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 Gameguru Mania News - Feb,17 2005 - tech 
Nightly Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 08:58 PM EST - Feb,17 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) Refresh Released - Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) is a security technology that helps protect Windows users from spyware and other potentially unwanted software. This download has been updated to include signature version 5687, which is the most current as of February 10, 2005. Customers who have installed Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware prior to this date do not need to re-download. They will receive signature updates as part of their next automatic or manual signature update.
  • MyDoom Worm Spreads Via Search Engines - Internet users are being threatened by yet another variant of the MyDoom mass mailing worm, which is spreading in part by using e-mail addresses found through popular search engines, security experts warn. The worm proliferates by e-mailing itself through its own SMTP engine, according to Sophos. When it infects a computer it scans the hard disk for e-mail addresses and then takes the domains of the addresses it finds and queries search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Lycos looking for similar addresses, Cluley says. Here's an updated W32.Mydoom@mm Removal Tool 1.5.1 removal tool from Symantec.
  • "Deadcode" virus attempts political mischief - Security experts today warned users to be on their guard against the newly discovered Deadcode-A virus which infects executable files on compromised computers and displays a political message when launched. The text of the message, which reads 'BlackHand.w32 Long Live Great Serbia', is believed to refer to a nationalist slogan used by Serbian Radical Party politician Tomislav Nicolic to finish his speeches.
  • Microsoft fixes potential antipiracy hole - Microsoft said Tuesday that Japanese hackers had discovered a potential weakness in its copy protection technology but that the software company fixed the flaw before it was widely used.The Redmond, Wash., giant on Tuesday introduced an update to its Windows Media Player, which included changes aimed at blocking the Japanese hackers' work, as well as a security update
  • Microsoft on 'rootkits': Be afraid. Be very afraid. - Microsoft security researchers are warning about a new generation of powerful system monitoring programs, or "rootkits," that are almost impossible to detect using current security products and that could pose a serious risk to corporations and individuals. With names like "Hacker Defender," "FU" and "Vanquish," the programs are the latest generation of remote system monitoring software that has been around for years, according to Mike Danseglio and Kurt Dillard, both of Microsoft's Security Solutions Group.

OFF-TOPIC...

  •  New Model Army Soldier Rolls Closer to Battle - The Pentagon predicts that robots will be a major fighting force in the American military in less than a decade, hunting and killing enemies in combat. Robots are a crucial part of the Army's effort to rebuild itself as a 21st-century fighting force, and a $127 billion project called Future Combat Systems is the biggest military contract in American history.
  • Xbox 360 Revealed? - Kotaku claims to have an "exclusive source" who revealed to them many details of the Xbox 360, as it is now apparently known.
  • Bubbles Flash Game - Your objective is to float a bubble through the water while collecting other bubbles to increase your size and score. Also, you must beware the nasty spiked balls that happen to be passing by that will pop your bubble and end the game. Check it out.
  • Microsoft's Parent's Primer to Computer Slang - Leet words can be expressed in hundreds of ways using different substitutions and combinations, but once one understands that nearly all characters are formed as phonemes and symbols, leetspeek isn't difficult to translate. Glad to hear that someone at Microsoft is "1337" ;)
  • Less liver cancer in coffee drinkers - A study of more than 90,000 Japanese found that people who drank coffee daily or nearly every day had half the liver cancer risk of those who never drank coffee. It's the caffeine in coffee that makes some people nervous and it has been shown in other studies to prompt mental alertness in many people. Some studies have suggested caffeine aggravates symptoms of menopause or intensifies the side effects of some antibiotics. Heavy caffeine use has been linked to miscarriage. But studies have also shown that a skin cream spiked with caffeine lowers the risk of skin cancer in mice.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Major Recall Burns Xbox Users - Microsoft announced today that it will recall 14.1 million Xbox power cords after discovering that a defect in the cords gave some users minor burns or damaged carpet. The recall involves Xboxes manufactured before October 23, 2003, in all worldwide regions except continental Europe. In continental Europe, the recall affects Xboxes manufactured before January 13, 2004. Xboxes made since then have been changed and don't exhibit this problem, Microsoft says.
  • N.Y. Times to buy About.com for $410 million - The New York Times Co. on Thursday said it will buy online information portal About.com for $410 million from publisher Primedia as it looks for new ways to advertise itself online. The Times Co., whose newspapers include The New York Times and The Boston Globe, said it will expand About.com's content and visibility and use the site to market its products.
  • Get a 1000 Mb Gmail account for free - Go to gmail.afraid.org and enter your e-mail address. Then you'll receive an invite to open a 1000 Mb Gmail account for free.

HARDWARE... 

  • SiS PCI Express chipsets in mass production - Silicon Integrated Systems (SiS) announced that the SiS656, SiS649, and SiS756 PCI Express chipsets have entered mass production. The SiS656, SiS649, and SiS756 chipsets are being adopted by at least 10 motherboard manufacturers.
  • ATI's DX9 chipset hits the road - The graphics mavens up Toronto way have unveiled a new mobile chipset today, the Radeon Xpress 200M, for AMD-based laptop computers. The new chipset is substantially the same thing as the Radeon Xpress 200 with the addition of a few power-saving tricks for mobile applications, like this one, explained in this press-release.
  • AMD's New Low-Power CPUs - AMD has released a new family of CPUs targeted at the portable computing market. The new CPUs, collectively named Alchemy, consume less than 1Watt of power! The CPUs have already been named the CPU of choice for Tivo's new Tivo-To-Go technology and are powerful enough to run DivX, WMV9, and MPEG. The AU1550 consumes just 0.5 Watts at 400 MHz and the AU1100 consumes 0.25 at the same clock speed.
  • Samsung builds DDR3-1066 prototype - Samsung today said that it has produced the world's first working DDR3 DRAM module. The memory technology will replace today's DDR2 sometime next year with clock speeds of at least 800 MHz.
  • Mushkin 1GB PC2-4200 (533) Dual Pack CL 3-2-2 - Overclocking wise, how can we complain? These Mushkin modules were able to take us up to DDR2-640MHz at tight timings of CL 3-2-2-6 and up to DDR2-750MHz at its most relaxed timing. That's 217MHz over its rated speed. You get a headroom that is sure to handle even the most extreme overclock while running at the tightest possible timings. And with the cost of PC4200 modules getting cheaper by the day, the Mushkin 1GB PC2-4200 (533) Dual Pack is a great buy no matter where you look at it.
  • Foxconn WinFast NF4UK8AA-8EKRS (NVIDIA nForce4 Ultra) - The inaccurate CPU overclocking functions and the unstable operation at high frequencies of the clock generator somewhat spoil the impression from the product. On the other hand, the WinFast NF4UK8AA-8EKRS can be a good choice if you are not into overclocking, provided its retail price is sufficiently low.
  • Gigabyte 3D1 (Dual GPU) - Guru3D have tested Gigabyte's DUAL GPU based GV-3D1 which of course runs in SLI mode and is a rather cool looking graphisc card.
  • Swiftech H20-120-FB Water Cooling Kit - Swiftech updates their popular H20-8600 water cooling kit, a new compact and silent pump and a large radiator and accompanying 120mm fan can make the H20-120 a true performer. Read on to find out how hard it can help push an A64 FX-55 and X800XT-PE towards overclock-heaven.
  • ACER Travelmate 8104 - Looking closer, the specs on this baby are pretty impressive. ATI have replaced the powerful Mobility Radeon 9700 GPUs with their PCI-E X700 something to make the desktop and mini-server box boys a tad jealous. Sure, they might have X850s, but can they leg it for the last bus? Didn't think so. Other specs for this version you see here include a 2Ghz CPU, 1Gb dual DDR, 15" WSXGA screen, 100Gb HDD, tri-mode Wifi with 802.11a/b/g support and a dual layer DVD burner.
  • IBM ThinkPad T42p - The T42p is Centrino branded, so it comes as no surprise that there's an Intel Pentium M CPU inside. This particular model has a 1.8GHz chip, backed up by 1GB of RAM - the spec definitely reinforces this machine's workstation aspirations. What's particularly impressive is that IBM has fitted a 1GB SODIMM inside the T42p, leaving the end user a free slot to increase the memory without having to discard any.
  • Panasonic Technics RP-DH1200 headphones - The first thing you'll notice about these headphones is that they provide plenty of power. Part of the reason for this volume is the 50mm drivers that the sound is coming from. The headphones have a total impedance of 50 ohms, and a max current of 3500 mW, which is further proof of how much power these things can handle. These headphones are also relatively sensitive, rated at 107 dB/mW.
  • Canon Selphy CP500 compact photo - The Selphy CP500 is about the size of a thick paperback, though there's a separate black power supply block and a cassette carrying the 6 x 4-inch postcard blanks, which clips in at the front. You also need to allow a space on your desk at the back of the printer, to accommodate each card as it's fed out during the printing process. Various other paper sizes, including credit card, are available, with separate cassettes and ink film cartridges for each.

GUIDES... 

  • AMD K8 E4 Stepping: SSE3 Performance - The goal of this article is to bring out a quick look at what SSE3 brings to the table for Opteron and the future revision E Athlon 64 cores. As desktop parts do not enable coherent HT links at all, the 1GHz support won't matter. Also, the newer A64 parts are already 90nm on organic packages. Other than the usual small tweaks we see between steppings, the only thing that will be new across the board for K8 processors is SSE3
  • ATI Radeon 9800 to FireGL X2 hard mod guide - As the title suggests, this guide is going to teach you how to hard-mod your Radeon 9800-series card into a FireGL X2 workstation card. This guide will cover all Radeon 9800 cards - Radeon 9800 SE, Radeon 9800, Radeon 9800 Pro and Radeon 9800XT.
  • Mikhailtech's basic system buyer's guide (Feb2005) - Check it out!
  • Wi-Fi hotspot security tips - Wi-Fi Hotspots are great but don't get so relaxed that you ignore security and give all your confidential information to some unscrupulous hacker. The next time you're at a Hotspot, use these security tips to keep yourself safe.
  • Half-Life 2 optimization guide (updated) - The testbed has changed for this optimization guide. I have added a few more cards to the lineup and have dropped the MX440 8X and the Radeon 8500. The MX440 really has no chance of even pulling 30FPS out of this game with decent quality

SOFTWARE...

  • Windows XP x64 RC2 available - Microsoft has finally made Windows XP Professional x64 Release Candidate 2 available to the general public through its Customer Preview Program
  • Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) Refresh Released - Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) is a security technology that helps protect Windows users from spyware and other potentially unwanted software. This download has been updated to include signature version 5687, which is the most current as of February 10, 2005. Customers who have installed Microsoft Windows AntiSpyware prior to this date do not need to re-download. They will receive signature updates as part of their next automatic or manual signature update.
  • McAfee AVERT Stinger 2.5.0 - Stinger is a stand-alone utility used to detect and remove specific viruses. It is not a substitute for full anti-virus protection, but rather a tool to assist administrators and users when dealing with an infected system.
  • Symantec W32.Mydoom@mm Removal Tool 1.5.1 - Symantec Security Response has developed a removal tool to clean the following infections: W32.Mydoom.A@mm | W32.Mydoom.B@mm |W32.Mydoom.F@mm | W32.Mydoom.G@mm | W32.Mydoom.H@mm | W32.Mydoom.L@mm | W32.Mydoom.M@mm | W32.Mydoom.Q@mm | Backdoor.Zincite.A | W32.Zindos.A | Backdoor.Nemog.
  • YahooPOPs! 0.7  - This application emulates a POP3 server and enables popular email clients like Outlook, Netscape, Eudora, Mozilla, Calypso, etc., to download email from Yahoo! accounts
  • Google Toolbar 3.0.119.6 Beta - When the Google Toolbar (download beta WinXP/2k ~ Win9x/ME) is installed, it automatically appears along with the Internet Explorer toolbar. This means you can quickly and easily use Google to search from any website location, without returning to the Google home page to begin another search.
  • MemTest86+ 1.51 - MemTest86+ 1.51 has been released. This new version adds support for Intel i955X (Glenwood) and for nVidia nForce4.
  • Pioneer A09 / DVR-109 Firmware 1.17 - This new firmware (DV adds support 16x writing on New 16x DVD-R Media, 16x writing (Mitsubishi Chemical/Maxell), 12x writing(FBeALL), Support 16x writing on New 16x +R Media, Support 8x writing on New 8x DVD-R Media, 8x writing(Daxon/Gigastorage), DVD-R/RW/+RW Writability Improvement  and Error correction at the Packet Write on the CD-RW. Here are two links to the appropriate firmware: Link one and Link two.
 Gameguru Mania News - Feb,16 2005 - tech
Wednesday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 09:42 AM EST - Feb,16 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • SHA-1 Broken - The research team of Xiaoyun Wang, Yiqun Lisa Yin, and Hongbo Yu (mostly from Shandong University in China) have been quietly circulating a paper announcing their results: collisions in the the full SHA-1 in 2**69 hash operations, much less than the brute-force attack of 2**80 operations based on the hash length; collisions in SHA-0 in 2**39 operations; collisions in 58-round SHA-1 in 2**33 operations. This attack builds on previous attacks on SHA-0 and SHA-1, and is a major, major cryptanalytic result. It pretty much puts a bullet into SHA-1 as a hash function for digital signatures (although it doesn't affect applications such as HMAC where collisions aren't important).
  • Napster hack leads to free downloads - Blogs were buzzing Tuesday about the resurgence of an old technique for recording music on a computer, reapplied to Napster's all-you-can-eat subscription music plan. Using software freely available from America Online's Winamp division, it's possible to turn Napster's copy-protected downloads into unprotected files that can be burned by the hundreds or even thousands freely to CDs.
  • Hacking victims face legal threat - Home computer users could be sued if they allow their computers to be taken over and used by hackers, legal representatives speaking at the RSA Conference in San Francisco have claimed. A panel looking at the usefulness of insurance against cyber-crime discussed the likelihood of home users being sued if their computers were used to perform distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
  • Court: Wife broke law with spyware - A wife who installed spyware on her husband's computer to secretly record evidence of an extramarital affair violated state law, a Florida court ruled Friday. The Florida Appeals Court, Fifth District said that Beverly Ann O'Brien "illegally obtained" records of husband James' online conversations with another woman as the two played Yahoo Dominoes together. "It is illegal and punishable as a crime under (state law) to intercept electronic communications," wrote Judge Donald Grincewicz on behalf of a three-judge panel.
  • T-Mobile hacker in guilty plea - Nicholas Lee Jacobsen was arrested in October on suspicion of accessing the personal information of potentially hundreds of T-Mobile customers. Under the initial charges Jacobsen faced two felony charges. That will now be reduced to a single charge of intentional access to a protected computer and recklessly causing damage as part of his guilty plea. The hacker could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
  • Microsoft to offer free spyware blocker - Stepping up its fight against computer threats, Microsoft Corp. announced yesterday that it will give away a program to combat PC-clogging spyware and other virtual pests. Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates also unveiled plans to release antivirus tools for consumers and make a major security upgrade to its Internet Explorer Web browser. At the same time, he showed off new software for businesses to combat security threats.
  • Microsoft to Put Patch Service to the Test - Microsoft Corp. Tuesday confirmed that it will release in March a beta version of what it is calling a unified software update service for consumers and small and midsize businesses.  Called Microsoft Update, the service will provide a single location for users to get security and performance patches for Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, Office 2003 and Exchange Server 2003.
  • Free Tool Identifies Hidden Data in Office Docs - A company called Workshare Technology now offers a free safety net from the potential embarrassment of a public display of these hidden and forgotten comments and changes. The company's Trace application sends out an alert if hidden information, also known as metadata, is embedded in a Microsoft Office file. When hidden data is identified, a dialogue box pops up from your system tray alerting you. Clicking on the alert message generates a report of all the hidden data inside the file. Workshare Trace, announced early this month, is available for download now.
  • Quake 3 Infostring DoS - The Quake 3 engine has problems to handle big queries allowing an attacker to shutdown any game server based on this engine: ERROR: Info_SetValueForKey: oversize infostring; In some of the vulnerable games is also possible to crash the server.

OFF-TOPIC...

  • Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy Trailer - The new trailer for The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy is now online.
  • Straczynski Offers To Re-Boot Star Trek - J. Michael Straczynski (creator of Babylon 5 and Jeremiah) made a post on usenet where he talks about the cancellation of Enterprise. It seems he and a collaborator have already written a series bible and treatment for a new version of Star Trek - but it's not been pitched to Paramount out of 'political considerations' (Berman refusing to give up his dead horse?). JMS calls for everyone who thinks a JMS-run Star Trek series would be a good idea to write Paramount and let them know (thanks Slashdot.org)
  • Brainpower as easy as X and Y - Michael Gurian, psychologist and author of "What Could He Be Thinking?", believes there are about a hundred structural differences that have been identified between the male and female brain. To find out why these differences exist, scientists have taken voyages deep inside the gray matter using MRI scans. The scans show that in most women, the corpus callosum area, which handles communication between the brain's two "hemispheres", is larger.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • New copy-proof DVDs on the way? - Macrovision on Tuesday released a new DVD copy-protection technology in hopes of substantially broadening its role in Hollywood's antipiracy effort. Macrovision executives said that even if it's not perfect, the new RipGuard DVD technology can prevent much of the copying done with such tools and can help bolster studios' DVD sales.
  • IE 7.0 Leaves Windows 2000 Users Out in the Cold? - As I mentioned yesterday, Microsoft is planning a new version of Internet Explorer for Windows XP SP2. However, it seems that IE 7.0 will be available only to Windows XP SP2 (Service Pack 2) customers. Asked to explain the rationale for limiting IE 7.0 to XP SP2 users when the majority of businesses are still running Windows 2000, Barzdukas (director of product management in Microsoft's security business technology unit) left the door open slightly. "Windows XP SP2 is the scope of the project at the moment. That's what we feel comfortable committing to. We haven't closed the door on potentially providing it to other platforms," he said.
  • Novell Releasing Hula and 200,000+ Lines of Code - The project is derived from the Novell NetMail product and provides web-based email and calendaring.
  • Ballmer *hearts* the new Xbox (Xbox 2) - In typically exuberant form, Steve Ballmer talked about the new Xbox yesterday at Microsoft's Redmond campus, telling tales of its 'unbelievable' graphics and stating that it was 'an amazing, amazing innovation.'
  • Nvidia launches new wireless multimedia processor - Nvidia released a new wireless multimedia processor  - the GoForce 3D 4800, for mobile devices. The processor boasts pixel-shading and support for up to six simultaneous textures, which can improve the look of mobile games. It also handles 3D graphics better than its predecessors and includes a codec-supporting, VGA-resolution video of up to 30 frames per second. The GoForce 3D 4800 is expected to be less power-hungry than other chips, prolonging battery life. Phones based on the processor are expected at the end of 2005.
  • SiS signs 1066MHz-FSB licensing agreement with Intel - Silicon Integrated Systems (SiS) has signed a licensing agreement with Intel that will allow SiS to produce chipsets supporting front-side bus (FSB) speeds up to 1066MHz, according to a filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TSE).

HARDWARE... 

  • Dell announces 24" widescreen LCD - The UltraSharpTM 2405FPW will be on sale for $1,199 in the Americas and Europe on March 1, 2005. The wide-screen monitor is ideal for graphics professionals, computing enthusiasts and gamers. The native resolution of 1920x12002 helps ensure detailed images are crisp and clear and typical response times of 12ms3 mean fast-moving content is displayed with minimal distortion.
  • Sapphire Radeon X850 XT - The GPU of this card is the R480 - yeah we know it's listed as a completely different model than the R420 predecessor, however, it's functionally the exact same chip. The primary difference is that it's built using an advanced .11-micron process which allows for an overall smaller chip that can run at faster clock rates. It still has 16 pixel pipelines, six vertex shaders and a 256bit memory interface.
  • Prolink GeForce 6600 GT AGP - When we tweak the product we see some nice overclocking potential, the 562 MHz core is good and boosting another 200 MHz out of its memory again will bring you an extra overall ~10% performance increase. So here you have this AGP 8x product with great performance, is 100% stable in an AGP 8x configuration (we did not have one crash), offers dualview, the latest 3D feature set including Shader Model 3.0, offers HDTV output and in general offers anything you expect from a good graphics cards these days
  • Foxconn's WinFast NF4UK8AA motherboard - Foxconn's WinFast NF4UK8AA is the least expensive nForce4 Ultra motherboard on the market. With a street price hovering under $110, the board costs $30-40 less than most other nForce4 Ultras. That's quite a savings when you consider that the $110 price point is largely occupied by nForce4 "4x" motherboards that don't officially support a 1GHz HyperTransport link.
  • 8ms 19" LCDs: Speed for Gaming, but at What Cost? - THG tested three 8ms 19" LCD monitors: the BenQ FP937s+, the Hyundai L90D+, and the much-awaited Samsung 913N.
  • ViewSonic VP171b 8ms LCD monitor - Right now there are still plenty of 16ms monitors available in stores, so be sure to verify with the vendor that you want in the 8ms version. If the seller isn't sure, there are a number of ways to determine this. I'd ask them to confirm the model number, which can be found on the box. If the last two characters are either '4W' or '5W' then it's the 8ms display. If they are '2W' or '3W', it's the 16ms display. For those who have already bought one, you can always check out the model number by navigating your way to the 'Information' menu in the on-screen display (OSD).
  • Canon's $250 Pixma IP90 portable photo printer - Canon's $250 Pixma IP90 portable photo printer offers good prints for mobile users. The 4-pound unit prints better and faster than its predecessor, the Canon I80, and even competes with full-size rivals. The PC World Test Center clocked the IP90 printing text at 6.3 pages per minute--faster than many desktop inkjet printers and 10 percent quicker than the I80. Color graphics came at a relatively slow 1.4 ppm, but our test photo printed in a reasonable 2 minutes, 33 seconds, nearly a minute faster than the I80.

GUIDES... 

SOFTWARE...

  • Excel 2003 Add-in: XML Tools Add-in - Learn how to use the Microsoft Office Excel 2003 XML Tools Add-in Version 1.1. With it, you can provide information about a selected cell's XML properties, create XSD files for XML maps, rename the Root and Row elements, or refresh all of the XML maps in a workbook at once.
  • Windows Media Player 10 Build 10.00.00.3802 - MicroSoft has released an updated build (non-english) of its Windows Media Player 10 bringing it to version 10.00.00.3802
  • FastStone Screen Capture 1.5 - FastStone Screen Capture is a screen capture utility with integrated image viewer. It enables you to capture Windows, objects, selections or the entire desktop, and apply additional editing tools like resizing, sharpening, and more.
  • SpamExtract 2.10 - SpamExtract (download) is built to understand that what may be considered spam to you, may not be considered spam to someone else. SpamExtract is effective because it uses complex algorithms to sort between what is spam and what is not spam.
  • ActiveLaunch v 1.71 (shw) - ActiveLaunch (download trial version) gives you the ability to open frequently used applications and documents from the keyboard, without having to memorize a multitude of hotkeys.
  • ASUS Ai Booster 1.01.14 - The ASUS Ai Booster (info ~ PDF)is an innovative application that allows overclocking of system components in Windows environment. This utility lets you overclock the CPU either manually or automatically without the hassle of entering the BIOS Setup.
  • NVIDIA Forceware 71.81 - This one is version 71.81, works for Windows 2000/XP and is Microsoft WHQL certified. The driver is dated January 28 2005.
 Gameguru Mania News - Feb,15 2005 - tech
Microsoft plans Internet Explorer 7 - tech
(hx) 03:24 PM EST - Feb,15 2005 - Post a comment / read (1)
According to this article at CNN Money, Microsoft is planning a new version of Internet Explorer for Windows XP SP2:
The new version of IE, which will be released for preliminary testing this summer, will have new protections against viruses, spyware and "phishing" scams, which fool users into entering sensitive information on Web pages that appear to be legitimate.

Gates said security remains the biggest threat to the "fantastic advances" happening in the world of technology, and that Microsoft was spending more than a third of its annual $6 billion in research and development spending on security.

The move comes three years after Microsoft, the world's biggest software company, launched a major initiative to improve the reliability and security of its software, which runs on about 90 percent of all personal computers.
 Gameguru Mania News - Feb,14 2005 - tech
Morning Tech Madness - tech
(h) 09:07 PM EST - Feb,14 2005 - Post a comment / read (2)

SECURITY...

  • Vulnerability prompts forced upgrade for MSN Messenger users - Starting February 10, 2005, the MSN Messenger service will notify customers running a vulnerable version of MSN Messenger that there is an upgrade available. Customers that have accepted this upgrade and have applied the update will be protected from this vulnerability. Customers that have not accepted this upgrade may not be allowed to connect to the MSN Messenger service with a vulnerable version of the client. Clients may be upgraded immediately by installing the update available here - MSN Messenger 6.2.0205 / Windows Messenger 4.7.2009 (SP1) | 4.7.3000 (SP2).
  • Teen Sentenced in Microsoft Attack - On Friday a federal judge sentenced a teen to probation and community-service for releasing the so called RPCSDBOT worm which infected computers and directed them to attack the Microsoft.com website. The Microsoft website was taken down for four hours due to the attack in 2003. The Judge Robert Lansik sentenced the teen to 3 years probation and 300 hours of community-service, he also wants the teen to write him a letter every six months describing his community-service activities.
  • Microsoft Plots Fixes to IE Browser - Microsoft Corp. recently held a secret Webcast with some of its closest partners to discuss ways in which the company might improve its Internet Explorer browser and customer confidence in the platform. Sources said Microsoft officials discussed potential "fixes" to IE as the company is losing market share to other browsers, such as the open-source Firefox. Though the strategy is still in its initial phases, Microsoft is looking to resolve some fundamental issues with IE's operating system.
  • Lavasoft and Pest Patrol removed WhenU? -  According to this thread on Broadband Reports security forum, both Lavasoft and Pest Patrol removed WhenU from their detection databases. Lavasoft removed WhenU's applications from their definitions database sometime in the last month -- it looks like it was probably the Feb. 5 update, but it might have been earlier. It also appears that Pest Patrol removed WhenU from its detections database, though the situation here is a bit murkier.
  • Apple attacked for attacking hacks' sources - US Organisation the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said it has asked the California supreme court to protect three online journalists being forced by Apple to reveal their sources. The EFF said Apple is asking a court to get three hacks to turn over their unpublished materials to the corporation. But, says the organisation, US online journalists are protected by the reporters privilege laws from doing that.
  • China net cafe culture crackdown - Chinese authorities closed 12,575 net cafes in the closing months of 2004, the country's government said.
    According to the official news agency most of the net cafes were closed down because they were operating illegally.

OFF-TOPIC...

  • NASA: 2005 could be warmest year recorded - A weak El Nino and human-made greenhouse gases could make 2005 the warmest year since records started being kept in the late 1800s, NASA scientists said this week. While climate events like El Nino -- when warm water spreads over much of the tropical Pacific Ocean --affect global temperatures, the increasing role of human-made pollutants plays a big part.
  • Altered HIV Attacks Mice Tumors - The UCLA AIDS Institute scientists genetically altered HIV and folded it into an envelope made of another virus called sindbis, which typically infects insects and birds. That turned the altered HIV into a missile that hunted down metastasized melanoma cells in the lungs of living mice.
  • Europe launches super rocket - Europe's reputation for rocket engineering got a boost with the successful launch of the Ariane 5 ECA at 21:03 GMT on 12 February. The 50-metre high rocket is Europe's largest, able to deliver up to 10 tonnes of payload into orbit around Earth.
  • Hobart man dies testing bulletproof vest - A man whose friends initially said he was killed by gunfire outside a Gary liquor store actually died after he donned what he thought was a bulletproof vest and asked a cohort to shoot him. A friend then shot Daniel Wright with a .20-gauge shotgun, but it turned out the vest Wright had put on Thursday was a flak jacket not designed to stop a bullet. Wright, 20, was mortally wounded in the shooting and died later at a Gary hospital after two of his friends drove him there.
  • This must be love - If you're 35 and you've been sleeping on the same pillow for 31 years, you don't take that lightly." This isn't a joke to Raza, or to the many other adults who are deeply attached to the cushions that lull them to sleep each night. Before getting married, Raza told his fiancee, "My pillow is really important to me." She laughed, so Raza reiterated: "No, I'm not kidding. This is really important." Despite the occasional joke about security blankets, "she has actually been very respectful of it," he says. "She knows what I'm like without it."
  • Microsoft goes Hollywood: "Halo" to hit big screen - Microsoft may finally be getting into a business where "blue screen of death" could actually be a good thing. The company is going from writing code to writing a movie script adapting the "Halo" video-game franchise, according to a report yesterday in Daily Variety.
  • Britney Spears Wins First Grammy -  Pop star Britney Spears won the first Grammy Award of her brief but colorful career on Sunday, taking the prize in the best dance recording category.
  • The Credibles! - Check it out! (Flash)

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Xbox 2 to Release in Fall of This Year - GamesIndustry.biz has the news that the Xbox 2 will be launched sometime in late fall of this year.
  • Microsoft & Nokia Collaborate on Digital Music - Today at 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, Microsoft and Nokia announced an agreement to give Nokia handsets the benefit of Windows Media Audio and Windows Media Digital Rights Management 10. Microsoft and Nokia are working to ensure consumers can enjoy music from the newly-launched Nokia and Loudeye mobile music service platform on both Nokia handsets and Windows XP-based PCs.
  • Motorola Unveils RAZR Successors, iTunes Phone - The popular RAZR ultra-thin flip phone which was launched last year will be joined by three more high-tech models, dubbed the RAZR black, the SLVR and the PEBL. The black RAZR, nicknamed BLZR, will be available for the Oscars this spring. The SLVR, a model without a flip, will be thin like the RAZR with Motorola hoping to bring excitement back to monoblock phones, which have lost ground to clamshell designs.
  • Motorola, Oakley introduce Bluetooth sunglasses - Available in three frame colors, RAZRWire was developed to meet the needs of active consumers seeking seamless mobility, offering them an integrated easy-to-use design. For cyclists, skateboarders, rock climbers, golfers - practically anyone who is active outdoors - the innovative eyewear encourages hands-free connection while on the go.
  • Meet the A1010, E1060, E1120 Motorola communicators - The new Motorola A1010 communicator sports WCDMA 2100 MHz, GSM/GPRS 900/1800/1900 MHz functionality, a large TFT screen with a resolution of 208 x 320 pixels, a 2 MP and a VGA camera enabling 2-way video conferencing, as well as multimedia streaming, capture and playback (MP3, MPEG4). Running Symbian OS 7.0 and the UIQ 2.1 platform, the A1010 is also utilizing the Opera web browser and its small screen and full screen rendering technology. Other software include Picsel Document Viewer/Edit and PIM applications. The A1010 is also equipped with a TransFlash memory slot, A-GPS support for location services, and Bluetooth. The Motorola A1010 is expected to be available in Q4 2005.
  • British Broadband Picks Up The Pace - Many BT customers will now have download speeds of 2Mbps, although there are usage allowances of between one gigabyte and 30 gigabytes a month. The new speeds start to come into effect on 17 February for home customers and 1 April for businesses.
  • MySQL Network shifts pricing and licensing - The company is expected to announce on Tuesday at LinuxWorld here the MySQL Network, a yearly subscription service, rather than an up-front fee, for the right to use the MySQL software and access the company's support services.
  • Sun beefs up Java Comms Suite security - The JSC Suite, which includes System Messaging Server, System Calendar Server, and System Instant Messaging, is designed to provide a platform for deploying email, calendar, instant messaging and other collaboration services. Enhanced features include support for the Secure Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions protocol in the Communications Express web client, which now enables users of the JSC Suite to sign and encrypt messages, resulting in increased client-side security and stronger end-to-end security.
  • New Xandros V3 Open Circulation Edition available - The Open Circulation Edition of the Xandros Desktop OS provides a secure, stable Windows replacement for everyday desktop use and everything users need for a carefree Internet experience . It offers free Skype-to-Skype calling worldwide, Firefox browsing, and Thunderbird e-mail with automatic spam filtering.

HARDWARE... 

  • AMD cuts chip prices - The company nipped the price of its flagship Athlon 64 4000+ chip by 12 percent to $643. The Athlon 64 3800+ and 3700+ processors were lowered by 34 percent and 30 percent, respectively, to $424 and $329. The Sempron for desktops using Socket A motherboards--the same type of socket used by the company's older Athlon XP chip--were among those cut. The Sempron 2800+ for Socket A boards was clipped by 17 percent to $90. The Mobile Sempron 2800+ for full-size notebooks, meanwhile, dropped 19 percent to $87.
  • AMD unveils latest x86 Opterons - According to the firm, the 852 and 252 chips feature performance-enhancing features including support for SSE3 software instructions, and better HyperTransport performance through an increase in bus frequency to 1GHz. AMD also announced its AMD-8132 HyperTransport PCI-X 2.0 tunnel, scheduled to ship for servers and workstations this month.
  • Intel ships 2MB cache 64-bit Xeon - The new Xeon DPs contain 2MB of on-die L2 cache, up from the 1MB built into the previous version, and are clocked at 3.0, 3.2, 3.4 and 3.6GHz. The chips are priced at $316, $455, $690 and $851, respectively.
  • SanDisk queues up 1GB mini memory card for $100 - Underscoring the dramatic price drops in the market for memory cards, flash memory specialist SanDisk said Monday that it will sell a 1GB mini SD card for $100.
  • GeForce 6600 goes mobile - NVIDIA has announced the launch of their GeForce 6600 Go GPU for thin and light laptops. The GeForce 6600 Go GPU is like its desktop counterpart is SM 3.0 compliant and has Purevideo technology. NVIDIA has also announced the immediate availabilty of PCI Express GeForce 6600 Go and GeForce 6200 Go powered laptops from a wide range of vendors
  • Intel Xeon 3.6 2MB vs AMD Opteron 252 Database Test -  For dual-processor applications, Intel leads the way in everyday small to heavy transactional applications, whereas AMD shines in the analytical side of database applications "Data Warehousing".
  • NVIDIA nForce4 Chipset Series for AMD64 - The new generation of chipsets from this company is represented by three products. The basic modification is "simply" called nForce4, the modification with advanced functionality - nForce4 Ultra, and finally the topnotch modification with intuitive name - nForce4 SLI.
  • The ASUS DRW-1604P DVD±RW DL drive - Besides its 16x DVD+/-R capabilities, this drive will write a DVD+R DL at 4x, DVD+/-RW at 4x, CD-R at 32x and CD-RW at 24x speed. It reads DVD-ROM with a maximum of 16x and CD-ROM with a maximum of 40x speed.
  • ViewSonic VP171b - up of the ViewSonic VP171b 8ms 17in TFT display which you can find here - Trustedreviews take a look at the ViewSonic VP171b 8ms 17in TFT display.

GUIDES... 

  • Curing Laptop Overheating - This article focuses on the true "air breather" laptops/notebooks; those that have case openings, an internal heat exchanger and (usually) a fan.
  • Memory Market Overview: February 2005 - New releases, company news, prices, events...@X-bit Labs
  • How To Avoid Internet Theft, Fraud and Phishing - Phishing is one of the main scams in the present moment. People set up phoney websites and email addresses. Then they spam Email inboxes with official-looking messages explaining that your account with Company X has encountered a problem and that they need you to login and confirm some details. The email addresses are masked to appear official and the links provided in the email all seem to check out. If you click on the link provided then you will usually be taken to a site that looks for all intents and purposes to be official. When you click 'submit' your details will be sent to a criminal somewhere who will do as they please with your information, such as withdrawing money from a bank account or purchasing things in your name.
  • ATI Catalyst 5.2 Performance Analysis - EliteBastards take a look at this driver to see how it measures up against ATI's claims. Another similar article can be found on TweakTown.

SOFTWARE...

  • Firefox Preloader Build 366  - This is a little program for people who use Mozilla Firefox on older machines. It is designed to preload Firefox in the background so it will load faster when requested.
  • XP Codec Pack 1.0.3 - XP Codec Pack is one of the most complete codec pack which helps you to play all major audio and video formats.
    And... to complete your multimedia experience, instead of 3 or 4 different players you get one, simple integrated player that plays almost all audio and video files: Media Player Classic.
  • VirtualDub 1.6.4 Experimental - VirtualDub (changelog ~ download ~ download AMD64 version) is a video capture and processing program. It features fast capturing, process files larger than the 2 gigabyte limit, optimized for linear editing, support for Motion-JPEG, MPEG-1 video and layer 3 audio, real-time and near-realtime video processing, video job queues, and much more.
  • Jet-Audio 6.1.1 - Jet-Audio (download) features an impressive home audio system interface, including independent A/V components for Digital Signal Processor, Audio CD Player, Digital Audio (MP3, RA, etc.), MIDI (MID, MOD etc.), and Digital Video (AVI, MPG, MOV, etc.), along with a Mixer and a Remote Controller.
  • SSH Tunnelier - Windows - Tunnelier is a friendly and flexible SSH client for Windows which includes state of the art terminal emulation, graphical as well as command-line SFTP support, an FTP-to-SFTP bridge, powerful tunneling features, and also remote administration for WinSSHD. Free for individual use!
  • nHancer v1.0.3 - nHancer (NVIDIA Advanced Profile Editor) is a replacement for NVIDIA's own Profile Editor, which is integrated in their driver. With nHancer you can also change the global driver settings, but the focus is on creating and manipulating profiles.
 Gameguru Mania News - Feb,12 2005 - tech
Saturday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 11:09 AM EST - Feb,12 2005 - Post a comment / read (2)

SECURITY...

  • Virus warning hits Windows Media Player - Computer users have been warned to be on their guard when viewing images after the discovery of a vulnerability affecting the processing of PNG (Portable Network Graphic) files by popular applications including MSN Messenger and Windows Media Player. The issue affects applications including Windows Media Player 9.0 (when running on Windows 2000, XP Service Pack 1 and Server 2003), Windows Messenger version 5.0 (standalone version that can be installed on all supported operating systems), and MSN Messenger 6.1 and 6.2.
  • F-Secure flaw opens door to intruders - The security hole in the antivirus library affects 18 products for desktops, servers and gateways, with the network products at "critical" risk, F-Secure said in a bulletin Thursday. By creating a specially crafted ARJ archive file, an intruder could use a buffer overflow to run arbitrary code on an unpatched machine, said Tony Magellanez, a systems engineer at F-Secure. Update details are here.
  • TriCipher Ships Multipart Authentication System - TriCipher Inc., which was spun off from Japanese technology company Nippon Systems Development Inc. in Kansai, Japan, says its authentication technology uses a multipart credential. This works by placing part of the authentication credential on the user's computer, and the other part on the server on which authentication is desired.
  • Hewlett-Packard throttles viruses between network and desktop -  Rather than offering yet another hunter for viruses, HP's new virus throttle software takes an unusual approach: It acts as border patrol and aims to contain attacks. Instead of relying on existing virus definitions, the software monitors network connection requests and detects "abnormal" activity that could indicate an attack.
  • Windows more secure than Linux - Nash said that Vole compares very favourably with Linux on security. In the year-to-date Microsoft has fixed 15 vulnerabilities affecting Windows Server 2003. However, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 users have had to patch 34 vulnerabilities and SuSE Enterprise Linux 9 users have had to patch over 78 vulnerabilities.
  • Proposed Norwegian law limits cross-media copies - The Norwegian government has proposed a new copright law regarding copying music. The proposed law would make it illegal to copy songs from CDs to a different medium such as an MP3 player. It would still be legal to duplicate a CD, as long as it's copied to the same medium.
  • Lokitorrent website downed - Despite attempts to raise money to defend itself, it seems that web site Lokicurrent has lost. The website, here, has a notice on it from the Motion Picture Association of America, warning about breach of copyright. The notice says that the site has been permanently shut down by court order because it contributes to the illegal downloading of films.
  • Philips developing tools to identify and block P2P video content - Researchers at Royal Philips Electronics are developing new "fingerprinting" technology that could automatically identify and block transmission of digital-video files, potentially handing movie studios a new weapon in its war on peer-to-peer networks.
  • Hackers sued for tinkering with Xbox games - According to the complaint, Greiling and Glynn were webmasters of ninjahacker.net, an online forum dedicated to creating custom content and modifications for certain video games. Also included in the suit, filed January 21st in Illinois, are up to 100 anonymous users of the site, whose identities the company vowed to unmask.

OFF-TOPIC...

  • Man constructs replica of Apollo guidance computer - CNET News has a fun story about John Poltorak, who spent his free time the last few years building a reconstruction of the guidance computer used in the Apollo space missions: "The AGC is a piece of computing history. It had a 1MHz processor, 1K of random-access memory and 12K of read-only memory. By contrast, typical desktop computers today have about 1,000 times the processor speed and about 500,000 times the RAM, and have dropped ROM for hard drives with millions of times the capacity."
  • Falling in Love in Three Minutes or Less - It seems that the heart wants what the heart wants -- and it can figure it out fairly quickly, according to evolutionary psychologists at the University of Pennsylvania. Psychology has often viewed relationships as transactions where people select mates based on substantial qualities a mate has to offer, such as power and money. According to Kurzban, the data show that, when people meet face-to-face, things like smoking preferences and bank accounts don seem to loom large in intricate complexities of attraction.
  • Man Arrested Over Valentine's Net Suicide Pact - An American man has been arrested after allegedly trying to arrange a mass online suicide pact for Valentine's Day on Monday. Gerald Krien, 26, was caught after one woman alerted authorities after hearing one of those planning to take part talking about killing her children. Krien, of Klamath Falls in Oregon, had apparently recruited more than 30 people to take part in the pact, which had been arranged through chatrooms. Police are now trying to trace some of those involved in an attempt to make sure they are safe.
  • Chinese used diamonds to polish sapphire-rich stone in 2500 BC - Researchers have uncovered strong evidence that the ancient Chinese used diamonds to grind and polish ceremonial stone burial axes as long as 6,000 years ago -- and incredibly, did so with a level of skill difficult to achieve even with modern polishing techniques.
  • Tom-Yung-Goong Trailer -  The trailer for Tony Jaa's (star of Ong Bak) new action film Tom-Yung-Goong is now online and ready for visual consumption
  • Nuke Test - This is video of an underground nuclear bomb test

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Microsoft Delays CRM Update, Again - Microsoft's famously slippery ship dates are sliding once again when it comes to the company's long-delayed Microsoft CRM 2.0 update. Microsoft said this week it is expanding the software's feature set and delaying its release-to-manufacturing until the fourth quarter of 2005.
  • Google Offers Assistance To Wikipedia - Google has offered to assist online encyclopedia Wikipedia, by providing some much needed storage and hosting services to the giant non-profit site.
  • Cell phones get surround sound -  A new line of multimedia phones has hit the streets in Japan over the past few weeks that incorporates three-dimensional sound technology from British start-up Sonaptic. As yet, the content for it is slim--a fishing game, a handful of sound and video clips--but the technology promises a substantial advance for mobile-phone audio.
  • Macromedia Flash On Nokia Mobiles - Nokia is to install a version of Macromedia Flash in its Series 60 mobile platform. The licencing agreement between the two companies will also stretch to other Nokia devices. Tools will be made available to allow developers to produce cell phone flash content with ease.
  • First Linux-powered UMTS 3G mobile arrives - The world's first UMTS/Edge smartphone reference design based on the Linux operating system has been unveiled. Developed by a group of companies including Samsung Electronics and Infineon Technologies, the platform is designed to incorporate advanced 3G and multimedia services such as UMTS/Edge dual mode voice calls, video calls and video streaming. It also supports high performance multimedia applications (H.264, MPEG-4, AAC+, MP3), ultra-fast web browsing, stereo loudspeaker with 3D audio and Java-based 3D gaming.
  • Sony Movie Unit to Issue Films for PSP Game System - Sony Pictures Home Entertainment said it will release "XXX," "Hellboy," "Resident Evil 2" and "One Upon A Time in Mexico" on April 19 in the Universal Media Disc or UMD format, with additional monthly releases in the future. The unit did not set a price for the movie discs. The small UMD holds 1.8 gigabytes of data, three times the capacity of a CD-ROM. It was designed as a vehicle for games and other media on the PSP.
  • Nokia 7710 communicator now shipping - Announced as recently as in November 2004, Nokia has now started shipping the Series 90-based 7710 communicator device in Europe and Africa. Featuring tri-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE 900/1800/1900 MHz connectivity, the 7710 is Nokia's first touch screen-enabled smart device, and features handwriting recognition software similar to that found in numerous Windows Mobile handhelds.

HARDWARE... 

  • Toshiba's 17" Satellite P35-S611 gaming notebook - Adding to its existing line-up of P35 gaming notebooks, Toshiba has introduced the Satellite P35-S611, designed as a desktop replacement with a 17" screen and powerful specifications. Joining the existing P35-S6111 and P35-S629 models, the P35-S611 comes with Windows XP Home as opposed to Windows XP Professional, and includes an ATI Mobility Radeon 9000 graphics card less powerful than that of the top model.
  • Intel Quietly Adds New Chipsets into Lineup - Intel's i915PL and i915GL chipsets support dual-channel PC3200 (400MHz) memory only, instead of supporting both DDR and DDR2 which is a standard for the i915P and i915G chipsets, but still boast with support for LGA775 processors and PCI Express interconnection. In contrast to usual i915-series chipsets, the i915PL and i915GL support only 2GB of memory, not 4GB of RAM.
  • AMD Readies New Opteron Processor for 1000MHz HT Bus - The forthcoming AMD Opteron processor 252 will be clocked at 2.60GHz, will incorporate dual-channel PC3200 memory controller, 1MB of cache and SSE3 technology, something that only Intel Corp.'s chips have sported so far. The upcoming Opteron chip will also sport 1000MHz HyperTransport bus, a speed boost over contemporary AMD Opteron products with 800MHz HT bus, according to CNET News.com web-site.
  • DFI LANParty UT nF3 250Gb - The LANParty UT nF3 250Gb comes with 2 IDE ports and allows a total of 4 devices to be installed. The devices can be hard drives or optical drives, whichever you choose. Since SATA hard drives are becoming the norm, the LANParty UT nF3 250Gb offers 4 SATA ports for up to 4 SATA hard drives. The two located right below the CPU socket are controlled by the nForce3 250Gb chipset. The nForce3 250Gb controlled SATA ports allows RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 0+1, and JBOD.
  • Sapphire Toxic Radeon X700 Pro and Hybrid Radeon X800 - AMDZone has posted a review of Sapphire Toxic Radeon X700 Pro and Hybrid Radeon X800
  • Gainward PowerPack! 6800 - For Gainward, we have mix feelings. The certainly won't impress gamers who are looking for free packaged games with their graphics cards and they certainly won't impress HTPC users with DVD software that many manufacturers include, but modders are a possibility for them. If someone is looking for a red theme, Gainward has the answer.
  • Sapphire Hybrid Radeon X800 XL - The Sapphire Radeon X800 XL is a great card. It offers very similar (and sometimes slightly better) performance than a 6800 GT at a price that is very similar. The Sapphire X800 XL (OEM version) can be found for as low as $380 according to our price search engine. A simply packaged 6800 GT PCIe card can be found for about the same. This is going to be a very interesting $350-420 battle over the coming months as PCIe gets more and more popular.
  • Chaintech GeForce 6600 GT AGP - The only real drawback with the card was the heatsink not having any contact with the memory chips. This was by design and not accident. The memory chips were declocked 10% with the Chaintech card and I can't help but speculate that the cooling, or lack there of is why.
  • NEC ND-3520A DVD Writer - The ND-3520A will write to DVD+/-R media at 16x, DVD+R Dual Layer discs at 4x, DVD+RW media at 8x and DVD-RW discs at 6x. The big news here is, of course, the performance boost in the RW space.
  • Samsung CLP-550N Colour Laser Printer - PC Stats has posted a review on the Samsung CLP-550N Colour Laser Printer.
  • Divx/dvd portable player Gold G40 - Digital Gamers posted a review of the Divx/dvd portable player Gold G40.
  • Kodak EasyShare DX7590 - The 5 megapixel DX7590 replaced the 4 megapixel DX6490 as Kodak's second 10x ultra-zoom digicam. The DX7590 features a Schneider-Kreuznach lens capable of a 38 - 380mm zoom (35mm equivalent). It offers a wide range of still recording modes from full auto to manual exposure in addition to 14 preset scene modes and a movie mode with a maximum resolution of 640x480. Like all of Kodak's EasyShare cameras, the DX7590 has an intuitive menu and controls that lead to a hassle-free shooting experience.
  • Apple iPod Shuffle - First the top-end daddy iPod with its big scroll wheel. Then the mid-market girly iPod Mini, which puts the buttons into the scroll wheel. They can hold about 120 or 240 songs encoded at 128Kbps; I managed 220 on a 1GB stick with songs encoded at 160Kbps, still more than enough to get lost in music.
  • New MSN Direct Services Found In A Fossil - It's been possible to read the time from your wrist for many decades. But the ability to get news and weather information off your wrist has only been around for a couple of years. We take a look at the latest Smartwatch from Fossil to see what it can do now, and learn what else may be possible in the future.

GUIDES... 

  • Blu-ray Disc technology editorial - The fact is that blue-ray technologies and high def won't be meaningful until 2006 and won't be mainstream until 2007. But that timespan isn't deterring the two camps because there will be huge amounts of money involved in licensing fees from the people who decide to produce players, drives, recorders, content and recordable media.
  • How Motherboards Are Made: A Gigabyte Factory Tour - As PCSTATS recent trip to Gigabyte's Nan-Ping factory in Taiwan showed us last summer during Computex 2004, there's a lot more to it
  • 32 Cards in Doom 3 tested - Version 0.2 - The article is now updated to version 0.2 and it includes more pages and a final conclusion as requested. 19 cards are AGP based and 13 cards are PCI-Express
  • Browser speed comparisons - There is a speed war on the web. Browsers compete on many fronts; security, standards support, features and speed. Most people are aware of which major browser fails on three of these, but one of them is still open for grabs.
  • Windows XP Tweaking Companion - The Windows XP Tweaking Companion (XPTC) is the complete Windows XP and system optimization guide. No longer do you have to put up with so-called XP Tweak Guides which have a handful of Registry tweaks and some vague optimization advice - the XPTC brings an enormous range of detailed descriptions and resources together in one free 170 page downloadable PDF file.

SOFTWARE...

  • Apache 2.0.53 -  Apache 2.0 (download / changelog) offers numerous enhancements, improvements and performance boosts over the 1.3 codebase.
  • WinSCP 3.7.4 - WinSCP (download) is an open source freeware SFTP client for Windows using SSH. Legacy SCP protocol is also supported. Its main function is safe copying of files between a local and a remote computer.
  • VNCScan 2005.2.10 - VNCScan allows you to remotely control and manage your workstations and servers. VNCScan is the legendary front end to VNC.
  • SpoofStick for Firefox 1.05 - SpoofStick is a simple browser extension that helps users detect spoofed (fake) websites. A spoofed website is typically made to look like a well known, branded site (like ebay.com or citibank.com) with a slightly different or confusing URL.
  • Winamp Cover Notifier Alpha 1 - Winamp Cover Notifier is an alert that will show a CDs cover and music name everytime Winamp starts a new song. If no picture is found, a default picture will be shown. The alert will be shown next to the Windows clock
  • HyperSnap-DX 5.62.04 (shw) - HyperSnap-DX 5 is a screen capture and image editing tool for MS Windows. It captures screens from standard desktop programs and even those hard-to-grab DirectX, Direct3D, 3Dfx Voodoo and Glide mode games
  • ZoneAlarm Free 5.5.062.011 - ZoneAlarm includes five interlocking security services that deliver easy-to-use, comprehensive protection.
  • CPU-Z 1.27 - CPU-Z is a diagnostic tool that provides information on your CPU, including: processor name and vendor, core stepping and process, processor package, internal and external clocks, clock multiplier, partial overclock detection, processor features, supported instructions sets, L1 and L2 cache information, location, size, speed, and technology.
 Gameguru Mania News - Feb,10 2005 - tech
Thursday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 06:40 PM EST - Feb,10 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Microsoft Fesses Up To 19 Vulnerabilities, MSBlast-Level Worm Likely  - The company released its largest group of security patches in nearly a year, posting 12 security bulletins encompassing 19 vulnerabilities, 14 of which it marked "Critical." Among them is a vulnerability that one security vendor claims will likely lead to the biggest, baddest worm since mid-2003." ~ MS05-011 (SMB fix) / MS05-009 (WMP9 fix) / MS05-012 (COM structured storage files) / MS05-014 (IE Flaws), etc. 
  • First Trojan To Directly Target Microsoft Anti-Spyware - The Register is reporting that the first trojan to specifically affect Microsoft's Anti-Spyware program has been released. Called BankAsh-A, the trojan steals credit card and other info, turns off anti-virus programs (and disables the beta Microsoft anti-spyware software), deletes files on the computer and downloads code from the internet as well as installing more malware on the computer. The trojan runs a key logger on infected computers, which captures all kinds of personal information. BankAsh-A is distributed via spam email. Sophos reports that users banking with Barclays, Cahoot, Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, Nationwide, NatWest, Smile and others are affected. Sophos are reporting that so far, the trojans has seen limited distribution.
  • Symantec Products Hit By Major Security Bug - The flaw affects as many as 30 Symantec products, almost all of the company's software. The company said that users of the most recent versions of its software, like Norton Antivirus 2005, were un-affected. The company added that "The DEC2EXE engine is no longer required to parse compressed files" and that "Symantec had planned the DEC2EXE engine removal from all affected Symantec product versions during upcoming maintenance update. However, it advised all users to ensure they were fully patched. The company is also distributing patches to users via its automated Live Update feature.
  • Microsoft to Acquire Enterprise Anti-Virus - Sybari Software - Microsoft announced today that it has signed agreements to acquire Sybari Software Inc. Sybari Software provide security products for more than 10,000 businesses worldwide. Microsoft plans to provide its enterprise customers with significant virus and spam protection.

OFF-TOPIC...

  • What's next: a Ph.D. in video gaming? - Video gaming reached official academic status Tuesday when Electronic Arts endowed a chair at the University of Southern California for the study of interactive entertainment. Bing Gordon, Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of Electronic Arts (Research), was named the first holder of the Electronic Arts endowed faculty chair at the USC School of Cinema-Television, according to a statement from the company, the biggest video game publisher.
  • "Quantum well" transistor promises lean computing - A transistor that uses one-tenth of the energy of existing components could lead to more powerful, less power-hungry computers within the next decade. Researchers at US microchip company Intel and UK research firm Qinetiq developed the transistor using a novel semiconducting material - indium antimonide. Transistors act as switches or amplifiers in electronic circuits to process information. Indium antimonide allows electrons to speed through faster than conventional silicon-based transistors due to its highly active and greater number of "charge-carriers" - which help relay the electrons quickly.
  • Inglorious Bastards (aka Quentin Tarantino WW2 Project) - Quentin Tarantino is working on a World War II guys on a mission flick, like Dirty Dozen or Guns of Navarone. Presumably, the characters will not be simple cardboard figure action heroes, but will also take on some typical Tarantino anti-hero attributes. There is a role written for Adam Sandler, and others possibly for guys named Stallone and Willis.
  • Sci-Fi Channel Renews Battlestar Galactica - The Sci-Fi Channel has just announced the renewal of Battlestar Galactica for a second season. The creator of the show has announced that the second season will delve into the religious issues surrounding the Cylons in addition to opening up their society more. The latest episode had 3.2 million viewers, almost twice as many as watched the latest episode of Star Trek Enterprise.
  • First Screenshots from Next-Gen Console - French website jeux-france.com has posted the first screenshots from a Next-Gen Console!

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Google Launch Google Maps - Google have launched a new, "in-house" designed, map tool for web searchers called Google Maps.
  • Yahoo Fires Up Toolbar for Firefox Users - Yahoo released a beta version of its Web browser toolbar for users of the Mozilla Firefox browser on Thursday, offering bookmarks, newsfeeds, and search and translation tools. The beta version of the toolbar requires Firefox 1.0 for Windows and is available as a free download. It also includes features such as the ability to search a site, Yahoo Mail notifications and alerts, and buttons for access to the Internet company's games, finance, news, and sports sites, among others.
  • TDK introduces new, photo quality printable DVDs - Printing on the disc is easy - just place it in a disc-printable printer, select your image, press the print button and in just a couple of minutes you'll have a fully customised DVD that looks like a professionally manufactured disc. Designed for ease of use, TDK's Photo Quality Printable DVDs are compatible with all leading brands of disc-printable inkjet printers.
  • MGM loses class action suit for 325 defective DVD movies - Specifically, if you purchased one or more of the eligible movies between December 1, 1998 to September 8, 2003, certain MGM widescreen DVDs (DVDs for films shot in the aspect ratio of 1.85 to 1 or 1.66 to 1) will bring you a new movie or $7.10US. A sales receipt is not needed.

HARDWARE... 

  • NVIDIA's Forthcoming Intel Pentium 4 Chipset Passes Certification - NVIDIA Corp.'s upcoming core-logic for Intel Pentium 4 processors code-named Crush 19, or C19, has already been certified by PCI Special Interest Group and is currently in the PCI-SIG's Integrator's List, according to the organization's web-site.  The Crush 19 chipset from NVIDIA is currently expected to support various Intel processors, including the most powerful and innovative in LGA775 form-factor with 1066MHz processor system bus as well as EM64T, XD and EIST technologies.
  • 1GB OCZ PC3200 EL Platinum and PC3700 Gold dual channel kits - OCZ's latest revision of their PC3200 EL Platinum DDR - The EL term stands for "Enhanced Latency" and the stated 2-2-2-5 memory timings are extremely low for PC3200. Better still, in our testing on nForce3 Ultra, i875P, and K8T800 Pro motherboards, each initialized the memory at these timings using just the SPD setting. This is unprecedented, since even our reference Corsair PC3200LL (2-2-2-5) memory needs a bit of manual tweaking on certain platforms. These timings are rated at a memory voltage of 2.75V, but at stock 400 MHz speeds, the OCZ PC3200 EL was also able to reach the 2-2-2-5 level using our standard 2.6V reference setting.
  • 1GB Mushkin DDR2 PC2-4200 CL3-2-2 kit - The PC2-4200 CL 3-2-2 looks almost identical to the PC2-4200 CL 4-4-4 offering. Don't let that suprise you, this ram is new from center up! Don't forget this is DDR2 memory and while physically the same size, DDR2 DIMMs have more pins (240 vs 184 for DDR) and run on a lower voltage (around 1.8-2.0V vs 2.5V for DDR). Mushkin's DDR2 memory is designed for use in the latest generation motherboards.
  • MSI K8N Diamond - SLi Motherboard - What really makes the K8N Diamond stand out from the crowd is the onboard SoundBlaster Live! 24bit 7.1-channel audio chip. This is the first time since the SoundBlaster PCI 128 that I have seen a Creative chip on a motherboard. Buying a SoundBlaster Live! 24bit 7.1 card would set you back in the region of L30, so this is not a top of the range solution. However, no other motherboard manufacturer can currently offer a better onboard audio solution.
  • BFGTech GeForce 6600 GT OC AGP & PCI-E SLI - BFGTech has put together two very solid video cards based on the NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT GPU. So far, these are the fastest GeForce 6600 GT-based video cards we have tested in a stock configuration. BFGTech wasn't kidding when they said these cards were "OC" video cards. Both the AGP and PCI-Express versions have a faster GPU and memory frequency than a standard GeForce 6600 GT, and the benchmark results show it.
  • Leadtek WinFast PVR 2000 - The Winfast PVR 2000, although trying to turn your computer into a true entertainment machihe, suffers from some problems, the main of which being the high usage of system resources; Unless the card is installed in a dedicated HTPC computer, it will simply consume too many resources and will not allow the user to do any work in the background.
  • Chaintech GeForce 6200 TurboCache 32MB PCI-Express (passive cooling) - The Chaintech GeForce 6200 TurboCache is the most budget and good performance that suitable for the low end users. The performance of the GeForce 6200 TurboCache is perform very well in all the benchmarking compare to the ATI X300. But, it lose in Far Cry Benchmark especially in the resolution setting of 1600X1200. For the overclocking, the Chaintech GeForce 6200 TurboCache have an increment of 121MHz for the core and 162MHz for the memory. It brings up from the default at 350/700MHz to 471/862MHz. The only bad thing is the poor bundle, anyway who cares as long as the performance of the graphic card is performing good. The onboard memory of 32MB, it able to sharing the system memory and assign up to 128MB for the graphic usage.
  • Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy 4 Pro - If you own any card of the Audigy series it however is not necessary to upgrade at all. The differences are so minor that from a consumers point of view you will not hear the difference. If you are in the market as a professional user and preferably need to record in high quality, well that might make a difference.
  • Samsung TS-H552B 16X DVD-R/RW  - VerumMedia has posted a review of Samsung's TS-H552B 16X DVD-R/RW drive.
  • Gigabyte 3D Cooler Ultra GT - After spending some time with Gigabyte's 3D Cooler Ultra GT, it's hard (name aside perhaps) to fault it. The manual is good, the bundle contains everything you need, installation is easy with all of the retaining clips easily labelled, and most of all its performance under high load is most impressive. Add to that the nifty looks and addition of an LED, and you have a real winner on your hands.
  • Terratec Aureon 7.1 FireWire - The Aureon 7.1 Firewire seems to fall between stools. The sturdy construction indicates that Terratec is aiming at delivering quality and while it succeeds in part, the product as a whole suffers from a lack of focus. Whilst it performs well, it doesn’t offer either enough features for the musician or enough for the gamer to make it a compelling purchase.
  • Klipsch ProMedia GMX A-2.1 - HEXUS has posted a review of the Klipsch ProMedia GMX A-2.1 speakers.
  • AL Tech AnyDrive Car MP3 FM Transmitter -  Basically it's a USB-driven radio that lets you tune your car stereo to a specified station to listen to music stored on a USB device. It's pretty robust in its abilities (you can also have it transmit audio to a home audio system or PC speakers via FM or direct connection), but those require more accessories.
  • 1GB Lexar High-Speed 32X SD memory card - If you purchased a digital camera, chances are the memory card was of low capacity. You will no doubt discover this is simply not enough memory to do any serious shooting. This is where the Lexar 1GB High-Speed 32X comes in.
  • Creative Zen Micro 5GB - Creative Zen Micro 5GB - With a removable 12-hour battery pack, 5GB hard drive, FM radio, voice recorder, organizer, DRM 10 compatibility, and ten colors to choose from, the micro-Zen is aimed to compete with Apple iPod Mini

GUIDES... 

  • Ars System Guide: HTPC edition - Windows (MCE) 2005 offers an attractive, easy-to-use interface combined with hardware support that makes it easier to build an HTPC that is a true media box: TV recording with time shifting and channel guide, streaming audio, DVD-recording and DVD-playback, radio, web browsing, along with all the functions of a standard PC.

SOFTWARE...

  • Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 RC2 - Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Release Candidate 2 (RC2) enhances security infrastructure by providing new security tools such as Security Configuration Wizard, which secures your server for role based operations, improved defense-in-depth with Data Execution Protection, and a safe and secure first boot scenario with Post-Setup Security Update Wizard.
  • TweakNow RegCleaner 2.0.7 - After a long period, after installing and uninstalling a lot number of applications, your Windows registry will contain a large number of obsolete entries. This will significantly increase the registry size and thus will slowdown your computer, because Windows will need more time to load, search, and read data from registry. To keep your computer in top performance, it is recommended to periodically clean your Windows registry.
  • eXeem Public Beta version 0.21 - eXeem drops Cydoor and will no longer use 3rd party software - eXeem Public Beta version 0.21 has been released. Most of the bug fixes were done to the network system (nodes). They have also fixed the search crash bug. They added a stop function to new files and they are testing out html type of ads in the program. In this release you will not get any mandatory third party software installed with eXeem.
  • HyperSnap-DX 5.62.04 - HyperSnap-DX 5 (download) is a screen capture and image editing tool for MS Windows. It captures screens from standard desktop programs and even those hard-to-grab DirectX, Direct3D, 3Dfx Voodoo and Glide mode games.
  • ICQ Lite 5.02 Build #2309 Final - release notes ~ download
  • Philips DVDR885P and DVDRW416 firmware - Download new firmware for Philips DVDR885P / Philips DVDRW416K/30. More details can be found on CDFreaks.
  • ATI Tray Tools - ATI Tray Tools is a small utility that can be found in the windows tray which then allows instant access to options and settings.
  • ATi Catalyst AMD64 beta 4 - Next to the release of Catalyst 5.2 drivers ATI also released new AMD64 drivers. Now read this carefully, you need to have a 64-bit (unreleased) Windows XP operating system for this.
 Gameguru Mania News - Feb,09 2005 - tech
ATI CATALYST Drivers v5.2 - tech
(hx) 04:49 PM EST - Feb,09 2005 - Post a comment / read (3)
ATI has released a new ATI Catalyst drivers (release notes / download ~ 23.5MB) bringing them up to version 5.2. The package contains: RADEON display driver 8.10, Multimedia Center 9.03, Catalyst Control Center 5.2 (requires .NET Version 1.1 Framework), HydraVision 3.25.0006, HydraVision Basic Edition 3.25.9006, Remote Wonder 2.5.1 and WDM version 4.07 and Southbridge/IXP Driver.
Issues Resolved in the CATALYST v5.2:
  • 4x4 Evolution2: Attempting to play the game under Windows XP with an ATI RADEON X300/X600 series installed no longer results in the operating system failing to respond when the screen is set to 1600x1200 32bpp and OpenGL Renderer is enabled
  • 4x4 Evolution 2: Display corruption is no longer noticed when having the display set to 1600x1200 32bpp along with the texture detail set to high and split screen rendering enabled
  • Serious Sam: Playing the game under Windows XP results in the display flashing when TRUFORM is enabled
  • The Sims 2: Playing the game Veronaville under Windows XP while having the desktop set to 1024x768 32bpp along with AA set to 6X no longer results in corruption being noticed in the fields
  • Selecting the option; Enable Video Mode, results in the CATALYST CONTROL CENTER not being able to return to the default setting for the Enable Video Mode option
  • Switching language support for the CATALYST CONTROL CENTER no longer results in the slider bar for the engine clock being enabled when the option found in OVERDRIVE is locked
  • Navigating to View->Define a Custom View and deselecting all options found in the 3D option of the Edit Custom View tab, no longer results in the Standard Settings option remaining selected
  • Intermittent failure of the VPU Recover report not being sent is now resolved
  • Double-clicking the slider bar found in CATALYST A.I. no longer results in the Disable CATALYST A.I. option becoming de-selected
  • Disabling 3D preview no longer results in the preview continuing to run on a secondary display device
  • Having the 3D preview running on the secondary display adapter and attempting change display modes, no longer results in the primary display device displaying a black screen and error messages appearing
  • English is no longer the default language when installing the CATALYST CONTROL CENTER under Windows XP Japanese version
  • The CATALYST CONTROL CENTER Version number is now displayed correctly in all localized languages
  • The Display Manager Notification dialog box is now displayed in the correct localized language
  • The OpenGL driver is no longer disabled after boot up when both AGP Read and PCI Read are disabled
Cell technology Interview - tech
(hx) 07:28 AM EST - Feb,09 2005 - Post a comment
TrustedReviews just informed us they have posted a brief interview with Nick Knupffer of Intel UK as he talks about Cell technology and Intel's stand on it:
Speaking to TrustedReviews, Intel UK representative Nick Knupffer was quick to make this point and explained that, "Until actual products come to market we can only speculate on the possible uses of the Cell technology, but it is a large leap of faith to assume that its designers will be able to engage the world-wide community of software developers to create a role in the general marketplace that is similar to the vast impact of the PC."

He continued, "We've seen similar claims in the past and only time will tell whether they come to fruition. Developing software for radically new architectures with new instruction sets is extremely hard, requiring considerable time and often leading to delays in market availability. Intel has a track record of integrating appropriate innovations at the micro-architecture level into the IA platform to deliver performance with compatibility."
 Gameguru Mania News - Feb,08 2005 - tech
Tuesday Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 08:34 AM EST - Feb,08 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Browser Exploit That Doesn't Affect IE - Shocks The World - According to a paper recently published by Eric Johanson of the Shmoo Group, users on most Mozilla-based browsers (Firefox 1.0, Camino .8.5, Mozilla 1.6, etc), Safari 1.2.5, Opera 7.54, Omniweb 5 are victim to a complex International Domain Name [IDN] spoof. This new attack allows an attacker/phisher to spoof the domain/URLs of businesses. Every recent gecko/khtml based browser implements IDN (which is just about every browser except for Internet Explorer). The Smoo Group have created a proof of concept where the links are directed at "http://www.pаypal.com/", which the browsers punycode handlers render as www.xn--pypal-4ve.com.
  • Hold the Phone, VOIP Isn't Safe - VOIP services have attracted few specific attacks so far, largely because the relatively small number of VOIP users doesn't make them a worthwhile target. But security researchers have found vulnerabilities in the various protocols used to enable VOIP. For instance, CERT has issued alerts regarding multiple weaknesses with SIP (session initiation protocol) and with H.323.
  • Spam approaches 95 per cent of all email - The global junk mail plague is to get dramatically worse as criminal spammers take control of victims' PCs and use them as anonymous proxies to send email via their ISPs' mail relay. According to anti-spam organisation Spamhaus the recent increase in this proxy-spam activity is caused by newly engineered versions of stealth proxy-spam software released by spammers. (Ed.note : Yeah, it's pretty sad. That spam costs time and money is hardly new. And totally avoiding spam is virtually impossible - especially for me)
  • MCI accused of harboring spammers - Antispam nonprofit group The Spamhaus Project has accused United States-based Internet service provider MCI of hosting a Web site that distributes malicious software used by spammers.
  • Damning Kazaa Evidence Released - As the Altnet component in Kazaa software keeps track of when a sponsored result is displayed, if the user downloads it and whether the download is successful, it shows that it can track user's details such as IP addresses and the content they are after (at least what is signed). According to Priit, the Kazaa Media Desktop interface developer, it is technically possible to do the same with any file also.
  • Piracy case: log files "don't show downloads" - Universal Music Australia and 30 others are taking action against MP3s4free.net music and charging them with piracy. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the music industry got a court order to see all the log files from the file sharing outfit. In court they claimed that these were proof that music had been illegally swapped. However, during cross-examination the prosecution's expert witness Gilbert & Tobin IT consultant Shane Pearson conceded that the logs did not show anything. All they proved as that people actually visited the site and searched for files, it did not indicate that they had shared music

OFF-TOPIC...

  • New Batman Begins Trailer - You can see the trailer here.
  • US brewer adds caffeine to beer - A US brewer is set to exploit Britain's mooted 24/7 licensing laws by launching a caffeine-laced beer. Anheuser-Busch's 4.5 per cent "BE" brew boasts a hit of caffeine equivalent to half a cup of coffee, plus ginseng and Brazilian fatigue-busting guarana
  • Take The AQ Test - Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues at Cambridge's Autism Research Centre have created the Autism-Spectrum Quotient, or AQ, as a measure of the extent of autistic traits in adults. In the first major trial using the test, the average score in the control group was 16.4. Eighty percent of those diagnosed with autism or a related disorder scored 32 or higher. The test is not a means for making a diagnosis, however, and many who score above 32 and even meet the diagnostic criteria for mild autism or Asperger's report no difficulty functioning in their everyday lives.
  • Getting with the hottie! - Check out this weird movie! :)

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Windows XP "Reduced Media Edition" Revealed - Neowin take a look at Microsoft's answer to the controversial EU decision. Microsoft have been forced to remove their Windows Media Player from Windows XP. The product which was originally named "Reduced Media Edition" is rumoured to be renamed after the EU complained to Microsoft officials about their naming strategy.
  • Microsoft: Longhorn beta will arrive by June - The company has said publicly that Beta 1 of Longhorn would arrive by the end of 2005, though internally, the company has been aiming for a release by midyear. The final version of Longhorn is slated for the second half of next year.
  • Intervideo unveils new 9 in 1 digital media software suite - InterVideo announced the release of MediaOne, "a powerful new digital media software suite that delivers nine multimedia solutions in one convenient package. In addition to integrating the next generation tools consumers need to easily create, share and protect video, photo, music and data discs, InterVideo's new MediaOne includes several customization features." Note: InterVideo DVD Copy does not bypass copy protection. DVDs containing CSS-encryption cannot be copied.
  • Hitachi/Panasonic sign next-gen plasma TV deal - Hitachi and Matsushita (commonly known for its Panasonic branded products) have announced a broad-ranging partnership to develop next-generation plasma TV technology. Under the terms of the agreement the companies will establish standards for PDP module components, and jointly explore whether and how they can work with component manufacturers.
  • Cell Processor Details And First Pictures - The multi-core processor claims supercomputer-like levels of performance with clock speeds in excess of 4GHz. A first prototype of the device expected to power the Playstation 3 has a 221mm² die, uses 234 million transistors and is made using 90nm process technology. The version of Cell announced today contains eight 64-bit floating point processors, referred to as synergistic processor elements (SPEs). Along side these is a 64-bit Power processor capable of running two threads. SPEs take 128-bit operands, split into four 32-bit words. Up to 128 operands can be stored in the register file.
  • Intel Produces One Chip with Two "Brains" -  Intel on Monday said it had completed initial production runs of a chip with two processors-in-one, setting the stage for mainstream marketing of personal computers with two processor "brains."
  • Microsoft says Xbox 2 will not make GDC appearance - The public unveiling of the next-generation Xbox system will not happen at the Game Developers Conference next month, Microsoft has confirmed, leaving E3 in May as the most likely venue for the console's debut.

HARDWARE... 

  • Lexar JumpDrive TouchGuard 256MB - Capable of remembering 10 different thumbprints and 200 password combinations, the TouchGuard allows fast access to any protected file or website. It also doubles as an AES-encrypted flash drive with 256MB of storage
  • Targus Multi-talented USB Docking Station - The use of USB bus to carry video and audio allows the monitor and speakers to remain connected to the station, freeing users from the hassle of disconnecting an array of connectors. The video mode delivers a maximum resolution of 1024-by-768 at 16-bit color either to expand desktop area or simply to use as primary display.  The other interesting feature is the dual 1,000mA Always-on USB ports, which reduce the time needed to recharge USB electronics; and these ports can continue to recharge devices regardless of the laptop power mode.
  • Foxconn e-bot Small Form Factor PC - Due in large part to the single channel memory that the SiS661FX chipset supports, the Foxconn e-bot didn't fare as well against two other Pentium 4 driven SFF PCs such as the Shuttle SB61G2 and Epox eX5-320S. Both of these systems are based around the i865G chipset, which utilizes dual memory channels, providing much more bandwidth for applications to use.
  • Mayhem G5 gaming laptop - Performance of the G5 is certainly great if not excellent - only a few other laptops like Dell's XPS notebook can compete in its arena. But potential buyers of the G5 need to understand that all this turbo-boosted action comes at a severe weight and battery-life penalties, the worst we've seen so far.
  • Gateway 7200XL - Gateway's flagship desktop, the 7200XL is the first system we have seen using Intel's new BTX form factor rather than the well-known ATX form factor. This means that the system should theoretically be quieter and remain cooler than a comparably equipped ATX based system while still being able to handle the best components out there. And Gateway certainly doesn't skimp in that department either. The 7200XL comes with ATI's Radeon X800 XT graphics card, a 3.4GHz Intel processor, 1GB of memory and more. What makes this system even more appealing is its price tag, only $2199.
  • Mushkin 1Gb PC4400 High Perf Dual Pack - OCTools has just posted a review of Mushkin's latest DDR offering, the Mushkin 1Gb PC4400 High Perf Dual Pack. It consists of two matched 512mb DDR modules specifically designed for use on dual channel systems at DDR550.
  • A Comparison Of The Latest Pentium 4 Motherboards - THG take a look at seven different models from companies challenging the market leaders.
  • Leadtek Winfast PX6800 GT TDH - You can pick up this PCI-E 6800 GT for as low as $339.00. The AGP version of this card can be purchased for as low as $379.00. When looking at the price comparison to a 6600 GT for around $200.00 it will be interesting to see the price/performance ratio between the two.
  • XpertVision GeForce 6200TC (PCI Express) - If you are a gamer on the budget, there isn't much of a better choice than the XpertVision GeForce 6200. It's fast, it's cheap, it supports DX9.0 and Pixel-Shader model 3.0.
  • Hitachi Travelstar 60GB 7200RPM - If your mobile drive is a 4200RPM clunker, and you are dealing with large files all day, or if you need to boost up your capacity upgrading your hard drive is a simple, and relatively painless operation. The Hitachi Travelstar 60GB 7200RPM model with 8MB cache is a fine choice for the job.
  • Plextor PX-716A DVD±RW - The PX-716A is the first drive from Plextor with the ability to write to both DVD-R and DVD+R media at 16x. At this speed, the drive was able to write 4GB of data in as little as 5 and a half minutes. While we've seen a few 16x DVD writers that can do it in less time, they are few and far between. The PX-716A also performed very well with other types of recordable media
  • 19 PSU group test - TrustedReviews have a group test comparing 19 different power supplies from a wide range of manufacturers.
  • Thermaltake PurePower 680 Watt - Gruntvill take a look at the HUGE Thermaltake PurePower 680watt Power Supply Unit (PSU). This thing is a beast! Not only is this PSU powerful, but it supports all the newer technology; 24-pin ATX, dual PCI-express, and SATA. Topped with the gun-metal mirror finish and almost silent fans, you can't go wrong adding this PSU to your powerhouse PC.
  • SilverStone's LC10 HTPC Case - It is very important that an HTPC be quiet so as not to be heard when you are watching TV and listening to music.
    Sitting on my couch, about 10 feet away from the TV and HTPC, with no other sounds present in the room, all I could hear was a gentle "whirring" sound coming from the HTPC. You can definitely hear it with nothing else going on, but as soon as I turned the TV on the sound from the HTPC completely disappeared. Good stuff!
  • Altec Lansing XT1: Portable USB Speaker System - If you own a laptop computer and would like a quality stereo speaker system that can be easily packed and taken on your next trip, we recommend that you consider the Altec Lansing XTI USB Portable Audio System. It has a suggested retail price of $129.95, although the actual market price is under $100.00
  • Pentax Optio SV Digital Camera - It's not just the dimensions of the Optio SV that remind me of the Ixus 500, the specs are very similar too, with a five megapixel CCD - although the maximum image resolution is slightly lower at 2,560 x 1,920. But where the Optio SV does have the edge over its rival is in the optical zoom department. Whereas the Ixus 500 has a 3x optical zoom, Pentax has managed to squeeze a 5x optical zoom into the Optio SV - that's
    equivalent to 36-180mm in 35mm language.

GUIDES... 

  • High-End DDR Memory Prices - This week's High-End DDR/DDR2 price list shows continued price cuts to DDR2 modules, along with some interesting price drops on the dual-channel DDR kit side.
  • How Dust Impacts a CPU's Temperature - This article didn't start as an in-depth investigation into dust; it began as a personal investigation into why my CPU temperatures were running so high after a random temp check produced alarming results.
  • Setting up SATA drives with the VT8237 South Bridge, or VT6410, VT6420/1 controllers - check it out
  • WindowsXP Command Prompt - Unlock the enigma that is DOS, and get a handle on the command prompt in Windows XP. PCstats covers the basics, and some commands you ought to know

SOFTWARE...

  • A memory leak occurs in the Virtual Disk Service in Windows Storage Server 2003 (hotfix) - On your Microsoft Windows Storage Server-based computer, a memory leak may occur in the Virtual Disk Service (VDS). When this problem occurs, the VDS consumes the computer's available virtual memory, and the computer's performance decreases. This hotfix does not replace any other hotfixes.
  • Debugging Tools for Windows 6.4.7.2 - You can use Debugging Tools for Windows to debug drivers, applications, and services on systems running Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Windows codenamed "Longhorn," as well as debugging the operating system itself. Versions of the Debugging Tools for Windows package are available for 32-bit x86, native Intel Itanium, and native x64 platforms.
  • Malicious Software Removal Tool 1.1 - The Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool checks Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003 computers for and helps remove infections by specific, prevalent malicious software including Blaster, Sasser, and Mydoom.
  • Slackware 10.1 - The final version of Slackware 10.1 (mirrors) has been released.
  • ICQ 5 5.02 - With ICQ Instant Messenger you can video/audio chat, send email, SMS and wireless-pager messages, as well as transfer files and URLs.
  • DVD Identifier version 3.6.2 - Dvd Identifier retrieves and interprets the pre-recorded information that is present on all dvd media (dvd+r, dvd+r dl, dvd+rw, dvd-r, dvd-r dl, dvd-rw and dvd-ram). Last week's release V3.6.1, caused some compatibility problems with (mostly older) drives due to the new DVD-R dual layer code. This has now been resolved.
  • CloneDVD 2.7.5.1 - The new version 2.7.5.1 fixes problems with "The Grudge", "Alien Resurrection" and if "copy without menu" is chosen plays CloneDVD now all selected titles one after the other.
  • Motherboard tools updated - GIGABYTE EasyTune 5.02 | MSI Core Center 1.7.3.0 | MSI Live Update 3.68
  • zer0point 6697 (NVIDIA) - Zer0point Drivers are modified Forceware drivers, meaning they are NOT supported or endorsed by nVidia, or any 3rd party OEM manufacturers. They are not covered by any warranty or guarantee, and you install them at your own risk. Currently these drivers are for all GeForce based desktop cards.
 Gameguru Mania News - Feb,07 2005 - tech
Sony and IBM Cell technology emerges - tech
(hx) 03:57 PM EST - Feb,07 2005 - Post a comment
The chaps over at The Inquirer have posted some juicy details on Sony and IBM's cell processor (PR):
According to papers to be presented at the ISSCC, the initial Cell chip has a single processing unit that can pass computing tasks out to as many as 8 other processors. Thus, working in tandem, it can process up to 10 sequences of instructions simultaneously. This compares well with rival Intel x86 architectures, which can process just two, according the conference paper.

According to the Journal, Sony and IBM are working on creating a Cell-based workstation for game designers and graphics animators. The big test for the architecture could well be how easy it is to programme for - games houses are unlikely to want to spent huge amounts of time unlearning what they have learned. Sony are due to present the full technical details of the machine in Tokyo next month.
Other Cell numbers include the following:
- The first version of the chip will run at speeds faster than 4GHz. Engineers were vague on how much faster, but reports from design partners say 4.6GHz is likely. By comparison, the fastest current Pentium PC processor tops out at 3.8GHz.
- Cell can process 256 billion calculations per second (256 gigaflops), falling a wee bit short of marketing hyperbole calling it a "supercomputer on a chip." The slowest machine on the current list of the Top 500 supercomputers can do 851 gigaflops.
- The chip will have 2.5MB of on-chip memory and can shuttle data to and from off-chip memory at speeds up to 100 gigabytes per second, using XDR and FlexIO interface technology licensed from Rambus. "One of the key messages you hear from the architects of next-generation chips is that their performance is being limited by off-chip bandwidth," said Rich Warmke, Rambus, product marketing manager. "We've really licked that with Cell. 100GB per second is really unprecedented in the industry."
- The chip will have 234 million transistors, measure 221mm square and be produced using advanced 90-nanometer chipmaking processes.
 Gameguru Mania News - Feb,06 2005 - tech
Sunday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 01:55 PM EST - Feb,06 2005 - Post a comment / read (1)

SECURITY...

  • MySQL Criticized in Wake of MySpooler Worm - In the wake of the MySpooler worm that spread via weak MySQL passwords on Windows installations last week, database users criticized the open-source database for lax security lockdown on installation, saying that it should be held to the same high standards as traditional security whipping-boy Microsoft Corp.
  • W32/Bropia Worm details - This memory-resident worm propagates itself via MSN Messenger by sending a copy of itself using different file names to all available or online contacts. Thus, users of the said messaging program should not accept or open these files to avoid infection.
  • First French P2P "pirate" fined EURO10,200 - Alain Oddoz, a French teacher and one of approximately eight million French people who have downloaded music via the internet, is the first person in France to be sentenced because of illegal file-sharing. In addition to confiscating his computer system and the fact that he was arrested in August 2004 is he condemned to pay EURO10,200 and to take out a series of newspaper adverts to publicize the "crime and punishment".
  • Spammers play illegal XP Windows card  - The cheeky spamsters have still to tweak the spelling and grammar on the e-missive, but the general idea is for you to go to a web site and, guess what, enter your credit card details.
  • New trick boosts volume of spam, strains Internet, experts warn - A new spamming technique could push the volume of unwanted e-mail to new heights in coming months, straining the online communication system, say several experts who monitor the activity of spam gangs around the world. Illegal bulk-mailers have been able to deploy massive blasts of spam by routing it through the computers of their Internet service providers, rather than sending it directly from individual machines, the experts said.
  • Ex-AOL Worker Pleads Guilty - A former software engineer for America Online is charged with selling 92 million screen names and e-mail addresses to spammers. A judge finally lets the guy plead guilty to conspiracy.

OFF-TOPIC...

  • Air Force War Game Aims to Test Space Technologies - The U.S. military on Saturday launched a five-day war game to see how space-based assets such as satellite communications and precision bomb guidance systems would fare in a hypothetical war against terrorism in 2020.
  • Gizoogle.com - This is really interesting website! Check it out! (thaks NeoNSX)
  • Girl who loves Vibrating.. - check it out :)

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Bill Gates Interview - German magazine "Spiegel" has conducted an interview with Bill Gates as he speaks about issues of computer security, competition, software bundling.
  • Is the Half-Life 2 EULA illegal? - More interesting, perhaps, are the legal agreements that surround a purchase of Half-Life 2. One is that no mention of Steam is on the HL2 box or in the End User License Agreement, yet it is required to play. The second is that where a gamer buys a copy of the game for which the CDKey has already been hacked, he will have to wait up to two weeks to get a replacement from Sierra/Vivendi, since shops will generally not take back opened software. The third is that no copy of the game can be sold without paying Valve a $10 fee to transfer the CD-Key to another Steam account.
  • Leaders see video games' chaos reflected in D.C. streets - District of Columbia political, religious and community leaders gathered at a church this week to support a proposed ban on the sale of violent and sexually explicit video games to minors. They summed up their objections in a word: poison.

HARDWARE... 

  • Trapped under ICE: Extreme FX-55 overclocking - When you have the fastest CPU (at stock speeds) on the planet, you just have to push it further, although phase change cooling can get your underway, LN2 is bound to give you the edge. Let's pour a few litres on this blazingly fast A64 FX-55 to see how high it can fly.
  • Kingston HyperX DDR2 5400 - Kingston HyperX PC2-5400 has opened my eyes to DDR2 memory. My initial thoughts were that the performance increase was not going to be something we would see for sometime. I also had the misconception many do about the CAS ratings and how high all of the DDR2 modules seem to be. Yes there are faster and tighter DDR modules on the market, if you are lucky enough to have a motherboard that supports both and you don't OC, you might just stick with DDR memory. If, however, you want to pump up the FSB, Kingston HyperX will fill that request, and wait for the BIOS updates to show you what it is truly made of...
  • EPoX 9NDA3+ Socket 939 (nForce3 Ultra) Motherboard - If you've been looking at the Socket 939 platform for your next big upgrade and still have a workable AGP based video board, the EPoX 9NDA3+ is a motherboard that deserves a very close look. With gaming scores that are nearly on par with the VIA chipset boards available and features that leave others in the dust, it has something for everybody and performs admirably as well.
  • XFX NVidia G-Force 6600 GT 128meg AGP Video Card - If you are contemplating upgrading your video card but do not want to spend 400 dollars, take a close look at the XFX 6600GT. This card performs exceptional and at a moderate price. With the new PCI-e board coming out, this is a logical solution to make your current AGP system perform into the next year, saving up for the new stuff hot off the assembly lines.
  • BFG GeForce 6600 GT OC 128MB AGP - So is the BFG GeForce 6600 GT OC card worth the money? Absolutely. The warranty, the build quality, the enhanced clock speed, the dual DVI out, the GPU and HSI bridge heatsinks, the effective and quiet cooling system, the low CPU overhead during video playback, the impressive 3D performance and the outstanding display output all add up to make it worth the small increase over the cost of a standard GeForce 6600 GT.
  • MSI NX6600-VTD128E Diamond - The real jewel in the crown for this board, assuming it is indicative of these boards as a whole, is overclockability. If the price is right, then this part could become something of a darling for those looking for a bargain in the mid-range video card sector - A board cheaper than a 6600GT but overclockable to beyond 6600GT clocks would be coveted much like the GeForce 6800GT has been at the high-end.
  • AOpen Aeolus 6600 GT - This 6600 GT just like all the others has 128 MB's of DDR III memory, and the NV43 GPU. This card also features a maximum resolution of 2048 X 1536 at 85Hz. The NV43 GPU provides 8 pixel pipelines, and 128 bit graphics core. Basically a reference 6600 GT with a different color PCB and fancy looking HSF.
  • ABIT RX600 Pro-GURU Video Card - Utilizing ATI's X600 design based on ATI's R380 core, the RX600 Pro-GURU features four pixel pipelines and two geometry engines. At stock speed the RX600 Pro-Guru operates with a 400MHz core and 256MB of high speed Samsung DDR memory running at 600MHz Nothing mind-boggling or cutting edge to be found here, however this card can handle all of today's hottest games at modest settings.
  • ATI Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition review - This card is now ATI's flagship card, and has all the features you would expect from a top of the line card, like VIVO, DDR3 RAM, HDTV Decoding, etc. However no matter what the card is capable of, the main thing people purchase these high end cards for is the gaming. So today I am going to tell you about all the features, and show you how the card performs in some of the most popular games out.
  • Seagate 100GB Portable External HDD -  This drive can be found for around $220 out on the e-market. Yes, it is portable and a very good drive, but spending over two dollars per GB of data storage may make many cringe at the thought. This is a product that will suit the needs of many people and that price will not stop them from picking this drive up.
  • Winter Audio Reference: On-Board, Consumer, and Pro Solutions - AnandTech take a look at a cross section of the audio industry. The lineup includes two cards from Creative (the Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro and Audigy 4 Pro), the Realtek Intel HD Audio solution, and the Echo Audio Gina3G. With these cards, we are covering our bases for the consumer add-in market, professional recording, and onboard audio solutions.
  • AOpen Silent Power AO400-12AHN PSU - Maximum peak power output of the AOpen Silent Power AO400-12AHN is 400W. The power supply features over-voltage protection, which apparently shuts itself down to avoid damage in the case of a power surge.
  • Zalman CNPS7700-Cu Heatsink Fan - One of the main features of the CNPS7700-Cu heatsink fan (HSF) is the ability to provide excellent cooling along with near silent operation. The large diameter of the heatsink provides extra cooling to other components located around the CPU socket area, like the NB, RAM modules and voltage regulators
  • ASETEK Waterchill - Asetek's all-in-one water-cooling kit, WaterChill, offers a fantastic way for new users to enter the arena of watercooling. The setup procedure is easy and well documented, and the results in temperature and noise reduction are more than any air-cooling system could offer.
  • Akasa AK-688 Black Knight Heatsink - MikhailTechtake a look at Akasa's AK-688 Black Knight copper heatsink with included 3.5” fan controller/USB hub.
  • I-Rocks IR-7220 Optical Mouse - The I-Rocks IR-7220 Beetle is quite responsive. Light weight and very comfortable to use, it should be a “must have” item for anybody with small hands that find some larger mice cumbersome.
  • Logitech Z-640 5.1 Speaker Set - If you always listen to music and you don't watch movies or play games on your PC, you should consider something other than the Logitech Z-640. Its mid-range is not impressive and you are going to notice it especially when you listen to music. However, if you don't really care much about its rather lacking mid-range, then the Z-640 can be considered. If you are into gaming and watch a lot of movies on your PC as well as on a budget, the Z-640 would probably be your best choice. Z-640's accurate and solid bass is exactly the type of bass that I like.
  • NZXT Nemesis and Nemesis Elite case - The Elite model has a total of three 120mm LED fans (photo). The first is mounted at the front of the case before the HDD cage. It has a 3-pin motherboard connector and is meant to be connected to the LCD display to maintain control as well as monitor the performance of the fan. In fact, the second 120mm fan mounted at the back also has this ability.
  • L.I.S. POP Indicator VFD Display - The IT professional can also use the L.I.S. POP Indicator as a display to quickly assess critical information without having to plug in a monitor.
  • Logisys White Laser LEDs - Logisys' Laser LED kit consists of the cluster with 4-pin pass-through molex connector, a couple optional installation screws, and some velcro. It's available in white, red, green, blue, and UV. Ours was the white version. As it turns out, white lights (fluorescent or LED), the cool kind, look pretty amazing inside a windowed case with white sleeving and other white painted components. If nothing else, it's certainly a departure from the typical blue.
  • Brother MFC-410CN multi function printer - This is a neat little machine, not that much bigger than an A4 page, with a control panel set into its front edge and paper input and output trays below. As with HP's range of ink-jet printers, paper makes a full 180-degree turn during printing. Connection to an individual PC is made via USB or via Ethernet as a network device.
  • Acer AL2671W - 26in Widescreen LCD TV - There's no getting away from the fact that the Acer AL2671W is a fantastic display. It's smart, easy-to-use, and delivers great picture quality. The caveats are having only two Scart connections, the lack of six-pin S-Video inputs, and the uncertainty over HDCP support.
  • palmOne Tungsten T5 PDA - The battery life of the T5 was not the best I have seen, but certainly was nothing to scoff at. The PDA lasted for about four hours and twenty minutes of use with BlueTooth off and the backlight on maximum.
  • Three-CCD semi-professional HDV camcorder - Sony's HDR-FX1E is a true statement of intent. It's only L500 more expensive than the company's DCR-VX2100 and anyone currently considering that model should seriously consider ways of finding the extra money for the FX1E. The FX1E is just as good at shooting DV as the VX2100, so only a small premium is being paid for its HDV capabilities. Sony also has a professional version of the FX1E on the horizon, the HVR-Z1U. Unlike the FX1, there won't be different versions for Pal and NTSC. Instead, one model will support the 25fps and 30fps timebases, along with 24fps via the CineFrame mode. The Z1 could be to the Sony PD170 what the FX1E is to the VX2100 - a killer.

SOFTWARE...

  • Marco's Excel Management Macro 1.1 - It's a Microsoft Excel Add-In (download) with a collection of functions which can be useful in an Enterprise environment based on Microsoft Windows operating systems. The main functions are based on retrieving information from Active Directory, modifying Active Directory and getting information from computers through WMI. Although there are more free tools available nowadays (like ADModify), it can be quite convenient to perform certain tasks directly in Excel.
  • IBindCFG 0.1 - IBindCFG (download), automate disable/enable binding of ms_msclient and ms_server on nic interfaces IBindCfg version 0.1. Usage: IBindCfg [-interface Networkname] [-dis_client|-en_client ClientName] [-dis_service|-en_service ServiceName] [-dis_protocol|-en_protocol ProtocolName][-verbose]
  • Useful tools for Windows - This website has some useful free tools for Windows
  • Free Avast! Virus Cleaner - avast! Virus Cleaner is available free for every user. This tool will help you remove selected worm infections from your computer.
  • Avant Browser 10.0 Build 121 Final - Avant Browser is a fast, stable, user-friendly, versatile web browser. Avant Browser is a multi-window browser which features with many functions such as Pop-up Stopper, Built-in Google Searching, Safe Recovery, Integrated Cleaner and Advanced Browsing Options.
  • Advanced X Video Converter 3.9.18 - Advanced X Video Converter is a comprehensive video software that makes it easy to Convert, Join, and Split video files among AVI (DivX, XviD, MPEG-4 ...), MPEG (MPEG-1, MPEG-2), WMV, ASF, VCD (.dat), SVCD, DVD formats. It can also extract audio track and images from videos.
  • Mozilla Sunbird - Mozilla has finally released the official Sunbird Calendar for mass consumption.
  • eMule 0.45a - eMule (download full install / updates files only) is a filesharing client which is based on the eDonkey2000 network, but offers more features than the standard eDonkey client, because it's opensource but under the restrictions of the GPL License. (thanks nitrox)
  • XP Codec Pack 1.0.1 - XP Codec Pack 1.0.1 includes: AC3Filter 1.01a RC5, AVI Splitter 1.0.0.3, CDXA Reader 1.0.0.0, CoreAAC 1.1.0, CoreFlac Decoder 0.4, FFDShow MPEG-4 Video Decoder 2004.10.12, GPL MPEG-1/2 Decoder 0.1.2.0, Matroska Splitter 1.0.2.4, Media Player Classic 6.4.8.3, OggSplitter/CoreVorbis 1.0.0.0, RealMedia Splitter 1.0.0.9, RadLight MPC Filter 1.0.0.4, RadLight APE Filter 1.0.0.4, RadLight OFR Filter 1.0.0.4, RadLight TTA Filter 1.0.0.2, VSFilter 2.33.
  • nHancer (NVIDIA Profile Editor) - The programmer of this handly little tool was very rather unhappy with nVidia's own control panel, especially with its game profile editing module.
  • ATI FireGL Display driver 8.083 - ATI's FireGL cards are designed to accelerate 3D workstation applications based on OpenGL and Microsoft DirectX 9.0. With full certification on the leading computer aided design (CAD), architecture/engineering/construction (AEC) and digital content creation (DCC) applications, ATI FireGL is the high performance choice for graphics professionals working in Windows. 
  • 2005 New Year Driver Pack Official Released (supports Live, Audigy 1/2/ZS)  - This software pack is a crack/mod based on the original CD of Creative Audigy 2 ZS Notebook & Audigy4 Pro. Please read the followings carefully. They removed the package though. Anyone know a good mirror?
 Gameguru Mania News - Feb,04 2005 - tech
Nightly Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 09:30 PM EST - Feb,04 2005 - Post a comment / read (3)

SECURITY...

  • 13 patches on 8th February - On 8 February 2005 the Microsoft Security Response Center is planning to release  9 security patches for Microsoft Windows, and other for Microsoft SharePoint Services, Microsoft .NET Framework, Microsoft Office, Visual Studio, and Windows Media Player, and MSN Messenger.
  • Windows XP SP2 Vulnerability Patch - Russian company Positive Technologies has released an unofficial utility eliminating vulnerability in SP2.
    FBI's email hacked - The FBI said Friday it has shut down an e-mail system that it uses to communicate with the public because of a possible security breach. The bureau is investigating whether someone hacked into the www.fbi.gov e-mail system, which is run by a private company, officials said.
  • Huge security hole in .Net - According to Gosling, the security hole is based upon the fact that several features of the older languages are ambivalent with regards to security: "C++ allowed you to do arbitrary casting, arbitrary adding of images and pointers, and converting them back and forth between pointers in a very, very unstructured way.
  • Eudora open to multiple high risk flaws - Security consultancy firm Next Generation Security Software (NGSS) has discovered "multiple high risk vulnerabilities" in the Windows version of the popular Eudora email client. According to NGSS representative John Heasman, versions affected include Eudora 6.2.0 and below. Heasman warned that the flaws permit hackers to execute arbitrary code on victims' PCs via previewing or opening a specially crafted email. Hackers can also run malicious programs by opening specially crafted stationary or mailbox files. Testing by NGSS suggested that these issues have been resolved in Eudora 6.2.1 as detailed here. Version 6.2.1 can be downloaded here.
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer .ANI Files Handling ConnectBack Exploit - A remote code execution vulnerability exists in the way that cursor, animated cursor, and icon formats are handled. An attacker could try to exploit the vulnerability by constructing a malicious cursor or icon file that could potentially allow remote code execution if a user visited a malicious Web site or viewed a malicious e-mail message. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could take complete control of an affected system.
  • Painkiller CD-Key Buffer Overflow - The vulnerability is caused by overflowing the buffer that stores the Gamespy CD-key hash for the online server-side authorization. This buffer is 100 bytes long (the Gamespy CD-key hash is long 72 characters), therefore if an attacker uses a longer hash than 100 bytes he can cause the overflow of the buffer.
  • Deceased woman named in file-sharing suit - Gertrude Walton, a deceased eighty-three-year-old woman, was named as the only defendant in a federal lawsuit filed by a group of record companies. They claimed Walton made more than 700 pop, rock and rap songs available for free on the Internet under the screen name 'smittenedkitten.' Needless to say, the suit has since been dropped.
  • FBI Unable to Launch New Computer Program -Audit - The FBI has squandered $170 million on a failed computer system agents can use to instantly share information, and seems to know neither how long it will take nor how much it will cost to build one, a Justice Department audit showed on Thursday. In a harsh criticism of the FBI's efforts to fix a shortfall identified after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Inspector General Glenn Fine said the bureau still relies on an antiquated case-filing system that hampers agents' ability to properly do their jobs

OFF-TOPIC...

  • Why Does Windows Still Suck? - Why do PC users put up with so many viruses and worms? Why isn't everyone on a Mac?....read on
  • Terminator 4 will have no T3 cast - Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines star Nick Stahl, who played John Connor, told Sci Fi Wire that neither he nor his "T3" co-star Claire Danes will appear in Terminator 4. "None of the cast is coming back." Stahl said. "The [T4] story is changing conceptually. I believe it's a jump to the future, so my character will be quite a bit older. That's all that I know. So I'm not coming back, which is a drag." He added that the producers' current plans may not include original "Terminator" series star Arnold Schwarzenegger either.
  • Chinese man grows his own chairs - A Chinese man has patented his technique for growing his own wooden chairs. Mr Wu, from Shenyang City, Liaoning province, moulds branches into shape while the tree is still growing. He uses elm trees which are pliant and do not break easily, reports the China Morning Business View.
  • Global Warming Could Make Mars a Second Home - Greenhouse gases may be a problem on Earth, but injecting them into the Martian atmosphere could make Mars a second home. A team of researchers has proposed injecting synthetic "super" greenhouse gases into the planet's atmosphere to raise its temperature and melt its polar ice caps to provide conditions suitable for biological life.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Europe may have to wait for PSP - According to reports from Reuters and others, Sony may delay its European PSP launch until April--or later. The reports say SCE is planning to focus on the handheld's presence in America and Japan, given that processor shortages are preventing Sony from producing PSPs fast enough.
  • PlayStation 3 Cell chip aims high - Tom Halfhill of the Microprocessor Report has studied patents and other documents relating to Cell, which will be unveiled Monday at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco. He sees a number of chip breakthroughs likely to dramatically boost computing power in everything from game machines to cell phones.
  • France's DiBcom unveils first mobile DTV chip -  French fabless semiconductor company has demonstrated working silicon for a mobile TV demodulation chip. The advance comes as France prepares to begin DTV broadcasts from the Eiffel Tower next month.
  • Group to Divide Linux Standards Base - The Free Standards Group has decided to move away from a single, core LSB (Linux Standards Base) specification, and is instead going to break this down into different modules that can be combined to give a server or desktop LSB standard.
  • Few bugs in MySQL database - A source-code analysis of the MySQL database, a popular open-source program at the heart of many Web sites, revealed few bugs compared with the number found in commercial code, testing company Coverity said Friday.
  • Photoshop Cloning Tool Automatically Corrects for 3-D Perspective - Mok3 has introduced a Perspective Clone Brush plug-in for Adobe Photoshop. According to Mok3's Jan. 31 press release, this plug-in lets graphic designers rapidly clone areas in an image with automatic correction for 3-D perspective and simultaneous correction for differences in lighting and scale in the image.
  • 1TB Disks This Year? - Holographic Versatile Disc (HVD) will be capable of massive storage, as well as transfer rates of up to 1 GB per second. Optware's announced came less than a week after a similar announcement from InPhase Technologies. InPhase recently began shipping its GDS5000 HVD drives based on WORM (Write Once Read Many) technology. A newer version, the Tapestry HDS-200R will be a fully recordable 200GB drive with 20MB per second transfer – it is expected to hit markets later this year.

HARDWARE... 

  • Corsair Ships XPERT Memory Modules with Advanced Monitoring Caps.- Corsair Memory said this week it was shipping its new XPERT memory modules with complex monitoring capabilities that allow users to keep an eye on various critical parameters without using special software or devices.
  • AMD Athlon64 vs Sempron comparion part #2 - At the end of the day the Sempron has proved once again that it is a worthy processor at just $140 US. The final paragraph of my original article when something like this "Bottom-line is the Sempron is an excellent budget processor that is certainly capable of getting the job done. The processor is ideal for office based computers, or for those that only wish to play the odd game now and then. If you are building a budget gaming system I would recommend looking at getting a lower clocked Athlon64 processor. Furthermore if you are into overclocking pushing an Athlon64 processor that little bit further should not be a problem".
  • Certain MSI GeForce 6800 GT Graphics Cards Do Not Comply to Specs - A Germany-based web-site TechPowerUp claimed late last week that at least some of MSI's retail PCI Express x16 graphics cards sold as NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT products had the GeForce 6800 graphics chips on them. The original NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT graphics chip has 16 pixel processors and 6 vertex processors, whereas the GeForce 6800 graphics processing unit employs 12 pixel and 5 vertex processors, thus, delivering lower performance. TechPowerUp! has follow-up information on the MSI 6800GT's that were delivered with degraded performance - MSI delivered 350 of the cards out to the retail chain and has offered "immediate free replacement or full refund" of those cards. The root cause is still not known, as MSI simply cites an "unknown chip problem" but the translated German press release points to the additional bridge chip of the NV45 package.
  • Asus 6600GT SLI - SLI support in games is a total different story, the NVIDIA drivers work in two ways: in AFR (Alternate Frame Rendering) or in SFR (Split Frame Rendering) mode. The first method (AFR) will render the first half on the first card and the second half on the other card. The other method (SFR) splits every frame in two pieces and each card draws one piece. Which method is used depends on each game; NVIDIA selected 100 games and created profiles for each game. If there is no profile for a game then the NVIDIA driver will NOT use SLI. We didnt encounter any problems in the selected tests, but you can always create your own game profiles if there is none present.
  • MSI RX600XT-TD128E - PC Modding Malaysia has posted a review of MSI RX600XT-TD128E.
  • Dual-Layer DVD Burner Round-Up - HotHardware.Com posted a Dual-Layer DVD Burner Round-Up  - They've got drives from Sony, Plextor, BenQ, Lite-On, and Asus.
  • MSI Mega View 561 20GB Portable Media Player  - GideonTech.com has posted a review of the MSI Mega View 561 20GB Portable Media Player

GUIDES...

  • Get a 1000 Mb Gmail account for free - Go to gmail.afraid.org and enter your e-mail address. Then you'll receive an invite to open a 1000 Mb Gmail account for free.
  • ABC's of DVD Drive Abbreviations - The number of different formats available in DVD drives can be confusing to anyone in the market for one. The list is much longer, but to address a few of the common formats, we have DVD-ROM, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM ,DVD+R DL and DVD=B1RW
  • MSFN's Official Unattended XP CD Guide (updated) - Through the course of this guide, you will create a CD that does all the installing for you. The CD will be fully updated with the latest hotfixes, and install all your programs for you.
  • Windows XP Backup Strategies For Home Users - This article is intended to introduce the average user to the various backup methods available and to provide a brief overview of these methods.
  • Networking Basics - In the article they cover all the basics terms and what they mean and look at different types of networks and how they are set up. A network is a group of computers, printers, and other devices that are connected together with cables
  • Beginners Guides: Most Common Ways to Kill a PC - PCstats guides you through the list of the most popular ways by which you will eventually kill your PC, despite your good intentions. This is a good primer for "what not to do" folks. - Version 1.0.0

SOFTWARE...

  • DVD2one v1.5.2 - This software is a 3 step program for putting your favorite movies on to one DVD recordable for backup. This version adds checks to verify the consistency of structures in the IFO files and to correct them if necessary. This solves problems with movie-only copy of Alien Quadrilogy. Also adds program chain analysis to detect and remove damaged parts of the DVD for ARccOS disks like Resident Evil Apocalypse, The Forgotten, Little Black Book, The Grudge and Wrestlemania.
  • K-Lite Mega Codec pack 1.18 - A new version of the K-Lite Mega Codec pack (download) is available. It includes K-Lite codecpack full, QuickTime Alternative 1.40, Real Alternative 1.30 and BSPlayer.
  • Real Alternative 1.30 - Real Alternative will allow you to play RealMedia files without having to install RealPlayer/RealOne Player.
  • QuickTime Alternative 1.40 - QuickTime Alternative will allow you to play QuickTime files (.mov, .qt and other extensions) without having to install the official QuickTime Player.
  • Easy CD-DA Extractor 8.0 (shw) - All-In-One music software (download) - CD-Ripper, CD-Burner, and Music File Format Converter.
  • HDDlife 1.0.14 - HDDlife can work in the prophylactic mode when it checks the health of your hard drives at regular intervals and informs you about the results of these checks in an unobtrusive way. If you get warned about a possible hard drive failure , you will protect yourself against losing your naturally priceless personal data.
  • [!] Total Commander v6.51 Final - Total Commander 6.51 (download) is now available for download. This upgrade corrects some problems, mainly with the new functions introduced with Total Commander 6.50.
  • RadLinker & RadClocker - RadLinker is a tweaker/linker for ATI Radeon based graphics cards. RadLinker allows you to create a "RadLink", a special kind of shell link (a.k.a. shortcut) to your games/programs that allows you to change it's individual settings. A RadLink will look and act just like a normal shortcut except it's property settings can be custom tailored for your video settings.
  •  nHancer (NVIDIA Replacement profile editor) - The programmer of this handly little tool was very unhappy with nVidia's own control panel, especially with its game profile editing module. (requires 1.1 of the .net framework)
nForce4 WHQL drivers v6.39 - tech
(hx) 01:46 PM EST - Feb,04 2005 - Post a comment / read (1)
NVidia has released updated standalone nForce drivers (32MB) for mainboards powered by this chipset.  These drivers includes support for NVIDIA Disk Alert System and general compatibility fixes. (thanks blooduk)
This nForce Win2K/XP driver package contains the below components:
- Audio driver 4.60 (WHQL)
- Audio utilities 4.51
- Ethernet driver 4.68 (WHQL)
- SMBus driver 4.45 (WHQL)
- Installer 4.60
- IDE NVIDIA driver 5.07 (WHQL)
 Gameguru Mania News - Feb,03 2005 - tech
Thursday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 10:17 AM EST - Feb,03 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Antivirus Tools Fool XP's Security Center - Microsoft's Windows XP Service Pack 2 is supposed to improve security. Its Windows Security Center should alert you when your antivirus software is missing or out of date. But in PC World Magazine tests, both McAfee's Internet Security Suite 2005 and Symantec's Norton Internet Security 2005 crippled SP2's ability to deliver accurate alerts immediately after installation. McAfee and Symantec acknowledge that their products intentionally disable the Windows Security Center's messaging feature.
  • Mutated Worm Spreads Through MSN Messenger - A new variant of the Bropia worm is fast spreading through popular Internet chat program MSN Messenger. Computer security companies AhnLab and Hauri said Thursday that they found a variant of the virus which infects users of MSN Messenger by sending itself as a picture file. Infected computers slow down to a crawl. The virus automatically sends itself to others in the users list of contacts.
  • Limited buffer-overflow in Painkiller 1.35 - The bug is about the buffer that must contain the Gamespy cd-key hash for the online server-side authorization. This buffer is limited to 100 bytes (the Gamespy cd-key hash is long 72 chars), so if an attacker uses a longer hash will be able to overflow the buffer.
  • Microsoft: SP2 shimmy's not a flaw - Responding to a Russian security company's claim that it found a way to beat a protective element of Microsoft's Windows XP Service Pack 2, the software giant on Tuesday said it does not believe the issue represents a vulnerability. In fact, the company said the technology highlighted by Moscow-based Positive Technologies was never meant to be "foolproof" and added that the reported flaw does not, by itself, put consumers at risk.
  • The "hacker tool" worm that gurned - The Wurmark-F worm, a variant of Wurmark-D which began spreading last month, arrives as a zipped email attachment and displays a picture of an old man pulling an impressive gurn. Meanwhile the worm installs itself in the Windows system folder, along with a new version of the Rbot worm, which spreads via networks without the need for user interaction.
  • Heise.de under DDoS attack - German tech publication Heise.de has been targeted by a persistent and determined denial of service attack, it says. The origin of the attack is unknown so far, and Heise's publishing house is offering a €10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the attacker.
  • Student Logs Teachers Keystrokes - A 16-year-old student has been charged with a misdemeanor for rigging a keystroke-recording device onto a teacher's computer. School district police received a tip from students that the boy was trying to sell answers to final exams. The District Attorney's Office has charged the teen with breach of computer information, a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and up to 180 days in.

OFF-TOPIC...

  • Antarctic ice sheet is an "awakened giant" - The massive west Antarctic ice sheet, previously assumed to be stable, is starting to collapse, scientists warned on Tuesday. Antarctica contains more than 90% of the world's ice, and the loss of any significant part of it would cause a substantial sea level rise. Scientists used to view Antarctica as a "slumbering giant", said Chris Rapley, from the British Antarctic Survey, but now he sees it as an "awakened giant".
  • Mirror that reflects your future self - In Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, the eponymous subject keeps his youthful looks while the vagaries of age are visited upon his portrait in the attic. Now a digital version of Wilde's idea is being developed to show you what you will look like in five years' time if you take no exercise, eat too much junk food and drink too much alcohol. At Accenture Technology's lab in Sophia Antipolis, near Nice in France, a flat-screen LCD TV linked to a set of cameras and a powerful image-processing computer replaces the portrait described in Wilde's novel.
  • Sex and the single robot - Scientists have made them walk and talk. There are even robots that can run. But a South Korean professor is poised to take their development several steps further, and give cybersex new meaning. Kim Jong-Hwan, the director of the ITRC-Intelligent Robot Research Centre, has developed a series of artificial chromosomes that, he says, will allow robots to feel lusty, and could eventually lead to them reproducing. He says the software, which will be installed in a robot within the next three months, will give the machines the ability to feel, reason and desire.
  • UPN Cancels "Star Trek: Enterprise" - UPN and Paramount today jointly announced the show's cancellation. The show's series finale, which may feature Jonathan Frakes (William T. Riker) and Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi), will air on Friday the 13th of May. The show's fate was probably sealed when last Friday's episode reached only 2.5 million viewers - but even so, the people at EnterpriseFans.com are still trying to raise money for a fan campaign to save the show." 

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Microsoft Goes It Alone With MSN Search; Bill Gates Writes Open Letter Online - Microsoft yesterday unveiled its first, 100% Microsoft-built search engine, MSN Search. Prior to this, Microsoft had relied upon Yahoo's algorithms and search results. MSN Search uses search technology developed by Microsoft alone. They are however still using Yahoo's sponsor advertisement mechanism powered by Overture.
  • T-Mobile & Microsoft launch first 3G device - Today, at the T-Mobile International Press Conference in Bonn, Germany, T-Mobile and Microsoft announced the MDA IV - the first Windows Mobile based 3G device. The T-Mobile MDA IV, is just 100 centimeters squared and offers users access to Pocket Outlook, Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, Pocket Internet Explorer and a choice of GPRS, UMTS and W-LAN connectivity options. The device is expected to be available this coming Summer, prices will be available around that time too.
  • Sun Launches Vision of "The Network is the Computer" - Sun have announced their plans to offer businesses a simple way of doing I.T., by utilising the power of grid computing. For the price of $1 per cpu hour, business customers can tap into massive computer grids run by Sun
  • Gainward drops out of graphics card business - Taiwan-based TNC Industrial has decided to sell the Gainward brand and branch Gainward Europe GmbH to Palit Microsystems for US$1 million and the net worth of the branch office at the end of 2004 (as certified by a CPA).
  • Get 1GB of wireless data for $10 - A new variation of its OFDM based wireless data technology, known as Flexband, has been launched by America's Flarion. The company estimates Lexband will enable existing cellular operators to offer subscribers up to 1GB per month for just $10 per month. That figure assumes around 600 users per cell.
  • MP3.com alum to launch DRM-free music service - The brains behind the original MP3.com and Linspire is gearing up to launch a new online music service called MP3tunes that offers DRM-free downloads
  • HP's 'Crossbar Latch' to Replace Transistors? - Researchers at HP have come up with a new signal technology they claim could replace transistors in computers one day. In a paper published in Tuesday's Journal of Applied Physics, three members of HP Labs' Quantum Science Research (QSR) group demonstrated what they call a "crossbar latch." A latch consists of a single wire acting as a signal line, crossed by two control lines with an electrically switchable nanoscale junction where they intersect. The technology is so small, HP claims thousands of the strands could fit across the diameter of a human hair.

HARDWARE... 

  • Gigabyte to introduce new dual-GPU graphics cards in February - Gigabyte Technology plans to introduce a series of dual-GPU graphics cards built using Nvidia GeForce 6600 chips, following the December launch of its first dual-GPU model, the GV-3D1, according to market sources.
  • OCZ Technology & GeIL Shrinks DDR2 Latencies, Boosts DDR2 Performance - OCZ PC2-5400 DDR2 Enhanced Bandwidth Platinum Edition are designed to function at 667MHz speeds with CL4 2-2-8 latencies, which is significantly lower compared to the company's previous-generation PC2-5400 flavour that could operate with CL4 4-4-12 settings. Also GeIL offers 533MHz DDR2 memory modules with CL3 3-3-8 latency settings in capacities of 256MB, 512MB and 1GB for single-channel packages as well as pairs of such modules as dual-channel bundles. Pricing for such memory is unknown.
  • 1GB OCZ EL DDR PC 3700 Gold Rev. 3 dual channel memory - If you are not looking to spend too much too much money on high end RAM, want to run your FSB at around 230-260+MHz, and don't have a lot of Vdimm to spare, then the OCZ PC3700 Gold Rev.3 is what you want. Reasonable price, great overclockability with great timings, and great looks.
  • GeCube SilenCool X700 PRO 256MB - GeCube pull off silent X700 PRO running with aplomb, for competetive money, by not going overboard on the bundle. If it lies in your price range and silence appeals, be sure and consider it.
  • GeCube Radeon X800XL & X850XT Graphics Cards - TweakTown compare the performance of two new ATI Radeon high-end graphics chips - the Radeon X800XL & X850XT through retail cards from GeCube. After examining each card they compare the performance of each against an nVidia GeForce 6600GT and 6800 Ultra which are what ATI's new cards are aimed at competing against.
  • Leadtek PX6600GT Extreme Version 6600GT PCI-E VGA - Overclockers New Zealand has posted a review of Leadtek PX6600GT Extreme Version 6600GT PCI-E VGA.
  • HIS X700 Pro IceQ Turbo VIVO - The point of HIS's IceQ line of boards is providing this high-performance cooling so that the board does not have to be modified to get every last bit of performance out of it. Bjorn3D has already taken a look at a couple (X800 Pro and X800 XT) of these solutions from HIS, and today I am pleased to present another one - the X700 Pro IceQ Turbo VIVO.
  • SapphireTech Hybrid X800 256MB PCIe Video Card - The X800 comes stock clocked at 390Mhz Core and 350 MHz (700MHz effective) memory. I can already tell you that the Samsung GDDR3 RAM on this card is seriously under-clocked at 350MHz since it is rated for 500MHz (Samsung Part#: K4J55323QF-GC20). With a healthy overclock and the extra 4 pipelines this should be a nice card.
  • NCQ-enabled SATA hard drives comparison - Maxtor DM10 vs. Seagate 7200.8 - The Seagate Barracuda 7200.8, unfortunately, is somewhat disappointing to us. While the drive performs fairly well, only about 5-10% slower compared to our DiamondMax 10, there are no killer features here which elevate the 7200.8 over Seagate's previous generation drives. The drive still just performs “ok”, and was audible louder during testing compared to the DiamondMax 10. While the drive does boast a terrific five year warranty, it can't make up for the fact that the drive runs louder, slower, and is more expensive compared to the DiamondMax 10.
  • SunbeamTech Light-Bus & Laser LEDs - When the loud noise of your water cooling radiator fan rig or high performance heatsink fan bothers you a lot, the fan controller (rheostat) will come to the rescue. When your modded case does not have enough lighting or too much lighting, Sunbeamtech has the Light-Bus for you. In fact, this Light-Bus serves a dual purpose duty in controlling the fans and light intensity plus more.
  • Dlink DWL-2100AP Wireless Access Point - D-Link's latest DWL-2100AP wireless AP claims to push the standard 802.11g 54Mbps speed up to 108Mbps when a compatible D-Link card is used.
  • Logitech MX 3100 Cordless Desktop -  The mouse, keyboard and software are all damn good. Yes, there are improvements that can be made on the software side, but I expected that it will happen sooner rather than later. The keyboard on the other hand, could use a little work. The buttons were really too small, and detracted from what would otherwise be a very good package.
  • Microsoft Optical Desktop with Fingerprint Reader - The really clever thing, though, is that whenever you come across a dialogue box or frequently used website that requires a username and password you can do the same. Just dab one of your registered digits onto the reader, fill in the boxes and whenever that logon presents itself again, all you have to do is scan your finger and the software fills in the username and password boxes for you.
  • Samsung CLP-550 Laser Printer  - ipKonfig.com takes a look at the Samsung CLP-550 Laser Printer.
  • AJP G220 laptop - This G220 is based on a Celeron M processor running at 1.5GHz. This, in combination with the Intel i855GME chipset and the Intel PRO/Wireless 2200BG 802.11b/g wireless network card, means that it gets the Centrino branding. Perhaps AJP could have put together an even more affordable machine if the G220 had used a different chipset and wireless solution, but the fact is that the Centrino branding sells.
  • Japanese Rechargeable USB Flashlight - Japanese Sanwa is selling a USB powered portable flashlight. About the size of a flash drive, the miniature flashlight powers a single LED light for four continuous hours that can be controlled by an On / Off switch, with an even longer charging time of 4.5 hours.

GUIDES...

  • Top Ten Survivor Tips for Active Directory - This 6-page white paper is an easy-to-read compilation of practical information from BMC Software's customers and its own technical staff - including information that you won't find in Microsoft's Knowledge Base. This is for IT managers who dream of really controlling their Active Directory environments.
  • Using Visual C++ Express to Build Secure Applications - Review some of the new language and library features available in the Microsoft Visual C++ 2005 Express Edition that will help you to more efficiently produce secure and reliable code.

SOFTWARE...

  • VIA Releases Automated Game Updating Tool - VIA Technologies and GameShadow today announced the launch of VIA Grease Monkey, an easy-to-use desktop application that ensures up-to-the-minute updates for all of the most popular PC games, eliminating time-consuming online searching and waiting for important updates to download. By simply clicking on the desktop icon, VIA Grease Monkey carries out a comprehensive scan of a user's library of PC games, automatically generating a list of the latest patches, maps, drivers and other key gaming information necessary for the ideal gaming environment. VIA Grease Monkey then provides direct downloads of all the selected updates through a high speed connection, simply and efficiently.
  • Unofficial Windows 98 SE Service Pack 2.0 RC1 - It contains all Windows98 SE updates from Windows Update site and more. It is a self-extracting and self-installing pack like Microsoft's update files. Thus, you cannot choice files individually. However, the pack installs only required fixes for your system.
    Uninstallation is possible from Add-Remove Programs,
  • Microsoft Terminology Assistant 1.0 - Microsoft Terminology Assistant (requires the 1.1 NET runtime) is an windows-based assistant tool to find the translated terminology and its definitions. The TA tool can grab the text on your screen and you can use your mouse cursor to point to the words you are going to query. The tool provides "Dictionary" feature as well. You can input any text you'd like to find and see the definition immmediately.
  • Promqry 1.0 - Promqry can accurately determine if a modern (Windows 2000 and later) managed Windows system has network interfaces in promiscuous mode. If a system has network interfaces in promiscuous mode, it may indicate the presence of a network sniffer running on the system.
  • Weather Pulse - Weather Pulse (download) is a weather monitoring tool that that displays detailed weather information for selected US cities, as well as popular satellite images from around the globe. It includes weather alert options, 10 day forecast, hourly forecast, detailed forecast and more.
  • SkinStudio 4.5 - SkinStudio (download) makes it easy to create new visual styles, you can even draw up your ultimate masterpiece and import it as a template, highlight each part with the mouse to modify virtually any part of the Windows XP interface
  • CCleaner v1.17.90 Final - CCleaner (Crap Cleaner) (download) is a freeware system optimization tool. That removes unused and temporary files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster, more efficiently and giving you more hard disk space.
  • Tray Helper 4.7 - Tray Helper it's freeware application with many features (f/e: email checker, auto mail responder, anti-spam, popup-killer, event reminder and more).
  • MSN Toolbar Suite 2.0.1.1203 Beta - The MSN Toolbar Suite combines several great programs that speed up your search tasks and help you surf the Web. There's now an MSN Toolbar for Microsoft Office Outlook, the MSN Deskbar in the Windows taskbar, and an MSN Toolbar that works in both Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer.
  • MuzicMan v5.0 Build 023 - MuzicMan (download) makes your MP3 music more accessible and easier to manage than anything else around.
  • DU Meter 3.07 Build 200 - DU Meter (download) is an award winning utility from Hagel Technologies which provides an accurate account of the data which is flowing through your computer`s network connection at any given moment.
  • BlindWrite Suite 5.10 - Blindwrite Suite (download) is the best set of tools to reproduce or clone any CD, even protected ones. Blindwrite Suite is the most powerfull tool to create a perfect copy from your original CD for personal private copy.
  • DropToCD (DataCD/DVD) 3.04 - DropToCD (DataCD/DVD) is a very easy to use tool to create a data CD/DVD based on drag & drop technology. Just drag & drop files and folders to a little window and hit 'Burn disc' from popup menu to burn a CD or DVD. Simple as 1, 2, 3. You can create and burn multisession, bootable disc or ISO images, erase rewritable, view and extract sessions from multisession discs and more.
  • AnyDVD 4.5.7.2  - The new version 4.5.7.2 fixes a problem with unrecognised disk changes and disables the information window by default.
  • Realtek ALC AC97 Audio Driver v3.69 - Realtek has a new AC97 audio driver online in the version of 3.69. The driver supports all ALC series audio chipsets from ALC100 up to ALC850 mainly used as onboard sound on various motherboards.
 Gameguru Mania News - Feb,01 2005 - tech
GeForce 6600 GT AGP comparo - tech
(hx) 03:48 PM EST - Feb,01 2005 - Post a comment
The GeForce 6600 GT is the best mid-range graphics option for AGP. But not all GeForce 6600 GT AGPs are created equal. Some manufacturers offer dual DVI outputs on their boards, others serve up unique cooling solutions, and a couple even monkey around with clock speeds. Which card is right for you? TechReport has rounded up GeForce 6600 GT AGP cards from Albatron, BFG, and XFX to find out:
Picking a winner from this trio of GeForce 6600 GT AGP cards is actually pretty difficult, but it's easy to spot the lemon. With a slower-than-stock memory clock, no GPU temperature monitoring, and a Dustbuster-loud cooling fan, the Albatron Trinity GeForce 6600 GT AGP is definitely a card to avoid. Albatron may resolve those issues with a second revision, but until then, you're better off with the BFG or XFX offerings.

Deciding between the BFG and XFX cards is considerably more difficult. On one hand, the sub-$200 XFX card is an incredible value. With a couple of full game titles and dual DVI outputs, you get plenty of bang for your buck. The same can also be said for the BFG card, which costs $50 more, but packs enough extras to justify the higher price tag.
 Gameguru Mania News - Jan,31 2005 - tech
Nightly Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 09:43 PM EST - Jan,31 2005 - Post a comment / read (3)

SECURITY...

  • Flaw found in Windows XP Data Execution Prevention - A Russian security company claims it found a way to beat a security measure in Microsoft's Windows XP Service Pack 2 (exploit), a major update aimed at securing customers' PCs.  The SP2 measure, known as Data Execution Protection, is intended to prevent would-be attackers from inserting rogue code into a PC's memory and tricking Windows into running the program. However, in a paper published Friday, Moscow-based Positive Technologies said two minor mistakes in the implementation of the technology allow a knowledgeable programmer to sidestep the protection
  • Juniper routers exposed to attack - Networking company Juniper Networks is encouraging customers to upgrade their routers to fix a serious vulnerability in its operating system.  Juniper's M- and T-Series routers are affected by the flaw in the version 6 series of Junos, which makes them vulnerable to denial-of-service attacks. Such an attack could allow a hacker to gain access to the router and crucial areas of a company's network.
  • Broadcast crash in Xpand Rally 1.0.0.0 - The problem is caused by an unchecked memory allocation controlled by the attacker that can decide the exact amount of data to allocate through a 32 bits number in his packets. If the memory to allocate is too big the malloc() function will fail and no instructions will check it so the game will try to write into a bad memory zone (0x00000000).
  • MSBlast.b Hacker Gets 18 Months In Jail - Citing neglectful parents and an Internet that she said was a "dungeon" for lonely people, a federal judge Friday afternoon sentenced Jeffrey Lee Parson, a teen hacker who created 2003's MSBlast.b worm, to 18 months in prison, less than half the time prosecutors had requested. U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman added three years of supervision after his release, and ordered him to perform 100 hours of community service. A restitution hearing will be held next month to decide what amount Parson, 19, must pay Microsoft and several individuals to make up damages for his worm.
  • Researchers: We Cracked Car Alarm System - Researchers said Saturday they have found a way to crack the code used in millions of car keys, a development they said could allow thieves to bypass the security systems on newer car models. "We stole our own car, and we bought gas stealing from our own credit card," said Avi Rubin, a professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins who led the research team.

OFF-TOPIC...

  • DOOM: The Boardgame - It is for 2 to 4 players, playable in 1 to 2 hours, based on the groundbreaking DOOM 3 computer game by id Software.
  • Cute Blonde Bunny Video - A video of a cute blonde girl transformed into a Bunny!
  • Several casting announcements for Pirates of the Caribbean sequels - Taggart star Alex Norton (The Count of Monte Cristo) has joined the "Pirates of the Caribbean" sequels cast, reports the Daily Record. The 55-year-old actor will play Edinburgh sea captain Sam Bellamy. "I've only just heard that I got the part of Captain Bellamy. I'm really excited," said Norton, "I start filming in Los Angeles next month. We then head out to the Caribbean island of St Vincent in June and July."
  • First Amendment no big deal, students say -  The way many high school students see it, government censorship of newspapers may not be a bad thing, and flag burning is hardly protected free speech. It turns out the First Amendment is a second-rate issue to many of those nearing their own adult independence, according to a study of high school attitudes released Monday.
  • Terrorist explosive blows up without flames - An explosive sometimes used by terrorists does not burn when it detonates. Instead, its molecules simply fall apart. Triacetone triperoxide (TATP) has been used by suicide bombers in Israel and was chosen as a detonator in 2001 by the thwarted "shoe bomber" Richard Reid. Now calculations by Ehud Keinan from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa show that most of its explosive force comes from a rapid release of gas rather than a burst of energy.
  • Bill Gates Handwriting Analyzed - The BBC is reporting that a doodle left behind at a Davos press conference given by Tony Blair, Bill Gates and Bono shows the writer to be: "an unstable man" amongst other things.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Bill Gates and Paul Allen are in a rare head-to-head fight - Since leaving Microfost in 1983 Paul Allen has pretty much stayed out of cofounder Bill Gates' way. Aside from buying into cable companies and funding a small, unsuccessful foray into educational software, Allen has focused his investments on things Microsoft doesn't invest in--like sports teams, music museums and the film industry. Now, for the first time, Allen is competing directly with Gates for the same business: set-top-box software that lets cable companies offer digital video recording, video on demand and, eventually, shopping.
  • Microsoft To Rename Media Free XP - Microsoft have agreed to change the name of "Windows XP Reduced Media Edition." The European Commission have asked Microsoft to rename the media free edition after fears that the name would discourage people from purchasing the edition. The name is now unknown and Microsoft and EU officials are working together to come to an agreement on the new editions naming scheme.
  • Wireless gaming firms play for big stakes - Wireless gaming is poised to become the most lucrative and prevalent wireless data application, industry experts have predicted. According to the latest research from IDC, gaming will overtake ring-tones in 2005 as the biggest US wireless money spinner and generate sales of nearly $1.5bn annually by 2008.
  • Blackberry use "can damage thumb" - Sales of the L200 gadget, which can be used to email, page and phone, have boomed in recent years with celebrities such as David Beckham using them. But US and UK doctors said repetitive use could cause arthritis or harm tendons in the thumb.
  • More Detail on Firefox 1.1 Plan - Ben Goodger, the lead engineer for Mozilla Firefox, has updated the Roadmap with more detail on the 1.1 Plan.
  • Google is now a domain registrar - Google is now an ICANN-accredited registrar of domain names, providing it with yet another potential line of expansion. The fast-growing search provider is approved to sell names in seven top-level domains (TLDs) including .com, .net, .org, .biz., info, .name and .pro.

HARDWARE... 

  • X850XT available in Canada - You can get some cards of those desirable but expensive cards in Canada. You can find one here but it will cost you $645 but we are not sure which one US or Canadian. You will get Sapphire X850XT 256M PCX with 256M DDR TV-Out DVi-i VIVO Bulk edition for the money. This card is in stock and you can buy it now while it lasts.
  • VIA's PT880 Pro and PT894 series chipsets - TechReport take a look at all of VIA's new chipsets, plus performance test results for the enthusiast-oriented PT894 chipset. Another reviews can be found on Hexus.net and TweakTown.
  • NVIDIA's nForce4 Professional Launch - nForce4 Professional 2200 is the same physical CK8-04 product that nForce4, nForce4 SLI and nForce4 Ultra. It's just advertised as a Pro 2200 to the mainboard components by on-package configuration. Each variant shares the same feature set and performance and all that distinguishes them is their CPU support and whether they officially support SLI. It's an adaptable ASIC that NVIDIA can customise for four markets and four price points, using a single fabricated bit of silicon.
  • SuperWorkstation 7044A-82 - Supermicro's Super Quiet Technology - I'm really impressed with the SuperWorkstation 7044A-82. When you consider the hardware that's installed inside of this beast, you'll be amazed at how quiet the system can run. The fan speed control mode that I settled on was "4-pin Quiet Workstation". I really couldn't discern much (if any) of a difference between that and "4-pin Super Quiet Workstation" therefore I decided to take the slight increase in fan speed.
  • Intel 3.46GHz EE CPU - The chaps over at T-Break take a look at Intel's 1066MHz FSB based Extreme Edition CPU clocked at 3.46GHz and find out how it compares to the current crop of AMD and Intel CPUs.
  • ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE i925XE Motherboard - This is the most overclockable Intel P4 board that money can buy to date. Finally, here's an extreme board that can go the distance as long as you have the right components to go with it. We've never seen any board that can overclock like this out of the box and with such ease".
  • XFX GeForce 6600 GT Dual-DVI - XFX, intelligently, also knew that bigger NVIDIA partners would probably steal the limelight unless it did something special to its package. A pre-overclocked GPU speed was always unlikely, so XFX has gone with video RAM that runs at a full 20% faster than the default 1000MHz. That extra memory bandwidth, totalling 19.2GB/s off only a 128-bit bus, is the reason why XFX's effort is between 5-10% faster than the competition in the majority of our benchmarks. 
  • HIS X700 Pro IceQ Turbo VIVO 256MB PCI-E - Overclockers Online take a look at a card sporting ATi's mainstream PCI-E solution, the HIS X700Pro IceQ Turbo VIVO 256MB PCI-E. This card from HIS is a very impressive package. The card is enhanced with a great cooling solution, software, performance, and features.
  • OCZ 520W ModStream Power Supply - OCZ offers two versions of their ModStream, the OCZ-450 and the OCZ-520. Bjorn3D's review sample was the OCZ-520 that produces 520 watts but is capable of a peak load of 620 watts.
  • 500W Ultra Products X-Connect PSU - In terms of performance, the X-Connect by Ultra Products passed even my high expectations for a good quality PSU; after all, I have personally gone through about 12 of them in my system alone due to unstable voltages, cable clutter and shier noise of the unit.
  • Samsung SyncMaster 243T 24" LCD monitor - Although it seems very attractive to gamers due to its size, it won't provide the best gaming results because it wasn't designed with that in mind. It is a bit weak in the contrast ratio department, which can affect such tasks as editing extremely dark or bright videos, but overall, it is a very convenient monitor to use. This monitor doesn't come light on your pocketbook; you could even buy a good LCD TV with that money!
  • Canon EOS 20D Digital SLR camera - Probably the most notable change however is the newly developed 8.2 megapixel sensor that delivers images up to 3,504 x 2,336 pixels in size, in the same 3:2 aspect ratio as conventional 35mm film.

GUIDES...

  • Intel Centrino Overclocking Guide!  - It is surprisingly easy to overclock. But as you will see, not always successful.
  • U.S. Army Guide to Code Breaking - This manual presents the basic principles and techniques of cryptanalysts and their relation to cryptography. Cryptanalytics is the art and science of solving unknown codes and ciphers.
  • A Faster, Better Behaved Windows XP  - Another Windows XP guide!
  • Microsoft opens Office 2003 XML schemas - Microsoft offers open and royalty-free documentation and licenses for the Microsoft Office 2003 XML Reference Schemas. These Reference Schemas include Spreadsheet (the schema for Microsoft Office Excel 2003), FormTemplate Schemas (the schema for Microsoft Office InfoPath 2003), Wordprocessing (the schema for Microsoft Office Word 2003), and and DataDiagraming (the schema for Microsoft Office Visio 2003). The Schemas provide developers and representatives of business and government a standard way to store and exchange data stored in documents.
  • Disable Hyperthreading on heavy used Virtual Server 2005 servers - Several people internally at Microsoft have commented that you should turn off Hyperthreading when you're running Microsoft Virtual Server 2005, especially under load. It appears that the overhead of scheduling between logical processors gives either no performance gain or even possibly adverse performance effects when the host OS is under a "high load".

SOFTWARE...

  • Crap Cleaner 1.17 - CCleaner (Crap Cleaner) (download) is a freeware system optimization tool. That removes unused and temporary files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster, more efficiently and giving you more hard disk space. The best part is that it's fast! (normally taking less that a second to run) and Free. (thanks ally russell)
  • CineBench 2003 - CineBench 2003 is the free benchmarking tool for Windows and Mac OS based on the powerful 3D software CINEMA 4D R8. The tool is set to deliver accurate benchmarks by testing not only a computer's raw processing speed but also all other areas that affect system performance such as OpenGL, multithreading, multiprocessors and Intel's new HT Technology.
  • MultiRes 1.49 - MultiRes works very much like a 32-bit version of the venerable Microsoft QuickRes 16-bit applet for Windows 95, with administrative scripting facilities and extended capabilities to handle refresh rates and multiple monitors
  • OpenGL Extension Viewer 2.15 - The extension registry is maintained by SGI and contains specifications for all known extensions, written as modifications to the appropriate specification documents.
  • NVIDIA SDK 8.5 - This release of the NVIDIA SDK includes hundreds of code samples, effects, and libraries to help you take advantage of the latest in graphics technology.
  • nVidia nTune 2.00.23 - NVIDIA nTune (version 2.0 of the NVIDIA System Utility) is an easy, fast and safe performance optimization and monitoring application available for your PC. With NVIDIA nTune your system can automatically adjust to maximum performance settings for intense gaming or will detect that you've inserted a DVD and will set the system to quiet operation.
  • Intel Chipset Identification Utility 2.91 - The Intel Chipset Identification Utility provides an easy way to identify the specific Intel chipset that is located on your motherboard.
  • ForceWare 71.80 Win2000/XP - This new driver set was found on NVIDIA's FTP server by one of our forum members. It has been released for NVIDIA's professional card lineup, the Quadro series but the driver supports the entire range of graphice cards to date. These drivers are date stamped at the 20th of January 2005 making them the absolute newest set to date. These drivers are not WHQL (Microsoft tested) signed but do have support for all NVIDIA graphics cards.
  • SiS AGP driver v.1.19a - SiS have released a new AGP driver version 1.19a dated 25/01/05.
AMD Athlon 64 vs. Sempron comparison - tech
(hx) 05:02 PM EST - Jan,31 2005 - Post a comment
Often readers ask if they should purchase a 754-pin Athlon64 or Sempron and is the $50 US price premium worth it for the Athlon64 processor. Legion Hardware has posted pretty interesting AMD Athlon 64 vs. Sempron comparison:
As I suspected the Sempron is not an ideal gaming processor and should really only be used for such applications when coupled with a graphics card with similar power to that of a Radeon 9600 Pro or less. If you were to purchase a GeForce 6600 GT or anything faster than this you would be robbing yourself by using a Sempron processor. While the Sempron is certainly not a slow processor, the $50 US saving is just not worth loosing 25% gaming performance over. The four games that were used for benchmarking all showed at least a 20fps performance drop when using the Sempron processor.

Unfortunately, even the overclocked Sempron configuration was unable to compete with the Athlon64 when it came to gaming. Despite now featuring a 400MHz higher clock frequency, the Sempron system was still around 10fps slower. This was quite surprising given the majority of the synthetic results favored the overclocked Sempron system. While the Sempron is not an ideal gaming processor it is clearly still very capable of decent game play. Therefore if you already have or just purchased a Sempron processor you will not be bitterly disappointed.
 Gameguru Mania News - Jan,30 2005 - tech
GeForce 6800 SLI Performance: MSI's NX6800 - tech
(hx) 03:48 PM EST - Jan,30 2005 - Post a comment
The chaps over Firing Squad have have tested a pair of MSI's NX6800 cards in SLI. Here's a taster:
One key difference between the GeForce 6800 AGP and GeForce 6800 PCI-E is memory clock frequency: while AGP 6800 cards ship at 350MHz (700MHz effective), the memory used on PCI Express GeForce 6800 cards runs 50MHz slower, at just 300MHz (600MHz effective). This means that PCI Express GeForce 6800 cards are effectively giving up 3.2GB/sec of peak memory bandwidth to their AGP cousins, which can have ramifications at higher resolutions (or when AA/AF is used). Of course, PCI Express GeForce 6800 cards have the added ability to be linked together (via SLI) for added performance.

While the stock clock speeds of the 6800's graphics core and its memory pales in comparison to today’s latest high-end and even mainstream cards, the balanced 12-pipe approach NVIDIA has implemented is more than enough to outpace the GeForce 6600 GT, we also got a nice performance boost from overclocking. The GeForce 6800’s arch nemesis, the RADEON X800 XL, is more than a handful for the GeForce 6800 PCI-E, delivering performance that actually rivals the more expensive GeForce 6800 GT. For now the GeForce 6800 PCI-E is somewhat safe, as X800 XL cards are still very difficult to find at retail, and nowhere near their manufacturer suggested selling price, but this will really begin to change next month, as a wave of X800 XL cards from third party manufacturers are coming very soon.
 Gameguru Mania News - Jan,28 2005 - tech
Nightly Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 09:12 PM EST - Jan,28 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • MySQL worm hits Windows systems -  A worm that takes advantage of administrators' poor password choices has started spreading among database systems.  The malicious program, known as the "MySQL bot" or by the name of its executable code, SpoolCLL, infects computers running the Microsoft Windows operating system and open-source database known as MySQL. The worm gets initial access to a database machine by guessing the password of the system administrator, using common passwords. It then uses a flaw in MySQL to run another type of program, known as bot software, which then takes full control of the system. Update: the worm had essentially stopped spreading on Friday, after the systems infected with the program were cut off from the control of several central computers.
  • New Bagle Worms Making the Rounds - Two new versions of the Bagle e-mail worm are spreading on the Internet and through peer-to-peer file sharing networks, according to warnings issued on Thursday by antivirus software companies. The latest Bagle variants, Bagle.AX and Bagle.AY, are the 50th and 51st versions of the original Bagle worm, which appeared in January 2004. Like the first Bagle, sometimes spelled "Beagle," versions AX and AY spread in executable files and infect machines running Microsoft's Windows operating system, antivirus companies say.
  • Microsoft Preps Next Windows Update - Microsoft is preparing to beta test the next revision of Windows Update dubbed v6, or version 6 of the technology. Testing of Windows Update v5 ended late last year and is now operational for all Windows users. Newsgroups for v6 are expected to open within the coming weeks
  • Microsoft to axe Windows 2000 security upgrades - Microsoft has confirmed that there will be no equivalents of its Windows XP Service Pack 2 to boost security on earlier operating systems.The announcement leaves the 50 per cent of Microsoft customers not currently using XP with the choice of upgrading or relying on platforms that will become increasingly less secure.
  • Winamp Squashes Critical Security Bug - America Online Inc.'s Nullsoft unit has quietly rolled out a new version of the popular Winamp media player to plug multiple critical flaws that put users at risk of code execution attacks. The fixes were included in Winamp version 5.08c after a warning was issued last November by private research firm Security-Assessment.com.
  • Norwegian Student Ordered to Pay for Hyperlinks to Music - The AP reports that Norway's Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a student whose Napster.no homepage (no relation to the U.S. Napster, apparently) had links to free Internet music files must compensate the music industry. The around 170 links to mp3s will cost its creator $15,900.
  • Teen Sentenced for Unleashing Blaster Worm - A federal judge sentenced a teenager to a year and half of prison on Friday for releasing a variant of the Blaster worm that was used to attack more than 48,000 computers. Jeffrey Lee Parson, 19, appeared in U.S. District Court in Seattle, where he was also ordered to perform community service, pay restitution and be placed under supervision for three years following the sentence.
  • UK police arrest tsunami donations hacker - The Metropolitan Police has arrested a 28 year-old man from east London over alleged attempts to hack into the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) tsunami donations website. The alleged attempt took place on new year's eve and was identified and blocked by BT, which runs the site's secure payment system. Police arrested the man in London's Bishopsgate and stated that they are currently examining his computer equipment for evidence.
  • Man sentenced over banned game - A New Plymouth man has been sentenced for copying and distributing a banned computer game where the player takes on the role of a convicted murderer .Christopher William Jones has been fined $2,400 and had two computers destroyed after pleading guilty to selling the Playstation 2 game, Manhunt.
  • Man raided by armed cops for using wrong browser - Londonder made a tsnuami-relief donation using lynx -- a text-based browser used by the blind, Unix-users and others -- on Sun's Solaris operating system. The site-operator decided that this "unusual" event in the system log indicated a hack-attempt, and the police broke down the donor's door and arrested him.

OFF-TOPIC...

  • Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Screening Reviews - Initial reviews are up at Ain't It Cool News from a "work-in-progress" screening of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in Pasadena, CA. Reaction seems mixed-to-positive, mostly due to some uneven performances.
  • Episode III Opening Crawl - Here's  the opening crawler text for Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, currently scheduled for a May 19th, 2005 release." In related news, here's a link to a 6.5 minutes funny parody of Star Wars: Episode III.
  • MGM's DVD Class Action Settlement - "Apparently all of MGM's 'theatrical wide screen' DVD releases for the last few years have been the pan-scanned versions with the top and bottoms cut off. I checked this against my copy of CQ, and it's true. The list (PDF) of butchered movies includes almost every Woody Allen film, Silence of the Lambs, and Ghost World, just to name a few. If you own any of the eligible movies, you have until March 31 to either opt to exchange your copy for $7.10, or a new DVD from MGM, presumably in its proper aspect ratio." (thanks Slashdot.org)
  • Microsoft has a record quarter - For the quarter ending Dec. 31, the company reported $10.8 billion in sales, a 6.5 percent increase from the previous year, while profit more than doubled to $3.46 billion, or 32 cents a share after factoring in stock-compensation expenses.
  • Unusual Arctic cold raises fears for ozone hole - The seasonal hole in the Arctic ozone layer could be the worst ever this year if the current cold conditions persist, scientists are warning. Temperatures in the Arctic ozone layer are now the coldest for 50 years and have been consistently low for two months. The ozone layer blankets the Earth at an altitude between 15 to 30 kilometres. It is part of a zone called the stratosphere, and absorbs ultraviolet light
     

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Google, Yahoo Turn On Video Search - Google has officially unveiled a prototype video search that scours the closed captioning text of television shows. Results are displayed with a still image of the video, along with snippets of text that contain the search terms. Yahoo, meanwhile, has ramped up video search efforts of its own in response to Google's move.Still in early beta testing, Google Video has been indexing since December television programming from PBS, Fox News, CSPAN, as well as local San Francisco channels including ABC and NBC. Until licensing is ironed out, users will not able to view the full video clip nor read a transcript of the program.
  • 8mb Broadband in UK From UK Online -  The UK Broadband market could see another high speed shake up from UK Online. The company has just announced plans to launch an 8 megabit broadband service in the UK. With a massive download speed of 8mb, the service comes with a somewhat limited upload speed of 400K yet has an impressive content ratio of 33:1. The service is capped at 500GB per month, and will cost only L39.99 per month. Cable rival Telewest offer a 4MB service for L50.00, which comes free of any caps on usage. UK Online will be offering new sign ups a free wireless ethernet router before the 21st February.
  • Apple / Pepsi in 200 Million iTune track giveaway - Apple plan to give away around 200 million free music tracks with Pepsi’s soft drinks and products, the promotion will start at the end of January. As with the similar deal done with Apple last year codes will be printed on various Pepsi products and each winning code can be used to redeem a free music track.
  • Sony PlayStation 3 Playable by May, Says Report - Sony Computer Entertainment Inc reportedly said its PlayStation 3 console will be functional by May, 2005, confirming earlier available information.

HARDWARE... 

  • AMD readies launch of Sempron 3300+ 754 - It's no secret that AMD is set to convert all of its cut down Sempron microprocessors to a 754 pin format during the course of this year. But TheInqurer's information is that a 754 pin Sempron 3300+ is rolling out this quarter, while it will also produce a Sempron 3200+ using 939 pins for certain accounts only. How imminent is the 754 pin 3300+? Some motherboard companies have already released updates to 754 board BIOSes during this week.
  • nForce 4 TCQ Data Corruption Issue? - It appears there might be a data corruption problem when enabling TCQ on the nForce 4 chipset at least with the Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe.
  • NVIDIA's nForce Professional preview - The 2200 MCP and the 2050 bring the latest technologies to the Opteron platform. These technologies include PCI-Express, Gigabit Ethernet, SATA-II, USB 2.0, and 7.1 AC'97 audio. Let's start by showing you which features each of these chips support.
  • Shuttle XPC SN95G5 - Let's break right into the basic system specs of the SN95G5: Nvidia nForce3 250 Ultra chipset, Socket 939 - AMD, Athlon64/FX CPU, Two (2) ATA-133 ports, Two (2) SATA-150 ports, Realtek ALC 655 6 Channel Audio, One (1) PCI slot, One (1) 8x AGP slot, SilentX 240W power supply.
  • Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe AMD Athlon Motherboard - The Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe motherboard comes packed with all the features you expect including: two PCI Express x16 slots, Dual-channel DDR memory, Serial-ATA 3Gb/s bandwidth, RAID, Dual Gigabit LAN, 8-channel audio and more. The nForce4 supports PC3200 (DDR400) memory in dual-channel configuration using unbuffered DDR or ECC memory. The A8N-SLI Deluxe motherboard has a wide range of overclocking adjustments to allow you to get the best overclocking performance including voltage adjustments & Asus AI overclocking software.
  • DFI 855GME-MGF motherboard - The 855GME-MGF is DFI's latest motherboard creation that is based around Intel's mobile socket mPGA479M technology. DFI chose to use the Intel 855GME chipset, boasting full support for all Pentium M and Celeron M-based mobile processors, DDR RAM operating in Single Channel mode up to speeds of 333MHz officially, and onboard Intel graphics. The 855GME-MGF is feature complete, only requiring a socket mPGA479M based processor, DDR memory, and a PSU for a functional system
  • nVidia SLI Technology - Introduction and 6800 Ultra Performance - You can complain all day long about the price of a top end SLI setup but there is no denying that two GeForce 6800 Ultra's in SLI is going to give you the best gaming experience around. This setup isn't for people with a 17" CRT or LCD that can only support 1280x1024. This setup is for people who own 21" CRTs that play at 1600 and above or Wide Screen LCD owners wanting to game at 1920x1200 without having to worry about having to drop to 16-bit or sacrifice a bit of image quality for a smooth frame rate. With an SLI setup you can play with it all turned on and still be smiling.
  • A8N-SLI Deluxe - SLI Video Card - The A8N SLI Deluxe is Asus' latest and greatest offering for the AMD64 socket-939 platform, utilizing the nForce4 chipset. Asus worked hard to make this board one of the first to market sporting the newest nVidia nForce4-SLI chipset. They also added a huge list of features and accessories that would make anyone in the market for a new system drool. Although at the extreme end of overclocking, the Asus A8N-SLI was not the top dog, it still did allow for a great stable overclock.
  • Gigabyte 3D1 - Aside from that, the question as to whether the Gigabyte 3D1 is a worthy purchase leaves us with the same question as purchasing two 6600GTs in SLI - Is it better to get two 6600GTs for your money, or a single 6800GT. From Hexus.net's benchmark results, that seems to vary on what settings you intend to game at - The 3D1 often seems to have the upper hand in scenarios where raw power is required, but throw anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering into the mix, especially at high resolutions, and suddenly the 6800GT and particularly the 256MB of dedicated memory for the GPU it offers seems a much more sensible proposition.
  • MSI GeForce 6600GT PCIe Video Card - MSI's GeForce 6600GT offering comes in two flavors, the NX6600GT-TD128E, and the NX6600GT-VTD128. The only differences between the two are in price - $187 for the TD128E and $222 for the VTD128, and also in the fact that the VTD128 features VIVO capability while the TD128E doesn't.
  • Maxtor's DiamondMax 10 hard drive NCQ gets 16MB of cache - Despite its strong desktop application performance and speedy transfer rates, the DiamondMax 10's performance in IOMeter is uninspiring. IOMeter is a veritable playground for command queuing, and while the DiamondMax 10's performance improves with NCQ enabled, the drive can't keep up with the Barracuda 7200.7's transaction rates or response times. To Maxtor's credit, the DiamondMax 10 consumes fewer CPU cycles than the Barracuda 7200.7 when command queuing is enabled, but the I/O performance is still a step behind, making the drive less attractive for low-end server and multi-user applications.
  • Seagate Momentus 5400.2 100GB Hard Drive - The 2.5-inch Momentus 5400.2 100GB drive offers extreme storage capacities along with remarkable performance (for notebooks). The 100GB version is estimated to retail for around $200 US with the 80GB retailing for just $140 US.
  • Corsair Voyager: Bouncy Flash Drive - Unlike Verbatim Store 'n' Go series, Corsair's Voyager 512MB version is priced around $57.00, which makes it 22.8 percent affordable than the Store 'n' Go Pro, which retails for $70.00. You may find another flash drive that is less than the aforementioned price, but with Corsair's 10-year warranty and their reputation in the industry, $57.00 is a superb price. Of course, if you are usually careful with flash drives, feel free to invest in a less costing model, since failure rates of flash drives are practically unheard of.
  • Does Hercules' Fortissimo 4 Deliver at 24 Bits? - The Fortissimo 4 is really an update of preceding versions and it delivers no pleasant surprises. However, its performances will live up to the demands of gamers and DVD film buffs who demand high-quality sound for a $70 price point. Further, its main advantage, of course, is that it can handle applications that use 24 bit sound, which is becoming more and more indispensable. IN addition to its generous software bundle, the card does not disappoint.
  • CTX INTERNATIONAL X701A 17" LCD Monitor with Speakers - Even though you may not be looking for a monitor that is reliable when gaming. This is an important aspect to a lot of people who are currently monitor shopping. This monitor has a 14ms response time, which means you can get your game on with out looking for ghosting. Because you won't find any. I have played a number of newer games using this monitor and even though the price is low, the quality is quite the opposite. CTX impressed me again.
  • APC Back-UPS CS 500 - TargetPC have take a closer look at APC's Back-UPS CS 500 Uninterruptible Power Supply and surge protector.
  • Socket's GPS Nav Kit - Are you planning a trip to a place you've never been before? Well, now you can add a complete in-car navigation system to your Bluetooth enabled Pocket PC or laptop wirelessly with Socket's GPS Nav Kit. This handy GPS Device uses MyNavigator software that makes trip planning quick and easy and with audible "turn by turn" instructions.
  • DSC-L1: Sony's Latest Ultra-Compact Digicam - When it comes down to it, the Sony DSC-L1 falls just short of being great. There are several areas in which this camera excels. For example, it has a stylish and solid metal body. In our tests, it proved to have both decent resolution and incredible battery life. In addition, the camera is very fast. With respect to startup, write speed, and shutter lag, this camera is one of the most responsive ultra-compact digicams around. On the other hand, the L1 leaves something to be desired when it comes to image quality.
  • Aigo P880 20GB MP3 Player - Aigo has created a curious product in the shape of the P880 - it has more features than most MP3 players, but the design, implementation and navigation let it down. Strange decisions like having no USB connectivity from the cradle are bizarre and take a lot of shine off the product. The P880's photo party piece is also let down by occasional failure to read SD cards, while the actual process of copying images from an SD card is convoluted at best
  • Sony PlayStation Portable (PSP) review - The fascia of the PSP is dominated by the 4.3in TFT screen and I can pretty much guarantee that you've never seen a display like this on a hand-held device before. The screen has a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio, making it ideal for watching movies as well as playing games, with a resolution of 480 x 272 and a full 24bit colour depth. The screen also incorporates Sony's X-Black coating, so the image is amazingly bright and vivid. The image produced by the PSP display is just breathtaking, and I've yet to show this device to anyone that hasn't been impressed by it.
  • Sony launches a new portable DVD station MV-700HR - Sony Europe has announced the launch of a new portable DVD player for 2005 -  The Sony MV-700HR. Sporting a new portable concept, different from current laptop syles, the Sony screen faces out, taking up less space and provides a convenient new way to watch movies on the go. It comes in 2 colors, silver and black with a 7 inch TFT screen.

GUIDES...

  • Volume Expansion Using Diskpart.exe (updated) - Description of how Microsoft IT regularly uses the Diskpart.exe utility to dynamically increase disk volume capacity on servers running Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Windows 2000 Server. The Diskpart.exe utility extends disk volumes without downtime or application interruption, thereby increasing availability and decreasing costs.
  • Reset lost virtual BIOS password - In a physical machine, you can often move a jumper on the motherboard or remove the battery to reset the CMOS. Obviously a virtual machine doesn't have anything physical like this, but the answer posted up was to "remove the virtual battery". You can't, although I did look through the .vmc (Virtual Machine Configuration) file for a battery setting :-)

SOFTWARE...

  • phpMyAdmin 2.6.1 Final  - phpMyAdmin (changelog) can manage a whole MySQL-server (needs a super-user) but also a single database. To accomplish the latter you`ll need a properly set up MySQL-user who can read/write only the desired database.
  • Spybot Search and Destroy Detection Update 2005-1-27 - Update your Spybot S&D detections without the need for the included WebUpdate.
  • Unofficial Windows 98 SE Service Pack 2.0 Beta 3 - This contains all updates from Windows Update site and more. It is a self-extracting and self-installing pack. It contains only operating system updates not Internet Explorer, DirectX, Media Player or their updates.
  • eXeem Lite 0.19 - Developers this week released a spy-ware free version of popular P2P app eXeem. The official version of eXeem, which entered into public beta this week, is contaminated with an adware app called Cydoor. eXeem Lite 0.19 is smaller - 1.9MB compared to 2.5MB - and promises file trading without search hijacking and pop-up ad bombardment. Unlike eXeem, eXeem Lite is also available to Linux users (who need to run the app using WINE). (thanks ally russell)
  • AutoHotkey 1.0.25.09 - AutoHotkey is a simple yet powerful hotkey (shortcut key) scripting language for Windows. You can customize your keyboard, joystick and mouse with a free automation tool that is backward compatible with AutoIt v2.
  • AntiVir Personal Edition 6.29.00.03 - The AntiVir Personal Edition offers the effective protection against computer viruses for the individual and private use on a single PC-workstation. In order to make possible an easy operation, the AntiVir Personal Edition is developed to the essential points.
  • WinAMP 5.08d - Nullsoft WinAmp (download full ~ lite) is a fast, flexible, high-fidelity media player for Windows. This new version fixes Critical Security bugs in in_mp4.dll and enc_mp4.dll and libmp4v2.dll, n_cdda.dll, HTTP Seeking corrected for webservers that refuse to return Accept-Range.
  • PCMark04/3DMark03&05 patches - PCMark04 Upgrade Patch 1.3.0, PCMark04 Benchmark (Build 1.3.0), 3DMark05 Upgrade Patch 1.2.0, 3DMark05 Build 1.2.0 (Full Version), 3DMark03 Upgrade Patch 3.6.0, 3DMark03 Build 3.6.0 (Full Version).
  • CloneDVD v2.7.1.1 - This latest version 2.7.1.1 (download) support automatic shutdown of your computer and there have also been some minor changes to how the software works
  • ATI Tray Tools 1.0.1.500 - ATI Tray Tools is a small utility that can be found in the windows tray which then allows instant access to options and settings.
  • nForce 6.37 Beta Drivers - These drivers are the mainboard chipset drivers for all nVIDIA nForce based mainboards for Windows 2000/XP/2003 Server.
  • TC NVIDIA Optimized Driver v0.5 - This driver (based on the leaked Forceware 71.50) is been created by NVIDIA Corporation and Modified by TechConnect Magazine.
 Gameguru Mania News - Jan,27 2005 - tech
Half Life 2 CPU Performance - tech
(hx) 06:11 AM EST - Jan,27 2005 - Post a comment / read (1)
AnandTech has posted the third and final part of their Half Life 2 coverage (part#1 / part#2) focusing entirely on CPU performance as it relates to graphics performance in Half Life 2. After all, a $500 graphics card is worthless if it is bound by a slow CPU. Here's a taster:
In terms of the right speed CPU to pair up with your GPU, if you have a high-end GPU (X800 or 6800GT class) then the faster you go the better off you are. Mid-range GPU owners will find that anything the speed of an Athlon 64 3000+ (Socket-939) will offer the best bang for your buck, with diminishing returns after that. If you happen to have an older Radeon 9600/9700/9800 based card, then even an Athlon 64 2800+ will be overkill for your GPU. If you are stuck with one of those older but still well-performing GPUs, don't bother upgrading your CPU unless it's something slower than a 2.4GHz Pentium 4 - you'd be much better served by waiting and upgrading to dual core later on.

The impact of the CPU on gaming performance is in a transitional stage right now. As more games use Half Life 2 style physics we will see similar impacts with regards to CPU performance, but at this point there's a great deal of work being done on multithreading game engines for the next generation of games. So while the games coming in the immediate future may behave similarly to Doom 3 and Half Life 2, it's the games that follow that will truly be interesting.
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