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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ubuntu 10.10 Has a Brand New Wallpaper

Canonical released last evening the final wallpaper for the upcoming Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) operating system.

A couple of weeks ago, we've announced that Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) has seventeen new beautiful wallpapers and a lightweight and eye-candy theme, that will please every existing and future Ubuntu 10.10 user.

Apparently the default wallpaper introduces on August 27th, was not good enough for the final release of Ubuntu 10.10, and for most of the Ubuntu users. Therefore, Canonical replaced that ugly wallpaper with the one below.

This is the final and default wallpaper for the Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) release!

MacX iPhone Video Converter Available for Free - License Code Giveaway

MacXDVD Software (of Digiarty Software, Inc.) has announced a giveaway promo for MacX iPhone Video Converter which aids users in Converting HD and SD video to iPhone, iPod, iPad with original quality. The tool is available for free download for both Mac and Windows users until September 30th.

All Mac users need to do to get a free copy of MacX iPhone Video Converter is to simply download the trial version using the link below, and then activate it with the following license code: AZ-TGUMTQYN-OFQPET.

Download MacX iPhone Video Converter (Trial)

For Windows users, just visit MacXDVD Software here, click the “Windows” button, and the full version will be automatically downloaded to their computers. A license code is not required.

This giveaway version of MacX iPhone Video Converter is not eligible for free upgrades, once a new release is out. Also, no technical support is offered.

On the good side, you get to keep this version and use it for as long as you want, for free.

Also noteworthy is that MacX iPhone Video Converter offers some pretty advanced conversion functionality, making this an offer you can’t miss out on.

MacX iPhone Video Converter accepts almost any popular video format as input, including high definition video formats like MKV, M2TS, AVCHD, MTS, TOD, HD H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, and HD MPEG, as well as standard definition video formats, including AVI, MPEG, WMV, DivX, MP4, MOV, RM, RMVB, ASF, 3GP, WebM, etc.

A lengthy list of features provided by the folks at MacXDVD Software is available below:

- Support Converting both High Definition and Standard Definition Video on Mac OS

- Convert Video to iPhone, iPod, iPad, MP4, MOV, FLV, H.264, MP3, etc.

- Multi-track video supported. It lets audience choose their preferred language when watch HD videos that contains multiple audio language track and video track.

- Trim video segment, clip the required segments from your video and remove the unwanted video advertisement.

- Take snapshot from video files to be saved as JPG, BMP format and extract audio tracks from multimedia files to set as the ringtone for your iPhone.

- A series of practical settings are provided to make personalized videos, such as video trimming, batch conversion, frame rate, video bitrate, audio bitrate, stretch to full screen, etc

- Simple graphical user interface makes it easy to use and it enables you to makes full use of dual and multi-core CPU to speed up the conversion, up to 8x real time

HDR Photos Already Available for Older iPhones, No Jailbreak Required

Speaking of adding HDR capabilities to old-generation iPhones, the folks at Pictional LLC have just issued version 2.0 of their TrueHDR application for iPhone owners which brings a - new rapid Autocapture mode.

“Have you taken pictures, only to find out that the clouds were washed out, making the sky look like a white haze? Or how about pictures where everything in the shadows looked like a dark blob with no details?”, says Pictional LLC.

“With TrueHDR, you can get the best of bright and dark areas and merge them into a single realistic-looking picture that is much closer to what your eyes originally saw,” the app’s iTunes description reads (iTunes link).

Notably, the software puts HDR photography into the hands of iPhone 3GS owners, and does not require a jailbreak.

A report published online by Softpedia minutes ago informs of a hack that will put HDR photos on legacy iPhones via a Cydia tweak set to become available when the iPhone Dev Team rolls out their iOS 4.1 jailbreak.

While TrueHDR does not support the iPhone 3G as well, it does bring the function to a large group of iPhone users whose devices don’t have native support for it, namely those wielding an iPhone 3GS.

“Take full-resolution HDR (high dynamic range) pictures with your iPhone 4 or 3GS!”, Pictional LLC states.

“A new Rapid Autocapture mode makes it easier than ever to take HDR pictures, and new SemiAuto mode offers greater control in choosing exposure points. Share using Facebook, Twitter, or email from within the app,” the company adds, delving into the new stuff delivered by TrueHDR 2.0.

The full changelog is then provided as follows:

What's New In Version 2.0

- New rapid Autocapture mode - fully automatic and fast (with support for front facing camera!)
- New SemiAuto mode - more control, drag the exposure points around to get them just how you want
- Full support for front facing camera in all three modes (Auto, SemiAuto, and Manual)
- Improved UI with easier access to Facebook, Twitter, email sharing

Download TrueHDR ($1.99)

According to the list of requirements, the app is not only compatible with iPhones, but also with the iPod touch - most likely, the fourth-generation model which boasts a camera.

The software also requires iOS 4.0 or later.

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Apple Peel 520 Officially Makes iPod touch a Phone, Requires Jailbreak

GoSolarUSA has announced that staggering sales figures for Apple’s iPod touch prompted the company’s option agreement with Chinese firm Yosion to start selling the Apple Peel 520, an device that traps on the portable media player and adds cell phone functionality.

The Apple Peel 520 is described as “a wireless device that when used with the iPod Touch functions as a protective skin that adds mobile voice and text messaging capabilities to the touch-screen media player.”

According to GoSolarUSA, “The startling new technology represents a more affordable alternative to purchasing Apple’s costlier iPhone.”

“When we researched the number of iPod Touch units sold, our eyes really popped,” GoSolarUSA President Tyson Rohde said.

“There is truly a huge market for Touch accessories, both in the U.S. and around the globe. With the Apple Peel 520, we believe we will have the most exciting and functional iPod Touch accessory produced to date,” Rohde added.

“The Apple Peel 520 is a very affordable piece of technology that greatly increases the functionality and value of the iPod Touch. We believe strongly that this is something all Touch users will want, and it will be priced for most budgets,” the GoSolarUSA President concluded.

The Apple Peel 520 was covered on Softpedia not once, but twice, one of the reports also containing a number of statements from the actual developer.

Early details about the product, including those on the software side, indicated that users would only be able to employ the Apple Peel 520 after performing a jailbreak.

GoSolarUSA avoids to make this obvious in today’s report, although it does note that “Once the proper software is installed, the Apple Peel adds the ability to make voice calls and text messages to all versions of the Touch.”

Without fail, by heading over to the web site, visitors are greeted by an advertisement for the Apple Peel 520 alongside a handy jailbreak guide, complete with iOS firmware downloads and jailbreak tools.

As previously noted by Softpedia, the "Apple" reference in the product's name may constitute an problem for the product's long-term existence.

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Facebook Scam Lures Users with Free Poker Chips 2010

Security researchers from GFI Sunbelt warn that scammers are tricking Facebook users into participating in surveys and sending spam by promising them 10 million free Texas Hold'em poker chips.

These are not real poker chips, but virtual currency for the popular Texas HoldEm Poker game on Facebook, which is developed and run by Zynga.

"Zynga just gave me 10 million poker chips for Texas Hold'em Poker, for FREE! Get yours now: [url] Limited time offer!," the Facebook spam
messages read.

As it turns out, the scammers don't only abuse Zynga's name and reputation, but also the company's logo, which is clearly visible on the external landing page the link points to.

Moreover, a large banner with graphics from the real game and the text "FREE 10M POKER CHIPS" is also displayed to make it appear as if this is a legit campaign.

As it usually the case with most of these scams, the users are asked to jump through a few hoops in order to allegedly receive the amazing bonus.

The first step involves Liking the rogue page, which will promote it to their walls. At the time of writing this article almost 13,000 users fell for the trick and did this.

The second step requires Sharing the page, while the third and most intrusive of all tells users to post the previously mentioned spam message in five different places on Facebook.

Ana even if a misguided user does all this, they will still not get the 10 million chips. Instead they will be asked to complete one of several surveys in order to "help keep this quality content available."

These surveys attempt to sign up users to useless premium rate services and the scammers earn money through affiliate marketing schemes for directing traffic to them.

According to GFI Sunbelt's Tom Kelchner some of the websites users are led to offer game downloads rigged with adware.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

KDE SC 4.5.1 Is Now Available - Download Now

The KDE team has released the first update to the latest major release of the software compilation. KDE SC 4.5.1 is a minor update, focusing on bug fixing and more localization.

"KDE has released a series of updates to the Plasma Desktop and Netbook workspaces, the KDE Applications and the KDE Platform. This update is the first in a series of stabilization updates to 4.5.0, coming every month, as if delivered by a cronjob," the KDE team announced.

"4.5.1 brings bugfixes and translation updates on top of KDE SC 4.5.0. KDE SC 4.5.1 is a recommended update for everyone running KDE SC 4.5.0 or earlier versions," the announcement read.

"As the release only contains bugfixes and translation updates, it will be a safe and pleasant update for everyone. KDE SC 4 is already translated into more than 55 languages, with more to come," it added.

Highlights of KDE SC 4.5.1:

· Fixed some stability issues in several platform components, notably the new shared data cache, in KHTML and in KNewStuff;
· Moving applets inside Plasma panels has been improved;
· Listing of UPnP devices in the network:/ KIO slave has been fixed;
· Fixed a regression in KWin which prevented desktop effects from being used;
· Both the weather and the news applet are now updated when internet connectivity is restored.

KDE SC 4.5.1 is the first stability update to the latest big release. The KDE team plans to provide updates like this at regular intervals, once a month.

KDE SC 4.5.0 brought quite a bit of new features for the platform, the user interface but also for developers. You can read more about the release here.

KDE SC 4.5.1 is available for download here (source code)

Monday, September 6, 2010

DDR4 Will Have Clock Speeds of Up to 4.2 GHz

Currently, DDR3-SDRAM is the fastest type of memory on the market but it seems that JEDEC's efforts to increase performance while staying in the same electrical footprints may, in fact, yield a much more powerful memory than users might expect, even making speeds of over 2,500 MHz seem lackluster.

Apparently, the target effective clock speeds of DDR4 will have 2,133 MHz as the lower limit, which is already higher than most DDR3 products currently on sale.

It is the top-most limit that will truly turn heads, if what Bill Gervasi, vice president of engineering at US Modular and a member of the JEDEC board of directors, reportedly said is to be trusted.

Apparently, DDR4 will actually go as high as 4,266 MHz, and one can only imagine what type of overclocking fits and performance levels will be possible with such resources.

For those interested in a reminder, the target clocks of DDR2-SDRAM were 400 to 1,066 MHz, whereas those for DDR3-SDRAM are 1,066-2,133 MHz.

Some players on the memory front do, of course, already deal in memory of higher frequencies, but those products are both expensive and, sadly, impractical for common end-users.

DDR4, on the other hand, should be more than able to keep up with the advancements on the CPU front, especially considering the electrical footprints. To be more specific, DDR4 will have voltages of 1.1-1.2 V.

There is, unfortunately, an apparent drawback to the new memory, in the way that every memory channel in DDR4 memory sub-systems will support just one memory module.

It seems that developers decided to trade the current multi-drop bonus for point-to-point technology. This, however, will hamper system builders' ability to provide high-end systems with sufficient amounts of gigabytes.

Thus, DRAM makers will have to use multi-layer techniques to boost the capacities of the memory chips themselves. The other solution is for special switches to be installed on mainboards, to let multiple modules work on the same channel.

The first samples of DDR4-SDRAM will start to ship next year, but mass production will only start in 2015.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Likewise Presents VMware ESXi Active Directory Integration Technology

Likewise, a provider of software for integrating Unix, Linux, and Macintosh platforms with Windows environments, announced last evening at VMworld that will demonstrate how VMware vSphere 4.1 uses the Likewise Identity Service to integrate the ESXi or ESX hypervisors securely on networks that use Microsoft’s Active Directory technology.

Likewise combines both virtual and physical desktops & servers running Unix, Linux, and Macintosh to an organization's existing network using the Active Directory technology. The result is a single and secure framework for access control and authentication in mixed networks.

"It was about a year ago that VMware first selected Likewise to provide the directory integration technology for their next release of vSphere,” said Barry Crist, Likewise CEO.

"We’re demonstrating the benefits of vSphere with licensed Likewise technology, plus more to show how security can be incorporated in a virtualization initiative right from its inception."

Microsoft’s Active Directory technology offers a secure and enterprise-ready solution for centralized authentication, access control, and identity management. VMware ESX and ESXi administrators can join those systems to Active Directory using the Likewise technology. Therefore, users will only need their Active Directory password to log-in, and administrators can securely appoint management tasks to these users, based on their Active Directory authentication information.

About Likewise

Likewise provides authentication and integration tools for mixed networks to more than 70,000 organizations, enabling secure access of Unix, Linux, and Macintosh platforms on networks using the Microsoft Windows operating system.

Likewise offers identity management and integration solutions to enhance operational efficiencies and security, and to help perform regulatory compliance in mixed networks.

Likewise Open is a tool for integrating Unix, Linux and Mac machines into Microsoft Active Directory environments.

Likewise Enterprise offers all the core authentication technology available in Likewise Open, plus world-class migration, auditing, reporting and group policy modules.

GlobalFoundries Shows Picture of Llano and AMD Orochi 8-Core

GlobalFoundries just used its first Global Technology Conference as an opportunity to offer a sneak peak at one of the upcoming Fusion processors from Advanced Micro Devices, codenamed Orochi and based on the as yet unreleased Bulldozer architecture.

The Bulldozer and Bobcat are the new architectures that will spawn working processors either by late 2010 or in 2011.

The Bobcat's first incarnation will be the Ontario mobile chip, based on TSMC's 40nm manufacturing process and with DirectX 11 graphics.

The Bulldozer architecture, on the other hand, will be used in desktops and servers, the Orochi being one of the apparently more ambitious projects that the chip maker is working on.

No real information was provided on this 8-core product besides that it will be the second 32nm-based product and will be built immediately after the Llano.

The Orochi will feature a set of 4 Bulldozer modules, which provide 8 cores and 8 threads, and will probably have an AM3+ package with an integrated DDR3 memory controller.

The aforementioned Llano APU (accelerated processing unit) was also pictured during the conference and is known to lack L3 cache.

On the other hand, the individual L2 caches will be of 1MB and will support dual-channel DDR3 and will, of course, have its own built-in graphics with support for DirectX 11.

The APU should also feature an integrated northbridge, integrated PCI Express root complex, a HyperTransport interface to the chipset and an integrated SIMD array with 480 stream processors.

The Llano will have to compete with the Sandy Bridge processors from Intel, which also have integrated graphics and will feature better performance than the current Core series.

What AMD will have to deal with is the fact that its rival will ship Sandy Bridge before it gets the Llano out, and the company hopes the graphics performance of the APU will help make up for Intel's head start.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

LG's IFA Exhibition Features a High-Quality 31-Inch OLED HDTV

Though OLED is more expensive to make than regular LCDs, it is still a very good display technology because it needs no backlights and has a very high color quality and brightness, and LG definitely appears to have put it to good use when it developed its 31-inch HDTV with a supposedly infinite contrast ratio.

The IFA 2010 show in Berlin, Germany, has entered its second day and IT players have already brought forth a significant number of new or upcoming products.

NVIDIA stole a bit of the spotlight when it released the DirectX 11 mobile GPUs, and PC suppliers also got attention by unveiling multiple new systems.

Now, LG has taken the microphone in order to boast of having created a 31-inch OLED display that has a thickness of just 2.9 millimeters.

Since OLED, through its nature, enables very thin form factors, LG needed to only come up with a suitable layout for the tuner connectivity and all other connectors.

Thus, it set them all in the box at the bottom of the product, leaving only the OLED panel itself to impress with its visual quality.

Not only does the HDTV support resolutions of Full HD 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, but it is reportedly one of, if not the most color-rich and bright of all OLEDs available.

What's more, its maker claims that the contrast ratio is infinite, which should give one an idea of how sharp and clear its images can be.

That said, in order to connect to multimedia players or set-top boxes, the OLED TV has a regular digital TV Tuner, an USB port and a pair of HDMI connectors.

According to Slashgear, LG has two versions of this product on show, the only difference between them being that their stand arrangement and controls are different.

As for availability, they are expected to start selling sometime during the first half of 2010, though their likely massive prices have not been disclosed as of yet.

First Alpha of uTorrent Server for Linux Released

BitTorrent Inc. proudly announced a few hours ago the immediate availability for download of the first alpha version of uTorrent Server for Linux and UNIX-like operating systems!

The uTorrent Server application provides a state-of-the-art implementation of the popular BitTorrent protocol and a full-featured WebUI (web-based user interface).

"This morning, we are announcing a preview release of the first of two new products for Linux users. µTorrent Server, an alpha version available immediately for download, is intended for users seeking a fast, powerful and lightweight BitTorrent client without the need of the full features and complexity of the native GUI."

"The server is a daemonizable 32-bit binary of the µTorrent core, built for x86 compatible Linux. It can be managed programmatically via an HTTP API or interactively by using the (included) customized version of the popular uTorrent Web user interface." - was stated in the announcement.

Highlights of uTorrent Server:

· DHT support (Distributed Hash Table)
· UPnP port mapping
· NAT-PMP port mapping
· Upload rate limiting
· Download rate limiting
· Queuing support
· Configurable limit on number of simultaneously uploading peers
· Incremental file allocation
· Block level piece picking
· Separate threads for download and file-check
· Single port and single thread for multiple torrent downloads
· BitTorrent extension protocol
· Multi-tracker extension support
· Fair trade extension
· Compact tracker extension
· Fast resume support
· Queuing of torrent file-check if fast resume not possible
· HTTP seed support
· Resumption of partial downloads from other BitTorrent clients
· File-sizes greater than 2GB
· Selective download of multi-file torrents
· IPv6 support
· High performance network stack
· uTP - Advanced UDP-based transport with dynamic congestion control

At the moment, this alpha version of uTorrent Server for Linux is available only as an archive, intended to be used for testing purposes only. Packages for various Linux distributions (i.e. Ubuntu, Fedora) will be available in the next releases!

"Today's version is only the first step, and we will continue to support the Linux user community with new versions in the near future. If you prefer to stick to more conventional user experience, rest assured we are working hard to build a full-featured client, coming soon."

"µTorrent Linux will offer the same clean and full featured UI that millions of users of of µTorrent on Windows have enjoyed. We are hoping to get this out to you for testing in a few months. Stay tuned!"

Download uTorrent Server 3.0 Alpha for Linux right now here.

New - Google Posts Simplified Privacy Policies

Google has announced that it has updated its privacy policy and that the new version will come in effect starting October 3rd. The actual policies haven't changed, but the text has been simplified and some bits added to make the whole thing easier to read and understand by the regular user.

"Long, complicated and lawyerly—that's what most people think about privacy policies, and for good reason. Even taking into account that they’re legal documents, most privacy policies are still too hard to understand," Mike Yang, Associate General Counsel at Google, wrote.

"So we’re simplifying and updating Google’s privacy policies. To be clear, we aren’t changing any of our privacy practices; we want to make our policies more transparent and understandable," he explained.

One of the biggest changes taken towards simplifying the policies is getting rid of some of them. Most of Google's products are governed by the global Google Privacy Policy, but many have additional policies of their own.

Google is now getting rid of those for 12 products. This should make it easier to know which policy applies. Google notes that since may services share information and work together, they should have the same policies.

The second big change is to the main policy which is getting a rewrite. Some of the legal jargon is gone and some redundant parts have been removed. New content has bees added as well, where further details were needed, but, overall, the new text is smaller and easier to understand.

The new privacy policy is now available for review and will be implemented starting October 3rd. Google is providing a FAQ for the changes which should cover any uncertainties.

Google is also posting the full text of the new policy for users to get familiar with. Finally, there is also a version which shows exactly what has been removed and what has been added.

NVIDIA Releases 7 DirectX 11 Fermi Mobile GPUs

Coming to assist the GeForce GTX 480M in covering the laptop graphics market, seven new mobile graphics products have now been unveiled by NVIDIA, each boasting full support for DirectX 11 and aimed at the enthusiast and performance markets.

Though Advanced Micro Devices has been selling DirectX 11 mobile graphics cards for months, NVIDIA has had only the GeForce GTX 480M to address this market.

Eager to remedy this, the Santa Clara, California-based outfit took advantage of IFA 2010, Berlin, to trumpet the arrival of a whole collection of Fermi GPUs.

The list includes two GTX Series models, namely GTX 470M and GTX 460M, as well as five GT Series, specifically GT 445M, GT 435M, GT 425M, GT 420M and GT 415M.

The cards naturally support their maker's proprietary technologies, such as CUDA, PhysX and 3D Vision.

What's more, the 400M GPUs support the Optimus technology, which dynamically switches between the integrated and discrete graphics based on application requirements.

"The GeForce 400M Series takes the award-winning Fermi architecture across a complete line-up of DirectX 11 GPUs for notebook," said Rene Haas, general manager of notebook GPUs at NVIDIA.

"Coupled with Optimus technology, 400M Series notebook GPUs deliver great performance for visual computing applications when you need it, and great battery life when you don't," Haas added.

The newcomers have up to 288 processing cores, GPU clocks of up to 675 MHz, up to 1GB of GDDR3/GDDR5 and a memory width of up to 192 bits.

They should soon start to show up inside notebooks aimed at the enthusiast and performance markets, a fact confirmed by the fact that multiple laptop makers have already announced support for them.

The list of PC suppliers that intend to release Fermi-based mobile computers includes ASUS, Acer, Dell, Samsung, Lenovo and Toshiba, to name a few. Those interested in the specifications of each newcomer need only visit this page( ).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Kingston Finally Releases HyperX DDR3 With Water Cooling

Has quiet operation and long-term reliability

Kingston was revealed to be working on liquid-cooled DDR3 before, but only now has it decided to finally unleash the first member of the HyperX line that is actually equipped with a waterblock. Normally, companies only strap a heatspreader on their modules and leave it to overclockers to come up with unorthodox cooling solutions if they want to push clocks over the edge. Now, the company has taken a more active role in this by releasing the HyperX H2O dual-channel and triple-channel kits.

Image click here

The new line is, for now, made up of three products. Two are 4GB dual-channel kits with frequencies of 2000MHz and 2133MHz, respectively, whereas the third is a 6GB triple-channel offering of 2000MHz. They all consume 1.65V, have XMP support, feature CL 9-11-9-27 timings and are accompanied by a lifetime warranty. Finally, they sell through their maker's channel of authorized vendors, priced at $157, $205 and $235, respectively.

“Water cooling is desirable for its quiet operation and long-term reliability. We are bringing HyperX H2O to market as a solution for PC enthusiasts who want to build water-cooled systems using high quality Kingston products,” said Mark Tekunoff, senior technology manager, Kingston. “HyperX H2O is a natural extension of Kingston’s offerings for performance users. Our goal is for users of all levels and interests to have a Kingston product that meets their needs.”

“Kingston is also proud to announce that the original HyperX module is now called Genesis,” said Vincent Kim, HyperX product manager, Kingston. “The core of the HyperX family is the blu, Genesis and T1 series as they offer solutions in a range of densities and frequencies for enthusiasts of all levels. For system builders with specific requirements, H2O adds high performance in a water-cooling environment while LoVo is the perfect choice for an energy-efficient build.”

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hot! A-Data Unveils a Flash Drive of Its Own

A-Data is not bound to let Mach Xtreme have the USB flash drive market all to itself, so it came out and unveiled a flash drive line of its own, one that has a different design but overall the same target consumer segment as the electronic that was just shown off by its rival.

So far, since the SperSpeed USB 3.0 hype has been going strong, makers of storage devices have been quite actively promoting this standard, by releasing hard drives, solid state drives and flash drives compatible with it.

Still, platforms that have USB 3.0 connectivity aren't exactly many, nor has the technology even reached the lower levels of the market.

Thus, companies have to stick to what they can work with when addressing these mid-to-low end consumer bases, and A-Data did just that when it made the C008.

The C008 is, essentially, an every-day flash stick, only it has a scratch-proof body and a capless design with a sliding USB connector.

Its size is of 59.95 (L) x 19.83 (W) x 8.85 (H) mm and the total weight of only 10 grams, which is little enough for one to forget about its existence.

The device also comes in multiple capacities, of 2 GB, 4 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB and 32 GB, all of which communicate via USB 2.0 and/or USB 1.1 ports.

What's more, buyers can choose to download, for free, the UFDtoGO, OstoGO and a 60-day free trial of Norton Internet Security 2010. These software tools enhance mobility and security of the storage solutions.

As for the design itself, A-Data made its new offspring in an 'elegant shape', with curved edges, and two color schemes.

Finally, the 2 GB, 4 GB, 8 GB, 16 GB and 32 GB models will be backed by a lifetiem warranty but, regrettably, have not yet been given prices by the official announcement.

SDSC Receives $20 Million to Create 'Gordon'

The funds have come from the NSF

The University of California in San Diego (UCSD)-based San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) was recently awarded no less than $20 million, in order to start constructing its new supercomputer, entitled Gordon. The money was awarded to the Center via a special grant from the United States National Science Foundation (NSF), which seeks to support innovation in this field. The new machine will be used to model and search solutions for critical science and societal problems that plague humankind today and stem from the type of society we live in.

“We are clearly excited about the potential for Gordon. This HPC system will allow researchers to tackle a growing list of critical 'data-intensive' problems. These include the analysis of individual genomes to tailor drugs to specific patients, the development of more accurate models to predict the impact of earthquakes on buildings and other structures, and simulations that offer greater insights into what's happening to the planet's climate,” the principal investigator of the Gordon Project, SDSC Interim Director Michael Norman, says.

The expert adds that the new instrument is the follow-up design of the first supercomputer to use flash devices, SDSC's Dash. Gordon will feature vast amounts of flash memory that will allow it to process information faster than existing supercomputers, still constrained by the relatively low turning speeds of hard disk plates, can. In addition, special, virtual shared-memory software will be used to create large shared-memory systems that will speed up the solution time for problems that now make even the most advanced supercomputer cringe and stutter.

“Data-driven scientific exploration is now complementing theory, experimentation and simulation as tools scientists and engineers use in order to make the scientific breakthroughs sought by the National Science Foundation. SDSC's Gordon will be the most recent tool that can be applied to data-driven scientific exploration,” the Deputy Director and Senior Science Advisor for the National Science Foundation's Office of Cyberinfrastructure, Jose L. Munoz, adds.

“It was conceived and designed to enable scientists and engineers – indeed any area requiring demanding extensive data analysis – to conduct their research unburdened by the significant latencies that impede much of today's progress. Gordon will do for data-driven science what tera-/peta-scale systems have done for the simulation and modeling communities, and provides a new tool to conduct transformative research,” he shares.

“For nearly a quarter century, SDSC has been a pioneer in the field of high-performance computing. It is therefore fitting that this Center and its staff have been chosen to develop a one-of-a-kind HPC system that not only is powerful, but also will tackle data-intensive research applications that aren't easily handled by the current generation of supercomputers,” the UCSD Vice Chancellor for Research, Art Ellis, concludes.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Apple Continues to Falsely Advertise iPad, Law Firm Says

Advertising the iPad as “an outside computing device” is unlawful, maintains Scott Cole & Associates, APC. The firm is known to have already filed a lawsuit against Apple in San Francisco last month.

“Apparently undeterred by a rash of consumer complaints and the filing of a national class action lawsuit, Apple, Inc. has continued to market its iPad tablet as an outside computing device,” Scott Cole & Associates, APC, the law firm that filed the lawsuit, said.

In a report dated August 16, 2010, the firm said that Apple has been engaging in a marketing campaign that promises exaggerated functionality of the tablet device, both outdoors and indoors.

Temperature conditions are cited, with “the computer routinely [shutting] down quickly in such situations,” the suit alleges.

“Apple claims the iPad can be used in the sun, in your car, and in warm climates up to 95 degrees,” explains Scott Cole, the principal attorney for the plaintiffs.

However, “numerous reports, going back months now, explain that the device shuts down in temperatures as low as the mid-70s,” Cole notes.

“Did Apple really not know about this before it sold nearly four million units?”, Cole wonders.

The law firm points out that Apple has been advertising the iPad as being suitable for outdoor use, and even in warm environments (including as an over-the-stove cooking aid, the firm said), yet such usages are “unrealistic, if not outright dangerous,” notes Scott Cole & Associates.

“Sticking the iPad to your motorcycle’s gas tank with Velcro and expecting it to work for more than a block or two is absurd,” explains Cole.

In June, Apple highlighted a clever video by filmmaker Jesse Rosten who showed how he used his iPad just about everywhere, including on his motorcycle.

“Continuing this unrealistic marketing campaign may be profitable in the short term, but it denies consumers the right to make informed purchasing decisions,” he adds. “That’s unlawful,” Cole emphasizes.

Entitled “Baltazar, et al. v. Apple, Inc. (USDC Case # C10-03231EMC),” the suit seeks damages and a Court Order stopping all advertising of the iPad that is deemed “illegal.”

As of yet, Apple has not responded to these allegations.

South Korean Samsung Galaxy S Gets Firmware Update

Samsung SHW-M110S, the South Korean version of the highly-acclaimed Samsung Galaxy S Android-based smartphone has just received a firmware update this week.

While the update does not upgrade the current 2.1 Android OS to version 2.2 (Froyo), Galaxy S it still brings worthy features and enhancements.

The official update DH09 is being pushed in South Korea via Kies software. In addition, the PC software provides Samsung users with easy data backup, transfer powerful multimedia management, and intuitive purchase features.

Some of the most comprehensive changes that the new DH09 update brings to the South Korean Galaxy S include: Swype keyboard, the ability to record conversations and an application which is supposed to detect the slope of the magnetic field sensor.

Besides new features the update also adds a few enhancements to the device, such as RAM management, better call quality, improved AllShare services. The firmware update also adds a 3G data widget, downloadable fonts and improves Google Maps software.

For those that don't know anything about Samsung's AllShare, the service allows content stored on a PC or smartphone to be directly streamed to a Blu-Ray player (wirelessly or via Ethernet connection), allowing users to enjoy their favorite media files in a home cinema setting.

Launched on June 25th in South Korea, Samsung SHW-M110S features a few Korea-centric changes, such as the inclusion of T-DMB, SKT’s T-Store support, Kyobo e-book and an augmented reality application.

The smartphone is available for 295,000 won (195 Euro) or 84,000 (55 Euro) or free depending on the plan the customer chooses for the contract.

As a side note, it seems that the prices for the Korean variant of Galaxy S smartphone are much cheaper than what we get in Europe and U.S. It might have to do with the fact that this is the country where the company has its headquarters, but I wouldn't bet on it.

KDE Plasma for Tablets - Video Review

Tablets are all the rage right now, thanks in no small part to the success of the Apple iPad. With a number of tablets slated for launch, Linux is not falling behind with several projects aimed at taking advantage of the capabilities of tablets and other touch input devices. The KDE Plasma Mobile Tablet edition is one of those projects.

When designing Plasma, the KDE team was very keen on making the platform modular and scalable. The idea was to write code once and then adapt it to the needs of various platforms and devices.

“With Qt 4.7 a new framework has been introduced: the declarative UI, that permits to do quite fancy stuff in the QML language in a very short time. So with the development of Plasma mobile we started an experiment,” KDE developer Marco Martin wrote.

The experiment in question is a new Plasma UI for tablet devices, based on the Plasma Mobile shell. While the tablet Plasma is more of a proof-of-concept, put together in a very short time to demonstrate the power of the new features in the Qt framework.

So far, the Plasma shell has been adapted for the desktop, the very first release along with KDE SC 4. Recently the Plasma Netbook has been getting a lot of attention and is pretty much considered complete with the release of KDE SC 4.4.

The latest effort is bringing Plasma to mobile devices, a move which faces unique challenges. Screen sizes and resolutions vary from device to device. Mobile devices are also varied in scope, smartphones are very different from small tablet devices, despite the many physical similarities.

The Plasma Mobile project is still very much in development, but is already capable of handling some of the specific requirements, like touch input. Apparently, at least one manufacturer is looking to launch a tablet device based on KDE with a Plasma shell.

The First Windows Phone 7 Device to Come from LG

South Korean mobile phone maker LG Electronics hopes that it would be the first mobile phone maker that would deliver a Windows Phone 7-based device to the market. While October is the time frame for when that should happen, LG expects for its devices to help it gain some ground on the smartphone market, where others are in the spotlight at the moment.

It seems that the handset vendor plans launching two smartphones running under Windows Phone 7 on the European market in October, while aiming at bringing its handsets to the United States the next month via AT&T and Verizon, MK Business News notes in a recent article.

According to the news site, the announcement comes from a high-placed LG official, who is confident that Windows Phone 7 would prove a success.

Moreover, it seems that the upcoming LG mobile phones would be specifically tailored for the markets they are intended for, and that they would be included in the company's already released Optimus series of phones.

The European models of LG's Windows Phone 7 devices would include 3.8-inch touchscreen displays, while the US flavors are expected to add QWERTY keyboards into the mix, while maintaining the screen size.

For what it's worth, it does not come as a surprise that LG plans the release of handsets with more than one form factor, as other handset vendors also announced plans to make similar moves.

However, it still remains to be seen whether various Windows Phone 7 models from the company would be exclusively available in different markets around the world, or the phone maker would push them to more countries.

LG Electronics plans on leaving behind other leading handset vendors which already showcased Windows Phone 7 devices, including Samsung Electronics or ASUS, as well as companies like HTC Corporation, Dell, and others.

Windows Phone 7 is expected to mark a shift from Microsoft's current approach to the mobile phone market, and should prove a stronger competitor against rivals like Apple's iOS or Google's Android platform.

iOS 4 Code Indicates Apple is Testing a CDMA iPhone 4, iPad 2

A generally reliable source of rumors points out to an "intriguing" piece of code found in iOS 4 which seems to indicate that new Apple hardware is beginning field testing.

"iPhone3,2," "iPhone3,3," and "iProd2,1" are said to be referenced in the code.

Should history be any indication, these references would point to a new version of the iPhone 4 (the rumored CDMA-capable handset), and a new version of the Apple iPad (the alleged 7-inch model.

The source leaking this information to The Boy Genius Report claims that the code queries the device, meaning it can auto-activate, so that it can be field tested without having to activate using iTunes.

It is yet unknown whether Apple does this to ensure that carriers don’t sniff anything by looking at activation logs, or just to keep things simple, the BGR notes.

The site also notes that a separate source has obtained the platform codes for the rumored CDMA iPhone, and for the next-generation iPod touch. These allegedly are N92AP for the iPhone, and N81AP for the iPod touch respectively.

Softpedia readers may remember that Apple pundit John Gruber recently claimed to have learned that Apple’s next-generation iPhone was code-named N92.

In a post dated Wednesday, 11 August 2010, the blogger said the information he’d been receiving lately seemed to corroborate talks of a January release for the CDMA iPhone 4, through Verizon.

“I don’t know anything about negotiations with Verizon, and I doubt anyone does other than the highest-level executives at both companies,” Gruber noted.

“But I do know that engineering-wise, the wheels are turning on N92, the CDMA variant of the iPhone 4,” he revealed.

“It’s certainly not in production yet, and hasn’t reached DVT status (device verification test — like Gray Powell’s infamous stolen unit), but it is, a few little birdies claim, at EVT (engineering verification test),” the pundit explained at the time.

EVT is one step below DVT, “which is one step below production,” the knowledgeable pundit outlined.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wikipedia Is Mostly Down Due to Database Problems

No word on when the matter will be resolved

Wikipedia is currently experiencing problems and can be unavailable at times. The site has tracked down the issue to a filled-up hard drive and is currently looking at ways to resolve this.

“At 10:57 UTC, the master database server for s3 (the cluster that holds most of our wikis) had a full disk and stopped writing. For this reason it’s no longer possible to edit these
wikis. Because all slave servers for s3 stopped as a result, these wikis are now running read-only from a single server, which means you’ll probably see lots of database errors even when just reading,” the site explains.

“The larger wikis live on separate clusters and are not affected. For details on which wikis are affected, see below. We are working on resolving this issue as fast as we can,” the announcement added.

As Wikipedia explains, the problem is rather trivial yet, for a site its size, it proved critical. Since there is no more space on the hard drive, new entries can’t be written to the database. This means that any attempts to write data will fail. This doesn’t relate only to editing articles or adding new ones, any action that would be logged and added to the database won’t work. Right now, even logging it doesn’t work.

Some sections of the site are accessible and most of the individual entries work. The main page though doesn’t load. Wikipedia provides a list of wikis that are not entirely down, though you may experience problems on them as well:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

There’s no word on when you can expect the site to be back up and running as it should.

Parted Magic 5.2 Incorporates GParted 0.6.2 - Free Download

Asian language support was improved

Patrick Verner announced a few minutes ago (August 3rd) the immediate availability of Parted Magic 5.2 operating system for partitioning tasks. This second maintenance version of Parted Magic 5 comes with the newly released GParted 0.6.2 application. Beside the usual bug fixes, Patrick Verner improved the support for Asian languages, by adding SCIM and GCIN. Parted Magic is an operating system created to help users easily partition their hard drives or perform various recovery tasks.

"The new GParted re-enables MiB partition alignment option and fixes the problem with logical partition move overwriting the EBR. A mess of bugs have been fixed with the help of Dick Burggraaff (burdi01), Jason Vasquez, and most of all, users willing to take the time to report them and help us test. [...] GCIN is automatically started when Taiwanese is selected at the boot menu and SCIM is automatically started when Japanese or Chinese is selected at the boot menu." said Patrick Verner on the official release announcement.

The following applications were updated in Parted Magic 5.2:

· gDisk 0.6.9;
· LFTP 4.0.9;
· ms-sys 2.2.0;
· SimpleBurn;
· chntpw 100627;
· hdparm 9.29;
· memtest86+ 4.10;
· Partclone 0.2.12;
· Wiper 2.7;
· Partimage 0.6.9;
· GParted 0.6.2.

The following packages were added in the new Parted Magic 5.2 operating system:

· GCIN 1.5.4;
· SCIM 1.4.9;
· scim-anthy 1.2.4;
· scim-bridge 0.4.16;
· scim-hangul 0.3.2;
· scim-input-pad 0.1.2;
· scim-m17n 0.2.3;
· scim-pinyin 0.5.91;
· scim-tables 0.5.9.

About Parted Magic

Parted Magic is a business-card operating system based on Slackware Linux, with programs that allow you to partition hard disks with ease. Programs like Partition Image, TestDisk, fdisk, sfdisk, dd, ddrescue, and a good documentation will help you in your partitioning tasks. Parted Magic is licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL).

Download Parted Magic 5.2 right now from here.

Linux Kernel 2.6.35 Officially Released - Download Now!

Includes Btrfs and XFS improvements

Last night, August 1st, Linus Torvalds proudly announced the release of Linux kernel 2.6.35. The new version includes Direct-IO Support for the Btrfs filesystem, XFS filesystem experimental journal mode, perf improvements, VC1 and H.264 video acceleration for Intel G45+ chipsets, initial support for the Intel Cougarpoint graphic chipset, AMD Radeon power management support, CAIF protocol support (see below for a detailed list), and many other fixes.

"This may have been a fairly odd release cycle with my rather strict -rc rules before -rc3, but on the whole I think I liked it, and it seems to have worked out ok. I relaxed my extreme stance after getting back from vacation, so the latter half of the rc series was more normal. But even then I got the feeling that people were perhaps a bit more aware of the whole "regression fixes only" model, which is all good. It's a bit hard to judge, but there are some numbers to back it up: in the 2.6.34 release, there were 3800 commits after -rc1, but in the current 35 release cycle we had less than 2000." - Linus Torvalds said in the official release announcement.

Highlights of Linux Kernel 2.6.35:

· Support for transparent spreading of incoming network traffic load, across CPUs;
· Btrfs filesystem improvements;
· Delayed logging for XFS filesystem;
· Kernel debugger (KDB) frontend;
· perf improvements;
· Intel graphics improvements;
· Memory compaction;
· Multiple multicast route tables support;
· Support for L2TP v3 (RFC 3931);
· Support for the CAIF protocol;
· APEI (ACPI Platform Error Interface) support.

These are just a few of the new features available in the Linux kernel 2.6.35. For a complete list of all the newly supported devices, newly added drivers, etc., please visit the official release notes page.

You can download Linux Kernel 2.6.35 sources right now from here.

New Windows Vulnerability Could Re-Enable Old Exploits

Killbit bypass flaw being investigated

A newly discovered Windows vulnerability might allow hackers to re-enable any ActiveX exploit previously blocked by Microsoft. Vulnerability researchers from VUPEN Security have successfully crafted a proof-of-concept attack that leverages the flaw to bypass an active killbit.

Setting killbits is the default method used by Microsoft to close security holes that can be exploited via ActiveX. Each ActiveX control has a corresponding unique identifier known as CLSID. Killbits are registry values that tell software like Internet Explorer or Microsoft Office not to execute controls with specific CLSIDs because they are malicious.

"We found a potential Windows Kill Bit bypass vuln which could open hundreds of flaws exploitable via killed ActiveX controls," VUPEN announced via Twitter. "We are still investigating the Windows Kill Bit bypass but we already created an exploit working with a kill bit set to True!" a later update reads.

If indeed the vulnerability found by VUPEN can be used to bypass any killbits, attackers could theoretically leverage it to make previously blocked ActiveX exploits work on fully patched Windows systems. Normally, this shouldn't be the case, because when bugs are discovered, vulnerability research companies work with vendors to help them create a patch.

However, VUPEN has recently changed its policy and is no longer offering vulnerability intelligence for free to affected developers. The company only shares the research with its customers, which include governments, intelligence agencies, law enforcement units, security vendors and corporations.

Since Microsoft has publicly declared itself unwilling to pay for bug information, it will have to find this vulnerability on its own or with assistance from other companies, preferably before the malicious hackers figure it out. And even if they do manage to find it and patch it, this could still spell trouble for a large number of users.

First of all, there are a lot of computers still running Windows XP SP2, which will not receive a fix for this issue because Microsoft cut support for that version of the operating system last month. And then there's the huge percentage of users that fail to install security patches. Lets take for example a user who did a fresh install of Windows Vista with SP2, but did not install any updates afterward. He used to be protected from all ActiveX exploits that appeared before Vista SP2, but not anymore.

New Firefox Extension Can Thwart BHSEO Attacks

Attackers' own tricks turned against them

Security researchers from Zscaler, a provider of cloud-based security solutions, have developed a Firefox extension aimed at protecting users from black hat search engine optimization (BHSEO) attacks. Dubbed Search Engine Security (SES), the add-on allows altering the Referer header, which tricks the malicious pages into not delivering their payload.

Black hat search engine optimization, otherwise known as search result poisoning, is the practice of hijacking popular search keywords and pushing malicious links at the top of search results in order to trick users into visiting them. This is currently one of the most common methods of distributing scareware, rogue applications that pose as antivirus products.

"Blackhat SEO has become the most prevalent threat facing end-users on the web today, surpassing social networking threats. Our research has shown that virtually any popular search term will contain malicious sites within the top 100 results at all major search engines including Google, Yahoo! and Bing. In some cases, up to 50% of search results are malicious. When combined with social engineering attacks such as delivering fake antivirus applications or fake software updates, these attacks are incredibly effective," Michael Sutton, VP of Security Research at Zscaler, explains.

The security industry has struggled to come up with an effective solution to block these attacks for a long while now. Practice has already demonstrated that blacklist-based approaches are ineffective, because attackers rotate the malicious links too quickly. Real-time scanning all pages shown in search results before the user actually visits them has brought strong criticism from web developers because the practice was generating extra and unnecessary traffic for their websites.

Zscaler's solution is simple and elegant, as it turns the attackers' own tricks against them. Before delivering the payload, most, if not all of these malicious pages check to see if the visiting user actually came through the poisoned search engine results. This is done by inspecting the Referer field in the request header sent by their browser. Attackers employ this method in order to prevent the landing page from being discovered by crawlers or other automated security scanners.

The Search Engine Security Firefox extension allows setting the Referer header to a particular URL for all major search engines. This will trick the BHSEO landing pages to no longer serve their payload to SES users. However, there are some legitimate uses for websites to know if a visitor came through a particular search engine. That's why the add-on also comes with a whitelist, where users can add exceptions for the websites they trust.

The Search Engine Security add-on can be downloaded and installed from here.

You can follow the editor on Twitter @lconstantin

New Code Injection Masquerades as Google Analytics

Part of a scareware distribution campaign

A new mass injection tries pass the rogue code added to compromised websites as the Google Analytics script. The attack is actually part of a malicious campaign to distribute a new piece of scareware that has a very low detection rate.

The compromises are likely the result of SQL injection vulnerabilities in mostly ASP and ASP.NET websites. Successful exploitations leads to a rogue <script> tag being injected right after the </title> element in the HTML output.

The src of the this tag loads a script called urchin.js from a domain with the name This is clearly meant to hide the infection and pass the code as being part of Google Analytics, with which the urchin.js name is normally associated. The domain name is also indicative of this.

Searching for the rogue script tag on Google reveals some 154,000 hits. Although these results include multiple infected pages under the same domain, it's pretty safe to assume that tens of thousands of websites have already been affected by this new attack.

The rogue script performs a check to see if the visitor has already been targeted and if they weren't, proceeds to bombard them with bogus security alerts, which claim their system is infected with fictitious malware. This scareware campaign pushes a fake antivirus program called System Security AntiVirus.

This sort of applications try to scare users into buying a license for a fake an useless product in order to clean their system of infections that didn't exist in the first place. This is a very profitable criminal model that has been for years now. Unfortunately victims of such scams, will not only depart with a considerable sum of money, but will also compromise their credit card details.

The scareware file distributed in this case has a very low detection rate based on signatures alone. Only 4 of the 42 antivirus engines on VirusTotal currently identify it as malicious.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Computex 2010 - First NVIDIA GTX 480M-Enabled Laptop Coming June 9

Different model on display at Computex 2010

Though it took it many months to actually manage to bring the first desktop Fermi GPUs to market, NVIDIA at least seems to have been much more efficient when it came to the mobile segment. The GeForce GTX 480M was made public last month and had some very peculiar clock speeds for a part claiming to be the fastest notebook GPU. Additionally, the heat generation and power draw still remained on the high side.

There's no doubt that at least some end-users second-guessed whether capabilities of this component offset the battery life and cooling disadvantages, but a certain device on display at Computex aims to offer assurance. Back in May, NVIDIA did say Clevo would be among the first to adopt the mobile GPU and, sure enough, a machine is already showing its worth in Taipei. The full spec sheet is not known yet, but there was mention of the screen size of 17 inches and the 2.93GHz Core i7-940. HotHardware reports that the discrete graphics card actually dominated in 3DMark Vantage.

There is no knowing exactly when this Clevo 17-incher debuts but, in the meantime, a certain other PC Supplier by the name of Sager has already set up the NP9285 mobile Gaming rig for pre-order. Specs are somewhat similar to those of Clevo's unit, with a choice between multiple Intel Core i7 CPUs, up to 12GB of triple-channel DDR3 memory, up to three hard disk drives and a DVD/Blu-ray unit. There is also 802.11A/B/G/N Wireless, Bluetooth 2.1 and a Li-ION 12-cell battery.

Unfortunately, there is no information, at this time, on how long one can expect such a laptop to last on a single battery charge, especially knowing how power-hungry the Fermi architecture is. Nevertheless, those that want a GTX 480M, for whatever reasons, can check out the product page on Sager's website, by following this link now.

ASUS Tosses an AMD Geode CPU in the Eee PC 1201K

Tries to bring some diversity

ASUS has been for a long time now a pioneer in the netbook space, with the outfit's Eee PC line having included a wide range of models. It now appears that ASUS has gone one step further and has updated its Eee PC product line with the new 1201K model, designed to take advantage of an AMD processor. However, unlike some of the other netbooks that have been released on the market, this AMD-powered Eee PC comes built with a Geode NX 1750 processor, as opposed to the Athlon Neo CPUs you'd find in other AMD-based netbooks.

While the reason behind this configuration is yet unknown, the new netbook does come with a set of specifications close to that of other netbooks on the market. The aforementioned processor is clocked at 1.4GHz and has been combined with SIS 741CX/964 chipset and 1GB of DDR RAM. The configuration is apparently good enough to support a 12.1-inch screen and a resolution of 1366 by 768 pixels.

Additional features of the new ASUS Eee PC netbook include the wireless 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, a 0.3MP webcam and the usual array of ports, including VGA, 2 USB 2.0 ports, RJ-45 LAN, audio jacks and card reader. The system will apparently offer a choice for a 160GB, 250GB or 320GB hard disk drive and it will be powered by a 6-cell battery pack.

Weighing in at 1.46KG, the Eee PC 1201K brings back an operating system that some might have forgotten, after the debut of Microsoft's Windows 7 OS, namely that old Windows XP that was on every new netbook, back when the netbook craze was just starting to kick off. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait a while before we can provide you with the details regarding the availability and pricing of ASUS's new “experiment.” Still, given the configuration we might see this as a low-priced alternative to current netbooks, offering a nice battery life.

Western Digital Intros My Book Studio LX External Drive

Bundles SmartWare software for backup

Western Digital , one of the world's leading vendors of storage devices, announced today the debut of its new line of My Book Studio LX external drives, aimed at graphics professionals and photo editing enthusiasts. The new product has been designed to seamlessly work with Apple's iMac, G5 or MacBook Pro computer systems, providing users with a choice for two connection interfaces, including the fast FireWire 800, in addition to traditional and now old USB 2.0 interface. The device is available in 1TB and 2TB capacities and offers a number of features focused on providing the end-users with support for their data backup.

“When choosing the right hard drive, creative professionals look for high-quality materials, maximum speed and visual appeal to complement their creative toolkit. The My Book Studio LX drives offer high-speed Firewire 800 performance and a design that will look right at home next to their G5 or MacBook Pro computer,” said Dale Pistilli, vice president of marketing for WD's branded products group. “With the customizable e-label, My Book Studio LX drives help videographers, photographers and graphic designers create, organize and locate their clients' valuable content, no matter how many drives are in their studio.”

As with other Western Digital external drives, the new My Book Studio LX has been featured with the WD SmartWare software. It comes as an optional application that allows the end-user to set-up continuous and automatic backup, control over the drive's e-label display and the management of passwords and other settings. The drive weighs-in at about 1.18 kg and will be compatible with Apple Time Machine, according to the Lake Forest, California-based storage vendor.

The new drive from Western Digital also features WD GreenPower technology and will be available in 1TB and 2TB capacities with a 3-year limited warranty. The MSRP for the new drives is set at US$199.99 and US$269.99, respectively.

Download Now Adobe Flash Player 10.1

With hardware acceleration and better memory management

fter months of betas and release candidates, the final bits of the Adobe Flash Player 10.1 (r53) are here. Flash Player 10.1 is much more than a minor update, it comes with a broad set of new features and capabilities. Chief among these is support for hardware acceleration for 2D and 3D graphics and for video playback. Flash Player 10.1 also touts improved memory management and better performance. Plenty of improvements have been made to the streaming video features.

“Today I'm thrilled to announce that Adobe Flash Player 10.1 is now available for Windows , Mac , and Linux operating systems. You can get it now. Flash Player 10.1 for Android will be coming later this month - the beta release is currently available in the Android market,” Paul Betlem, Sr. director, Engineering at Adobe, announced.

Hardware acceleration

From a technical perspective, the big announcement in Flash Player 10.1 is the hardware acceleration. It’s a very important feature especially for mobile or just underpowered devices. For example, Flash Player can defer the decoding of an H.264 video to the GPU, which is generally much better equipped for this than the CPU, leaving the processor to handle other, more general tasks. This results in better performance and power savings. The same is true for 2D and 3D hardware acceleration.

Better performance and memory management

The runtime itself has seen a lot of improvements in the performance department. Optimizations have made Flash Player 10.1 faster than any other previous releases, but also, and this is even more important, more efficient in memory management. Adobe says the latest update has a smaller memory footprint and also a couple of new tricks up its sleeve. For example, Flash Player can reduce the power consumption for content running in background tabs. In extreme cases, when the system memory is running out, it can shut down entirely.

Streaming video and private browsing

Another area that saw a lot of focus with the Flash Player 10.1 release is streaming video. There are several improvements and new features including support for peer-2-peer video, http streaming, smarter buffering, and so on.

Another handy feature is support for the private mode in the browser. When Flash Player 10.1 detects that the browser is running in private mode, which most modern browsers now support, it adjusts its behavior accordingly, for example, it won't store any cookies.

Multi-touch and Google Chrome integration
Finally, Flash Player 10.1 comes with support for multi-touch and accelerometers. This is especially important for mobile devices, but Adobe has opted for a single runtime on both desktops and mobile phones so the features are available cross-platform.

The stable release of Adobe Flash Player 10.1 is now available for download for everyone. Google Chrome users should already be getting it through the automated update system. The final build was already available in Google Chrome dev, for example. It also means that the next Google Chrome stable release should have support for the integrated plugin feature.

Adobe Flash Player 10.1 for Windows is available for download here.
Adobe Flash Player 10.1 for Mac is available for download here.
Adobe Flash Player 10.1 for Linux is available for download here.

Alpha Protocol iPod Contest

Win an iPod starting today

By now, those of you that have been waiting for the official release of Alpha Protocol have probably started playing the game and perhaps even finished it. But for those of you that are still in the process of buying it and experiencing the thrill of being a world class spy, Softpedia comes to the rescue by offering anyone who's interested a free PS3 copy of this Espionage RPG.

With Sega's help, we are planning to put together a small Alpha Protocol-themed contest where anyone can join in and win prizes that include two original copies of the game for the PlayStation 3 and a first prize consisting of an 8 GB Alpha Protocol skinned iPod touch. The idea behind the contest is to reward the greatest fans of the game for taking the time to dive into the Michael Thorton universe.

Just like any other contest, the rules are simple and at the same time not negotiable. Anyone that participates must follow them to the letter or they will instantly be disqualified from the competition. One of the rules is that you must be over 18 years old and write only a single original comment, leaving a contact email address so that the Softpedia team can reach you in case you are one of the lucky winners.

Second, you must not be an employee or partner of either Softpedia or Sega. The last rule concerns the deadline, no answer will be taken into consideration after the contest closes on June 19, that’s 7 days for you to get creative and spew some cool words. As you can see, three simple rules can turn anyone into a potential winner, no matter where you're from. Winners should be willing to leave their postal address of course.

After spelling out the rules, here is what the contest is all about: on the Alpha Protocol review page, you must leave a comment on the game on topics such as likes or dislikes, whether the name Michael Throton is appropriate for the character or whether you would have gone a different way, why you would play the game and if you already have, if you agree with the ending. Also, comments on how the game behaves on the PlayStation 3 versus PC or Xbox will be taken into consideration.

To sum it all up, anything interesting (read: worth wasting a laugh or two) you have to say about the game itself, gameplay experience or even the developer will be taken into consideration. Each of your comments will be analyzed by our team (so no foul language accepted) and then published on the review page so that you can be an eligible candidate in the final stage of the contest. Happy gaming to everyone and good luck in the competition!

BlackBerry Pearl 3G Goes to India

Both the Pearl 9100 and Pearl 9105

Canadian mobile phone maker Research In Motion has recently announced the launch of its BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone in India. The smallest BlackBerry smartphone to date comes with an elegant design and packs a nice range of top-of-the-line features, including BlackBerry email, messaging and social networking capabilities.

“The new BlackBerry Pearl 3G smartphone is a marvel of engineering and design excellence. It’s as powerful as it is compact. Measuring less than 50mm wide and weighing only 93g, it still manages to pack in support for the soon-to-be-launched high-speed 3G (UMTS/HSDPA) networks in India, Wi-Fi (b/g/n) and GPS, along with a powerhouse processor that drives visually stunning images on the sharp, high-resolution display,” the company stated.

The specifications list of the fresh handset includes an optical trackpad for smooth navigation, complemented by dedicated volume and media keys. At the same time, it includes a 3.2-megapixel photo snapper with flash, along with a microSD memory card slot with support for up to 32GB of additional storage space. Built-in GPS, BlackBerry OS 5, a rechargeable 1150 mAhr battery, Bluetooth 2.1 connectivity, access to BlackBerry App World, and a 624 Mhz processor with 256 MB of Flash memory are other features the gadget includes.

The handheld is headed for India in two flavors, RIM added. Users will be able to choose either the BlackBerry Pearl 9100, which comes with a 20-key condensed QWERTY keyboard, or the BlackBerry Pearl 9105, which includes a 14-key traditional phone keyboard. SureType software is present on both devices, enabling faster texting through completing words as the user types.

“The new BlackBerry Pearl 3G is an ideal smartphone for people who want to take their friends with them wherever they go. It has a rich set of communications and multimedia features in an incredibly compact and sleek design, making it particularly attractive to customers who are looking to upgrade from a traditional cell phone to a powerful 3G handset. Both models enable quick and easy text input for maximum enjoyment of real-time communications applications like BlackBerry Messenger, email and social networking,” Frenny Bawa, Managing Director, Research In Motion India, said.

Intel Makes DDR3 Netbooks 14mm Thick with Canoe Lake

Future plans include dual-core mobile Atom chips and SOCs

The past couple of months have been quite abundant in leaks and rumors that spoke of possible and probable arrivals of dual-core and/or DDR3-supporting netbooks. Though still meant as entry-level mobile PCs, these laptops seem to be in need of better multimedia capabilities in order to not suffer overmuch from the rise of the tablet. Now that Computex has started, these rumors and leaks are beginning to be proven true.

Computex 2010, DDR3 memory, intel, processor, atom
Of course, the first confirmation comes from Intel itself, which has just issued a press release describing not just new or upcoming processors, but even a certain technology that will make ultra portable systems slimmer than they have ever been. The Santa Clara, California-based chip maker even hinted at the approach of the 'port of choice' software strategy.

Computex 2010, DDR3 memory, intel, processor, atom, prototype, ntebooks, canoe lake
The fresh members of the Atom CPU family are the Atom N455 and N475. They have clock speeds of 1.66GHz and 1.83GHz, respectively, and, as already mentioned, support for DDR3 memory. Basically, upcoming netbooks should run better in all areas. The other point of interest in the giant's announcement was the “Canoe Lake” innovation platform, which should lead to a netbook thickness of just 14 millimeters. Not only that, but Intel even revealed plans for the making of Atom System-on-Chip (SoC) processors, for smartphones, cars, handhelds, TVs and tablets.

In addition to new computing platforms and chips, the company demonstrated its 'port of choice' software strategy. Basically, this should enable cross-device experiences, regardless of whether the OS is Windows, MeeGo or made by Google (Chrome, Android). Finally, while the Atom N455 and N475 are already available, the 1.6GHz D425 and 1.8GHz D5252 (CPUs aimed at nettops and AiOs) will only arrive on June 21.

"Intel believes the strength of the Atom franchise can help consumers realize the true potential for a common experience to enable the compute continuum," said David (Dadi) Perlmutter, executive vice president and co-general manager, Intel Architecture Group. "With platforms ranging from compact and portable netbooks, to Smart TV experiences and innovative tablets designs, Intel Architecture is driving innovative products based on a unique 'port of choice' software strategy."

Google Chrome OS to Be Able to Run ‘Remote’ Native Apps (HOT NEWS)

Through a feature dubbed "chromoting"

Google has bold plans for Chrome OS: it wants to build an operating system that relies solely on web applications. This strict requirement means that the only native app in Chrome OS is the Chrome browser itself. Even things like printing will be handled in the cloud. Still, there are plenty of desktop apps today that don’t have an equivalent in the cloud. It now looks like Google has an answer to that issue as well through a technology dubbed tentatively “chromoting.”

Through this feature, users will be able to access applications that run remotely on Windows, Mac or Linux machines from within the Chrome browser. In a sense, it’s similar to the way remote desktop services work, though the focus, it seems, will be on single applications rather than the entire desktop.

The Register was able to piece together the details of this feature. So far, the only semi-official confirmation and explanation for the tool comes from a Google engineer, Gary Kačmarčík , who told a developer in an email: "We're adding new capabilities all the time. With this functionality (unofficially named "chromoting"), Chrome OS will not only be [a] great platform for running modern web apps, but will also enable you to access legacy PC applications right within the browser. We'll have more details to share on chromoting in the coming months."

From the looks of it, Chrome OS users will be able to use this to connect to applications running on their home PCs. It’s an interesting idea and one that solves the issue with application support, but some are wondering if Google isn’t overshooting with chromoting.

Chrome OS, as it stands, is designed for netbook PCs. These devices are small, typically with a 10-inch screen and a small keyboard. They’re great for mobility but not so great for having any actual work done. However, Chrome OS will eventually end up on other devices, tablets for example. A tablet acting as a kind of thin client for more demanding apps is an interesting case for chromoting.

Still, any remote connection is going to add latency to the controls, which will make applications that require precision, things like Photoshop, unusable. But these are just the kind of apps that can’t be replicated in the cloud just yet. Even so, there are apps, which don’t have this issue and being able to access them on your light, Chrome OS-powered tablet from your couch sounds pretty good.

New Windows Phone 7 Boots Up Pretty Fast

On a prototype device, with a development build on it

Although Windows Phone 7 is not yet in its final flavor, the mobile operating system seems to be moving pretty nice. A video available with a Windows Phone 7 prototype embedded at the end of this article shows that the platform is being loaded in a little more than half a minute, which is pretty impressive, one should agree.

The operating system in itself has been reported lately to look much better and more responsive than the flavor presented by Microsoft back in February at the Mobile World Congress. The clip below shows that the Windows Phone 7 platform on an LG prototype is starting to move pretty fast. When coupled with some of the latest reports on the platform, which showed a series of interface changes and some enterprise optimizations, the video can be considered proof of Microsoft's commitment to make Windows Phone 7 a highly appealing platform.

Windows Phone 7, prototype, boot time, mobile platform, iphone 4, apple, ipad, 2010
Here's what a recent post on istartedsomething( states in regard to the clip: “the short video [below] features a prototype LG Windows Phone 7 device with a recent but still not final build of the OS doing a cold boot after removing and replacing the battery. Consistent across several tests, the device booted in an impressive 30 seconds. What’s remarkable is that as soon as the lock screen displays, it’s fully initialized and ready to be used.”

Other devices on the market are not able to boot as fast as this prototype, that's a fact. For comparison, a Nokia 5530 (Symbian powered) we have in the office managed to boot in less than 30 seconds, while an HTC Hero (running under Android) needed about one minute and a half or more for that. As the release date for Windows Phone 7 approaches, things are starting to shape up nicely. And with the operating system already being named the fourth most innovative product of 2010, things were actually supposed to be so.