this network was able to cover the expansive Tokyo area, reaching 20 million people. In order to accommodate such a large area, the region was further divided up into 23 base stations. Five years later, the entire country was networked for mobile phone usage. This was the first nationwide 1G network in the world.

      The second part of the world to create a 1G network was in Scandinavia. The countries of Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark collaborated to create such a network in 1981. This particular network was unique in that it did allow users to roam internationally. The United Kingdom, Canada and Mexico also jumped on the bandwagon and created networks. In 1983, the U.S. went online with their 1G network. Here the first hand held mobile phone was operational with this network. In order to do this, the cell sites had to overlap to provide a stronger signal. Still, calls were often lost as this technology was still being developed.

      Mobile phones have come a long way since the 1G networks. Data upload and download rates are much faster, and call quality is better than ever before. New mobile handsets have taken advantage of the available technology, and provide many services that would have seemed impossible when the first networks were created. If you want to find a new mobile phone, you can visit to see what handsets are available.

      Thursday, May 10, 2012

      Mozilla Complaints Target ARM-based Windows Why Not Apple?

      Today's headlines have been full of posts regarding Mozilla's complaints about Microsoft’s plans to only allow Internet Explorer to run on at an elevated level in the "Classic" mode of Windows on ARM, better known as Windows RT. The complaint is that this will give IE and unfair advantage over other browsers that won't have access to many advanced APIs that are necessary for creating a browser with the same capabilities as the traditional desktop version of the application.

      Microsoft has made its intentions clear, they would enable third-parties to build Metro-style apps, which would run on Windows RT however they will not run in the elevated Windows Classic mode. Both Mozilla and Google announced that they were building Metro-style versions of their browsers. For both companies the problem lies in the fact that Microsoft is only enabling IE 10 to run on the Windows RT desktop.

      So what is the issue?

      In a post on the issue, Asa Dotzler, the software engineer directing Mozilla’s development for Windows 8, said:
      Here's what's going on. For Windows on X86, Microsoft is giving other browsers basically the same privileges it gives IE. It's not great that you don't get those privileges (certain API access) unless you're the default browser and I think that's deeply unfair (a post for later,) but at least we're able to build a competitive browser and ship it to Windows users on x86 chips.

      But on ARM chips, Microsoft gives IE access special APIs absolutely necessary for building a modern browser that it won't give to other browsers so there's no way another browser can possibly compete with IE in terms of features or performance.

      Dotzler elaborated more on the issue in a second blog post and even gave a bit great insight into the issues he feels Mozilla and Firefox will face. "It's not precisely "running a browser in Classic" that matters for Windows on ARM. It's that running a browser in Classic is the only way that Microsoft has allowed us to get access to the APIs that a browser needs to deliver modern capabilities and performance in Classic AND Metro," Dozler write.

      Effectively there are separate levels of access for Windows RT. One for metro only style apps and one for classic mode system apps. Microsoft will only allow specific apps to be elevated to access all the features of classic mode. Leaving Mozilla, Google and other third party vendors the option to use metro. These apps have access to some cool new Metro features but they live in a Metro sandbox and cannot use any of the more powerful features available from the Classic environment.

      Why is this important?

      Mozilla isn't so much worried about the Windows RT and tablet environment. They are more concerned that ARM will be migrating to laptop, full blown tower PCs and all-in-one PCs in the future. To them this is not a tablet-only concern rather a concern that the Windows RT environment will be used as a standard Windows replacement on more devices. They feel that if the exclusion is made now they might loose out on the chance to be competitive in the ARM marketplace down the road.

      I'm personally not convinced but this is the basis of their arguments.

      So why not fire back at Apple for doing the same thing?

      Personally I've asked for years why Google and Mozilla haven't fired these letters expressing Antitrust concerns over the walls of Apple garden. Apple does the very same thing they are charging Microsoft with in restricting browser and application access to iOS. Apple uses they same sandboxing under the same guise that Microsoft is. According to Microsoft Windows RT eliminates many of the programming tricks used by Win32 app developers, including “background processes, polling loops, timers, system hooks, startup programs, registry changes, kernel mode code, admin rights, unsigned drivers, add-ins, or a host of other common techniques.” These are typically responsible for unreliable, memory-hogging, performance-draining apps that Apple all to often blocks from the AppStore.

      So why the double standard you may ask. Well Dotzler makes it clear for us, “Apple is not a convicted monopolist that has legally binding commitments to not block access to browser-related APIs like Microsoft.” Basically he is saying because Microsoft has prior commitments to the DOJ and responsibilities against anticompetitive behavior they are the easier target! A view that I feel is very hypocritical!

      If you are going to fire off shots at Microsoft for antitrust concerns despite their lack of prescience in two major markets, two markets by the way where your browsers are already being blocked then why not fire the same shots at Apple which holds the lions share of those markets. Mozilla is charging that Windows on ARM may some day be a major market player, yet iOS is already one and they aren't concerned with sharing that market? What gives here?

      Will we see anything come of this?

      How far will Mozilla and Google push? Well as of right now that isn't clear. Whether Mozilla or Google wants to elevate its complaints into a formal antitrust complaint is uncertain. Given that ARM-based Windows devices have a market share of exactly 0% right now, with no guarantee that the new platform will succeed, it seems unlikely that even if they did there would be much made of it. The question then would come down to whether or not Windows on ARM is just Windows on another device or a new separation for Microsoft. Depending on the view of the OS the DOJ or even the European Union might be interested in the case. However given that both companies have full access to the enormous base of x86 and x64 PCs and full access to the rest of the Windows 8 line-up it would be doubtful we'd see anything in the way of a full blown lawsuit.

      In addition, it’s hard to argue that consumers are being damaged. In the 1990s, Microsoft was accused of having a chokehold on the Internet with its Windows monopoly. In 2012, with the proliferation of Internet-connected mobile devices, Apple’s strength in Mac sales, and iPad’s stranglehold on the tablet market, can anyone make a plausible case that consumers will lack choice?