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 Gameguru Mania News - Jun,28 2005 - tech 
Tuesday's Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 11:48 AM EDT - Jun,28 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • First of 15,000 German warez buyers brought to court - The state prosecutor's office of Mühlhausen in Germany has started criminal proceedings against the first of up to 15,000 users who, according to the German society for the pursuit of copyright infringements, have knowingly paid for illegal content on the internet. It is one of the biggest cases of Internet piracy and illegal copying ever discovered.
  • Stream/raped DoS - The following is a DoS proof of concept that can perform both stream and raped attacks. The stream/raped was a denial of service written a few years ago only for *nix machines, this is the porting for Windows. The basic idea of stream/raped attack is very simple. It's a flood of TCP raw packets with ACK flag set or no flag set. This flood isn't much powerful since ACKs are very tiny datagrams but when the target machine receives this kind of packets it replies with an RST packet. So the victim has to reply to all spoofed source addresses with a packet and moreover if the random generated spoofed address doesn't exist or is unreachable, when replying with RST the target machine will also receive an ICMP packet from the first router.
  • Fresh Batch of Bagles Seeding Botnets - Virus researchers are raising the alarm over a new offshoot of the Bagle worm that is attempting to hijack computers for use in botnets. The latest attack was launched in a weekend spam run that attempted to trick Windows users into downloading an executable identified as Bagle.BQ or Mitglieder.CN.
  • Supreme Court finds against file sharing - The US Supreme Court has found against file-sharing software provider Grokster in a ruling that potentially leaves other peer-to-peer networks liable for any illegal content shared by users.
  • Wi-Fi Security Tool Puts Emphasis on Location  - Newbury Networks Inc. this week introduced the latest version of its Wi-Fi security software, which uses both location and behavior patterns to monitor a network for rogue access points. WiFi Watchdog 5.0 is server-side software that uses location technology for intrusion prevention and detection, client protection, and rogue access point containment.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Space Ring Could Combat Global Warming - Though the debate continues around global warming, a new proposal suggests building an artificial space ring around the Earth to block the light of the sun and bring a balance to solar radiation, cloud cover, and heat-trapping greenhouse gases.
  • New Quake For Cell Phones - id Software and publisher Pulse Interactive, is rolling out Quake for a new generation of 3D-enabled mobile handsets.Quake Mobile is in development by Bare Naked Productions for a new generation of mobile phone handsets which feature dedicated 3D graphics hardware. This new advancement allows the phone to display complex 3D environments and objects, representing a leap forward from current cell phones.
  • Sin City DVD to Have Four Covers -  Video Business reports that Buena Vista Home Entertainment will release Sin City on DVD August 16 with four collectible covers--each devoted to one of the anthology-style movie's story lines.
  • New Murderball Clip! - ComingSoon.net has your exclusive first look at a clip from Murderball, a new documentary from THINKFilm, MTV Films, Participant Productions and A&E IndieFilms. Henry Alex Rubin and Dana Adam Shapiro directed the July 8 release.
  • Beethoven symphony #6 free download available from BBC - Symphony 6 will be broadcast on Monday 27th June, and available to download from Tuesday 28th June to Monday 4th July.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Google Launches Next Generation Video Search - Today, Google officially launched video.google.com (download & install Google Video Viewer)Alongside the new site comes a new browser plug-in based on VLC, the open source video player. With the plug-in installed, users can search and view videos marked with a play button (example). Google describe the service as part of their mission to "organize the world's information, and that includes the thousands of programs that play on our TVs every day".
  • Google Earth - Google Maps The World in 3D - Google today relaunched their Keyhole Satelitte Image mapping system as Google Earth. Google Earth combines 3D buildings and terrain wth mapping capability and Google search and is based on Keyhole technology.
  • Future versions of Xbox 360 may include HD-DVD - Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has confirmed that the company is thinking about future revisions of the Xbox 360 hardware already, and may incorporate a HD-DVD drive into the console at some point down the line. While the addition of a HD-DVD drive to Xbox 360 would allow future models to play HD movies stored on the format, it seems unlikely that the extra capacity would be available to game developers, since their titles would then not work on first-generation hardware.
  • Toshiba, Microsoft strengthen ties on DVDs - The two companies said Monday they would consider working together on the development of HD DVD players using Microsoft Windows software, a move that Toshiba hopes will help lower its development costs for the next-generation DVD player.
  • AMD Files Antitrust Suit Against Intel - Advanced Micro Devices has filed a wide-ranging antitrust suit against Intel, accusing it of maintaining its monopoly in the PC processor market by illegally coercing customers around the world into using its products, AMD says. The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, identifies 38 companies on three continents that were allegedly coerced by Intel, including large-scale computer makers, small system builders, wholesale distributors, and retailers, according to a statement from AMD, in Sunnyvale, California. The 48-page complaint alleges that Intel used illegal subsidies to win sales, and in some cases threatened companies with "severe consequences" for using or selling AMD products.

HARDWARE... 

  • ATI's R5-Series Possibly Postponed to August - ATI Technologies confirmed during the last quarter's conference call that its forthcoming graphics processor code-named R520 has been delayed, however, reassured investors and analysts that this Fall it would have a lineup of visual processing units produced using 90nm process technology. ATI code-named R520 VPU is projected to support Shader Model 3.0 and other innovations, which requires a totally new graphics architecture from ATI. Still, general specifications of ATI's code-named R520 VPU are unclear at this time.
  • Single 7800GTX Card Breaks 11K on 3DMark05 - The crucial 11K barrier on 3DMark05 for single card configuration has been broken with ASUS EN7800GTX card running at an insane 702Mhz/1506MHz. The benching rig is made up of AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 @ 3.56GHz, ASUS A8N-SLI Premium (modded), 2 x 512MB GSkill DDR600 and phase change cascade cooling setup.
  • AMD to ship "Fastest overclockable gaming CPU" - AMD has just launched its latest gamer-oriented single-core processor, named the Athlon 64 FX-57. The new chip is to be priced at $1031 USD, and is available directly through AMD, or at most PC stores.
  • Intel Introduces 64-bit Celeron D Chips - A family of Intel's value processors with 64-bit and Execute Disable Bit support includes Intel Celeron D processors 351, 346, 341, 336, 331 and 326 that work at 3.20GHz, 3.06GHz, 2.93GHz, 2.80GHz, 2.66GHz and 2.53GHz. Just like their brethren without EM64T, the new Intel Celeron D are equipped with 256KB L2 cache. The new microprocessors require a mainboard that sports 533MHz processor system bus, is equipped with Socket 775 and has a special BIOS that features EM64T.
  • AMD Athlon 64 FX-57 CPU - Another reviews can be found on AnandTech, SharkyExtreme, Sudhian Media and X-bit Labs.
  • Intel Extreme Edition 840 - With Intel's dual core processors, there's one minor difference between the Pentium D's and the Extreme Edition processor, and that is core support for Hyper-Threading. The Pentium D processors lack support for Hyper-Threading Technology, unlike the Extreme Edition series. Both these processors will operate off of an 800MHz FSB for the time being, though I'd hope to see a move to 1066MHz sometime in the 'near' future
  • Foxconn WinFast 760GXK8MB Motherboard - WinFast 760GXK8MB is a socket 754 motherboard based on the SiS 760GX chipset, aimed to entry level PCs, since this chipset has on-board video based on Mirage 2 graphics engine from SiS (DirectX 8.1)
  • ATI Radeon X850XT Platinum Edition Video Card  - The X850 fits right at the top of the current ATI offerings. With the introduction of the X850, the X800 XT drops out of the picture. With the current MSRP at $549, the X850 XT PE is no economical solution. It is a high performance card at a very high cost. Current street price has this at around mid $400 range which seems more acceptable for some buyers. ATI has marketed this card as the ultimate gaming solution and a must have for any extreme gamer.
  • Sapphire Radeon X800 XL 'Ultimate' vs AOpen Aeolus 6800 - When it comes to game performance however, the Radeon X800 XL GPU showed its strength over the plain GeForce 6800. Across the board the Sapphire took the lead and once features such as FSAA and AF were enabled the 16-pipeline architecture really began to pull away. Perhaps most telling was how the Sapphire was faster than the AOpen in Doom 3, traditionally nVidia's strong suite. The most significant numbers are at the sweet spot of 1,280 x 1,024 with FSAA and AF enabled, with the Radeon a full 9 fps ahead, taking it from a barely playable 34.1fps to a more comfortable 43.1 And with Half-Life 2 the Sapphire numbers are playable at 1,600 x 1,200, though this is with an FX-55, which is unlikely to be paired with this sort of card.
  • Simple Tech SimpleDrive Deluxe 250GB USB2.0/Fire Wire External Hard Drive - Concerning price, the evaluated unit can be purchased o­nline from many o­nline retailers at approximately $200 USD. It may not be the least expensive o­n the market for a 250GB external drive, but considering you are purchasing a product from a well known and respected manufacturer, portability, great performance, dual connection interfaces along with the StorageSync Pro backup and restore utility software, it is a good value in my opinion.
  • Iomega REV Autoloader 1000 - The Autoloader 1000 combines a good storage capacity (350GB) with excellent performance making it a solid alternative to standard tape autoloader devices. It compares very favourably with DDS-4 and DAT72 based products and also brings into play good remote management features.
  • NEC MultiSync LCD1980FXi - What this leads to is a display with a native 1,280 x 1,024 pixel picture that looks larger than it really is, and one that can be used in multi-monitor configurations where only a 24mm - 27mm internally conjoined bezel framework divides up the active screen areas. In other words up to 25 of these monitors can be stacked in a five-by-five matrix where the active pictures aren't too far apart.
  • DISH Network Player-DVR 942 - The DISH Player DVR model 942 is a high definition satellite receiver capable of recording up to 25 hours of high definition or 180 hours of programming on a 250GB hard-drive. However, what really makes model 942 exceptional is the fact that it allows you multi-room capability via one satellite receiver. It also includes DISH's Video-On-Demand Service that provides the capability to 'pause' live TV, record any type of DISH Network programming, skip recorded commercials, and create 'instant replays'.

GUIDES...

  • Understanding video codecs - A codec, in terms of the context of this article, is a software algorithm that compresses digital video and/or audio and also decompresses them for playing. The overriding goal of most codecs is to reduce file size whilst maintaining quality. Most users essentially install a plug-in for their players that decompresses only.
  • CPU's - Just how do they work? - Somewhere deep within your processor, a gate opens, and electrons flow from one terminal to another. How the heck does that translate into a CPU?
  • Firefox Tweak Guide - They cover every functionality aspect found in Firefox, from the very basic appearance and menu options, to advanced customizations in Firefox's behaviour such as caching, net connection handling, plug-ins and web page rendering.
  • Battlefield 2: The Video Card Controversy - As a PC Gamer you expect to upgrade, you expect that at some point your hardware will not run the latest games acceptably. Battlefield 2 does not even give you that option. It attempts to make all non DirectX 9 compatible video cards obsolete. Which means all GeForce 4 and older video cards will not run Battlefield 2. You cannot even start up the menu. Neither Electronic Arts nor the game's developer DICE have any plans to fix this. Even though the GeForce 4 line of video cards has enough horsepower to render the game it is not compatible with Pixel Shader 1.4. Emulation to Pixel Shader 1.3 would easily make the game playable on these cards but redundant texture checks make this difficult to implement.

SOFTWARE...

  • Microsoft Windows XP SP2 Outlook Express Patch - This update addresses an issue in which messages are improperly handled if the subject line contains the word “begin” and a display issue concerning watched threads in newsgroups. This update also addresses two issues in which Outlook Express stops responding. After you install this update, you may have to restart your computer.
  • Microsoft Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP - The Microsoft Shared Computer Toolkit for Windows XP provides a simple and effective way to defend shared computers from untrusted users and malicious software, safeguard system resources, and enhance and simplify the user experience. The Toolkit runs on genuine copies of Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home Edition, and Windows XP Tablet PC Edition.
  • BOSS - BSI Open Source Security Suite - Germany's Federal Office for Security in Information Technology (BSI) has developed a free, open-source based security toolkit, aimed for public and private sector companies as solution for security auditing. The tool named BSI Open Source Security Suite (BOSS) is based on Knoppix Linux distribution and includes open source security tools : Nessus Open Source Vulnerability Scanner, Security Local Auditing Daemon (SLAD) which manages a range of security software, such as Tiger, John-The-Ripper, Tripwire, LSOF, ClamAV Antivirus and Chkrootkit.
  • VideoLAN 0.8.2  - This new release (download Win32 / MacOSX)  features many imporvements including a full playlist rewrite, improved preferences, Mac OS X Tiger compatibility, a brand new Internet Explorer ActiveX plugin, a port to Pocket PC, mosaic picture in picture system, easy snapshots.
  • MetaProducts Mass Downloader 3.1.607 SR1 - MetaProducts Mass Downloader (download) is a download manager application that allows you to download individual files (or lists of files) from Internet sites at the maximum available speed. Download resume is supported. Multiple channels technology significantly reduces download time.
  • [!] Futuremark PCMark 05 - PCMark05 enables truly objective performance comparisons between the latest PC platforms and architectures and supports all the latest technologies. PCMark05 features tests with advanced threading which enable accurate benchmarking of the latest PCs with multi-core and hyper-threaded CPUs.
  • Crazy Browser 2.0 - Crazy Browser (download) is a powerful Web browser. It provides many features that make surfing the web more comfortable and less confusing. Web pages are organized on tabs to prevent your screen from getting cluttered.
  • KlipFolio 3.0a Beta - Serence KlipFolio (download) is a free information delivery and notification application that lets you view and manage Klip information services right on your desktop
  • FileZilla 2.2.14b - FileZilla (download) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface
  • Riva Tuner v2.0 RC15.6 - RivaTuner (download) is the most powerful tweaking utility for NVIDIA and ATI display adapters running under Windows. The purpose of this utility is to give you access to all the undocumented features of ForceWare and Catalyst drivers.
 Gameguru Mania News - Jun,27 2005 - tech
AMD's Athlon 64 FX-57 processor - tech
(hx) 10:45 AM EDT - Jun,27 2005 - Post a comment
The Athlon 64 FX-57 is AMD's latest and greatest single-core enthusiast-oriented CPU, a 200MHz clock speed bump in an era when such an increase is becoming more of a rarity than a regular event. This single-core monster runs at 2.8GHz, which is awfully fast in the world of AMD K8 processors!
TechReport: But I must unleash my spiel, because I really, really would prefer even an Athlon 64 X2 4200+ to the FX-57 for my main system. I play games on that system, sure, but an Athlon 64 X2 at 2.2 or 2.4GHz is plenty potent for real-world gaming. Heck, with the Pentium 4 sucking wind like it is in most games, developers may be forced to keep CPU requirements at a minimum until they make the transition to multithreaded gaming engines. Even before that transition comes in earnest, we may see multithreaded graphics drivers that negate the FX-57's present advantage in gaming performance. Dual-core processors arguably offer better future proofing than the FX-57, as well.

Bit-Tech: We managed to overclock our Athlon 64 FX-57 from its default 2.8GHz clock speed to over 3.0GHz without a great deal of problem by a simple multiplier adjustment. The processor was stable at this speed with a slight increase in core voltage from 1.40v to 1.43v in every application that we threw at it, with the exception of the mother of all torture tests: Prime 95. In order to get the CPU stable in Prime 95 at 3.0GHz, we had to increase the core voltage to 1.54v. We managed to get it stable here for a little over one hour. If you are looking for complete stability, we found that 2955MHz was the highest that we could get Prime 95 to continuously loop overnight. We achieved this clock speed at 211x14.0. With a better cooling solution, we are sure that the Athlon 64 FX-57 will be capable of more than this, much more.

TrustedReviews: So you've got antivirus software running and you're playing a game, perhaps in single player or perhaps on-line. That's two tasks and possibly three, and we're not counting all of the software on your PC that habitually checks back to the mothership for updates. So what you want isn't an FX-57. Oh no, you want the cheaper, better alternative of the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ which is a mere L752 inc VAT. Technically it's a slower processor but in the real world the X2 will deliver better performance that won't leave you shrieking in frustration when one core is hammering away at 100%.
 Gameguru Mania News - Jun,26 2005 - tech
Sunday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 07:42 PM EDT - Jun,26 2005 - Post a comment / read (1)

SECURITY...

  • Hackers probe Outlook Express flaw - The risk of an attack related to a flaw in Microsoft Outlook Express climbed this week, after underground hacking sites began circulating sample code for exploiting it. The exploit, which the French Security Incident Response Team drew attention to on Monday, is designed to take complete control of PCs with certain versions of the Outlook Express e-mail program installed on them, when users visit newsgroups controlled by the hackers.
  • Fresh Javascript Browser Exploit - The latest problem centres around the ability to refresh a page other than the one currently open - if that page has loaded a popup in the first place. It would allow visitors clicking on a malicious link to Hotmail to initially be served with the correct page, before being transferred seconds later to one which looks identical on another server. If the URLs were similar, it's likely many users wouldn't notice the change.The exploit sample below only works on IE: however, tests seem to suggest it may work on other browsers.
  • IE Pop-Up Spoof Won't Get Patched - In the attack, JavaScript is used to display a pop-up window in front of a trusted Web site. The pop-up appears to be part of the legitimate site, but actually is linked to a different, malicious site. A user might be fooled into sending personal information to the scammers. Although the pop-ups could be used by attackers, overlaying multiple windows in a Web browser is a feature, not a vulnerability, according to an advisory posted Tuesday on Microsoft's TechNet Web site.
  • Nuclear secrets go global on the web - A Japanese power plant worker has inadvertently leaked nuclear secrets onto the web thanks to a virus infection. The unnamed employee had stored about 40MB of confidential reports on his home PC. When the system was infected with a virus the details were leaked.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Kick Ass Kung-Fu - Kick Ass Kung-Fu is an immersive game installation that transforms computer gaming into a visual, physical performance like dance or sports. You can fight and defy gravity like kung-fu movie actors - only there's no wires or post-production needed, thanks to the real-time embodied interaction and virtual set technology.
  • Study claims most parents ignore game ratings - BBC News is reporting that most parents don't seem to mind their children playing video games rated for adults

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Internet Explorer 7 Screenshots - Bink.nu has just posted some screenshots of what appears to be Internet Explorer 7 running on a version of Longhorn at Gnomedex. The screenies highlight some of the new RSS features scheduled to be put in IE7, and were obviously taken by a digital/phone camera.
  • Future of HD DVD vs. Blu-ray Battle Still Unknown - Actually, we won't have to wait too long to see who's going to win this battle. Although HD DVD players are expected to be in stores for the holiday shopping season, the backers of Blu-ray think they might still have an ace up their sleeve: Sony Corp. plans to include a Blu-ray drive in its hotly anticipated PlayStation 3 video game console. It won't arrive in the U.S. until next year, but the popularity of the PlayStation franchise might just prove to be sufficient for PS3 to be a smashing success.

HARDWARE... 

  • NVIDIA Forceware 77.72 - SLI without bridge - In fact, even 6600GT, 6800GT and even the 7800GFX can run in SLI mode without the bridge. Although it works, there is a drop in performance. In fact, I heard that 6200 can be run in SLI too. Is this NVIDIA's strategy to ensure its position in both the graphics and platform chipset by introducing this software update ? The answer is very clear. We went ahead and tested our 6600GT with and without bridge on a NF4 SLI mainboard. Previously my system was running 71.89. I removed the bridge and 71.89 was able to allow SLI without bridge to work (preliminary)? Anyway, I installed the 77.72 and rebooted. On startup, it detected an SLI capable system and asked if I want to enable SLI. Yes of course. A pop up window says that Performance will be better if a bridge is installed.
  • Kingston DDR-533 Modules - The Kingston HyperX DDR-533 modules tested demonstrate excellent compatibility with various motherboards on Intel 865P/G and 915P/G, VIA K8T800Pro and NVIDIA nForce 3 chipsets, average overclocking capacity in terms of timings (they allow 2.5-3-3 timings in DDR-400 mode), and good operating stability in these conditions.
  • ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE Motherboard - Considering this motherboard is made for gamers and overclockers alike - a niche market which demands performance and looks, the extras (and extra costs) are well worth it. For the average user however, this motherboard is a little much for what it costs.
  • NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX Video Card - The single slot cooling solution on the 7800GTX is certainly more than pleasing and its power consumption stands on par of the 6800U. However, there are signs where NVIDIA could be offering a higher clocked G70 touted 7800 Ultra when ATI unveils their R520 "Radeon X900" end of next month.
  • Powercolor Bravo X700 and MSI NX6600 - The MSI NX-6600 256mb is a great performer; whilst it didn't outscore the X700 in most of the tests it did provide excellent frame rates across the board. Stability was never an issue and display quality was always great. MSI's bundle is really first class and the volume of things you get with the card is very surprising considering the relatively low retail price of the card.
  • Connect3D X700Pro 256MB PCI-E - The only bad things for this card is the VGA cooler, it was not good enough for a long hours of heaving loading 3D applications. So, a suggestion to change to other VGA cooler is highly recommended for increase the life span for the card and also for better cooling performance.
  • ATI Radeon X800 XL - The ATI X800 XL is backed by 256MB of GDDR3 memory. A 512MB version is available also, but the extra memory does little in terms of real world performance. Like all other videocards currently on the market, the Radeon X800 XL supports S-Video/Composite TV-out as well as component output for HDTV owners.
  • SATA II to the Power of 3.0Gb/sec: Three Drives Reviewed - So what do we think of Hitachi's T7K250, Samsung's HD160JJ, and Western Digital's WD1600JS? For now, SATA300 does wonders for multimedia and content creation. The higher transfer rates help in audio/video data throughput more than in office productivity applications due to the requirements for large amounts of data to be moved. In time, however, we should see improvements in drivers to help reach the true potentials for the new SATA standard.
  • Hitachi Deskstar T7K250 Hard Drive - The Hitachi SATA II drive is a very fast and great performing drive overall, but it cannot nearly perform as a SATA II drive. Being realistic, the SATA II bandwidth (300GB/s) seems impossible to fill with the mere 7,200RPM mechanical drives; they are still unable to fill the bandwidth of SATA 1.0 to begin with. This drive will not stand a chance against a really fast drive, like the WD Raptor 10.000RPM drive, even though it is a SATA 1.0 drive
  • Hitachi SATA II 500 GIG Hard Drive - One such drive (to tantalize you taste buds) is Hitachi's new SATA II 500 GIG monster. Not only does it offer 500 Gigabytes, but also SATA II - 3.0 Gb/s speeds and a 16MB buffer.
  • Portable Storage from Seagate 5GB Pocket Size and 400GB External - Seagate has heated up the competition with a USB 2.0 5GB pocket drive which at first sight looks more like a yoyo and a monster 400GB external drive supporting USB 2.0 and Firewire with push button backup. The poor old 5GB pocket drive from Seagate is about 300% slower than the Firewire version of the 400GB external device but they are in a different league.
  • BenQ DW1625 DVD burner - The drive supports a wide range of media brands and has not shown a conflict with any of the known brands used for this review. Its reading speed is quite good, both with the CD and DVD formats. Unfortunately, it does not support overburning and does not recognize 90mins CD audio.  discs. Error correction is very good and will satisfy most end user's needs, since it managed to flawlesly read all test media inserted, whether that be CD or DVD.
  • BenQ DW1640 DVD burner - Copy protected games were not that easy to rip, but the drive managed to complete any task, especially with PSX games that reported the fastest performance. Unfortunately, the burner cannot back-up SafeDisc 2.9 and above. Burning quality was great, but the drive shows a small preference for the +R media format.
  • LiteOn SOHW-1653SX DVD burner - The 1653SX can write up to 16X with DVD+R media, up to 12X with DVD-R media, and 4X with DVD+RW and -RW. It can also write DL media up to 4X burning speed.
  • Sony DRU-800A DVD burner -  The drive can burn at 16X speed, both DVD+R and DVD-R media. With RW media, the supported speeds are 8X and 6X for the DVD+R and DVD-R respectively. The most important feature is DVD-R DL recording at 4X. DVD+R DL is also at the same speed.
  • Teac DV-W516GB DVD burner - The 16X speed is supported for both formats. The drive's specs also report a 4X DL writing speed and an 8X speed for +RW media, while for -RW media the drive reaches the 6X burning speed.
  • U.S. Robotics SureConnect ADSL Wireless Gateway - Similar to other products of type, the major benefit of the USR9106 is that it allows you to connect your PCs, laptops and other 802.11g or 802.11b devices wirelessly to the Internet and other network resources. The integrated 4-port Ethernet switch also lets you network 10/100 Ethernet devices/computers, and the device works with both Microsoft and Sony's online videogame platforms.
  • eDimensional AudioFX Force Feedback Gaming Headset - The eDimensional AudioFX is certainly a very interesting headset. In addition to the usual functions of providing crystal clear audio reproduction and recording, it also produces vibrations in the earcups for added realism! While vibrating earcups may sound like a stupid idea, they do actually improve the gaming experience by letting you actually "feel" the sound. In addition, the intensity of the vibrations also vary according to the sound. This actually improves audio localization by strengthening the audio cues with vibratory cues.
  • Sony MFM-HT75W 17in Multifunction Display - Dubbed a 'Multifunction' display, the MFM-HT75W offers pretty similar specifications to the likes of the Samsung and Toshiba but there are some major differences. As with the other two the screen has a 15:9 ascpect ratio 1,280 x 768 native widescreen resolution. However, Sony has employed its X-Black display technology, providing a high brightness, high gloss image.

GUIDES...

  • The interactive AMD Athlon 64 / Opteron rating and product ID guide - The guide is really easy to handle: Simply select the line code of your Athlon 64 CPU over the dropdown fields and you'll get the proper values and descriptions in the fields below.
  • Video connectors  - Everything you need to know about video connectors found in PC and CE products: RF, Composite (RCA), S-Video, Component, RGB, VGA and DVI.
  • Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's PS3 - A Hardware Discussion - This article really helps to have an understanding of everything you have read before.
  • HardOCP $1500 system guide Q2-05 -  This system should offer competitive performance for both application and gaming users. Second, let's upgrade an already existing system in the tradition of our previous upgrade guides. This second system will offer a no-holds-barred attention on gaming performance.
  • Apple's OS X 10.4 review - The user-interface is extremely elegant the little eye candy effects make you go wow every time. It seems fairly stable and robust and is designed to offer better protection against malicious software which can lower the costs of ownership over time.

SOFTWARE...

  • Ten Free Games Worth Downloading - You can find plenty of games around the Internet that are completely free - and don't suck! Hard to believe, but read on.
  • Sun Java J2SE Runtime Environment 1.5.0 Update 4 - Java 2 Platform, Standard Edition (J2SE) (release notes) provides a complete environment for applications development on desktops and servers and for deployment in embedded environments. It also serves as the foundation for the Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) and Java Web Services.
  • Power Defragmenter GUI 2.0.105 - Power Defragmenter (download) is based on Sysinternals defragmentation "engine". Basically its just a very advanced GUI for the Sysinternals core application which takes defragmentation process to a whole new level.Very high defragmentation speed, efficiency and ease of use.
  • Microsoft AntiSpyware BETA Refresh (Build 614) - Windows AntiSpyware (Beta) is a security technology that helps protect Windows users from spyware and other potentially unwanted software. Known spyware on your PC can be detected and removed. This download requires (WGA) Windows Genuine Advantage verification, the software is also free for all licensed Windows XP (SP2) users.
  • Futuris Imager 5.2 - Futuris Imager (download) is a compact and simple image viewer. It is capable of opening more then 30 graphical formats, including all popular ones (GIF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, JPEG2000 and so on).
  • DeepBurner 1.6.0.198 Free - The new version of DeepBurner (download) implements a couple of new features, brings some improvements and adjustments as well as fixes of known bugs and errors.
  • PureVideo Decoder 1.02.145 - Watch videos on your desktop PC, notebook PC, or HDTV without the annoying artifacts and imperfections of traditional PC-based video solutions. NVIDIA PureVideo technology (download / release notes ~ PDF) delivers smooth HD video in all formats and with superb picture clarity. And the high-precision subpixel processing enables videos to be scaled to any size so that even small videos look like high-resolution videos.
  • NGO ATI Optimized Driver v2.5.6 - The NGO ATI Optimized Driver is a tweaked version of the ATI Catalyst driver. The main purpose is to satisfy the users with a better performance and better image quality.The Driver has support for all Radeon cards.
 Gameguru Mania News - Jun,24 2005 - tech
ForceWare 77.72 gets WHQL certification - tech
(hx) 05:03 PM EDT - Jun,24 2005 - Post a comment
Along with the GeForce 7800 GTX release NVIDIA released a new ForceWare driver today. It's version 77.72 and it is a WHQL driver (Microsoft submitted tested and approved). You can grab the drivers here.
Release Highlights:
  • Update June 23, 2005 - WHQL Certified driver available for download
  • Support for GeForce 7800 GTX and GeForce 6200 AGP
  • Improved SLI performance and broader SLI validation and optimizations for the latest games
  • Compatible with Intel and AMD dual core CPUs
  • HDTV Display Setup Wizard with preview mode
  • Fullscreen HDTV underscan control panel lets users optimize their high definition television for Windows desktops
  • Allows end users to keep or remove old driver application profiles when the driver is updated
  • Improved TurboCache performance
  • Support for inverse 2-2 pulldown detection and correction when using the the PureVideo Decoder
  • More control when creating custom timings for digital flat panels
  • nView Desktop Manager support during Windows Remote Desktop sessions
  • Microsoft DirectX 9.0c and OpenGL 2.0 support
  • For a full list of other issues resolved, please view the driver release notes.
 Gameguru Mania News - Jun,23 2005 - tech
Thursday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 07:59 PM EDT - Jun,23 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • MSN Hotmail Adds Safety E-Alerts for E-Mail Authentication - Microsoft deployed Sender ID e-mail authentication alerts via a new "safety bar" in the Hotmail user interface to further protect e-mail users from malicious spam and scams.
  • Microsoft starts pushing AntiSpyware updates to some -  If you are running the Microsoft Antispyware Beta software to fight against trojan and spyware programs you probably know that the first version will expire 31 July 2005. "This morning I was surprised to see a notification on my desktop informing of an updated version being available. I immediately downloaded this update and installed. The new version is Microsoft AntiSpyware 1.0.613 and it now expires in 31 December 2005. The latest spyware definition file available is version 5727."
  • Microsoft's anti-piracy program cracked - An Indian researcher has breached the much-touted "impenetrable" Windows Genuine Advantage of Microsoft. Bangalore-based Debasis Mohanty has cracked WGA through an "easy-to-exploit" weakness in the software for generating illegal copies of the Windows XP programme. Mohanty has posted a detailed proof-of-concept programme on the high-profile security mailing list of the software giant, showing how the WGA validation check can be tricked to generate key codes for use on illegal copies of the software.
  • Mass TCP Port Attack Could Be Imminent, Analyst Warns - Researchers at Symantec Corp.'s DeepSight Network have detected a surge in scans on Port 445, an indication that malicious hackers may have already created exploits for a flaw in Microsoft Corp.'s implementation of the SMB (Server Message Block) protocol. In Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, Microsoft uses TCP Port 445 to run SMB directly over TCP/IP to handle the sharing of files, printers, serial ports, and also to communicate between computers. The vulnerability, which was rated "critical," was patched one week ago in Microsoft's MS05-027 bulletin, and the increased noise on that port could be the first sign that a password brute force attack is imminent, Symantec DeepSight warned.
  • Spoofing Flaw Haunts IE, Firefox, Safari  (updated) - A newly discovered flaw in all the major Web browsers could allow Internet scammers to successfully launch phishing attacks, according to a warning from security research outfit Secunia Inc.  The vulnerability, confirmed on fully patched versions of Microsoft Corp.'s dominant Internet Explorer browser, can be exploited by malicious hackers to trick surfers into disclosing confidential information, including credit card and social security numbers. The only two browsers in which the flaw has now been fixed are Opera version 8.01 and the iCab version 3.0.
  • Veritas Patches Flaws in Enterprise Data Backup Products  - Multiple security flaws in Veritas Software Inc.'s Backup Exec data storage product could put users at risk of privilege escalation and denial-of-service attacks, the company confirmed Thursday. Affected products include Veritas Backup Exec 9.x and 10.x, Veritas said in an advisory.
  • Microsoft Tool Blocks Windows Server Update - As it did with Windows XP Service Pack 2, Microsoft is offering businesses a tool to block their machines from being automatically upgraded to Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1. The software tool, available from Microsoft's Web site, will block the software upgrade until March 30.
  • Bank details sold in call centre scam - City of London police are investigating claims that an Indian call centre worker sold personal information on 1,000 UK bank accounts for L4.25 each. The worker told an undercover journalist from The Sun that he could copy more than 200,000 customer accounts a month, containing passwords, addresses, phone numbers and passport details.
  • Microsoft sues German firm over spam - Microsoft has launched a case against a German man believed to be the linchpin of a spam gang. The software maker's legal complaint was lodged against an unnamed company in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany and its managing director, according to a statement (in German) on the Microsoft Germany Web site. Microsoft alleges that the company sent out millions of spam e-mail messages advertising Web site design services, online casinos and pornography.
  • AT&T Plans CNN-style Security Channel - Security experts at AT&T are about to take a page from CNN's playbook. Within the next year they will begin delivering a video streaming service that will carry Internet security news 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to the executive in charge of AT&T Labs.
  • Pentagon Creating A Database Of Students - The Defense Department began working yesterday with a private marketing firm to create a database of high school students ages 16 to 18 and all college students to help the military identify potential recruits in a time of dwindling enlistment in some branches. The program is provoking a furor among privacy advocates. The new database will include personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade-point averages, ethnicity and what subjects the students are studying.
  • Yahoo! Shuts Chat Rooms After Sex Allegations - The Yahoo! website portal has discontinued user-created chat rooms after a news report in Houston revealed that some of the chat rooms were being used to lure minors into having sex with adults.

OFFTOPIC...

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Intel-Based Macs May Run Windows - Apple's decision to abandon IBM PowerPC chips in favor of processors from Intel raises the possibility of new, affordable Apple computers that could boot both Mac OS X and Windows. "Apple will not do anything to prevent it," says Michael Gartenberg, vice president and research director with Jupiter Research in New York. But if you're hoping to load Mac OS X on an existing Windows PC, though, you'll be disappointed.
  • Longhorn Preview - PCWorld tested the 64-bit version of the latest code released to developers (Longhorn build 5048) and have also viewed demonstrations of a subsequent build. The first beta version of the operating system is due for release
  • Company offers workaround for Sony's CD copy protection -  A simple mechanical way for Windows users to defeat SunnComm's MediaMaxx copy protection scheme, used widely in audio CDs produced by Sony BMG, is being offered on request via e-mail by SunnComm itself, the company's vice president of marketing and sales, Scott Stoegbauer, told Tom's Hardware Guide today.  The scheme was developed by SunnComm through its MediaMaxx division in order to prevent listeners on Windows-based PCs from easily making copies of audio CD-based music as MP3 files. Other software currently produced by SunnComm does enable legitimate copies to be made in Windows Media format (WMV), which cannot be (easily) burned to CD.
  • Microsoft Readies Web-Based Communicator - Microsoft is looking to extend the reach of its Office Communicator 2005 instant-messaging (IM) client via a new version that will be completely Web-based. Microsoft is set to kick off on July 15 a first private beta release of what it's currently calling the "Office Communicator Web Access" client, company officials said on Tuesday. The company expects to ship the final version before the end of calendar 2005, officials said.
  • P2P still rules the download scene - According to NPD, P2P (peer-to-peer) downloads are still ruling the net despite increased interest by users in the pay-to download market. To give you an idea of just how skewed the landscape really is, in March of 2005 243 million songs were downloaded from P2P services compared to only 26 million songs that were actually purchased online.
  • DoubleClick Warns Against Ad-Blocking Browsers - The end of free Internet content will come when Web browsers start blocking online advertisements by default, a DoubleClick executive has warned.
  • Google CEO Confirms Online Payment System - Web search leader Google is developing an online payment system but not a direct rival to eBay Inc.'s PayPal, Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said on Tuesday. Schmidt said Google does not intend to offer a "person-to-person stored-value payments system" like PayPal's, in which money briefly resides in PayPal's control during the transaction, but he did not give details of how the Google system would differ.

HARDWARE... 

  • Asus cancels dual-chip GeForce 6800s  - Asus has cancelled the dual-chip GeForce 6800 graphics cards it has been showing off at recent trade shows.
  • FX57: What you need to know - The two main differences between the FX57 and the FX55 will be the speed difference and the price. The FX55 currently costs $855 in 1000 pieces while the FX57 will cost around $1040. AMD now has two parts above the $1000 price barrier. The second is the smallish speed bump of 200MHz to 2.8GHz. Note that the FX55 will continue to be sold and not discontinued as it was the case with the FX51 and the FX53. So the FX57 could be seen as the "Extreme Edition" of its chips. Another more interesting and potentially controversial aspect is the fact that AMD is going to actively promote the FX processor as an overclocking processor.
  • AMD adds 2.2GHz Turion - AMD is expanding its mobile offerings, announcing a new Turion 64 ML-40 processor. Although AMD's press release doesn't detail the chip's specs, PC Watch reports that it runs at 2.2GHz and has 1MB of L2 cache. The ML-40's 2.2GHz clock speed gives it a 200MHz advantage over the next fastest Turion, the ML-37. Both chips have a 35W TDP.
  • NVIDIA to launch 'open driver'? - GeForce 7800 GTX has landed, adding to the range of SLi capable products, and at the mainstream end of the market 6600s now support SLi. NVIDIA's SLi is clearly becoming more flexible, but how can it compete with ATi's CrossFire, which supports using different cards together?
  • eMachines offers cheap Media Center Edition PC - eMachines is entering the media PC business with a T6520 system running Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005. The system has an Athlon 64 3400+, Radeon Xpress 200 chipset, 200GB hard drive, 1GB of RAM, dual-layer DVD burner, and costs only $599-less than most Media Center Edition PCs.
  • Rock Xtreme Ti 3.6 Laptop - Thinking of the Xtreme Ti in strict DTR terms, the overall impression is favourable. You can zip around Windows XP, thanks, in main part, to Rock's use of 2 60GB 7,200RPM laptop drives that are pre-configured in RAID0. Browsing around in 2D mode, the machine felt faster than Dell's Inspiron XPS Gen 2, which shipped with a single 100GB 4,200RPM drive. The screen is a hit-and-miss affair. You'll either love the high-contrast 17-inch (1680x1050) screen or immediately dislike just how reflective the X-Glass-equipped panel is. Rock's got most of the performance bases covered, too, with a fast Mobility Radeon X800 (now XT) card providing decent framerates at the laptop's native resolution. There's also plenty of memory and the optical drive is decent enough.
  • Athlon 64 X2 4800+ Processor - There is no question that AMD has hit the bull's-eye with the Athlon 64 X2 4800+. This processor offers a superb combination of high-end gaming performance, multi-threaded speed, and desktop multi-tasking, all in a package that can run on current Socket 939 platforms. The Athlon 64 X2 4800+ owns the media encoding and multi-threaded tests, and is only a hair behind the 2.6 GHz Athlon 64 FX-55 in pure gaming performance.
  • Athlon Dual Core: Overclocking the 4200+ - The point of this article though is OVERCLOCKING the 4200+, and there is more good news there. Our early 4000+ processors only overclocked about 11 to 12% at stock multiplier. We do have a later 4000+ (that is likely an FX55 at heart) that overclocks about 18% at stock multiplier, which is the one we use in memory reviews. This 4200+, a new speed grade, is doing 22.5% at the start, reaching 2.7GHz on air. That's a 500MHz overclock, and is 300MHz higher than the fastest x2 you can buy (2.4GHz 4800+ and 4600+). This kind of overclocking performance makes the 4200+ a much more attractive option at the $500 you will pay for it - since it will likely reach higher performance levels that a stock 4800+.
  • NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX - NVIDIA's new card, the 7800 GTX, is not only faster than the 6800 Ultra, but also requires 50% less power from your PSU. The card has more than 300 million transistors, which is rediculous and makes it the most advanced Graphics processing unit (GPU) to come from NVIDIA so far. In some gaming benchmarks, the new 7800 GTX showed up to 2.3x the performance of a DUAL-slot SLI Based GeForce 6800 Ultra system. The 7800 only requires a single slot. The card uses the new M$ DirectX 9 Shader Model 3.0 engine and the new 128-bit floating core point which is supposed to provide film-quality vidual effects, such as high dynamic range (HDR) lighting and real-time frame rates. For HDTV fans, the new GeForce 7800 GTX is capable of 1080p HD output and supports both 3:2 and 2:2 pull down and advanced scaling and de-interlacing capabilities, so you can output HD to either a computer monitor or your television.
  • Inno3D GeForce 6200A AGP - Priced at $69, the Inno3D GeForce 6200A draws from two different audiences. One of cost effectiveness and one out of want to get their HTPCs to operate as silently as humanly possible.
  • Lite-On LVW-5045 HDD+DVD Recorder - The main major negative point is the very slow reading and writing performance when it comes to CD-R's and CD-RW's. Although most consumers are likely going to record directly from TV to CD anyway, it would be a very tedious task to build up a CD collection on the player as full each disc takes around 45 minutes to copy over and only full CDs (apart from data CDs) can be copied over.
  • Hi-Touch 730PS - Photo Printer - This is not a normal printer. For a start, it uses dye sublimation to produce a print with no dots - not even under a magnifying glass. You operate it with a small, handheld controller and it rolls sheets of photo paper backwards and forwards under its print head four times for each print. It uses no ink and no toner, but you pay a constant price for each print, no matter how much of the paper is covered. Intrigued?
  • Sipura Analog Telephone Adapter (SPA-2100) - The 2100 would be more accurately termed a VoIP router, since it has 10Mbps Ethernet WAN and LAN ports and contains a basic NAT router in addition to its extensive array of SIP V2 functions. This means it can share a broadband connection among multiple Ethernet devices, although, with only the single LAN port, you'll need to provide a switch to connect more than one.

GUIDES...

  • IPv6 - A Look At The Next Generation Internet Protocol - Internet Protocol Version 6, is the latest incarnation of the TCP/IP standard that increases Internet Protocol's ability to scale to billions of users and Internet appliances. IPv6 will add to the pool of available IP addresses to provide support for a virtually unlimited number of users and devices. The primary value of IPv6 is in its ability to support an application independent Internet.
  • Introduction to Optical Fibers - As the name implies, optical fibers use light to transmit data. At one end of the cable, a LED (Light Emitting Diode) or a semiconductor laser is used as the light source. LEDs can transmit data up to 300 Mbps and is used on short-distance fibers, while with laser the transfer rate can easily reach the Gbps range and is used in long-distance fibers.
  • AGP Bus Tutorial - Intel launched the first version of the AGP bus in July, 1996. That bus worked with a clock of 66 MHz transferring 32 bits at a time, it was fed with 3.3V and operated in two modes: 1x and 2x. The first chipset to support such bus was the Intel 440LX, marketed in August, 1997.
  • Beginner's guide to Linux distros - In a bit of a follow up to the recent media apps for GNU/Linux post, I wanted to give a quick rundown of some major distro's. Even though a lot of people have a hardcore favorite, and swear everyone should use it, I tend to think the situation is more that there are different distro's for different people.

SOFTWARE...

  • WinPLOSION v3.0 beta demo video- WinPLOSION provides a fast method of getting to the window you want when you have several applications running by showing you an exploded view of all windows which are placed on your desktop. One of the most wanted features of WinPLOSION always was to have live updating windows. Now the new version of WinPLOSION supporting live updating windows is almost ready. Those who want to take a look at it may download the demo video. (It shows WinPLOSION V.3 Beta running on an Acer Notebook, 1GHz PIII, 32 MB onboard graphic-card, OS: Windows 2000 SP 1.
  • Windows 98 Revolutions Pack 3.6 (Build 2590) - Windows 98 Revolutions Pack - Add XP styles effects to 98SE only! such as xp toolbar icons startbutton and boot logo plus much much more.
  • RootkitRevealer v1.5 - RootkitRevealer v1.5 has more sophisticated rootkit detection mechanisms, setting the stage for the next round of escalation by the rootkit community.
  • Autoruns 8.0 - This major update to Autoruns separates autostart types onto different pages of the main window, shows more information about images, integrates with Process Explorer, and adds a couple more Explorer and Internet Explorer addon locations, and improves scanning performance.
  • Miranda 0.4.0.1 - Miranda IM (download ~ changelog) is a multi protocol instant messenger client for Windows. Miranda IM uses very little memory and is extremely fast. It requires no installation and can be fitted on a single floppy disc.
  • Skype 1.3.0.51 - Skype (download / rls notes) is the next phenomenon from the people who brought you KaZaA. Just like KaZaA, Skype uses P2P (peer-to-peer) technology to connect you to other users – not to share files this time, but to talk for free with your friends.
  • VideoLan 0.8.2 Beta 3 - The VideoLAN Server (download) can stream video read from a hard disk, a DVD player, a satellite card or an MPEG 2 compression card, and unicast or multicast it on a network.
  • FireTune 1.05 - FireTune for Mozilla Firefox v1.x was developed for an easy and fast optimization of your browsing experience with Firefox
  • Fresh Download 7.32 - Fresh Download is an easy-to-use and very fast download manager software that turbo charge downloading files from the Internet, such as your favorite software, mp3 files, video files, picture collections, etc.
 Gameguru Mania News - Jun,22 2005 - tech
NVIDIA's GeForce 7800 GTX benchmarks - tech
(hx) 06:03 PM EDT - Jun,22 2005 - Post a comment / read (7)
GeForce 7800 GTX is the first video card in the GeForce 7 series, and it is based on a 0.11-micron TSMC manufacturing process. It has 24 internal pixel pipelines, 8 vertex shaders and a 256-bit memory interface. In much the same way as the GeForce 6600 series, the pixel output engines (ROPs) are completely orthogonal, and despite there being 24 pixel pipelines, there are only 16 pixel output engines. But it seems that this is a smart move by NVIDIA, and it allows the 16 ROPs in G70 to have a higher efficiency than those in NV40 and NV45. Here are some conclusions:
BitTech: As we can see from the real world gaming performance, it will ultimately depend on the title. For example, Half-Life 2 showed a relatively small performance improvement over the previous generation GeForce 6800 Ultra, but it was still faster than GeForce 6800 Ultra SLI in both single and dual card configurations. The majority of other titles showed that GeForce 7800 GTX was faster, with the exception of Doom 3 and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, where the additional 256MB frame buffer on the second video card helped to improve performance ever so slightly. We believe that a single 512MB GeForce 7800 GTX would be enough to give GeForce 6800 Ultra SLI a run for its money in these titles, as the issue seems to be more frame buffer related rather than pure pixel pushing power.

TechReport: As for whether or not the GeForce 7800 GTX is a smart buy, that is another question entirely. The 7800 GTX is so powerful, not many current games are able to take full advantage of it. We threw some of the most graphically intense games around at it, at high resolutions with lots of edge and texture antialiasing, and at times, we were barely able to make it slow down. Yes, the 7800 GTX is grand progress on the semiconductor front, but do you want to pay $599 in order to fund GPU research and development? Or $1200 for the big prize of an SLI rig? You're certainly getting a lot of rendering power for all of that money, but not many apps will use it. Perhaps the bragging rights are worth it for some folks, but for playing today's games, I'd probably settle for a GeForce 6600 GT or a Radeon X800 XL. I'm cheap that way, I suppose.

Guru3D: Ehm, let's see what more did I find. Ah, very interesting is that power consumption actually was lower then the Series 6 high end products. Your average 350 Watt PSU is capable enough with the card and an average system. Our Athlon 4000+/512MB/100GB-HD/DVD-Rom/7800GTX based system peaked at just over 260 Watt, charming. What you do need to be aware of is that this little gem requires a really fast CPU though. A high-end graphics card needs a symbiosis with a high-end PC. 3.4 GHz Pentium 4 or a rather sizable AMD64 Athlon 3400+ is something you need at the least for real. Even with our Athlon 4000+ testing rig we ran into CPU limitation here and there
Another reviews can be found on AnandTech, Beyond3D, Digit-Life, ExtremeTech, FiringSquad, HardOCP, Hexus, Hot Hardware, Neoseeker, PC Perspective, t-break, THG.
NVIDIA ForceWare Drivers v77.72 - tech
(hx) 02:15 PM EDT - Jun,22 2005 - Post a comment
A new WHQL Forceware graphics drivers v77.72 (Win2k/XP ~ 19.4MB) are available for download from the official NVIDIA download page. These new drivers are WHQL Candidate and adds support for GeForce 7800 GTX and GeForce 6200 AGP, improves SLI performance and broader SLI validation and optimizations for the latest games and TurboCache performance. For a full list of other issues resolved, please view the driver release notes (PDF).
Single GPU Issues
- GeForce 6800 Ultra, Windows XP: The opening videos are corrupted in the game Silent Hunter 3.
- GeForce 6800: Slow performance in the game Star Wars Lego when played at a resolution of 1600x12200.
- GeForce 6800 Ultra: Stuttering occurs in the game World of Warcraft.
- GeForce 6200 32MB with TurboCache, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, HDTV: Setting HD modes, such as 720p or 1080i, does not take effect until after you restart the computer.
- GeForce 6200 with TurboCache, Windows XP: The left side of Half Life 2 is blacked out when 2x or 4x antialiasing is enabled.
- GeForce 6200: There is screen corruption when antialiasing is enabled within 3DMark05.
- GeForce FX 5900 Ultra, Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, NVTV: Live TV hangs the system when run in full screen mode.
- GeForce FX 5950: The game Ultra Battle for Middle-earth crashes to the desktop with a Direct3D error.
- GeForce FX 5200: There is corruption on the water in the 3DMark05 Canyon Flight Game test.

SLI Related Issues
- GeForce 6800 GT/Ultra, SLI: Half Life 2 crashes when switching the aspect ratio from 4:3 to wide-screen on a wide-screen LCD panel.
- GeForce 6800 GT, SLI: Flickering corruption occurs with several games when played with 2x antialiasing enabled and using SLI SFR mode.
- GeForce 6800 Ultra, SLI: The computer crashes when setting a widescreen flat panel resolution to the native 1900x1200 with SLI mode enabled.

General Issues
- Desktop corruption occurs with VIA KT880 chipset.

Nvidia Launches GeForce 7800 GTX - tech
(hx) 04:52 AM EDT - Jun,22 2005 - Post a comment / read (4)
As expected, PC graphics chip maker NVIDIA has officially launched its newest product, the GeForce 7800 GTX. Prices for these cards will be on the high side with PNY offering a 1 Gig GeForce 7800 GTX for $679.
From a performance perspective, the most visible characteristic of the new chip is that Nvidia achieved a significant boost in speed without going overboard with clock speed. The 7800 GTX received a modest increase over the GeForce 6800 Ultra, ending up at 430 MHz. Much of the performance increase instead is attributed to more pipelines which now stand at eight vertex shaders and 24 pixel pipes. As the previous generation, GTX boards come with a 256 Mbit GDDR3 memory interface for a total of 256 MB of memory that is now clocked at 600 MHz. The cards will be available only in PCI Express versions, offer SLI capability and outputs for DVI and HDTV. Power consumption remains at about 100 watts, according to Nvidia.
 Gameguru Mania News - Jun,21 2005 - tech
Tuesday's Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 11:53 AM EDT - Jun,21 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Black market in credit cards thrives on Web - It is not clear whether any data stolen from CardSystems Solutions, the payment processor reported on Friday to have exposed 40 million credit card accounts to possible theft, has entered this black market. But law enforcement officials and security experts say it is a safe bet that the data will eventually be peddled at sites like iaaca.com--its very name a swaggering shorthand for International Association for the Advancement of Criminal Activity.
  • Microsoft seeks testers for antivirus service, Sign up for the Beta! - Microsoft has begun soliciting testers for OneCare Live, the company's subscription antivirus and anti-spyware service. In an online posting seeking people (U.S. residents only) to try out the service, Microsoft said that it plans to start testing this summer.
  • Fresh vulnerabilities in all popular browsers - Fresh vulnerabilities have been found in several web browsers, including Safari, Internet Explorer 5.x, Camino 0.x and iCab 2.x for OS X; IE 6.x for Windows; and Opera 7.x and 8.x, Mozilla 1.7x and all version of Firefox on both platforms. The vulnerabilities relate to a dialog origin spoofing flaw, whereby JavaScript dialog boxes do not display or include their origin, which allows a new window to open a dialog box, which appears to be from a trusted site. Fixes have yet to be released.
  • Half of Sony's CDs now ship with DRM, but none work with iPod - As the music labels Sony BMG and EMI believe they have perfected their copy-protection to work with legacy CD players, offer a limited backup solution to CD recordables as well as support for WMA DRM compatible portable players, they have completely left out support for the iPod.
  • DVD Decrypter still locked in crypt - A site pretending to be the new official home of DVD-ripping software DVD Decrypter has tipped up on the Interweb. After stirring up a bit of a maelstrom on various fora, the site host, calling himself Lightning UK, has fessed up (a bit) and acknowledges he is not who he said he was. Instead, he says, "This website is not the original and I am not the original LIGHTNING UK! Please refer to me as THE NEW LIGHTNING UK! I am trying to bring something very good back to life and please pardon me if I have offended anyone." He then goes on to beg for donations...Lightning UK, the original (possibly), then spake himself. CD Freaks stumbled across this posting: "Why would I suddenly ask for help programming when I've been fine on my own for the past 5 years?! Why would I have uploaded an old copy of the website - complete with missing graphics, poor alignment etc? Anyone that knows of me and my work would know it's not in my nature to let such things go unnoticed!

OFFTOPIC...

  • First solar sail prepares for space launch - At 12:46 p.m. PDT Tuesday, the world's first solar sail spacecraft, called Cosmos 1, is scheduled to take flight. Cosmos 1 represents a unique and intriguing prototype for space exploration: a vehicle that is powered by light, not fuel. Eventually, solar sails could even offer a way to reach the stars.  If all goes well, Cosmos 1 will be launched from a Russian Navy submarine in the Barents Sea north of Norway and Russia and fly atop a Volna rocket into orbit at an altitude of about 520 miles. The solar sails--made of the same material as Mylar balloons, only thinner and more delicate--will deploy four days later.
  • No faking female orgasm in scientific research - Women may be able to fool their partners by faking an orgasm but a brain scanner will catch them out every time, a conference heard Monday. Researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands have used scans to show that different areas of the brain are stimulated during an orgasm but are not activated when a woman fakes it. When women genuinely achieved an orgasm, areas of the brain involved in fear and emotion were deactivated. Those areas stayed alert however when women were faking it.
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar to star in Alice - According to Yahoo, Sarah Michelle Gellar of Buffy fame will star in the movie version of American McGee's Alice.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • SCE finds pornographic UMDs "utterly undesirable" - Sony's PSP will be getting its first lineup of adult videos in just one month. But while some male PSP owners may be rejoicing, Sony Computer Entertainment is frowning. The company recently told Japanese newspaper Asahi Shinbun that adult UMD videos for the PSP, a gaming device aimed at child audiences, as well as adult ones, are "utterly undesirable, but we cannot stop software makers from selling such videos."
  • More movies on tap for PSP - More than 70 UMD titles are in stores or are scheduled to arrive in the coming months. Paramount has announced 11 titles, including releases from Comedy Central, Nickelodeon and MTV, making Paramount the first studio to bring TV shows to UMD. The first batch, due Aug. 9, consists of "Team America: World Police," "Coach Carter" and "Without a Paddle," followed by "Sahara," "The Italian Job" and MTV's "Viva la Bam: Volume 1" on Aug. 30. Coming later are "SpongeBob SquarePants Movie" and compilation UMDs of "Chappelle's Show," "Ren & Stimpy," "South Park" and "SpongeBob SquarePants" TV episodes. MGM will release its first four titles Sept. 13: "Beauty Shop," "Be Cool," "Stargate: Atlantis" and "Bulletproof Monk."
  • Google said to plan rival to PayPal - Google is preparing an online-payment system that would compete with PayPal, according to an online retailer who has been approached by Google to take part in the effort. In addition to representing a direct challenge to eBay, which owns PayPal, the largest Internet payment system, the move signals Google's intention to become much more deeply involved in online commerce.
  • PayPal Gets Down to Business - PayPal this week moved to increase its presence among small and medium-size businesses with a new suite of services, the first non-hosted offering from the provider of online payments. The new suite, called PayPal Website Payments Pro, lets merchants offer three new payment options to their buyers with the ultimate goal of giving PayPal customers more flexibility and control over the checkout process.
  • A human-like computer? Well, almost! - Conventional programming languages consist of a series of instructions that are accurately followed by computers. With the ISO 18629 language, this is set to change. This language allows a computer to analyze instructions by understanding the context and the meaning and then decide whether to execute the same. ISO 18629 extensively uses artificial intelligence to represent computer commands.
  • Another Development in High-Capacity 1-Inch Disks - A Japanese university has shown a prototype 1-inch hard disk drive that packs data on the disk surface more densely than existing hard drives. The density with which information can be packed onto the disk is particularly important in the tiny hard drives used in handheld electronic devices such as digital music players. The prototype 10GB drive packs data with an areal density--the number of bits per unit of disk surface area--of 138 gigabits per square inch, says Yoshihisa Nakamura, who heads the project at Tohoku University's Research Institute of Electrical Communications.
  • Samsung Begins Production of Xbox 360 Graphics Tech - Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., the world's top maker of memory chips, on Monday said it is the first supplier to mass produce graphic chips for the next generation of video games. Mueez Deen, director of graphics for the U.S. semiconductor unit of Samsung, said it has begun high-volume manufacturing of a 512-megabit graphics DDR3 memory chip for use in gaming consoles and personal computers.

HARDWARE... 

  • AMD dual-core Athlons 'sell out' in Tokyo - AMD's new Athlon 64 X2 processors apparently touched down in Japan this weekend, with several shops offering limited supplies of the dual-core chips. The Athlon 64 X2 4200+, 4600+, and $4800+ were all available, but prices were a little higher than expected. Prices ranged from $606 to $609 for the slower of the three chips, to $910 to $919 for the mid-range part and around $1,135 for the 4800+. AMD's price-list has the three parts down as $537, $803 and $1,001, though that's OEM pricing, with buyers committing themselves to purchasing parts in batches of 1,000 chips.
  • NVIDIA graphics drivers to go multithreaded - NVIDIA's Vice President of GPU software recently revealed to TechReport that NVIDIA has plans to produce multithreaded ForceWare graphics drivers for its GeForce graphics products. Multithreading in the video driver should allow performance increases when running 3D games and applications on dual-core CPUs and multiprocessor PCs. De Waal estimated that dual-core processors could see performance boosts somewhere between five and 30% with these drivers.
  • Clearspeed co-processor add-in card - The new add-in card will be available for desktop PCs and utilises a chip called CSX600 which Clearspeed claims is the world's fastest 64-bit floating point processor, delivering a sustained performance of 25 GFlops. Clearspeed's product will use two such chips, to deliver 50 GFlops.
  • Evesham Axis AK47 - TrustedReviews has posted a review of the Evesham Axis AK47 which is an affordable SLI machine with two 6800LE cards and an Athlon 64 3700+ at it's core. The two cards Evesham has gone with are from Leadtek, but gone are the big noisy coolers from the 6800GT cards we saw in the Duel SLi system - with the lower clock speeds of the GeForce 6800LE cards, a more discrete  and quiet solution has been employed. The other major difference is that  the GeForce 6800LE cards don’t have a power connector, which means less power draw but also less overclockability.
  • Mushkin HP3200 REDLINE DDR400 - If you want extreme performance dual channel modules capable of snuffing out the competition, then the REDLINE series are for you. Ultra low latencties at extremely high front side bus can be achieved with these modules!
  • Gigabyte GA-8I955X Royal i955X Mainboard - The GA-8I955X Royal also features the latest in high-speed connectivity with Dual Gigabit Ethernet for simultaneous WAN and LAN connection speeds of up to 1,000 Mb/s as well as onboard Firewire (IEEE1394b) and USB 2.0 capabilities. To round off the extensive networking capabilities of this board, GIGABYTE bundles the GN-BTD02 Bluetooth wireless USB adapter that enables compatibility with Bluetooth consumer products such as mobile phones, printers, PDAs, cameras and headsets for the ultimate versatility around the home or office.
  • Shuttle SN25P - Bit-tech.net has posted a new review of the Shuttle SN25P, a NForce 4 small form factor system supporting Socket 939. The article covers the real world benchmarking performance as well as overclocking and system aesthetics and general usability.
  • PowerColor AX480A-GF motherboard - The PowerColor AX480A-GF motherboard was featuring the RADEON XPRESS 200P (RX480) Chipset that delivers significant performance gains with variety of new generation architectures including dual-channel DDR, PCI-Express interface and Serial-ATA interface for improving storage performance.
  • ASUS Extreme N6600GT (GeForce 6600 GT) - The card's performance definitely left us no doubts it was on par with the reference board in most benchmarks and takes a marginal lead in some others. Overclocking is quite good actually, with an overall improvement of about 14% in 3DMark03. As for the efficiency of its cooler, the temperatures are slightly higher than the default but not enough to question its worth. While the retail price of the ASUS Extreme EN6600GT at about US$220 is not the cheapest in the market, it is acceptable considering that it is after all an ASUS product.
  • ATI X300 SE HyperMemory vs. NVIDIA GeForce 6200 TurboCache - For the most part, the XFX GeForce 6200TC 128MB outran ATI’s RADEON X300 SE 128MB, running numerous tests faster than the X300 SE. Aside from performance, we must also look at the features that each graphics card brings to the table. The NV44 based GeForce 6200TC features Shader Model 3.0 support while the RV370 based only supports Shader Model 2.0.
  • Imation 16x16x Internal DVD Writer - As good as its media compatibility was, the drive was sorely lacking the extra edge to edge out other DVD writers that possessed good media compatibility too. That missing ingredient is none other than "Over-Specification" writing. For just over US$80, the Imation drive is actually costlier than many competing drives it's up against, including drives from BenQ, LG, NEC and even Pioneer. More importantly however is the tested and proven "Over-Specification" writing capability of these drives, an area in which the Imation unit was unable to impress.
  • D-Link DES-1316K - PoE Switch - Along with most products available today the DES-1316K is an end-span device. It provides power over the same wire pairs as used for data delivery so end devices can be powered directly from the switch. Being fully 802.3af compliant, the switch contains automatic detection circuits that prevent it from sending power to non-compliant terminal devices, ensuring that only those devices that present an authenticated PoE
    signature will receive power.
  • Gigabyte’s network push - New Wireless Networking Equipment - Gigabyte is about to start a large networking tour of Australia, with the aim of boosting and launching its wireless networking products, and their biggest starting points are the GN-BC01, GN-A17GU and the GN-LC05.
  • "One-Touch" Wireless Security - Buffalo Technology's AOSS vs. Linksys' SecureEasySetup - The main difference between the two is in installed base and commitment to the technology. Buffalo has the edge here with (they say) 6.5 million AOSS current users, availability across all its current consumer wireless LAN product line and ongoing recruitement of new companies to AOSS-enable their wireless products. SES, by contrast, has virtually no installed base, is still not released by either Linksys or HP six months after being announced at this year's CES, and is MIA on both Linksys and HP's websites. But given the marketing and distribution muscle of both companies, SES could easily overtake AOSS should both companies decide to get firmly behind the technology.
  • KeySonic Intelligent KVM Switch -  If you have 3 PCs, you might end up with 3 monitors, 3 keyboards and 3 mice! Well, there is a device than can solve your problem and let you control all 3 or more PCs with a single monitor/
  • MediaGear Songbank Digital Audio Jukebox - Well after playing around with this thing for awhile, I have come to the conclusion that it makes a really good portable hard drive.You can do some live recording as well as being able to record from the incorporated FM radio. The sound is on par with most mid range MP3 players on the market. The headphones are lacking a little in the quality so replace them or use your own.
  • Sony DSC-M1: Good Video, Disappointing Pictures - Other than taking still images, the other main selling point of the M1 is its MPEG-4 video capability. The M1 can record stereo audio and video at 640x480 and 30 fps. Thanks to the M1's MPEG-4 compression, the video file sizes are much smaller than those of comparable quality from other digicams using MPEG-1 compression.

GUIDES...

  • How To Overclock AMD Barton, Sempron, T-Bred and Athlon XP CPUs - Here's the brand-new overclocking guide for AMD socketA processors to simplify OC (OverClocking) and to give tips with respect to current hardware.
  • Which Technology is Better: GSM or CDMA? - A lot of discussion has been done recently around the GSM and CDMA cell phone standards. But which one is better?
  • Memory Overclocking - Learn how to overclock your RAM memory in order to increase your computer performance without spending a dime.
  • How-To: Resource Hacking Part 2 - In this article, we will go into more detail and describe the somewhat cryptic code, as well as show you how to add controls and resources to a file. Adding resources will enable you to add images or animations to Windows and other program dialogs.
  • Identify Malware Hiding in Windows' System Folders - It's no fun to go into Task Manager and discover that a bunch of mysterious processes are running on your PC. In the case of the unknowns, you may ask yourself how much of this stuff you actually want. Or more seriously, if anything on your machine is actually doing harm.
  • Get Windows XP's Backup utility to use recordable optical media - Learn a workaround that will allow you to indirectly make Windows XP's Backup utility use recordable optical media as a backup destination. Be sure to notice that the author points out that you need to ensure your backup file fits on one CD.
  • Four Registry Tweaks to Accelerate Windows XP -  Here are four tweaks that experienced IT professionals can manually make to improve the speed of Windows XP.
  • Maximize the Performance of Windows XP -  Here is an in-depth 62-page chapter from the O'Reilly book Windows XP Annoyances for Geeks, 2nd Edition. It contains a collection of "tips, secrets, and solutions" that administrators can use to improve Windows XP and overcome some of its idiosyncrasies.

SOFTWARE...

  • ATI Catalyst Report Q2 - The Control Panel is coming to the end of it’s life and 8.16, August, will be the last driver to support it. ATI are moving towards CCC as the only UI available and from 8.17, September, only CCC will supported. All next gen ATI products will support CCC only. For more information on the up-coming features of Catalyst (focusing on CCC, of course) check out this article.
  • Kernel 2.6.12 Final  - Linux Kernel has been updated again (changelog)
  • New Command Line Shell Released on BetaPlace - The first beta version of Microsoft's new Command Line based shell was released to users via Microsoft's BetaPlace website on Friday. The release, codenamed "Monad", was originally thought to be a component of Longhorn. However, recent news has disconfirmed these reports - saying the new programmable Unix-like shell will be released separate from Longhorn. Interested users can try out Monad by signing in on the BetaPlace website under the guest ID of "mshPDC".
  • KARMA Wireless Clients Utilities - KARMA is a set of tools for assessing the security of wireless clients at multiple layers. Wireless sniffing tools discover clients and their preferred/trusted networks by passively listening for 802.11 Probe Request frames.
  • AutoPatcher XP June 2005 - AutoPatcher is a comprehensive collection of patches, addons and registry tweaks that give you peace of mind in the knowledge that your Windows system is up to date, even before you connect it to the Internet. It's designed to quickly patch a system with the most current updates and tweaks available, and requires no user interaction once you have selected what to install. This release is based on the all-new AutoPatcher 5.1. Although it was made with Windows XP SP2 English/Portuguese in mind, it will load on any (English/Portuguese) Windows version, showing only the items which match the running environment.
  • AutoPatcher 2000 June 2005  - This release is based on the all-new AutoPatcher 5.1. Although it was made with Windows 2K SP4 English in mind, it will load on any (English) Windows version, showing only the items which match the running environment.
  • MSConfig Cleanup 1.2 - This is where MSConfig Cleanup comes in! It scans the startup configurations and allows you to remove any item that has been previously disabled via MSConfig.
  • BSPlayer 1.30 Build 818 - BSplayer (download) is a Windows player that plays back all kinds of media files ( avi / mpg / asf / wmv / wav / mp3...) and specialises in video and divx playback.
  • Miranda 0.4.0.1 - Miranda IM (download / changelog) is a multi protocol instant messenger client for Windows. Miranda IM uses very little memory and is extremely fast.
  • CCleaner 1.20.118 - CCleaner (Crap Cleaner) is a freeware system optimisation tool. That removes unused and temporary files from your system - allowing it 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
  • nForce4 Standalone Drivers 7.13 (Intel) - NVIDIA have released a new set of nForce Drivers version 7.13 for Windows 2000/XP
  • ForceWare 77.50 BETA Win2000/XP WHQL - This driver set is 100% the same as the beta I mentioned last week, the only thing that differs is the WHQL tag. Although a WHQL release it should be stated that the driver still needs to be considered a BETA as it was not released officially by NVIDIA at this point in time. There's the same driver for for the 64-bit versions of Windows as well.
 Gameguru Mania News - Jun,18 2005 - tech
Wednesday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 03:26 PM EDT - Jun,18 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Credit card breach exposes 40 million accounts - In what could be the largest data security breach to date, MasterCard International on Friday said information on more than 40 million credit cards may have been stolen. Of those exposed accounts, about 13.9 million are for MasterCard-branded cards, the company said in a statement. The other brands affected have not been identified. MasterCard has notified its member banks of the specific accounts involved so the banks can take action to protect cardholders, MasterCard said. Another story can be found on CNN Money, the New York Times, Reuters, MSNBC, ZDNet, C|Net, and the Washington Post.
  • Microsoft holds hacker conference - Microsoft has spent a few tough days facing up to the realities of its security problems, by sitting in a room full of hackers and watching the ensuing 'sploits. Microsoft's Blue Hat security conference has seen some of Windows' top executives come face to face with 'security professionals' to look at the problems in the operating system and its apps. Stephen Toulouse, from MS' security unit, said that "You couldn't hear anybody breathe" as hackers brought a Windows machine onto a malicious network with little effort. A News.com report mentions that Microsoft engineers took "body blows" for two days, noting that "Some of the engineers were turning red".
  • Netscape sends out another patch - Netscape has released an updated version of its Netscape 8 browser to fix a bug that broke XML rendering in Microsoft's Internet Explorer. The update, version 8.0.2, addresses a problem highlighted in a Microsoft employee blog a few days after Netscape 8's May debut. In the posting, Dave Massy, a program manager on the IE team, warned that installing the Netscape browser would cause IE to render extensible markup language files, such as RSS feeds, as blank pages.
  • Foreign spooks target UK techies - MI5 has issued a warning that spies are targeting people working in hi-tech companies. The advisory states that Britain's position at the forefront of technology, as well as its membership of the UN, Nato and the EU, makes it a top target for foreign espionage. The UK intelligence service warns that covert intelligence gathering activity threatens Britain's national security.
  • Botnet Hunters Search for 'Command and Control' Servers - Convinced that the recent upswing in virus and Trojan attacks is directly linked to the creation of botnets for nefarious purposes, a group of high-profile security researchers is fighting back, vigilante-style. The objective of the group, which operates on closed, invite-only mailing lists, is to pinpoint and ultimately disable the C&C (command-and-control) infrastructure that sends instructions to millions of zombie drone machines hijacked by malicious hackers.
  • Bluetooth flaw allows DoS attack - A flaw has been identified in the Bluetooth stack which could allow a denial of service attack that destroys the ability to link devices. The flaw was reported on the Bugtraq mailing list by Spanish security consultant Hugo Vázquez Caramés and details have been forwarded to the Bluetooth organising body.
  • Encrypted Lockbox Aims to Clean Up Password Clutter - Bruce Schneier's PasswordSafe lockbox, which provides a free utility for users to encrypt and manage multiple passwords on a computer, is ready for a new phase of open-source development. The celebrated cryptographer, who is credited with designing or co-designing several widely used encryption algorithms, announced the release of Version 2.1 of the database utility as a full-fledged open-source project at SourceForge.
  • Spybot - Search & Destroy 1.4 review - Spybot - Search & Destroy has been unearthing keyloggers, trackers, hijackers, cookies and other adware and spyware for years, so an update is big news. The new version is faster than its predecessor, with a more professional, aesthetically appealing, and less confusing interface than predecessors.

OFFTOPIC...

  • MSN Sponsors Anti-Piracy Film Contest - MSN UK is holding a contest for both youths and adults aimed at teaching the evils of intellectual property theft - an issue Microsoft is constantly battling to protect its software. The short film competition, aptly titled Thought Thieves, requires entrants to make a commercial-length video about how IP theft affects society. Films will be accepted for entry until July 1 on CD or DVD in any format compatible with Windows Media Player.
  • Army displays latest warfighting innovations - The Army showcased its Future Force Warrior system, the latest in war-fighting technology, at Soldier Modernization Day on Capitol Hill June 16. "Under the concept of managing the Soldier as a system, two uniform systems are under development," Moran said. The Future Force Warrior system will be available to Soldiers in 2010. The Vision 2020 Future Warrior system, which follows the concept of the 2010 Future Force Warrior system, will be fielded 10 years later.
  • The Future Of Online Gaming - THG has posted an article called on the future of online gaming.
  • The War of the Worlds Internet Trailer - Paramount Pictures has revealed a new internet trailer for director Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds at Yahoo! Movies. ComingSoon.net has also added four more TV spots, which you can view here. Opening Wednesday, June 29th, the sci-fi adventure thriller is a contemporary retelling of H.G. Wells's seminal classic which reveals the extraordinary battle for the future of humankind through the eyes of one American family fighting to survive it.
  • 24 Movie in the Works - The Calgary Sun reports that a movie based on popular Fox series 24, starring Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, is in the works.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Sony says new console means game over for Microsoft - Japanese giant Sony said on Wednesday that despite coming later to the bout, its newly unveiled PlayStation 3 games console packs enough punch to deliver a knock-out blow to Microsoft's rival offering. In an interview with the CNBC network, Hirai denied that Sony had already decided to start selling the console only in Japan next spring, before releasing it in North America in the autumn. "We haven't determined which territory we will go with first this time around just yet," he said. "We will have to look at development and how things are coming along in terms of manufacture and all the other logistical things to determine which territory or multiple territories go first."
  • Q&A with Microsoft's Chris Jones: Longhorn coming summer 2006, open beta summer 2005, part I - Longhorn will be released commercially in the second half of 2006, and will include modifications that will help reduce, if not all together eliminate, phishing by engineering the mail client to recognize a phishing email and tell the user they're being duped said Chris Jones, Microsoft corporate vice president of Windows core operating system program management during an exclusive interview with DigiTimes at the mid-May WinHEC in Taiwan.
  • MS boffins use bluetooth for love bites - Scientists at Microsoft Research Cambridge (MSRC) are working on a range of new technologies and gadgets that might find their way into our lives. They've come up with a message board that you can send text messages to, a whereabouts clock that keeps track of where family members are, and in collaboration with Vodafone, a TouchToy, which we will get to later
  • Microsoft builds a better Bit Torrent - Researchers at Microsoft's computer science lab in Cambridge have developed a peer-to-peer filesharing system that they say overcomes the scheduling problems associated with existing distribution protocols such as Bit Torrent. The researchers claim download times are between 20-30 per cent faster, using their network coding approach, than on systems that only code at the server, and between 200 and 300 per cent faster than distributing un-encoded information.
  • Digital Clock as Thin as Paper - Utilizing the electronic paper display technology, Citizen Watch has created a digital clock that is as thin as paper. This unique design is enabled by E InkImaging Film. This easy-to-read, low-power display component is fully conformable, allowing product designers more creative freedom than ever before. The clock boasts twice the contrast of a reflective LCD, Low power consuption, because there's no backlight and a flexible form allowing developers to create curved eye catching shapes.
  • Phones Use GPS to Show You the Way - PCWorld tried out three of the newest services: America Online's MapQuest Find Me, Gate5's Smart2go Mobile Navigator, and TeleNav for Research In Motion's new BlackBerry 7520. MapQuest and TeleNav operate only on GPS-enabled Nextel phones; Gate5's Smart2go is not tied to a carrier and functions on Bluetooth-enabled Symbian Series 60 phones (such as the Nokia 6600 and 7610), Microsoft Windows Mobile phones and PDAs, and the PalmOne Treo 650 and Tungsten T3.
  • Cell Phones Face the Music - Napster's recently revealed plan to extend its music service to mobile phones has a long way to go before cells become iPod killers. On Wednesday, Napster and Swedish phone giant Ericsson announced a deal to develop the first digital music service for cell phones. The service will launch sometime in the next year.
  • Intel talks up universal wireless networking - Intel is set to present a chip at the VLSI Symposium that features both a 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio running on only 1.4 volts. The chip supports up to 40MHz of bandwidth, up from today's 20MHz versions. The higher frequency will support data rates beyond 100Mbps, enough to deliver streaming video over a wireless connection.
  • 2005 Toshiba and Hitachi Line Shows - Toshiba will be rolling out a full lineup of 11 new DLP rear projection TVs in both their TheaterWide Series and Cinema Series lines. Toshiba will offer both 720p and 1080p resolution models. The 720p sets will utilize a new TALEN Light Engine

HARDWARE... 

  • NVIDIA slashes budget GPU prices - Nvidia recently lowered the price of its GeForce 6200 with TurboCache by US$15, according to sources at Taiwan graphics-card makers. In addition, the company cut the price on its GeForce 6600 series US$5 and the prices for all parts from its GeForce 6200, GeForce FX5200 and GeForce MX4000 series were reduced US$1-2, indicated the sources.
  • Geforce 7800 scores 7800 in 3Dmark05 - Geforce 7800GTX scores exactly 7800 in 3Dmark05 score. When you pair two cards you will get as much as 13000 in the same test, but I have to warn you that those forum boys tested with an FX57 clocked at 2960MHZ, up from its original 2800MHz clock.
  • Dell Inspiron XPS Gen 2 Laptop - The chosen combination of Pentium M 770 and GeForce 6800 Go Ultra 256MB make for, without doubt, the fastest gaming laptop ever!
  • MV Mobeus 1.6M - Specification wise, the Mobeus has a 1.6GHz Intel Pentium M CPU driving it along, which makes up half of the Centrino package. The other half is an Intel PRO/Wireless 2915ABG WiFi adapter that supports 802.11a b and g standards. There's 512MB of memory installed, but 14MB of this has been dedicated to the Intel integrated graphics.
  • Sony VAIO and HP Compaq: Two Office Notebooks compared - X-bit labs compared two attractive office solutions from Sony and HP: VAIO VGN-FS115ZR and Compaq nx8220. They run office and multimedia applications at high speeds and can handle professional graphics applications, too. They are handy at work and offer you excellent functionality in office as well as on the road.
  • ASUS EN6800 ULTRA DUAL - Almost touching motherboard proportions, it measures 17.5cm by 31.2cm, hits the scales in at 930 grams, and is without a doubt the largest video card we have ever laid eyes on, flooring even the short-lived 3dfx Voodoo 5 5500
  • MSI NX6200TC-TD32E Geforce 6200TC  - PC Stats has posted a review of MSI NX6200TC-TD32E Geforce 6200TC Videocard.
  • Maxtor DiamondMax 10 300GB SATA150 - PC Modding Malaysia has posted a review of Maxtor DiamondMax 10 300GB SATA150.
  • Logitech MX518 Gaming-Grade Optical Mouse - Whether you're a hardcore gamer looking for an edge against your opponents or a casual gamer who needs a comfortable and responsive mouse, Logitech's MX 518 Gaming-Grade Optical Mouse is the right choice.
  • 19" LCD monitor survey - Behardware.com has updated their last 19" survey with two very much awaited monitors, or to be more accurate - because it is the most interesting aspect - two new very much awaited panels: the PVA 8 ms and one TN 6 ms.
  • Olympus Camedia C-7070 - The main feature that sets the C-7070 apart from other semi-pro cameras is its lens. Most digital zoom cameras have a maximum wide-angle setting equivalent to around 35mm, which isn't really very wide at all. The C-7070 has a zoom range equivalent to 27-110mm, which is actually wider than the conventional standard wide angle 28mm lens. Not only that but it uses ultra-high quality Olympus ED optical glass, the same as on the company's professional SLR lenses

GUIDES...

  • Adapting a Playstation Joystick to a PC - Learn how to adapt a Playstation joystick to use it on your computer.
  • Linux Database Server CPU Comparison - In this article, you will find a comparison of the latest Xeon (Irwindale), the previous Xeon (Nocona), the old Xeon (Galatin), the Dual core Opteron, and the "normal" Opteron, of course.
  • Introduction to XQuery in SQL Server 2005 - Discover how XQuery works in SQL Server 2005: the FLWOR statement, operators in XQuery, the if-then-else construct, XML constructors, built-in XQuery functions, type casting operators, and more.
  • Building a Web Site with ASP.NET 2.0 to Navigate Your Music Library - Jeff Key wanted a simple, clean way to listen to music anywhere in his apartment, from any computer. See how he built a website that let him get to his music and listen to it as painlessly as possible.
  • GTA San Andreas - SoundFix  - It seems the EAX Unified Driver v4.0.0.1 doesn't like some cards. If you are having issues with the sound you should follow these instructions: 1. First backup the file eax.dll inside the GTA San Andreas Folder. 2. Download this file and replace it with the eax.dll inside the GTA San Andreas Folder. Note: It's not for Creative Audigy 2!

SOFTWARE...

  • [MS Patch] Outlook Express Update - This update addresses an issue in which messages are improperly handled if the subject line contains the word "begin" and a display issue concerning watched threads in newsgroups. This update also addresses two issues in which Outlook Express stops responding.
  • [MS Patch] Not all memory is available when AWE is enabled on a computer that is running a 32-bit version of SQL Server 2000 SP4 (899761) - Microsoft has found an issue with the final build of SQL 2000 SP4 that impacts customers who run SQL Server with AWE support enabled.
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Performance Advisor - Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Performance Advisor provides several specialized reports, including a System Overview (focusing on CPU usage, Memory usage, busy files, busy TCP clients, top CPU consumers) and reports for server roles such as Active Directory, Internet Information System (IIS), DNS, Terminal Services, SQL, print spooler, and others.
  • Multilingual User Interface Package for Windows Messenger 5.1 - For Windows XP Multilingual User Interface users, the Multilingual UI Pack for Windows Messenger 5.1 is available from this page.
  • Process Explorer 9.12 - Ever wondered which program has a particular file or directory open? Now you can find out. Process Explorer shows you information about which handles and DLLs processes have opened or loaded.
  • Symantec W32.Mytob@mm Free Removal Tool 1.20.0 - W32.Mytob@mm Removal Tool is designed to remove infections of the following threats: W32.Mytob@mm, W32.Mytob.B@mm, W32.Mytob.CY@mm and W32.Mytob.DA@mm.
  • WinPatrol 9.5 - WinPatrol (download) puts you back in control of your computer so you'll know what programs are and should be running at all times.
  • XP-Antispy 3.94-2 - XP-AntiSpy (download) is a little utility that let's you disable some built-in update and authetication 'features' in WindowsXP.
  • Eudora 6.2.3 - Eudora (download) is one of the best email program for people who get lots of email.
  • Netscape 8.02 -  Netscape has released an updated version of its Netscape 8 browser to fix a bug that broke XML rendering in Microsoft's Internet Explorer.
  • SecureCRT 5.0 Final - SecureCRT (download / changelog) gives you an encrypted SSH session with both SSH1 and SSH2 servers. SSH security goes far beyond the basic secure logon, rerouting data or local applications using TCP/IP ports through an encrypted channel. The VCP utility secures file transfers using SFTP.
  • AnyDVD 5.2.5.1 -  AnyDVD is a driver, which descrambles DVD-Movies automatically in the background. This DVD appears unprotected and region code free for all applications and the Windows operating system as well. This new version adds support for a new version of the "Sony ARccOS protection" as found on "Closer" R2 (German) to the option to remove "Protection based on unreadable Sectors" (it should really work now).
  • MHDD 4.5 - Makes very fast (up to 20 Gb per 6 minutes) and precise diagnostics (download) of all the surface and heads of the HDD irrespective of the data which is on the diagnosed HDD.
  • Xtreme G 77.62 HD - These are modified NVIDIA ForceWare drivers for Windows 2000 & XP. Modified drivers simply means that the author takes official or beta drivers from the manufacturer and starts to tweak them for either better image quality and or performance.
Battlefield 2 - GPU Performance:High-end Cards - tech
(hx) 04:36 AM EDT - Jun,18 2005 - Post a comment
FiringSquad takes a look at the performance of the latest high-end video cards from ATI and NVIDIA in Battlefield 2 demo.
First, we ran AA image quality tests with the RADEON X850 XT Platinum Edition and GeForce 6800 Ultra. In our opinion, the RADEON X850 XT PE produced sharper visuals when both cards were running in their 4xAA modes. It’s not that the GeForce 6800 Ultra looks bad, rather the RADEON X850 XT looks ever so slightly crisper. You can also see this in the hillside on the left in our AF screenshots.

Performance results were also close, with the RADEON X850 XT PE outperforming the GeForce 6800 Ultra overall, but the 6800 Ultra did win a few benchmarks. The X850 XT PE clearly performed faster without AA/AF, and came out ahead in 4xAA testing, but the GeForce 6800 Ultra’s superior efficiency at handling 8xAF allowed it to narrow the gap separating it from the X850 XT PE once 4xAA/8xAF was turned on, ultimately coming out ahead at 2048x1536 with 4xAA/8xAF.

Based on our testing, it looks like the X850 XT PE is a little more efficient than the GeForce 6800 Ultra at handling AA, while the 6800 Ultra is more resourceful than the X850 XT when it comes to AF.

Since the GeForce 6800 GT only trails the 6800 Ultra by 50MHz in core and memory clock speeds, it was able to put up a strong fight against the X800 XL, taking the overall performance crown, but again, ATI’s AA efficiency did keep things close in 4xAA testing. The GeForce 6800 GT ultimately pulled away once 4xAA/8xAF was enabled though.
 Gameguru Mania News - Jun,17 2005 - tech
Battlefield 2 - GPU Performance - tech
(hx) 09:01 AM EDT - Jun,17 2005 - Post a comment
The chaps over at TCMagazine take a look at another system scorcher: the soon to be released Battlefield 2. Word is: "Mainly an online game with a bot-based single player experience, EA's sequel to the popular Battlefield is a purebred PC game which takes advantage of the day's most advanced shading and shadowing algorithms, so much so that the recently released demo comes with a special beta release of nVidia's Detonator series 70 drivers, version 77.30, to enable its graphics technology on the newest cards. The Contenders: GeForce 5200, GeForce 6200, GeForce 6800, Radeon 9800, Radeon X700LE, Radeon x800xl and the Radeon x850xt pe!"
Battlefield 2's rendering engine was purposefully weighed to have extremely high system requirements, so that it could remain competitive a goodly amount of months into the future, against whatever technical wizardry is coming next from the minds of those wonderful, quirky coders that crank out the games we love so much. The result is a game that is almost perfectly balanced in its requirements: modern power boxes will have a fairly smooth gaming performance at 1280x1024 with high detail settings, but the highest resolutions are out of reach to the means and intentions of the average gamer - remember that the PCI-Express test box ran on a ridiculously powerful dual-core 64-bit CPU that's not even out on the market yet, and a massively expensive GPU that currently 0wns all other graphics cards. Battlefield 2 manages to remain gorgeous and playable to power gamers, while leaving the hardware mainstream plenty of room to catch up.
 Gameguru Mania News - Jun,16 2005 - tech
Thursday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 06:25 PM EDT - Jun,16 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Asian Trojans attacking U.K., agency warns - Three hundred key U.K. business and government organizations have been threatened by a wave of data-stealing cyberattacks coming from Asia, the British government has warned. According to the National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre, hackers in East Asia have developed Trojan horse programs that attempt to steal information from certain parts of the critical national infrastructure, which includes not only government agencies but businesses in the finance, transportation and telecommunications sectors.
  • Adobe releases patches for Acrobat and Reader - Adobe Systems on Wednesday rolled out patches for security vulnerabilities found in Adobe Reader 7.0 and 7.0.1, and in Adobe Acrobat 7.0 and 7.0.1.  The hole in the products, referred to as an XML External Entity vulnerability, under certain circumstances allows XML scripts to be used to discover a user's local files.
  • Browser Flaws Spoil Opera Tune - Alternative Web browser company Opera Software on Thursday pushed out a new version of its flagship browser to fix several cross-site scripting vulnerabilities discovered by private security researchers.
  • Java flaws open door to hackers - Sun Microsystems has fixed a pair of security bugs in Java that could be exploited by attackers to take over computers running Windows, Linux and Solaris. The flaws are "highly critical," security monitoring company Secunia said in an advisory posted Tuesday. Flaws that get that ranking--one notch below Secunia's most severe "extremely critical" rating--are typically remotely exploitable and can lead to full system compromise.
  • Spyware Floods In Through BitTorrent - According to Chris Boyd, a renowned security researcher who runs the VitalSecurity.org nonprofit resource center, the warm and fuzzy world of BitTorrent has been invaded by a massive software distribution campaign linked to New York-based adware purveyor Direct Revenue LLC.
  • AOL Most Infected Web Network, company states - Prolexic, a provider of security consulting products, has claimed that Deutsche Telecom, Wanadoo and AOL are Europe's top three internet providers for harboring infected PCs.
  • Microsoft sues U.S. stores over pirated software - Microsoft Corp sued four small software retailers in California and Virginia on Wednesday for selling pirated software.
  • U.S. Delays Biometric Passport Requirements - The U.S. is delaying by up to a year a deadline for 27 countries covered by its visa waiver program to begin issuing passports with biometric identification information, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said this week. The country had been planning to require biometric passports issued from October 26 for admission into the U.S. under the visa waiver program. The deadline wouldn't have affected existing and valid passports issued before the date, says Michael Boyle, a spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.

OFFTOPIC...

TECHNOLOGY...

  • PSP Launching September 1st In Europe - Sony today confirmed that the Playstation Portable will launch September 1st in Europe, at a cost of EURO 249 (L179). The PlayStation Portable Value Pack contains an added-value package of accessories and entertainment content, including the PSP system with a protective pouch, 32MB Memory Stick Duo, Battery Pack, Headphones with Remote Control, AC Adaptor, Wrist Strap and a video/music/game sampler Universal Media DiscTM (UMDTM) including several non-interactive game demos. A copy of Spider-Man 2, on UMD Video will be available free of charge to early purchasers of PSP, who register their PlayStation Portable and order their Spider-Man 2 UMD Video through www.yourpsp.com.
  • Firefox creeps closer to Microsoft's IE - The popular product now accounts for 8% of the global market; up from 7.38% in April, after clocking up consistent gains during May.
  • Yahoo Launches Search For Subscription - The new service available through Yahoo's general search page lets people choose the subscription service they want to scour for information. The content provider, however, must be a partner of Yahoo's in order for the search engine to have full access to the site. Subscription services typically don't allow others to search their sites, or provide only a tidbit of information to a search engine.
  • Samsung Introduces 'Bluetooth Voice Recognition Phone' - Samsung Electronics announced that it has released the Bluetooth Voice Recognition Phone (Model: SGH-E620) into the European market, which can make calls using one's voice via a bluetooth headset.

HARDWARE... 

  • Acer TravelMate 4401LMi Turion 64 based laptop - The TravelMate is relatively large and weighs in at 2.84kg, so it's no ultra-portable. The main reason for this is because it's carrying a very large 15in display.
  • AMD Athlon X2 4800+ CPU - At the end of the day it's easy to see AMD as the clear, overall leader of the pack when it comes to having the ultimate desktop CPU - their chip hauls ass, runs cool and is priced very competitively to Intel. One of the biggest challenges as a reviewer is quantifying in words the difference running a dual-core CPU can make in ones overall computing experience.
  • Intel Pentium D 820 2.8 GHz Dual Core CPU - The dual core Pentium D 820 processor (well actually the whole system) pulls in an idle load of 148 watts and 233 watts at a full load in the CineBench 2003 rendering test. This is significantly less than the Pentium 840 XE processor at 291 watts, but it is still higher than the 660 processor which is single core and pulls 207 watts at full load.
  • Corsair XMS XPERT PC3200 Memory - Installation for this ram was like any other, with the notable exception of actually placing the LED's on the ram. What exactly is the purpose of all of those LED's on that display anyway? Well in short Corsair has a hardware controller on the RAM which collects data and then displays it. This doesn't affect the speed of the ram at all as it is independent which is why the DIMMs are so much taller than regular sticks of DDR ram. This controller collects the data and then displays it across the 10 digit alphanumeric display.
  • Corsair XMS TWINX1024-4400C25PT Dual Channel DDR Memory - If you want to get to 600DDR speeds with tight timings, TCCD chips are your only choice. If you want some of the best-implemented TCCD sticks made (and soon to be the only ones made), then Corsair is the deal.
  • Mushkin Redline Memory - Mushkin's XP4000 redline memory is rated to run at 3.3-3.5 Volts, which is above the redline on many boards. To be honest only DFI's DFI LanParty UT NForce4 Ultra-D, DFI LanParty UT NForce4 SLI-DR, and DFI LanParty NForce4 SLI-DR offer the voltages needed to operate correctly.
  • MSI RS480M2-IL Motherboard  - This motherboard supports any Socket 939 AMD Athlon64/FX processor on the market and can be stuffed with up to 4GB of unbuffered non-ECC PC3200 DDR RAM. Onboard goodies include the aforementioned integrated videocard, 10/100 LAN, 5.1 channel audio and IEEE 1394.
  • Asus P5ND2-SLI Deluxe and Abit Fatal1ty AA8XE Motherboards - Fanless design is a real plus point in our opinion and I personally look for as low a noise threshold as possible when building PC's so the P5ND2-SLI would fit the bill nicely. Despite the silent cooling the board performed to a very high standard and overclocked extremely well, opening the door to the performance fanatics amongst you. Memory performance was another real stand out result and should you pair the P5ND2-SLI with some of Corsairs finest you really will have one of the fastest performing boards money can buy.
  • ATI's All-in-Wonder X800 XT Video Card - When ATI first released the All-in-Wonder X800 XT, the card sold for around $500. Since then, prices have dropped dramatically. The AIW X800 XT is now widely available for less than $400, with at least one reliable online retailer selling the card for $325 after a $50 mail-in rebate. Contrast that with the price of the standard Radeon X800 XT, which sells for about $400 and up, and the All-in-Wonder looks like a phenomenal deal considering its multimedia extras and bundled Remote Wonder II.
  • BFG PCI-E 6800 GT OC 256MB Video Card - Looking past the temperature problems, this is still a fantastic card. It screams through all the current games at 1280 * 1024, max details, with ease. Currently, the only Nvidia card faster than this one is the 6800 Ultra. Not for long though, as the 7800 GTX is supposed to be released within weeks. Chances are, when the new series is released, then this card, and other 6800 GT/Ultra's should go down in price.
  • VisionTek XTASY Theater Pro 550 PVR card - To sum it all up if you are in the market for a new PVR card I would Highly suggest the VisionTek Theater Pro 550. The excellent image quality combined with a great software bundle make this package an incredible deal. There are two things that could have been included in the package that would have made for one of the absolute best packages on the market. One is a DVD decoder to use in a program such as BeyondTV or Media Center to be able to view Live TV. And second would be a remote control of some sort.
  • NEC ND-3540A DVD Burner - The NEC ND-3540A uses Z-CLV, (Zone-Constant Linear Velocity) to write DVD+R9 DL at 8x. Three zones are used to write DVD+R Double Layer discs at 8x. The average speed is 6.54x and total writing time is 18:31 minutes.
  • Crucial 12-in-1 Flash Reader and 1GB Secure Digital Card - Crucial's 1GB Secure Digital card is not much different from the many products out there. Most Secure Digital cards are rated to have up to 6-8 MB/s read speeds and 3-5 MB/s write speeds. Any faster would mean spending more money. For regular uses, such as traveling, the 1GB should suffice.
  • Keeping the Power On: Ultra's 1000VA UPS - In battery mode or when charging the unit does get quite warm, though not hot enough to burn. It also hums slightly when in battery mode-when operating off wall power, its silent. Overall, the unit worked very well. There were no interruptions in the supply of juice from the UPS to the computer, even during real power failures. As far as some of the other features, there are some changes I'd like to see. The software, in particular, could use some fine-tuning.
  • Logitech MX1000 Wireless Laser Mouse -  If you are upgrading from a non MX series mouse, this is the mouse you should get. If you currently have an MX700, it is up to you to decide if it is worth it to have a bit better tracking and a slightly different feel.
  • Logitech V500 Cordless Notebook Mouse - One of the unique things about the V500 is its scroll panel, and this is the very first mouse to actually use this concept. Throughout our testing, we are nothing but impressed with Logitech's new idea. It worked perfectly, and it's actually better than a scroll wheel in many instances. It looks like the era of scroll wheels is short-lived if Logitech applies the same design to its desktop equivalent products.
  • Logitech Z-2300 2.1 Speakers - If you're in the market for a superior 2.1 speaker system, do NOT pass these up. The Logitech Z-2300 is a great system for those who may not have a lot of room for 5.1 or 7.1 setups. They're also perfect for those who don't want to spend $300-400 on speakers.
  • Steel Sound 5H Professional Gaming Headset - Some gamers may actually prefer to go with 5.1 style headphones, which do a better job at simulating surround sound but it is hard to complain at the 5H. The fact that it has a microphone built in and that is can be broken down into three pieces are both superb features that give it a major leg-up over any competitor.
  • OKI C5510MFP colour led printer - The C5510MFP is a C5000 colour LED printer with a 600dpi flat-bed scanner on top. Nearly all control comes from the scanner section, which sports a two-line, sixteen character, back-lit LCD display, colour and mono copy buttons and a number of preset enlargements and reductions for copying.
  • HP PSC 2175 All-in-One & ScanJet 5500c - The HP PSC 2175 All-in-One Printer can now be purchased for $95 US directly from Computer Geeks, making it quite the bargain. This product weighs just 3.5kgs and acts as a color printer, scanner and copier all in one. However, the PSC 2175 does have a few minor flaws, for example it does not feature the ability to fax. There is also no LCD monitor to preview images from the flash memory cards.
  • ASUS WL-500G Deluxe Wireless Router - The router isn't blameless, though. Its performance as of a file server is low, and the structure of the control software is not quite logical. They might also have enclosed a color rather than black-and-white web-cam! But anyway, the ASUS WL-500G Deluxe is worth every cent of its current price which is about $110. For us, it lacks one feature only - an ADSL modem.

GUIDES...

  • Hackers Run Unauthorized Programs on PSP - It appears that the folks over at PSP-DEV have created a swap trick for your PSP 1.50 to play your homebrew applications. It requires two memory cards, which are switched while the PSP is working. (the trick will only work on 1.50 - not 1.51+.)
  • How to enable and disable Microsoft Update - The Microsoft Update Web site provides updates for Microsoft operating systems and programs. Microsoft Update is an optional service that you can use to update both Microsoft Windows operating systems and other Microsoft products. In contrast, when you use Microsoft Windows Update, you access only updates for Microsoft Windows operating systems. This article discusses how to enable Microsoft Update. This article also discusses how to disable Microsoft Update and return to using Windows Update.
  • Battlefield 2: You won't need a new PC - You can play this game on a fairly low end system, however it will look far better on a more powerful PC. We first tested the game with a Gigabyte GeForce 5700LE graphics card on an Abit IS7-V2 mainboard with a 2.1GHz Pentium 4 and 1GB of memory running at a non-standard 133MHz bus speed. This is close to the minimum required system specifications for Battlefield 2. At low resolutions (1024x768), with most of the DirectX 9 effects turned off, the game ran well. However, with these settings, the graphical glory was sadly diminished.

SOFTWARE...

  • Microsoft RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer for Windows XP - The Microsoft RAW Image Thumbnailer and Viewer is a free “PowerToy” for Microsoft Windows XP that provides the ability to view, organize, and print photos captured in RAW image formats from supported digital cameras.
  • Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool (KB890830) - This tool checks your computer for infection by specific, prevalent malicious software (including Blaster, Sasser, and Mydoom) and helps to remove the infection if it is found. Microsoft will release an updated version of this tool on the second Tuesday of each month
  • Privacy Inspector version 1.70 - Privacy Inspector cleans up your tracks left by Windows, your browser, and many other programs.
  • VisualRoute 9.3d - VisualRoute (download) delivers the functionality of key Internet "ping," "whois," and "traceroute" tools, in a high-speed visually integrated package. VisualRoute automatically analyzes Internet connectivity and performance problems, displaying the results in an easy to understand table and on a world map.
  • WinDVD Platinum 7.0 - WinDVD Platinum 7 (download) is the ultimate DVD software player, providing you with the finest quality video and audio playback
  • Fraps 2.6.0 - Fraps (download) is designed as a generic tool for DirectX and OpenGL games. In its current form Fraps performs many tasks and can best be described as: Benchmarking Software, Screen Capture Software and Realtime Video Capture Software.
  • Winamp 5.093 - Nullsoft Winamp (download full / lite) is a fast, flexible, high-fidelity media player for Windows. Winamp supports playback of many audio (MP3, OGG, AAC, WAV, MOD, XM, S3M, IT, MIDI, etc) and video types (AVI,ASF,MPEG,NSV), custom appearances called skins (supporting both classic Winamp 1.x/2.x skins and Winamp 3 freeform skins), audio visualization and audio effect plug-ins (including two industry dominating visualization plug-ins), an advanced media library, Internet radio and TV support, CD ripping, and CD burning
  • PowerArchiver 2004 9.25.02 (shw) - PowerArchiver (download) is an award-winning archive utility for the Windows® family of products that provides support for most compressed and encoded files, as well as access to many powerful features and tools though an easy to use interface that seamlessly integrates with Windows Explorer.
  • DivX 6 - DivX (release notes / download play bundle / create bundle) is a package that includes all the DivX codec, player, utilities, and documentation that you need to play DivX files. DivX codec is based on the MPEG-4 compression standard. This codec can reduce an MPEG-2 video (DVD format) to ten percent of its original size. DivX is a digital video compression technology based on the ISO MPEG-4 standard.
  • Opera 8.01 - Alternative Web browser company Opera Software on Thursday pushed out a new version of its flagship browser to fix several cross-site scripting vulnerabilities discovered by private security researchers.
  • Adobe Reader for Windows 2000/XP 7.0.2 - Adobe Reader is free software that enables business professionals and home users to reliably share information using intelligent PDF files. You can easily view, print, and search PDF files using a variety of platforms and devices.
  • [!] ForceWare 72.14 Media Center WHQL -  This is ForceWare 72.14 for Windows 2000/XP (direct link - NVIDIA FTP / release notes) which has been WHQL certified (Microsoft tested and approved). The WHQL stamp is only for GeForce 6 series GPUs as the release highlights state, we're not 100% sure about the FX series. These drivers are intended for (as release notes state) Windows XP Media Center Edition. They should work just fine on XP though. The driver includes a handy setup.exe. The build date of the drivers is May the 16th 2005.
  • ForceWare 77.40 Windows XP 64-bit - This is the fifth set of drivers that have been made available for WindowsXP x64 Professional. These drivers were built on the 19th of May.The drivers are not WHQL signed.
  • NGO ATI Optimized Driver v1.5.6 (2.6) - The NGO ATI Optimized Driver (based on ATI Catalyst 5.6) is a tweaked version of the ATI Catalyst driver. The main purpose is to satisfy the users with a better performance and better image quality.The Driver has support for all Radeon cards
  • AC'97 Audio CODECs - Realtek has released a new audio package. It is version A3.73 released on 06/02/2005.
Microsoft Security Patches: June 2005 - tech
(hx) 03:28 AM EDT - Jun,16 2005 - Post a comment
  • MS05-025: Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (883939) Critical - Vulnerabilities exist in Internet Explorer, the most severe of these could allow an attacker to take complete control of an affected system.
  • MS05-026: Vulnerability in HTML Help Could Allow Remote Code Execution (896358) Critical - A vulnerability exists in HTML Help that could allow an attacker to take complete control of an affected system.
  • MS05-027: Vulnerability in SMB Could Allow Remote Code Execution (896422) Critical - A vulnerability exists in Windows that could allow an attacker to take complete control of an affected system. An attacker needs to authenticate to be able to exploit this vulnerability.
  • MS05-028: Vulnerability in Web Client Service May Allow Remote Code Execution (896426) Important - A vulnerability exists in the Windows Web Client Service that could allow an attacker to take complete control of an affected system.
  • MS05-029: Vulnerability in Outlook Web Access for Exchange Server 5.5 Could Allow Cross-Site Scripting Attacks (895179) Important - A cross-site scripting vulnerability exists in Outlook Web Access for Microsoft Exchange that could allow an attacker to run a malicious script in Outlook Web Access.
  • MS05-030: Cumulative Security Update for Outlook Express (897715) Important - A vulnerability exists in Outlook Express that could allow an attacker to take complete control of an affected system.
  • MS05-031: Vulnerability in MS Windows Interactive Training Could Allow Remote Code Execution (898458) Important - A vulnerability exists in Windows that could allow an attacker to take complete control of an affected system. Microsoft Windows Interactive Training is not installed by default.
 Gameguru Mania News - Jun,14 2005 - tech
Tuesday's Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 02:20 PM EDT - Jun,14 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Security Patch Watch: Adobe, Macromedia, Symantec - An advisory from Adobe Systems said the vulnerability affects multiple products, including the widely used Adobe Photoshop CS, Adobe Creative Suite 1.0 and Adobe Premiere Pro 1.x. Customers using the latest version (CS2) of these products are not exposed to the vulnerability. The company has provided updates with instructions on its website. Also Macromedia has released patches rated "important" for a privilege escalation vulnerability in multiple products in the Macromedia MX 2004 suite. This potential vulnerability does not affect products installed on machines with a single user, and it cannot be exploited remotely," the company said. And finally, Symantec has rolled out new versions of its pcAnywhere remote control tool to fix a potentially serious security hole. In an online advisory, Symantec warned that the flaw could be exploited by malicious, local users to gain escalated privileges. Affected products include pcAnywhere 9.x, 10.x and 11.x.
  • Virus flood threatens home users - Virus writers have adopted a new tactic to try to make sure their malicious programs reach as many victims as possible. Instead of releasing Windows viruses intermittently, many creators of worms and trojans are pumping them out with increasing frequency. For a while new variants of one virus, called Mytob, were appearing every hour. Some viruses appear in hundreds of different guises. This tactic is designed to fox security firms that use software to scan e-mail attachments for the signatures of known viruses. The variants are appearing far faster than firms can analyse them and update their scanners to spot the malicious code. The tactic seems to be paying off. Currently, Mytob variants are filling 14 of the positions in the Top 20 threats list collated by security firm Sophos.

OFFTOPIC...

  • James Cameron Takes on Project 880  - James Cameron (Titanic) will start in December on his next big-budget film, which could either be Battle Angel or a parallel project, tentatively titled Project 880. The Hollywood Reporter says both films would be shot in 3-D with custom-designed high-definition cameras. Whichever film Cameron does next, he also plans to use a photo-real version of the performance capture technology used by Robert Zemeckis on The Polar Express. Battle Angel is based on Yukito Kishiro's 12 popular Japanese graphic novels about a nymphette who morphs into an action heroine. Cameron has reworked a script from Alexander screenwriter Laeta Kalogridis that could serve as the beginning of a franchise.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Skype Adds Voicemail to VoIP Services - Customers with Skype Voicemail can leave unlimited Voicemail messages for all Skype users when they are unavailable or offline, and can receive Voicemails from any caller. Unlike standard voicemail systems, Skype Voicemail also allows customers the flexibility to send pre-recorded voice greetings to any other Skype user, regardless if the recipient is also a subscriber to the service.
  • IBM powers up fastest private supercomputer - With a processing speed of 91.29 teraflops, the system is expected to join its sister machine, the Blue Gene/L supercomputer installed at Lawrence Livermore National Labs (currently the world's fastest), as one of the top three supercomputers.
  • Nanotech to turbocharge PC and mobile data - Scientists have demonstrated for the first time that carbon nanotubes can route electrical signals on a computer chip faster than traditional copper or aluminium wires at speeds of up to 10GHz.
  • Ericsson debuts cell phone network for airplanes - Eircsson announced today that it has created a mini cell phone network for usage in commercial airplanes. The gear, also meant for use on ships at sea, is a much slimmer version of Ericsson's RBS 2000, the wireless giant's most popular lineup of cell-phone network base stations. Ericsson says the new network can accommodate as many as 60 people at a time using GSM, the world's most popular cell phone standard.
  • Sony Ericsson unveils new phones - The K608 is a lightweight 3G handset with a camera, FM radio and digital music player. The other phones, using the GSM standard, were geared toward younger, fashion-conscious users, including the J210 with basic voice and messaging features. GSM phones, or global system for mobile communications, account for a majority of the world's wireless users. The S600 includes a camera and advanced gaming features, while the clamshell Z520 was geared toward young women "who want to carry an attractive accessory just as much as a mobile communications device".
  • Sony Ericsson Announces W600 Walkman Phone - Sony Ericsson has unveiled a new phone that bears Sony's "Walkman" brand name. This is the second "Walkman" phone that the group has released. Many industry analysts believe that the biggest threat to iPods digital dominance will come in the form of a combined mobile phone/music player. The W600 sports a 176 x 220 pixel rotating display, 3d graphics, Bluetooth, 256Mb of memory and of course MP3/AAC playback abilities. The new phone also includes an FM tuner.
  • Nokia 6265 - MP3 player and 2 megapixel camera - Nokia says the new Nokia 6265 is its most feature-rich CDMA phone to date. It has a large 240x320 display, a 2 megapixel camera with LED flash, digital music player, Bluetooth, a mini SD memory slot. The camera is only 22mm thin and has 24MB integrated memory. By using miniSD memory cards users can expand this up to 1GB to store hundreds of 2 megapixel photos or digital audio files.
  • Philips to launch SA255 digital audio player - It supports line-in recording, voice recording and also FM radio. MP3, WAV and WMA audio files are supported and the device has a while backlit 128x48 LCD screen. The SA255 is powered on one AAA Alkaline battery but details regarding battery life aren't mentioned

HARDWARE... 

  • Nvidia G70 benchmarks published - A website has published 3DMark05 scores for the G70. According to Hardspell, that amounts to 7703 3DMarks. That contrasts slightly with another benchmark for the G70 that a mole whispered to us - 7737. And for an SLI configuration 12070.
    Which isn't particularly brilliant given the ladles of hype that appear to be sloshing around.
  • Evesham Axis 64 X700 - Media Center PC - After all it's capable of recording TV, playing slide shows, and watching DVDs all of which is controllable from the comfort of a sofa or bed (not supplied). Of course if you do a lot of that you'll probably want to attach it to something bigger than the supplied 17in TFT screen, but before I left home many moons ago I had a 17in CRT TV at the bottom of my bed and at the time it seemed like a home cinema.
  • Sony VAIO VGN-T2XP ultra portable laptop - Inside the T2XP, the specs are pretty impressive considering the size of the notebook. Driving things along is an Ultra Low Voltage Pentium M CPU running at 1.2GHz - no doubt the choice of a ULV chip has helped the Sony achieve very impressive battery life. There's 512MB of memory installed, but 8MB has been dedicated to the integrated Intel 855GME graphics chipset. You could allocate up to 64MB to the graphics chipset, but it really isn't worth it - you're better off keeping the memory accessible by your applications.
  • Toshiba Libretto notebook - The Libretto is powered by Intel's Pentium M 753 ULV processor which, clocked at 1.2GHz, offers plenty of punch for all your portable computing needs. Despite the fact that many notebooks are equipped with PCIe chipsets these days, Toshiba equipped the Libretto with the tried-and-tested Intel 855 chipset which features the built in Extreme Graphics 2 graphics.
  • AMD planning K8 processor with integrated graphics - Apparently AMD has been talking about doing a very integrated, very low cost K8 derivative for 2008. The CPU would feature an on-die memory controller like the current Athlon 64, however it would also feature an on-die graphics core and I/O controller - effectively removing the need for any chipset on the motherboard.
  • AMD Athlon64 X2 Dual Core 4200+ -The Dual core CPUs Perform much better then the FX-55 on CPU intensive tasks, which would be things like DVD encoding, and Photoshop, however they perform about the same in games
  • 3-way nForce 4 SLI Intel Edition Boards Shootout - VR-Zone has taken a close look at 3 nForce 4 SLI Intel Edition boards out there in the market from EPoX, ASUS and MSI. We will touch on the board features, price, performance and overclocking potential to give you a better understanding.
  • Epox 5NVA+ SLI : Intro/Packaging/Layout - As per the benchmarks in the previous pages, the 5NVA+ SLI performed slightly slower than other boards in synthetic benchmarks. However in actual games and applications, the board performed almost as well as other boards based on the nForce4 chipset. Overclocking options on this board are also pretty decent and besides the dead PCI-E x16 slot in our pre-production sample, we did not face any instability or incompatibility problems in the retail version. We like Epox's onboard LEDs for diagnosing problems.
  • Gigabyte GA-8I955X Royal Dual Core Motherboard - The entire i945/955 chipset gambit is great for those just getting into a new system, but for those who just bought a 925XE board a few months back, they will be sorely disappointed when they have to buy a new board just to use the new dual-core CPU, especially when the i955 does not really offer significant technological advances to be a, gee I really have to have that product for current 925XE owners.
  • ASUS EN6800GT Dual (6800GT SLi) - The new ASUS EN6800GT Dual makes an impressive enthusiast-level gaming graphics card especially with its rather impressive SLi performance. This is ASUS' answer to Gigabyte's 3D1 and it surpassed the 3D1 in terms of specifications and performance. Although initial news about this particular card said that it's supposed to be based on dual GeForce 6800 Ultra GPUs, the sample we received from ASUS never failed to amaze either. While its default clock speed puts the card at GeForce 6800GT frequencies, overclocking the card to hit frequencies above the GeForce 6800 Ultra speed was a walk in the park.
  • Sapphire Radeon X850 Pro 256MB PCI Express - The Radeon X850 Pro 256MB from Sapphire aims to bring the features of the X850 to the mid-range consumer, offering a solid gaming experience while weighing in about $160 less than the high end Platinum Editions and $110 less than the standard X850 XT, the 16-Pixel Pipe equivalent to the Pro.
  • GeCube RADEON X800XLA-VIVO 256MB AGP - GeCube's X800XLA-VIVO is based on a successful VPU but doesn't make full use of it. Ideally, what I'd like to see is an AGP model outfitted with Uni-Wise cooling and housed on a smaller PCB. As it is, the GeCube X800XLA-VIVO is a simply average implementation of a decent VPU.
  • MSI NX6600-VTDE128 Diamond Edition 6600 VGA - On average, MSI 6600DE PCI-E is 18% slower than a fully-fledged 6600GT PCI-E; at this gap users will notice the difference in performance in game plays. However, once overclocked, it can reach 6600GT PCI-E level, 495MHz core and 1000MHz memory. At this speed, it is just as fast as a standard 6600GT PCI-E.
  • Creative Audigy 4 Pro sound card  - Creative's website has a comparison chart detailing the differences between the Audigy 4 and previous cards, the only difference listed compared to the Audigy 2 ZS is the signal to noise ratio, with an extra 6dB, due to the new professional quality Cirrus Logic DAC CS4398 chips -> The largest difference appears during the 192kHz test with the Audigy 4 putting in a very good showing. At 48kHz, the card also performs as expected, indeed slightly more than the stated 6dB improvement.
  • Sony DRU-800A review - Since this drive can record to DVD-R DL media, it is probably one of the most versatile drives out there, and it will stay cutting edge until sometime next year when you can expect to see HD-DVD and Blu-Ray writers hitting the market
  • OCZ ModStream 520W Power Supply - The OCZ ModStream 520W Power Supply is designed and marketed for the style conscious computer user. It is not an extremely high powered or an extremely quiet design. Nonetheless, it is well designed and would definitely fit in with the vast majority of blue light themed computers out there. Modular cabling is a big plus, as it allows the skillful modder to do amazing things, and still keep the view from the side tidy. Airflow is definitely helped by the pro sleeving and the 120mm LED fan and exhaust system.
  • Razer Diamondback 1600DPI Optical Mouse - With a 1600 DPI optical sensor, a superb high end paint job and a long cord and carry case you get a lot for your money.
  • X-Arcade Two-Player Joystick - The X-Arcade truly is a winner and an easy sell if you're looking for that genuine arcade feel. XGAMING's peerless backing of its own product makes it even easier to recommend; it actually makes it impossible not to. With its gimmick-free lifetime warranty, 30-day money back guarantee, toll-free phone support, and online live technical support, XGAMING gives you plenty of reason to be comfortable with your purchase.
  • Juniper Networks NetScreen-5GT - Despite its compact dimensions the 5GT packs a fair punch in the hardware department with a 400MHz Intel IXP425 network processor accompanied by 64MB of SDRAM and 32MB of Flash memory. The WAN port can be used to connect the device to an ADSL or cable modem or be used for a direct link to a router and four Fast Ethernet ports are provided for the LAN connections. The serial port can be used as an Internet backup modem link but this is only available in the Plus version.
  • Panasonic DVD-S77S player/recorder - The Panasonic player allows more customizability over visual results, while the NeuNeo players support several video resolutions including 1080 Progressive Scan. The Samsung player is the simplest to use, since it has very few options that can be configured.
  • Canon PowerShot S2 IS - The original PowerShot S1 was a great ultra zoom camera, but it had several flaws that kept it out of the top spot. Those flaws included poor low light focusing (due to the lack of an AF-assist lamp), a small LCD display, above average noise and purple fringing, a 1GB movie limit, and the lack of a histogram in record mode. The good news is that Canon has fixed most of those things on the new PowerShot S2 IS, earning it a spot at the top of my "best ultra zoom" list along with the Panasonic FZ20.

GUIDES...

  • Voltage Mods on Abit AA8XE with just a pencil! - The plain Jane Abit AA8XE is a very good overclocking board, and only loses out to the Fatality version due to its limited voltage options. However, some easy voltage mods will get your board to keep up with any of the Fatality boards out there. VR-Zone shows you how, with the humble pencil!
  • TCCD 600+ on the DFI Ultra+SLI - Guide - XtremeResources is pleased to publish an incredibly informative guide by our member Kakaroto regarding the setup of TCCD memory on the DFI NF4 boards.
  • ATI Xenos: XBOX 360 Graphics Demystified - Beyond3D take a look at ATI C1 / Xenos - "It will be very interesting to see the performance and quality of graphics it is able to produce once developers have had decent access to development kits based on the final hardware, however we suspect that it won't be until the second generation of XBOX 360 titles before we see developers being able to seriously scratch the surface of understanding the processing capabilities of Xenos and the XBOX 360 as a whole."
  • Battlefield 2 Benchmark Performance: Athlon 64 3800+ and Sapphire X800XL 512MB - The test system consisted of Windows XP Professional SP2 with version 5.6 of ATI's Catalyst drivers and nForce 4 6.53 drivers. Check out results.
  • How to Set Up a Home Windows Server Guide Part 3 - This article will focus on how to access files on your server securely outside of your LAN or home.
  • Step-by-Step Guide to Migrating from Software Update Services to Windows Server Update Services - Step-by-step guidance on how to migrate from Microsoft Software Update Services (SUS) to Microsoft Windows Server Update Services (WSUS). You will find step-by-step procedures for installation and configuration of the WSUS server on the SUS server as well as procedures for migration of approvals and updates from the SUS server.

SOFTWARE...

  • Fedora Core 4 - Fedora Core (download) has expanded in this release to four binary ISO images and four source ISO images, and is available for both x86-64 and i386.
  • phpMyAdmin 2.6.3-rc1 - phpMyAdmin can manage a whole MySQL-server (needs a super-user) but also a single database.
  • LinkSync 1.0.2.1 - LinkSync is a major re-write of F2e-Sync. It now support multi syncing from one to many browsers on the fly.
  • Skype 1.3.0.45 - Skype (download / changelog) uses P2P (peer-to-peer) technology to connect you to other users. Not to share files, but to talk with them for free.
  • Longhorn Transformation Pack 10.5 - Longhorn Transformation Pack will transform your Windows XP (including XP2) into the upcoming Longhorn (the new Windows edition from Microsoft)
  • RealPlayer 10.5 Build 6.0.12.1212 - download
  • QuickTime Alternative 1.48 - QuickTime Alternative will allow you to play QuickTime files (.mov, .qt and other extensions) without having to install QuickTime Player from Apple. It also supports QuickTime content that is embedded in webpages.
  • VirtualDub 1.6.7 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.
  • AnyDVD updated to 5.2.4.2 - AnyDVD is a driver, which descrambles DVD-Movies automatically in the background. This DVD appears unprotected and region code free for all applications and the Windows operating system as well.  This new version adds support for a new version of the "Sony ARccOS protection" as found on "Closer" R2 (UK, German, Italian) to the option to remove "Protection based on unreadable Sectors" (it should really work now).
  • RatDVD 0.6 - ratDVD takes a full featured DVD movie and puts it into a highly compressed .ratDVD container format file.
  • DVD Identifier V4.0 adds Blu-ray support with HD-DVD coming - DVD Identifier retrieves and interprets the pre-recorded information that is present on dvd media (DVD+R, DVD+R DL, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-R DL, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM) and also on Blu-ray media (BD-R and BD-RE).
  • Nero CD-DVD Speed 4.00 - Nero CD-DVD Speed (download) is a benchmark which can test the most important features of an optical drive. These tests include: Transfer rate, Seek times, CPU (Central Processing Unit) usage, Burst rate, DAE (Digital Audio Extraction) quality & Spinup/spindown time. It can also check the CD (Compact Disk) and DVD (Digital Versatile Disk) media quality.
  • Nero Burning Rom 6.6.0.14 - Nero Burning Rom 6.6.0.14 (mirror1-US / mirror2-US / changelog) adds support of layer jump recording for DVD-R DL, improves usability for DVD-Video compilation (now the VIDEO_TS folder is opened per default so a drag and drop action will add the files to the correct folder) and more. They have also released Nero Media Player 1.4.0.33 and NeroVision Express 3.1.0.11. For more info & download visit the official website.
  • ForceWare 77.50 BETA Win2000/XP- Here's a new set of Forceware Drivers in the shape of 77.50 for Windows 2000/XP! Dated: May 26th, 2005 - WHQL Candidate.
 Gameguru Mania News - Jun,12 2005 - tech
Sunday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 03:50 PM EDT - Jun,12 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Microsoft to Patch Ten Vulnerabilities - This coming Tuesday, Microsoft will release 10 security related updates in response to recently discovered vulnerabilities. The updates are part of Microsoft's shockingly stable monthly patch cycle.
  • Apple patches 11 security holes - Apple has released a security update that fixes 11 vulnerabilities in the OS X operating system. The patched vulnerabilities include holes in both OS X Panther 10.3 and OS X Tiger 10.4.
  • Michael Jackson 'Suicide' virus spreads - The British anti-virus firm Sophos said that hackers are infecting computers around the world with a Trojan virus by sending e-mails which claim that pop-star Michael Jackson has attempted suicide. The e-mail message links to a site that contains a Trojan horse program known as Troj/Borobt-Gen. It quickly installs malware onto the user's computer via a flaw in Internet Explorer that can be patched, according to Sophos.
  • Skulls Trojan puts on antivirus mask - A new variant of the Skulls Trojan horse for cell phones is trying to trap victims by posing as antivirus software, F-Secure has warned. The Skulls Trojan horse, which affects Symbian-based cell phones, first surfaced in November. This latest Skulls.L variant is similar to Skulls.C, the only difference being that it's disguised as a pirated copy of F-Secure Mobile Anti-Virus, the Finnish antivirus maker said in an alert posted Thursday.
  • Update crashes ZoneAlarm firewall - A bug in a Zone Labs update caused the popular ZoneAlarm firewall to crash late Thursday for about 50,000 users of ZoneAlarm Pro and ZoneAlarm Security Suite products.The faulty update was made available at around 4 p.m. Pacific Time on Thursday. Zone Labs finally discovered the bug after customers began reporting crashes. The problem was replicated in Zone Labs' security lab and was fixed within five hours, according to a news posting on the Zone Labs Web site.
  • $1 amnesty for pirated software - Microsoft has reached a deal with Indonesia over the tens of thousands of pirated versions of Windows programs used in government departments. Ministers said Microsoft had agreed an amnesty under which a token sum of one dollar will be paid for every computer found to be using illegal software.

OFFTOPIC...

  • 30 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do on the Internet - So you think you have the Web all figured out? Well, think again.
  • Gamers turn cities into a battleground - Uncle Roy All Around You is one such game, developed by interactive technology researcher Steve Benford at the University of Nottingham, UK, as part of a European effort called the Integrated Project on Pervasive Gaming, or iPerG. Matt has just an hour to find the eponymous Uncle Roy by following instructions or clues fed to him via cellphone text messages. But every time he moves, the positioning technology on his phone transmits his exact location onto a virtual map of London, allowing other players in the game to track his movements and hunt him down. Meanwhile a small band of performance artists called Blast Theory shadow Matt like spies, interacting and manipulating him in his quest to find Uncle Roy.
  • Supercomputer to build 3D brain - Experts at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, will spend the next two years creating a 3D simulation of the neocortex. This is the part of the brain thought to be responsible for language, learning, memory and complex thought. The researchers believe the project will give them fresh insights into the most remarkable organ in the body.
  • US National Academies fights evolution controversy - The National Academies, the flagship of US science, said on Friday it had set up a Web site to battle attempts to portray evolution as mere speculation about how life developed on Earth
  • The Return of Jennifer Connelly (interview) - It's been almost two years since beautiful Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Connelly graced the big screen with her presence, starring in House of Sand and Fog and playing Betty Ross in The Hulk. After taking time off to have a baby with husband Paul Bettany and staying well out of the negative tabloid limelight of her peers while doing so, she's back with Dark Water, a remake of the Japanese thriller from Hideo Nakata (The Ring), directed by Brazilian director Walter Salles (The Motorcycle Diaries).
  • Christopher Nolan on Batman Begins (interview) - Christopher Nolan, who has received critical acclaim for Memento and Insomnia, has brought back the Dark Knight in Batman Begins, which explores the origins of the Batman legend and his emergence as a force for good in Gotham. TheOneNetwork has posted nine clips from the film, while you can watch 11 minutes of B-roll footage in Windows Media format here and in Real format here.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Apple's Intel Risk - By now it is a well known fact that Apple Computer is switching to chips designed and manufacturered by Intel within the next year or so. Apple chief executive Steve Jobs confirmed that the company's entire product line will switch to Intel processors by the end of 2007. But where does that leave Apple customers who are looking to purchase a system before that time? Analysts agree that a majority of consumers do not want to invest in technology that will be deemed "obsolete", which is exactly the problem that Apple might face during their transition period
  • Intel, Nokia Team on Mobile WiMax - Intel and Nokia have teamed up to back the development of mobile WiMax technology, and will work together to see that the technology is standardized soon, the companies said this week.WiMax, part of the IEEE's (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers') 802.16 standard, is a wide-area wireless networking technology that promises to deliver wireless broadband access over a range significantly greater than that of IEEE 802.11 WLAN (wireless LAN) technology, commonly known as Wi-Fi.
  • Kutaragi on Blu-ray and HD-DVD Merger -  A Taipei Times article today has a few quotes from Sony's Ken Kutaragi claiming that any sort of merger between the competing Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats is "unlikely".  Sony is counting on the support of film studios and game software developers to make Blu-ray the dominant standard, and already has the backing of Walt Disney Co and Electronic Arts Inc.
  • Windows Command Line to be overhauled  - The command line interface to the Windows Server OS will be changed to the new Monad Shell (MSH), in a phased implementation to take place over the next three to five years. This confirmation comes from Microsoft senior vice president Bob Muglia. Monad was started as a project to provide a more powerful command line competitive with the BASH shell on Unix and Linux, using ideas gleaned from WMIC, but using the .NET Framework as its core component instead.
  • More recalls for Xbox - Microsoft have issued a further safety recall after it was discovered that there are more problems with power cables. Previously Microsoft only issued new power cables to owners of older machines, but now any Xbox bought before 14th January 2005 is afected. To find out if you need to take action, make a note of htye serial number on your console and call Xbox Support on 0800 0289276, or click here to check online.
  • AMD Details Early Quad-Core Plans - In a detailed briefing for analysts in New York on Friday, executives at AMD painted the company as making "irreversible progress" into new architectures, specifically multicore microprocessors and 64-bit processing. Executives confirmed that the company plans to enhance its Opteron enterprise processor line to four cores in 2007, adding focused optimizations to manage power and improve throughput.
  • Seagate's Drive Plans Include 500GBs, Encryption - Seagate Technology unveiled its 2005 lineup on Wednesday, which takes drives to the half-terabyte level and introduces a product family that encrypts data. Over the course of the year, Seagate will unveil 12 new products, executives said, incorporating the company's shift to perpendicular recording, a technique of aligning the magnetic grains within the drive to increase its storage density. That technology will have far-reaching effects, as Seagate transitions its Barracuda desktop and external drives to a top capacity of 500GB and increases its Momentus line of 2.5-inch drives to 160GB.
  • Optware to Release 30 GB Holographic Card for Less than $1 at the End of 2006 - Optware Corp., a developer of holographic data storage systems, is planning to release a Holographic Versatile Card (HVC) media product around the end of 2006. The card capacity is expected to be 30 GB.

HARDWARE... 

  • Nvidia G70 becomes Geforce 7800 GFX - TheInquirer saw a nice document which reveals that Nvidia is going to call its next chip the Geforce 7800 GFX. As for the specs, the Geforce 7800 GFX will be clocked at 430MHz core with 1400MHz memory. It will be equipped with 256MB of 256 bit memory, at least the version we are telling you about will be. It will also feature two DVI's, VIVO and HDTV support.
  • ATI Crossfire preview - The Crossfire seems to be a real viable option for those that are in the mood to upgrade and were disappointed with the SLI gains overall. But it is still a bit early. The X850 version of the Crossfire is estimated at a not so cheap $549, which is expected. Because information on the Crossfire is still scarce pre-release of the cards themselves there is little we know about what bundles may be made available with them and if ATI plans on releasing the Crossfire to support their lower end cards. Another similar article called "DFI's crossfire solution" can be found on Rojak's Pot
  • Mushkin 2GB HP3200 2-3-2 Dual Pack - As the name suggest, this dual pack rated at PC3200 belongs to the High Performance line. It consists of two matched 1GB modules specifically designed for use on dual channel systems. With plenty of RAM at 2GB, this dual pack is also built at very low latencies of 2-3-2.
  • OCZ PC2-5400 EB Platinum Edition - ViperLair takes a look at OCZ PC2-5400 EB Platinum Edition memory.
  • G.Skill DDR600 Memory - These modules performed rock solid for over two weeks in my system running 24/7 and this was the longest time I've ever run any system at 300FSB (HTT) without a random crash or hiccup. I was surprised playing Far Cry, which consumes RAM like America consumes Crude Oil, I didn't experience any crashes. This was a first for 512MB kit.
  • EVGA e-GeForce 6200 TurboCache - The EVGA e-GeForce 6200 TurboCache is simply the fastest card in its class for the money.
  • RAPTOR-GAMING M2 Gaming Mouse - Having played with the Logitech 518, another switchable DPI mouse, I have to say that Logitech's implementation of the DPI switching is easier to handle in a frantic game of COD or HL2 deathmatch. However, I do have to question just how often you'll want to change the DPI when you're playing a game.
  • Three Home Theater Projectors to Show Off - The Sony VPLHS51 has the best quality / price ratio, hands down. Available at less than $3,000, it's an excellent tri-LCD video projector that, for once, won't make you regret not buying a DLP.
  • Altec Lansing inMotion iM7 iPod Speakers (preview) - What's perhaps the most interesting feature of the iM7 is the iPod cradle, as it works more or less like a cassette recorder. You press the frame of the cradle to open and insert your iPod similarly to a cassette. Once the cradle is open, you have the option to "resize" the cradle to fit either the iPod Mini or the standard iPod. Furthermore, the iM7 will charge the iPod while you are playing it via the speaker set.
  • Sorell SF3000 MP3 Player - The Sorell SF3000 ships with 1GB of flash memory and also includes an LCD for the playback of video so one might conclude that it might be bulky or larger than the previous SF2000 model but one would be wrong. The Sorell SF3000 is about the size of a pack of gum and incredibly lightweight.
  • Nokia 6680 3G phone review - It looks so much better than the 6630. A more square shape to the design instantly makes it look like a professional's tool, rather than the slightly gimmicky pear-shape of its predecessor. The keypad, despite still being a little small, doesn't have that slightly odd upwards curve to it. So it's easier to use and just feels better in your hand.

GUIDES...

SOFTWARE...

  • Symantec Client Security 3.0 review - The Client Security 3.0 software package consists of a complete virus checker, firewall, antispyware and ad-blocker solution, it comes on one CD, and its installation wizard has been designed to quietly and unobtrusively do its job without fuss.
  • Acrylic Beta - Microsoft has launched a public beta (77MB, WinXP SP2 required) for a new piece of software, code named 'Acrylic'. Acrylic is a design tool that will feel reasonably similar to anyone familiar with Adobe Photoshop.
  • PHP 5.1 Beta - PHP 5.1 Beta 1 is now available
  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2006 (Beta) - The Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2006 represents a new generation platform for creating applications specifically designated for complex protection of personal computers and workstations.
  • Belarc Advisor 7.0m - The Belarc Advisor (download) builds a detailed profile of your installed software and hardware, including Microsoft Hotfixes, and displays the results in your Web browser. All of your PC profile information is kept private on your PC and is not sent to any web server.
  • VisualCron 2.0.7 Beta - VisualCron (download) is windowsbased program that works like the integrated task scheduler but have more features and flexibility. VisualCron is based on the Unix/Linux version of cron
  • Pdf995 7.4s - Pdf995 (download) is a printer driver that works with any Postscript to PDF converter.
  • MSN Search Toolbar with Windows Desktop Search 2.0.2.1007 - Users of Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web browser will not have to wait until IE7 to experience tabbed browsing. MSN has shipped a new build of its MSN Search Toolbar that adds basic tabbed browsing support to IE6. But the feature is not fully integrated into the browser, instead relying on the toolbar to create tabs.
  • GAIM 1.3.1 - Gaim is a multi-protocol instant messaging client (download) for Linux, BSD, MacOS X, and Windows. It is compatible with AIM (Oscar and TOC protocols), ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo, IRC, Jabber, Gadu-Gadu, and Zephyr networks.
  • K-Lite Mega Codec Pack 1.33 - The K-Lite Mega Codec Pack is a free software bundle which includes latest recent codecs and directshow filters to play most video files. Includes QuickTime Alternative, Real Alternative, BSplayer, Media Player Classic, Lame Encoder, DivX, Xvid and many others.
  • QuickTime Alternative 1.50 Beta 1 - QuickTime Alternative will allow you to play QuickTime files (.mov, .qt and other extensions) without having to install the official QuickTime Player. It also supports QuickTime content that is embedded in webpages. The latest final build can be found here.
  • Real Alternative 1.40 -  Real Alternative will allow you to play RealMedia files without having to install RealPlayer/RealOne Player.
  • FileZilla 2.2.14a - FileZilla (download) is a fast FTP and SFTP client for Windows with a lot of features. FileZilla Server is a reliable FTP server.
  • Computer Cleaner v1.6 - Computer Cleaner is one of the fastest and effective cleaners on the net. It cleans out many programs log files, unneeded windows files that slow down the computer and many other things in very short time.
  • Style XP Update 3.09 - Style XP (download)  v3.09 is now available for download.
  • cladDVD.NET 3.5.7 - In cladDVD.NET (download) there are two modes of ripping, 'PGC Mode [AVI]' and 'DVD Mode [DVDR]'. DVD Mode decrypts the VOB files in a traditional way leaving everything intact, you end up with the same files and sizes e.t.c. on you hard drive. PGC Mode is much more advanced and allows you to extract and decrypt exactly what you want, this mode is used for conversion to a DivX AVI whilst the former is for replicating a DVD.
  • Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility 7.0.0.1025 - The Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility installs the Windows* INF files. The INF files inform the operating system how to properly configure the chipset for specific functionality, such as AGP, USB, Core PCI, and ISAPNP services.
  • Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2/Audigy 4 x64 2.03.0003 WHQL - These are the drivers for 64bit people (EU mirror)
  • nForce4 Standalone Drivers 7.12 - NVIDIA has released a new NFORCE 4 driver.
  • Xtreme G 77.13 HD (ForceWare) - Based on 77.13 (ForceWare this is the updated bugfixed version B. This is the Xtreme G driver which includes many performance and Image Quality tweaks.
  • ForceWare 77.30 Win2000/XP - Beta or not this very new 77.30 ForceWare driver is being distributed with the release of the new Battlefield 2 Demo, and thus EA released it. Battlefield 2 requires NVIDIA users to have the very latest drivers. So they highly recommend you upgrade to the latest NVIDIA drivers. Another mirrors: NGOHQ, TweaksRus.
  • Firmware / BIOS updates - Many new firmware/BIOS updates can be found here (German language)
 Gameguru Mania News - Jun,10 2005 - tech
Xbox 360 + ATI interview - tech
(hx) 05:42 AM EDT - Jun,10 2005 - Post a comment
Bit-tech.net let us know they have posted an interview with ATI's Richard Huddy talking about the architecture behind the Xenos graphics chip in the Xbox 360, how it rates compared to the PS3's RSX, unified shader architecture and the future of PC hardware:
"I'd be very surprised if these hardware features were implemented on the PC any time soon," we're told. "Microsoft has a very specific revision of DirectX (or Windows Graphics Foundation) for Xbox 360, just as they did with Xbox 1. DirectX for the PC includes no hardware specific instructions, because DirectX has to be 10 times more generic to work on a PC platform and the myriad of hardware configurations. I don't think it will happen. Plus the architecture of the Xbox 360 is closed box - that means we can do special things there which have no comparison in the PC space.

"We practically have AA for free on the PC anyway right now. If the difference between 1280x1024 with no AA and 1280x1024 with 2x AA is 90 FPS and 70FPS, who wouldn't turn the AA on? The performance hit isn't going to be noticeable to most gamers - and with an X800 or X850 those kind of frame rates are common place."
They also get the lowdown on backwards compatibility with Xbox 1, and the problems therein:
Richard: "Microsoft weren't focused on hardware backwards compatibility early on… that wasn't in the specification. They believed that any compatibility they could get would come in through a software layer, and they didn't want to compromise this generation's hardware for the sake of last generation's games.

"They have implemented compatibility purely through emulation (at the CPU level). It looks like emulation profiles for each game are going to be stored on the hard drive, and I imagine that a certain number will ship with the system. They already have the infrastructure to distribute more profiles via Live, and more and more can be made available online periodically.

"Emulating the CPU isn't really a difficult task. They have three 3GHz cores, so emulating one 733MHz chip is pretty easy. The real bottlenecks in the emulation are GPU calls - calls made specifically by games to the Nvidia hardware in a certain way. General GPU instructions are easy to convert - an instruction to draw a triangle in a certain way will be pretty generic. However, it's the odd cases, the proprietary routines, that will cause hassle."
 Gameguru Mania News - Jun,09 2005 - tech
CATALYST 5.6 and beyond-ATI's driver future - tech
(hx) 11:12 AM EDT - Jun,09 2005 - Post a comment
EliteBastards take a look at today's ATI driver release. In addition, they also also had an opportunity to look ahead to what is in store for the Canadian companies next few driver releases, taking a look at the CATALYST roadmap to bring you a peek of what you have to look forward to in the coming months, from CATALYST 5.6 through to 5.8. Here's an excerpt:
For the gamers out there, this is the big one for you - CATALYST 5.6 sees an extension to the number of titles which make use of ATI's CATALYST A.I feature to leverage specific optimisations for certain titles, and thus boost performance in these games. Here's the list of what benefits from these additions, and the changes which have been applied.

- Doom 3 benefits from more efficient memory usage
- Chronicles of Riddick utilises the more efficient storage of vertex data
- Call of Duty makes use of optimisations previously limited to Doom 3 to increase its rendering efficiency
- Lock On: Modern Air Combat force enabled texture compression within the game without sacrificing image quality, making for massive performance gains

Away from CATALYST A.I., ATI have also implemented some Z-optimisations - These affect all titles across the board, but the benefit from these changes can be seen most specifically in the likes of Halo, AquaMark 3, 3DMark 05 and Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness.

ATALYST 5.7 is slated to be the first WHQL driver release to support ATI's multi-GPU technology, CrossFire. This means that the CATALYST A.I. feature will be expanded upon to choose the appropriate rendering mode for game titles, and extra anti-aliasing options will be available to CrossFire users allowing them to select 8x, 10x, 12x and 14x 'SuperAA' modes. You can find more information about CrossFire in our article dedicated to the subject here.
ATI CATALYST Drivers v5.6 - tech
(hx) 10:45 AM EDT - Jun,09 2005 - Post a comment / read (6)
ATI has released a new ATI Catalyst drivers (release notes / download ~ 24.9MB) bringing them up to version 5.6. The package contains: RADEON display driver 8.14, Multimedia Center 9.08, Catalyst Control Center 5.6 (requires .NET Version 1.1 Framework), HydraVision Basic Edition 3.25.9006, Remote Wonder 3.02, WDM version 5.03 (6312) and Southbridge/IXP Driver.
The following section provides a summary of the issues that have been resolved in the latest version of Catalyst. These include:
  • MS Works 8.0: Running the application under a German edition of Windows XP no longer results in an error message being displayed when clicking on the calendar
  • MVP Baseball 2004: Playing the game under Windows XP with an ATI PCIe product installed no longer results in brief display corruption being noticed when there is a transition between certain frames
  • Shadow Vault: Setting the desktop resolution to 1280x1024 and the D3D slider to Optimal Quality in the ATI 3D tab no longer results in corruption being displayed in the opening cinematic and no longer results in the game failing to respond along with a VPU recover message
  • VirtualSkipper3: Launching a challenge in the game no longer results in the game failing to respond while the challenge is loading
  • Assigning a hotkey to increase the overlay gamma no longer results in the hotkey not functioning properly when playing an MPEG using the Windows Media Player
  • Installing the display driver and the Catalyst Control Center, no longer results in a runtime error and the system tray failing to start when attempting to create multiple user accounts and enabling fast user switching
  • The Catalyst Control Center installation now checks for the installation of the Microsoft .Net Framework before preceding with the install of the Catalyst Control Center. This resolves an error message that was displayed when attempting to launch the Catalyst Control Center
  • The Scale to Full Screen option found in the Theater Mode settings of the Catalyst Control Center is now available when using multiple display devices and enabling clone mode
  • The text that describes the preferred setting for the Plugged-in option found under the Powerplay settings of the Catalyst Control Center is no longer missing
  • Catalyst Control Center: The Apply and Discard button are no longer disabled when disabling Overdrive
  • Moving the TV to desktop2 and selecting swap device or double up no longer results in the CRT being in panning mode and display corruption being seen on the TV
  • The Optimal Performance text string is no longer missing in the Standard settings of the 3D options found in the Catalyst Control Center
  • The Color option found under Smartshader is no longer missing when selecting the option No Preview for the Catalyst Control Center
  • Changing the regional option found in the control panel to Japan followed by installing the display driver no longer results in the TV format failing to change in accordance with the regional option
  • Selecting German as the language for the Catalyst Control Center no longer results in the heading for the Digital Panel Attributes page being cut-off
  • Creating a hotkey to adjust any video overlay option no longer results in the overlay option not changing when executing the hotkey
  • Black text boxes are no longer displayed in the Overdrive option of the Catalyst Control Center when selecting the Windows XP Silver Color Scheme
  • The language translation of Hide Toolbar Text in the Preferences tab of the Catalyst Control Center is now correct for the Korean language
  • Paragraph truncation is no longer noticed in the confirmation dialog box when using the Korean language option and making a change to the Graphic Settings in the Display Options of the Catalyst Control Center
  • Changes to the Overlay Display in Clone Mode option found in the Theater Mode settings of the Catalyst Control Center are now retained
  • The Scale to full screen option found in the Theater Mode Settings of the Catalyst Control Center is now working properly
  • The title for the ATI Setup Wizard failed dialog box is no longer missing when running the installation under Windows XP Korean version
  • Display corruption is no longer noticed when resuming from a full screen DOS session and attempting to run a 3D application under Windows XP in a system containing an ATI Radeon Xpress 200 series product
  • Connecting an HDTV to an ATI Radeon Xpress 200 series no longer results in the selection of D3 and D4 in the HDTV properties
  • Connecting both a DVI display device and an HDTV to an ATI Radeon Xpress 200 series no longer results in the DVI monitor failing to enter power save mode
  • The back lighting is no longer disabled after the installing of the display driver in a system containing an ATI Radeon Xpress 200 series
  • Setting the Anti-Aliasing option to 4x and running an application that supports non-standard modes such as 1360x1024 no longer results in the application being displayed incorrectly
  • LCD Response Time Composition is now enabled and automatically turns off if video playback is below a predefined threshold
  • Adding a secondary ATI display adapter to a system contain an ATI Radeon Xpress 200 series on board no longer results in hesitation being noticed when using the hot-key function to switch between display devices
  • Having a TV connected as the only display device and clicking the OK button in the ATI displays tab found in the Advanced section of the Display Properties no longer results in a flash of the TV image being noticed
  • Having a TV and CRT connected and clicking on Preview Automatic adjustment in the Optimize Media Center no longer results in both display devices displaying a black screen
 Gameguru Mania News - Jun,08 2005 - tech
Wednesday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 12:15 PM EDT - Jun,08 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Microsoft Planning 'Lower Rights' IE 7.0 - A senior Microsoft executive on Monday confirmed that the upcoming Internet Explorer 7.0 browser upgrade will ship with reduced privilege mode turned on by default to help thwart browser-based hacking attacks. The new browser will also feature major changes in the way files are executed and new anti-spoofing and anti-phishing technology to let users identify fake scam Web sites.
  • Alleged Pentagon hacker arrested - British man accused by the United States of hacking into scores of military computers and disrupting operations was arrested in London on Tuesday to face an extradition hearing, police said. Unemployed programmer Gary McKinnon, 39, is accused of gaining illegal access to 53 computers owned by the Pentagon, NASA and the U.S. Army and Navy between February 2001 and March 2002. He was taken to a central London police station and is due to appear in court on Wednesday for an extradition hearing brought on behalf of the U.S. government, London police said in a statement.
  • Hotmail threatened by MSN flaw - A cross-scripting security hole allowed malicious hackers to steal cookies from Hotmail users and get access to their accounts. Microsoft took part of its MSN Web site offline over the weekend, after it learned of a flaw that could let an attacker gain access to Hotmail accounts, the company said. The MSN Web site, http://ilovemessenger.msn.com/, contained a so-called cross-site scripting flaw, a Microsoft representative said on Monday. In its initial review of the issue, the company found that an attacker could use the vulnerability to obtain "cookies" from Hotmail users by getting them to click on a malicious URL. That could then grant access to those e-mail accounts, the representative said.
  • Shanghai Cracks Down on Pirated Movies - Shanghai is cracking down on pirated videos ahead of the city's international film festival, putting illegal copies of the latest "Stars Wars" movie and TV shows such as "Friends" out of reach - at least for now. Stores have temporarily closed or boxed up unauthorized DVDs to avoid having them seized in police raids. Sidewalk sellers who peddle copies out of suitcases are also lying low.
  • Quantum cryptography network gets wireless link - The world's first quantum encryption computer network has been expanded to include a wireless link that uses quantum communications codes. The wireless connection was added to the DARPA Quantum Network, a quantum fibre-optic network buried beneath the ground in Massachusetts, US. Quantum cryptography guarantees security by encoding information as polarised photons which can be sent down a fibre optic cable or through the air. Intercepting these photons disturbs their quantum state, alerting both sides to an eavesdropper's presence.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Japan unveils "robot suit" that enhances human power - Japan has taken a step into the science-fiction world with the release of a "robot suit" that can help workers lift heavy loads or assist people with disabilities climb stairs. The 15-kilogram (33-pound) battery-powered suit, code-named HAL-5, detects muscle movements through electrical-signal flows on the skin surface and then amplifies them.
  • The "Star Wars" Worlds: More Science Than Fiction? - Everyone knows the Star Wars galaxy is located "far, far away." But how realistic are the alien worlds (see pictures) described in the science fiction saga? To find out, National Geographic News checked in with two experts on everything extraterrestrial: Bruce Betts, a planetary scientist at the Planetary Society in Pasadena, California, and Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute in Mountain View, California.
  • Mission: Impossible 3 Start Date Announced - Mission: Impossible 3, starring Tom Cruise, will commence principal photography on July 18th in Italy, it was announced today by Paramount Pictures Chairman and CEO Brad Grey. The film, to be directed by J. J. Abrams and filmed on locations across Europe, the U.S. and Asia, is scheduled to be released May 5, 2006. Cruise and his partner, Paula Wagner, will produce for Cruise/Wagner Productions.
  • Genes blamed for fickle female orgasm - Is this the ultimate excuse for poor performance in bed? "Sorry, darling," the man says, just before falling asleep. "It's your genes."

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Nintendo Revolution downloads NOT for free - According to a recent article in Famitsu magazine downloading classic Nintendo games onto your Revolution will not be free. Boss man, Satoru Itawa, explicitly stated the fact, but added that some games might be available for free download as a bonus for purchasing a Revolution title or through special promotions.
  • Intel-inside Mac benchmarked with mixed results - Mac developers have already begun testing the performance of Apple's limited edition Mac based on a 3GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor. The Xbench tests show the performance of PowerPC software running in the Rosetta environment. The resultant cores of between 65 and 70 are a long way behind the 200+ rating achieved by the fastest Power Macs, though since Rosetta does not support Altivec instructions - there being no Altivec processor in the Intel machine.
  • Longhorn Microsoft improves graphics by 55% - It's interesting to see Microsoft making another step towards total control of the graphics market development - from now on accelerators will have to offer almost identical features and the difference between them will be only in their quality and performance. No CAPS, no tyranny of formats - all cards support everything. That's all, these are all features that Microsoft decided to include into the next version of its graphics API.
  • Longhorn biggest release since Win95 - Ballmer: I think Longhorn is going to be the biggest release we have done since Windows 95. It's going to be a big thing, but I don't think we should have expectations that we will have people lined up at midnight to buy a copy, necessarily, despite the fact that Longhorn is a huge deal. I think it's bigger than anything else we've ever done--except Win95. In a sense, technically, it's much bigger than Windows 95.
  • Sprint, Yahoo To Offer Pay Email Service On Cellphones - Sprint Corp. launched a pay email service with Yahoo Inc. for its mobile phone customers, as the companies look to tap into the rapidly growing wireless data-service market. Starting Wednesday, Sprint users with select handsets will be able to download a program that greatly speeds up the delivery of Yahoo emails through a more user-friendly interface. It will also allow the storage of emails onto the phone, so users won't have to constantly go online to review old messages. Both Sprint and Yahoo are banking that consumers will pay the additional $2.99 a month for the new features.
  • iTunes more popular than many P2P sites - Apple Computer's iTunes online music store is as popular as most music-swapping networks, according to a study released Tuesday. The survey by market research firm NPD Group found that approximately 1.7 million U.S. households downloaded a song from iTunes in March. That was good enough to earn the store a second-place ranking with peer-to-peer downloading service LimeWire.

HARDWARE... 

  • Lenovo shows off its first Thinkpad - The first laptop, the Thinkpad X41T, is an ultraportable with a swivelling screen that turns it into tablet. Lenovo claims that the X41T is 20 per cent lighter than its closest competitor and, with the extended battery pack, has the longest working time of any 12in laptop, at up to 6.3 hours. It uses a built in graphics accelerator, and can be ordered with an Intel Pentium M processor and up to 1.5GB of DDR2 Ram. UK prices start at £1,290 and models will be available from July.
  • ATI Unveils Mobility RADEON X800 XT for DTR Laptops - ATI Mobility RADEON X800 XT incorporates 16 pixel and 6 vertex pipelines as well as 256-bit GDDR3 memory interface. According to ATI's performance tests, the part features performance, which is on par with that provided by ATI RADEON X800 XT graphics card. ATI's latest mobile graphics chip is designed for PCI Express bus and will be available in AXIOM (Advanced eXpress I/O Module) form-factor. The chip is manufactured using 0.13 micron low-k process technology and features power-saving capabilities, such as POWERPLAY 5.0.
  • Single-chip ULi Athlon 64 chipset to come in July -  DigiTimes is reporting that mass production of ULi's upcoming M1697 Athlon 64 chipset will begin next month. Like NVIDIA's nForce4 family, the M1697 is a single-chip solution. The chipset will support dual-core Athlon 64 processors, 3Gbps "Serial ATA II" transfer rates, 20 lanes of PCI Express, High Definition Audio, and RAID 0, 1, 0+1, and 5 arrays.
  • Maxtor announces 500GB hard drives - Maxtor has announced that it will begin shipping 500GB ATA/133 and Serial ATA hard drives in the third quarter of this year. The half-terabyte drives will spin at 7,200RPM and be available across Maxtor's QuickView, MaXLine, and DiamonMax lines. 300MB/sec transfer rates will be supported on the Serial ATA models, and since Maxtor's current generation of desktop drives already support Native Command Queuing, it seems likely that the new 500GB drives will as well.
  • ATI's CrossFire System Scores 15 498 in 3DMark05 - ATI Technologies proclaimed the world's record 3DMark05 score that was achieved by the company's CrossFire platform featuring two presumably overclocked graphics cards. The new record is 15 498 marks, which is around 6% higher compared to the previous record held by a multi-GPU system based on NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra SLI platform.
  • AMD's Opteron 275 Dual-Core Processor - AMD's dual-core Opteron processors are extremely impressive, not only in terms of the amount of their raw performance capabilities, but as the basis for a well rounded multi-core workstation / server platform. They are extremely feature-packed processors (SSE-3, NX-Bit, x64 support) which do not create much heat and consume very little power. The chips are pin compatible with Opteron platforms of the last two years, and will require nothing more than a BIOS update in order for older motherboards to support this new architecture. 
  • Mushkin Redline XP4000 DDR RAM - XtremeResources takes a look today at Mushkin's latest high performance DDR offering, their Redline XP4000 RAM modules.
  • Mushkin 2GB-Kit HP3200 DDR - Viper Lair posted a review of Mushkin's latest memory kit
  • ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE motherboard - If you are looking for a top overclocking board for Pentium4 LGA775, you have found the right one. The layout is well thought out and the board has ample overclocking headroom - more than most people would ever need. Compatibility issues could not be spotted and gaming performance is rock solid. Another review can be found on Guru3D.
  • Gigabyte Silent-Pipe Radeon X800 XL (GV-RX80L256V) PCIe - My first thought when asked to review a completely silent X800 XL was, 'Hey, that would be a perfect HTPC card. Good gaming and silent! Sign me up!' Unfortunately, the height of the Silent-Pipe X800 XL (GV-RX80L256V) due to its heatpipes will prohibit it from fitting in my current HTPC case (an Antec Overture) and many others. Nevertheless, it still seems like a top media PC option to me. Keep reading to find out if the performance is on par with other X800 XL PCI Express cards and to learn more about this cool and silent offering from Gigabyte.
  • HIS X850XT IceQII Turbo and Platinum Series VIVO 256MB AGP - Based on the performance of the two cards, it doesn't make much sense to pick the Platinum Edition over the Turbo model. At the default speeds, the Turbo was only a slight step behind the Platinum Edition in most tests, and the Turbo can be manually increased to run at the Platinum speeds using iTurbo anyway.
  • 10 Mammouth CPU Coolers: Size Does Matter - The Vanessa (L-Type) by Titan stands out, for its particularly good cooling capacity and extravagant design features. The Sonic Tower by Thermaltake also boasts an impressive cooling capacity, and if passive operation isn't feasible, an optional 120 mm fan can be added, albeit at an additional cost. If you don't have a lot of space in your computer, the CNPS7700 Cu from Zalman is a good option, offering good cooling capacity with minimal noise emission at a reasonable price
  • Seagate 400GB Pushbutton Backup External Hard Drive -  It's called Pushbutton as you can kick off a backup job simply by pressing the button on the face of the drive. The drive comes in both USB-only and a dual USB-Firewire version to meet your needs. With that kind of capacity and connectivity, this drive sure sounds like a winner. You can pickup the Seagate 400GB Pushbutton Backup drive for about $310 which is actually only a couple bucks more than a 400GB Seagate internal drive
  • DVD Burner round-up: Top 16x drives tested - TechSpot has posted a DVD Burner round-up testing three of the most acclaimed 16x drives currently available in the market: Plextor's PX-716A, NEC's ND-3520A and LG's GSA-4163B - As far as king of the hill goes, the NEC drive lists the best performance specifications from the manufacturer. However, if you take the benchmarks under consideration, you have to be impressed with LG's low CPU utilization. I don't know about you, but I am a pure breed multi-tasker, and I put very high demands on my PC.
  • Sony DRU-800A 16x DVD±RW - Sony's new drive did pretty well in our DVD read tests. The DRU-800A was able to read both single layer DVD-ROM's and DVD-Videos at 16x and had some relatively good seek times. It also read DVD±R and DVD±RW media at a respectable 8x, but slowed to only 5.7x when reading DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL discs.
  • Pioneer DVR-109 DVD-Writer  - The key point is that the media compatibility with this drive is horrible, media that have been on the market for over a year and more is still not supported at certified speed, even from large known manufacturers like Ritek and CMC Magnetics.
  • Logitech V200 Cordless Notebook Mouse - CoolTechZone posted a review of Logitech V200 Cordless Notebook Mouse.
  • Logitech Formula GP Racing Wheel for the PC - If you don't want to spend over $60 for a wheel/racing combo, then this is the racing wheel for you. Whether it's your bank account or your games, you can't lose with this value combo.
  • Finding the Best 19" LCD Monitor for Your Application - Given the performance of the latter, it's hard to recommend one of these panels in comparison to what a ViewSonic 191b can offer. If you can't afford a ViewSonic 191s (now available for less than $500), the best choice is a Hyundai L90D+. It's a little less responsive than the 191b/s, but it costs less.
  • DoubleSight DS-1900 Dual 19 Inch LCD Monitor - With a retail price of $1399 the DS-1900 has to do a lot to convince people that it is a worthy investment. One on hand, it does have two high quality LCDs, an adjustable base, and a very small footprint but there are a few tradeoffs. For example, the base is small but possibly too small as it does include a restraining bolt and seems unweighed when the displays are too far forward.
  • Nokia 6230i review - Tri-band GSM 900/1800/1900 MHz connectivity isn't all the Nokia 6230i has to offer: there's also support for EDGE and GPRS Class 10, HSCSD, and a range of applications such as an XHTML/WAP 2.0 browser, support for Java MIDP 2.0, a Java-based e-mail client, voice commands, polyphonic ringtones, a voice recorder and spacious phone book with Wireless Village instant messaging support well in place. The Nokia 6230i also offers USB support through its proprietary Pop-port, however for this purpose users must disappointingly purchase a quite expensive data cable.
  • HP iPAQ hw6515 - Not only harbouring GSM 900/1800/1900 MHz and support for GPRS Class 10, the hw6515 is also the first Windows Mobile communicator to support EDGE for high speed data transfers, where applicable. Performance, both for data and voice, proved very good, with above-par signal reception as compared to previous Windows Mobile communicators as well as favourable speakerphone quality. The HP iPAQ hw6515 (photos) is slated for availability in major European markets in June.
  • Sony VRD-VC20 - The VRD-VC20 is Sony's 2nd generation stand-alone DVD recorder. The VRD-VC20 adds a DV (1394) digital video input and dual layer writing capability to the previous generation VRD-VC10. The VRD-VC20, like similar products, is directed at the consumer who has amassed a library of analog video recordings and would like to convert them directly to a DVD - without connecting to a PC.

GUIDES...

SOFTWARE...

  • MS patches XP for HD video acceleration - Microsoft has patched Windows XP (download) to allow the operating system to decode Windows Media Video HD movies using an Nvidia GeForce 6 series GPU. Nvidia calls its WMV-HD acceleration technology PureVideo, and it claims the system can reduce the host processor's video decode load by up to 40 per cent, by getting the GPU to shoulder the burden. The upshot, it says, are CPU resources that can now be dedicated to other tasks.
  • AntiAlias demo - This demo implements supersampling antialiasing by rendering the scene multiple times with just a tiny tweak to the projection matrix between the renders and accumulating the results in the accumulation buffer. It allows you to change between 1x (no AA), 2x, 4x and 11x (default). If you enable antialiasing in the control panel you can get really large AA modes, for instance 6x multisampling + 11x supersampling, which would give you essentially 66x AA.
  • Win32Whois 0.9.7 - Win32Whois (download) is a free, small and efficient tool that lets you retrieve registration information for a particular domain or website.
  • BitComet 0.59 - BitComet (download) is a p2p file-sharing freeware fully compatible with Bittorrent, which is one of the most popular p2p protocol designed for high-speed distribution of 100MB or GB sized files
  • BitTorrent 4.1.2 Beta - BitTorrent is a peer-to-peer file sharing/distribution protocol designed for transferring files from multiple locations.
  • XPlite/2000lite 1.6 - XPlite and 2000lite are powerful configuration utilities for Windows creating a modular Windows operating system where YOU are in control.
  • FreeRIP 2.942 - FreeRip (download) is a freeware application that lets you save audio CD tracks to Wav or MP3 or Ogg Vorbis audio files. FreeRIP is also an audio file converter since it can convert and encode Wav files to Ogg Vorbis (.ogg) or MP3 (.mp3), and back.
  • CloneCD 5.2.4.1 - CloneCD (download) is a powerful CD-Copy program. It writes in Raw mode, which allows it to have total control on the data written. Therefore, it will produce real 1:1 copies of your CDs.
  • DVD Region+CSS Free v5.89 - DVD Region+CSS Free (download) enables you to watch and copy any region-coded/CSS-encrypted DVD movies on any DVD drive. DVD Region+CSS Free decrypts not just DVD's, it now allows you also to play, copy and rip protected Audio CD's
  • CDCheck 3.1.5.0 - CDCheck is an application that checks your CD-ROM and tells you which files are corrupted. It can also do a binary compare with copy on disk.
  • VideoInspector 1.5.0.83 - VideoInspector (download) is a tools designed to provide you with as much information as possible about your video files. With VideoInspector you'll know why your video files has no sound or refuses to play correctly.
  • INTEL Matrix Storage Manager driver 5.0.1.1001 - This driver provides support for SATA RAID 5/10 on ICH7R-based chipsets, as well support for AHCI & SATA RAID 0/1 on ICH7R/ICH6R/ICH5R-based chipsets.
  • ForceWare 72.13 WHQL - The good news is that it is a WHQL approved driver (Microsoft tested and verified). Even better news is that almost any GeForce and Quadro graphics cards is supported.
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