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 Gameguru Mania News - May,02 2005 - tech 
Nightly Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 09:04 PM EDT - May,02 2005 - Post a comment / read (3)

SECURITY...

  • Sober worm variant makes the rounds - A new variant of the mass-mailing Sober worm has been discovered and is spreading among consumer PC users, security experts said Monday.  Sober.P, which operates in a similar fashion to other Sober worms, uses a subject header in an e-mail to try to entice people into opening an attachment. The virus then harvests e-mail addresses from the victim and directs a barrage of spam to those addresses.
  • Data for 600,000 Time Warner employees MIA - Personal information for 600,000 current and former Time Warner employees has been lost, the company announced on Monday, potentially setting the stage for one of the largest cases yet of identity theft.  Time Warner said the mishap occurred on March 22, when data storage company Iron Mountain was transporting its backup tapes to a storage facility away from its offices. The company lost the tapes while in transit, said Kathy McKiernan, a Time Warner spokeswoman.
  • TV Limits Copies - Aiming to prevent mass piracy of digital TV programs, especially over the Internet, the Federal Communications Commission has mandated a new copy-protection scheme called the "broadcast flag." The FCC's ruling, which goes into effect this July, lets you make a backup copy of flagged shows, but no further copies.
  • Microsoft WINS Vulnerability + OS/SP Scanner - While replicating, it's possible to guess the OS and SP, in addition you have the heap base address.
    Conclusion: all needed for a skilled hacker to intrude a vulnerable computer, however a script kiddie wont be able to do something because each wrong hacking attempts may corrupt the WINS database and so on , move where this is needed to overwrite. ~ download scanner.
  • Probing Your PC's Weak Spots - A must-read new report lists more than 600 software flaws that could let attackers invade your computer with viruses or spyware.
  • Apache hacks (./atac, d0s.txt) - check it out!
  • Multiple Vulnerabilities in Kerio Product - Kerio WinRoute Firewall, Kerio Personal Firewall and Kerio MailServer drive a local/remote administration protocol in order to manage the service. By using a brute force attack technique on Kerio WinRoute Firewall, Kerio Personal Firewall and Kerio MailServerit administration protocol it is possible to retrieve the administrative password from a remote installation. Further, the Kerio products are also vulnerable in to a denial of service in their pre-authentication state.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Tracking Sex Offenders via GPS for Life - According to Yahoo! news, the governor of Florida just passed a bill that, along with increasing the jail time served for convicted sex offenders, requires them to be tracked for life via GPS.
  • CNN on the Spam Attack? - The blogosphere is buzzing with rumors about a strange viral marketing campaign concerning CNN, that may be promoting the cable channel or squelching criticism of it -- or perhaps both at the same time.
  • Website dedicates itself to stopping the spread of IE - StopIE.com claims that Internet Explorer is the worst browser on the net and recommends removal of the browser suite immediately :P
  • [game] Free PC Lumines Knock-Off - Sweep is a straight-up knock off of Lumines but without the fantastic audio and visual eye candy. If you haven’t had a chance to play the excellent Playstation Portable puzzler and don’t own a PSP, this is worth your time.
  • Episode III Music Video - Tomorrow the official soundtrack to Star Wars: Episode III hits stores. Along with the soundtrack is a separate DVD called Star Wars: A Musical Journey. It's about an hour long and contains 16 pieces of music all in Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The music is edited to video from all six films in full enhanced widescreen. One of those videos is called A Hero Falls and can be seen at the official Star Wars Site. (thanks EvilAvatar)
  • Scientists: Life on Mars Likely - Not so long ago it was unthinkable for respectable scientists to talk about life on Mars. Such talk was best left to X-Files fans. But no longer.  Evidence is building to suggest biological processes might be operating on the red planet, and life on Mars, many scientists believe, is now more a likelihood than merely a possibility.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Next-Generation Xbox to Be Media Hub - Microsoft Corp.'s next-generation Xbox gaming console will be more of a digital entertainment hub than its predecessor, making it even more of a PC hybrid than ever, Bill Gates told a meeting of business journalists on Monday. Another story can be found on Yahoo News.
  • Toshiba shows Cell decoding 48 video streams -  Toshiba has demonstrated the Cell simultaneously decoding 48 MPEG2 video streams at once - in the film, 48 MPEG-2 streams stored on a HDD were read, decoded and projected onto a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution display divided into 8 x 6 cells, each of which showed a different video in each cell. The company expects the technology to be used to display thumbnails for a video list. Of the eight synergistic processor elements (SPE) used in the Cell, six are used for decoding 48 MPEG-2 streams and one is used for scaling the screen. The remaining SPE can be used for a completely different processing function.
  • Microsoft Updates IM Server to Connect with Other Networks - The Redmond, Wash., software maker on Thursday shipped Service Pack 1 for its Office Live Communications Server 2005. One of its key features is the ability for enterprises to connect their LCS installations with the AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger IM networks.
  • Windows XP SP3 to arrive before Longhorn - A blog filing hidden away in the cobwebbed corners of the web suggests that Windows XP SP3 will hit before Longhorn does. The blog is written by the guys at F-Secure. The information was handed out by Steve Ballmer, and the event was Surfa Lugnt, also known as Swedish National Data Security Day. Ballmer allegedly also said that IE7 would have anti-phishing technology built in.
  • Longhorn at WinHec 2005 - Round-Up - check it out!
  • ABC News, AtomFilms offer PSP video - In a one-two punch for PSP owners, ABC News and AtomFilms have both said they will offer free downloadable video content for Sony's new handheld. ABC News will soon offer video snippets on its Web site that can be downloaded and viewed on demand, similar to podcasted content popular with bloggers and owners of MP3 players. There is no word yet on exactly when ABC News will make its content available.

HARDWARE... 

  • AMD cuts 4000+ desktop chip price - AMD said it has cut the price of the Athlon 64 4000+ and at the same time made changes to prices for the 754 Sempron 2600+, 2800+, 3000+ and 3100+. It told its resellers to contact distributors for the pricing, but has made changes to the price list on its web site, which you can nearly always find here. That shows the 4000+ listed as $482.
  • Intel Slashes Pricing of Mobile Chips Slightly - The decrease of pricing is not significant - Intel Centrino bundles that consist of an Intel Pentium M processor, an Intel mobile core-logic and an Intel PRO/Wireless WLAN controller dropped $2, or in the range of 0.28% - 0.74%. For instance, a package with Intel Pentium M 770 (2.13GHz), Intel 915 GM chipset and Intel PRO/Wireless 2915ABG controller now costs $703, down from $705. The most noteworthy price change was made to ULV Intel Celeron M processor 373 (1.0GHz): the chip now costs $144, down 10.56% from $161.
  • EVGA 512MB Ultra - EVGA issued a press release late Friday announcing that their Genuine Spec e-GeForce 6800 Ultra 512MB graphics card was selected by Alienware to power the high-performance Area-51 and Aurora desktop systems.
  • Athlon 64 3800+ (Venice core) - We managed to overclock our 3800+ to 12 x 245 MHz or 2.94GHz at least to the point where the CPU would POST using standard air cooling. However, leaving the core voltage setting at "Auto" caused the supply voltage to automatically increase from 1.4V to 1.47-1.48V (as shown in the CPUZ screenshot below), which is one of the reasons for the increased power consumption shown in the Caligari TrueSpace results. Stable operation was possible up to 2800 MHz.  Another review can be found on HotHardware.
  • 1GB OCZ PC2-5400 EB Platinum memory kit - OCZ's PC2-5400 EB Platinum DDR2 memory is rated to run at DDR2-667MHz at 2.1V with 4-2-2-8 timings, which translates for most people as running their CPU at 250MHz FSB with a 3:4 memory divisor (for the effective memory speed of DDR2-667MHz).
  • Leadtek Winfast PX6200 TC TDH 256MB - This card comes with 64MB of on-board DDR memory while topping out at 256MB with TurboCache. The main goal with TurboCache is to offer an economical alternative to integrated graphics, improving overall performance while enabling base level gaming potential.
  • Connect3D X850XT PCI-e - The Connect3D X850XT is an astoundingly fast card, capable of playing any game you care to throw at it, with stellar image quality to boot. The X850XT is not the flagship ATI card, that honour belongs to the Platinum Edition, but even when overclocked well beyond Platinum Edition specification at 600/590, the performance increase is in most cases negligible over stock performance due to CPU limitations. What this all boils down to is that the X850XT is a high-end bargain. Well, maybe not a bargain but it is a great deal. The card I reviewed was a very good overclocker, too.
  • Gigabyte GO-W1616A DVD Burner - It supports a maximum writing speed of 16x for both single layer DVD+-R media, 4x for DVD+R DL media, 8x for DVD+RW and 6x for DVD-RW. The GO-W1616A supports 48x burning for traditional CD-R and 24x for CD-RW. In terms of reading, the drive can read single layer DVD+-R media at 16x, DVD+R DL at 4x, DVD+-RW at 8x and standard DVD media at 16x speeds. With CDs, the drive can read CD/CD-R media t 48x and CD-RW at 32x speeds.
  • Sound Blaster Audigy2 Nx - The unit is external, so you will need a spare USB 2 slot, and a power cable. It's a shame this unit can't draw power from the USB cable, but judging by what it can do - the power is needed!
  • Diamond XtremeTV PVR600 USB 2.0 - The XtremeTV PVR600 USB 2.0 Tuner itself is very clean in nature. The silver and black casing feels very sturdy and does not push inwards when subjected to pressure, protecting the components inside. On the backside of the unit resides ports for the more permanent connections - a single coaxial connector, USB port, and DC port.
  • Logitech MX518 gaming mouse - The Logitech MX518 is here. If you're a gamer or just someone serious about getting the most out of your computer you'll want to check out this new mouse.
  • Bluetake BT510 Bluetooth Mini Mouse - The small Bluetake mouse is amazing. It has comfort, style and an excellent design. It is lightweight, has a backup power source and a feature called Reversible Button Function. It contains a power switch to conserve battery power and functions on many surfaces because of its optical technology. The pouch that arrives with the mouse is a handy product that prevents the mouse from receiving minor damages during journeys
  • Palladio USB Bluetooth Adapter - TechConnect has posted a review of an USB Bluetooth adapter.
  • Triplett Line-Bug 4 Phone/LAN Tester - Phoronix has posted a review of the Triplett Line-Bug 4 Phone/LAN Tester.
  • Ethernet for MSX - MSX Resource Center have published a review on ObsoNET, an ethernet cartridge for the 8bit home computer system MSX.

GUIDES... 

  • Firefox Tweak Guide - Whether you're a first-time user or a veteran, this Firefox Tweak Guide brings together all the major tips, tricks and tweaks for Firefox. From the basic to the advanced, the 12 page guide is sure to enhance your Firefox experience.
  • April value gaming PC buyer's guide -  In a nutshell, the Value Gaming PC Buyer's Guide delivers the system and gaming performance you want, but at a price that won't break the bank. The overall scenario is bit different than some of the other buyer's guides on Sharky Extreme, as they limit the budget to $1,000 in cold, hard cash while the goal remains the same: to assemble a kick-ass gaming system that will play today's hottest games and still have some power in reserve for tomorrow.
  • How To Backup Your Hard Drive - The Tech Zone has a guide on different ways to back up your hard drive.

SOFTWARE...

  • Windows XP update provides support for Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) - This update to Windows XP provides support for Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2), which is the latest standards-based wireless security solution derived from the IEEE 802.11i standard. It also contains Wireless Provisioning Services (WPS) Information Element support, which enables improvements in wireless network discoverability.
  • VS3.0 Displacement Mapping OpenGL demo - This demo (download) written in OpenGL uses NV_vertex_program3 option on NVIDIA newest cards to perturb a grid mesh and simulate a water effect. For those who are not too familiar with the OpenGL nomenclature, NV_vertex_program3 is what the DX folks refer to as Vertex Shaders 3.0. If this demo fails to detect VS3.0 hardware support, it will still run but will only give the illusion of displacement (a 2D water effect instead of a full 3D), so ATi users might still enjoy this one.
  • EssentialPIM 1.5 - EssentialPIM (download) is free and innovative Personal Information Manager.
  • BitSpirit 2.8.0.065 - BitSpirit (download) is an easy-to-use BitTorrent client which provides not only full BitTorrent protocol implementation but also many personalization functions
  • Firefox 1.0.3 Optimized Build - s8v9 - The optimized build of the Firefox 1.0.3 Release is out. Try at your own risk.
  • jv16 PowerTools 2005 1.5.0.278 (shw) - With jv16 PowerTools 2005, you can diagnose, monitor and tune up your computer, and it's easier than you would ever believe. The program offers a range of advanced tools that provide a safe yet powerful way of getting ”under the hood” of your computer.
  • FastStone Image Viewer 2.0.6 Beta - FastStone Image Viewer 2.0.5 (download) is an image browser, viewer, converter and editor with an easy to use interface and a nice array of features that include resizing, renaming, cropping, color adjustments, watermarks and more
  • Computer Cleaner v1.4 - This is a fast and efficient computer cleaner that deletes a lot of logs and unneeded files to speed up your computer and clean some space out on the hard drive.
  • DVD Identifier 3.6.3.1 - DVD Identifier retrieves and interprets the pre-recorded information that is present on all DVD+R/+RW and DVD-R/-RW and and DVD-RAM media.
  • PlexTools Professional v2.23 - You can use PlexTools for instance to get more information on your drive, tweak its settings and besides that you can use it to play audio discs (with support for CD-Text) and of course you can use PlexTools to copy CD's or to make your own audio compilations with.
  • ATI Tray Tools 1.0.2.640 - ATI Tray Tools v1.0 is ATI Radeon utilities made by Ray Adams. This new version fixes bug when some games and applications can not start with enabled "Aggressive 3D Detection" option.
  • Radeon Omega Drivers 2.6.25 - Radeon Omega Catalyst Drivers will provide gamers with an alternate set of drivers, ones that have more options and features than the original sets. The drivers contain optimizations, extra features (like OC capabilities), more resolutions and internal tweaks that can give them the edge in a gaming enviroment over the normal drivers, which are often tailored for synthetic benchmarks. All Omega driver sets are tested to ensure maximum compatibility and reliability.
  • nForce4 SLI Intel Edition - As released by MSI this NVIDIA's nForce Win2K/XP driver package contains the below components: Audio driver version 4.60 (WHQL), Audio utility version 4.51, Ethernet NRM driver version 4.73 (WHQL), Network management tools version 4.73, SMBus driver version, 4.45 (WHQL) with updated uninstaller files, Installer version 4.61, Win2K IDE driver version 5.21 (WHQL), Win2K RAIDTOOL application version 5.21,
    WinXP IDE driver version 5.21 (WHQL), WinXP RAIDTOOL application version 5.21. Remember, this targeted at the INTEL edition mainboard, not AMD.
 Gameguru Mania News - Apr,29 2005 - tech
Nightly Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 09:21 PM EDT - Apr,29 2005 - Post a comment / read (1)

SECURITY...

  • XP SP2 downloads top 180 million - Over 180 million computer users have downloaded Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), and Microsoft said today at the InfoSec Europe event that it is working to make life more secure for those using non-XP systems.
  • Hushmail DNS Attack Blamed on Network Solutions - Secure e-mail service provider Hushmail Communications plans to pursue a criminal investigation into a hacking attack that redirected users to a defaced Web site. The company pinned the blame for the breach squarely on the shoulders of domain name registrar Network Solutions. Hushmail, which markets PGP-encrypted e-mail, file storage and vanity domain services, has opened a criminal investigation with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Vancouver to get to the bottom of a DNS server breach caused by a combination of social engineering, phishing and pharming tactics.
  • Trojan attack exploits Google typos - Hackers have set up malicious websites designed to infect the Windows boxes of surfers who mistype the name of popular search engine Google.com. If a user opens one of the malicious websites, such as googkle.com1, his PC box may be hijacked with malware including Trojan downloaders, backdoors and spyware.
  • Zafi-D Leads Top 10 Viruses in April - The virus Zafi-D, which first appeared on the Internet at the end of last year, led a monthly list of top 10 viruses for the fifth straight month in April, a security firm said Friday.
  • Software police issues warning on IT staff - The Federation Against Software Theft (Fast) has warned companies that their IT departments might be leaving them open to court action. In a recent investigation of a UK financial services firm, the organisation found 5,800 illegal digital music files in a software audit of 2,500 PCs. The vast majority of these had been downloaded by members of the firm's IT department.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Tiny nuclear fusion device has big ideas - In a surprising feat of miniaturization, scientists are reporting that they have produced nuclear fusion--the same process that powers the sun--in a footlong cylinder just 5 inches in diameter. And they say they will soon be able to make the device even smaller. While the device is probably too inefficient to produce electricity or other forms of energy, the scientists say, egg-size fusion generators could someday find uses in spacecraft thrusters, medical treatments and scanners that search for bombs.
  • Earth's Energy Out of Balance, Data Confirm - Scientists have concluded more energy is being absorbed from the sun than is emitted back to space, throwing the Earth's energy "out of balance" and warming the globe. Using satellites, data from buoys and computer models to study the Earth's oceans, scientists from NASA , Columbia University in New York, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, took precise measurements of increasing ocean heat content over the past 10 years. Their results confirmed the suspected energy imbalance.
  • Bug-eyed lens may mean slimmer camera phones - The multitude of lenses that make up an insect's eye is providing inspiration for a new generation of super-slim camera phone. Conventional camera lenses cannot be shrunk below a few millimetres in thickness before reducing the field of view. But a compound lens, made from hundreds of tiny "micro lenses", can be made around one-tenth of the width, while retaining the same field of view and quality of image.
  • Xbox 360 FAQ - check it out!

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Net-powered computer goes on show - UK firm DSP Design has made a PC that gets electric power via a network cable rather than through a wall socket. Before now power via a network system has only been used for devices such as wireless access points, CCTV cameras and (Voip) internet telephone handsets. DSP said it expected their new PC to find uses where it was hard to lay any kind of cable other than computer network cables.
  • Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger review - It's strange to have gone from years of uncertainty and vaporware to a steady annual supply of major new operating system releases from Apple. But do I really want to pay US$129 every year for the next version of Mac OS X?
  • Firefox Breaks 50,000,000 Barrier - Today at 16:59 GMT (8:58 AM PST) Mozilla Firefox received its 50,000,000th download
  • Yahoo! Releases My Web Beta - Yahoo! (yahoo.com) announced the beta release of My Web from Yahoo! Search. Dubbed a "personal search engine" by the company, My Web provides a more efficient means for users to save, recall and share information with others.

HARDWARE... 

  • AMD announces the END OF SOCKET 754 ATHLON 64 with deadline -AMD has officially informed European resellers about the end of socket 754 Athlon 64. According to the chart published today at AMDboard.com, orders will still be accepted until March 25 and June 15 for final deliveries before September 25. AMD also encouraged resellers to push socket 939 Athlon 64 instead, insisting on the larger bandwidth, lower consumption and dual-core compatibility of the latter. Finally, Athlon 64 in 2800+ and 3400+ flavor will not be replaced with socket 939 equivalent, while socket 754 Athlon 64 3700+ will be available in new Socket 939 version during second quarter of 2005.
  • Sony VAIO VGC-V520G TV-PC - If you were to mistake the Sony VAIO VGC-V520G TV-PC for a flat-panel TV, Sony wouldn't be offended. Designed to look like a television, this all-in-one PC is built around a WXGA flat-panel screen combined with a TV tuner.
  • Processors for common people Part 1: Intel Socket 478 - The overall winner is still Prescott with Hyper-Threading support, but its breakaway is not so large to pay much attention. The second (it's very relative, mind it...) place is taken by Northwood on the 800MHz bus, which also supports Hyper-Threading. The slowest Pentium 4 processor, which took part in the tests, is Prescott without Hyper-Threading on a 533 MHz bus.
  • ATI HyperMemory vs nVidia TurboCache - TrustedReviews has posted a comparison review between ATI HyperMemory and nVidia TurboCache
  • Digital Pen Head 2 Head - TrustedReviews posted a review of a Digital Pen Head 2 Head between the Logitech io2 Digital Writing System and the ACECAD DigiMemo A501

GUIDES... 

  • Optimize XP - A Windows XP Optimization Guide v1.9.5 - "Clean Spyware and Viruses + Optimize Windows XP to improve home, work and gaming performance safely. Windows XP's default configuration is far from optimized. This guide will help you improve your overall system performance."
  • Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server Beta 2 Installation Guide - The most current version of the Installation Guide for Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server Beta 2.
  • How To Work With Your Digital Camera's Histogram - The Tech Zone has a beginner's how-to on working the histogram on your digital camera.

SOFTWARE...

  • SafeDisc Windows XP Fix for Microsoft Games - When running a restricted user account with fast user switching under Windows XP, some games will not start correctly. The game requests that the original disk be placed in the drive, even if it is already present. To remedy this issue, download and run this fix. This software will not alter or patch any component on your system, it will only change the startup state of the system component needed to start your game from start on demand (on game load), to start at boot (on Windows XP start).
  • Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 Administration Tools Pack - The Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 Administration Tools Pack (adminpak.msi) provides server management tools that allow administrators to remotely manage computers running Windows 2000 Server and Windows Server 2003 family operating systems. This is the Service Pack 1 version (build 5.2.3790.1830) of the adminpak.msi file.
  • J2SE Runtime Environment 5 update 3 - Another update of J2SE is out (release notes)
  • BitSpirit 2.8.0.065 - BitSpirit (download) is an easy-to-use BitTorrent client which provides not only full BitTorrent protocol implementation but also many personalization functions.
  • PSP Video 9 - PSP Video 9 is a free application that lets you manage and convert PSP video. It can convert regular PC video files (avi, mpeg, etc) into PSP video files, as well as manage/copy these PSP video files between your PC and PSP
  • Easy CD-DA Extractor 8.1.4 ($) - Easy CD-DA Extractor (download) is All-In-One music software; CD-Ripper, CD-Burner, and Music File Format Converter.
  • WinDVD Platinum 6.0.6.161 ($)- WinDVD Platinum 6 (download) is the ultimate DVD software player, providing you with the finest quality video and audio playback. Watch movies with a theater experience right on your computer or laptop. WinDVD Platinum 5 is loaded with features
  • DVDFab 2.84 - DVDFab (download) lets you make perfect quality DVD movie backups the smart way.
  • DVD Rebuilder 0.85a beta - One click DVD backup tool that uses CinemaCraft Encoder Basic/SP or QuEnc(ffmpeg) encoder or ReJig transcoder engine.
  • Tray Helper 4.9 - It's a SMALL Windows application that takes only ONE place next to your tray system clock and  eats only a little of memory and CPU power.
  • EliteToolbar Remover 1.2.3 - The new EliteToolbar Remover (download) deletes any traces of the following persistent malwares.
  • CCleaner v1.19.105 - CCleaner (Crap Cleaner) is a freeware system optimization tool. That removes unused and temporary files from your system - allowing Windows to run faster, more efficiently and giving you more hard disk space.
  • SpyBot-Search & Destroy 1.4 RC2b  - SpyBot-S&D searches your hard drive for so-called spy- or adbots; little modules that are responsible for the ads many programs display. But many of these modules also transmit information about your surfing behaviour and more to the net.
  • FireTune 1.02 - FireTune for Mozilla Firefox v1.x was developed for an easy and fast optimization of your browsing experience with Firefox.
  • xpy 0.8.10 - xpy is a small tool which disables the default threats of a windows xp installation. besides the classic antispy features, xpy closes recent security holes like the remote procedure call (rpc) service and the distributed component object model (dcom).
  • IBM - Hitachi Drive Fitness Test 4.03 - The Drive Fitness Test analyze function performs read tests without overwriting customer data. (However, Drive Fitness Test is bundled with some restoration utilities that will overwrite data).
  • Ultimate Boot CD 3.3 - You need the Ultimate Boot CD if you want to: Run floppy-based diagnostic tools from CDROM drives. More and more PCs are shipped without floppy drives these days, and it is such a royal pain when you need to run diagnostic tools on them.
  • nForce 4 Driver - This leaked driver from MSI includes Audio driver version 4.60 (WHQL), Audio utility version 4.51, Ethernet NRM driver version 4.73 (WHQL), Network management tools version 4.73, SMBus driver version 4.45 (WHQL) with updated uninstaller files, To install version 4.61, Win2K IDE driver version 5.21 (WHQL), Win2K RAIDTOOL application version 5.21, WinXP IDE driver version 5.21 (WHQL) and WinXP RAIDTOOL application version 5.21.
  • Pioneer DVR-108 and DVR-A08 firmware v1.20 - Station-Drivers has a new firmware update v1.20 for the popular Pioneer DVR-A08XLA(B,C) and DVR-108, DVR-108BK series.
  • Lite-On Firmware - LiteOn have released some new DVD Dual and CD-RW firmware updates for the following drives: DVD Dual Firmware - Lite-On SOHW-1693S/Lite-On SOHW-1673S/Lite-On SOHW-1653S || CD-RW Firmware - Lite-On SOHR-5239S || COMBO Drives Firmware - Lite-On SOHC-5236K | Lite-On SOSC-2483KX.
  • DHzer0point Drivers 0.7644 (ForceWare) - Zer0point Drivers are modified Forceware drivers, meaning they are NOT supported or endorsed by nVidia, or any 3rd party OEM manufacturers. They are not covered by any warranty or guarantee, and you install them at your own risk. Currently these drivers are for all GeForce based desktop cards. (If it's not on a laptop, and says either GeForce or Quadro in the name, it's supported).
 Gameguru Mania News - Apr,28 2005 - tech
Athlon 64 chipset comparison - tech
(hx) 03:31 AM EDT - Apr,28 2005 - Post a comment
With at least four platforms to choose from, the Athlon 64's PCI Express chipset lineup finally has some depth. But between the latest core logic options from ATI and ULi, NVIDIA, SiS, and VIA, which chipset has the most desirable blend of features and best performance? Check out the benchmark results in this TechReport comparison:
So which Athlon 64 chipset reigns supreme? That's a tough question. The K8T890 does not; that much is certain. With the exception of USB, its performance is nothing special, and you'd need something special to get over the VT8237's relatively weak feature set.

SiS's entry looks very promising, but the IOMeter performance wall is worrying. Also, given recent history, it seems doubtful motherboard manufacturers will use the SiS756 for anything but low-end products that generally don't offer the extra goodies that enthusiasts have come to expect on a motherboard. It's hard to get too excited about a chipset that may only be found on boards from ASRock, ECS, and Foxconn. Those boards may well be solid budget choices given the SiS756's performance in our tests. Still, I wish DFI, Abit, or one of the big three would take a stab at building an enthusiast-oriented motherboard based on this chipset.

So we're left with the Radeon Xpress 200/M1573, which is a clear winner for integrated graphics platforms, and the nForce4 Ultra, which has the benefit of widespread availability at a range of price points. Both platforms have their problems, but at least for now, I'm inclined to favor narrowly the nForce4 Ultra. The Radeon Xpress 200/M1573 combo is still rare in the wild, and its poor USB and command queuing performance can't be as easily sidestepped as the nForce4 Ultra's high ActiveArmor CPU utilization. In the Athlon 64 world, we don't have a juggernaut like Intel who generally gets chipsets 100% right. Here, we have to settle for who gets the most things right. Right now, that's the nForce4 Ultra.
 Gameguru Mania News - Apr,27 2005 - tech
Wednesday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 12:10 PM EDT - Apr,27 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Microsoft to add "black box" to Windows - In a move that could rankle privacy advocates, Microsoft said Monday that it is adding the PC equivalent of a flight data recorder to the next version of Windows, in an effort to better understand and prevent computer crashes. The tool will build on the existing Watson error-reporting tool in Windows but will provide Microsoft with much deeper information, including what programs were running at the time of the error and even the contents of documents that were being created. Businesses will also choose whether they want their own technology managers to receive such data when an employee's machine crashes.
  • Microsoft delays most of its NGSCB security plan - Microsoft has postponed most of its Next-Generation Secure Computing Base (NGSCB) security plan, company officials confirmed. Only a sliver of it will appear in the next version of Windows, code-named Longhorn, due out late next year
  • Highly critical flaw reported for Netscape software - An unpatched flaw in some versions of the Netscape browser could let an attacker into vulnerable systems, security company Secunia has warned. The vulnerability is "highly critical," according to an advisory released by the Danish company late Tuesday. Version 6.2.3 and 7.2 of Netscape are affected and other versions may also be susceptible, the company said.
    The flaw could allow a hacker to launch a buffer overflow attack, which could crash the browser or enable the attacker to execute code on the compromised system. A patch has not been created, according to Secunia.
  • Adobe Issues Fix for Reader, Acrobat Flaw - Adobe Systems Inc. earlier this month sneaked out a fix for the vulnerability and recommended that users upgrade to versions 7.0.1 of the freely available programs. Hyperdose Security, the company credited with finding and reporting the bug, said an attacker could target the "Safe for Scripting" method in the Adobe programs to direct unsuspecting users to a malicious Web site.
  • Yager Buffer Overflow (Exploit) - A vulnerability in Yager allows remote attackers to cause the program to overflow an internal buffer and in turn cause it to execute arbitrary code. The following exploit can be used to test your Yager installation for the mentioned vulnerability
  • Most computer hacking an 'inside job' - The vast majority of computer hacking is done by current and former employees, according to the Metropolitan Police. In a panel session at this year's InfoSecurity Europe conference, Detective Inspector Chris Simpson of the Metropolitan Police Computer Crime Unit told delegates that one of the first steps in any investigation is to check employee details.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Hacker deletes own hard drive - A chat channel spat ended when a wannabe hacker was duped into deleting his own hard drive (log) The 26 year-old German claimed he was the baddest hacker in town and threatened to attack a moderator on #stopHipHop's RC Channel because he thought he'd been thrown out. He demanded the moderator cough up his IP address and prepare to be hacked. The moderator sent back a bunch of numbers and there then followed a period in which the moderator assumes all manner of hack tools were unleashed at the IP address. Finally the hacker declared success."I can see your E: drive disappearing, he gloated, "D: is down 45 percent!" he cried, before disappearing into the ether. ROFL! :)
  • Why I Fired My Secretary - A nice story :)
  • Serenity Trailer - The trailer for Joss Whedon's Serenity, based on his unjustly cancelled Firefly television series, was released on Quicktime's Movie Trailers page.
  • Banderas Joins Lopez in Bordertown - Antonio Banderas (The Legend of Zorro) is set to join Jennifer Lopez in the independent thriller Bordertown, says The Hollywood Reporter. Set on the U.S.-Mexico border, the film centers on a journalist who investigates a series of murders that take place in the vicinity of some U.S.-owned factories in the region.
  • More Join Silent Hill Adaptation - Sean Bean, Laurie Holden, Deborah Kara Unger, Kim Coates and Tanya Allen have joined the cast of Christophe Gans' horror film Silent Hill, which started shooting in Toronto on Monday with Radha Mitchell in the lead role.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • WinHEC 2005 Coverage - WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Conference) 2005 has now begun and Microsoft have given the Longhorn preview build to attendees today ~ Live keynote / videoclips / Neowin's blog : "Joe confirmed that for current systems Longhorn will not be a problem. 256MB RAM min and 512MB RAM recommended is likely to be the specification model alongside a 1GHZ processor. Any driver level improvements and even XP drivers themselves will be supported in Longhorn, meaning, Longhorn will support legacy XP drivers. Currently 5048 does not support this but this will be fixed by beta 1." More Longhorn bits can be found here. / Tablets, Auxiliary Displays, and Distributed PCs @ ExtremeTech
  • Microsoft aims "Metro" at Adobe - The next version of Windows will include a new document format, code-named "Metro," to print and share documents, Microsoft said Monday. Metro appears to rival Adobe Systems's PostScript and PDF (portable document format) technologies.
  • Nokia smart phones capture Yahoo!'s imagination - Nokia has begun selling advanced mobile phones with Yahoo! messaging, search and web browsing software embedded inside, with the aim of boosting wireless data usage and sales of smart phones.
  • Satellite Radio: The Waves Of The Future? - Satellite radio is a new service being offered by two companies, XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio. Both companies are offering over 100 channels of streaming music and entertainment. Is this the wave of the future?
  • RealNetworks unveils Rhapsody, offering free songs - Digital music service RealNetworks (RNWK) has unveiled a new software, dubbed Rhapsody 25, and will offer 25 songs for free each month
  • TV Torrents closed down permanently - A message on the site from the operator said sorry to its users closing down but that it had became necessary (due to legal action / threats). The owner of the site is asking for donations to help pay for the pending legal settlement: "Sorry, but TVTorrents is down. No, I will not return. Sorry for any hassles. Thanks for all the memories and good times we had together in tvtorrents. Again, sorry for having to leave, but it became necessary. If you can donate to help with the pending settlement, please do so!"
  • Corel Unveils WordPerfect E-Mail Client - Corel plans to announce a small business version of its WordPerfect Office 12 suite that includes a new WordPerfect Mail e-mail client. The e-mail client is based on Bloomba, which was distributed by San Mateo, California-based Stata Labs until that company was acquired by Yahoo last October. Bloomba was lauded by reviewers as being efficient and easy to use, but it lacked a high profile. Yahoo discontinued distribution of Bloomba after it bought Stata Labs.
  • Google tests out blog ad service - The Mountain View, Calif.-based search company is testing a new variation of its AdSense program for publishers that allows sites to display text or image ads related to their content and get paid by the click.
  • Starforce launches new universal software protection platform - The company has announced the StarForce Protection Studio which is targeted to various groups. These are e.g. developers and publishers of games and other software, companies that deliver software over the internet and those who want to release only small batches of their software.
  • NEC signs up to provide Xbox 360 eDRAM - Japanese semiconductor giant NEC has announced that it has been tapped to provide embedded DRAM chips for Microsoft's next-generation Xbox console, which will be used as part of the graphics solution in the system.

HARDWARE... 

  • Sony introduces new DRU/DRX 800 series DVD-burners; DVD-R DL support - The internal DRU-800A and external DRX-800UL are amongst the first drives to support both DVD+R DL and DVD-R DL (dual layer) disc recording, widening the media choice for consumers and ensuring playback compatibility with the majority of DVD-ROM drives and DVD players.
  • AMD Turion 64 - The Turion64's low power consumption and heat production attributes finally give AMD a viable competitor to Intel's Pentium-M processor, which has dominated the mobile arena with its efficient architecture. Battery life between Turion64 and Pentium-M systems should be very similar, assuming both mobile systems are equipped with similar hardware and batteries. While the Pentium-M delivers better performance per clock over the Turion64, the Turion64 does have some fairly significant features which should not be overlooked. The Turion64 has an integrated memory controller, for smoother application performance, in addition to DDR-400 memory support (opposed to DDR-333). The Turion64 also has the ability to execute 64-bit code, whereas the Pentium-M does not.
  • Opteron 275 Dual Core - If you do fit the profile of a user who can benefit from 4P power, however, dual Opteron may offer absolutely unbeatable performance in a much lower price bracket than ever existed before. Its not just the CPU's that are exciting here--its the entire performance you can wrap around them.
  • ABIT AX8 VIA KT890 Mainboard - ABIT has taken VIA's K8T890 core-logic and engineered a stable, fast, and inexpensive motherboard that carries a reasonable feature-set. Presentation, as usual, is excellent, and enthusiast-orientated options are up to ABIT's usual standards. L79 buys you a decent introduction to S939, and performance, coupled with any compatible CPU, is always going to be impressive, especially so in gaming.
  • MSI P4N Diamond motherboard - T-Break has posted a review of the MSI P4N Diamond motherboard.
  • PowerColor RADEON X800 XL AGP - The X800 XL AGP delivers excellent performance for these consumers. Its 16 pixel pipeline architecture and 400MHz clock speed deliver fill rates superior to GeForce 6800 GT, and is supplanted by a robust memory subsystem. In our performance results, the two cards delivered very competitive performance with one another, with both cards winning their fair share of benchmarks.
  • S3 GammaChrome S18 Pro Video Card - If  you are looking for a high-performance part in the S3 GammaChrome, you'll be disappointed. Fortunately, the GammaChrome is not targeted to this market. With a MSRP of under $100, the competition to the GammaChrome S18 Pro is the 6200 with Turbo Cache and the X300 video card from ATI.
  • High-Capacity Hard Drive Roundup - ExtremeTech takes a look at three high capacity desktop drives: the 250GB Western Digital WD2500SD, 300GB Maxtor DiamondMax 10, and a 400GB Seagate 7200.8.
  • Ultra X-Connect 500 Watt PSU - This PSU bridges the gap between looks, functionality and performance.
  • The 20" LCD Shootout: Dell versus Apple - The Apple Cinema 20" display is also an incredible unit. In fact, if both monitors cost the same, it would be very difficult to choose either display; Apple clearly has the aesthetic edge over its Dell counterpart and cable management is second to none. The Cinema display had no problem producing extraordinary results in all of our benchmarks. However, we did look at two displays today and although the Apple Cinema display brings new features to the display like Firewire 400 pass through, Dell is the 800lbs gorilla when it comes to displays.
  • ViewSonic VX924 19-inch 4ms TFT LCD - There you have it, the fastest monitor to hit the market. It is unbelievable that within six months of the 8ms LCD debut, ViewSonic has not only halved the typical response time, but has achieved the same speeds for GTG timing as well. The VX924 is set to be extremely fast, this we have no doubt.

GUIDES... 

  • NCQ / TCQ & nForce 4 Data Corruption - The Fix - AMDGamer has posted an interesting article on problems with NCQ/TCQ and nForce4 - check it out.
  • Windows XP 64-bit, a virtual minefield? - If that isn't a virtual minefield I don't know what is. You risk to go from a perfectly working system running 32-bit Windows XP, to a non working 64-bit Windows XP and lose your 32-bit Windows XP product key in the process without the ability to go back. To further frustrate end users Microsoft makes very clear that the installation of Windows XP 64-bit will void any support with your PC manufacturer. One free support call will be provided by Microsoft for any installation-related issues whereas additional calls to Microsoft support will be available on a pay-per-incident basis. If that doesn't convince you to steer clear of Windows XP 64-bit for now you must either be really foolhardy or be feeling exceptionally lucky today,
  • How to Set Up a Home Windows Server Guide Part 2 - AuphanOnline.com published part 2 of their "How to Set Up a Home Windows Server Guide" series

SOFTWARE...

  • Spybot Search and Destroy Detection Update April 27th  - Update your Spybot S&D detections without the need for the included WebUpdate.
  • P3dO Explorer 1.7.7 - P3dO Explorer (download) image viewer screenshots manager for your digital imagery. View, organize, edit, print your pictures. Save time with a fast, enhanced graphic navigator.
  • FileZilla Server 0.9 - FileZilla (download) is a fast FTP and SFTP client for Windows with a lot of features. FileZilla Server is a reliable FTP server. This new version adds an option to force explicit SSL.
  • Alleycode 2.15 - Alleycode (download) is a fast, sleek and highly productive award winning HTML editor with unique features.
  • MagicDisc 2.1.28 - MagicDisc (download) is freeware. It is very helpful utility designed for creating and managing virtual CD drives and CD/DVD discs
  • VSO Inspector v1.0.8 - VSO-Inspector is a free add-on to report various information about your hardware configuration. Using this freeware, you can check the listed cd and dvd readers and writers connected to your computer, check the firmware used. The details about the media used and the speed supported by a given writer with this media. Also you can scan a burnt media for read errors and be confident about the readibility of your fresh backup.
  • PeerGuardian for Windows 2000/XP/2003 2.0 Beta 5b - PeerGuardian is a premier IP blocker for Windows. With features like support for multiple lists, a list editor, automatic updates, and blocking all of IPv4 (TCP, UDP, ICMP, etc), it is the safest and easiest way to protect your privacy on P2P. Plus, by integrating with Blocklist.org lists are built custom just for you.
  • ZoneAlarm Pro 5.5.094.000 - ZoneAlarm (download) includes five interlocking security services that deliver easy-to-use, comprehensive protection. Unlike any other security utility, it incorporates a firewall, Application Control, an Internet Lock, dynamically assigned Security Levels and Zones.
  • CPU-Z 1.28.6 - CPU-Z is a diagnostic tool that provides information on your CPU, including processor name and vendor, core stepping and process, processor package, internal and external clocks, clock multiplier, partial overclock detection, processor features, supported instructions sets, L1 and L2 cache information, location, size, speed, and technology.
  • RadLinker 2.033 - RadLinker (download) is new tweaker/linker for ATI Radeon based graphics cards.  This new version adds suppport for up to three ATI graphics boards.
  • Nec 3520A firmware - Nec 3520A has received a firmware update (download) to support DVD-R Dual Layer media. The update follows other manufacturers such as BenQ, Plextor who add extra format and speed support to their drives via firmware updates.
 Gameguru Mania News - Apr,25 2005 - tech
Nightly Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 09:03 PM EDT - Apr,25 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • End of mainstream Windows 2000 support approaching - Microsoft will end mainstream support for Windows 2000 on June 30 of this year. After June 30, users will have to pay for patches and hotfixes that aren't security-related. However, Microsoft will continue to offer security-related hotfixes through March 31, 2010.
  • Trend Micro Virus Update Freezes PCs - Security vendor Trend Micro distributed a faulty virus definition file on Friday that slowed thousands of PCs worldwide to a crawl, the company admitted Monday. The virus definition file was released Friday at about 3:30 p.m. PDT to both the Trend Micro Web site (where users could retrieve it manually) and to the firm's automatic update servers. The file was to update Trend Micro's OfficeScan, PC-cillin, ServerProtect for NT, Client/Server Suite for SMB, and Client/Server/Messaging Suite for SMB. Rather than simply update the anti-virus files, however, the new definition brought machines to their knees by chewing up virtually every processor cycle.
  • Symantec's So-So Spyware Protection - First Look - Though Norton accurately identified and blocked the StartPage and Downloader Trojans, results with the remaining spyware and adware apps were mixed. Norton ignored both Total Velocity and Xupiter, and when it alerted me to Hotbar's presence, it recommended that I not only keep the program, but also that I allow it full Internet access. Similarly, when Xupiter and Total Velocity tried to connect to a DNS server, Norton recommended that I allow full access for both.
  • ICMP Attacks Against TCP Vulnerability Exploit - Attackers can send a specially crafted Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) message that will cause a denial of service for the affected systems. An attacker who successfully exploited this vulnerability could cause the affected system to reset existing TCP connections, reduce the throughput in existing TCP connections, or consume large amounts of CPU and memory resources.
  • Web server hacks up by a third - Attacks on web servers and the defacement of web pages have risen by 36 per cent over the past year, according to a cyber-crime observation group. Zone-H recorded 392,545 attacks on web servers worldwide during the past 12 months, in which hackers used the web servers for their own purposes or defaced the contents.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Halo 2 New Maps Early - For anyone who didn't catch word, four new Halo 2 maps are available for downloading now on Xbox Live. The maps Containment and Warlock are available for free and you can pick up Turf and Sanctuary for $5.99 or wait until June 28th and get them free.
  • Lucas Confirms Star Wars spin-off TV series - George Lucas confirmed that he's working on two TV series. One will be a full 3D animation series (with 30-minute episodes) of the recent Cartoon Network Clone Wars shorts, and the other a live-action series, that will be set in the time between Episodes III and IV, but won't feature the main characters. Production is expected to begin in about a year."  (thanks Slashdot.org)

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Windows XP 64-bit officially Launched - Microsoft finally launched their 64-bit operating system today with the release of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition (120-days trial) Also Microsoft's upgrade program info is now online, complete with eligibility requirments and an ordering form: "In order to be eligible to receive Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, your computer must have been ordered between March 31, 2003 and July 31, 2005 with Microsoft Windows XP Pro (32 Bit) preinstalled.  By participating in this program, your 32-bit version of Windows XP Professional will no longer be licensed. Cost for shipping and handling of upgrade is $12.00 USD for domestic shipments and $22.00 USD for International shipments plus any applicable taxes."
  • Windows XP Professional x64 Edition impressions - Some other applications, however, now display strange error messages. Apple's popular ITunes, for example, pops up a dialog when run, alerting you that the application's drivers are "valid but incompatible" with this 64-bit version of Windows. Indeed, finding compatible drivers will continue to be an issue for quite some time, and Microsoft is upfront about the fact that the x64 platform probably won't be mainstream until Longhorn ships in 2006. However, XP x64 includes over 15,000 device drivers, more than any previous Windows version, and many more will be available on Windows Update in the near future.
  • Microsoft discloses some IE 7 plans - In a blog entry posted Friday, a member of Microsoft's Internet Explorer development team said the company plans to support key elements of World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommendations Portable Network Graphics (PNG), an image format, and Cascading Style Sheet (CSS), a Web page styling standard.
  • 1Gbps Broadband Speeds In Hong Kong - Forget your measly 1mb or 2mb broadband speeds, for the Hong Kong Broadband Network company has debuted a broadband service offering a whopping 1Gbps worth of speed. Alas, this service isn't likely to reach our shores any time in the near future. The lucky net folks in Hong Kong can also get 100Mbps for $34 and 10Mbps for $16 a month. HKBN plans on adding TV services using the ultra-high speed broadband connections, with over 200 pay channels possible on each connection using MPEG-2 DVD quality pictures.
  • Fuel cell pulls hydrogen out of bacteria - Researchers at Penn State and Ion Power have developed a process for fuel cells that can harvest the hydrogen produced when bacteria consume organic matter. The process can yield four times more hydrogen than the ordinary fermentation process. The process also doesn't require external oxygen and can use a wider variety of organic material, or biomass, than can be used in the fermentation process.
  • Microsoft Sends Out Beta Invites for Student 2006 - The Microsoft Student Product Team has sent out invites for their upcoming beta program for Student 2006. Microsoft Student is designed to be the best homework resource tool for middle-school students on up through entry-level college. Microsoft Student 2006 includes: Dynamic World Atlas - An interactive map of the Earth, Graphing Calculator - Solve basic math, algebra, statistics, graphing equations and more, Chart Maker - Create stunning pie charts, bar graphs, and line charts!, Dictionary, Thesaurus and Translation Tools - Find just the right word, Learning Essentials - Quick access to Microsoft Office templates to help with homework assignments, Book Summaries - Complete guides that explain themes, characters and settings of classic literature, Web Companion - Provides relevant encyclopedia content based on web searches, Plus the full version of Microsoft Encarta Premium 2006. Participants will be chosen based on their survey results.

HARDWARE... 

  • 1GB Wintec AMP-X PC2-5400 DC kit - Low latency DDR2 does provide better performance, but not the big difference you'll see with DDR memory. Additionally, Wintec's AMP-X line is pretty darn good. Although it doesn't overclock as well with low latencies as the Corsair XMS2 PC2-4300 Pro, it still managed to provide a good yield. Of course with the Corsair, you do get what you pay for. It's much more expensive than the AMP-X we have today. Speaking of price, the AMP-X PC2-5400 1GB kit (or two separate sticks of 512MB) comes in well under $200. That's extremely affordable for DDR2 memory and cheaper than what enthusiast DDR run for.
  • ATI Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition AGP and Club3D Radeon X800 XL AGP - X800 XL remains the realistic performance board of choice for people shopping in the middle section of the high-end space. The X850 XT Platinum Edition sits as the AGP performance card of choice for the well-heeled gamer. At the time of writing, there's no AGP solution that's faster for the gamer. It's top dog.
  • Hitachi Deskstar 7K400 vs Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 400 GB - When it comes to the Hitachi and Seagate drives head to head there is no clear winner, both drives prove to overcome each other in different tests. Though let's not forget about the best part of these drives, they are 400GB! Personally, I could install every game, program, mp3, etc. that I own and I likely would not come close to filling one of these monsters. These drives are aimed at the ones who need a load of hard drive space, for video editing for example.
  • LG GSA-5160D - The LG-GSA5160D offered good CD and DVD ripping speeds, being an external drive. As it can clearly be noticed in the previous pages, the average speed, when ripping protected games, is satisfactory, but unfortunately, it can not create full working backups with the latest SafeDisc versions. However, with the EFM error correction enabled version, up to 2.9 can be backed up, which is a good performance in comparison to many other latest DVD burners.
  • Pioneer DVR-K14L/K04L - According to our tests, the drive showed ordinary reading performance, as is to be expected by a drive for laptop use, with good CD error correction. DVD error correction is average and we didn't like the error produced with the ABEX TDR-825 test disc. The reading speed is not an issue with such drive, since it has not been designed for ripping movies or games... On the other hand, we would like to see our 90/99min discs read as well as the Advanced DAE Quality test to finish successfully. Fortunately, all of our protected Audio CDs were recognized and ripped successfully.
  • Toshiba SD-R5372 -  The 5372 drive is a good CD/DVD reader, however a higher CD-RW and DVD-ROM DL reading speed would be welcomed. The reading speed for recordable media is more than adequate and support for reading DVD-RAM is certainly an advantage. Error correction with both CD and DVD media is good and especially with CD media where the drive is one of the best from the latest line of drives that have hit the market recently.
  • 620W Sky Hawk Power One PSU - SkyHawk Computer Group has provided us with an excellent PSU in spite of itself. Even with the hurdles this unit had to overcome it prevailed and the EPS/ATX 12V solder-point issues are being addressed. I've had and tested many different PSU's, some of the better models being PCPower&Cooling TurboCool 510, Thermaltake Pure Silent Power 680W, and OCZ's PowerStream 420 as my reference models.
  • NeuNeo HVD208 High Definition DVD Player - Aside from being able to playback upscaled DVDs without any problems, this player plays HVD movies wonderfully. Of course, if you are impressed easily and don't really care about visual quality, you may not notice the perfection that HVD brings to the screen, but for those of you who do care, it truly looks fantastic.

GUIDES... 

  • Memory Database - Ever wondered which memory chips are used on which manufacturer's modules? This database tells you.
  • Dusting Your Computer - Everyone knows dusting your computer can help it run cooler. This article describes why, and shows the significant reductions in CPU and hard drive temperatures I experienced.
  • Windows XP Setup Simulator 1.0 - Windows XP Setup Simulator is a program that teaches you how to install Windows XP, without having to worry you will mess up your hardware or software. It just simulates installing Windows XP as if it was the real setup. It reproduces every step exactly as it is in the real setup, and it does not restart your computer. This program can also be used as a guide for learning how to install Windows 2003, because the steps are very similar. The package also includes an e-book that explains every step of the Windows XP Setup and some other Windows XP Basics. You can also find the simulation with every step explained in several languages. Download At Source
  •  ATI Catalyst Control Center in Windows x64 - Here're some instructions on how to get the ATI Catalyst Control Center running in Windows x64!

SOFTWARE...

  • AVG Anti-Virus plus Firewall Beta version - AVG Anti-Virus provides advanced virus detection methods and components including heuristic analysis, generic detection, scanning, and integrity checking. The new firewall is an integral component of AVG Anti-Virus plus Firewall and is accessible via the AVG Control Center. Safeguarding the computer on which it is installed, the firewall helps to maintain privacy and protects personal identifiable information from being sent from your computer without your permission.
  • CSVed 1.3.3 & uniCSVed 1.1 - Alos new is the uniCSVed version which "is an Unicode compatible CSV editor. When running under Windows XP and 2000 uniCSVed enables Unicode mode. uniCSVed has the same features as CSVed."
  • Real Alternative 1.37 - Real Alternative will allow you to play RealMedia files without having to install RealPlayer or RealOne Player. Supported are: RealAudio (.ra .rpm), RealMedia (.rm .ram .rmvb .rpx .smi .smil), RealText (.rt), ReadPix (.rp). It also supports RealMedia content that is embedded in webpages.
  • QuickTime Alternative 1.46 - QuickTime Alternative will allow you to play QuickTime files (.mov, .qt and other extensions) without having to install the official QuickTime Player.
  • VisualRoute 2005 9.0b (shw) - 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
  • Windows Universal Tweaker v0.4 - This small wizard utility (download) is capable of the following actions: Internet Cache files and Temporary files cleanup, Tweak Windows Memory management settings, Tweak Connection and MTU Settings, DNS cache cleanup, DNS cache bugfix, Reduce Windows boot-time, Disable Windows ZIP Folder, Disable Distributed DCOM and NetBios (Port 445) completely, Disable uncritical Services.
  • Style XP 3.03 (shw) - Style XP (download) is theming software that helps customize the way your Windows XP, Windows XP Service Pack 1, Tablet PC, or Server 2003 system looks. Style XP can manage and rotate themes, visual styles, backgrounds, and logons, which are freely available at ThemeXP.
  • DirectX Tweaker Public Beta 2b - The DirectX Tweaker is a tool that acts like an interface between DirectX and/or Direct 3D and the program that originally uses the Direct 3D interfaces. This allows to change or log all actions of the Direct 3D interface. At present, this functionality is given for DirectX 8 API and DirectX 9 API..
  • FileZilla 2.2.13b - FileZilla (download) is a fast FTP and SFTP client for Windows with a lot of features. FileZilla Server is a reliable FTP server. This minor updated fixes bug when connection freezed after SSL Initialization.
  • DVD Region+CSS Free 5.84 - DVD Region+CSS Free enables you to watch and copy any region code CSS-encrypted DVD movies on any DVD drive.
  • BlindWrite Suite 5.2.14.150 (shw) - Blindwrite Suite (download) is the best set of tools to reproduce or clone any CD, even protected ones. Blindwrite Suite is the most powerfull tool to create a perfect copy from your original CD for personal private copy
  • CloneDVD2 v2.8.2.1 - This new version (download) fixes Error message "DVDManager 5 .. " when writing files to ISO Image, CD or DVD with certain DVD titles, e.g. Zone of the Enders Vol. 3 (UK) or Coffee and Cigarettes (German). This error occured with self made Video DVDs as well.
  • K-Lite Mega Codec Pack 1.30 - download
  • ATI Tray Tools 1.0.2.625 - Ray Adams has released a new version of his tweaker for Radeon cards.
  • NVIDIA Linux drivers - download: NVIDIA Linux drivers 1.0-7174 IA32 | AMD-64/EMT64
  • Creative 64-Bit Audio Driver Preview - Creative have released some Beta Creative 64-Bit Audio Driver (the name of the file is drivers-amd64-041805.zip / mirror) For SoundBlaster Live/Audigy/Audigy 2 Series for Windows XP 64-Bit Edition Operating Systems April 18, 2005.
Hybrid Hard Drive With NAND Flash Memory - tech
(hx) 05:28 PM EDT - Apr,25 2005 - Post a comment
Samsung today announced that its OneNAND Flash memory has been incorporated into the design of Microsoft's prototype Hybrid Hard Drive (HHD), the first fully functional disk drive to combine NAND-based Flash with rotating storage media. The hybrid drive, designed to work with the next version of the Windows operating system, code-named "Longhorn," is being exhibited for the first time at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in Seattle at the Washington State Convention Center from April 25 to April 27.
The hybrid hard drive prototype uses 1 Gigabit OneNAND Flash as both the write buffer and boot buffer. In the hybrid write mode, the mechanical drive is spun down for the majority of the time, while data is written to the Flash write buffer. When the write buffer is filled, the rotating drive spins and the data from the write buffer is written to the hard drive.

The hybrid drive saves power by keeping the spindle motor in idle mode almost all the time, while the operating system writes to the OneNAND write buffer. Moreover, by using OneNAND Flash with hard disk drive technology, disk drive performance is not compromised relative to conventional disk drives. This is due, in large part, to OneNAND's ultra-fast read speeds, which can be fully leveraged during the flushing of the contents of OneNAND's write buffer to the rotating drive. In addition, since the Samsung hybrid disk drive operates at a lower temperature than traditional rotating media, it greatly reduces the possibility of shock and impact damage, improving the overall reliability of the disk subsystem.

While the cost of hybrid disk drives may slightly increase with the addition of OneNAND, any increase will be mitigated by several factors, including lower maintenance costs, 95 percent power savings when the disk is not spinning, faster boot time and substantially increased reliability. All of these changes are crucial to the ever increasing needs of today's mobile customer, making it likely that hybrid hard drive technology will enjoy rapid market adoption.
 Gameguru Mania News - Apr,22 2005 - tech
Nightly Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 09:00 PM EDT - Apr,22 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • New Antivirus-Firewall Combo Protects XML Traffic - Two vendors on Monday will try to reduce such threats by combining antivirus software for XML with firewall protection at the edge of the network. Forum Systems Inc. will integrate Computer Associates' eTrust Antivirus software with its Forum XWall Web Services Firewall to fight viruses, worms, and other malware entering networks via XML, Simple Object Access Protocol, and attachments. The vendors hope to cut down on the threats that can damage IT infrastructure, degrade network performance, and hurt business apps that use XML as a standard data format.
  • Anti-porn scanner adds clients - First 4 Internet's software intelligently analyses the whole picture. It can even detected 'suggestive' poses even if the subject is partially clothed. Apparently the development team had to struggle to stop the engine rejecting pictures of Japanese Sumo wrestlers. [Nearly naked, big tits and legs apart!]
  • Virus pits itself against music pirates - A hacker has created a virus that targets music lovers by deleting MP3 files on infected computers, according to antivirus company Sophos. The worm, dubbed Nopir.B, spreads over peer-to-peer networks and appears to have originated in France, security researchers at Sophos said Friday.
  • Credit card firms push cybersecurity - Large online merchants will have to abide to a new, stricter set of standards from credit card firms after June 30. The stricter guideline from MasterCard, Visa, American Express and other major credit card companies are designed to improve the security practices of online merchants and guard against fraud.
  • RealNetworks fixes 'highly critical' flaw - RealNetworks has released a security patch aimed at plugging a flaw in its multimedia software that could allow hackers to run their own code on people's computers. The flaw, rated a "highly critical" risk by security company Secunia, affects most recent consumer versions of the RealPlayer media player software, for both Windows and Macintosh operating systems. Also at risk are some, but not the most recent, versions of the software for Linux. The flaw exists in some RealOne Player versions too, RealNetworks said.
  • Windows Server 2003 SP1 Breaks 14 Apps - Like Windows XP SP2, which initially broke more than 50 applications, Windows Server 2003 SP1 creates problems in some server-based applications. Among the 14 which failed the tests were some with the Microsoft nameplate, including Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server 2004 Standard, Exchange Server 2003, and Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003. Other vendors' applications are also affected by the update, ranging from Computer Associates' Brightstor ARCserve Backup 11.0 to Citrix's Metaframe XPe FR3.

OFFTOPIC...

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Microsoft's New Mantra - It Just Works - Windows guru Jim Allchin talks to FORTUNE about Microsoft's next version of its operating system, Longhorn, revealing some of its features for the first time.
  • Forgent sues Microsoft over JPEG patent - Forgent Networks has added Microsoft to the list of companies it has sued alleging infringement of a patent for a data compression technique it claims is used in the JPEG digital image standard. The lawsuit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, comes after Forgent was unable to negotiate a licensing agreement with the Redmond, Washington-based software maker, said Michael Noonan, director of investor relations at Forgent.
  • .EU will be live by Jan '06 - For the first four months of 2006, registrations will be limited to public bodies and registered trademarks. The idea is that this will prevent cybersquatters from nipping in first and registering www.microsoft.eu, www.easyjet.eu, www.benedictXVI.euand so on.
  • Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 SP1 Beta announced - Steve Ballmer has announced the beta release of Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 Service Pack 1 at the Microsoft Management Summit (MMS) 2005
  • Company claims holographic disk breakthrough - InPhase Technologies reckons it can squeeze 200 gigabits on a single square inch of optical disk. This company showed off its holographic prototype at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) convention in Las Vegas this week InPhase said is uses a patented polytopic recording method to squeeze 300 gigabytes (GB) capacity on a single disk. It says that by 2009 it will be selling disks with up to 1.6 terabyte (TB) capacity.
  • 8Mbps broadband promised by Christmas - ISP Thus and BT are trialling a new broadband service that will offer 8Mbps connections straight to the home. The first tests will begin in April and the company hopes to roll out the service nationwide by the end of the year. No details have yet been released on pricing, but Thus insisted that costs will only increase incrementally.
  • AGEIA radio interview this Sunday afternoon - The ChatterBox Video Game Radio show will have an on-air interview with Mr.Keane of AGEIA (the company behind the new PhysX physics processing unit) this Sunday afternoon. ChatterBox is a weekly talk radio show dedicated to the gaming industry. It airs out of Phoenix, Arizona on 1100AM KFNX, but is streamed live over the internet so anyone can listen in. Listeners are encouraged to call in using a toll-free number so they can participate in discussions with the hosts or talk to guests.

HARDWARE... 

  • AGP May Fade Away in 2005 - There has been a lot of speculation as to when PCI Express (PCIe) will finally take over AGP for good. Even though there isn't any performance difference between the two standards, PCIe is the standard of the future where game developers and GPU makers should be able to work on to bring in more realistic, and GPU intensive games with elevated bandwidth requirements to everyone's personal setups.
  • OCZ Unveils 800MHz DDR2 Memory Modules - OCZ's newly unveiled DDR2 PC2-6400 Gold Series modules are able to operate at 800MHz clock-speed with CL5 5-5-8 latencies with 1.8V voltage - more aggressive latency settings and lower voltage compared to Corsair's products rated for the same frequency. The 800MHz memory modules from OCZ are available in 512MB and 1GB sticks and in 1GB and 2GB matched dual-channel optimized pairs. Pricing of DDR2 PC2-6400 Gold Series memory products is unclear.
  • AMD's dual-core Opteron processors reviews - Trusted Reviews | Hexus.net | FiringSquad | AnandTech | LinuxHardware  - Looking at the single-core Opteron 252 versus the Xeon 3.6GHz with 2MB L2 cache, we see a performance race that AMD is clearly winning. The margins get further and further apart as AMD releases new processors.
  • 1GB Crucial Ballistix PC2-5300 DDR2 - The Crucial Ballistix PC2-5300 DDR2 memory is rated to run at DDR2-667MHz at 1.9V, which translates for most people as running their CPU at 250MHz FSB with a 3:4 memory divisor. It is worth mentioning that Crucial makes these modules in 256MB, 512MB (as reviewed), and 1GB capacities, both with and without the activity LEDs.
  • GeForce 6800 Ultra vs. Radeon X850XT  - Both GeForce 6800U and X850XT proved that they are the best graphics cards out there in the market. Personally, I was quite impressed with the 6800U because it was able to keep up and sometimes outperform the newer X850XT. The results also shows that the 6800U is still better than the X850XT during high resolution with AA/AF enabled on games like Doom 3 and Halo. The 6800U was also able to outrun the X850XT in Half-Life 2 with AA/AF enabled!
  • ASUS V9999 Gamer Edition (GeForce 6800) - Utilizing technology similar to that found on their GeForce 6800 Ultra cards, the ASUS V9999E has a standard GeForce 6800 GPU, but comes with twice the memory of the typical GeForce 6800 card. The core and memory speeds are also clocked at frequencies found usually on GeForce 6800 GT cards. Those who have seen an ASUS GeForce 6800 Ultra card could be easily forgiven if they mistook the V9999GE for it, as they sport a similar cooling system, DDR3 memory and the 10 layer PCB found on both cards. All these extra features ensure that the V9999GE maintains an edge over standard GeForce 6800 cards.
  • Logitech MX518 mouse -The heart and sole of Logitech's new mouse if the updated optical assembly which still has the 15G acceleration and 5.8 megapixels/second bandwidth as the MX510, but its' optical resolution has been upgraded from 800dpi to a extremely precise 1600dpi. Double the resolution means double to precision
  • Sennheiser MX500 Earphones - The Sennheiser MX500 is light-weight and comfortable. And it comes in a tightly packed, attractive and reasonably secure package. The bass was very present and the treble was clear and crisp, as we have come to expect from Sennheiser's products. The music reproduction was exquisite and it performed pleasantly in all games.
  • ChiMei CT-729A 17in LCD - Aside from the monitor you also receive a 2-part AC adapter, VGA cable, and audio cable. There are two important things to notice here. First, the 729A only supports VGA (no DVI), though for most people the difference is unnoticeable (and extremely picky professionals will opt for a pricier model anyway).
  • Samsung 730MW Widescreen LCD TV - The 730MW falls between two stools. It's not high resolution or speedy enough to act primarily as a work or gaming monitor, with occasional TV duties, and it's barely big enough to act as a secondary TV. However it could past muster a bedroom Media Center system or a screen for the kids to have in their room for both PC use and console gaming and the price is not unreasonable too. However, my search for the perfect all-in-one multimedia screen will have to continue.
  • Samsung CLP-510n Color Laser Printer - Overall this series of Samsung CLP-500's seem to be an awesome series of color laser printers. It looks like Samsung has made a couple of speed enhancements to the CLP-510n over the CLP-550's. A processor change and perhaps some additional hardware changes to improve this already great printer series.

GUIDES... 

  • DDR-2 Memory Investigation Guide Making sense of memory settings - What is better - higher clock speed or super tight timings? TweakTown discuss the reasons why one is better than the other and prove our claims through a range of different system configuration benchmarks.
  • Networking Troubleshooting Guide - The guide covers all three wireless issues you're likely to encounter (problems connecting initially, throughput and connection speed sucks, wireless network has too small a coverage area), and offers solutions help fix them all. All screen shots and examples shown in this guide were taken from a Linksys WRT54G Wireless Router.
  • 16x DVD recording, 5-minute DVD backups? - Obviously 16x recording puts a significant amount of stress on a system, which is nothing like CDR recording at 48x and up. Recording a CDR at 48x only requires a sustained data rate to the CDRW recorder of 7.2MB/s which is perfectly feasible with even an older PC. Recording a DVD (whether +R or -R) at 16x however requires no less than 22MB/s, which is more than the sustained data rate of many harddisks. So although your DVD recorder might support 16x recording, the rest of your system might not be able to keep track

SOFTWARE...

  • Guests are not happy in Zoo Tycoon - Guests in Microsoft Zoo Tycoon want to sit when they are tired, to buy food when they are hungry, and to use the restrooms when it is necessary. Guests become unhappy when their requirements are not met. If the buildings and objects are not conveniently located or if the buildings and objects are facing the wrong way to be accessible, the guests cannot use them. The Zoo Tycoon update prevents issues in new zoos, but it does not fix zoos that are already in use. Some third-party facilities may cause similar issues that you can fix by removing Zoo Tycoon, deleting the original folder, and then reinstalling Zoo Tycoon.
  • Logparser 2.2.10 - Log parser is a powerful, versatile tool that provides universal query access to text-based data such as log files, XML files and CSV files, as well as key data sources on the Windows® operating system such as the Event Log, the Registry, the file system, and Active Directory®. You tell Log Parser what information you need and how you want it processed. The results of your query can be custom-formatted in text based output, or they can be persisted to more specialty targets like SQL, SYSLOG, or a chart.
  • BitTornado T-0.3.12 - BitTornado T-0.3.12 (download) has been released. Changes include bug fixes to the tracker and to btlaunchmany[curses], the Windows installers' being built using older versions of Python and wxPython to fix the problem with the client sticking in the task list, and the addition of a little sneakiness to help keep ISPs from killing connections to seed clients.
  • IrfanView 3.97 - IrfanView (download) is a very fast, small, compact and innovative FREEWARE (for non-commercial use) graphic viewer for Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003.
  • FastStone Image Viewer 2.0.5 - FastStone Image Viewer (download) is an image browser, viewer, converter and editor with an easy to use interface and a nice array of features that include resizing, renaming, cropping, color adjustments, watermarks and more.
  • CloneDVD v2.8.1.1, CloneCD v5.2.1.1 - SlySoft has released new versions of CloneDVD2, CloneCD5. They fixed many stability problems in ElbyCDIO.
  • CPU-Z 1.28.4 - CPU-Z (download) is a freeware detection program base on the Panopsys hardware detection engine.
  • Win32Whois 0.9.5 - Win32Whois (download) is a free, small and efficient tool that lets you retrieve registration information for a particular domain or website. It takes URL, hostname or IP address and will generate a detailed report listing all the available technical and contact information it can find.
 Gameguru Mania News - Apr,21 2005 - tech
AMD's dual-core Opteron processors - tech
(hx) 11:24 AM EDT - Apr,21 2005 - Post a comment
The chaps over at Techreport have tested a pair of dual-core Opteron processors. They also have a head-to-head battle of single-socket, dual-core workstation processors: the Opteron 175 versus the Pentium Extreme Edition 840. Here's a taster:
AMD's dual-core Opteron processors are extremely well executed on all fronts, based on what we've seen. AMD's dual-core design has a technical elegance that Intel's can't match, and that design brings superior performance. One Opteron 175 performs slightly better than a pair of Opteron 248s running at the same clock speed, and it does so while consuming less power than a single-core Opteron 152. All in all, very impressive.

Going to a dual-core Opteron does, however, involve some tradeoffs. Fundamentally, one is giving up single-threaded performance in order to gain multithreaded performance. Whether or not this tradeoff makes sense will depend on the kind of applications one plans to run on the system. Many of our benchmarks were multithreaded, but only made use of two threads, leaving the dual Opteron 275 system looking a little pointless. The Opteron 252 system outperformed it in many of these dual-threaded apps, like media encoding. Our other tests, however, showed the Opteron 275s to be an absolute rendering powerhouse. Which processor is the better buy will depend greatly on its intended use.
 Gameguru Mania News - Apr,20 2005 - tech
Wednesday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 07:43 PM EDT - Apr,20 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Sober is back online - A new version of the Sober worm has been recently discovered by the companies producing security solutions. Some companies call this version Sober-N, while others called it Sober-M. The worm spreads through a .Zip attachment of an email message written in English or German. The subject of the infected messages is "I've_got your EMail on my_account!" or "FwD: Ich bin's nochmal" and the attachment is your_text.zip, having 73 Kb. Like all previous versions, Sober only infects Windows.
  • Flaw found in McAfee suite - A flaw in McAfee Internet Security Suite 2005 could let employees sharing the same computer break into one another's files, according to security consultant iDefense. The vulnerability, which exists in the default settings applied during installation, gives anyone the same access rights on a PC as an IT administrator. That, in effect, would let someone remove any restricted access specified on a PC, according to a report released by iDefense on Monday. It could also let an employee install software prohibited by his employer.
  • PHP falls down security hole - Several of the flaws were discovered in PHP's EXIF module, used to handle the Exchangeable Image file format (EXIF) specification used by digital cameras. A bug in the module's exif_process_IFD_TAG() function could be exploited by a specially crafted "Image File Directory" (IFD) tag to cause a buffer overflow and execute malicious code with the privileges of the PHP server, according to Mandriva, which issued its update yesterday. A second EXIF module bug could lead to an infinite recursion, causing the executed program to crash.
  • Apache / OpenSSL remote exploit - openssl-too-open is a remote exploit for the KEY_ARG overflow in OpenSSL 0.9.6d and older. Tested against most major Linux distributions. Gives a remote nobody shell on Apache and remote root on other servers. Includes an OpenSSL vulnerability scanner and a detailed vulnerability analysis. Only Linux/x86 targets are supported.
  • Symantec Releases Beta Anti-Spyware Software - Symantec released the public beta version of its integrated Internet security solution today, which provides broad protection from spyware and adware to home users.
  • P2P is Spammers' Trove - Blue Security, a new company developing anti-spam and anti-spyware solutions, has issued a report detailing how Peer-to-Peer (P2P) networks allow spammers to harvest e-mail addresses from users without their knowledge.
  • Two Americans Jailed in China for DVD Piracy - Two Americans have been sentenced to jail in Shanghai for selling pirated DVDs over the Internet, China's state-run media reported Wednesday. Police had estimated the group had sold 180,000 DVDs worth roughly $845,000 between November 2003 and July 2004, the report said. However, the judge who presided over the case at the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court said evidence presented by police showed the group had sold 133,000 pirated DVDs worth around $398,000 to customers in more than 20 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Canada and Australia, it says. Based on the evidence presented, the group's profit from these sales was found to be almost $120,000, it says.
  • Prison terms on tap for "prerelease" pirates - File-swappers who distribute a single copy of a prerelease movie on the Internet can be imprisoned for up to three years, under a bill that's slated to become the most dramatic expansion of online piracy penalties in years. The bill, approved by Congress on Tuesday, is written so broadly it could make a federal felon of anyone who has even one copy of a film, software program or music file in a shared folder and should have known the copyrighted work had not been commercially released. Stiff fines of up to $250,000 can also be levied. Penalties would apply regardless of whether any downloading took place.

OFFTOPIC...

  • IFD Sicks FBI on Take-Two for "Pirated" Games - Ideas From the Deep, a small family-oriented publisher, has accused Take-Two Interactive of publishing and selling illegal copies of a game for which IFD has owned the license for the past three years. Not having sufficient funds for a long legal battle, IFD president Lane Roathe has contacted the FBI instead.
  • New matter looked like "quark-gluon plasma" - A panel of researchers has produced a new state of matter at the Brookhaven National Laboratory. They call it "quark-gluon plasma". The scientists claim in the early universe, possibly for a brief period after the "big-bang" creation of the universe, all matter would have looked like quark-gluon plasma. Another article can be found here.
  • World's largest iceberg "goes bump in the night" - The world's largest iceberg has finally crashed into a massive tongue of ice floating in Antarctic waters. The predicted "collision of the century"- between the B15-A iceberg and the Drygalski ice tongue - had been expected to happen on 15 January 2005 in McMurdo Sound in the Ross Sea. But the icy colossus instead became stranded on a shallow seamount a few kilometres away from the 70-km-long tongue - starving penguins and blocking shipping supply routes to Antarctic bases. Now, after breaking free in early April, the ice giant has finally scraped the side of the long-lived Drygalski ice tongue, an extension of the David glacier into the ocean. An image snapped by the European Space Agency's Envisat satellite on 15 April shows a 5-km-long section of the ice tongue breaking off at its seaward end as the bottle-shaped iceberg brushes past.
  • Congress legalizes DVD censorship - It will soon become legal to alter a motion picture so long as all the sex, profanity, and violence have been edited out, thanks to a bill called the Family Movie Act, an attachment to the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act approved Tuesday by the House. The Senate has already passed its own version, and the President is expected to sign it.
  • New Movie Trailers @ Coming Soon - XXX: State of the Union | The Interpreter (three TV spots for the thriller) | Crash (clip from the Paul Haggis film) | The Holy Girl  (three clips from the drama) | Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (three more TV spots) | The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (four funny new clips) | Three...Extremes (two international trailers for the horror film) | A Lot Like Love (six clips from the romantic comedy) | The Myth (teaser for the new Jackie Chan action adventure) | House of D (ten clips from the David Duchovny film) | Tom Yung Goong (second trailer for the Tony Yaa action film) | Kung Fu Hustle (new 11-minute behind the scenes featurette)

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Nintendo Revolution Under Wraps Past E3 - The next-generation Nintendo console, codenamed Revolution, may not be shown at this year's E3. Eurogamer reports that the Japanese console maker is going to keep the console under wraps to keep the features of the new system out of the limelight a little while longer.
  • Playboy heads to the PSP - Playboy Enterprises will announce plans Wednesday to offer nude and non-nude photo galleries that have been specifically formatted for viewing on Sony's Portable PlayStation.
  • Microsoft wants your feedback to build Longhorn - The Microsoft network product team is investigating ways of resolving peer-to-peer connectivity problems in Longhorn, and we would like to get customer feedback to help validate some of the design proposals. This survey outlines some of the proposals for resolving these connectivity problems, and asks for feedback on them. We would love to get the opinions from a wide range of users, and markets (e.g. consumers, large IT departments, etc) since this would have implications for everyone.
  • Cisco upgrades main carrier router - Cisco Systems is updating its main carrier router with new modular software that will make it easier for service providers to address changing customer, traffic and security needs. The Cisco XR 12000 series starts at $45,500 (L25,300). Upgrade options for existing Cisco 12000 routers start at a list price of $12,500.
  • Nokia's Visual Radio headed for United States - Nokia's Visual Radio has been available in many countries around the world including Finland, the UK, Singapore, Thailand and Germany and will soon be available in the United States. The service merges traditional FM radio with mobile phone interactivity that is based on the content of the broadcast. The announcement was made with Nokia's technology partner, Hewlett-Packard. The partners re determining which of Infinity's 185 radio stations will be the first in the country to offer the service.

HARDWARE... 

  • ATI to Launch New Mobile GPU - ATI has just taken the wraps off of the mobile version of its Radeon Express 200 chipset for Intel-based systems. Like the desktop versions, the Radeon Express 200M will pack a true DirectX 9-class graphics processor derived from ATI's R300 graphics core - a.k.a. the Radeon 9700 - only in this form, it has just a pair of simplified pixel pipelines. Other features of the chipset include PCI Express connectivity and support for DDR2 memory at speeds as high as 667MHz.
  • 7 PCI Express 3D Pro graphic cards - Behardware.com has tested 7 PCI Express 3D Pro graphic cards to measure the improvements compared to the standard versions.
  • GIGABYTE GeForce 6600 TurboForce Ultra Edition -  The performance of this GigaByte GeForce 6600 128MB PCI-Express graphic card is out perform the ATI 9800 series even the ATI X700 Pro and it was very close to the GeForce 6600GT performance
  • Seagate vs. Hitachi 400GB SATA hard drive comparison - GamePC's tests have shown that the Barracuda 7200.8 has a better overall feature set, consumes less power, creates less heat, and runs faster in both disk read and write speeds. It’s a pretty clean sweep, as far as we can see. Granted, the Deskstar 7K400 has been out for over six months already, which some might say gives Seagate an advantage. Still, these are the only 400 GB drives out on the market today, and the Seagate is simply the better of the two.
  • 16X DVD burner comparison (AOpen vs. Gigabyte) - If you've been holding off on upgrading your CD or DVD-ROM now is an excellent storage to bring things up to date with incredible transfer rates, cheap media, and prices for most DVD burners below $60 you really can't go wrong with either drive you choose.
  • eDimensional AudioFX Gaming Headset - TechIMO has posted a review of the eDimensional AudioFX Gaming Headset.
  • Lite-on LVW-5045 Recorder - The only glaring negative is the lack of MPEG-4 video compression, which would have easily increased onboard storage limits by an order of magnitude. Still, even if not for recording, basic MPEG-4 playback support would have been a nice touch.
  • Samsung HD 850 DVD Player - The DVD player is capable of playing your standard DVDs, VCDs, Audio cds, and cd's burnt with MP3 and WMA files on it. The unit is also cable of viewing JPGs, allowing the unit to be used as a digital photo viewer.

GUIDES... 

  • Windows versus Windows or 32-bit versus 64bit - Is it worth it to install the 64-bit Windows and give up your old Windows XP? To answer this question, Softpedia have put together a test, whose main objective was to identify if the performances of the Windows x64 are better than the ones of Windows x32.
  • RAM amount benchmarks - The article is benchmarks for business and content creation applications with 256 ­ 1024 MB of RAM. The tests were run with lots of multitasking, in an effort to simulate real world scenarios as closely as possible.
  • Intel Technology Guide - PC Mechanic has published an Intel Technology Guide.
  • Chaos Theory Benchmarking Scripts - There is a total of 10 initialization files, all ending with the .ini extension. These are split into 2 main groups -- one for using ShaderModel 1_1 in the game and the other for using ShaderModel 3_0 in the game. Each group covers the usual 5 resolutions used for testing video cards -- 640x480, 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x960 and 1600x1200.
  • Website Hosting From A Home PC - PC Stats has posted a beginners guide about Website Hosting From A Home PC.

SOFTWARE...

  • AutoPatcher XP April 2005 - AutoPatcher is a comprehensive collection of patches, add-ons 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 5.0. Although it was made with Windows XP SP2 English/Portuguese in mind, it will load on any (English/Portuguese) Windows version (i.e XP SP1), showing only the items which match the running environment. More mirrors can be found here.
  • Updates for Windows Media Player 9 Series and for Windows Media Player 10 - This update (WMP10 / WMP9 XP / WMP9 2k/2k3) fixes some issues (memory leaks, problem with script commands, etc) that may occur in Microsoft Windows Media Player 9 Series and in Windows Media Player 10.
  • After W2k3 SP1 Upgrade MOM 2005 Admin console fails -  A problem has been identified in the MOM Administrator Console. After Microsoft Windows Server 2003 has been upgraded to Service Pack 1, the Administrator Console may fail when the Computer Groups node is selected. This fix resolves the issue.
  • Removing your Norton program using SymNRT - Symantec has a program that removes the programs listed at the beginning of this document from your computer when Windows Add/Remove programs does not work. This program is called SymNRT. SymNRT works with Windows 98, Windows Me, Windows 2000, and Windows XP. Do not use SymNRT unless Windows Add/Remove programs cannot uninstall your supported program.
  • avast! Home/Pro 4.6.652 - avast! 4 Home Edition is a full-featured antivirus package designed exclusively for home users, non-commercial users
  • Skype 1.2.0.48 - Skype uses P2P (peer-to-peer) technology to connect you to other users. Not to share files, but to talk with them for free. The technology is extremely advanced, but very simple and easy to use. You will be making perfect quality free phone calls to your friends all over the world in no time using your computers sound card, speakers and microphone
  • RealPlayer 10.5 Build 6.0.12.1069 - download
  • K-Lite Mega Codec Pack 1.29 - This package is a combination of three codec packs: K-Lite Codec Pack Full (a slew of different codecs like Divx, etc.), QuickTime Alternative, Real Alternative and other encoders/decoders.
  • FlashFXP 3.1.14.1078 RC1 - FlashFXP (download) is the most powerful and popular FTP & FXP Client for Microsoft Windows 9x/Me/NT/2000/XP on the market today.
  • FileZilla 2.2.13a - FileZilla (download) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface.
  • 7-Zip 4.18 Beta - 7-Zip (download) is a file archiver with high compression ratio.
  • Nero Vision Express 3.1.0.0d adds Dolby surround - The 35MBdownload can be found here..
  • AnyDVD v5.1.0.1, CloneDVD v2.8.0.2, CloneCD v5.2.0.2 and Virtual Clone Drive - SlySoft has released new versions of AnyDVD, CloneDVD2, CloneCD5 and Virtual CloneDrive. The software is now out of beta, supports 64bit Windows.
  • CPUCooL 7.3.6 - CPUCooL (download) is a program that monitors temperature, fan speed, and voltages for many motherboards. It provides Cpu cooling under Win9x/2000/XP/NT, allows FrontSideBus changing, optimizes your memory and CPU. This version adds support for NForce3/4 chipsets.
  • NVIDIA Optimized Driver 64bit v1.7671 - The NGO NVIDIA Optimized Driver is a tweaked version of the nVidia Forceware driver. The main purpose is to satisfy the users with a better performance and better image quality. The Driver has support for all Geforce cards. These drivers are for Windows Server 2003 AMD64, Windows Server 2003 IA-64, Windows XP AMD64, Windows XP IA-64.
  • Xtreme G 71.89 HD (ForceWare) - This is the Xtreme G driver which includes many performance and Image Quality tweaks. These are modified NVIDIA ForceWare drivers for Windows 2000 & XP.
 Gameguru Mania News - Apr,18 2005 - tech
Nightly Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 08:53 PM EDT - Apr,18 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Multiple flaws in Mozilla - There are a few conflicts related to the running of Java components at a certain security level. The result is the modification of settings so that the javascript can change all by itself the application and the result can be the computer's destabilization or even the revealing of personal information. Among the nine flaws, three of them are in FireFox, and two of them in Mozilla. One of these bugs is refers to execution scripts of the UI code, assigning incorrect privileges. The scripts from a certain page can overwrite the properties and modes of the DOM components. Mozilla Foundation wont' give any other details until April 25. The other problems rated as non-critical might also compromise your system, like allowed execution of the Javascript and cross-site scripting.
  • Vulnerabilities in TCP/IP Allow Remote Code Execution/DoS (exploit code) - Number of networking related vulnerabilities fixed by MS05-019 security update were reported by Microsoft. Those vulnerabilities are: IP Validation, ICMP Connection Reset, ICMP Path MTU, TCP Connection Reset and Spoofed Connection Request. The following exploit code can be used to test the denial of service vulnerability.
  • Malware Evolution: January - March 2005 - Kaspersky Lab presents its quarterly report on malware evolution by Alexander Gostev, Senior Virus Analyst. The report addresses questions such as why email worms no longer seem to be causing epidemics, the increase in worms targeting instant messenger applications, what effect the release of SP2 for Windows XP has had on security, and why adware and spyware are the latest buzzwords in the field of IT security.
  • U.S. Military's Hackers - The U.S. military has assembled the world's most formidable hacker posse: a super-secret, multimillion-dollar weapons program that may be ready to launch bloodless cyberwar against enemy networks -- from electric grids to telephone nets.
  • "Final Fantasy XI" under attack - Square Enix's PlayOnline service has been under a distributed denial-of-service attack since April 9, the company said today. Last Friday, the attacks caused all servers for "Final Fantasy XI" to shut down for approximately three hours. While Square Enix is currently investigating the source of the attacks and attempting to mitigate damages, servers are still being adversely affected at regular intervals.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Flying Cars Ready To Take Off - CBS News has an article, images, and a free streaming video clip of Elwood (Woody) Norris' invention of a working flying machine, AirScooter. He asked one of his test pilots to demonstrate it for 60 Minutes on a hilltop outside San Diego, California. It can fly for 2 hours at 55 mph, and go up to 10,000 feet above sea level.
  • Near-Earth Asteroid 2004 MN4 Reaches Highest Score To Date On Hazard Scale - A recently rediscovered 400-meter Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) is predicted to pass near the Earth on 13 April 2029. The flyby distance is uncertain and an Earth impact cannot yet be ruled out. The odds of impact, presently around 1 in 300, are unusual enough to merit special monitoring by astronomers, but should not be of public concern. These odds are likely to change on a day-to-day basis as new data are received. In all likelihood, the possibility of impact will eventually be eliminated as the asteroid continues to be tracked by astronomers around the world.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Adobe to buy Macromedia - Desktop publishing specialist Adobe Systems is buying multimedia applications maker Macromedia in a $3.4 billion deal geared toward building a software powerhouse.
  • Microsoft Windows XP Codenames: "Eiger" and "Monch" - Microsoft is developing 2 new "Server Centric Computing Clients" these clients are based on Windows XP, so these will be "thin" clients for Terminal server purposes.
  • Finnish Firm Claims Fake P2P Hash Technology - Finnish company known as Viralg Oy claim to have developed software that can create a junk file with the same hash as a genuine p2p download. This, according to the company, can altogether stop the sharing of copywritten files by flooding p2p networks with corrupt/junk data, which then spreads through the network, causing less and less of the original file to be available.
  • Warner Bros. Studios and Microsoft To Release HD-DVD Titles - Today at the National Association of Broadcasters convention, NAB2005, Warner Bros. Studios and Microsoft Corp. announced their plans to collaborate on the release of a broad range of next-generation HD DVD discs using Windows Media Video 9, Microsoft's implementation of VC-1, the proposed Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) standard approved by the DVD Forum for HD DVD. Warner Home Video currently plans to release titles in the fourth quarter of 2005. HD DVD represents the first major push to deliver high-definition content to consumers on optical media in the U.S.
  • New services as Skype hits 100 million users - IP telephony firm Skype today claimed that its software has been downloaded by over 100 million computer users. To mark the occasion the company has launched two premium services.
  • Toshiba squeezes 3D images onto flat display - Toshiba today claimed an imaging breakthrough with the development of technology that allows 3-D images to be viewed on a flatbed display without the need for special glasses .Viewing the display from an angle allows the viewer to experience 3-D images that appear to stand out several centimetres from the surface of the display.
  • New 512MB/1GB MP3 players with FM Tuner from MSI - The Inquirer has information that MSI plans to introduce 2 new MP3 players, of the Mega Stick Series. They will be shipped in two versions, one with 512MB and another with 1GB, both of them featuring an FM Tuner (with 15 FM presets).

HARDWARE... 

  • Intel Launches Game-Oriented Duel Core Processors - Intel has officially launched its new Intel Pentium processor Extreme Edition featuring the PC chip company's first duel core processor. This first release is being targeted specifically for PC gaming enthusists.
  • Long-range Internet Chip from Intel - Renowned chip manufacturer Intel on Monday launched a chip for a long-range wireless Internet service, WiMAX. The chip is powerful enough to send a signal several miles, Intel claimed. The new Intel chip can be used to receive and transmit a wireless broadband signal. It will also facilitate delivery of broadband Internet access to remote areas not currently served by DSL or cable.
  • Seagate announces new notebook drives - Seagate has announced a new line of Momentus hard drives that bring higher capacities and support for NCQ to notebooks. . The Momentus 7200.1 and 5400.2 are available in SATA and with capacities up to 100 and 120GB, respectively. Seagate also announced the Momentus 4200.2, which is available in capacities up to 120GB but is ATA-only and lacks NCQ support
  • ATI RS482 and RC410 to arrive in June - ATI will release its RS482 and RC410 next-generation integrated PCI Express (PCIe) chipsets for the Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Intel platforms this June. The company will also debut its new southbridge, the SB450, which will include high-definition audio.The chips will be built using a 0.11-micron process and ATI plans to price them below US$30, the motherboard makers stated.
  • Dell Inspiron XPS Gen 2 with GeForce Go 6800 Ultra - Basically, the Dell Inspiron XPS utilized a desktop Pentium 4 CPU with an Intel 865PE chipset. The Dell Inspiron XPS had the option of either a 128MB ATI Mobility RADEON 9700 or a 256MB ATI Mobility RADEON 9800.
  • AMD's Sempron 3300+: 90nm Budget Computing - If you're debating between a Sempron 3100+ and a 3300+, the two often times perform identically to one another. Some applications will favor the Sempron 3100+'s larger L2 cache, while others will favor the higher clock speed of the 3300+. We generally prefer the 3300+, thanks to its cooler running 90nm process, but the two do perform very similarly and are hard to tell apart in real world usage. Compared to Intel's Celeron D, the Sempron continues to be the better buy and overall, the better performer. According to Intel's roadmaps, a 3.2GHz Celeron D is due out soon, but until then, the Sempron manages to hang on to the budget CPU throne.
  • Turtle Beach Video Advantage USB - The Video Advantage USB is a pocket sized black box which acts as a go between for your analog video devices and your computer. It sports a multi-pin connector port on one end, which hooks to an A/V cable (with included S-Video support), and a USB 2.0 connector on the other. Its main function, working in conjunction with a software suite installed upon your computer, is to capture the analog video as it plays from your VCR or camcorder and convert the signal to a digital format such as AVI, DV or MPEG.

GUIDES... 

  • Choosing a Portable MP3 Player - MP3 players are everywhere! It seems that the number of makes and models in this market is growing daily, with features and capabilities intended to appeal to just about anyone shopping for one of these devices.
  • Ultimate Testing of Recordable DVD Media Discs - What are the major criteria for your decision when you shop for blank recordable DVD discs? Is it the brand name of the manufacturer? Or the maximum claimed write speed? Or the price per piece? The chaps over at X-Bit Labs have decided to check out over 40 different discs available in the market today to see how good they are.
  • Optimize XP - A Windows XP Optimization Guide v1.9.3 -  This guide will help you improve your overall system performance. I avoid using or recommending "all-in-one" Windows XP Tweak programs since many blindly adjust settings that have no affect on performance and can cause future problems. Windows Update KB893066 (4/12/05) breaks the old SP2 TCP Slowdown Fix, if you had the old one installed or recently installed KB893066, you will need to download this new one and repatch.

SOFTWARE...

  • Microsoft Windows Rights Management Services with Service Pack 1 - Windows Rights Management Services (RMS) 1.0 Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Microsoft Windows Server 2003, a security service for Windows Server 2003, is information protection that works with RMS-enabled applications to help safeguard digital information from unauthorized use – both online and offline, inside and outside of the firewall.
  • Visual Studio Beta 2 released - Visual Studio Beta 2 released, it is available on MSDN subscriber Downloads.
  • Apache 2.0.54 - Apache 2.0 (download) offers numerous enhancements, improvements and performance boosts over the 1.3 codebase. The most visible and noteworthy addition is the ability to run Apache in a hybrid thread/process mode on any platform that supports both threads and processes.
  • Opera 8.0 final released (Build 7561) - Opera (download final w/o Java / another mirror) is the most full-featured browser on the market. It includes tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking, integrated searches, password manager, E-mail program, IRC chat, and much more.
  • Anti-Spyware Blocker 4.81 - Anti-Spyware Blocker can detect and eliminate spyware, Trojans, keyloggers, adware programs, browser hijackers, cookies, spybots, trackware, and other malware, even new and unknown ones, on your PC.
  • KoolMoves 4.7.1 - KoolMoves (download) is web animation software that creates Flash movies and frames for animated gifs.
  • iuVCR 4.9.4.364 - iuVCR is a Windows XP/2000 (Windows 98 and Windows ME also supported but not recommended) intended universal video recording program supporting the new DirectShow standard for multimedia.
  • Zoom Player v4.50 beta 4 - This new beta adds two new interesting features. The first being the new Advanced Play List control interface and the second is the Magnetic Hard Docking feature (little magnet buttons on the Play List Editor and Equalizer user interfaces).
  • DVDIdle 5.83 - DVDIdle is a unique tool that extends life of DVD-ROM 2-8 times.
  • Nero Burning Rom 6.6.0.12 - This new version (download / US mirror) added the LightScribe icon to the Nero toolbar and fixed some bugs: Data DVD writing on a DVD-R DL medium was not working in some cases, Nero did not remember renamed ISO9660 Level 2 names, Nero terminated if the path to a source file was too long, Improved the handling for the label creator when the text style did not fit the template.
  • NiBiTor v2.1 - This tool allows users to tune and edit the NVIDIA GeForce BIOS. This to gain some extra performance and stability on the NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards.
  • ATI Tray Tools 1.0.2.600 - ATI Tray Tools is a small utility that can be found in the windows tray which then allows instant access to options and settings.
  • SpeedFan 4.23 - SpeedFan (download) monitors temperatures, through available hardware monitor chips which expose their temperature sensors connected to different places inside your computer, and, according to your setup, does its best to keep those temperatures at your desired value.
  • Installation Utility 6.3.0.1008 - The Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility installs to the target system the Windows* INF files that outline to the operating system how the chipset components will be configured.
 Gameguru Mania News - Apr,17 2005 - tech
nVidia nForce 4 SLI Intel Edition - tech
(hx) 08:10 AM EDT - Apr,17 2005 - Post a comment
TweakTown informed us they take a look at nVidia nForce 4 SLI Intel Edition. The article reveals what the Intel Pentium 4 version of the nForce 4 chipset offers, what its performance is like against the 925XE chipset from Intel and give you a general understanding of the new chipset which will help you decide if its worth while moving to the newest Intel player on the market or stick with old faithful. Here's an exerpt:
Looking from the performance side of things the nForce 4 performs extremely close to the 925XE with it just falling short in a lot of tests and that's when we placed the nForce 4 Intel Edition not only up against a full retail version of the 925XE but what we feel is the fastest 925XE motherboard available so nVidia really were going into a strong battle.

With all the new technology that nVidia have implemented into their memory controller, we found that it was slightly slower then the 925XE setup but without comparing the nForce 4 Intel Edition to another reference it's hard to say that it isn't an overall faster controller. Memory performance is something we will have a closer look at when we get our hands on a retail version of the nForce 4 Intel Edition as well as if we'll have more joy overclocking memory on the nVidia platform over the Intel chipset - which we suspect we might.
 Gameguru Mania News - Apr,15 2005 - tech
Friday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 11:39 AM EDT - Apr,15 2005 - Post a comment / read (2)

SECURITY...

  • Napster DRM Cracked - Neowin previously reported on the work done by Cody Brocious to get iTunes working on Linux; in a soon to be released updated version, Cody and his group have announced plans to support the Napster Music Store as well.  However, in the process of making PyMusique work with Napster, the group have broken the Digital Rights Management (DRM) system that the company uses. Unlike Apple's iTunes, the DRM is applied "server-side", making the decryption process a lot more complicated. The team have formulated a method for removing the DRM on WMA files allowing them to play on non-Windows systems.
  • IM worm hits Reuters - Reuters was temporarily forced to shut down its instant messaging service Thursday after a computer worm spread across its network. The culprit - Kelvir-U - is a variant of a worm family that targets MSN and Windows Messenger clients and previously posed no risk to Reuters' tightly-controlled messaging network. This is the first incident where a virus has targeted a privately controlled user community, IM security firm IMlogic reports.
  • Fortinet in court for hiding Linux in its code - Fortinet was accused of using cryptographic techniques to conceal the presence of Linux code in its FortiGate and FortiWifi products, as well as not releasing its source code under the terms of the GPL.
  • Record industry sues 400 campus downloaders - The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has filed copyright infringement lawsuits against 405 students accused of sharing digital content across a high-speed university computer network known as Internet2.
  • Arrests Made in Nintendo Sting - Police arrested four people in connection with videogame piracy in New York and New Jersey yesterday, according to The Associated Press. Officers of the law confiscated more than 60,000 pirated products from Nintendo, including Donkey Kong, Mario Brothers, Duck Hunt, among others, according to official reports filed by federal authorities at the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. So, how did this merry band of digital thieves slip up? They tried selling the truckload of stolen goods to undercover FBI agents, that's how.
  • Bush fears his personal e-mail would be made public - President Bush said Thursday that he does not send e-mail, not even to his twin daughters, because he fears "my personal stuff" would be made public.
  • Unchecked blogs a boon to hackers - Blogging sites that fail to check software stored by users are proving useful to hackers, according to web monitoring firm Websense. The company claims to have identified hundreds of cases of hackers using blogs to store Trojan software and other malicious code, because blogging firms seldom check to see what code they are hosting.
  • Multiple TCP/IP implementations do not adequately validate ICMP error messages - Multiple TCP/IP implementations do not adequately validate ICMP error messages. A remote attacker could cause TCP connections to drop or be degraded using spoofed ICMP error messages.

OFFTOPIC...

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Microsoft Reveals Longhorn Details - Allchin, group vice president of Microsoft's Platforms Group, described Longhorn as nothing less than "the OS platform for the next ten years." It's on track for Beta 1 release this summer and final release for the 2006 holiday season. Although the Avalon graphics system, Indigo Web services system, and WinFS file system (now slated to ship sometime after Longhorn) have gotten the most attention, Microsoft's design goals focus on six key points, Allchin says: 1. It just works, 2. Safe and secure, 3. Easy to deploy and manage, 4. Client experiences - at work, at home, and on the go, 5. The right server for your business, 6. OS platform for the next ten years.
  • AMD may cut Sempron prices in early May - AMD plans to lower the unit prices for Socket 754 Sempron processors in early May, with the maximum cut being 15%, according to Taiwan motherboard makers.
  • AMD Confirms AMD Dual-Core Opteron Launch on the April 21st - AMD CEO Hector Ruiz said Wednesday during the company's first quarter fiscal 2005 conference call that the company's first server dual-core chips with two processing engines will be formally announced on the 21st of April, 2005
  • Seagate Readies New Hard Drive Technology - Seagate Technology is developing a perpendicular recording technology for hard drives and intends to be one of the first companies to use it in its products, the company said this week.

HARDWARE... 

  • Acer TravelMate 8104WLMi - Sonoma laptop - Beating at the heart of the 8104WLMi is a 2GHz Pentium M CPU, backed up by 1GB of 533MHz DDR2 memory. The PCI Express support in Sonoma is highlighted by the inclusion of an ATI Mobility Radeon X700 graphics chipset with 128MB of memory.
  • Acer n35 GPS PDA - The Acer N35 is the second PDA I've looked at to feature a GPS receiver actually integrated into the PDA, the first being the Mio 168. For the GPS enthusiast this is great as it avoids the need to have any trailing wires to an external GPS receiver or having to rely on a Bluetooth unit that
    runs on batteries. While the Mio 168 used CoPilot as its navigation software, Acer has plumped for Destinator 3.
  • AMD Sempron 3300+ CPU - When we look at the grid above, the Sempron 3300+ brings a couple of new things to the table compared to the elder 3100+. Based on the "Palermo" core, AMD is manufacturing the 3300+ at .09 microns with half of the L2 Cache complement of the .13 micron 3100+. With 128KB of L2 cache, the Sempron 3300+ is clocked 200MHz faster than the 3100+, running at 2.0GHz. Additionally, AMD has added support for SSE3 instructions, something only the Celeron offered up until now, as far as budget CPUs go anyway. Another review can be found on HotHardware.
  • SimpleTech PC2-4200 DDR2 - The chips scaled very well. As mentioned, I was able to take them above 350 MHz into Windows, however at an increased latency, 5-5-5-12, and increased voltage, 2.2V. Stability testing was out of the question as the processor would just throttle the FSB down as load picked up. Otherwise, 333 MHz was completely stable and at a 4-4-4-12 latency - over 25% faster than the rated speed and at nearly the same latencies. I was very impressed for what I was told is just standard, no frills memory.
  • Swiftech H20-120-T TEC Liquid Cooling Kit - The maximum achievable speed with a 3.0GHz D0 stepping Prescott was 4.35GHz with a full load temperature of 62 degrees Celsius at which point the processor starts to throttle. I expect this kit to work much better with the newer E0 and N0 stepping Prescott cores along with the much cooler Athlon 64 CPUs.
  • Samsung SyncMaster 915N - Samsung steps up to the gaming plate with 915N for the gamer that wants to have a larger screen. This monitor is rated at 8ms response time! They also now make smaller monitors that also have 12ms response time. The only problem I have seen with this product line is so far they are VGA interface only and do not support DVI. On the other hand leaving DVI out does let Samsung sell this monitor at a less expensive price. This monitor can be found under 400.00 dollars from many online retailers.
  • Lexmark P315 printer - These mini ink-jet printers are designed specifically for photo printing and offer little, if anything, in the way of plain paper print. Lexmark's P315 goes one step further by dispensing with the PC altogether. You can print from a variety of memory cards or from any camera that supports the PictBridge standard, but you can't print from a desktop, notebook or PDA.
  • Samsung CLP-510N Laser Printer - Samsung has come out with a very good printer with the CLP-510/510N series of printers. The print quality of the printer is excellent on the black print, and the color rivals inkjet photo quality printers when using the glossier paper designed to print photos on. The real question will be once you get to 50,000 pages - do you buy a new drum and transfer unit for $300.00 for the set or do you just buy a new printer?
  • LTB AC97-M 5.1 Surround Headphones - They're excellent headphones, sound great, are very comfortable, & I would certainly buy them over the Theatre 6's because of their smaller size & integrated microphone.
  • AL Tech MediaGate MG-25 Portable Media Center - As you may have guessed, this is more than just an external hard drive. This "MPEG4+MP3 jukebox" allows you to store images, videos, and music on the internal hard drive, organizing and playing them back however you like. It's significantly cheaper (and smaller) than any HTPC and with the exception of games and the possible use of applications, can do all the same things.
  • Sony PSP - Certainly, its not flawless with the dead pixel issue and Sony's insistence on using Memory Stick when SD cards are already available in 1GB flavours, though having said that, Memory Stick is their proprietary card and this is their unit so they can do what they like… those of us who have loads of SD cards and no Memory Sticks will just have to go and buy some, eh?

GUIDES... 

  • NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT Buyer's Guide - The default configuration of the GeForce 6800 GT  comes with a 350MHz core and 256MB of 1,000MHz memory. The core contains 16 pixel pipelines, the maximum number available for the GeForce 6 series design. Even with these impressive specifications, the GeForce 6800 GT plays second string to video cards like the GeForce 6800 Ultra and the Radeon X850.
  • 3D performance with Splinter Cell Chaos Theory part 2: ATI mainstream cards - check it out
  • A Windows XP Optimization Guide - This guide will help you improve your overall system performance. I avoid using or recommending "all-in-one" Windows XP Tweak programs since many blindly adjust settings that have no affect on performance and can cause future problems.

SOFTWARE...

  • xp-Antispy 3.94 - The xp-AntiSpy is a little utility that lets you disable some built-in update and authentication 'features' in WindowsXP. This new version fixes some minor bugs. (thanks Csimbi)
  • Sysinternal's Process Explorer 9.03 - The unique capabilities of Process Explorer make it useful for tracking down DLL-version problems or handle leaks, and provide insight into the way Windows and applications work.
  • Sysinternal's Regmon 7.0 - Regmon is a Registry monitoring utility that will show you which applications are accessing your Registry, which keys they are accessing, and the Registry data that they are reading and writing - all in real-time.
  • Sysinternal's FileMon 7.0 - FileMon monitors and displays file system activity on a system in real-time. Its advanced capabilities make it a powerful tool for exploring the way Windows works, seeing how applications use the files and DLLs, or tracking down problems in system or application file configurations
  • G-Force 2.8.1 - G-Force (download) is a music visualization plug-in for media players and can also visualize auxiliary or "line-in" audio. G-Force features fast anti-aliased effects, millions of possible visual combinations, savable and scriptable effects, and unparalleled expandability.
  • RightMark CPU Clock Utility v1.5 - RightMark CPU Clock Utility (RMClock) is a small GUI application designed for real-time CPU frequency, throttling and load level monitoring and on-the-fly adjustment of the CPU performance level of the supported CPUs via processor's power management model-specific registers (MSRs). In automatic management mode it continuously monitors the CPU usage level and dynamically adjusts the CPU frequency, throttle and/or voltage level as needed.
  • nLite 0.99.9 Beta - nLite lets you choose which components to remove from your Windows 2000, XP or 2003 before installation.
  • SpyBot-Search & Destroy 1.4 RC1 - Spybot-S&D 1.4 Release Candidate 1 is available. If you want to test it, they recommend you take a look at their beta forums.
  • Maxthon (MyIE2) v1.2.3 - Maxthon (MyIE2) (download combo / standard) is a powerful web browser with a highly customizable interface. It is based on the Internet Explorer engine (your most likely current web browser) which means that what works in IE, works the same in Maxthon but with many additional efficient features.
  • eXeem 0.24 Public Beta - eXeem (download) is a brand new Peer-To-Peer program, which is based on the BitTorrent idea.
  • CloneCD and CloneDVD betas - Slysoft has released beta versions of CloneCD and CloneDVD. The main change in the versions is support for 64-bit Windows XP. To achieve this the ElbyCDIO has been rewritten.
  • Nero CD-DVD Speed V3.80 and Nero InfoTool V3.01 - This tool can be used to test the capabilities of your CD or DVD drive and we use this software in our reviews to test the performance and make comparisons. Some of the tests include: Transfer rate, Seek times, CPU usage, Burst rate, DAE quality, Spinup/spindown time.
  • BenQ 1620 firmware - The firmware update brings the firmware revision to B7V9 and improves compatibility with the Nforce chipset, as well as fixing an issue with nero's simulation mode. Support for MJC 16x +R media, Gig 16x DVD-R media and Ritek 16x DVD-R F1 media has also been added.
  • SIS AGP Driver v.1.21 - SIS have released a new AGP driver v1.21 supporting most of their chipsets. The only updated AGP driver contained in this driver pack appears to be the 64-bit AGP driver, all other drivers are identical to those included in the 1.19 driver pack (1.17 in the case of WinXP) (thanks Warp2Search)
 Gameguru Mania News - Apr,14 2005 - tech
NVIDIA ForceWare Drivers v71.89 - tech
(hx) 10:47 AM EDT - Apr,14 2005 - Post a comment
A new WHQL Forceware graphics drivers v71.89 (Win2k/XP ~ 19.4MB) are available for download from the official NVIDIA download page. These new drivers add support for the GeForce 6200 with TurboCache, NVIDIA PureVideo, and NVIDIA SLI Microsoft  DirectX 9.0c and OpenGL 1.5 and resolves problem with overclocking not working when running GPUs in SLI mode.
 Gameguru Mania News - Apr,13 2005 - tech
Wednesday Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 05:27 PM EDT - Apr,13 2005 - Post a comment / read (3)

SECURITY...

  • NSF establishes cybersecurity center - Finding ways to keep computers, networks and data more secure from electronic attacks and theft is a key goal of a new cybersecurity Science and Technology Center being established later this year by the National Science Foundation (NSF).  In an announcement yesterday, the Washington-based NSF said the new cybersecurity center will receive about $19 million in funds over five years to help better protect data and hardware from electronic intrusions, fraud and other cybersecurity problems. The center is being established in response to continuing data theft and fraud incidents that threaten computer users and systems.
  • Possible Unpatched Office Flaw Investigated -
  • Exploit Code Posted for Microsoft Jet DB Engine Flaw - A private security research outfit on Tuesday warned that a "highly critical" vulnerability in the Microsoft Jet Database Engine (exploit code) could be exploited by malicious hackers to hijack a compromised system. The flaw, which was discovered by HexView Security Research and Assessment, affects fully patched systems with Microsoft Access 2003 and Microsoft Windows XP, including Service Pack 2.
  • QuickTime for Windows malformed GIF DoS - QuickTime for Windows has problems with malformed GIF images. Open test.gif with PictureViewer and it will crash. DrWatson is reporting access violation.
  • OpenOffice.org details vulnerability - OpenOffice.org has confirmed a buffer overflow issue that could allow for remote attacks. The problem in its freely distributed productivity applications has been fixed, the organization said late Tuesday. But no patch has yet been publicly issued.
  • LexisNexis acknowledges more ID theft on 310,000 people - LexisNexis, which compiles and sells personal and financial data on U.S. consumers, said Tuesday that personal information on 310,000 people nationwide may have been stolen. That number is nearly 10 times higher than the figure LexisNexis disclosed last month when it first reported that its databases had been breached.
  • US - Legal test of Internet2 underway - The U.S. recording industry is resorting to courts to stop students from alleged illegal distribution of music and movies over the ultra-fast Internet2. Internet2 is not available to the general public, but leading universities use it for research into the next generation of the Internet.  In a suit to be filed Wednesday, the Washington-based Recording Industry Association of America has accused hundreds of college students of illegally using Internet2.  "Right now the Internet2 is a zone of lawlessness when it comes to theft of music and movies and that just can't be allowed to continue," RIAA President Cary Sherman told CBS News.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Super-sensitive explosive detector developed - A device capable of detecting concealed explosives and landmines with more sensitivity than a trained dog has been developed. The new detector, which works at a distance, could potentially be used to identify suicide bombers or find explosive booby-traps, the researchers suggest.
  • Britney Spears Says She's Pregnant - Britney Spears announced on Tuesday that she was pregnant with her first child, ending months of speculation over whether the pop princess was launching a new career as a mother.
  • Pandemic-causing "Asian flu" accidentally released - The virus that caused the 1957 "Asian flu" pandemic has been accidentally released by a lab in the US, and sent all over the world in test kits which scientists are now scrambling to destroy. There are fears the virus could escape the labs, as the mistake was discovered after the virus escaped from a kit at a high-containment lab in Canada. Such an escape could spread worldwide, as demonstrated in Russia in the 1970s.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Microsoft, MTV team up to promote new Xbox console (update 3) - Microsoft Corporation plans to unveil the latest version of its Xbox video game console in a special presentation on MTV on May 12, 2005.  Microsoft said that the video game system would be unveiled in a 30-minute special programme, MTV Presents: The Next Generation Xbox Revealed, on MTV channels across the US, Asia Pacific and Europe within a 24-hour timeframe.
  • Analysts: 3 million Xbox 360s shipped by Xmas - According to Forbes, Goldman Sachs is predicting that the next-gen Xbox, now increasingly referred to as the Xbox 360, will "be available for retail sale in October or November at a retail price of about $249 to $299." Goldman says it "expects" Microsoft to have shipped around 3 million units by year's end and reiterated its "outperform" rating for Microsoft Corp. stock, which closed at $25.32 today.
  • Yahoo offers free hosting to small businesses - The Internet company on Wednesday introduced a new service that lets any small business sign up for a free Web page to appear in Yahoo's local directory. The move will help otherwise unwired small businesses come online, said Paul Levine, Yahoo's general manager of local services, as well as help consumers find more local information.
  • WinHEC 2005 - On April 25th-27th Microsoft will deliver its anual event for developers of hardware for Windows-based computers. With over 100 hours of technical conferences the event promises to be an interesting one. Microsoft are expected to announce the general availability of Windows XP Professional x64 Edition and Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions at WinHEC this year.
  • Apple To Roll Out Next OS X Operating System Version - The program, which is named Macintosh OS X 10.4 Tiger and which will sell for US$129, has a variety of consumer-oriented features and some new internal technologies, including enhanced graphics support and increased ability to handle memory as well as improved compatibility with Microsoft's Windows operating system.
  • Gordon Moore: Moore's Law is Dead - Moore's Law will not hold forever, claims Gordon Moore. In a Techworld article, he points out the limitations of the law, in particular, the limitations as we approach the size of atoms. He helpfully explains, however, that the law will hold for a few years yet. (thanks Slashdot.org)
  • Group cuts antipiracy software royalties - MPEG LA, which includes Sony and Philips Electronics, said Wednesday it will cut the proposed tariffs for antipiracy technology by one-third to 65 cents per mobile phone or other electronic gadget. Calls for the reductions stemmed from concerns that high royalties might stifle the markets for digital music and video.

HARDWARE... 

  • MD Dual Core desktop processor details - According to Hexus.net, it will be available at least in the following models: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4400+, AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600+, AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+.  Their source in Greenbriar also confirms that AMD currently has no plans to introduce "FX" variants of its dual-core desktop processors. The flagship AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ will have both its cores operating at 2.4GHz, the same frequency as the AMD Athlon 64 4000+, and we'll be surprised if this doesn't rape the already impressive Pentium Extreme Edition 840.
  • Special HW roundup - Opteron 866 Tested - The 866 Stepping E0 runs at 2.2Ghz, the speed of an Athlon 3500+ but with twice the cache and with SSE3. The tests were done on a Tyan Thunder K8WE S2895 dual opteron board with a nForce Pro 220 chipset. When compared to an Opteron 248, the 866 was a winner in all tests - PC Mark, Aqaumark, 3Dmark 03, Super Pi, Content Creation and Business Winstone and Sandra.
  • Corsair XMS Xpert CMXP512-3200XL - It is the LED displays that make the XMS Xpert modules so special. Not only do they display the data that Corsair has pre-programmed them to show, but you can actually edit the data displayed by using the provided software. The Corsair Memory Dashboard controls the displays, and also provides a wide range of other information about your memory such asclock speed and memory timings. This works with all types of memory, although you get less information than you do with the XMS Xpert modules.
  • SuperTalent PC3500 Cas 2 Memory - Gruntville.com has posted a review of SuperTalent PC3500 Cas 2 Memory.
  • OCZ DDR Booster - OCZ DDR Booster Diagnostic Device with Patent pending PowerClean TechnologyT allows users to supply cleaner power to their memory modules, resulting in more stable memory. Additionally, users are able to view memory module voltage with the digital LEDs o=ADn the DDR Booster, allowing simple and inexpensive troubleshooting of the memory modules. Each OCZ DDR Booster allows VDIMM adjustments up to 3.9V* and is compatible with most DDR1 motherboards.
  • Asus K8V-X Motherboard review - CoolTechZone has posted a review of Asus K8V-X motherboard.
  • DFI nForce4-DAGF Motherboard OC preview - If DFI can make the user manual a bit more extensive I'm convinced that the nF4-DAGF can be the value board, certainly at this price, which packs quite an OC punch. DFI is coming after MSI here.
  • MSI K8T-Neo FIS2R Motherboard - The MSI K8T-FIS2R is a worthy contender for anyone who is looking to build a system on a strict budget, and for the approximate price of $60.00, this is definitely the board to get over its FSR equivalent.
  • Sapphire Radeon X850 XT PCIe - Overall, the Sapphire Radeon X850 XT is a mixed bag. The performance is great, but the level of value is low, which happens to be the case with all high-end cards regardless of brand or VPU/GPU. If you are willing to do a little overclocking to PE speed, have a $500 budget and want the best ATI performance available, then this is a no-brainer Another review can be found on ViperLair.
  • HIS X850XT and X800XL Graphics Cards ­ iTURBO is back again - The X850XT and X800XL PCI Express graphics cards from HIS both offer very good performance at 1024 x 768 and with standard image quality. It is only when we increase the resolution and add on AA and AF that the X800XL begins to struggle a little and the X850XT just laughs back at the system and asks for more as it dishes out brilliant gaming performance in the latest games. The X800XL from HIS is going to be a very good choice for gamers who want to play games around the 800 x 600 – 1280 x 1024 level without AA and AF turned on or if they do, only a mild level turned on.
  • Gigabyte GV-RX80256D X800 Turbo Silent Pipe - If you are in the market for a high-performing, silent video card, you may want to check out the Gigabyte GV-RX80256D X800 Turbo Silent Pipe video card. This card sports a completely silent, custom heat-pipe cooling apparatus, it overclocked well, it performed well, and it won't break the bank.
  • Asus Extreme N6600TOP/TD/128M/A - The Asus Extreme N6600TOP/TD/128M/A PCI Express x16 videocard uses a vanilla GeForce 6600 GPU, but backs it up with Samsung GDDR3 memory (128MB, 2.0ns DRAM). ASUS has also set the GPU and memory clock speeds of this card considerably higher than that of a stock GeForce 6600, accordingly the speeds are 400Mhz core and 900MHz memory. The Asus Extreme N6600Top videocard natively supports TV-Output as well as dual analog monitors (care of the included DVI-analog converter). The N6600TOP installs into a PCI Express x16 slot, and is SLI compatible too.
  • eVGA 6800 Ultra - PCI-E Video Card - eVGA ships this card at its stock speeds of 400MHz (GPU Core) and 550MHz (Memory clock). For those looking to squeeze more performance out of things, you can use NVIDIA coolbits or a utility like Powerstrip to raise the speeds to slightly faster levels – we nailed 435MHz on the core and 675MHz for memory which yielded an overall performance increase of 10-12percent depending on the application. Your results may differ depending on a number of variables such as Power, cooling and RAM.
  • Gigabyte GeForce 6600GT PCI-E - The GV-NX66T128D also has a lot of nice features and bundles such as temperature monitoring, V Turner II, games CD, SLi bridge and etc. With the fair price tag on the GV-NX66T128D, it is a good card to buy no matter if you plan to run single setup or SLi setup.
  • eVGA 6800U SLI - Gamer's depot does the funky SLI with two eVGA GeForce 6800 Ultras and a DFI SLI motherboard. Benchmarks with a few games in SLI mode and single mode is compared to a ATi 850 XT.
  • ATI All-In-Wonder X800 XT - Beyond3D has posted a review of ATI All-In-Wonder X800 XT.
  • MCE TV Tuner Roundup Featuring ATI's Theater 550 & NVIDIA's NVTV - For this article, Anandtech took 6 of the most popular MCE compliant TV tuners and pitted them against one another, trying to figure out if there's any difference between them all, and if there's one clear winner. The cards included in this roundup are: ATI's eHome Wonder, ATI's TV Wonder Elite, AverMedia M150, eMuzed Maui-II PCI PVR, Hauppauge WinTV PVR-250,NVIDIA's dual tuner NVTV.
  • Hardware MPEG2 TV Tuner Comparison - Since MPEG2 encoders can't decode cable signals on their own, TV tuner cards also need a decoder. ATI's Theater 550 Pro integrates the MPEG2 encoder and TV decoder into a single chip design, while the NVTV and PVR-150MCE-l.p. use Philips and Conexant decoders, respectively. A single-chip design can reduce board complexity, but shouldn't offer any tangible benefits to end users over two-chip designs.
  • PowerColor Theater 550 Pro Capture Card (ATI Reference) vs Hauppauge PVR150 - ATI made a decent chip for PVR enthusiasts. The chip has had a rough start with early drivers not exploiting all the features. Even today there are a few outstanding issues for me, the lack of a sharpness control being one of biggest. Microsoft's specifications for MCE logo certification of capture devices requires that the sharpness control be exposed, so hopefully ATI will add this soon.
  • Samsung DVD-R/RW–TS-H552B review - ipKonfig.com takes a look at the Samsung DVD-R/RW–TS-H552B burner.
  • Toshiba SDR-5372 DVD Writer - Looking at the specifications of the SDR-5372, shows a drive that's cutting edge in some areas, but a little behind the pack in others. DVD+/-R discs can be written at 16x, which is up there with the best, while the aforementioned 5x DVD+R DL performance is bettered only by the Asus DRW-1608P. But it's when we get to the re-writing speeds that this Toshiba looks a bit shaky, with only 4x performance for both DVD+RW and DVD-RW media. CD performance is respectable, with CD-R discs burned at 48x and CD-RW media written at 24x - again, up there with the best.
  • USB 2.0 Hi-speed Flash Drive Roundup - The "sweet spot" for price/size ratio seems to be around the 512MB mark. (Although 1GB is a bit pricier, it is still within the reach of many people as well...) Speeds have also doubled as well. The fastest drives in this round-up have a maximum read speed between 20 and 22MB/sec (in contrast to last year's winners which topped out at 10MB/sec...)
  • Sunbeamtech Silent Anodized LED Fans - As the manufacturer states on the packaging, the "silent" fans are pretty quiet. Although not perfectly silent, at 20db you should not expect to hear these fans over other system noises. With the low noise, comes a relatively low air flow, but for most users a few fans rated at 23CFM such as these, will cycle plenty of air through the computer case.
  • Cooler Master Aquagate Mini R120 - InsaneTek takes a look at the Cooler Master Aquagate Mini R120.
  • AquaBox Passive Watercooling - Initially I was a skeptical about the design concept as I worried how well a passively cooled system can cool down a modern CPU, in our case an Athlon 64 4000+, but what if I tell you that we never ever topped 35 Degrees C with this kit, in complete silence!?
  • Logitech MX-1000 Cordless Laser Mouse - Futurelooks posted a review of the Logitech MX-1000 Cordless Laser Mouse.
  • Logitech Ultra-X keyboard - The keyboard is unusual because, as the name implies, the Ultra-X is extremely flat and thin. It accomplishes this amazing flatness and thinness by using laptop computer style flat-cap keys, as opposed to traditional large cap keys. Therefore, this keyboard looks and feels very much like a laptop keyboard when in use, although unlike most laptops the keys are full-sized and spaced exactly like traditional desktop keyboards. If you don't like laptop keyboards at all, you probably won't like the Ultra X.
  • Gigabyte AirCruiser GN-BC01 802.11g Wireless Desktop Router - This device incorporates a fully wireless home router/Internet sharing device onto a PCI card which you install directly into your desktop PC. The internal form factor of the Wifi Router AirCruiser GN-BC01 is new to us though, so we're interested to see how it performs and what kind of range it gets compared to conventional external wireless networking routers.
  • Samsung SyncMaster 193P LCD - The 20ms response time makes this monitor not a viable option for hardcore gamers. While games are playable on the 193P most gamers would opt for a CRT instead. It does however work well in slower paced games like EQ 2 and WoW. Samsung did a nice job of covering up the response time handicap.
  • ColorVision SpectroPRO2 Monitor & Printer Calibration Suite - hardCOREware has published a ColorVision SpectroPRO2 Monitor & Printer Calibration Suite review.
  • SavRow Katana 3D-9 Portable Workstation - In terms of performance, the Katana clearly is comparable to a desktop PC. You sacrifice some speed but for DCC this is probably the fastest portable money can buy right now, largely in part because of its high-spec NVIDIA Quadro FX Go1400 graphics accelerator. Other firms will be close behind, and using the same chassis, too, since it's one of the few available that can take two hard disk drives and two optical drives. But simply put, SavRow got there first.
  • Oakley THUMP 256MB MP3 Player Sunglasses - The Oakley THUMP sunglasses are one hot item. The MP3 player functionality built into sporty sexy Oakley sunglasses really makes for a great experience. The glasses are comfortable, the ear buds sound great, and the player is generally extremely simple to use. For sports enthusiasts, tech gadget fanatics, or anyone looking to have the first of its kind electronic device the THUMP is definitely the way to go.
  • Fossil Wrist PDA FX2008 - The Fossil Wrist PDA FX200 features not only a digital chronograph but a micro-sized Palm OS PDA all wrapped up in a stylish polished steel exterior. But will this marriage of timepiece and tech hardware appeal to the gadget-hungry masses?
  • Nikon Coolpix 7900 - It's not just the seven megapixel CCD that's making the pictures look this good. It's a combination of resolution, lens quality and one of the best processing engines around

GUIDES... 

  • Diagnose XP - A Windows XP Diagnostic Guide - Diagnosing System problems can be very complicated and time consuming. There are no simple solutions. Windows XP systems should never Lock-up (freeze), display Blue Screen Stop Errors or Randomly Reboot. These are all warning signs something is wrong or misconfigured with your system. The following guide will help you troubleshoot the most common causes of system problems. Unless you are a highly trained, experienced PC Technician do not skip any of the following steps.

SOFTWARE...

  • Turbolinux 10 for AMD64, Intel EM64T is a free download  - This promotion implements the first phase of Tubolinux's strategy to expand the use of Turbolinux 10 for AMD64/EM64T into the global marketplace". The company also claims that "kernel and various applications have been optimized for 64-bit CPU. Moreover, newly built applications will be free from 32-bit memory and I/O limitations. Turbolinux 10 can be downloaded from here (free reg.required)
  • Microsoft System Center Data Protection Manager public beta - Simplify and strengthen your backup strategy with Data Protection Manager (DPM) (download 668MB), the new Microsoft server software solution for rapid and reliable data recovery. Lower your total cost of ownership with efficient and near-continuous data protection.
  • Adobe Reader 7.0 for Linux -The full Adobe Reader 7.0 version is the first upgrade Adobe Systems, Inc. has produced for Linux users since Adobe Reader 5.0.9 for Linux in 2002. Linspire users can immediately install Reader 7.0 for Linux free with one click at this link.
  • The GIMP 2.2.6 - The GIMP (GNU/Image Manipulation Program) is a very nice graphics manipulation application that works on many operating systems, in many languages, on many file formats and is used for a variety of computer imagery purposes.
  • Malicious Software Removal Tool 1.3 - The Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool checks Windows XP, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003 computers for and helps remove infections by specific, prevalent malicious software - including Blaster, Sasser, and Mydoom.
  • WinPatrol 9.1.0.0 - Scotty the Windows Watch Dog sniffs out malicious "mysteryware" and parasites that may assault your computer. WinPatrol puts you back in control of your computer so you'll know what programs are and should be running at all times.
  • PeerGuardian 2 Beta 5 - PeerGuardian 2 is Methlabs' premier IP blocker for Windows. With features like support for multiple lists, a list editor, automatic updates, and blocking all of IPv4 (TCP, UDP, ICMP, etc), PeerGuardian 2 is the safest and easiest way to protect your privacy on P2P. (thanks NeoNSX)
  • Outpost Firewall PRO 2.6 (451/402) - The new version provides an alternative method for controlling the content of web pages directly from the browser, thanks to a new browser adjustment plug-in. This plug-in allows users to manage the settings for ads and active content plug-ins from a special panel in Internet Explorer. The panel contains options with the settings for ads and active content plug-ins that are similar to those displayed in the Outpost Firewall interface. These options allow users of Internet Explorer to apply their security settings "on the fly," directly from the browser window.
  • DC++ 0.674  - DC++ (download) is an open source C++ client for the Direct Connect protocol. Direct Connect allows you to share files over the Internet without restrictions or limits.
  • PSPad 4.3.3 Beta Build 2065 - PSPad editor is freeware programmer editor.
  • Uxtheme Multi-patcher 4.0 - This program will patch your uxtheme.dll file so you can use any 3rd party visual style on Windows XP/SP1/SP2 and Windows Server 2003/SP1. File protection dialogs should be cancelled and a reboot is required after using this patch.
  • ICQ 5 5.04 Build 2321 - With ICQ Instant Messenger (download) you can video/audio chat, send email, SMS and wireless-pager messages, as well as transfer files and URLs. If you're away from your personal computer you can still chat with friends and contacts, even where the ICQ client is not installed, by using the web-based ICQ2Go that works from any computer.
  • CloneCD 5.2 Final - CloneCD is the ideal tool to make backup copies of your music- or data CDs, regardless if they are copy protected or not.
  • AnyDVD 5.0 Final - 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.
  • DVDFab Platinum 2.83 - DVDFab Platinum is all you need to backup your DVDs. This powerful product includes all the functions of our products: DVDFab Express and DVDFab Gold.
  • CloneDVD2 v2.8.0.0 - CloneDVD 2 (download) copies movies in unparalleled picture quality. If it's only the main movie or a complete DVD - CloneDVD compresses even long footage in brilliant quality and at high speed: A special transcoding technology compresses your choice of DVD titles according to your audio and language selection automatically to a freely adjustable target size.
  • Sateira CD&DVD Burner v2.13 - Sateira has updated its CD/DVD burning solution, the Sateira CD&DVD Burner, to version 2.13. This new version has an updated burning engine.
  • SpeedFan 4.23 - SpeedFan is a freeware program that monitors fan speeds, temperatures and voltages in computers with hardware monitoring chips.
  • [!] Hyperion 4in1 drivers v4.56v - The new version 4.56v (thanks BetasIntercom.net) updates the AGP driver to version 4.43f. The new AGP driver simply includes new IDs for new VIA host bridges. So this driver update is not really very exciting to be honest. In fact there isn't really any reason why you would need to update your system with them. If it ain't broke don't fix it. But if you are building a PC or you haven't updated in a while then these latest ones are the ones you should use.
  • VIA - WinXP Serial ATA RAID Controller Drivers - VIA has released a new SATA RAID controller drivers - VT6410 IDE RAID controller ( VT6410 )
    Discrete Serial ATA RAID controllers VT6420/1 ( VT6420 VT6421 ), VT8237 Integrated Serial ATA RAID controller ( VT8237 VT8237.
  • Realtek Audio Driver v3.71 - Here's a new Realtek Audio Driver v3.71 (mirror) for ALC65x and other AC97 Codecs.
  • NGO NVIDIA Optimized Driver v1.7650 - These drivers are modified Forceware drivers, meaning they are NOT supported or endorsed by nVidia, or any 3rd party OEM manufacturers. They are not covered by any warranty or guarantee, and you install them at your own risk. Currently these drivers are for all GeForce based desktop cards.
  • NVIDIA nForce 6.53 (Remix) - This is a 3rd party remix (user compilation of several driver sets) package of the NVIDIA nForce drivers based on the build number 6.53 Nvidia Unified Drivers build.
  • Forceware 71.91 - Forceware 71.91, leaked from Alienware, is available for download.
Microsoft's April 2005 Security Updates - tech
(hx) 05:17 AM EDT - Apr,13 2005 - Post a comment
Microsoft on Tuesday released a slew of security patches, five of them critical, as part of its monthly update. The updates include "critical" fixes to Windows' TCP/IP networking, Internet Explorer, MSN Messenger, Office and Exchange Server. "Critical" is the company's highest severity rating. Three other Windows security holes are rated as "important," the next highest rating.
Critical Bulletins:
- Vulnerabilities in TCP/IP Could Allow Remote Code Execution and Denial of Service (893066)
- Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (890923) 
- Vulnerability in Exchange Server Could Allow Remote Code Execution(894549)
- Vulnerability in MSN Messenger Could Lead to Remote Code Execution (896597)
- Vulnerabilities in Microsoft Word May Lead to Remote Code Execution (890169)
 
Important Bulletins:
- Vulnerability in Windows Shell that Could Allow Remote Code Execution (893086)
- Vulnerability in Message Queuing Could Allow Code Execution (892944) 
- Vulnerabilities in Windows Kernel Could Allow Elevation of Privilege and Denial of Service (890859)
 Gameguru Mania News - Apr,11 2005 - tech
Nightly Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 09:11 PM EDT - Apr,11 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Fake Microsoft update site traced to Australia - A mass email being circulated by hackers purporting to be a Microsoft Windows update alert directs computer users to a fake website where a Trojan virus is installed, security experts have said.  "This email spoofs users into thinking that they must update their Windows software," Websense said. "Upon clicking on the link, users are forwarded to a fraudulent website. This website is hosted in Australia, and was up at the time of this alert. The website appears very similar to the real Windows Update site." When a user attempts to perform the update, a Trojan horse virus is installed that allows hackers access to the infected computers, the company said. Another article called "Hackers Exploit Windows Update Publicity" can be found here.
  • Cisco Patches IOS Security Flaws - Routing and switching giant Cisco Systems has released patches for a pair of denial-of-service and system-access flaws affecting a range of IOS-based devices. The most serious of the two flaws was discovered in the way the Cisco IOS (Internetwork Operating System) processes certain IKE (Internet Key Exchange) Xauth messages when configured to be an Easy VPN Server.
  • OpenOffice DOC document Heap Overflow - There is a vulnerability in StgCompObjStream::Load() function, When reading DOC document information of format,memory is allocated by DOC provide length.  DOC provided a 32 bits integer,and will use the low 16 bits of this number to allocate memory,
    but when reading doc information,still use the 32 bits number as length,this maybe cause heap overflow, and when free happened ,will cause write pointer,maybe cause arbitrary code excute.
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy Buffer Overflow - The game is affected by a buffer-overflow in the visualization function
    called G_Printf().
  • PopUp Plus Plugin for Miranda Instant Messenger Buffer Overflow - One of Mirandas' widely used plugins (PopUp Plus), is vulnerable to a buffer overflow condition. While the option "Use SmileyAdd Setting" is enabled on the application menu (Popups > Plus), a remote attacker could trigger the buffer overflow by sending roughly 530 characters as an instant message. EIP gets overwritten at 523 chars exactly.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Movie trailers @ ComingSoon - War of the Worlds (new TV spot for the anticipated movie), The Amityville Horror (second TV spot), BloodRayne (TV spot for the game adaptation), Madison (three clips from the Jim Caviezel drama), Day Watch (Nochnoy Dozor 2), The Hithchiker's Guide to the Galaxy (new behind the scenes featurette), A Wake in Providence (indie romantic comedy), Kingdom of Heaven (new TV spot, featurette and three clips), Ladies in Lavender (new trailer for the drama), Night of Henna (independent drama).
  • Intel offers $10,000 for Moore's Law magazine - The Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip giant has posted a $10,000 bounty on eBay for someone who can provide it a pristine April 19, 1965, copy of Electronics Magazine. That issue of the magazine contained an article by Intel co-founder Moore that described how the number of components on integrated circuits was doubling every year.
  • Computer keyboards havens for superbugs - Computer keyboards are havens for some nasty superbugs that can live nestled in among the keys for at least 24 hours, a new study finds. And that's especially bad news for hospitals. There, these germs can take the form of antibiotic-resistant germs that can contaminate the hands of nurses or doctors and then are passed on to patients.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • [!] Microsoft And MTV To Provide Exclusive Peep At Xbox 2 - MTV and Microsoft today announced a global marketing alliance to unveil the next-generation Xbox video game system on MTV channels in the United States, Asia Pacific and Europe, all within a 24-hour window -- a first for the video game industry. The global broadcast will premiere Thursday, May 12, at 9:30 p.m. EDT in North America and on Friday, May 13 in other regions around the globe (local air times below). Certainly, Sony has scheduled a press event at its Culver City, Los Angeles Sony Pictures facility on that date and time.
  • Intel to put ads inside video games - The New York Times reports that chip giant Intel has struck a deal with an ad agency to put advertising inside video games. But it's not just Intel that's hoping to ride this not entirely new idea. According to the report, Coca Cola, Dunkin' Donuts and other chains will do the same.
  • Microsoft Files 8 Counterfeit Lawsuits - Microsoft on Monday said it was filing lawsuits against eight computer system builders and resellers in seven U.S. states, accusing them of distributing counterfeit and unlicensed software and software components.
  • Sanyo, IBM Develop Fuel-Cell System for ThinkPads - IBM and Japan's Sanyo Electric said Monday they would jointly develop a methanol fuel-cell system for the U.S. technology giant's ThinkPad notebook personal computers. The two companies said in a statement they would develop a micro direct methanol fuel cell system that could supply up to eight hours of power per cartridge for current and future ThinkPad models.
  • Experimental Transistor Breaks 600 Gigahertz -  A new type of transistor structure, invented by scientists at the University of Illinois, has broken the 600 gigahertz speed barrier. A new type of transistor - built from indium phosphide and indium gallium arsenide - is designed with a compositionally graded collector, base and emitter to reduce transit time and improve current density.
  • Wireless USB 1.0 spec to be finalized next month - Version 1.0 of the Wireless USB (Universal Serial Bus) specification, which is being promoted as the successor to the USB data transfer method between electronics devices, should be approved by mid-May, Intel (Profile, Products, Articles) said last week. The Wireless USB specification is for 480Mbps transfer speed over distances of about three meters and it will work at lower speeds up to a distance of about 10 meters.
  • Ipod Overrated? - For a tech toy praised up and down as being the "best" MP3 player, how has everyone managed to miss its shortcomings?

HARDWARE... 

  • Intel dual-core 840 CPU and 955X chipset due this month - Intel will move up the launch date of its dual-core series Pentium Extreme Edition 840 CPU and 955X chipset to the middle of this month, according to Taiwan motherboard makers. The dual-core products, which are aimed at the high-end segment, were previously set to arrive by the end of next month, said the makers. Intel's 955X chipset is expected to hit the Japan market next week at the earliest, the makers noted. The dual-core 840 CPU that supports Hyper-Threading will be priced at US$999, said the makers, adding that quotes for the 955X chipset should be US$50.
  • AMD Athlon64 3200+ Winchester Processor - XYZ Computing has posted a new article on the AMD Athlon64 3200+ Winchester Processor
  • Corsair XMS Xpert 1GB PC3200 (TWINXP1024-3200XL) - Bjord3D takes a look at the TWINXP1024-3200XL, which consists of a pair of 512 MB PC3200 memory modules capable of latency settings of 2-2-2-5 and their detachable programmable displays.
  • Corsair PC2-4300 CL3 Pro Series Memory - Although there is power and even greater potential in this memory, it doesn't come cheap. The 1GB dual channel kit goes for about $370 USD.
  • Asus K8V-SE Deluxe Motherboard - The K8V-SE Deluxe is a fairly satisfying board when you look at it from features perspective. It has pretty much all the features onboard that you can imagine and expect to have on a high-end board. The BIOS is also feature-rich and should satisfy even the most extreme user.
  • EPoX EP-5LWA+ i925XE Mainboard - EPoX, with its EP-5LWA+ i925XE motherboard, has done things a little differently that most other tier-1 manufacturers. Whereas they're happy to load on every conceivable feature known to man and bundle in everything but the kitchen sink, EPoX has been more conservative. The end result is a motherboard that's comparatively light on features, but, crucially, comes in at L30 or so cheaper than the competition. L120 or so buys you a capable Alderwood board that's laid out well, has decent overclocking options and utter stability.
  • Gigabyte GeForce 6600 GT SLI performance - In the end, the GeForce 6600 GT SLI proposition doesn't seem very convincing unless you are a serious workaholic who requires more than two monitors to multitask (with dual graphics cards, you can have up to four monitors in the Windows environment), as well the need for gaming power somewhat equivalent of a GeForce 6800 GT to reward yourself after a hard day's work. In this case, the GeForce 6600 GT SLI combo gives you the best of both worlds as an affordable quad-monitor setup (minus the displays themselves) and packs a fair bit of firepower too.
  • ABIT RX700 PRO-256PCIE Radeon X700 PRO Video Card - The RX700 series from Abit forms part of their mainstream graphics card line and probably represents what they would consider to be the upper level of that range. As part of this review, we shall compare the RX700 Pro-256PCIE to ATI's reference designs for the X700 Pro and XT boards.
  • HIS Excalibur X850 XT PE IceQ II 256MB - OcPrices have just finished looking at the fastest ATi graphics card currently available - the X850 XT platinum
  • NU HDW-164 external DVD-writer -  The drive can also burn DVD±R/+R9 DL media at higher speed than certified. Next point – the writing quality on CD-R's are excellent. The media support and compatibility on DVD±R is very good, but there is some room for improvement on the quality. DVD+R/R9 DL/RW media will be burned with the booktype DVD-ROM, which is an advantage concerning compatibility on i.e., DVD Standalone devices.
  • Crucial Gizmo! Hi-Speed 512mb USB Flash Drive - XtremeResources have just published a review of Crucial's Gizmo! Hi-Speed 512MB USB Flash Drive.
  • ZyXEL Prestige 2602HW ADSL VoIP Router - ZyXEL has always ensured that its range of Prestige ADSL routers has more features than you can shake a stick at and its latest model, the 2602HW, keeps this tradition going admirably. Along with a full range of security features and 802.11b/g wireless access point capabilities it also provides support for VoIP enabling you to make and receive calls over the Internet for a fraction the cost of standard PSTN calls.
  • Actiontec 54 Mbps Wireless Network Camera - The design is similar to a regular security camera except that it has an antenna that is used for wireless connectivity. The forward portion of the camera can be rotated to adjust focus. This portion is called the Focus Ring, as the focus ring is rotated the lens produces either a blurrier or sharper image. On the right of the lens, there are four LEDs that display status of the camera
  • iPod mini - 2nd Gen 6GB - The original mini saw introduced the click wheel which integrated the four navigation buttons, later adopted by the 4th-gen iPod and the iPod photo. While the original sported a 4Gb hard disk, the mini's competitors such as Creative's Zen Micro and the iRiver H10 responded by putting 5GB hard disks. Now Apple has hit back by leapfrogging them with a 6GB drive, only for Creative to respond again with 6GB Zen Micro.

GUIDES... 

  • ATI Radeon To ATI FireGL Mod Guide Rev. 4.3 - Adrian's Rojak Pot has posted rev. 4.3 of their ATI Radeon To ATI FireGL Mod Guide.
  • Graphic Cards 101 - A beginner's quickguide - Deciding on what kind of graphics card to purchase or upgrade to can be quite confusing, for those who aren't too familiar with the technical aspect of computer hardware. There are some aspects to think about and research before purchasing. First thing is to determine the video card usage. Computer usage and video card needs can be placed in four categories; Standard computing, multimedia and graphic design, light gaming and hardcore gaming.
  • Understanding Your Computer - This is the first article in the Understanding Your Computer series from aworldofhelp.com.
  • Forceware driver comparison 2005  - check it out!
  • Optimize XP - A Windows XP Optimization Guide v1.9.1 - Clean Spyware and Viruses + Optimize Windows XP to improve home, work and gaming performance safely. Windows XP's default configuration is far from optimized. This guide will help you improve your overall system performance.
  • Windows XP Tweaking Companion Version 1.05 - TweakGuide has posted version 1.05 of their Windows XP Tweaking Companion. The changes include a new chapter on CCleaner, correction of some dead links, and refinement of various advice in the guide. I strongly recommend all XPTC users update to this version of the guide, and if you haven't yet downloaded this free 170-page PDF guide now's a great time to grab a copy.

SOFTWARE...

  • K-Lite Mega Codec Pack 1.28 - K-Lite Mega Codec Pack combines the contents of three codec packs: K-Lite Codec Pack Full, QuickTime Alternative, and Real Alternative. It also includes some extra features: BSplayer.
  • XPize uAE 1.0 - XPize is a resources transformation pack for Windows. It replaces most of the non-XP icons, avis and bmps that Microsoft has always overlooked. The installer simply automates the process of replacing resources in critical system files, making your XP's look better. XPize is compatible with Windows XP, 2003 and MCE Editions. The installer also comes with an Updater, which you can use after visiting Windows Update. XPize uAE 1.0 has been optimized for unattended installations.
  • LinkSync (Formerly F2e-Sync) 1.0 - LinkSync is a major re-write of F2e-Sync. It now support multi syncing from one to many browsers on the fly. Supported browsers are as follows: IE /maxthon detection, Firefox, Mozilla, Netscape 8, K-Meleon, Opera 8.
  • xplorer2 Lite 1.2.0.1 -  It is a complete little file manager, albeit lacking a bit in bells and whistles.
  • ICQ Lite 5.04 build #2321 - Release notes / download.
  • WinRAR 3.50 beta 2 - A new beta version of WinRAR is available for download.
  • DVD Identifier v3.6.3 - DVD identifier (download) offers a reliable method of accurately identifying the disc's REAL manufacturer. This information will also help you in determining which discs are most suitable for your dvd recorder.
  • Central Brain Identifier 7.5.0.0 Build 0409 R1 - Central Brain Identifier 7.5.0.0 Build 0409 R1 is available for download. New features include: identification of six more models of AMD Athlon 64 processors based on the Venice core, bugfixes.
 Gameguru Mania News - Apr,08 2005 - tech
Nightly Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 09:06 PM EDT - Apr,08 2005 - Post a comment / read (1)

SECURITY...

  • Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification - On April 12, 2005, the Microsoft Security Response Center is planning to release: 5 Microsoft Security Bulletins affecting Microsoft Windows, 1 Microsoft Security Bulletin affecting Microsoft Office, 1 Microsoft Security Bulletin affecting MSN Messenger and 1 Microsoft Security Bulletin affecting Microsoft Exchange.
  • Warning over fake Windows update - Users are being warned to watch out for a fake Microsoft security update. Circulating as an e-mail the fake message points people at a bogus website that claims to host critical security updates. But anyone downloading from the site will get a virus installed that opens a backdoor into their computer the program's creators can exploit. Security firms and Microsoft urged users to ensure they visit legitimate sites when downloading updates.
  • Macromedia Issues Workaround for ColdFusion MX Flaw - Software developer Macromedia late Thursday released a temporary workaround to fix a critical security vulnerability in its flagship ColdFusion MX product. San Francisco-based Macromedia Inc. said the patch affects users of ColdFusion MX 6.1 for JRun4 (Updater 1). ColdFusion 7.0 is not affected. The flaw, which was discovered and reported by the ESP Group LLC, can be exploited by malicious people to disclose some potentially sensitive information, Macromedia said in an online advisory.
  • Firefox Patch on the Way for JavaScript Engine Flaw - The Mozilla Foundation plans to release a new version of its flagship Firefox browser as early as this weekend to patch a known JavaScript Engine flaw. The flaw, which puts users at risk of information disclosure attacks, already has been fixed in nightly builds, and volunteers at the foundation said a final release on Firefox 1.0.3 could come as early as Friday evening or a bit later.
  • Microsoft hands out antidote to poisoned URLs - In response to a heightened security alert, Microsoft has updated its customer advisories for protecting its server software against DNS cache poisoning attacks. The software giant revised its recommended settings for some Windows Server products late Wednesday, clarifying which default configurations could leave computers open to the DNS poisoning threat.
  • Fewer Permissions Are Key to Longhorn Security - Microsoft claims that LUA (Least-Privilege User Account) will make life tougher for hackers and virus writers by limiting access to administrator permissions on Windows systems. But the company has been mum in recent months about its plans for implementing LUA in Longhorn, and it is considering incentives to encourage adoption of LUA (pronounced "loo-ah") by skeptical independent software vendors, including a new logo program for LUA compliance, according to interviews with independent software vendors and industry experts.
  • Vulnerability in WINS Allow Remote Code Execution - This exploit can be used to trigger the vulnerability and thus to confirm whether you are vulnerable or not.
  • BPO staffers hack bank A/Cs, steal Rs 1.5 cr - Cyber crime has moved to the next level in Pune. Close on the heels of the Webcam Kulkarni scandal, in which a tenant secretly filmed girl students staying in his hostel using hidden cameras, the Pune police have unearthed a major siphoning racket involving former and serving callcentre employees. They allegedly transferred a total of Rs 1.5 crore (US $3.5 lakh) from a multinational bank into their own accounts, opened under fictitious names. The money was used to splurge on luxuries like cars and mobile phones.
  • Medical group: Data on 185,000 people was stolen - A California medical group is telling nearly 185,000 current and former patients that their financial and medical records may have been exposed following the theft of computers containing personal data. Given the number of people affected, the theft from the San Jose Medical Group ranks among the largest in the nation. It follows a rash of other breaches that.
  • Top twelve spammers revealed - The United States is still the world's largest spam generator, but other countries are catching up fast. Since the start of the year over 35 per cent of the world's spam has come from computers inside the US, according to figures from security specialists Sophos. South Korea is in second place with nearly 25 per cent and the UK is ranked ninth at 1.6 per cent.
  • Nine years in slammer for US spammer - A Virginia circuit judge has sentenced a convicted spammer to nine years in jail, the first custodial sentence to be issued to a bulk emailer in the United States. Jaynes was sending out at least 10 million emails a day using 16 broadband lines, grossing between $400,000 and $700,000 a month on expenses of around $50,000 - a handsome profit. Jaynes snared one punter for around every 30,000 emails sent.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Life's top 10 greatest inventions - The New Scientist has an interesting article up listing the Top 10 most amazing things to have evolved.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • PSP Sees Explosive Sales, 1/2 Million Units - Sony has announced that in the first two days of sales, 500,000 PSPs were sold in America. The PSP, which sells for $249, generated $150m for retailers in the first week.
  • AMD's dual-core Opteron due this month - AMD will announce at an event on April 21 in New York that the first dual-core Opteron processors are available, months ahead of schedule, sources familiar with the situation said. The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based chipmaker also is expected to announce its dual-core chips for personal computers will go on sale in June.
  • Patent litigants target DVRs - Forgent Networks, which has so far garnered more than $100 million dollars in fees on its so-called JPEG patent, is going after the digital video recorder industry. The Austin, Texas-based maker of licensing and scheduling software owns four patents it claims give it the right to collect royalties on computers or similar devices, such as those made by market leader TiVo, that record, store and play back video- and audio-transmitted signals.
  • CherryOS Opens Up Code to Doubters - CherryOS, the Mac emulator for Windows that has been dogged by controversy, is to be released as an open-source project on May 1, according to its creator.
  • Nero integrates Dolby Digital 5.1 sound into NeroVision Express 3 -  Nero announced today that Dolby Digital 5.1 sound creation has been integrated into NeroVision Express 3, an application of the award-winning Nero 6 software.
  • Google Intros Q&A Service - Google today began delivering factual answers for some queries at the top of its results page to save users from having to navigate over to other sites and look for the information.

HARDWARE... 

  • Alienware Area-51m 7700 notebook - So, the Area-51m 7700 doesn't represent the freshest design in notebook technology, but sometimes beauty can be more than skin deep. Peeling back the epidermis of the 7700, you'll find the kind of spec that a modern desktop gaming PC wouldn't be ashamed of. Central processing duties are handled by a 3.6GHz Intel Pentium 4, while 1GB of 533MHz DDRII memory is also thrown in for good measure - so far pretty much the same spec as the Rock Xtreme Ti. There's also a pair of matched 60GB 7,200rpm hard disks striped in a RAID 0 array for maximum performance.
  • Corsair XPERT TWINXP1024-3200X - For those with windowed cases, wanting high-speed, low-latency memory, regardless of overclocking experience, this is a product for you.
  • MSI NX6800GT-T2D256E Geforce 6800GT -  Stats has posted a review of MSI NX6800GT-T2D256E Geforce 6800GT videocard.
  • HIS X850 XT IceQ II Dual DVI VIVO 256MB PCIe - The HIS X850 XT IceQ II Dual DVI VIVO 256MB PCIe is yet another high-end ATI-powered card from HIS that costs a premium but delivers a lot of horsepower to your computer.
  • Thermaltake Shark Aluminum Gaming Case - Well, there you have it. The negative points are very minor and not worth repeating! The Shark kept our system cool, motherboard temperatures were never more than a couple of degrees above ambient room temperature. The Athlon 64 3500+ in this test system reached a maximum temperature of 35C and the Raided Raptors kept themselves cool in the mid 40's. My SLI'd 6600GT's were also at a record low of 42C.
  • Zalman CNPS7700-Cu CPU Cooler - The CNPS7700-Cu is exceptionally well built (the near perfect machined lapped base of the heatsink is proof enough) and installation for the various sockets is a breeze. Performance is impressive for this near passive solution and because of the heatsink's extreme flexibility for all users (Sorry Socket A users!).
  • HP Laserjet 4350n Network Laser Printer - In its basic form with or without a network server - the 'n' version reviewed here includes an internal JetDirect card - the printer is a substantial machine following conventional lines. A paper feed tray pulls out from the bottom and takes a full 500-sheet ream. The paper then follows an 'S' print path, to exit onto the machine's top surface.
  • Acer AT3201W 32in Widescreen display/TV - Featuring a 16:9 aspect ratio and a High Definition TV (HDTV) ready native resolution of 1,366 x 768, as well as a wealth of connectivity options, the specs on the AT3201W seemed impressive, especially considering the L999 including VAT asking price.

GUIDES... 

  • Mikhailtech Basic System Buyer's Guide - April 2005 - Thanks to dropping prices, this month we were able to give our video card a slight boost. We're still recommending a Sapphire Radeon 9600 PRO, however this time around we were able to get the 256MB (vs. 128MB) version. The extra memory helps in certain cache-intensive, high content games (such as World of Warcraft). Having full DX9 and OpenGL 1.5 support as well as 400MHz core and 446MHz memory clocks allows this card to play all the latest titles at least on medium settings. We're only a few dollars shy of a 9800SE (though it's a toss up between getting the 128-bit or 256-bit version) or a vanilla GeForce 6600 (non-GT). Hopefully next month we'll be able to make the switch.
  • PCI Express 101 - Viperlair look at PCI express and tell you the advantages and disadvantages over AGP.
  • ATI Catalyst 5.3 and 5.4 Performance Analysis - If you find that your favorite game has been added to the Resolved Issues list, you will find yourself updating though unless you upgrade every month for the sake of it, a lot of people will find themselves still sitting comfortable on the 5.2 release in February.
  • NGO Comparison: ATI Catalyst 5.2, 5.3, 5.4 - NGO ran each test three times to verify results. And they installed the latest patch for every game and application.
  • ATI Catalyst Tweak Guide (updated) - The changes are not major and primarily relate to fixes for several games including KOTOR 2, Splinter Cell:CT, enhanced HDTV support and some minor changes to the ATI Control Center.

SOFTWARE...

  • Windows XP Professional x64 Edition RTM: First Impressions - Installing XP Professional x64 Edition went very smoothly, and is exactly how you would install 32-bit Windows XP when booting off the CD. Note, you can't install any Windows x64 operating system from within 32-bit Windows (although it will run through 64-bit Windows).
  • Skinning Windows x64: WindowBlinds 4.51 Review - Stardock's WindowBlinds is an alternative approach to skinning Windows. Instead of using the Windows XP Visual Style engine, they use their own. The immediate advantage of this is updating Windows won't get rid of your skins. The WindowBlinds skinning engine also turns out to use less resources then the built-in Windows XP one, and runs faster. Among the many changes in WindowBlinds 4.51, is full support for Windows x64.
  • Update for Windows Server 2003 (KB891793) - This update (download patch 32-bit / 64-bit) contains the latest Microsoft Storport storage driver. Microsoft recommends that customers use the latest version of the driver, as several Storport-related issues have been fixed since the release of Windows Server 2003
  • Microsoft Photo Story 3 for Windows XP - Free Download - download
  • Real Alternative 1.35 - Real Alternative will allow you to play RealMedia files without having to install the official RealPlayer.
  • Fraps 2.5.5 (shw) - 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.
  • SKYPE 1.2.0.41 - 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.
  • Miranda IM 0.4 - Miranda IM is a multi protocol instant messenger client for Windows. It is designed to be resource efficient and easy to use. It uses very little memory, requires no installation and can easily be carried around on a single floppy disc.
  • MSN Messenger 7.0 final - Get the final version now - download. With the release of version 7 comes new features such as animated Winks (derived from 3 Degrees, a Nudge feature to wake your contacts up and the ability to show your contacts what music you're currently playing.
  • Maxthon (MyIE2) v1.2.2 - Maxthon (MyIE2) (download combo / standard) is a powerful web browser with a highly customizable interface. It is based on the Internet Explorer engine (your most likely current web browser) which means that what works in IE, works the same in Maxthon but with many additional efficient features. This new version fixes a potential security flaw.
  • DVD-S550 to V.38 firmware - Yamaha has updated the firmware for their DVD-S550 standalone DVD and DivX player. The latest version is V.38 and fixes a bug in the OSB menu.
  • NGO ATI Optimized Driver v2.4 - 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. (even Mobility and FireGL cards)
  • DNA-ATI 3.8.5.3 (Catalyst 5.3) - These are modified/hacked ATI Catalyst drivers, use them at your own risk. The drivers have been optimized with two things in mind, better Image Quality and more/stable frames per second when compared to the Beta Catalyst drivers from ATI
  • DNA-Force 1.1.7590 (NVIDIA ForceWare) - These drivers are modified Forceware drivers, meaning they are NOT supported or endorsed by nVidia, or any 3rd party OEM manufacturers. They are not covered by any warranty or guarantee, and you install them at your own risk. Currently these drivers are for all GeForce based desktop cards.
  • ForceWare 76.44 WHQL - The good news is that it is a WHQL approved driver (Microsoft tested and verified & Dated 30th of March 2005). The bad news is that it's only for GeForce series 6. This driver has an included modified.inf file (courtesy of laptopvideo2go) for non-GeForce series 6 users. The driver can also be found on Station-Drivers and Tweakrus.com
  • Forceware 76.50 & 76.81 Win2000/XP - Another ForceWare driver set leaked, this time from the German site ComputerBase. Opposed to the yesterday released 77.44 ForceWare drivers these however are not WHQL certified. The .inf file obvisouly has been modified to give it support to the most GeForce graphics cards out there.  In related news, there's also Forceware 71.86 driver (found at the Dell site) and modded to be installable on most cards.
Budget LCD Roundup April 2005 - tech
(hx) 06:08 AM EDT - Apr,08 2005 - Post a comment
The chaps over at FiringSquad have compared 10 cheap LCD monitors from various manufacturers, ranging from $230 to $399 in street price:
We came to this article with a few hopes. One of these was that today's high-speed LCD panels would be sufficient for gaming, and we're glad to say that is true. While you'll still be able to find smearing when you look for it, today's higher-end panels are fast enough so that you can game at a very high skill level without encountering any problems. We had also come to this article expecting most monitors to be largely similar in performance, but our tests showed that it clearly wasn't the case. The quality of the associated circuitry and backlight all affect the final picture quality. All of these monitors had similar paper specifications, but in this round-up, there were only two 17" LCD monitors that we would actually buy with our hard-earned cash: the Dell 1703FP (now replaced by the 1704FPV) and the NEC LCD1770NX, and only one of those, the NEC LCD1770NX would we buy for gaming. We think everyone will agree that the importance of having monitor reviews at FiringSquad is paramount.

We still have unanswered questions. It was incredible that the Samsung 915N did as well as it did for both gaming and still images. Without DVI support it's impossible for FiringSquad to recommend the Samsung 915N, but Hyundai's ImageQuest L90D+ looks like a potential candidate. With a similar design to the Samsung with the addition of a DVI connector, it is possible that the $370 19" Hyundai may very well be a gaming monitor of choice. Clearly we'll need to bring more monitors into our labs.
 Gameguru Mania News - Apr,07 2005 - tech
ATI CATALYST Drivers v5.4 - tech
(hx) 05:19 PM EDT - Apr,07 2005 - Post a comment
ATI has released a new ATI Catalyst drivers (release notes / download ~ 24.6MB) bringing them up to version 5.4. The package contains: RADEON display driver 8.121, Multimedia Center 9.06.01, Catalyst Control Center 5.4 (requires .NET Version 1.1 Framework), HydraVision Basic Edition 3.25.9006, Remote Wonder 3.01, WDM version 5.01 (6300) and Southbridge/IXP Driver.
Issues Resolved in CATALYST Software Suite 5.4
  • 3DMark2001: A black screen is no longer displayed when launching 3DMark2001 after launching Aquamark3 when the CATALYST CONTROL CENTER is installed
  • Pacific Fighters: Playing the game after playing any track for a short period of time and having the landscape detail set to perfect no longer results in the clouds becoming blocking when flying
  • Sail Simulator 4: Attempting to play the game under Windows XP with an ATI RADEON 9800 XT installed no longer results in the operating system failing to respond and rebooting
  • SolidWorks 2004: Display corruption is no longer noticed when setting the AA to 6X and AF to 16X
  • Splinter Cell Chaos Theory: Depth buffer corruption noticed on the ATI RADEON X800 PRO is now resolved
  • Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic: Loading the Dantooine level of the game under Windows XP no longer results in slow game performance
  • Using the ATI Problem Report Wizard under Windows XP SP2 with an ATI RADEON X850 XT installed no longer results in an error message appearing when clicking the Finish button for the problem report
  • CATALYST CONTROL CENTER: An option to select Yes or No to changes made in SMARTGART is now displayed when clicking the Apply button in SMARTGART
  • CATALYST CONTROL CENTER: Playing a video clip in the background and entering the Overlay page found in the Video section no longer results in the default value for the Hue not being reapplied unless the CATALYST CONTROL CENTER is closed and re-launched
  • CATALYST CONTROL CENTER: Selecting Germany as the language no longer results in some of the text overlapping each other on the Unlock button
  • CATALYST CONTROL CENTER: Selecting Netherlands (Dutch) as the language no longer results in some of the text in the Hotkey manager being cut off
  • CATALYST CONTROL CENTER: The Bus setting information is now displayed in the Graphic Hardware section of the Information Center found
  • CATALYST CONTROL CENTER: The Display Manager Wizard no longer contains a Component Video single display setting message, when multi-display desktop mode is selected
  • CATALYST CONTROL CENTER: Custom modes can only be applied if the display device can support the mode selected
  • Attempting to apply a higher refresh rate to a non-DDC monitor no longer results in the refresh rate reverting to 60hz.
  • SXGA+ LCD panel flicker is no longer noticed when the frame buffer (UMA size) is set to 32MB or 64MB
 Gameguru Mania News - Apr,06 2005 - tech
Wednesday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 04:58 PM EDT - Apr,06 2005 - Post a comment / read (4)

SECURITY...

  • Service Pack 2 Downloads on April 12 - Starting next Tuesday, April 12, computers running Microsoft Windows XP without Service Pack 2 installed will not be able to block the upgrade. Word is: "“Because of these significant improvements, Microsoft views Windows XP SP2 as an essential security update and is therefore distributing it as a "critical update" via Windows Update (WU) and the Automatic Updates (AU) delivery mechanism in Windows. Microsoft strongly urges customers with Windows XP and Windows XP Service Pack 1-based systems to update to Windows XP SP2 as soon as possible."
  • Firefox Javascript Flaw Documented - There is a security alert over at Secunia regarding a bug in Firefox's JavaScript engine The vulnerability is caused due to an error in the JavaScript engine, as a "lambda" replace exposes arbitrary amounts of heap memory after the end of a JavaScript string. Successful exploitation may disclose sensitive information in memory.
  • CA security system vulnerable to DoS attacks - A flaw has been discovered in Computer Associates' eTrust Intrusion Detection System that could make the system vulnerable to denial-of-service attacks, according to an advisory by security research company iDefense. The flaw enables a writer of malicious code to disable CA's eTrust Intrusion Detection System 3.0, which in turn weakens a company's defense against a DoS attack, said Michael Sutton, director of iDefense Labs.
  • DNS Cache Poisoning Spreads Malware - As of April 4, 2005 the SANS Internet Storm Center has raised their alert level to Yellow following a rash of active DNS poisonings. The infected DNS servers are re-directing users from popular sites such as Google or American Express to malware infecting advertising sites.
  • Warning on iPod threat - Portable media players like the iPod pose a significant security risk according to figures from software auditors Centennial Software. Nearly nine out of ten of the 220 IT managers questioned took no action to prevent such devices coming into the workplace even though over half of them recognised storage devices like the iPod as a threat.
  • Mobile Trojan kills smart phones - Virus writers have created a mobile Trojan capable of rendering an infected Symbian Series 60 unusable. Fontal-A is a SIS file Trojan that installs a corrupted font file on the device, causing it to fail when the mobile phone is next rebooted. Fontal-A is a Trojan, incapable of spreading by itself or via Bluetooth. The small risk of infection applies only to people in the habit of installing warez mobile games files or the like onto their mobile phone.

OFFTOPIC...

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Hackers Add Web, Chat to PSP Video Game Player - The $249 PSP handheld video game player went on sale in the United States on March 24, and it took very little time before techies added the kinds of functions to the PSP that Sony did not include -- and may never have intended. One man needed only 24 hours to get a working client for Internet Relay Chat, or IRC, an older messaging platform.
  • Sony Invention Beams Sights, Sounds Into Brain - If you think video games are engrossing now, just wait: PlayStation maker Sony Corp has been granted a patent for beaming sensory information directly into the brain.  The technique could one day be used to create videogames in which you can smell, taste, and touch, or to help people who are blind or deaf. The U.S. patent, granted to Sony researcher Thomas Dawson, describes a technique for aiming ultrasonic pulses at specific areas of the brain to induce "sensory experiences" such as smells, sounds and images.
  • First Look at SUSE LINUX 9.3 Professional - This release has generated a lot of buzz in the Linux world due to the new features it's sporting. Software such as Xen and Beagle are probably the main reason for the excitement, and for good reason. For those who might not have heard yet, Xen is system virtualization software which will allow you to run multiple guest operating systems on your computer.
  • Google Adds Satellite Images to Maps - Google has enhanced its Google Maps and Google Local services with satellite and aerial images, letting users view digital snapshots of an area, the Mountain View, California, company announced Tuesday.
  • Firefox - Say Goodbye (again) to Pop-Ups - Asa Dotzler's (Mozilla Developer) Blog: "Firefox has the capability to disable these pop-ups but it wasn't enabled by default in Firefox 1.0 because we had concerns about websites that rely on plug-in triggered pop-ups for legitimate functionality. Give that these pop-ups and pop-unders have really started to spread on the web, we're testing a quick patch that enables the Firefox pref to block them. I blogged about this earlier this month and included manual steps to disable these nasty pop-ups and pop-unders. In addition to this fix, the good news is that for sites where you need these pop-ups, you can just whitelist them like you do other "wanted" pop-ups. This looks (at this stage) like a reasonable trade off."
  • Windows Server 2003 SP1 SSL Improvements - There are a few areas in the service pack that this term is realized, but I think the SSL performance is pretty cool - to the tune of a 50% increase. So, exactly how did SSL get improved in SP1 you ask?
  • Windows Supercomputer Release Slips to 2006 - Microsoft Corp. acknowledged on Tuesday night that it is running about six months behind schedule with its high-end Windows Server 2003 Compute Cluster Edition product.
  • 10 Features Longhorn needs - Let's face it, Windows XP is basically Windows 2000 with some fixes and cosmetic enhancements. Longhorn needs to be much more than that. Here are a few things it needs.
  • Panasonic Unveils Flat-Screen TVs - The new models are expected to retail for around $1475 for the smallest LCD to $5980 for the biggest plasma display and are due to go on sale in Japan on May 1. There are no plans yet to sell the TVs overseas.
  • Tomorrow's Net speeds could be up to 1,600% faster - The industry's standard-settings unit, CableLabs, plans to endorse this month technology that will let operators boost speeds 400% to 1,600%, over their existing lines. Motorola and Cisco are among the companies offering alternative methods to increase broadband speeds by linking together the bandwidth used for four or more conventional TV channels.
  • Intel, AMD in Race to Dual-Core Finish - AMD, which originally was planning a mid-year release of its dual-core processor, has hinted to the media that it may make a major announcement at an event later this month to commemorate the two-year birthday of the Opteron.

HARDWARE... 

  • Intel Pentium Extreme Edition dual-core CPU - Would we buy a brand new PEE-based machine? Probably not, but that's the answer we give with most new technology. We said it about Serial ATA, PCI Express, DDR memory and DDR2 memory, and now we're saying it about dual-core processors - ultimately, the price premium for the Extreme Edition will be too high.
  • LR & Corsair Break The 1GHz DDR2 Memory Barrier - Using Corsair XMS2 PC-5400UL memory that was just publicaly launched today LegitReviews were able to hit the highest DDR2 frequency that they have ever seen. Using the maximum 2.08Volts that the Intel reference board offered, we overclocked the FSB up to 250MHz and set the memory to the 800MHz divider in the BIOS. The 800MHz memory option allows the end user to have a 1:2 divider for the memory. This is great considering this is on an Intel Reference board.
  • Shuttle SB86i BTX SFF system - Apart from being designed in accordance with BTX, the SB86i is also sold as a quiet system, with a number of features designed specifically with noise-related concerns in mind. Foremost among these is the steel construction of the case, making this the first (and only) steel SFF system that we know of. Other noise-related features include rubber-grommeted hard drives and intake vents that are open but do not provide a direct noise path to the user.
  • NVIDIA nForce4 SLI Intel Edition - The Intel Edition of the nForce4 SLI chipset incorporates all the major features found on its AMD counterpart, including GigE with native Firewall, 10 USB ports, NVIDIA's impressive storage subsystem, and even AMD HyperTransport, which links the North Bridge and the South Bridge together. The only difference is that NVIDIA has adapted the chipset for Intel's Pentium processors, this includes adding a new memory controller with support of the latest DDR2-667 memory, and of course Intel's 1066MHz FSB. From a features perspective, NVIDIA's nForce4 SLI Intel Edition chipset is in a unique class of its own, even excluding SLI support. Speaking of overheating, this is one aspect you'll definitely have to take into account when building an nForce4 SLI Intel Edition system, especially if you plan on outfitting your system with a fast processor. Under load with our Pentium 4 3.73GHz Extreme Edition CPU, the GeForce 6800 GT cards running in SLI mode would begin to overheat when running looped demos in Far Cry for more than 10 minutes, causing the system to crash and a full reboot. Another coverage can be found on Sudhian Media, GD Hardware, Bjorn3D, Hexus.net, nVNews.
  • DFI LANParty NF4 SLI-DR Motherboard - The DFI LANParty NF4 SLI-DR is quick and versatile, but it also comes with a ton of features too. First off, the motherboard has two Gigabit network ports, an additional Silicon Image 3114 Serial ATA controller, IEEE 1394 and a 8-channel audio codec.
  • HiS Radeon x800 XL - x850 XT - x850 XT PE - Both Radeon x850 cards will play any game to date with all quality gadgets enabled very well in acceptable resolutions. When we enable 4x Antialiasing and 8 or even 16 levels of anisotropic filtering then at 1280x1024 or 1600x1200 we still have amazing performance. Compared to the ATI's green colored friends this card is competing directly with the standard 16-pipe GeForce 6800 Ultra. That card does have two advantages though, the first being Shader Model 3.0 and secondly, scalability thanks to its SLI interface.
  • H.I.S. X800XL IceQ Video Card - If you're going to do a price/performance comparison this card is going to come out on top every time. Quite a bit less expensive and yet still giving out excellent performance. By overclocking this card, you can reach equivalent frame rates of the X850XT at stock speeds, and all for no extra money.
  • Gigabyte GV-NX66T128VP 6600 GT Turbo Force - Like other 6600 GT cards the GV-NX66T128VP's GPU is clocked 500MHz, however the one thing that does set it apart is that the 128MB of DDR3 memory clock is 1120MHz, 20MHz more than other 6600 GT cards. In addition to this, Gigabyte have also included VIVO on this card to set it apart from the GV-NX66T128D and include a VIVO connector for those who wish to use it.
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 Hard Drive - The other advantage that the Barracuda 7200.8 has over the Raptor is price. It's common knowledge that the Raptor has always been over-priced from day one - you pay a premium for getting awesome hard drive performance. Things have changed though. Seagate have been able to produce a hard drive which provides similar performance to the Raptor in a non-RAID environment.
  • LG GSA-4163B 16x Super-Multi DVD±RW/RAM  - When it comes to features, the GSA-4163B is very similar to LG's previous "Super-Multi" drives. Along with support for all major CD and DVD formats, it has a 2MB buffer that is backed up by Super Link buffer underrun protection. This buffer relatively small, but even larger 8MB buffers can offer little room for error when burning at 16x. The GSA-4163B also has limited support for bitsetting. While the drive automatically sets the book type to "DVD-ROM" when writing to DVD+R DL discs, it lacks the ability to do the same with single layer DVD+R and DVD+RW media.
  • Lite-On SOHW-1673S 16X DVD±RW - Apart from a slightly high pitched noise when reading CDs at high speeds, this drive is just about flawless. The drive performed all the speed tests as expected, has a compact size, and comes with a great software package. The LITE-ON SOHW-1673S definitely should be considered if you're shopping for a new DVD Writer.
  • BenQ DW1625 16x DVD+-RW Double Layer DVD Writer - In terms of overall performance, the BenQ DW1625 certainly performs well and their drives continue to impress. However, you can't help but be more than a bit disappointed by the lack of next gen features it fails to offer. It seems that first generation LightScribe drives will indeed be somewhat limited in features that will normally compete well with today's latest writers...its 2.4x double layer write support being the most noticeable.
  • Samsung TS-H552 DVD+RW--RW - In our Dual layer tests, the TS-H552U clearly smashed the competition due to its faster 5X writing capabilities. Both the Sony and MSI drives are limited to only a 2.4X write speed, although both companies now have drives capable of writing dual layer media at 4X so we would expect the gap to close quite a bit.
  • 500 Watt+ Power Supply Comparison - In terms of recommendations, the Enermax is the winner overall, although the Silverstone is not trailing far behind. Both power supplies offered a plethora of connectors, high current rails and an excellent MBF. Where the Silverstone fell short however, was with the one year warranty. It was however, the only powersupply in this round up that was EPS12V compliant so those looking for a quality power supply for your dual CPU system need not look any further. For the entry level products, the Skyhawk is a very capable performer. Though the box was misleading, the product nevertheless worked well.
  • OCZ Modstream 520W ATX PSU - There was only a small bit of fluctuation in the +12V rail, and virtually none for the +5V and +3.3V.. I would have to agree with OCZ's claims for a silent PSU -- I can't hear it over the 80mm fans in my case that are running at minimal speed on a Nexus controller.
  • Saitek Gamers' Keyboard - The keyboard itself has a silver frame with extended pads on the corners. It is slightly longer than a normal keyboard, but the overall footprint stays the same because the board isn't as wide as normal boards. The Gamers' Keyboard features an LED backlight that makes all the keys glow with a pleasant blue hue.
  • Oakley Thump MP3 Sunglasses - The technical design of the Oakley Thump is actually very nice. The glasses are extremely light with a weight of 52g. The iPod shuffle weighs 22g and that without polarized sunglasses. The MP3 Player components are well integrated into the temples. The casing is held together by little screws. The integrated headphones are adjustable in three dimensions. For people with a small head they might still not fit.
  • Etymotic ER-6i - Etymotic is one of "the big two" in the arena of canal phones. Known mostly for the high end ER-4S cans, Etymotic decided to throw their hat into the iPod popularity ring with the ER-6i. This is slightly confusing because the company also offers a black ER-6 model, and consumers' first impressions would make them believe that the "i" is just a marketing gimmick aimed at wooing the iGeneration. But, there is a different driver used in the 6i that outputs stronger bass, and is easier to drive. This makes them perfect for mobile device use, and particularly Apple iPod and Sony PSP use. As with all canal phones, external sound is almost completely blocked, so use only when it is safe to ignore the rest of the world.
  • Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z20 - Coming in at just under L170, the Z20 offers a surprisingly full specification for the price, although inevitably some corners have been cut to fit the budget. What you get is a high performance five megapixel camera with an 8x optical zoom lens (equivalent to 36 – 290mm) and a full range of manual exposure, metering and focus options. Its operating system and range of menu options are basically identical to the higher priced Z5 reviewed last week.

GUIDES... 

  • Can RAID Systems Fail? - RAID undoubtedly offers more data protection than non-RAID disk systems. However, the management of the disks and the data distribution across them can be complex. Complex redundant systems can suffer failure, most often not a fault of the technology used or the design of the array, but most likely because of its failure to correctly apply these systems which leads to a single point of failure causing disastrous data loss.
  • Bit-tech's guide to digital photography (part #2) - One important thing about finding the right camera for you is you first need to take a zen-like look at yourself. You need to be totally honest as to what kind of person you are. This may sound a little over the top but follow me on this and it will make sense. With considerable cost of a new digital camera, knowing what kind of person and photographer you are will help you create your own list of desired features and dramatically narrow down your list of eligible camera candidates.
  • Choosing The Right Paper For Your Inkjet Printer - If you want the best inkjet prints from your expensive digital camera or scanner, be sure to use the right paper. In this guide, we'll show you what to look when selecting inkjet paper and what to stay away from.
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 TCP/IP Implementation Details - This white paper contains an overview of TCP/IP in Windows Server 2003 features and capabilities, a discussion of protocol architecture, and detailed discussions of the core components, network application interfaces, and critical client components and services.
  • What's New in Terminal Services for Win2k3 SP1 - Microsoft Windows Server 2003 SP1 includes several new features designed to maximize both the speed and efficiency of Terminal Services administration, and the security of communications between Terminal Services clients and servers.

SOFTWARE...

  • Unofficial Windows98 S E S 2.0 RC3 beta - Microsoft has never released a service pack for Windows98 SE. But I made a Service Pack for Windows98 SE users. It contains all Windows98 SE updates from Windows Update site and more ~ mirror.
  • Microsoft USB Flash Drive Manager - The Microsoft USB Flash Drive Manager (.NET Framework 1.1 required) will help you backup and restore presentation, pictures, songs and applications from and to USB Flash Drive devices and take them with you. The application can also help you to classify and name USB Flash Drives images (for instance "My network configuration" or "The pictures for my grandma") and lets you see this name whenever the USB Flash Drive is plugged into the computer.
  • Microsoft Junk Email Filter for Outlook 2003 v2 - This optional update provides the Junk E-mail Filter in Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 with a more current definition of which e-mail messages should be considered junk e-mail.
  • Firefox 1.0.3 Final Candidates (BETA) - The bugs they fixed in this candidate (download) are 287459 and 288006. These two changes should be near-zero risk, but if you all could look over the bugs, test around those areas, and report back to them. If all goes well, these candidate builds will become the final 1.0.3 release!
  • FireTune 1.0 - FireTune for Mozilla Firefox v1.x was developed for an easy and fast optimization of your browsing experience with Firefox.
  • WindowBlinds 4.51 (shw) - WindowBlinds is a program that allows you to completely change the look and feel of Windows to however you want it to look like. It allows you to completely customize your desktop by changing the style of title bars, buttons, and toolbars. This new version adds support for Windows XP 64 (for both AMD and Intel chipsets).
  • Uxtheme Multi-patcher 3.0 - This program will patch your uxtheme.dll file so you can use any 3rd party visual style on Windows XP/SP1/SP2 and Windows Server 2003/SP1. File protection dialogs should be cancelled and a reboot is required after using this patch.
  • GX::Transcoder 2.20.2636 Public Beta 1 - GX::Transcoder (download) is a universal audio and video file transcoder. You can transcode audio files into many formats: AAC, MP4, M4A, Bonk, FLAC, LA, LPAC, MIDI, MP2, MP3, MPC, MPP, MP+, OptiomFrog, Ogg Vorbis, rkAudio, VQF, WavPack, TTA, WMA, Shorten, PCM, GSM, ADPCM, VOX, G721, G723, G726, uLaw, aLaw, DSP, Raw PCM, Monkeys Audio, AVI (Audio), MOD, Bonk and more.
  • BlindWrite 5.2.13 - This Product creates 1:1 copies (download trial), it is maybe not the most appropriate for DVD movie copies as the source is often near to 9 GB, when the destination and most blank DVD media only hold 5 GB. For DVD movie projects please choose CopyToDVD. For double layer (DL) media this will do the job. This new version contains brand new burning engine.
  • PuTTY 0.58 Beta  - PuTTY (download) is a free implementation of Telnet and SSH for Win32 and Unix platforms, along with an xterm terminal emulator.
  • Koepi's XviD Codec 1.1.0 Beta 2 Build 04042005 - A new beta version of Koepi's XviD codec is available for download.
  • LG Korea releases auto firmware update tool - LG Korea has released an utility that enables users to automatically check for a new firmware. The following list of drives is supported: CD-ROM Drive: GCR-8522B and GCR-8523B, CD-RW Drive: GCE-8525B and GCE-8526B, DVD-ROM Combo Drive: GCC-4521B, Super Multi Drive: GSA-4081B, GSA-4082B, GSA-4120B, GSA-4160B and GSA-4163B, GSA-5120D, GSA-5160D and GSA-5163D
  • NGO Creative Modded Driver for SB Live! & Audigy - NGOHQ.com has released a new modded driver for Creative SB Live! and Audigy cards. Try at your own risk :)
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