Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Ultrabooks and Convertible Tablets All The Rage At Computex 2012

The Computex 2012 conference in Taiwan featured tons of the latest gadgets from some of the biggest names in the industry. Just about everyone showcased new gadgets all ripe and ready to get geeks salivating. Amongst the most talked about devices this year were convertible tablets and ultrabooks.

Each year, major players in the IT world visit Computex to launch their new products. Since a large portion of the businesses in the world have research and deployment centers or production facilities in Taiwan, this exhibition attracts observers, analysts, and journalists of computer and information industries from all over the world to discover and report the latest technologies, developments, and trends. Almost every year you will see the latest trends from major developers and this year is no different, just about everywhere you look you see the major manufactures releasing similar products.

This year's two top trends seem to be convertible tablets, that is to say tablets with attachable or detachable keyboards or slide or flip type models. We also see the addition of several new "ultrabooks" even a few convertible models with removable keyboards and even dual screens .

Ultrabooks are here to stay!

When Intel announced the ultrabook concept at Computex in 2011 it was unclear if they would take off. The ultra-slim, ultra portable notebooks bore a higher than usual price tag which immediately placed them into their own niche category. If this year's Computex is any indication the "ultrabook" has broken through and is here to stay! At this year's Computex almost every major PC vendor introduced a new ultrabook and Intel says that there are now more than 35 ultrabook systems available or soon to be, with more than 110 designs expected in the next year.

Intel Corporation Senior Vice President Tom Kilroy officially introduced the next wave of ultrabook systems during a keynote address. One of the new features Intel is pushing for the new devices is touch-enabled technology. Intel believes that touch capability is a key component to the ultrabook experience and will be increasingly important across a wide range of devices. Kilroy said touch will also help fuel even more innovation and new experiences, particularly for ultrabook convertibles.

Kilroy outlined a slew of new features OEMs must include in any Ivy Bridge-based PC they want to market as an ultrabook. Intel’s Anti-Theft and Identity Protection technology, for instance, must be delivered out of the box, along with the company’s enterprise-focused vPro PC management system. All next-generation ultrabooks must also come equipped with USB 3.0 capabilities and Intel’s Thunderbolt input/output technology for faster content transfer and loading. Specifications surrounding battery life and thickness remain intact; all ultrabooks must be less than 21 millimeters or 0.8 inches thick and deliver at least five hours of battery life.

While the ultrabook name is meant purely as an Intel marketing strategy and branding several companies are also introducing, super thin, super lightweight AMD based units, which can't officially bear the title "ultrabook" but are going to be considered by most as ultrabooks none the same.

Convertible tablets make a major splash

The second major player of Computex were the convertible tablets or hybrid laptops. Several vendors, including ASUS, Smasung and Lenovo showcased tablets with detachable keyboards or convertible laptops that let you flip the laptop screen over when you’re done typing so that you can use them as a tablet. While these aren't new, we saw several new offerings from companies that weren't previously represented in this category.

ASUS made a big splash with the all new ASUS Taichi. A true dual screen notebook featuring two independent screens, either 11.6" or 13.3", one on each side of its lid. The displays can show different content and can be used by two different users at the same time. The company also introduced the Tablet 600, a device in the company's "transformer" range that can change from tablet to laptop by featuring a detachable keyboard and the ASUS Transformer Book a convertible ultrabook — allowing users to instantly switch between a ultrabook and a tablet by simply detaching the screen.

Lenovo, decided to throw their hat into the hybrid laptop arena with their IdeaPad Yoga PC, which the company showed off for the first time at CES 2012. The product is a hybrid of an Ultrabook-based notebook with a tablet. The screen is designed to swivel so that you can use it as a regular notebook with a physical keyboard and then flip the screen around so you can use it as a rather large touch screen tablet.

Samsung unveiled several new devices including two tablets with attachable keyboards that are scheduled to arrive in markets in October. The two tablets, called the Samsung Series 5 Hybrid PC and the Samsung Series 7 Hybrid PC, both run Windows 8 and feature 11.6 inch touchscreens. Along with the tablets, Samsung showed off a convertible laptop device with a touchscreen. The Samsung Notebook Series 5 Ultra Convertible is built with a 360-degree hinge, allowing the notebook to flip into a tablet.

It's unsure if these "convertible" models will see any success. Some models, notably the Dell Inspiron Duo, (which we thought had potential) have been major flops. The one exception to that rule is ASUS' widely popular Transformer and Transformer Prime. While not specifically convertible tablets they do offer an attachable keyboard that has been seen as a popular add-on to the devices.

Press Releases:

Monday, June 04, 2012

Asus Teams With BlueStacks For Android App Support

According to AllThingsD ASUS has recently inked a deal with BlueStacks, the creator of a popular Android emulator, to include Android app support on all of the companies soon to be released Windows 8 PCs.

ASUS will be pre-loading all of their upcoming Windows 8 PCs with the BlueStacks App player which features a software emulator that allows Android applications to run on Windows 8, Windows 7, Vista and XP OSes. Users will have a 6 month trial of the software which provides full support for Google Android and just about any of the 450,000+ Android applications found in the Android Market (aka Google Play). This includes just about all your favorite games like Angry Birds, Words With Friends and Draw Something.

At the end of the 6 month trial customers must pay a subscription fee (amount yet to be disclosed) to continue unfettered app access. If they don't pay, BlueStacks will still work but with far fewer apps available -- about 50 or so of the top apps. Not to leave anyone out ASUS has said legacy computers already in the marketplace will get BlueStacks as soon as the app player is available in asus@vibe. The first ASUS computers to ship with BlueStacks integrated are expected to be running Windows 7, shipping in September, and Windows 8, when it becomes available sometime during the third quarter this year.

If the BlueStacks name sound familiar it should. I recently took the beta version of the BlueStacks App Player for a test run. While I was impressed with how well it ran Android apps under Windows I wasn't totally sold on the application. Hopefully the ASUS release will alleviate some of the areas of concern I had which were mainly cosmetics and could have been largely due to the "beta tag" placed on the software.

Bloggers Use Custom Stickers For More Exposure

Custom stickers can be a cheap easy way to build product awareness, gain branding and as a great overall marketing tool for just about anyone. Custom stickers can be made into different promotional items and create the visibility you want for your business or blog. They are easy to share, can offer great product placement and if used properly can help your blog or website gain some well needed attention all on the cheap.

Cheap Product Placement!
Where else can you get very targeted product placement for so cheap. It use to be that you had to order everything in bulk and only major businesses could afford to design and print their own decals and stickers. Nowadays several sites offer a variety of packages for custom sticker printing. In same case you have the option of smaller orders with as few as 25 stickers or going bulk with several thousand. This allows for smaller companies and sites the opportunity to have personalized stickers printed for fairly cheap.

Targeted Audiences
Geeks I'm sure you remember the days when case stickers were all the rage? Alongside our hardware we got freebies from manufactures to showcase what we had installed in our otherwise plain jane looking computer cases. We'd take these cases with us to gaming sessions and our friends would want to checkout what we were packing. Custom stickers can work to showcase your business to a very specific audience.

When was the last time you watched a car race and didn't see a ton of stickers on a car? Well for us Geeks we have several untapped resources for showing off our product support, or promoting our sites. Think about how much unused real estate there is on the back of your own cellphones, tablets or notebooks. Bloggers, by adding in a few well placed stickers we can use our own devices to showcase our own sites. Think of it, a few Geek News stickers placed on a new notebook or tablet at one of the many conferences could potentially net us several hundred new readers. These are generally people in the tech world that carry major influence. If those readers love our blog as much as we do they can drive hundreds more readers. All that exposure for pennies on the dollar thanks to some well designed custom stickers.

Convenient and Versatile
One of the most pivotal aspects of personalized stickers or decals is that they are convenient and versatile. For a few cents you can send them to just about anyone in the world and they can be placed on just about any surface. Stickers have a way of offering more “bang” for the marketing “buck” than traditional forms of advertising, as custom stickers have the potential to wind up on all kinds of common, everyday surfaces, such as car bumpers, laptops, water-bottles, telephone poles, and more. You can print decals and stickers, send them off to friends and family or even just readers and they can instantly become walking talking advertisements for you.

Recently I discussed the need for business cards in the digital age, in that post I said one of the major benefits to having business cards is that you have visual representation of who you are. With stickers or decals you can attract some of that same attention and even go a bit further. A well designed logo for a sticker might not only be visually stunning and attention grabbing but you may even end up with one of those rate images and/or phrases with the potential to go viral.

Hopefully this gives some of our readers and fellow bloggers some ideas on way to make the most of their marketing dollars and maximize their returns. Sometimes we have to think outside the box and return to some of the good old ideas that worked well in the past.

EA Makes Portion of Star Wars: The Old Republic Free To Play

Electronic Arts' Star Wars: The Old Republic has hardly turned out to be the blockbuster the company had hoped for. In order to bolster subscribers willing to spend a monthly fee to play the online title the company has taken an ambitious approach announcing that in July major portion of the game will be open for all players to play free.

Rent Video Games Online with GameFly.com!EA has struggled to get "Star Wars: The Old Republic" off the ground since its December launch. Just last month the company announced it had lost 400,000 subscribers in its fiscal fourth quarter. Moving to a partially free to play plan might be the jumpstart the game needs. The announcement follows similar decisions made by other developers of the so-called massively multiplayer online game genre, or MMO, which lets millions of gamers play the game together.

From July, EA will offer 15 "levels" for free, meaning gamers will be able to join and play the beginning phases of the game without paying.

In addition to offering free to play content, EA and Star Wars: The Old Republic producer Bioware, have said they will be adding new content such as PvP warzones to the game, more challenging group and high-level content a new version of Nightmare difficulty, new companion characters, playable species, and more.

The free-to-play announcement was one of many at EA's press conference. FIFA 13, Dead Space 3, and new versions of SimCity, Madden Football, and Need for Speed were demoed, while an agreement with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) to produce fighting games and a premium service for Battlefield 3 players were unveiled.

New Facebook Lawsuit Accuses Zuckerberg Of Insider Trading

A new class action lawsuit has been filed in the Facebook IPO fiasco, this time taking things a step further than the previous lawsuits by directly suing Mark Zuckerberg, claiming that the Facebook founder used insider knowledge to unload more than a $1 billion worth of massively overvalued stock.

According to the reports by TMZ.com, the lawsuit alleges that Zuckerberg and Facebook's management knew that the site couldn't draw in enough advertising revenues to support the stock's $38 IPO share price, and that Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, and Goldman Sachs all warned them about it. Using that inside information, it is alleged that Zuckerberg moved to quickly unload shares, in a dirty billion-dollar move.

FB closed at $27.72 a share and was down 27 percent since going public this past Friday and hit record lows again today before rebounding slightly. The stock price has fallen in all but three sessions since shares began trading, and it reached a new intraday low at $26.44, 30.4 percent lower than the IPO price.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Business Cards In The Digital Age

You have to ask yourself are business cards still a viable networking option in this digital age we live in. Almost everyone carries a smartphone with instant access to emails, phone numbers and even your website. So is it worth it to spend the money for graphics, printing and the hassle of carrying them around. Surprisingly this Geek is going to say yes, and the reasons why might surprise you a bit.

Personal Touch and Feel
With this digital lifestyle we all lead you might be surprised how, when properly executed and maximized, business cards can still be used as very effective tools for advertising your websites and services. Business cards add a bit more of a personal touch, a face if you will, for you and your company, one that just giving out your electronic information doesn't achieve.

Think of it this way, how many times have you added a contacts information only to forget who that person was, or what their company represented in the first place? With a properly executed business card you give your contacts a snapshot of who you are. Something they can look back on that will jog their memory of just why they wanted to reach out to you in the first place.

Low Cost and High Quality
The cost for business card printing has gone down, all while the quality of the cards and the graphics has gone up. Gone are those days when you had to pay a lot to get a decent looking card with just some basic information that just barely worked to inform your market that you exist. Nowadays, you can get high quality designs for relatively cheap. There are even websites that give them for free, although we suggest paying for your cards so you can add that personal look and feel.

Additionally if you have a nice business class printer you can quickly and easily print high quality cards in your own office. The quality of printers these days is exceptional allowing for many businesses to do their business card printing in office. You won’t have all the features available as you would if you paid for professional business card printing, but you also don’t have some of the requirements.

Always on Advertising
A business card is an “always on” advertisement. Unlike electronic contacts where they go into your phone or on your computer most people tend to keep business cards in a case on their desktop or another similarly easy to spot location. This means that while your contact information might be in their phone, it won’t be in their minds. Nor will it achieve placement that others might see it.

I often get business cards from people that I run into during my daily activities or at events and forget that I’ve had them and while looking through other items just happen to spot their card and have some work for them. This would rarely happen with an electronic contact. I’ve also had cards sitting on my desk when clients, friends or relatives pay a visit and have had them inquire about the card or company. This is something that just doesn’t happen with digital information.

It’s all in the Details
Every good businessman or marketer knows the details are key to the sale. Having the ability to hand a new contact a nice high quality card that looks presentable and attention-grabbing could mean the difference between grabbing a deal and ending up in the unknown folder. How often do you meet a new contact and give them all of your pertinent information at once? Rarely right!

With a good well designed card you can list almost anything and everything that that person needs to know about you and your company. Things like your blog and URL. Your e-mail address, phone numbers, cell phone number, fax number and even the physical address of the business. You can, and should, list the services you offer. If you are a painter you can have one of your own personal paintings scanned and printed on the business card. If you are a writer you might write some witticism. The possibilities are endless. Try that with a passing digital contact exchange.

Let’s face it almost every known businessman out there still uses business cards. So clearly having business cards printed just makes a bit of sense. I mean if it works for Donald Trump, Bill Gates and President Obama it should work for you!

Microsoft Confirms $15 Windows 8 Upgrade Promotion

As speculated on a few weeks ago, Microsoft has confirmed the rumors regarding the Windows 8 Upgrade Promotion.


Starting this weekend consumers purchasing a qualifying new Windows 7 PC will be given the option to purchase a downloadable upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for just $14.99. The new Windows 7 PCs must feature preinstalled copies of Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate and include a matching and valid OEM Certificate of Authenticity in order to be eligible.

Per Microsoft’s Press Release today:
”Microsoft Corp. today announced the availability of the Windows Upgrade Offer for consumers purchasing a qualifying new Windows 7 PC. The Windows Upgrade Offer provides consumers who buy an eligible Windows 7 PC the option to purchase a downloadable upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for an estimated retail price of just $14.99 (U.S.) during the time of the promotion, which will be redeemable when Windows 8 is generally available. The Windows Upgrade Offer is just the first of many consumer offers that will roll out in conjunction with the general availability of Windows 8.”

“We’ve seen a great interest in Windows 8, especially given the availability of the Windows 8 Release Preview this week, and yet we know many consumers want a new PC now,” said Tami Reller, chief marketing officer and chief financial officer of Windows at Microsoft. “The Windows Upgrade Offer gives people the flexibility to purchase the new Windows 7 PC they need today, with the knowledge they can easily get Windows 8 when it’s available.”

“This program begins tomorrow in 131 markets including the U.S. and Canada and is available for consumers buying new Windows 7 PCs that are preinstalled with Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional or Ultimate and include a matching and valid OEM Certificate of Authenticity. The Windows 7 PC must be purchased new during the eligibility period June 2, 2012–Jan. 31, 2013, and redeemed before the program expiration at the end of February 2013. Consumers who register for the Windows Upgrade Offer will be able to download Windows 8 starting the day it is made available generally. The upgrade can be installed on any eligible and compatible Windows PC and comes with 90 days of support from Microsoft.”

The Windows 8 Upgrade Promotion will be valid June 2, 2012 through January 31, 2013, for complete details visit http://windowsupgradeoffer.com.

Microsoft blog post: The Windows 8 Release Preview & Windows Upgrade Offer - #windows8
Dell: Windows 8 Upgrade program is here!
HP: Buy a Windows 7 PC, Get Windows 8 Pro for $14.99

Google Accuses Microsoft, Nokia Of Conspiring Against Android

Google has filed a complaint with the European Commission (EU), accusing Nokia and Microsoft of patent abuse against the Android platform. At the heart of the complaint is the accusation that both companies are using "patent trolls" or third party companies to bring lawsuits that stifle competition.

"Nokia and Microsoft are colluding to raise the costs of mobile devices for consumers, creating patent trolls that side-step promises both companies have made," a Google spokesman said in a statement. "They should be held accountable, and we hope our complaint spurs others to look into these practices."

The complaint isn't an actual lawsuit, but rather informational reports, sent to regulators in the EU that Google hopes will make them aware of actions that they believe are anti-competitive. Google submitted the documents to preempt Microsoft and Nokia from using proxies to wage patent wars against companies that might otherwise use Android.

According to reports by CNet Google's main concern is over patents being sold to third party "patent firms" which make money licensing patents and collecting royalties from other companies (ie patent tolls).

Nokia just sold 2,000 wireless patents and patent applications to a company called Mosaid. A Canadian patent firm that, makes its money by licensing patents and collecting royalties, sometimes via lawsuit. Google worries that the essential patents now held by Mosaid will be used as a tool to fight against Android, rather than being shared on reasonable terms.

Microsoft's response so far is: 

"Google is complaining about patents when it won't respond to growing concerns by regulators, elected officials and judges about its abuse of standard-essential patents, and it is complaining about antitrust in the smartphone industry when it controls more than 95 percent of mobile search and advertising," Microsoft said in a statement. "This seems like a desperate tactic on their part."

CNet says Mosaid is not the only company on Google's radar. Nokia sold 450 patents and patent applications to Sisvel in January. And Rockstar, a consortium that includes Microsoft and Apple, won 6,000 patents and patent applications from Nortel, the bankrupt Canadian telecom equipment maker, and received permission from regulators in March to close the deal.


Honest Opinions From Geek News

Personally I really think these patent wars are going to come to a head and there will be a breaking point. At some point either the companies involved have to come to an agreement or the regulating bodies have to force a compromise. Right now the market is lively and consumers are hungry, we have choices and we are content. If one company wins out and achieves a blockade over another then we might not be and we might see a need for some serious action.

I've said this before, though I'm sure I'll say it again, I don't recall patents being the hot topic they are today. I'm not sure if there was less actionable infringement or just less press? Either way, it would seem as we are keeping an eye open on the goings on with the patent wars more than ever. The worst part is in the end it is the consumer, the everyday Geek that looses out!

Further Reading:
Google alleges Microsoft, Nokia are abusing mobile patents in complaint filed in Europe
Google accuses Microsoft, Nokia of patent 'trolling'
Google Files Complaint in Europe Against Microsoft, Nokia

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 http://www.Slacker.com.

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

Product Key:TK8TP-9JN6P-7X7WW-RFFTV-B7QPF

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 Battle.net 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 Battle.net account compromises. First and foremost, we want to make it clear that the Battle.net 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 Battle.net Authenticator or Battle.net 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 Battle.net 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
      Material
      Copper
      Copper
      Pump
      Motor speed
      2800±150 RPM
      2800±150 RPM
      Rated Voltage
      12V
      12V
      Rated Current
      220mA
      220mA
      Fan
      Dimension
      120 x 120 x 25mm
      120 x 120 x 25mm
      Speed
      1200~2000RPM
      1200~2000RPM
      Noise Level
      27.36dBA(Max)
      27.36dBA(Max)
      Rated Voltage
      12V
      12V
      Rated Current
      0.5A
      0.5A
      Max. Air Flow
      81.32CFM
      81.32CFM
      Connector
      4 Pin
      4 Pin
      Radiator
      Dimension
      150 x 120 x 48.8mm
      151 x 120 x 27mm
      Material
      Aluminum
      Aluminum
      Cooling Surface Area
      3730 cm2
      1385 cm2
      Tube
      Length
      326mm
      326mm
      Material
      Rubber
      Rubber
      Weight
      1,060g
      815g

      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

      Installation

      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
      Idle
      47° C
      38° C
      38° C
      App Tests
      51° C
      40° C
      44° C
      Gaming
      50° C
      39° C
      42° C
      Prime 95
      59° C
      45° C
      50° C
      Overclocked
      Idle
      51° C
      38° C
      40° C
      App Tests
      58° C
      44° C
      46° C
      Gaming
      55° C
      41° C
      44° C
      Prime95
      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.

      Conclusion

      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 Battle.net 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 Battle.net 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 Battle.net 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.

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