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 Gameguru Mania News - Dec,22 2004 - tech 
Nightly Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 09:04 PM EST - Dec,22 2004 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Google Nukes Santy Worm, But Threat Remains - Google began filtering the worm's queries late Tuesday night, effectively stopping the Santy propagation on vulnerable Web forums running the freely distributed phpBB (code) software. However, according to an advisory from Kaspersky Lab, the Google filtering is not enough to solve the problem. "The author can always release new versions that use other search engines - MSN or Yahoo, for instance," the anti-virus research firm said in the advisory.
  • PHP v4.3.x exploit for Windows - This "Proof of Concept" exploit is only for Win2k SP4 + PHP 4.3.5 on Apache 2.0.49.
  • "Metal Gear" Symbian OS Trojan Disables Anti-Virus - Security experts at anti-virus company Symworks have discovered a new trojan horse program for Series 60 smartphones that they've dubbed "METAL Gear.a" that uses a two-pronged attack to infect both the local phone and nearby phones via Bluetooth. METAL Gear.a purports to be a Symbian OS-port of the PC and console game title "Metal Gear Solid" with an installation file named METAL Gear.sis. When installed, however, the trojan immediately disables specified anti-virus software on the phone, as well as all file explorers and various other applications. It then installs a variant of Cabir.c, the previously reported "Skulls" trojan.
  • Teen virus writer dodges prison -  British teenager has received a six-month suspended sentence for releasing a worm designed to turn victims' PCs into spam generating stations. The 16 year-old was sentenced in South Cheshire Juvenile Court in Crewe for releasing the Randex worm, which installed a Trojan onto computers that allowed them to be used by spammers. A combined operation between New Scotland Yard, the FBI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police led to his arrest, along with two Americans and a Canadian.
  • DRM at its worst? Here's a prime example - Hardware Analysis reports on a horror story of someone picking up a DVD recently and having to go through an agonizing process of installing DRM-enabled applications to even get it to play on his computer.
  • Are Security Vendors Tricking XP SP2? - Microsoft says its Service Pack 2 update adds an additional layer of security to Windows XP-based PCs. However, recent PCW tests seem to show that at least two major security suites are crippling SP2's ability to offer users accurate security information.
  • Linux lasting longer against Net attacks - Unpatched Linux systems are surviving longer on the Internet before being compromised, according to a report from the Honeynet Project released this week.
  • Worst spyware queues up - CoolWebSearch is the most dangerous program on Webroot's latest list of the 10 worst spyware and adware threats. Webroot's list of top 10 threats also includes PurityScan, Transponder (vx2), KeenValue, and Perfect Keylogger.
  • Movie file-sharing hubs poised to decentralise - The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), a lobby group representing major US film studios, filed lawsuits against several popular movie sharing "hubs" on 14 December. A week later many of these sites had closed down.

OFF-TOPIC...

  • Teen sues over topless pictures in video game - A teenage girl who was photographed topless, apparently during Spring Break at South Padre Island, is now a "prize" in a video game that rewards players by revealing images of topless women. "The Guy Game," available for about $40 for the popular Xbox and Playstation game consoles, touts "over 60 smokin' coeds" in its advertising, which plays to the "Girls Gone Wild" set: "Real video of actual Spring Break Hotties." The problem is, the girl was 17 when she was photographed, which not only raises questions about the legality of the material, but renders moot any consent she may have given, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Travis County District Court.
  • Car-To-Car Ad-hoc WLAN to be created by 2006 - Car makers BMW, Audi, Daimler Chrysler, Volkswagen, Renault and Fiat have won a German government grant to help develop the basis for a standard method for car-to-car wireless data. NOW is focusing on 802.11 technology and IPv6 to develop "inter-vehicle communication based on ad hoc networking principles". Essentially, it's exploring ways that moving vehicles can automatically set up temporary links with other cars, bikes and trucks in the vicinity, and share traffic information. With routing capabilities, the whole thing could become a huge "automobile Internet", with vehicles warning each other - and their drivers - about slow-downs, bad weather, accidents and other road problems.
  • Mobile Phone Radiation Harms DNA, New Study Finds  - Radio waves from mobile phones harm body cells and damage DNA in laboratory conditions, according to a new study majority-funded by the European Union, researchers said on Monday. The so-called Reflex study, conducted by 12 research groups in seven European countries, did not prove that mobile phones are a risk to health but concluded that more research is needed to see if effects can also be found outside a lab.
  • Scientists build nanoscale "jigsaw" puzzles made of RNA - Scientists working at the leading edge of bionanotechnology, are using assembly and folding principles of natural RNA, or ribonucleic acid, to build beautiful and potentially useful artificial structures at the nano-scale. Possible applications include the development of nanocircuits, medical implants, and improved medical testing.
  • Stem-Cell Method May Cheat Death - The approach would involve removing one cell from a very early embryo that has developed to about eight cells (called a morula), and deriving stem cells from that single cell. The embryo would still have the potential to develop into a human if implanted into a womb. The only thing preventing the scientists from trying the process is money, said Dr. Yury Verlinsky, director of RGI.

  • Heavy-lift rocket's debut a partial success - The first in a new generation of US heavy-lift rockets, the Boeing Delta 4 Heavy, made its maiden flight on Tuesday, from Cape Canaveral in Florida. However, the launch was only a partial success. The rocket got off the ground safely after several days of delays. But a problem with the first stage engine burn meant the two small satellites the rocket was carrying did not reach geosynchronous orbit.

  • NASA's Explorer Finds "Newborn" Galaxies - NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer has discovered three dozen galaxies emitting ultraviolet light at levels that indicate stars still are forming and supernovas still are exploding

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Microsoft Plans New Windows Version in January - Microsoft will provide a stripped-down version of Windows from next month while it decides whether to appeal against a European Union court order, its general counsel said on Wednesday.
  • AOL gets ready to launch free Web e-mail - America Online is testing a Web-based e-mail service that will compete with Yahoo Mail, Microsoft's Hotmail and Google's Gmail. The service, dubbed "AOL Mail on the Web," is expected to officially debut early next year for members, and later in the year for the public.
  • Downloadable movies coming to the PSP - Starting December 24, PDA Cinema Contents will distribute four movies in the MPEG-4 format that the PSP employs. PSP owners will be able to purchase the movies and can then download them onto a Memory Stick Duo, which can then be inserted into the handheld. Each movie costs between 294 yen ($2.82) and 399 yen ($3.82), and because the movies can be purchased with a credit card, it will more than likely be possible for PSP owners who live overseas to purchase and watch the movies, provided they speak Japanese.
  • iBook replacement scheme extended - Apple's iBook Logic Board Replacement scheme has been extended once again, this time until March 18. The scheme means owners of iBooks manufactured between May 2002 and April 2003 who experience a logic board failure leading to video display can have their Macs repaired for free, even when they are no longer under warranty.

HARDWARE...

  • New DVD recorder from KiSS supports Nero Digital files - The DP-558 DVD recorder manufactured by KiSS Technology truly leaves nothing at all to be desired - direct access to PC files, live television, unlimited, comfortable recording of TV programmes as well as online applications such as WebRadio and online games that can be enjoyed on the television screen. It is easy to experience Nero Digital file formats live on TV with this unit: Simply install the Nero Recode 2 CE DVD transcoding software on your PC. In related news, in Q1 2005 KiSS Technology launches a new range of LCD- and High definition Plasma-TVs which will match the Digital Home of tomorrow perfectly, with WLAN connections and support for multiple digital formats including Windows Media HD
  • Commodore 64 reincarnated on a chip - Ellsworth has squeezed the entire circuitry of a two-decade-old Commodore 64 home computer onto a single chip, which she has tucked neatly into a joystick that connects by a cable to a TV set. Called the Commodore 64--the same as the computer system--her device can run 30 video games, mostly sports, racing and puzzles games from the early 1980s, all without the hassle of changing game cartridges. Sold by Mammoth Toys, based in New York, for $30, the Commodore 64 joystick has been a hot item on QVC this Christmas season, selling 70,000 units in one day when it was introduced on the shopping channel last month.
  • ATI prepares two new chipsets - ATI is working to improve two chipsets. Its RS480 and RX480 families had some features that could certainly do with a sound tweaking. Both chipsets suffered from USB 2.0 slowdown, lack of LAN and Azalia-like audio.
  • Epson releases a new multi-format photographic flatbed scanner - The Perfection 4990 Photo is aimed at photo enthusiasts and professionals, looking for the best in fast, multi-format film scanning technology. It offers 4800 x 9600 dpi resolution and has several features to facilitate scanning large archives of prints and films. A built-in transparency unit for 35mm film, medium and large format film allows you to scan entire photo contact sheets in one batch. While the integrated LED allows you to track the progress of the film scanning, preventing you from inadvertently interrupting the scanning process before completion.
  • Iomega Continues Rollout of New Hard Drive Lineup - Several best-in-class features distinguish Iomega's triple-interface drives, which range in capacity from 160GB to 400GB*. All are 7200 RPM drives and are whisper-quiet in operation. All include USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed USB), FireWire? 400, and FireWire 800 interfaces.
  • WD Ships New Large HDDs with Caching Enhancements - The new WD Caviar SE 320GB features 7200rpm motor, 8MB buffer and 3.5” form-factor. The Caviar 320GB boasts with 748Mb/s buffer to disk transfer rate, 1200Mb/s buffer to host transfer rate, 4.20ms nominal average latency, 8.90ms read seek time, 10.9ms write seek time, 2.0ms track-to-track seek time and 21ms full stroke speed. The new 320GB HDDs will be available for Parallel ATA and Serial ATA interconnections. WD said it had implemented advanced the caching algorithms in the new and improved Caviar family of hard drives, which makes 8MB buffers as efficient as 16MB buffers.
  • Motorola E1000 3G Mobile Phone review - The first thing you notice about the E1000 is the large screen and at 34 x 44mm, with a resolution of 240 x 320 pixels, this 16bit display is excellent in use and very clear and easy to read. The second thing you notice is the odd button layout - there's a row of four buttons on each side of the display, which is similar to the design of the Siemens SX1, although not quite as brave as having the whole keypad down the side of the phone.
  • Rock Quaddra 64 3.7 Laptop review - All in all, Rock's Quaddra 64 3.7 is a tasty desktop-replacement laptop that oozes power. An AMD Athlon 64 3700+ makes short work of 2D tasks and a 128MB Mobility RADEON 9700 takes most games in its stride. For the asking price of £1408 (inc. VAT) I'd like to see Rock specify 802.11g Wireless connectivity as standard, and, perhaps, a touch more system RAM. Christmas is just around the corner. Perhaps it's time to ask Santa for something special, courtesy of Rock?
  • Intel 925XE Express Chipset review - That 1066 MHz FSB offers roughly 10-15 percent more performance over that previous 800 MHz FSB product. Gaming wise, well .. you'll not see a huge difference at all, 5 percent maybe if you graphics card isn't limiting you that is. Intel still has a difficult time battling AMD's Athlon 64 price and performance in that area. But let's not forget that Intel offers these small things we take for granted so easily, Hyper-Threading for your multitasking intensive applications for example.
  • Seagate External 200GB Hard Disk Drive review -  Seagate's new drive features a very original design and a universal connectivity thanks to the support of two interfaces. As for the performance factor, our tests reveal some unpleasant things like surprisingly low results in WinBench 99 when FAT32 is in use. This is probably due to incorrect operation of the drive's controller or firmware with this particular benchmark. For example, we didn't have the same problem in FC-Test.
  • Thermaltake Big Water 12cm water cooling kit - Big Water is most definitely an entry-level system; it was, however; constructed of high-quality materials usually found in higher-performance H20-kits. The system is unobtrusive, easy to install, and is very quiet during operation. If you're an overclocking fanatic, seeking high-performance cooling I wouldn't expect too much from Big Water, although it did take me places stock air-cooling could not.
  • OCZ ModStream Power Supply Roundup - In this roundup, CoolTechZone have OCZ's 450W and 520W ModStream modular power supplies for evaluation.
  • D-Link Gigabit Wired/108Mbps Wireless Gaming Network - While the D-Link wired/wireless gaming network components haven't been perfect or flawless, they have been great and easy to work with. I am much happier with the D-Link DI-624 router than I was with my previous router and am very pleased with how much more flexible and capable my network is now. You get a plethora of excellent features with these devices, especially for their price range, and most of them come with free 24/7 tech support and a good warranty.
  • Razer Diamondback Gaming Mouse - With 1600 DPI and many other features, any fanboy will be hooked.
  • BTC 9019URF Wireless Keyboard - Depending on what your needs are, the BTC 9019URF keyboard may or may not be for you. For office work, the keyboard responds as a laptop would. Short, low-profile keys keep the strokes quiet and quick. If gaming is your thing, a wireless combo with separate mouse and keyboard would be a better decision due to the sluggish response and button placement.
  • A.C.Ryan LAN.Ranger CAT6 Network Cable - In a nutshell, the LAN.Ranger is a CAT6 cable with silver EMI shielding beneath a clear shell. The cable also happens to be UV-reactive. For those unaware of CAT6, as the name implies it's the 6th generation of twisted pair Ethernet cables. CAT5 is still the predominant type and supports Fast Ethernet (100Mbps). Although it usually contains 4 pairs of twisted copper wire, only two are utilized. CAT5 enhanced (CAT5e) supports short range Gigabit Ethernet (1000Mbps) by using all 4 pairs of wires. CAT6 also supports Gigabit Ethernet like CAT5e, but it allows for communications at twice the speed.
  • Samsung 730MP LCD TV/Monitor - TrustedReviews have posted a review up of the Samsung 730MP LCD TV/Monitor which is a 17in TFT display with a built in TV tuner and a multi format memory card reader.

GUIDES...

  • Optimizing PC Hardware for Gaming - Well optimized hardware will not only make the computer run much faster, but also more efficiently. Often the well known blue screen of death or even random resets is a direct result of poorly configured hardware
  • How to unlock your "cut down" video card - What we consider as a "cut down" version of a video card is a product that uses the same GPU chip (Graphical Processing Unit) a high-end card has, but placed on a low-end card with some functions of the chip disabled. An example of this is the 6200-based series video cards that are actually using a standard 6600/6600GT core, but instead of 8 pixel pipelines, on the 6200 only half of them are working, the other four are disabled.
  • The Tweaking Experience Registry Guide 4.0 - The Tweaking Experience Registry Guide 4.0 provides an extensive range of registry tweaks, tricks & hacks for optimizing, enhancing and securing the Windows XP, 2000 and 2003 Server.
  • Securing IE for Today's WW(Infected)W -  If you are one of those users who have not found the calling to switch to Firefox and are still using IE, here is a quick guide to safer browsing on the World Wide (infected) Web. We have compiled a set of tips and tools that will help shield your big blue E from malicious spyware and adware that’s waiting to hitch a ride on your PC. Because this guide would not really make any sense if we listed any paying programs to keep you browsing in a safe manner, (since Firefox is free); all the tools listed in this guide are freeware.
  • The Stubborn Paging File Guide -  If you have already read our Virtual Memory Optimization Guide, you might have already created and optimized your own semi-permanent paging file. But before you rub your palms in glee, reboot your system and check the paging file size. Don't be surprised if you find your paging file magically enlarged to over 1.5GB!
  • The Windows XP Tweaking Companion (XPTC) Released - TweakGuides.com's Windows XP Tweaking Companion (XPTC) is the complete Windows XP and system optimization guide. No longer do you have to put up with so-called 'XP Tweak Guides' which have a handful of Registry tweaks and some vague optimization advice - the XPTC brings an enormous range of detailed descriptions and resources together in one free 170 Page downloadable PDF file.
  • Windows XP SP2 may cause digital camera performance problems - Is your digital camera acting strangely since your XP SP2 upgrade? Things not quite right on the 1394 device front? If so, then you may need the Microsoft KB885222 update, which addresses these issues.
    Microsoft have confirmed that after an SP2 install, users may experience problems with the performance of 1394 devices, including performance degradation
  • Advanced Guides: Unattended Windows 2000/XP Installations - Make a customized Windows Install CD with all the drivers already included. Let the install process go ahead 100% unattended, so you can get down to some real work, and leave the "click ok" job to the non-IT folks. - Version 1.0.0.
  • MOM 2005 guides - The Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 Operations Guide includes guidance and recommended best practices for backing up and restoring, maintaining, optimizing and monitoring Microsoft Operations Manager 2005 (MOM) in an existing IT infrastructure
  • Open Discussion on Windows and Linux - Learn about the comparative differences between Windows and Linux and other open-source alternatives. This broadcast focuses on three key scenarios: total cost of ownership (TCO), security, and risk management.
  • New Year, New PCs? - Consumers thinking about buying a new personal computer in 2005 might be better off putting off their purchase until 2006. With few major changes in PC hardware or software due over the next year, the PC of 2005 is likely to look awfully similar to the PC of today.

SOFTWARE...

  • Outpost Firewall Pro - Lifetime Upgrades, free of charge - Anyone who purchases Outpost Firewall Pro from December 20th through January 10th will get Lifetime Upgrades, free of charge. This would save annual spending of 19.95 for future upgrades of Outpost protection.
  • RivaTuner 2.0 RC15.3 Next Week - Public release is scheduled on 29th-30th of December! (thanks Warp2Search)
  • SpoofStick for Firefox 1.04 - SpoofStick for Firefox is a simple browser extension that helps users detect spoofed (fake) websites. A spoofed website is typically made to look like a well known, branded site (like ebay.com or citibank.com) with a slightly different or confusing URL.
  • SpoofStick for Internet Explorer 1.02 - SpoofStick for MSIE is a simple browser extension that helps users detect spoofed (fake) websites. A spoofed website is typically made to look like a well known, branded site (like ebay.com or citibank.com) with a slightly different or confusing URL.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 7.0 - Adobe Reader 7.0 software lets you view, print, and search PDF files on a variety of devices and operating systems with faster launch time and real-time zooming and panning. As with earlier versions of Adobe Reader, the free Adobe Reader 7.0 software allows you to open and read any PDF document and fill in PDF forms. But Adobe Reader 7.0 also offers significant new features and enhancements that greatly extend the flexibility of Adobe PDF documents.
  • UltraEdit-32 v10.20d (shw) - UltraEdit-32 (download) is a Windows text editor with support for unlimited file sizes, a spell checker, drag and drop, full HEX editing capabilities, user configurable syntax highlighting (pre-configured for HTML, Java, C/C++, VB, Perl), column editing, sorting, and a configurable toolbar.
  • Opera 8 beta 1 - Opera Software has released the First Beta release (direct link) of Opera 8.
  • PhaseOut 5.2  - PhaseOut is freeware multiple tabbed Browser (download) with Full Clean up control and Smart PopUp blocker, Flash Skin manager, Photomail: send webcam instant pics, Controller for full screen navigation, Advanced Search tools, Favs and History organizer, Professional Customizations, Company Logo and style, customized e-mails, channels and ads remote administrator management, hard coded Proxy setting, parental control, System access prevention
  • Glonim 1.32 available - Glonim is a realtime patch for Windows that adds many "cool" features to the operating system, some probably never seen before. It can: Add animations in many styles to when most windows open and close. Tile your own bitmap images on the back of windows and application backgrounds and much more...
  • nLite 0.99.5b3 - Due to some annoyances and bugs, mainly in Tweaks deployment, here is one release mainly filled with fixes.
  • CCleaner 1.16.084 - CCleaner (Crap Cleaner) is a freeware system optimisation tool. That removes unused and temporary files from your system - allowing it to run faster, more efficiently and giving you more hard disk space. The best part is that it's fast! (normally taking less that a second to run) and Free.
  • Koepi's XviD Codec 1.0.3 - XviD (download) is an ISO MPEG-4 compliant video codec.
  • ACE Mega CoDecS Pack 6.03 - In this codec pack you will find plenty of usefull CoDecS (CoderS/DeCoderS), Media Player FilterS, Media Players and other UtilitieS.
  • NVIDIA DVD Decoder 1.00.67 - NVIDIA DVD Decoder enables the industry's highest quality DVD and MPEG-2 playback and rich surround sound audio for Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center Edition. Featuring Dolby  Digital surround sound audio and hardware acceleration for compatible graphics processors, the NVIDIA DVD Decoder delivers unmatched color fidelity and smooth DVD, video, and TV viewing.
  • HOC Half-Life 2 Benchmark - This is a new program that allows you to benchmark your system with today's most popular FPS-game, Half-Life 2. The program does not modify any registry-entries or configuration files, so it is completely safe to use. It contains 5 built in demos; you can set filtering methods, resolutions and much much more.
  • FarCry Benchmarking Utility - The HardwareOC FarCry Benchmark is an easy-to-use tool, that makes Far Cry video card benchmarking fast and easy.
  • Plextor PX-716 DVD-R DL beta firmware - This firmware allows users to burn DVD-R dual layer discs at 2 speed. Plextor Japan warns that this is a beta firmware and therefor doesn't guarantee that one will be able to actually burn DVD-R dual layer discs. The firmware also disables SecuRec, GigaRec and VariRec. In mid. January 2005 the final version of this firmware should become available.
 Gameguru Mania News - Dec,20 2004 - tech
Monday Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 07:15 PM EST - Dec,20 2004 - Post a comment / read (4)

SECURITY...

  • Google Patches Desktop Search Flaw - Google Inc. said on Monday it has fixed a software flaw that could allow hackers to view information contained on personal computers running the No. 1 search engine's desktop search software.
  • Popular File-Sharing Site Shuts Down - One of the Web's most popular file-sharing sites has shut down less than a week after Hollywood announced a flurry of lawsuits against operators of such Internet servers. A note posted on Suprnova.org, which facilitated sharing among users of the BitTorrent program, said the site was "closing down for good.'' The collection of links to downloadable files, including music, movies and books, was taken down.
  • BitTorrent file-swapping networks face crisis - The disappearance of the big sites is unlikely to eliminate BitTorrent swapping altogether, but it does bring to a close an era of operating in the open without fear of legal reprisals. The resulting shift to the underground will likely make files harder to find, as traders move onto private networks or smaller communities, file-swapping insiders said.
  • New IE hole could perfect phishing scams -  A newly reported security problem in Microsoft Corp.'s Internet Explorer Web browser allows attackers to create a fake Web site that looks exactly like a genuine site. The vulnerability lets an attacker display any Web site while the address bar in Internet Explorer displays a trusted Web address -- https://www.paypal.com, for example -- and even shows the icon indicating that Secure Sockets Layer security technology is in use, security researchers warned on Thursday.
  • Spammers ordered to pay $1 billion - A federal judge has awarded an Internet service provider more than $1 billion in what is believed to be the largest judgment ever against spammers. AMP Dollar Savings Inc. of Mesa, Arizona, was ordered to pay $720 million and Cash Link Systems Inc. of Miami, Florida, was ordered to pay $360 million. The third company, Florida-based TEI Marketing Group, was ordered to pay $140,000.
  • NASA hacker jailed for six months - A US man has been jailed for six months for a 2001 attack on the web systems of space agency NASA which cost $200,000 to fix. Gregory Aaron Herns, 21, from Portland, Oregon, hacked into the network at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center to store movies he had downloaded. The intrusion caused systems to crash and took technicians hours to fix, according to reports. In court last Friday, Herns admitted his guilt and apologised for the inconvenience he caused.
  • Apple Sues Over Web Leak of Advance Products - Apple Computer Inc. is suing anonymous people who leaked details about new products by posting information on the Internet, court documents showed on Friday.
  • Hotmail dumps McAfee's antivirus for Trend Micro - According to Microsoft, e-mails and attachments sent or received by any of Hotmail's 187 million Web mail customers will be scanned in real time by Trend Micro's antivirus software beginning Monday.
  • Quantum cryptography keeps hackers away - Quantum cryptography is the ultimate example of small-is-beautiful technology: information is encoded at the subatomic level on individual photons, the smallest known units of light. They can then be sent on optical fibre networks from one computer to another. To snoop on such messages undetected, a hacker would have to defy the laws of quantum mechanics.

OFF-TOPIC...

  • EA Trying to Buy Ubisoft Shares - This morning it was revealed that EA is trying to acquire 19.9% of the Ubisoft shares owned by Dutch investment company Talpa Beheer B.V. If approved by the US Antitrust department, the buyout would instantly make EA the biggest shareholder, ahead of the Guillemot brothers.
  • Video game makes life of Brian $10,000 richer - Playing video games has certainly enriched the life of Brian McMahon this weekend, after the New Yorker scooped a $10,000 cash prize for winning Remington's first Titanium Bowl ESPN NFL 2K5 video game tournament.
  • First Half-life 3 screenshot? - check it out (pic)

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Microsoft Anti-Spyware Preview - Paul Thurrott has thrown up a great preview of Microsoft's plans for Anti-spyware. In the preview he details the current technology from Giant Software and what Microsoft is planning to do with it.
  • Google Launches Print Service - Google Print is integrated with standard search results; for example, a search for literary classic Romeo and Juliet leads to the follow page from Google Print. Google only show content related to the search query - in cases where there are multiple results, excerpts are shown. Currently in beta testing, Google are working with publishers to get as much content into the system as possible; they are offering the scanning service for free.
  • Scoble To Gates : Make a New Media Player - Microsoft evangelist Robert Scoble has written a open letter to Bill Gates on the subject of media players. Published on his blog, Scoble outlines a lengthily list of goals for the company to do in 2005; the ultimate aim being to have a brand new, iPod beating media player in 5 months time.
  • Samsung SDI Develops World-Largest 102-Inch PDP - Samsung SDI said Thursday it has developed the world¡¯s largest high definition PDP at 102 inches, setting a new world record in the field. The new product boasts high brightness with 1,000 candela per square meter and some core parts, which have been developed for this product, were used to improve PDP¡¯s brightness, luminescence efficiency and coloring, key characteristics of the TV panel.
  • NVIDIA PureVideo Technology announced - NVIDIA today announced NVIDIA PureVideo technology, a combination of hardware and software technologies designed to raise the bar on the video capabilities of today's desktop and notebook PCs. The addition of PureVideo technology to the GeForce 6 Series of graphics processing units (GPUs) allows for accelerated playback of MPEG-2 and high-definition (HD) video content at home-theater levels of quality, resulting in crisp, vibrant and stutter-free video on any display.

ARDWARE...

  • Wal Mart offers sub-$500 Linux laptop - Wal Mart is taking pre-orders for a sub-$500 notebook that comes loaded with Linspire and OpenOffice.org. The 14" laptop has a 1GHz VIA C3 processor, 128MB of memory, 30GB hard drive, CDROM, and a promised battery life of 1.5 hours.
  • NV48 to emerge in 2005 - DigiTimes is reporting that NVIDIA has not canned its NV48 graphics chip. The chip is expected to debut in the second quarter of next year and face off against ATI's high-end offerings. Built using 110-nano process tech, NV48 should be cheaper to manufacture than the 130-nano chips that power NVIDIA's current GeForce 6800 series.
  • Twinhan DTV MagicBox and VisionDTV review  - Instead of dropping all your coin on a simple MP3 player, why not get a personal media player that not only plays MP3s, but also plays AVIs, displays pictures and records TV shows! With a 30GB internal hard drive, the Pavio does all that and possibly more.
  • Acer TravelMate 3201XMi - TrustedReviews take a look at the Acer TravelMate 3201XMi which is a fairly well priced Centrino machine with a Moblity Radeon 9700 graphics card and a few other neat features.
  • Corsair XMS Twinx1024-4400C25 1GB DC Kit - The modules themselves are rated for PC4400, 2.5-4-4-8 at 275MHZ. This speed is rated much higher than their older XL series that were sold in PC3200 or PC4000 ratings. These higher guaranteed speeds may be due to the change in PCB and TCCD chips. Previously, Corsair used the JEDEC reference PCB design for the XL series which did not clock as well as the Brainpower PCBs.
  • Nvidia nForce 4 SLI: Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe - It is clear that the Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe is the first and best SLI solution on the market. The power of the nForce 4 chipset gives it a leg up at the beginning. The feature list is long and impressive, and Asus is the king of motherboards by volume.
  • ASUS V9999 Gamer Edition - This card performs very good in all benchmarked games we used and all games can run at a resolution of 1600x1200 without Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering. When you like the image quality over the speed then all games are recommended to run at 1024x768 with Anti-Aliasing at 4x and Anisotropic Filtering at 16x to ensure your frame rates will not drop below the 20 to 30fps, your gaming experience may not be influenced by low frame rates!
  • ATI X850 XT and X800 XL reviews - BeHardware takes a look at the ATI X850 XT and X800 XL video cards
  • ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 Mobile GPU -Adrian's Rojak Pot has posted a review of ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 Mobile GPU.
  • Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 9 160GB HDD - Overall, Maxtor's DiamondMax Plus 9 is a bit of a gamble. Performance is definitely on par with the competition, but it runs warmer, has a short 1 year warranty, and unknown/unlisted platter densities
  • Pioneer DVR-A08XLA 16x DVD±RW  - The DVR-A08XL can write to both DVD+R and DVD-R media at 16x. At this speed, it took the drive less than 7 minutes to write an entire 4.7GB DVD. While a big improvement over Pioneer's 8x DVD±RW, it wasn't nearly as fast as the CAV enabled writers from NEC and MSI. Nevertheless, the DVR-A08XL performed pretty well with other types of recordable media. The drive had no problems holding its own with DVD+RW and DVD-RW media and, thanks to its 4x DVD+R DL writing speed, it took less than 27 minutes to burn an entire 8.5GB DVD.
  • FreeCom DVD+/-RW 16x Double Layer Burner - Xtreme Computing has posted a review of FreeCom DVD+/-RW 16x Double Layer Burner.
  • OvisLink 5-Port SOHO GigaBit Switch - The Ovislink Live Pure Gigabit Switch is really a good product with excellent performance. If you do a lot of file transfers between the computers on your LAN, you might want to consider investing in a Gigabit switch now that the price has come down to a reasonable level. One thing you will need to take into consideration (beyond making sure you have Gigabit NICs or a onboard Gigabit LAN), is that you have at least CAT 5e or better network cabling, regular CAT 5 cable is not rated beyond 100Mb.
  • Epson Stylus Photo 300 photo printer - This is a big printer, almost up to all-in-one dimensions, with a conventional paper path flowing from a 120 sheet, near-vertical tray at the rear, through to a telescopic output tray, which folds down from the front of the machine. At bottom right behind a hinged and sprung acrylic door is a set of memory card slots and a USB port, for connecting either a digital camera supporting PictBridge or an external Zip or CD drive.

GUIDES...

  • Choosing a graphics card, ATI Radeon, Nvidia GeForce? - This is not meant as a War & Peace tome about graphics cards from ATI or Nvidia that are available but as a handy guide to help you make a choice.
  • DDR2 vs. DDR: Revenge Gained - As for recommendations about the choice of memory, all DDR2 SDRAM kits presented in this review deserve your attention, but we would want to specifically mention the PC2 4200 Enhanced Bandwidth Platinum modules from OCZ that feature an excellent speed and overclockability.
  • Mobile GPU Guide - Adrian's Rojak Pot put together a Mobile GPU Comparison Guide for those of you contemplating replacing that desktop with a portable gaming machine.
  • The ABC's and 123's of Firewalls & Ports - How Ports Work To get the most out of online gaming through a secure connection, you have to have some idea of how games communicate over the Internet and how a firewall works. Don't worry; this discussion won't get inaccessibly technical. I'll stick to layman's terms. To start with, let's look at how programs talk to each other over the Internet. All Internet-aware programs communicate with each other through ports. What, exactly, is a port?
  • Cyril's Non-exhaustive Guide to New Hardware Technologies (Part II: New serial technology, PCIe and SATA) - check it out.
  • Hard Drive Crash? The Essential - Your worst nightmare just became a horrifying reality. You keep hearing that little voice in your head mockingly shout "you should have backed that stuff up" The voice keeps echoing throughout your head as you perform a quick inventory all of the important information that you just lost…..your client database, a years worth of e-mail, your entire inventory database, even your family photos.
  • Low-End Buyer's Guide - The goal of this guide is to outline an entire low-end computer system for around $750. This includes the internal hardware, input devices, monitor and speakers. The components we have chosen for this system are what we consider to be good all-around products with the best bang for the buck.
  • Ten to Avoid - The Worst Products of the Year - Every gift guide is the same. Each focuses on the great products you can buy to make Mom, Dad, Sis, or the boss happy. But when you get to the store, they always seem to be out of the best stuff. So you're forced to make compromises and do the best you can out of the dreck that's left. Here are two handfuls of devices to avoid at any cost this holiday season, culled from the worst-scoring products we tested this year.

SOFTWARE...

  • Update for Windows XP Service Pack 2 - After you install Windows XP Service Pack 2, some 1394 devices (such as digital cameras that use S400 speed) may not perform as expected. Install this update to help prevent this issue. A
  • Volume Expansion Using Diskpart.exe - Description of how Microsoft IT regularly uses the Diskpart.exe utility to dynamically increase disk volume capacity on servers running Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Windows 2000 Server. The Diskpart.exe utility extends disk volumes without downtime or application interruption, thereby increasing availability and decreasing costs.
  • WinXP Product Key changer - Lost your Windows XP Product Key? The Product Key Editor allows you to view any Windows XP Product Key instantly. Filled in the incorrect key, the Product Key Editor will allow you to change any Volume License Product Key. Unlike other Product Key applications, Product Key Editor works with Windows Service Pack 2.
  • PHP 5.0.3 and 4.3.10 final version - The PHP Group has released the final versions of the next PHP 4.x and 5.x releases. If you missed it last week, I strongly recommend you to upgrade.
  • OpenOffice 2.0 Preview Release - A preview release of OpenOffice.org 2.0 (check this preview @ TheInquirer) was released, which has new features like better MS-Office compatibility, an Access-like program and a more.
  • The GIMP 2.2.0 - The GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software suitable for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.
  • Paint.NET v2.0 - Paint.NET is image and photo manipulation software designed to be used on computers that run Windows XP. Paint.NET is jointly developed at Washington State University with additional help from Microsoft, and is meant to be a free replacement for the MS Paint software that comes with all Windows operating systems. The programming language used to create Paint.NET is C#, with GDI+ extensions.
  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus Personal 5.0.227 - download.
  • A-Ray Scanner 2.0.1.2 - A-Ray Scanner is new protection scanner. It is able to detect many new protections such as StarForce, TAGES, SafeDisc, Securom, ProtectCD, Slovak Protector and many others.
  • Trillian 3.0 Final Build 966 - The multi-network Trillian IM client (download) allows you to seamlessly integrate all of your communications traffic in a single, sleek package. Some of the features in this version: Basic Messaging with AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, Jabber, LAN, Mobile Messaging, File Transfer, Mail Notification, Group Conferences, Videochat, SecureIM and many many more features to enjoy in this brand new release.
  • Mozilla 1.7.5 - Mozilla is an open-source web browser, designed for standards compliance, performance and portability.
    Mozilla.org coordinates the development and testing of the browser by providing discussion forums, software engineering tools, releases and bug tracking.
  • PowerStrip 3.56 - PowerStrip 3.56 provides advanced, multi-monitor, programmable hardware support to a wide range of graphics cards .
  • ASUS SmartDoctor 4.60 - ASUS SmartDoctor is designed to satisfy two major goals. One is to monitor graphic chip Status, altering users about abnormal events, such as fan malfunction or chip overheat.
  • AMD N-Bench 3.1 - N-Bench is a CPU Benchmark program, developed by AMD, that is capable of displaying 3D graphics. It consists of a "Demo mode" that plays back beautiful 3DCG movies and a "Benchmark mode" that measures CPU performance
  • Hack the Catalyst and Find a SM3 Chip - If you use a disassembler with the "ati3duag.dll" you can find code that set the DX Caps for a SM3 chip. VS: 3.0 with 1024 slots (NV40: 544) and only pointsampling (like NV40) / PS: 3.0 with 512 slots (NV40: 4096) (thanks manik)
  • AMD Athlon 64 Processor Driver v1.1.0.18 for Windows XP - AMD Athlon 64 Processor Driver for Windows XP allows the system to automatically adjust the CPU speed, voltage and power combination that match the instantaneous user performance need. Download this Setup Installation program (EXE) to automatically update all the files necessary for installation. This package is recommended for users whom desire a graphical user interface for installation. This .EXE driver is a user friendly.
  • Realtek RTL8139(A/B/C/D/8130)/810X Series Drivers - Realtek have released new Drivers for the RTL8139 (A/B/C/D/8130)/810X series, version 6.20 for windows 98/ME/ 2000/XP! Dated 2004/12/17.
  • Realtek ALC AC97 Audio Driver 3.67 WHQL  - This driver supports all ALC series audio chipsets from ALC100 up to ALC861. It is used as onboard sound on many motherboards.
 Gameguru Mania News - Dec,17 2004 - tech
Friday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 11:37 AM EST - Dec,17 2004 - Post a comment / read (2)

SECURITY...

  • Internet Explorer DHTML Edit ActiveX Control Cross-Site Scripting - Greyhats' Paul has discovered a vulnerability in Internet Explorer (example), which can be exploited by malicious people to conduct cross-site scripting attacks. The vulnerability is caused due to an error in the DHTML Edit ActiveX control when handling the "execScript()" function in certain situations. This can be exploited to execute arbitrary script code in a user's browser session in context of an arbitrary site. The vulnerability has been confirmed on a fully patched system with Internet Explorer 6.0 and Microsoft Windows XP SP1/SP2.
  • Microsoft Fixes "Critical" XP Firewall Issue - As I mentioned earlier, Microsoft has quietly released an update to Windows XP to fix a potentially serious configuration problem in the firewall that ships as part of Windows XP Service Pack 2. Users who installed SP2 on their Windows XP machines and also have file and printer sharing enabled may have been sharing their files and printers with the entire Internet, according to Microsoft. By default, file and printer sharing makes changes to the SP2 firewall to give computers on the "local network" access to shared resources. However, the definition of that local network depends on the Internet service provider. In some cases, especially with dial-up ISPs, it meant the entire Internet, according to Microsoft
  • Microsoft Download Notifications - Stay up-to-date with the latest updates, additions, trial software, service packs, and more from the Microsoft Download Center.
  • Christmas card virus hits one in 10 emails - The Zafi-D worm (W32/Zafi-D), discovered earlier this week posing as a Christmas greeting, is spreading rapidly around the world. IT security experts have reported that the virus is currently accounting for around three-quarters of all virus reports, with some estimates suggesting that the infection is present in as many as one in 10 emails.
  • Students uncover dozens of Unix software flaws - Students have found some 44 security flaws in various Unix applications, according to a list of advisories posted online. The flaws, which range from minor slipups in rarely used applications to more serious vulnerabilities in software that ships with most versions of the Linux operating system, were found as part of Bernstein's graduate-level course at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
  • Sony to start copy-protecting US CD releases from early 2005 - Sony is set to start copy-protecting its music CDs early next year following experiments with an anti-copy technology by First 4 Internet. They have successfully used this technology on recent prerelease discs. Sony has been aiming to copy protect all its music for quite a while now, but have decided against it until they got a solution that is compatible with all playback equipment.

OFF-TOPIC...

  • Bill Gates Answers Most Frequently Asked Questions - Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates answers the questions he is asked most frequently, including the secret to his success.
  • Car self-destructs in assassination bid -  A middle-aged Frenchman has become the latest victim of murderous technology after his car exploded as he activated the central locking system. The unnamed victim from Valenciennes used his electronic key to unlock the vehicle, at which point a spark from the security system ignited leaked gas from cylinders the man had rather ill-advisedly stored in the boot. The car was completely totalled in the blast, while the flying Frenchman as whisked to hospital with facial injuries.
  • Major Climate Change Occurred 5,200 Years Ago - A professor of geological sciences at Ohio State and a researcher with the Byrd Polar Research Center, Thompson points to markers in numerous records suggesting that the climate was altered suddenly some 5,200 years ago with severe impacts.
  • Pfizer Celebrex Trial Stopped After Heart Attacks - Pfizer Inc. on Friday said patients taking its blockbuster arthritis drug Celebrex (homepage) in a long-term cancer-prevention trial had more than twice the number of fatal or non-fatal heart attacks as those taking a placebo. In related news, Dining regularly on a "Polymeal", devised with ingredients to boost the health of the heart and blood vessels, could cut the risk of cardiovascular disease by more than three-quarters, researchers claim. They say feasting on fish, garlic, almonds, fruits and vegetables, dark chocolate, all polished off with a glass of wine could substantially reduce the risk of problems such as heart attack when compared with the general population.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Symantec to buy Veritas for $13.5 billion - In a long-rumored move, security software maker Symantec said Thursday that it will buy storage specialist Veritas Software in a deal worth roughly $13.5 billion.
  • iTunes Music Store Downloads Top 200 Million Songs - Apple today announced that music fans have purchased and downloaded more than 200 million songs from the iTunes Music Store. The 200 millionth song was part of "The Complete U2" and was purchased by Ryan Alekman from Belchertown, MA. iTunes has made it easy to give the gift of music this holiday season with iTunes prepaid cards that are available from retailers like Amazon.com, Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, Kroger, RadioShack, 7-Eleven, Target, as well as Apple's online store and Apple's retail stores and offer $15 or $25 of music on the iTunes Music Store.
  • Microsoft Acquires Anti-Spyware Leader GIANT Company - Microsoft today announced that it has acquired GIANT Company Software Inc., a provider of top-rated anti-spyware and Internet security products. Microsoft will use intellectual property and technology assets from the acquisition to provide Microsoft Windows customers with new tools to help protect them from the threat of spyware and other deceptive software. In addition, key personnel from GIANT Company will be joining Microsoft's security efforts.
  • Multicore Chips May Push Intel Off Its Bus - As Intel moves in step with the rest of the chip industry toward the multicore design era, it is preparing to overhaul the memory bus architecture that has served it well for so many years, according to company executives and analysts. Multicore processor designs are considered the solution to the performance scaling problem brought on by increased amounts of power leakage in modern chips. Transistors are now so small that increasing a chip's frequency, and therefore the amount of power it consumes, is not the simple exercise that kept companies like Intel going for many years.
  • Nanotech Brings Cheap Flat TVs From Diamond Dust - Nanotech scientists are going to develop new TV display technology made from diamond dust. It opens up the possibility of cheaper and more power efficient flat panel displays, for use in wide screen digital TVs and many other applications.
  • NEC develops prototype hybrid CD/DVD/HD-DVD drive - According to this UK website, the NEC engineers have created a prototype optical disc drive that supports the new HD-DVD format and is also compatible with exsiting CD and DVD formats. The three-format drive supports playback of read-only (ROM) and rewritable versions (RW) of HD-DVD and read-only, write-once (R) and RW versions of CDs and DVDs.
  • Nokia hologram to expose fake, unsafe batteries - Nokia has begun applying a holographic sticker to its mobile phone batteries in a bid to prevent fake power packs being inadvertently purchased as the real thing. The mobile phone giant is pitching the move as a safety matter rather, though it's clearly just as interested in winning back the revenue lost to other battery suppliers.

HARDWARE...

  • Intel 'to cut' Celeron D, Grantsdale prices - Intel will prune the prices of its Celeron D processors and 915-class chipsets next year, reports coming out of Taiwan claim. The Celeron D cuts will take place on Sunday, 20 February 2005, and see up to 13.6 per cent. The cuts target the 325, 330, 335, 340 and 345 chips, in both their regular forms and the 'J" variants with Execute Disable Bit support. The price of the 345 will fall from $127 to $117, the 340 from $117 to $103, the 335 from $103 to $89, the 330 from $83 to $79, and the 325 from $79 to 73, the reports say.
  • PCI Express to Get 5GHz Speed in 2007 - The PCI-SIG, the Special Interest Group responsible for PCI Express architecture, announced that the data rate for the next planned revision of the PCI Express specification will be 5GHz, which is two times higher compared to today's 2.50GHz speed. The new spec will be finalized in the second half of 2005 with actual products shipping in 2007.
  • 6800 STD/GT/Ultra PCIe almost unavailable - Most of PCIe SLI slots got filled with 6600GT cards which are really highly available at the moment. Most of people in most parts of the world could not buy any 6800GT or slower cards. I can not recall that anyone said that it bought 6800 Ultra PCIe card. I saw 6800GT PCIe in Scan.co.uk shop but it costs £383.05. At current exchange rate that is exactly $744.32. So much about $399 price.
  • Gigabyte creates dual-GPU graphics card - Gigabyte will announce Friday a graphics card running two graphics processors on one board. According to sources, the SLI card will lift current 3DMark2003 record levels by a significant margin while being priced lower than ATI's and Nvidia's single-GPU high-end cards.
  • Ultima Electronics unveils portable TV/DVD player - The Artec T2 Happy Go is only 870 grams in weight and sports a seven-inch 16:9 LCD display. In addition, there is automatic search for digital-video broadcasting-terrestrial (DVB-T) channels; reception of analog TV and FM radio channels; and DVD-player functions with stable high-definition display of high-speed motion. The unit also utilizes DigiDeep (digital deep) Integration (DDI) technology and built-in Dolby Digital surround sound.
  • Four Socket 939 Motherboards Shootout - Overclockers New Zealand compared four socket 939 motherboards from Asus, Gigabyte, MSI, and Soltek
  • nVidia GeForce 6600GT goes AGP - TweakTown take a look at the AGP version of their 6600GT graphics card.
  • Gigabyte GV-NX66T128D GeForce 6600GT - PC Stats has posted a review of Gigabyte GV-NX66T128D GeForce 6600GT videocard.
  • Single Drive and RAID 0 SATA NCQ Performance with Seagate's Barracuda 7200.7 - Bjorn3D's Chad has spent some time testing some of Seagate's NCQ drives to see if there is a performance difference: "For people with a motherboard based on Intel's 915 or 925 Express chipsets who want to maximize their system's performance, I would definitely recommend taking advantage of the native NCQ capability of their system by pairing it with an NCQ-capable drive or, better yet, multiple drives configured in a RAID array. "
  • Seagate's Barracuda 7200.7 NCQ hard drive - Although Native Command Queuing is most definitely an elegant and intelligent way to minimize the impact of a hard drive's mechanical latency, our test results show that better performance certainly isn't guaranteed with the Barracuda 7200.7 NCQ and Promise's FastTrak TX4200. The best applications for NCQ are undoubtedly the kinds of multi-user environments that IOMeter simulates. With an increasing number of concurrent I/O requests to read or write data from different areas of a disk, command queuing's optimized request rescheduling really shines. NCQ also scales better with lower I/O loads than Western Digital's Tagged Command Queuing, whose CPU utilization is also much, much higher.
  • 16x DVD Writer Group Test - All the drives on test are also Dual Layer compatible, so you'll be able to burn to 8.5GB discs if you can afford them. However, despite the fact that Dual Layer burners have been around for a while, only one of the drives was able to write to Dual Layer media at 4x instead of the excruciatingly slow 2.4x standard. So, if you're thinking of asking Santa for a new DVD writer this Christmas, read on to find out which one makes the best stocking filler.
  • NEC SpectraView 1980 high-end 19 in TFT monitor - First of all, the SpectraView 1980 is actually an S-IPS (In Plane Switching) TFT MultiSync 1980SXi that has undergone the SpectraView treatment. Many of our readers will also instantly recognise NEC/Mitsubishi's angular design that we saw in the both the 2080UX+ and the 2180UX models we've reviewed. Personally, I like the overall industrial look of these monitors but I know that some will prefer monitors with smoother lines. Of course, it's largely down to personal preference, but what you can't argue with is the range of adjustability that these monitors offer.
  • Cooler Master Aquagate Liquid Cooling System review - The Cooler Master Aquagate Liquid Cooling System is indeed one of the most innovative watercooling unit at the moment. There is no other all-in-one watercooling unit like it in terms of versatility, flexibility and looks. Its ease of installation will be a main attraction to those thinking of watercooling but just couldn't be bothered with DIY kits. No matter what type of case you have, the Aquagate will always have a place in your system, internally or externally.
  • Digital Concepts CompactFlash Card Reader review - The reader itself is nothing special: a silver plastic case with a good grip and a label up front. It's a single piece so if you have to get it open for some reason, you'll have to pry it apart. There's also a green power LED. The light doesn't blink or change colors; it remains on as long as the reader has power, regardless of whether a card is inserted and/or is being read from/written to.

SOFTWARE...

  • Microsoft ChristmasTheme 2004 - MS's christmas desktop theme with new wallpaper, animated cursors, new icons, new sounds and a 3D screensaver.
  • Spybot Search and Destroy Detection Update 2004-12-17 - Update your Spybot S&D detections without the need for the included WebUpdate.
  • PHP 5.0.3 and 4.3.10 final - The PHP Group has released the final versions of the next PHP 4.x and 5.x releases.
  • SpeedFan 4.18 - SpeedFan is a freeware program that monitors fan speeds, temperatures and voltages in computers with hardware monitoring chips. SpeedFan can even access S.M.A.R.T. info for those hard disks that support this feature and show hard disk temperatures too, if supported
  • Bart's PE builder v3.1.0 released - Bart's PE Builder helps you build a "BartPE" (Bart Preinstalled Environment) bootable Windows CD-Rom or DVD from the original Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 installation/setup CD, very suitable for PC maintenance tasks. This new version features completely new user interface, removed the resource limits (user resources limit & 24 hour time limit), adds new (easy) way of adding storage and network drivers, CD burning, slipstream dialog that helps less advanced users to slipstream, etc.
  • PhotoDVD, DivxToDVD and CopyToDVD updated - VSO Software has updated its CopyToDVD, VSO DivxToDVD and PhotoDVD software. CopyToDVD v3.0.39 adds more video format for dvd video conversion, copyright detection bypassed on non-removable support, DivxToDVD v0.3 improves support for mpeg4, nerodigital, aac, H264, H263, mov. and PhotoDVD 0.9.93 adds some languages, fixes some audio relative problems and some movie duration calculation.
  • The NTToolkit 1.70 - The NTToolkit is a set of small and useful utilities designed to help network administrators with their daily administrative tasks. The NTToolkit is freeware and constantly under development.
  • HostsMan 1.1.1 - HostsMan is a freeware application that lets you manage your Hosts file with ease. Features: nable/disable usage of hosts file, open Hosts file with one click, prevent other programs of writing to the hosts, scan hosts for errors, easily replace all 127.0.0.1 with 0.0.0.0 (and vice-versa), find how many host names, easily install newly downloaded hosts file, create encrypted backups of your hosts file.
  • Ethereal 0.10.8 - Ethereal is used by network professionals around the world for troubleshooting, analysis, software and protocol development, and education. It has all of the standard features you would expect in a protocol analyzer, and several features not seen in any other product. Its open source license allows talented experts in the networking community to add enhancements. It runs on all popular computing platforms, including Unix, Linux, and Windows.
  • ATI Optimized Driver 64bit V0.1 Beta - This driver is created by ATI and modified by TechConnect Magazine, they designed this driver to provide the maximum performance and Quality.
 Gameguru Mania News - Dec,15 2004 - tech
Evening Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 06:33 PM EST - Dec,15 2004 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • [!] Microsoft Issues New Security Updates - Microsoft has released 5 new security-focused updates for NT-Based operating systems, including Windows 2000 and Windows XP. All updates are labeled as "Important", and should be applied as soon as possible. 3 Updates are applicable to users of Windows XP SP2. Here are links: Vulnerability in WordPad Could Allow Code Execution || Vulnerability in DHCP Could Allow Remote Code Execution and Denial of Service (NT4 Only) || Vulnerability in HyperTerminal Could Allow Code Execution || Vulnerabilities in Windows Kernel and LSASS Could Allow Elevation of Privilege || Vulnerability in WINS Could Allow Remote Code Execution (XP/2000 Not Effected)
  • [!] Microsoft Windows XP SP2 "Windows Firewall" Critical Update - This update helps narrow the definition of the My network, or local subnet, restriction option in the Windows Firewall. This is helpful in situations where the Windows Firewall would consider a large network to be on the local subnet because of how the dial-up software configured the route tables. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer.
  • Zafi Worm Hides Behind Christmas Cheer -  A new version of the Zafi e-mail worm is spreading Christmas wishes along with its malicious code, according to antivirus software companies. Zafi.D is a mass-mailing worm that arrives in a .zip file attached to e-mail messages with the subject "Merry Christmas." Instead of a gift, however, the e-mail package delivers worm code that infects Microsoft Windows systems on which it is opened.
  • Default Administrative Password in Cisco Guard and Traffic Anomaly Detector - The Cisco Guard and Cisco Traffic Anomaly Detector software contains a default password for an administrative account. This password is set, without any user's intervention, during installation of the software used by the Cisco Guard and Traffic Anomaly Detector Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) mitigation appliances, and is the same in all installations of the product.
  • Bugs Bring New Dangers to Acrobat Users - Adobe Systems Inc. has warned of two serious security flaws affecting Windows, Mac OS X and Unix versions of its Acrobat software. The bugs could allow an attacker to execute malicious code on a user's system via a PDF file distributed via e-mail, according to security researchers. The first flaw affects Version 6.0.2 of Acrobat Reader, according to an advisory posted to the Bugtraq mailing list by security research firm iDefense, which discovered both bugs. Reader incorrectly parses the .etd files used in eBook transactions so that an .etd file containing special code in the "title" or "baseurl" fields can cause an invalid memory access. (update to 6.0.3)
  • MPAA targets core BitTorrent, eDonkey users - The Motion Picture Association of America launched a new legal campaign Tuesday targeting the BitTorrent and eDonkey file-swapping networks, two technologies widely used to trade movies online. Ratcheting up its previous online antipiracy efforts, the Hollywood group is working with law enforcement agencies in the United States and Europe to target and arrest individuals who play a critical role in the functioning of each type of network. Criminal actions have already been filed in Europe, including the seizure of seven Net-connected servers, with their operator still wanted by French police, a representative of the French government said. In related news,  Police in Finland have raided the operations of a popular BitTorrent file download site, seizing equipment and arresting four people who ran the site. Around 30 volunteers who helped moderate the site were also arrested. Police say the site had 10,000 users, all Finnish, who downloaded illegally-copied content worth millions of euros.
  • Lowe's Hardware Hacker Gets Nine Years - One of three Michigan men who hacked into the national computer system of Lowe's hardware stores and tried to steal customers' credit card information was sentenced Wednesday to nine years in federal prison
  • Lawsuit filed to prohibit copyright protection of software - Computer software should not be protected by copyright laws designed for music, literature and other creative works, according to a lawsuit filed in a U.S. court in San Francisco. Intellectual-property consultant Greg Aharonian hopes to convince the court that software makers can protect their products adequately through patents, which provide more comprehensive protection, but are difficult to obtain and expire in a shorter period of time.
  • Apple fights RealNetworks' "hacker tactics" - Apple Computer has quietly updated its iPod software so that songs purchased from RealNetworks' online music store will no longer play on some of the Mac maker's popular MP3 players. The move could render tunes purchased by many iPod owners unplayable on their music players. For the last four months, RealNetworks has marketed its music store as the only Apple rival compatible with the iPod, following the company's discovery of a way to let its customers play their downloaded tunes on Apple's MP3 player.

OFF-TOPIC...

  • 22-year-old gamer paid $26,500 for virtual island - Project Entropia announced twenty-two year old Australian, Deathifier from the Dark Knights society, as the savvy winner of this historic auction for virtual real estate. The auction began taking bids in late August and ran through the month of December accepting offers from around the world in a race to claim an extensively rendered virtual treasure island. Bidding ended at an astonishing amount of $26,500 US the largest amount ever spent in the massive multiplayer online gaming space.
  • Crocodile Bite video - There's a 1.3 MB WMV video clip of a crocodile biting someone bigtime!
  • SNFG - Some Nice Flash Games - Snowball Defender (arcanoid), Reflex (remake of a great puzzle game called Reflexion)
  • Sucker video - It happens all the time at bars, clubs and parties across the land, even more so at this time of year. Gorgeous looking women! check it out!

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Microsoft MSN Explorer QFE Beta - Microsoft MSN Butterfly beta testers will shortly start testing the next revision of the MSN Explorer software. Rumoured as MSN Explorer 9.20 there will be minor changes and the addition of features like PhotoMail. PhotoMail allows you to embed images into your email and annotate them, apply effects to them etc just like you would in Microsoft Word. MSN Beta testers will be receiving the MSN Explorer Beta CD shortly and it's expected that the beta will run until the end of Q1 2005.
  • Nintendo to Bring Music, Video to DS Game Machine - Nintendo will begin selling an adaptor for its DS and GBA handheld game players to allow them to play music and video, the company said, matching a popular feature on Sony's portable game machine. The DS, which by itself is strictly a game device, will be able to play video in the MPEG-4 format and songs in the MP3 format by inserting a memory card into the adaptor, which is plugged into a slot in the machine.
  • NEC, Toshiba Claim Memory Breakthrough - Flash memory is currently favored for portable devices and memory cards because it retains data after a device is switched off. Several companies, including NEC and Toshiba, are developing a type of memory called MRAM (magnetorestitive RAM) that uses magnetic fields to store data. MRAM can retain data when switched off, and can also recall data faster, work longer, and potentially be produced at a lower cost than flash memory, according to its proponents. MRAM could replace flash and DRAM (dynamic RAM) by as early as 2010, its backers say, but only if certain technical problems are solved first.

HARDWARE...

  • ASUSTeK Ships VIA K8T890 Mainboards - After some misunderstandings between ASUS' divisions, the company has started to actually ship its first A8V-E Deluxe mainboard based on VIA's K8T890 core-logic, creating some choice on the market for those, looking for PCI Express-supporting mainboards for AMD64 processors.
  • Fujitsu Intros Innovative 100GB HDD for Mobiles - The new Fujitsu MHV2100AH 2.5" drive offers 100GB capacity with 5400rpm functionality giving users more performance compared to 4200rpm hard disk drives, but with low power consumption increasing the time that users can spend away from an outlet. The MHV2100AH hard disk drive consumes only 1.9W when writing; 0.6W in idle; about 2.6 bels of noise; can survive 300G/2ms operating shock; 900G/1ms non-operating shock and 1.5ms track-to-track seek time.
    Dual Xeon Sweetness Unwrapped, The Asus PC-DL Deluxe - Whether you're looking for a fast, stable platform to run at stock speeds or if you want to overclock like crazy the Asus PC-DL Deluxe would be a good choice. The BIOS limitations are the only real detriment to this board and those are easy enough to overcome with a little time and effort.
  • Wireless HD Enclosure - The WL-HDD2.5 will change your perception on data storage. This latest hard disk drive box enables wireless file sharing through 802.11g OFDM technology, enabling fast data transfer at 54Mbps. It is also backwards compatible with 802.11b devices and can be adopted in wired environments as well.
  • [!] NVIDIA's GeForce 6200 with TurboCache - The relatively weak performance of the GeForce 6200 with 32-bit/16MB TurboCache demonstrates that the TurboCache scheme isn't magic. NVIDIA isn't quite as able to mask system memory access latencies as one might hope, and bandwidth pressure isn't dramatically relieved by pixel shaders in today's games. Another reviews can be found on AnandTech, bit-tech, Gamers-Depot, Hexus.net, HotHardware, TGH (overview only) and Planet 3DNow!.
  • Taking SLI and X850 XT PE to Bloodline  - HEXUS.net has compared a SLI system from Scan Internation, and a HEXUS built rig featuring a Radeon X850XT PE.
  • Albatron GeForce 6800 GT - If you are looking for a video card for the holidays, you should definitely take a look at the Albatron 6800 GT. When push comes to shove, it performs like a champ and can hold its own against just about anything you throw at it.
  • Nvidia Geforce 6600GT AGP - For the extra AU$100 or so, the 6800 will give you better performance, but the 6600GT still showcases impressive results for its price range. AGP users right now looking for an upgrade from their older MX/5200/9600 etc series videocards are far better off buying the best value option available as a move to PCI-Express could be in store shortly down the track, and the 6600GT AGP seems to offer plenty of value.
  • eVGA NVIDIA GeForce 6600 GT SLI - So now that you have seen the numbers and graphs is SLI worth the extra $200 video card? Right now I would say no simply because drivers aren't there yet. I would however suggest that if you want to upgrade PCI-Express with an SLI option would be an extremely wise choice.
  • Seagate Barracuda 160GB Sata internal 7200rpm HDD - Xtreme Computing has posted a review on the Seagate Barracuda 160GB Sata internal 7200rpm Hard Drive
  • LG GSA-4163B 16x All-Format DVD Writer - With the LG GSA-4163B, you'll enjoy the latest and fastest DVD rewritable speeds, in addition to great compatibility with all the major DVD formats available right now. It's basically a future proof product that is very worthy of your investment and with a competitive price tag of just S$149, the GSA-4163B has just the right set of qualities in both features and price for anyone who is looking for an all-rounder DVD writer.
  • Cooler Master Real Power RS-450-ACLY Power Supply - The Cooler Master Real Power RS-450-ACLY power supply has some laudable strengths. General power delivery capacity, stable line voltage regulation, and very high efficiency are among them. Its performance with those parameters is excellent. The "Human Computer Interface" power meter really is little more than a selling gimmick, but it tells something. Just keep in mind that it reads AC input wattage, always a bit too high. The DC power consumed by your components is at least 30% less.
  • Altec Lansing inMotion iM3 Portable Audio System - Falling in line with other iPod aftermarketers, Altec have struck upon a stylish and effective design for external speakers. And this isn't their only design; two other Altec Lansing inMotion portable audio systems can be found at their website.
  • Samsung SC-D107 digital camcorder - The SC-D107 ($400) is the top line camcorder in the series. Some of its many features include a 20x optical zoom lens (digital zoom to 900x) with image stabilizer, 3½" rotating LCD and color viewfinder, low-light recording settings, built-in video light, 4-in-1 memory card slot, and MPEG4 recording. All this is packed into a sleek, compact MiniDV camcorder that doubles as a digital still camera.

GUIDES...

  • PC buyer's guide Christmas 2004 edition - So you've managed to scrape together some money and ready for a new PC? Well then here is your guide! Whether low end or high end, find a guid to build a computer for the likes of Half-Life 2 and Doom III. This is a guide to putting together a complete computer, which means speakers, keyboard, mouse and monitor are included.
  • ATI Catalyst 4.12 Performance Analysis - TweakTown compared these new drivers with their normal array of benchmark.
  • 10 Golden tips for secure online shopping - TCMagazine has compiled 10 golden tips (the link seems to be temporary dead) for safe shoppin on the internet.

SOFTWARE...

  • HijackThis 1.99 Final - HijackThis is a general homepage hijackers detector and remover.
  • VirtualDub 1.6.2 - VirtualDub (changelist ~ download) is a video capture and processing program. It features fast capturing, process files larger than the 2 gigabyte limit, optimized for linear editing, support for Motion-JPEG, MPEG-1 video and layer 3 audio, real-time and near-realtime video processing, video job queues, and much more.
  • Nic's XviD Codec Build 14.12.2004 - A new build of XviD is available - download.
  • SPFDisk (Special Fdisk) Partition Manager - It's basically like fdisk but has more options, and is more user friendly.
  • FreshUI 7.25 - Fresh UI is  free Windows tweaking tool. This new version adds hidden options for Explorer Search Settings section. Just install it over the old version.
  • CPUFSB 2.2.15 - It is for changing the FrontSideBus only - download.
  • NVTweak (formerly Coolbits) 1.6.1 - NVTweak (formerly Coolbits) unlocks many extra options in the NVIDIA control panel/driver, including but not limited to - Overclocking, AGP & Hardware settings, Fan control, Temperature settings, Debugging, Twin View, Video Mixing Renderer, OpenGL 2.0 support, 3D viewer types (for 3D Stereo drivers), and more.
  • ATI Catalyst Beta 3 driver package for Win XP 64 and AMD64 - ATI released the third beta driver for the 64-bit version of Microsoft's Windows XP operating system. The new driver supports the Radeon X800, X700, X600, X300, 9800, 9700 Pro, 9600TX, 9550 and 9500 series.
  • Adobe Acrobat 6.0.3 update - This update addresses several potential vulnerabilities in Adobe Acrobat Professional and Standard versions 6.0.0-6.0.2. Note that currently there are no known malicious exploits of these vulnerabilities.
  • Plextor PX-716a Firmware v1.02 - This new firmware improves write quality on DVD media, write quality at 12X on some 8X rated media and performance to execute AutoStratagy.
  • ForceWare 67.22 Win2000/XP - This ForceWare driver has revision build 67.22. At least GeForce series 6 has a WHQL tag (Microsoft tested and approved). It was posted as a driver for NVIDIA's targeted at the professional Quadro series; yet after inspecting the .inf entries in the driver we can see that it supports all regular GeForce graphics cards.
  • Latest Bios updates - TC Mag have poted the latest BIOS updates listed by brand.
 Gameguru Mania News - Dec,13 2004 - tech
ATI CATALYST Drivers v4.12 - tech
(hx) 08:37 PM EST - Dec,13 2004 - Post a comment
ATI has released a new ATI Catalyst drivers (release notes ~ download) bringing them up to version 4.12. The package contains: RADEON display driver 8.082, Multimedia Center 9.03, Catalyst Control Center 4.12 (requires .NET Version 1.1 Framework), HydraVision 3.25.0006, HydraVision Basic Edition 3.25.9006, Remote Wonder 2.5.1 and WDM version 4.07 and Southbridge/IXP Driver.
 Issues Resolved in the CATALYST Software Suite Version 4.12:
  • Half-Life 2: Playing the game on a system containing an Athlon XP CPU no longer results in missing textures occationally being noticed
  • Half-Life 2: Intermittent psychedelic patterns are no longer seen when playing the game under Windows XP
  • CounterStrike: Playing the game under Windows XP with an ATI RADEON X800 series installed no longer results in display corruption being seen in the floor in de_chateau map
  • Doom 3: Playing the game under Windows XP with an ATI RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition no longer results in display corruption being seen when pressing CTRL+Alt+Delete followed by clicking Cancel
  • Everquest: Playing the game under Windows XP with an ATI RADEON X800 XT Platinum Edition installed results in the game displaying a black screen when setting the texture quality to high and having all radio buttons selected
  • Medal of Honor: Pacific Assault: Setting the model detail to high and change the game resolution to high no longer results in the game failing to respond under Windows XP with an ATI RADEON X800 series installed
  • Tron2.0: Setting the display device resolution to 1280x1024 32bpp and setting the display option for the game to 800x600 32bpp no longer results in display corruption being seen in the game cinematics
  • Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic: Playing the game under Windows XP with an ATI RADEON X800 series installed no longer results in triple buffering failing when enabling the option in the CATALYST CONTROL CENTER
  • Attempting to rotate the display 90 degrees and play an OpenGL game under Windows XP may result in the game failing to launch
  • Enabling clone mode along with theatre mode option under overlay no longer results in WinDVD and the operating system failing to respond when dragging the WinDVD window around the desktop
  • Display corruption is no longer noticed when playing a DVD using WinDVD and having subtitles enabled under Windows XP with an ATI RADEON X800 series installed
  • Attempting to make a change to a saved profile within the CATALYST CONTROL CENTER no longer results in the Save button being greyed out
  • Connecting a secondary CRT and clicking the X button to close the Enable this display window found in the CATALYST CONTROL CENTER Advanced view, no longer results in the window not closing
  • Muting the audio during the playback of full screen HDTV video under Windows Media Center Edition no longer results in the video being paused
  • Angle information in the rotation modes is now correct for the CATALYST CONTROL CENTER
  • Enabling Overscan under Windows XP with an ATI ALL-IN-WONDER 9600 installed no longer results in the image not being centered properly on the display device
  • Connecting a secondary CRT display device and extending the desktop, followed by unplugging the secondary device and hot-plugging a DFP device no longer results in the DFP remaining in the Additional display area when attempting to swap devices
  • The Windows desktop brightness no longer dims when playing a DVD and having an HDTV connected as the primary display device
  • Playing a DVD under Windows XP MCE with an ATI RADEON X800 XT installed no longer results in VPU Recover being activated when attempting to drag or resize the Media Center window
  • An error message is no longer displayed when attempting to switch a secondary display device back to the primary display device when using the CATALYST CONTROL CENTER
Monday Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 08:29 PM EST - Dec,13 2004 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Congress Fails to Act on Copyright Bills - The U.S. Congress passed a telecommunications bill in the final hours of the 2004 session, but some groups praised lawmakers for failing to act on legislation that would create new penalties for copyright violations. The Senate failed to act on the Cooperative Research and Technology Enhancement (CREATE) Act, a bill passed by the House of Representatives in March. The bill, a combination of other copyright legislation introduced in the House, included prison sentences of three to 10 years for the electronic distribution of copyrighted works worth more than $1000. The prison sentences could be imposed for willful violations or, in some cases, the distribution of more than 1000 copies of a copyrighted work.
  • Australian Police Given Power To Use Spyware - Federal and state police now have the power to use computer spyware to gather evidence in a broad range of investigations after legal changes last week. The Surveillance Devices Act allows police to obtain a warrant to use software surveillance technologies, including systems that track and log keystrokes on a computer keyboard. The law applies to the Australian Federal Police and to state police investigating Commonwealth offences. Critics have called the law rushed and imbalanced, saying police will be able to secretly install software to monitor email, online chats, word processor and spreadsheets entries and even bank personal identification numbers and passwords.
  • Foundry Adds SSL, Web Accelerators to Switching Line - Foundry Networks on Monday refreshed its Layer 4 through Layer 7 switching line with new application acceleration, security and business continuity enhancements. The new ServerIronSA Series devices include four new SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and Web accelerators that don't sacrifice the performance of non-SSL traffic and that boost WAN bandwidth utilization through compression, according to Gopala Tumuluri, product line manager in San Jose.
  • MSIE User's Authentication Details (userid/password) Issue - When IE is configured to access internet using proxy, the user's authentication details are cached locally without IE prompting the user. Even though the "save my password" option is not checked, the user's proxy authentication details are cached locally without the user's knowledge.
  • NetWare Screensaver Auth. Bypass From The Local Console - Novacoast has discovered a vulnerability in the Novell NetWare Operating System screen saver software. The vulnerability allows a local attacker to bypass authentication and access the system console.
  • Winamp 5.07 Remote Crash - There is a vuln in winamp's handling of .mp4 and .m4a files. Which when exploited can remotly crash the victims winamp. The vuln lies in the .mp4 tagging system which winamp uses.If you use winamps built in feature to edit the tags on .mp4 or .m4a files and insert any data in there the next time the file is opened it will instantly crash winamp.
  • Symantec LiveUpdate Vulnerability - Vulnerable versions of the Symantec Automatic LiveUpdate are initially launched at startup and were being assigned Local System privileges. During the period when an interactive LiveUpdate session is available, and only during this session, a non-privileged user could potentially manipulate portions of the LiveUpdate GUI Internet options configuration functionality to gain elevated privilege on the local host. For example, the non-privileged user could gain privileges to search and edit all system files, assume full permission for directories and files on the host, or create new user accounts on the local system..

OFF-TOPIC...

  • Gates gives $42.6 million to fight malaria - Combating malaria has been one of the primary goals of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and its latest gift of $42.6 million will fund a nonprofit drug company's high-tech take on an ancient Chinese remedy
  • Allen Institute Debuts 'Google for Gene Activity' - The Allen Institute for Brain Science (AIBS) has released its first dataset of gene expression data in the brain for nearly 2,000 mouse genes - the first public release of the Allen Brain Atlas initiative.
  • Dutch "anti-social" net reality show cancelled - An experiment with a Dutch internet Big Brother reality show, which was to unveil the unorthodox lifestyle of an Amsterdam low income family, has ended after just two weeks. Not enough advertisers were prepared to sponsor the controversial show, which was produced by Dutch portal Ilse. The Tokkies became unlikely reality TV celebrities in the Netherlands after a violent row with neighbours in a poor area of Amsterdam was featured in the media. Family members on both sides fought each other with baseball bats and at one point one of the flats was set on fire.
  • Constantine movie trailer - Here's a link to the latest movie trailer for the forthcoming Keanu Reeves movie, Constantine. (thanks Gareth Ramsay).

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Live Blogging in Longhorn - An interesting screenshot was found on the internet today. The screenshot depicting a concept art of Windows Longhorn running with an application called "Windows LIVE" - live "blogging" under Longhorn, a new feature that might be included in future OS releases.
  • Microsoft MOOL Revealed - Something new is coming from Microsoft! Microsoft MOOL! In other words, Microsoft Office Outlook Live. A new add-on for Outlook 2003 or XP. The Outlook Service allows you to manage your MSN Hotmail account, MSN account or your MSN Personal account all under one program, Microsoft Outlook 2003 or XP. This will enable notes, calendar dates, contacts and tasks to be transferred to your Microsoft Outlook program.
  • Microsoft launches desktop search tool - Microsoft Corp. on Monday joined the battle for supremacy in so-called desktop search, introducing software for quickly locating files on personal computers that challenges Google's two-month-old rival product.
  • Mozilla Celebrates 10 Million Firefox Downloads - The Mozilla Foundation has announced that its Firefox browser has been downloaded over 10 million times in the last 31 days. On average, Firefox has been downloaded 4 times per second since its release on November 9th. The Foundation originally estimated 10 million downloads to be reached after 100 days of public availability.
  • IBM, AMD Speed Chips by Straining Silicon Wafers - Researchers at IBM and AMD have improved a chip-making technology called strained silicon, boosting semiconductor performance at a time when such gains are increasingly hard to come by, the companies said on Sunday. Both companies said they will begin shipping microprocessors that use the technology, called dual-stress strained silicon, early next year. The advance costs little to install in factories and boosts transistor performance by about 12 percent, compared with current straining technologies, they said.
  • Seagate clarifies warranty position - A Seagate bare internal hard drive or retail-boxed internal hard drive for PCs or notebooks, sold through authorized channels and by an authorized reseller or retailer, carries a 5-year warranty to the end user. The warranty begins on the date Seagate ships the drive, as is standard practice throughout the industry; in many cases Seagate also adds additional months in warranty protection to allow for the time the product may take to work through channel supply chains before it is bought by an end user.
  • Sony PSP A Near Sell Out In Japan - The launch of Sony's new PSP handheld in Japan has brought with it the usual frenzy accompanying a much-anticipated new gaming platform. Sony's launch-day shipment of 200,000 units nearly sold out by the close of business on December 12, and demand for the hardware remains high. Weekly Famitsu publisher Enterbrain estimates that Sony sold through 166,017 units on launch day, of an estimated 193,056 units shipped to stores.
  • Lexar unveils new USB flash drive - The new USB card (photo) form factor is based on the USB Type A connector as outlined in the Universal Serial Bus specification. The drive, which fits into a standard USB type A socket, is 12-millimeters wide, 4.5mm high and 31.75mm long. The sturdy metal housing is intended to make the USB card suitable for use in a range of environments. Thanks to its smaller size, the USB flash drive can be used in digital cameras and handheld computers, in addition to normal PCs and consumer electronics devices, the company said.

HARDWARE...

  • Filling the need for game speed - The Calgary, Alberta-based company has offered several liquid-cooled systems over the past year, but the new Rage f:5 ups the ante by using two Nvidia graphics cards incorporating the company's Scalable Link Interface (SLI) technology. Based on testing by VoodooPC engineers, the f:5 can run its Athlon processor 15 percent to 20 percent faster than its rated speed, Sood said. F:5 systems are available now, with prices starting at $5,000.
  • Matrox Parhellia PCI Express Announced - Last week Matrox quietly announced the Parhelia APVe, bringing the company's two and a half year old graphics technology to PCI Express. The Parhelia APVe will be available in the first quarter of next year and sell for $350 - not cheap considering that Parhelia sold for $400 when it was released more than two years ago. (thanks TechReport)
  • Acer TravelMate 8000 Notebook -  The TravelMate is a solid built laptop, light in weight, but not light on performance as it scores 10,816 in 3D mark. This TravelMate 8000 with the Pentium M Processor 745 Donathan 1.8GHz processor is not a notebook, but a desktop replacement that you can also have up to five hours on the run with.
  • SwissBit 2 X 512MB PC4300 DDR2 - The SwissBit 1GB Dual Channel PC4300 DDR2 memory module will meet the needs of the users that require DDR2 memory modules for their system such as the Intel LGA 775 system. These dual channel ram are able to run at tight timing for the DDR2 memory module which is the best and basic requirement for a good memory module. But, with a bit looser timing, the ram was able to hit 286 MHz which is equal to DDR2 572. That was an excellent results. According to the specification sheet, this pair of RAM is able to reach DDR533 only.
  • AMD Athlon 64 Socket 754 Motherboard Round-up - This roundup consists of the DFI UT NF3 250GB, which has shown some impressive (overclocking) performance in our local forum, the Abit K8V Pro, probably the K8T800 chipset at his best, the Asus K8N-E, offering a wide range of features and high performance, and the MSI K8N platinum, a popular all-rounder.
  • EPoX 9NDA3+ nForce3 Ultra Socket 939 Motherboard - The EP-9NDA3+ is a feature packed motherboard taking full advantage of everything the nForce3 Ultra chipset has to offer. Overclockers and enthusiasts will appreciate this board too as EPoX has been sure to include plenty of tweaking options to get the most out of the processor and memory. EPoX includes a full assortment of accessories that really put the whole package over the top.
  • DFI's 855GME-MGF Pentium-M Motherboard - Those who were impressed with the Pentium-M's performance levels before should no doubt be impressed with the performance levels which can be obtained with this board. Stock performance levels were typically a bit higher compared to AOpen's numbers, but when overclocked, the Pentium-M / DFI 855 motherboard combination is nearly unbeatable in terms of raw gaming power.
  • Retail X700 Pro Roundup - AnandTech take a look at four different Radeon X700 Pro vendors: ABIT, HIS, PowerColor, and Sapphire.
  • Leadtek A400 Ultra TDH review - The construction quality of the card is superb in terms of Leadtek's adaptation a non-reference cooling solution. The "Air Surround" may be clumsy looking, but it does its job superbly and quietly. It is so quiet it cannot be heard over my CPU. It may indeed run around the 28 dB mark, but I do not have any equipment to verify this. Perhaps as a result of the adaptation of "Air Surround", the temperatures of the GeForce 6800 Ultra GPU tends to run a bit on the higher side, I have noted the GPU reaches up to 75 degrees Celsius when under load.
  • ATI TV Wonder USB 2.0 Video Card - In addition to time-shifting live television, this 125-channel TV tuner can also zoom in and pan on the action. Use the GemstarGUIDE+ to see what's on, then capture it in MPEG1/2/4, along with your VHS tapes via the built-in RCA and S-Video.
  • 1GB PQI Intelligent Stick USB 2.0 Flash Drive review - The PQI Intelligent Stick or I-Stick is the smallest USB flash drive I have ever seen. Yes, that is a 25 cent coin next to the USB drive. The I-Stick was supplied to us by Upgrade Memory and measures just 1.22" long by 0.7" wide by 0.11" thick and weighs only 3 grams.
  • NU DDW-163 Dual layer DVD Burner -  This is a very quiet and stable drive though we had no problems making our copies on it and using them. What I miss though is a dual layer DVD which was not included.
  • Thermaltake Shark Case - Thermaltake's Shark case is quite the creature to behold. Its great looks that feature smooth curves and straight fins put the case into a class of its own. User-friendly features such as front mount I/O ports, tool-less drive bays, and a removable motherboard tray are all little things that add to the convenience of this case.
  • Sharkoon SilentStorm 480W PSU - The unit tested today is whisper quiet and ready for the latest high end hardware, an easy 20+4-pin connector, separate voltage line for AGP/PCI-e video card, and quite a few extras make it interesting if the price is right. The 480W model sells in Europe for EURO89, while it’s no budget price, it is very competitively priced for the amount of Wattage and extra’s you receive.The main downside is the availability of this unit outside Europe, the lack of an 110V switch pretty much eliminates it from ever becoming popular on the other side of the pond.
  • Razer Diamondback Optical Mouse - The major ace up the sleeve for Razer is the Diamondback's internal resolution of 1600 CPI, which is twice that of most other high performance optical sensors. To accommodate this the Diamondback uses a 16 bit data path, as opposed to 8 and 12 bit data paths employed by other mice. What this is designed to amount to is a very high degree of precision and responsiveness, which is particularly noticeable when used at high speeds.
  • Samsung SyncMaster 193P 19" LCD monitor - With a pricetag of around US$700-$750, most people will bawk at the idea of the 193P being a good option for their home or office workspace. To be honest, they are probably right. For people just needing a basic LCD monitor, the 193P might be a little high end for the average user and there are much cheaper alternatives on the market. But with that being said, this monitor is not meant to compete with the lower end options and is targeted towards the end user that requires a large LCD monitor with designer aesthetics, a higher contrast ratio, flexible mounting and screen orientation and color reproduction sought after in the graphics and CAD industry.
  • Hitachi 60VX915 Projection Television - So, if you want to experience true High Definition television and watch DVD movies featuring sharp and crisp color images, look no further than the Hitachi 60VX915. Hitachi's HDTV sets offer the consumer “state-of-the-art” technology with a terrific feature package in a very stylish and handsome cabinetry giving the look and feel of plasma, but without any of its detractors.
  • AC Ryan LAN Ranger Cable - At roughly $10-15, this cable doesn't come cheap, as with any other CAT6 cabling, when compared against traditional CAT5. However, the cable has all the extras; EMI shielding, UV active, and its connectors have a nice blue glow. The only flaws we found was no protection on the connector to prevent the clip from breaking off and the requiring of USB power to experience the LEDs, but this is due to the LED power requirements.
  • Network Cable Tester with RJ-45 Crimping Tool review - The basic tester is adequate though. Many others, start at around 60 bucks, have a few more features, maybe a carrying case, and even perhaps more remotes. And yes, that is JUST the tester for 60 smackers. Save yourself 50 bucks, and get a functional crimper and basic tester would be my advice. I don't do tons of networking myself, but something like this is inexpensive, and really can't be passed up for the value.

GUIDES...

  • World of Warcraft Hardware Performance Guide - World of Warcraft is fairly playable on average gaming systems, but there's always room for improvement.(thanks MaceM)
  • Windows XP performance tweaking guide - This guide has seen MANY revisions since it's original posting more than 3 years ago. Even after all this time I continue to add to this guide and revise it as needed. Please read this title very carefully because this guide is ONLY intended for Performance related tweaks. There's millions of other "tweaks" that other guides use but have nothing to do with performance. In this guide I'm ONLY including what actually has some kind of affect on performance.
  • Optimize Windows XP v1.8.2 - This guide is designed to be performed top to bottom, in sequence since some steps are required to be performed before others. Before using this guide make sure your system meets Microsoft's Official: Windows XP System Requirements. This new version adds: Spyware - Moved CCleaner here (saves time on spyware scanning), Testimonials, Internet - Avant Browser Update, and SP2 Feature Links.
  • Memory Bandwidth vs. Latency Timings - Memory Bandwidth vs. Latency Timings All memory is not created equal, nowadays you need to know which 'flavor' is best for an Intel or AMD PC if you expect the best performance back from your investment.
  • Bytesector's 2004 hardware holiday gift guide - This guide will provide information on some of the popular products brought to consumers in 2004. Just remember, people want gifts that rock and we know just which ones rock.
  • How to hack the Wireless Fantastic - The de facto "God" of WRT54G hacking is a group calling themselves Sveasoft. For a $20 yearly subscription, you can get unlimited "aftermarket upgrades" (better firmware) from SveaSoft to turn a vanilla WRT54G or GS, the so-called "Speed Enhanced" version capable of up to 125 Mbps, into a full-blown firewall, bandwidth manager, VPN server, VLAN manager, and all kinds of other things. Called Alchemy, the custom firmware adds about three dozen new functions to the stock Wireless-G router.
  • ForceWare 71.20 Performance Comparison - The software's used in today's article will be Doom3, Half-Life 2, Far Cry, Halo: Combat Evolved, Splinter Cell, Unreal Tournament 2004 and one synthetic benchmark 3DMark05 (Business Edition). As you can see this is a selection of today's popular games and most of these newer games force the graphics card to its maximum.
  • Forceware 66.93 VS Forceware 71.20 -  Also TechConnect have done some quick benchmarks with both Forceware drivers, version 66.93 and version 71.20.

SOFTWARE...

  • Kyodai Mahjonng 20.00 Beta 1 - Kyodai Mahjongg (download) is a great version of the famous Mahjongg Solitaire (or Shanghai) oriental game. The purpose of the game is to remove all the tiles from a board. The tiles must be removed by pairs. They have to be free on their left or right side, otherwise you can't remove them. The rules are simple and the game is extremely addictive (especially for girls).
  • phpMyAdmin 2.6.1 RC1 - phpMyAdmin can manage a whole MySQL-server (needs a super-user) but also a single database. To accomplish the latter you'll need a properly set up MySQL-user who can read/write only the desired database.
  • Opera 7.54u1: Security update - Opera has made available the fix for the desktop version Opera 7.54 for all OSes in response to the following security advisories.
  • ICQ 5 Beta - ICQ 5 beta (download) features Push2Talk, some new skins, dual screen support, full screen games support, and Optional Enter key to send messages.
  • HWiNFO32 v1.50 - HWiNFO32 v1.50 has been released.
  • kX Project Audio Driver 5.10.0.3537  - The kX Audio Driver is an independent WDM (Windows Driver Model) driver for all EMU10K1 and EMU10K2-based soundcards manufactured by Creative Technology Ltd. and/or E-mu Systems Inc., including the SoundBlaster Live! series, the E-mu Audio Production Studio (APS) card, and the Audigy / Audigy2 series of cards.
  • ForceWare 71.20 Win2000/XP - This is NVIDIA's ForceWare build 71.20 for Windows 2000/XP. This driver set has not been WHQL certified, all GeForce cards are supported though and it is the absolutely newest set of drivers available to this very date.
Half-Life 2 nVidia performance tweak - tech
(hx) 09:05 AM EST - Dec,13 2004 - Post a comment
This Hardforum.com's forum post (thanks GamingGroove) reveals what Valve did to cripple nVidia cards in HL2:
Again, using 3dAnalyze you can test this. It is capable of forcing a card to use only FP16 shaders no matter what is requested. You'll see virtually no image quality difference doing that - just a HUGE performance boost. Why? Well, because while FP16 is all that Half-Life 2 *needs* almost all the time, if they let the GeForce FX cards do THAT, they might have been competitive! So, instead, they forced full precision in every shader op (unneeded), which caused the GF-FX cards to render the DX9 mode in FP32 all the time. With the obvious associated performance hit.

Try it yourself. The link to the article is here. Download 3dAnalyze, and follow these instructions: Quote:

Originally Posted by Presi
Open it and follow the numbers:
1. select HL2.exe file in half-life 2 folder
2. select any file inside the folder half-life 2bin
3. select Steam.exe
than check these options:
- Under the section Pixel and Vertex Shader: FORCE LOW PRECISION PIXEL SHADER
- Under the section Remove stuttering: PERFORMANCE MODE
- on the bottom left: FORCE HOOK.DLL

If you haven't change the file dxsupport.cfg with the method described in the beginnig of this thread, you can obtain the same result typing in the section DIRECTX DEVICE ID'S the ATI Vendor and Device ID, there are just two device though.
....
In the end 3D ANALYZE gives me an error, CREATEPROCESS FAILED, I launch HL2 anyway, the water looked awesome, awesome detail and I noticed a boost in performance too. I think around 20/30% which allowed me to play the WATER HAZARD level with this setting: 1024x768 everything max, water relection to ALL, 2xAA, 4xAnisotropic with a range of fps of 40 and >150.

 Gameguru Mania News - Dec,11 2004 - tech
Saturday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 02:20 PM EST - Dec,11 2004 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Microsoft Preps Five Windows Patches - In an advance notice, the software giant said the maximum severity rating for the five updates is "important." Some of the security updates may require a restart. The next batch of patches is due Tuesday, Dec. 14.
  • Playgirl virus peels off political payload - An email virus disguised as a nude picture of a glamour model has been intercepted by security experts. The Maslan-C worm (W32/Maslan-C) spreads via email with the subject line "123" and carries an attached file called 'Playgirls2.exe'. It is designed to launch a series of denial-of-service (DoS) attacks on websites run by Chechen rebel separatists.
  • One in five buy their software via spam - The BSA claimed that over one in five British people buy their software via spam. It bases that on a survey conducted by Forrester Research. According to the BSA, "many online consumers don't consider the true motives of spammers. In addition to profiting from selling goods and services... organised crime rings use spam to gain access to personal information".
  • DirecTV hacker sentenced to seven years - A Canadian man was sentenced to seven years in a US prison this week after admitting he led a sophisticated satellite TV piracy ring that produced and sold thousands of hacked smart cards in the US and Canada. Martin Mullen, 50, was also ordered to pay DirecTV and its smart card provider NDS Ltd. $24m in restitution. Mullen pled guilty in a federal court in Tampa, Florida last September to conspiracy to violate anti-piracy laws, and to entering the US illegally after being deported on an unrelated matter years earlier.
  • Microsoft replaces pirated versions of XP for free (?) - In an effort to catch mass pirates in the UK Microsoft has set up an interesing measure: the Windows XP Counterfeit Project. Anyone who is unsure of the legitimacy of their Windows XP software may submit their product to Microsoft Ltd for analysis. Software that is found to be counterfeit will be replaced according to the terms and conditions of the offer. The Windows XP Counterfeit Project will run until 31 December 2004 and is the latest initiative from Microsoft Ltd to target the illegal software market. The project will allow Microsoft Ltd to collate intelligence quickly and work with the authorities to act decisively against illegal traders.
  • In-game buffer-overflow in the Gamespy cd-key validation SDK - In fact the problem is a buffer-overflow caused by a too long response string sent by the client to the server, so a game is not vulnerable "only" if its developers have inserted a limitation in the length of the string received from the client (but I doubt that someone did it).
  • HOW TO BREAK XP SP2 POPUP BLOCKER: kick it in the nut - Internet Explorer 6 on the gadget commonly known as Windows XP SP2 enjoys a fairly robust "popup blocker". This little 'thing' has been a major irritation to date. Nothing gets past it until now. Chatter exists that some sites have defeated it on the causal default setting.
  • Apple Web hole still open - Apple has still not properly fixed the HFS+ filesystem named fork vulnerability discovered last week, according to the company that first noticed it, NetSec. The fix put out by the company at the end of last week will only address the security flaw for OS X systems running the Apache web server which is shipped by default. Customers using other web servers such as 4D WebSTAR remain vulnerable the managed security specialist has claimed.
  • IM Glitch Blocks as Many as 10,000 - An America Online Inc. error that began locking out users of its instant-messaging service earlier this week affected no more than 10,000 accounts, the company said Friday. The company continued to scramble to restore the AOL Instant Messenger accounts by Monday, and an AOL spokeswoman told eWEEK.com that the fix would include reinstating access to IM data such as buddy lists for blocked users.

OFF-TOPIC...

  • Laptop Use Can Damage Male Fertility - Researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook showed that prolonged laptop use heated men's testicles on the order of 5 degrees Fahrenheit, within the 1.8 degree to 5.2 degree range found to impair the production of male sperm. The test sample was relatively small - 29 people, according to reports - and the test subjects used an undisclosed Pentium 4-based laptop for an entire hour.
  • Doctor Offers Assurances That Astronauts Won't Go Hungry - Cutting calories in space is more about sorting food packets than eating a little less and saving the rest for later. In space, there are no leftovers. On Thursday, NASA officials asked the two astronauts aboard the International Space Station to stretch their food supplies until a cargo ship arrives in a couple of weeks with fresh groceries. But this does not mean strict dieting or listening to the rumble of hungry stomachs, a NASA doctor said Friday. The astronauts can eat less and still be well within the margins of nutritional adequacy," the doctor, Sean K. Roden, the astronauts' flight surgeon, said in a telephone interview from the Johnson Space Center in Houston. "They still have plenty to eat."
  • War of the Worlds trailer is upon us - The Spielberg (The Director with no first name) remake that is The War of the Worlds is coming soon, and the trailer has arrived, and an anti climax it certainly is, for me at least.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Google offers a suggestion - Google Suggest quietly debuted this week on the company's Labs site, which showcases Google features that "aren't quite ready for prime time," according to a message on the site. When a user starts typing a request into the search box, a drop-down menu appears with possible suggestions as to what the user could be looking for. For instance, typing in "Mi" generates a list starting with "Microsoft" and continuing with "miniclip," "Michael Moore" and "miserable failure," among other suggestions. Google uses "a wide range of information" to predict queries, according to an FAQ, including data about the overall popularity of various searches. The company does not use individual search histories to help generate the prompts, it says
  • Paypal and iTunes link-up - Online payment system Paypal can now be used for purchases by US customers of Apple's iTunes music store. Until now, iTunes accepted credit cards, gift certificates and account balances as forms of payment.
  • New file system has long road to Windows - Although Microsoft hopes to ship a test version of WinFS in late 2006, it could be several more years before the revamped storage mechanism finds its way into Windows Server. The software maker has already decided that WinFS will ship separately from Longhorn, the new desktop version of Windows that is due in 2006. On Friday, Windows Server Chief Bob Muglia said that WinFS will also not be a part of the server version of Longhorn that ships in 2007.
  • Microsoft Readies Windows Server 2003 Update - Windows Server 2003 R2 is an interim release of Windows Server built on top of Windows Server 2003 SP1. It will include most of the feature packs Microsoft released since the initial Windows Server 2003 release in 2003, including Active Directory Application Mode, Windows SharePoint Services, and Automated Deployment Services. This first beta test is scheduled to start this month, but will be limited to about 1000 specially selected testers, a Microsoft spokesperson says. A second, public beta is planned for the first half of next year, she says.
  • Teeny Module Runs New '.NET Embedded' Software Stack - A mall startup in Microsoft Corp.'s backyard is poised to begin shipping a tiny, 32-pin chip-like computer module that runs ".NET Embedded," a new Microsoft embedded software platform developed for use in watches and other "smart personal objects."

HARDWARE...

  • AMD Quietly Releases New Opterons - The 90nm version of the Opteron and Athlon 64 processors will consume 67 watts of power under maximum operating conditions, AMD said during a presentation to financial analysts at a conference sponsored by Lehman Brothers Holdings. The 130nm Opterons consume 89 watts of power under maximum operating conditions.
  • ATI Plots to drop X700XT - Yep - the strategy seems to be to replace its X700XT - a competitor to NVIDIA's well received GeForce 6600GT - with a 12-pipeline RADEON X800 (possibly a RADEON X800 XL variant) featuring a 400MHz GPU core and 500MHz memory clocks, and ship it at an aggressive price-point, thereby enabling its AIB partners - such as Connect3D and GeCUBE - to supply to the channel at $249 or, probably, much less.
  • MSI's nForce4 SLI board has Creative Audio - The upcoming MSI nForce4 Diamond mothebroard will feature a Creative chip for 7.1 channel onboard audio. What we know right now is that its labelled "Creative Sound Blaster Live! with 24-bit/96KHz audio quality, up to 100dB SNR and Doly Digital Ready.
  • Philips 755 Tri-band Mobile Phone - While the Philips 755 certainly did not impress us much, we still want to applaud Philips for conceiving and implementing features like graffiti scribbling and interface navigation via a stylus. These are indeed cool features to have and we strongly believe Philips will have an excellent successor to the 755 if they can get their act together to improve on the few complaints we have with the 755.
  • The Apple iMac G5 – the World's Flattest Small Form Factor PC? - So, assuming you're not a hardcore gamer and you aren't worried about the limited upgrade options with an all-in-one machine, the last remaining issue most have with an Apple computer is its price. Apple has a reputation for being expensive compared with its PC competitors and at first sight this remains true of the new iMac. At $1300 for the basic 17" model and $1900 for the 20" model, (or $1200 and $1800 with educational discount) many argue that you could get hell of a lot of PC for the same money. It's perhaps not so simple and there are various counter arguments to this claim
  • Five AMD Athlon 64 Models – Which One to Choose? - The chaps over at Digit-Life have tested how the speed in various applications depends on frequency, L2 cache capacity, and memory controller by the example of AMD K8 series processors.
  • Kingston HyperX 1 GB KHX3200UL DDR review - Controlled-Insanity has posted a review of Kingston HyperX 1 GB KHX3200UL DDR memory.
  • Micron Rev5B "C" Memory Module review  - Adrian's Rojak Pot has posted a review of Micron Rev5B "C" Memory Module.
  • eVGA e-GeForce 6600 GT 128 MB DDR3 PCI-E Video Card w/ HDTV Support (video-review) - This particular product comes standard with 128MB of DDR3, 2ns memory. The default core speed is 500MHz and the memory speed is 1GHz. While these are high default speeds, the core and memory can be overclocked even higher for added performance. Also, an included adapter enables easy hookup of S-Video, Composite and Component Video out.
  • XFX 6600GT 128Mb AGP 8x Video Card - What was interesting to see with XFX's AGP 8x model was that the memory is clocked higher than other manufacturer's GT models. A lot of GT models from other manufacturers are clocked 500Mhz core and 450Mhz memory(900Mhz DDR). The XFX comes stock 500Mhz core and 500Mhz memory(1000Mhz DDR).
  • Seagate Momentus 5400.2 2.5” Hard Disk Drive review - The ST9100823A supports the UltraATA/100 interface, can sustain an operational shock of 250 Gs for 2 milliseconds and a non-operational shock of 900 Gs for 1 millisecond. The acoustic characteristics of the drive can be considered good: the sound pressure level is 2.9 bels in the performance seek mode, 2.6 bels in the quiet seek mode, and 2.4 bels in the idle mode
  • Two DVD Drives from LG and Samsung - The LG GDR-8163B has a slightly higher declared CD read speed, but it was not always better than its opponent in this parameter on all media types. It is, however, very fast with Audio CDs. The drive features an efficient C2 error correction mechanism and thus can successfully handle damaged media. The Samsung TS-H352 has a slightly lower declared CD read speed, but would sometimes outperform its rival in the tests. It offers a better performance with CD media overall. Undeclared by the manufacturer, the ability of this drive to support DVD+R/RW media was revealed during the tests.
  • Ultra 500W Titanium ATX PSU review - The Ultra 500W Titanium ATX Power Supply may not have a modular cabling system, or flashy fans or windows, or even sleeved cabling for the most part, but it does have an excellent titanium mirror finish and good performance. Voltages are pretty much spot on, its quiet and bottom line it does its job.
  • Ultra Products 600W ATX PSU (ULT31638) review - Already known for their award winning X-Connect line of power supplies, Ultra Products follows up with a brand new 600W power supply to deal with the power demand of today’s high end components. Let's find out if this new power supply can live up to the reputation the X-Connect has already made for Ultra
  • Thermaltake 350W PurePower Fanless PSU review - OCModShop has posted a review of Thermaltake 350w PurePower Fanless PSU.
  • Zalman CNPS7700-AlCu Heatsink review - PimpRig takes a look at the Zalman CNPS7700-AlCu Heatsink.
  • ATake Laser LED review - It seems everybody is trying to add a little extra flash to their case. This is usually done by adding cold cathode light tubes, and fans with LEDs. These tend to light up the entire case very well. Wisetech's ATake brand of Laser LED lights help you achieve a unique look by lighting up only a section, or putting a spotlight on a specific component, instead of lighting up the entire case.
  • A.C. Ryan Mod Roundup - Viper Lair has posted an A.C. Ryan Mod Roundup
  • A4 Tech Wireless Battery Free Optical & Easy Go Mice review - No Battery is because the Wireless mouse is working in tandem with a mouse pad supplied which is power by USB connection. Using Cross Induction Power and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) the mouse is energized, and communicates at 121-128 KHz. Induction associates with magnetic field. it is recommended that the mouse pad to be kept a distance of 20 cm or about 8" from any CRT; the same reason it is advised not to use the pad on steel surface or an inch (20-50mm) thick book of some sort placed beneath the pad.

GUIDES...

  • Securing Wireless LANs with Certificate Services - The Securing Wireless LANs solution provides Planning, Implementation, Operations and Test guides, as well as additional resources including installation scripts, security templates, monitoring scripts and implementation planning resources.
  • Microsoft Office XP to Microsoft Office 2003 Migration Issues - This document discusses the possible problem areas administrators might encounter when moving from Office XP to Office 2003.
  • Basic System Buyer's Guide - Holiday Season 2004 - Mikhailtech has posted a Basic System Buyer's Guide.

SOFTWARE...

  • Xandros Desktop OS 3 Deluxe Edition review - With the release of version 3, the Xandros folks have finally come up with a full-blown replacement for Windows on the desktop. New stuff in this release includes a VPN wizard, a firewall wizard, encrypted home folders, DVD burning, and a number of other goodies.
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking gets close to perfection  - The software comes with a headset which includes a microphone and earphone, and integrates with Windows software. Amongst its features is a dictionary of 300,000 words, and the ability to surf the web using voice, and use other voice commands to control a computer. I watched the ability of a first time computer user to come to terms with the software.
  • HOC Half-Life 2 Benchmark v1.1 - This is a new program that allows you to benchmark your system with today's most popular FPS-game, Half-Life 2. The program does not modify any registry-entries or configuration files, so it is completely safe to use. It contains 5 built in demos; you can set filtering methods, resolutions and much much more. In order to use HardwareOC Half-Life 2 Benchmark, you need an ORIGINAL CD or DVD and a working Steam-account
  • Half-Life 2 Enhancer 1.0 - A nice tool for Half-Life 2 with the following features: Special scripts and fixes,Apply Bullettime mode with "t" key,  Apply elevator fix with "v" key, Disable auto-save feature, Enable cheats and unlock all chapters, Fix A.I. Disable, Fix sound stuttering problem, Force enable console (Shift+~), Improve graphic or game performance scripts, Change game language, Run game with launcher wizard and Setup data transfer rate.
  • Kyodai Mahjonng 20.00 Beta 1 - Kyodai Mahjongg (download) is a great version of the famous Mahjongg Solitaire (or Shanghai) oriental game. The purpose of the game is to remove all the tiles from a board. The tiles must be removed by pairs. They have to be free on their left or right side, otherwise you can't remove them. The rules are simple and the game is extremely addictive.
  • Excel Viewer 2003 - With Excel Viewer 2003, you can open, view, and print Excel workbooks, even if you don't have Excel installed. You can also copy data from Excel Viewer 2003 to another program. However, you cannot edit data, save a workbook, or create a new workbook. This download is a replacement for Excel Viewer 97 and all previous Excel Viewer versions.
  • Gmail Notifier 1.0.24.0 - The Gmail Notifier (download) is a downloadable Windows application that alerts you when you have new Gmail messages. It displays an icon in your system tray to let you know if you have unread Gmail messages, and shows you their subjects, senders and snippets, all without having to open a web browser.
  • Crap Cleaner 1.16.082 Final - CCleaner (Crap Cleaner) is a freeware system optimisation tool. That removes unused and temporary files from your system - allowing it to run faster, more efficiently and giving you more hard disk space.
  • ACDSee 7.0 Build 61 (shw) - ACDSee digital photo software (download) makes it easy to import, view, organize, print, enhance, share and archive your digital photos.
  • Fraps 2.5.0 (shw) - Fraps (download) is a utility for DirectX and OpenGL games. It can best be described as: Benchmarking software - see framerates on screen and log them to file. Calculate the average framerate between any two points.
  • CloneCD v5.0.4.5 - SlySoft has today released a new CloneCD version 5.0.4.5. According to the changelog there have been no major changes other than support for 4.85GB DVDR media.
  • WinPatrol 8.1.20 - WinPatrol (download) uses a heuristic approach to detecting attacks and violations of your computing environment. Unlike traditional security programs, WinPatrol doesn't scan your hard drive searching for previously identified threats.
  • AVG Free Edition 7.0.296 Build 409  - AVG AntiVirus offers maximum virus protection, product customization, and free virus database updates and technical support. The core of the testing engine is a Virtual Device Driver which loads into memory on Windows startup.
  • MemTest 3.0 - MemTest (download) is a RAM reliability tester. It evaluates the ability of your computer's memory to store and retrieve data. A correctly functioning computer should be able to do both these tasks with 100% accuracy day in and day out. By running MemTest, you can ensure that your computer's RAM is correctly functioning. You can assign a number of megabytes to test.
  • SONY DRU-700A/700UL firmware - SONY has released VY08 firmware update (download official ~ nonofficial unscrambled) for the DRU-700A/700UL. Word is: "Supports a total of 222 DVD media codes, up from 214 in VY06, including support for MCC004".
  • ATi Catalsyt 4.11 (8.072) WHQL - A newer set of Catalyst driver was found on the web by station drivers. It's based on version 4.11 WHQL (6.14.10.6490) with control panel 6.14.10.5131 for Windows XP/2000! Dated 24/11/2004. All cards are supported including the new RADEON X850 Series. Although WHQL these drivers need to be threated as BETA.
  • Volari 1.10 WHQL Driver - VolariGamers has a new set of drivers available for the Volari V3 graphics cards.
 Gameguru Mania News - Dec,09 2004 - tech
Nightly Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 09:56 PM EST - Dec,09 2004 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Scammers Could Hijack Pop-Ups - Security researchers warned this week of a vulnerability in most Web browsers which could potentially allow scammers to launch phishing attacks from pop-up windows on trusted Web sites. The vulnerability arises when an Internet user opens browser windows for both a legitimate Web site and a malicious site at the same time. Because of an old functionality that exists in most browsers, the malicious site can potentially display information in a pop-up window from the trusted site, according to Secunia Research. Another article can be found here.
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer FTP Command Injection Vulnerability - The vulnerability is caused due to insufficient input validation of FTP URIs. This can be exploited by e.g. a malicious website to inject arbitrary FTP commands in a FTP session using a specially crafted pathname containing "%0A" characters.
  • Fake Lycos Screensaver Hides a Keylogger - This week, F-Secure warns of emails that seemingly contain the screensaver but instead delivers a dangerous payload that piggybacks on the buzz surrounding Lycos' controversial program. According to the company, the fake emails can be quickly identified via the following attributes: Subject: Be the first to fight spam with Lycos screen saver Attachment: Lycos screensaver to fight spam.zip The malicious code, known as TrojanDropper.FakeSpamFighter, drops Perfect Keylogger components onto a victim's PC. In related news, Lycos Europe has axed the distribution of a controversial screensaver designed to target websites that profit from spam, claiming that the company has made its point. The Make Love Not Spam website no longer offers the screensaver for download, and Lycos Europe said that any attacks on websites will now have stopped.
  • Playgirl virus attacks Chechen rebel sites - An email virus that poses as pictures of a nude glamour model actually contains malicious code designed to launch denial-of-service attacks on websites run by Chechen separatists. The Maslan-C worm spreads via email with the subject line '123' and an attached file called 'Playgirls2.exe'. It also spreads across network shares. Running the infected attachment further spreads the email worm as well as turning infected PCs into participants in a distributed denial-of-service attacks.
  • NT4 users face upgrade dilemma - Those still running NT4 face the choice of migrating to alternative operating systems or running the server unsupported. Although datacentre and mission-critical systems are likely to have been migrated already, analyst firm Gartner estimates that 35% of users will still have an NT4 server running in their businesses. Gartner research director Ian Brown said many of those users could find themselves running the NT4 server unsupported during 2005 because they have been unable to keep track of the configuration of all the servers they have deployed.
  • Password imperfect - For years, Microsoft has hammered away at the security flaws in its desktop operating system. Now the company is looking to plug another security hole: weak passwords. Moving to biometric and smart cards is a wave that is coming, and we see our leading customers doing this," Gates told attendees at the IT Forum in Denmark last month. "In time, we will completely replace passwords."
  • Two arrested during modded Xbox raids in Washington area - Federal authorities raided three Washington, D.C.-area video game stores and arrested two people for modifying video game consoles to play pirated video games, a video game industry group said on Wednesday. The Entertainment Software Association said the Dec. 1 raids at three Pandora's Cube stores in Maryland and Virginia were a joint effort of the U.S. Department of Justice's computer crimes unit, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Maryland and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

OFF-TOPIC...

  • Cellphone sniffs out dirty bombs - A smart phone that can detect radiation may soon be helping the police to find the raw materials for radioactive "dirty bombs" before they are deployed. The phones will glean data as the officers carrying them go about their daily business, and the information will be used to draw up maps of radiation that will expose illicit stores of nuclear material.
  • Amazon launches DVD rental service in the UK - Amazon said its U.K. service will start at about $15.50 a month. Customers also will get 10 percent off DVD purchases. The lowest-price service will let customers keep two DVDs at a time, and rent a total of four DVDs per month. For about $19.30 per month, customers can keep up to three DVDs at a time, and rent six per month.
  • Babylon 5 Movie Starts Filming in April - According to comingsoon.net, the first theatrical Babylon 5 movie, "The Memory of the Shadows" starts filming in April. The story was written by series creator J. Michael Straczynski."

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Disney Backs Blu-ray Standard - Walt Disney and its Buena Vista Home Entertainment division have thrown their support behind the Blu-ray high-definition disc format, providing another big name for Blu-ray backers to attach to their campaign, Disney announced this week. Blu-ray is a standard for the next generation of optical video discs promoted by Sony, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and others. It is designed to store high-definition video content and can store up to 25GB of data on a single-layer disc and up to 50GB of data on a dual-layer disc.
  • 400,000 Additional DSs Available by Year's End  - Nintendo Co. said it is boosting holiday shipments of its new Nintendo DS dual-screen hand-held gaming device to 1.4 million in North America, from the previously announced 1 million, to help alleviate shortages and meet consumer demand for the device. The ability to increase the shipments for the holidays resulted from higher-than-expected volume at production facilities in China, said George Harrison, senior vice president with Redmond-based Nintendo of America.
  • David Bienvenu, Thunderbird Developer Interview - Neowin.net has posted an interview with David Bienvenu, one of the developers of Thunderbird. David talks about the challenges of 1.0, and Thunderbird's future in general.
  • Nero brings MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 to the masses with latest Nero Digital update - Ahead Software today announced that its brand new MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 codec is now fully integrated in Nero Recode 2.2, currently part of the Nero 6 digital media suite. With this inclusion, AVC/H.264 becomes a central part of the wider Nero Digital MPEG-4 technology, delivering a new dimension in superior audio and video compression.
  • MXM in a Desktop? - NVIDIA are working on a reference design which is low profile, with consumer electronic concept.They are putting the MXM connector on a motherboard, and depending on which GPU they pick it can give low heat and low profile, this could be an ideal Media Centre environment.

HARDWARE...

  • NVIDIA to Create SoundStorm 2  - NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang addressed questions about the company's plans for a possible second spin of its popular but ill-fated SoundStorm audio solution. Apparently, a reprise of SoundStorm will happen. Huang told the assembled press types, "We're gonna build SoundStorm 2. It's gonna be awesome." He was less clear on what form the next SoundStorm would take, saying that NVIDIA was still trying to figure out how to deliver SoundStorm as a product. Huang said, cryptically, that the new SoundStorm "will come in a way that you won't expect."
  • AMD releases details of 90 nm Opterons, multicore chips - All 90 nm processors reduce thermal design power from 89 Watts to 67 Watts, core voltage drops from 1.5 Volts to 1.4 Volts. The case temperature of the chips drops from 70 to 65 degrees Celsius, support for Socket 940 and integration of 1 MByte L2 cache remains unchanged. The new series includes the single-system Opteron 146 with a clock speed of 2.0 GHz, the dual-system version 246 (2.0 GHz), the dual-system 248 (2.2 GHz) as well as the four and eight-way version 846 (2.0 GHz).
  • AMD Semprons to migrate to 754 pins only - Socket 754 boards are really getting very cheap and make a perfect board for Semprons. AMD plans to move Samprons to socket 754 only by the end of 2005. This will really mean the end of Athlon XP marchitecture as current socket 462, Socket A Semprons are nothing much than renamed Athlon XPs.
  • Nvidia readies Turbo Cache GeForce 6200 - This, we understand throws data dynamically memory so bungs data where it can deliver the best system performance. So with say 512MB of system memory, and local display memory of 16MB, 32MB and 64MB, you'll get effective frame buffer for apps of 128MB, 128MB and 256MB respectively. All of this isn't for free, but Nvidia figures it will help people out a lot on both price and performance.
  • World's first Gigabit gaming router arrives - D-Link today announced what it claims is the world's first Gigabit Ethernet router designed specifically for gaming. The firm's GamerLounge DGL-4300 wireless router features GameFuel technology, an intelligent packet processing engine which gives online games precedence for bandwidth over all other internet applications such as email and FTP transfers. According to D-Link, the offering is the first router with four 1,000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports offering up to 108Mbps 802.11g wireless connectivity for Lan party and wireless Lan connections.
  • Samsung ships 512 Mbit GDDR3 memory - The transition from 256 Mbit to 512 Mbit as the most advanced type of memory for graphics cards is scheduled with volume shipments of the memory, which is planned "early next year", according to Samsung. The company said that higher density will allow graphics card memory to jump to 512 MByte capacity and result in an increase in performance and the display of richer textures.
  • Tapwave Zodiac 2 Mobile Entertainment Console review - Equipped with the powerful Motorola i.MX1 ARM9 processor and integrated ATI graphics acceleration, the Zodiac 1 and Zodiac 2 come with 32MB and 128MB of memory respectively. Each can be expanded by slotting in SD, SDIO or MMC cards into the handhelds two expansion slots, offering up to 2GB of additional storage - enough for a significant number of songs, photos, e-books, audible books, games, videos, and business documents.
  • Nokia 6670 smart phone review - The phone itself is a fairly standard tri-band GSM handset. Options such as being able to record ten minutes of video on the megapixel digicam with 4x zoom may be useful, as might the 64MB reduced-size MMC card that comes lodged in the phone's innards for storing extra images, applications and ringtones. It has a poor (these days) 8MB of memory built in. The handset's 900mAh battery offers a reasonable 140 minutes of talk time or 240 hours on stand-by. Its display is 65,535-colour 176 x 208 job of the kind we've already seen on the 6600.
  • Creative Zen Portable Media Center - The Creative Zen Portable Media Center puts all your favorite videos, music, and photos at your fingertips wherever you are. Take digital entertainment from your PC with you on the go, including recorded TV shows, downloaded videos, home movies, music, and photos. With Windows Mobile software featuring an easy-to-use, familiar Windows Media Center Edition interface, Portable Media Centers let you enjoy immediate access to all of your favorite entertainment - anytime, anywhere.
  • Mushkin 1GByte (2x512MB) Level-II PC3200 RAM - Mushkin has evidently seen the fantastic flexibility of Samsung's latest performance ICs, ranging from ultra-low latencies through to high MHz speeds with relaxed timings, and used them in its latest iteration of high-performance RAM. It's needed to, really, as Corsair and OCZ already have 2-2-2-5 PC3200 modules available right now. Performance-wise, there's not much to say other than it's predictably excellent memory.
  • ASUS A8N-SLI - Hot Hardware has snagged an ASUS A8N-SLI nForce4 motherboard for AMD, 2 PCIe GeForce 6800 Ultras and 2 PCIe GeForce 6800 GTs for a round of benching mayhem.
  • Seagate ST1 1-Inch Hard Disk Drive review - What actually allowed the 5GB ST1 product to perform so well in our tests? It looks like the drive owes this impressive performance primarily to high data density per platter and large 2MB buffer, which is not typical of a 1-inch HDD. I have to admit that this time we unfortunately didn’t have the chance to take a closer look at the power consumption of the new solution, so we will definitely be posting an update to this article later on, when we get the chance to perform the required measurements.
  • Lian Li PC-6077 Mid-tower Case - The Lian Li PC-6077 mid-tower case is a very accomodating case that offers a lot to help its owners maintain its good looks and easily swap hardware in and out of it without much burden. The supplied bezels for a tray-loading optical drive and a floppy drive are great for maintaining the nice silver aluminum appearance of this case.
  • Saitek Gamers' Keyboard - The command pad has 9 buttons as well as two separate buttons. These are like shift keys so it gives you a total of 27 programmable buttons. For gamers this is a huge incentive, especially for RPG players and their love for hotkeys. FPS gamers will love to be able to do everything with one hand, instead of reaching all over the keyboard for different keys.

GUIDES...

  • Overclocking the AMD ATHLON XP-M CPU - In summary, the AMD Athlon 2500 XP-M chip showed itself to be extremely overclockable. The 40% overclock we accomplished is quite noteworthy, and is significantly better than what most other chips are capable of, save perhaps the older Thoroughbred XP1700, XP1800 and XP2100 models. With the chip’s lower internal resistance translating into cooler operation, this processor can perform wonders in an overclocking environment; with the only side affect being greater power usage.
  • Holiday technoshopping? Get your list out - Already out of ideas for holiday shopping? Here are some gifts that may surprise even those technophiles who say they have everything

SOFTWARE...

  • mIRC Power Pack 7.10 Beta 5 beta - mIRC Power Pack (MPP) is a powerful script for mIRC designed specifically for gamers. It inlcudes five different game browsers - so you can pick which one you like the best. Its Multi-Server Connection Manager is one of the very best.
  • Google Toolbar 2.0.114.9 - A new version of Google Toolbar is available is out.
  • DVD Region+CSS Free 5.61 - DVD Region+CSS Free enables you to watch and copy any region code CSS-encrypted DVD movies on any DVD drive! It fully supports region-protected (RPC2) DVD drives, and does not require any firmware modifications.
  • Maxthon Standard 1.1.090 - Maxthon (formerly MyIE2) (combo ~ standard) is a powerful web browser with a highly customizable interface. It is based on the Internet Explorer engine which means that what works in IE, works the same in Maxthon but with many additional efficient features like Tabbed Browsing Interface; Mouse Gestures; Super Drag&Drop; Privacy Protection; AD Hunter; Google Bar Support; External Utility Bar; and Skinning.
  • Pioneer DVR-108 firmware - Pioneer has released a new firmware for the DVR-108 series. The new firmware release brings the drive up to version 1.18 from the previous 1.14 firmware. This new firmware adds support for 16x writing on New 16x DVD-R/+R Media and more.
  • NVIDIA nForce 6.xx - These driver are the mainboard chipset drivers for all nVIDIA nFORCE based mainboards. Consider this release as beta and use at your own risk! This nForce Win2K/XP driver package contains the below components: Audio driver version 4.57 (WHQL), Audio utility version 4.50, Ethernet NRM driver version 4.59 (WHQL) with 4.62 nvtcp.sys, Network management tools version 4.62, SMBus driver version 4.45 (WHQL) with updated uninstaller files, Installer version 4.58, Win2K IDE 2.7 driver version 4.64 (WHQL) with 4.74 raidtool, WinXP IDE 2.7 driver version 4.64 (WHQL) with 4.74 raidtool.
Mid-range PCI Express graphics comparison - tech
(hx) 04:10 AM EST - Dec,09 2004 - Post a comment
A new wave of next-gen PCI Express graphics cards led by ATI's Radeon X700 family and NVIDIA's GeForce 6600 series offer surprisingly compelling performance at astonishingly affordable price points. But which one is right for you? TechReport has rounded up an array of mid-range PCI-E graphics cards from Abit, Albatron, Chaintech, Gigabyte, and XFX to find out:
Abit RX700 Pro-128PCIE - For the money, the Abit Radeon X700 Pro is a pretty good deal. Performance isn't bad, either. However, the card's lacking software bundle and comparatively weak warranty don't make for a compelling package. It's also disappointing that the card is so bland. Abit's vGuru technology would have really spiced things up, but it looks like we'll have to wait a little while longer for Abit to bring that to its X700 line.

Albatron Trinity PC6600 - With the lowest price point in this comparison, it's no surprise that the Albatron GeForce 6600 is the slowest card in the pack. However, the fact that it's consistently beaten by the vanilla Radeon X700 doesn't bode well for the GeForce 6600's future as a gaming card. This card's saving grace may be its nifty video output dongle and the fact that it's barely more expensive than budget GeForce 6200 cards. That's not a bad deal, if you ask me.

Chaintech SE6600G - The GeForce 6600 GT is easily the best mid-range PCI Express graphics card for gaming, but it's Chaintech's spin on the 6600 GT that makes this card special. With a great video output dongle and a free copy of Painkiller, the Chaintech GeForce 6600 GT has enough extras to differentiate itself from the rest of the field, even if it is turquoise. At only $199, the card is well-priced and my Editor's Choice for this comparison.

Gigabyte GV-RX70P256V - The Gigabyte Radeon X700 Pro isn't cheap, but it's loaded with enough goodies to justify the $255 price tag. Great games, VIVO, silent cooling, and 256MB of memory make the Gigabyte card a tantalizing option, but the card still has a hard time keeping up with the GeForce 6600 GTs in most of the games we tested. Gigabyte should be commended for offering a unique product in the GV-RX70P256V, but VIVO's more limited appeal and the X700 Pro's tendency to trail the GeForce 6600 GT keeps this card from being our Editor's Choice.

XFX PVT43GNDD7 - The XFX GeForce 6600 GT "Extreme Gamer's Edition" is easily the fastest card in this comparison, but it sells for a lofty $269 and is only available from XFX's online store. $269 is pricey for a GeForce 6600 GT, even an overclocked one with dual DVI. The fact that XFX's standard GeForce 6600 GT, which sports the same dual DVI outputs and an identical game bundle, sells for less than $190 means you're paying $80 for memory that's only 200MHz faster. The Extreme Gamer's Edition's performance advantage over the standard GeForce 6600 GT just isn't large enough to justify that big price difference, although it does make XFX's standard GeForce 6600 GT look like a pretty sweet bargain.
 Gameguru Mania News - Dec,08 2004 - tech
Wednesday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 10:51 AM EST - Dec,08 2004 - Post a comment / read (2)

SECURITY...

  • How Dangerous Is Using Kazaa? - Kazaa's on going trial in Australia is revealing many hard facts that might shock the file sharing generation. Kazaa are currently being prosecuted for copyright violations by a variety of media companies. Prof. Leon Sterling from the University of Melbourne made an appearance in court today, providing evidence against Kazaa. He asserted his belief that although Kazaa might be usable for other purposes, its prime purpose was as a music file sharing tool.
  • Security 'Honey Pots' May Snare Private Details - Setting up an unprotected server or network invites attackers to infect or examine the system. The honey pots are then used to track the hackers and collect data on the way the intruders operate. Information collected in honey pots is typically used to power early warning and prediction systems.
  • Banking site hijacked by fraudsters - Fraudsters have used a clever web-programming trick to turn a legitimate banking site into a tool for stealing account information. Suntrust, a bank based in Georgia, US, has fallen foul of the deception, according to web security experts who received emails designed to swindle customers. Researchers at UK-based web-monitoring firm Netcraft received emails claiming to come from Suntrust that ask customers to verify their account information using a link embedded in the message.  But the email was not sent from the bank's own servers and the web page it linked to contained extra characters in the URL address line - added on to the bank's legitimate web address. So, while the page was hosted by the bank's servers, hackers had overlaid it with altered elements to give the appearance of a legitimate "Account Verification" page.
  • Judge warns of online auction fraud - A judge has warned that is "extremely easy" for fraudsters to take advantage of online auction sites, after convicting a woman of selling bogus Glastonbury tickets on eBay. Sara-Louise Hambridge pleaded guilty to selling non-existent tickets for the festival, and netting over £3,000 for fewer than 20 tickets.
  • Sprint sued over alleged vice hacks - A Las Vegas adult services operator is making a federal case of his longstanding claim that cyber security weaknesses at the local phone company have permitted hackers to hijack calls intended for his stable of in-room entertainers - reprising a complaint that state regulators rejected in 2002. Eddie Munoz is seeking $30m in damages from Sprint of Nevada, accusing the company of unfair business practices, in a lawsuit filed in federal court last fall
  • IE6 Vulnerability - Local File Detection - This security vulnerability in Internet Explorer allows remote attackers to discover what software is installed on the remote computer, by testing for the existence of certain files.
  • Broadcast client crash in Battlefield 1942 1.6.19 and Vietnam 1.2 - Like any multiplayer game, Battlefield contacts a master server to know
    all the available online servers and then automatically queries them to collect informations in the in-game browser. The problem is in the parameter "numplayers" of the server's reply that if is a too big number causes an immediate freeze of the client followed (after some seconds) by a crash caused by the access to a NULL pointer. This is a broadcast client crash so a single attacker visible in the master server list is able to passively exploit the bug versus any
    vulnerable client online.
  • Online Script Decoder - Windows Script Encoder is a Microsoft tool to encode scripts so that "Web hosts and Web clients cannot view or modify their source". It encodes the content of script tags using a very simple encoding algorithm and renames the scripts "language" attribute from "JScript" or "Javascript" to "JScript.Encode" and from "VBScript" to "VBScript.Encode".

OFF-TOPIC...

  • Spend Your Life on the Phone for $999 -  For customers who either love to plan ahead or hate monthly bills, a small Massachusetts telecommunications firm has launched a $999 offer of unlimited Internet-based telephone service for life. The deal includes unlimited calls within the United States, Canada and 20 countries, as well as an additional 21 foreign cities. Privately held RNK said the deal includes a two-month money-back guarantee, and that customers still unhappy after five years could get half their money back minus charges for some calls. The $999 fee does not include taxes or surcharges.
  • Guru predicts machines will rule the world - Software Guru Grady Booch is predicting that machines will rule the world by 2030. Booch, who is in a unique position to make this happen, is the chief scientist at Rational Software which was recently bought by IBM.
  • Blade: The Art of Gore - Trinity, the new installment in the movie franchise about the human-vampire hybrid, doesn't get high marks for plot plausibility. But if you're looking for impressive scenes of on-screen carnage, the film delivers in full. By Jason Silverman.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Lenovo buys IBM PC division - Industry giant IBM has sold its PC division to Lenovo, China's largest IT enterprise!
  • Siemens Develops 1 gbit/sec Wireless Link - Siemens has developed mobile wireless technology with transfer rates as high as 1 gigbit per second.
  • Dual DVD, HD-DVD Disc Developed - The newly developed ROM disc has a single-sided, dual-layer structure. The upper layer, closer to the optical head, stores data in the DVD format, and the lower layer stores HD DVD data. The DVD layer has a 4.7GB capacity, satisfying specification of current DVD discs, while the HD DVD layer can store 15GB capacity. The DVD layer can be played back on currently available DVD players.
  • Adware cannibals feast on each other - According to the Nov. 24 complaint, DirectResponse's software detects Internet Optimizer and then sends a command to "kill" the program, a process that deletes its files from the PC registry and from the computer altogether. Avenue Media said DirectRevenue's tactics have caused it to lose about 1 million customers--about half its installed base--and as much as $10,000 a day in revenue.
  • RC1 for Windows Server 2003 x64 edition, Win XP Pro x64 edition - It's not just Windows Server 2003 SP1 that reached the Release Candidate 1 (RC1) milestone on Tuesday. Microsoft also posted for download the first release-candidate beta versions of Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions, as well as Windows XP Professional x64 Edition. Windows Server 2003 SP1 and the aforementioned 64-bit versions are all slated to go gold by mid-2005.

HARDWARE...

  • New SiS-based boards offer an entry-level choice of integrated graphics for the AMD Athlon 64 - Of the five new SiS-based boards, three pair the SiS760GX northbridge with the SiS964 southbridge, one uses the SiS964L, and the Asustek offering uses the SiS965L. With the 760GX and 965L combination, the Asustek board becomes the first AMD Athlon 64 solution with integrated graphics to support PCI Express (PCIe) x1. This PCIe support, coupled with AGP 8x, RAID0, RAID1, SATA and on-board LAN gives the board ample upgrade options for a whole range of users.
  • AMD ships 90-nano Opterons - The Register is reporting that AMD has started shipping Opteron processors fabbed using 90-nano process technology. The 90-nano chips were due out before the end of the year, so it's no surprise to see them shipping now.
  • Billion Electric announces availability of 802.11g ADSL security gateway - The myGuard 7500GL supports Trend Micro's complete security solution, Trend Micro Home Network Security Services, which includes a variety of wireless security features. In addition, the ADSL security gateway offers built-in Wi-Fi wireless protected access (WPA), firewall and virtual private network (VPN) capabilities.
  • Nvidia ships NV44 - Don't get confused, because Nvidia already launched card named 6200. The older one is based on the faster and more expensive NV43-V core. Actually those chips could be defined as the slowest of the NV43 series that were good enough to make slower chips by crippling the pipelines. The chip, codenamed NV44 is already in production but as you can see it hasn't managed to make it to the shops for Yule. As a matter of fact, a very few have managed to ship 6200, NV43-V based cards in retail. These cost a bit more than L100 here in Europe.
  • ASUS Denies VIA K8T890 Mainboard Cancellation - The mainboard manufacturer claimed it was wrongly understood by journalists about canceling the plans to use the VIA K8T890 core-logic, reports Hard Tecs 4U web-site, and had only planned to stop sending its A8V-E Deluxe to reviewers because of lower than expected performance that was a consequence of faulty BIOS version.
  • Samsung L1200 Portable DVD Player - This player is very good in terms of image quality. It delivers a strong bright image with vibrant colours and great black colour results (something Samsung is very good at with all their HD DVD players: images tend to have rich black levels rather than dull grayish blacks.). In many portable players, brightness is always an issue; we complain “It's not bright enough.
  • Corsair, Kingston, and OCZ CL2 TCCD memory shootout - Priced at $265, Kingston's HyperX KHX3200UL modules are the cheapest of the three featured today, and are also the best performing. As expected with modules using the same Samsung TCCD memory chips, all three pairs of memory performed very close to one another at our set speeds and timings, but the KHX3200UL sticks by Kingston were able to get up to 284MHz FSB, 7MHz higher than Corsair's 3200XL Pro modules.
  • Corsair TwinX1024-4400C25PT 1Gbyte Matched Memory - Corsair's TwinX XMS4400 1Gbyte matched memory pack is aimed at enthusiasts who absolutely know that their motherboards will run flawlessly at 275MHz and beyond. By running memory in a synchronous fashion with an overclocked Front-Side Bus or driven clock, performance, as expected, is markedly better than opting for slower, asynchronous RAM. The TwinX4400 pack will suit those users who have either have multiplier-locked, low-speed CPUs that are partial to a jump in FSB/driven clock, or to the hardcore enthusiast who's not scared of using extreme cooling on premier CPUs.
  • Shuttle SN95G5 review - The XPC SN95G5 destroys the myth that bigger PCs are faster. Designed for power-hungry users, this AMD Athlon 64-based small form factor (SFF) computer delivers tower-crushing, performance in one-third the space.
  • Albatron K8X800 ProII Socket 754 motherboard - The downside from the K8X800 ProII is that it does not offer that much in overclocking features. With a broken multiplier, we weren't able to do much except overclock the FSB at the default CPU ratio. There is a good selection of voltage options for the chipset and the HyperTransport bus, but only basic memory performance options. There is dual bios chips which is something enthusiasts will appreciate.
  • MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum (socket 939) motherboard - The board was not without its issues though. As far as layout concerns go, the positioning of the SATA3 and SATA4 ports could have been done a bit better. Use of those ports would be nearly impossible with a large AGP card and a HSF or water block unit installed. The BIOS had some minor inconsistencies as well, specifically in the Cell Menu portion. The most glaring feature missing was the ability to lock the PCI bus FSB, or in some way control it via ratios tied in to the AGP or CPU bus FSBs. The allowed memory voltage was also a bit of a disappointment, especially in light of the voltage ranges allowed for the CPU and AGP.
  • ASUS P5GDC-V Deluxe Vs. Soltek SL-915GPro-FGR - Intel 915G Doubleshot - When we look at the features of the Soltek SL-915GPro-FGR, we find a capable motherboard that has a lot to offer. This model was not as flexible when compared to the ASUS model, with no support for DDR2 and SATA RAID, but the choice to leave DDR2 out of the mix isn't a major issue in the current market. Our biggest issue with the Soltek model was the less than impressive BIOS menu system and the lack of serious overclocking potential.
  • Gigabyte's GV-N68T256DH Graphics Card - Gigabyte's unique cooling solution represents a dream come true for many case-modding fans - provided the card fits on the motherboard without colliding with its components. The volume of the slightly noisy fan is easily adjusted with the included V-Tune 2 utility. Thanks to the GeForce 6800 GT, 3D performance is top notch as well.
  • Inno3D GeForce 6600 GT 128MB - In summary, Inno3D's GeForce 6600 GT 128MB card is a credible effort that's based on an excellent GPU. Certainly worthy of a look if not an outright recommendation
  • 16X DVD Writer with DVD+R Double Layer Writing - The SOHW-1653S was a very good optical drive in terms of performance. The drive itself is very stable during the reading/writing of any disc. The most unique of this SOHW-1653S DVD Writer is the transfer rate of DVD+R Dual Layer at 4X, unlike the previous model which is only at 2.4X. As for the noise level, it was much quiet compare to the SOHW-1633S. The LiteOn SOHW-1653S DVD Writer is a worthy solution of the new 16x Dual Layer DVD writer.
  • Logitech MX1000 Laser Cordless Mouse Review - The Tech Zone has posted a review of Logitech MX1000 Laser Cordless Mouse.
  • Thermaltake Silent PurePower 350W Fanless Power Supply - It is unfortunate that using the Silent PurePower caused system instability in our case, and that is why we recommend that its use be limited to a chassis that is well-ventilated, or at least fairly large. As mentioned earlier, the instability was definitely as a result of the extra heat added to the internals of the system, which pushed it over its stable operating temperatures.
  • Samsung SyncMaster 710N (12ms) - The 710N performed admirably in all our tests. Display was bright and grey scale ramping was excellent with the help of the monitor's high 600:1 contrast ratio. We liked the softer look of text as well. Users who constantly need to work with text documents would find the 710N a boon. Most LCDs have overly sharp text with highly contrasted edges that turn out to be more glaring than crisp. The 710N is one of the better monitors when it comes to interpolation results. We scaled the resolution down from its native resolution to 1024x768 and even down to 640x480. The text quality remained sharp and did not show excessive jaggedness, which is an impressive feat.

GUIDES...

  • AnandTech's SFF Guide - While benchmarks were not a part of this article, there are some areas in which SFFs still can't match ATX configurations. For starters, all the high-end performance options become difficult, if not impossible, to incorporate into a SFF box. Two hard drives in RAID 0 is still possible for a small performance boost, but you'll have to sacrifice either a floppy bay or 5.25" bay for one of the drives. Larger 2-slot graphics cards are not going to fit well (if at all) in these diminutive cases, and features such as SLI are simply not possible without a major redesign of the case internals - someone out there is probably already working on such a design, of course.
  • A guide to troubleshooting your PC - There are a number of solutions to this problem. Unfortunately, troubleshooting this seems to be the most difficult, since there are many things which could be preventing the system from starting. Here's a list to get you started.
  • What is page cloaking and should you use it? - Cloaking can broadly be defined as a technique used to deliver different web pages under different circumstances. There are two primary reasons that people use page cloaking: 1) It allows them to create a separate optimized page for each search engine and another page which is aesthetically pleasing and designed for their human visitors. When a search engine spider visits a site, the page which has been optimized for that search engine is delivered to it. When a human visits a site, the page which was designed for the human visitors is shown. 2) It allows them to hide the source code of the optimized pages that they have created, and hence prevents their competitors from being able to copy the source code.
  • ForceWare 66.93 vs. ForceWare 70.90 - TechConnect have done some benchmarks with both Forceware drivers, version 66.93 and version 70.90.

SOFTWARE...

  • List of Live Linux CDs - The purpose of this page is to provide a comprehensive, easy-to-search list of all available Linux-based Live CDs.
  • Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1) - RC1 - Microsoft Windows Server 2003 SP1 (FAQ) provides enhanced security, increased reliability, and a simplified administration to help enterprise customers across all industries.
  • NetSend GUI v0.60 - NetSend GUI (download) now supports the sending of messages on PCs that don't have the Messenger service as it implements its own internal Net Send protocol. This also has the side-effect of telling you if a message was actually sent successfully or not. Download it either via the Software - Misc section of the site or via the link underneath the calendar.
  • SpyBot-S&D 1.4 Beta 1 -  SpyBot-S&D (download) is an adware and spyware detection and removal tool. utilities. In addition, it also securely removes PC and Internet usage tracks, including browser history, temporary pages, cookies (with option to keep selected) and more.
  • Adobe Reader SpeedUp 1.31 - Adobe Reader SpeedUp (download) is a simple application that was created to help make the loading time of Adobe's Acrobat/Reader software bearable for everyday use. AR SpeedUp only needs to be used once (a process taking only a few seconds) and then your 'Reader will be transformed forever.
  • Serv-U 6.0.0.0 (shw) - Serv-U (download) is a powerful, easy-to-use, award-winning FTP server created by Rob Beckers. An FTP server uses the FTP protocol to share files across the Internet.
  • jv16 PowerTools 2005 Beta 1 - Jv16 PowerTools (download) provides the best solutions to maximize the performance of your PC. You can diagnose, monitor and tune up your computer.
  • Mozilla Launches Thunderbird 1.0 - The Mozilla Foundation has released version 1.0 of Thunderbird e-mail client (download ~ release notes). In addition to functioning as an e-mail client, Thunderbird provides users with an RSS news reader, as well as the ability to retrieve messages from internet newsgroups.
  • PowerStrip 3.55.484  - PowerStrip (download) provides advanced, multi-monitor, programmable hardware support to a wide range of graphics cards - from the venerable Matrox Millennium I to the latest video cards.
  • Nvidia Optimized Driver v0.4 - TechConnect have a new optimized driver v0.4 which is based on the latest leaked Forceware drivers 70.90 beta.  This new driver fixes some HL2 shimmering issues, removes few useless tweaks and improved FPS under OpenGL.
  • ForceWare 70.90 beta - Station-Drivers has posted a new set of Forceware Drivers v70.90 (mirror: Guru3D)
 Gameguru Mania News - Dec,06 2004 - tech
Monday Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 09:25 PM EST - Dec,06 2004 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Smartphone Users Offered Free Antivirus - Smartphone users have today been offered free antivirus and anti-spam software for their handsets - but only for a limited period. The offer from security firm Trend Micro is only open to devices that use the Windows Mobile 2003 operating system, but a version for Symbian and Pocket PC devices will be out in January. The software package protects against viruses and SMS spam and needs regular updates. The company said that the offering will be free, but only until July 2005.
  • The Cost of Virus Protection Rises - Gasoline and milk aren't the only things that cost more these days. The cost of keeping your antivirus software current has been rising, also. But while leading antivirus software vendors Symantec and McAfee have been hiking annual subscription fees for stand-alone products, they've kept those charges flat for product suites that bundle antivirus utilities with firewall, intrusion-detection, and spam-control software. The idea is to encourage customers to move over to these suites.
  • Targeted, Mass Distributed Mail Bombing : Theoretical DoS - Mail "Bombing" is perhaps one of the oldest and certainly considered one of the "lamest", that is to say; ineffective and immature, methods of "attack" available to the would-be "script kiddie" or otherwise malicious user online. Simply dating back to the first time someone realised hundreds of irrelevant emails sent to someone else's inbox could be an extreme, and most importantly time wasting, annoyance.
  • Firefox's biggest obstacle is lazy programming - Peter Tippett, chief technologist at security risk management firm Cybertrust, said Firefox will probably gain market share with home and small business users but will struggle in the enterprise because corporate applications have not been built to work with anything but IE. "An individual can easily switch to Firefox. But doing that on a corporate level is a disaster. All kinds of internal applications are dependent on IE. They never tested them against Firefox or Mozilla because they never thought about it and now they are kind of hooked – that was Microsoft's plan," said Tippett.
  • Upgrade to Windows 2000 SP4 now - Research group Gartner has advised its clients to upgrade their Windows 2000 systems to SP4 as soon as possible, after Microsoft announced last week that it would not release any new service packs for the aging operating system
  • Changing Patch Habits With Microsoft  - In enterprise IT departments, the regular patch cycle has led to a number of changes. Many administrators say the change has given them time to test patches comprehensively and has upped their confidence in the updates they deploy. "The real issue is that you have to test patches, and how quickly we move on one is a function of the severity of the problem," said Adam Hansen, manager of security at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP, a Chicago law firm with more than 2,000 users in 11 offices. "I can plan for resource allocation better now. I plan on at least one critical patch every month, and I haven't been disappointed. And I can package the patches together once they're tested and push them out in a pack."

OFF-TOPIC...

  • From cell phone to sunflower - Materials company Pvaxx Research & Development, at the request of U.S.-based mobile phone maker Motorola, has come up with a polymer that looks like any other plastic, but which degrades into soil when discarded. Researchers at the University of Warwick in Britain then helped to develop a phone cover that contains a sunflower seed, which will feed on the nitrates that are formed when the polyvinylalcohol polymer cover turns to waste.
  • California teenager shines with electricity invention in science competition - Aaron Goldin has won the Siemens Westinghouse Competition for creating a device that converts ocean wave energy into electricity. Goldin made his first prototypes by using a tape recorder, an answering machine and other appliances from his home. One of the judges praised the 17-year-old for demonstrating great independence and originality for his gyroscopic device.
  • The post-PC era is upon us - IBM is trying to sell its PC business. Korea has already launched a programme called "The Post-PC Era." Jonathan Schwartz, president of Sun Microsystems, told the New York times: "We've been in the post-PC era for four years now." Can we really manage without the PC?

TECHNOLOGY...

  • New consoles could up price of sports games - Prices for Take-Two Interactive Software's sports video games will likely return to higher levels once new game consoles arrive in late 2005 or 2006, the company said Monday.  Take-Two, in partnership with Sega Sammy Holdings, has been selling its popular ESPN sports games for $19.99 for Sony PlayStation 2 and Microsoft Xbox game consoles. Until last year, those games were published by Sega alone and sold for around $40.
  • Net file-sharing doesn't hurt most artists - Most musicians and artists say the Internet has helped them make more money from their work despite online file-trading services that allow users to copy songs and other material for free, according to a study released Sunday.
  • Microsoft unveils free SQL management tool - Microsoft today unveiled a technical preview of SQL Server 2005 Express Manager, a newly developed free database management tool and the second Community Technology Preview of the SQL Server 2005 database. In addition to quality and performance enhancements, Microsoft promised that the latest SQL preview code will introduce 64-bit support for SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services and SQL Server 2005 Integration Services on top of the 64-bit support already included for the database engine.
  • IBM Unveils World's Smallest SRAM Memory Cell - IBM today announced it has built a critical component for a high-speed computer memory that is about ten times smaller than those currently available, potentially enabling a major system performance boost for critical business applications.
  • Switches Drive Down Prices For 10-Gbps Ethernet - Falling prices for 10-Gbps Ethernet switches may spur a new round of network upgrades by businesses looking to provide more speed for bandwidth-hungry applications. Hewlett-Packard and Alcatel today will introduce several aggressively priced 10-Gbps switches, joining a host of other major networking vendors' faster and cheaper switches introduced in recent months.

HARDWARE...

  • Intel updates price list - Intel updated its microprocessor menu yesterday, adding a number of juicy new items to its bill of fare. So now we see the 775-pin 3.46GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition with its 1066MHz frontside bus, pricing at a less-than-compelling $999, the same as the 3.4GHz/800MHz FSB version. And there's the Pentium 4 570J with its 1MB L2 cache, 3.8GHz clock frequency and Execute Disable Bit (EDB) support. It's priced at $637. The new Celeron 345J also supports the EDB, though it's also available as the EDB-less Celeron 345. Both run at 3.06GHz over a 533MHz FSB and contain 256KB of L2. Both cost $127.
  • Intel's New E0 Prescott Stepping: Improved at Idle, but Throttling Under Load -The new Thermal Monitoring 2 is a nice feature TM2, however, it's a literal clock throttle that reduces clockspeed to 2.8 GHz in order to cool the CPU down. If TM2's clock reduction is insufficient, TM1 is still available to shut the CPU off and cool it more drastically. We attempted to force TM2 to occur, but Throttlewatch only reported TM1 events when we created conditions meant to deliberately throttle the CPU. We noted a periodic drop in clockspeed as monitored by WCPUID's real-time clock monitor, but even set to a refresh rate of half a second, it never caught more than a flicker of change (from 3876 to 3650 for example).
  • Nvidia's Nforce 5 details enlarged and expanded - According to TheInquirer, the Intel Nvidia chipset will support both 800 and 1066FSB for P4 Intel CPUs. It will support socket 775 CPUs based on Prescott, a new 2MB 600 core and future dual core Smithfield CPUs. The chipset already has support for Intel's 64 bit marchitecture.
  • Plextor PX-716 DVD+/-R/RW Ships with Roxio Easy Media Creator - Roxio announced today that Plextor has selected Roxio's Easy Media Creator 7 Basic DVD Edition software to ship with their new PX-716 series 16X DVD+/-R/RW recorders.
  • Albatron K8Ultra-U motherboards support Windows XP 64-bit edition - Albatron Technology announced today the availability of two new Athlon 64 motherboards. The K8Ultra-U and the K8Ultra-U Pro are both designed for the upcoming Windows XP 64-bit operating system.
  • Cisco lifts lid on 'mini' 640Gbps router - Cisco has released the latest version of its CSR-1 intelligent router aimed at service providers. The 'mini' CRS-1 8-slot single-shelf system has half the slots of the firm's existing CRS-1 router but is half the size and can process 640Gbps of switching capacity compared to the larger model's 92Tbps.
  • AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (Winchester) - Our off-the-shelf sample was utterly stable at just under 2.4GHz, cooled only by the supplied reference heatsink. All it took was a slight rise in core voltage and a motherboard capable of scaling with the processor's heightened driven clock. Overclocked benchmark results were on a par with a standard Athlon 64 3800+, a processor that costs almost 4x the L110 3000+ retail price. S939 is soon to enjoy the performance benefits that SLI-capable chipsets can deliver, so faster CPU speeds become even more important due to the number of games that will become system-bound with a pair of fast SLI cards working in tandem.
  • ABIT RX600 Pro-Guru 256MB PCI-E video-review - The ABIT RX600 Pro-Guru 256MB PCI-E Video Card is a product targeted at the casual gamer. It has a core speed of 405MHz and a memory speed of 257MHz. There is an interesting feature which enables the core speed to increase to 500MHz by simply changing jumper position. Also, the vGuru software is loaded with features.
  • XFX's GeForce 6600 GT AGP 8x - These 6600 GT cards are being sold for hundreds of dollars less than nVidia's 6800 and ATI's X800 line of graphics cards, yet deliver performance levels which are actually very close in modern games. As for the card itself, the XFX GeForce 6600 GT is an odd looking card but it gets the job done. It's small, doesn't consume a lot of power, and is stable.
  • Leadtek Winfast PX6600TD PCI-E - Leadtek claims that the WinFast PX6600TD uses an Ultra Cooling System, but we beg to differ. The cooler on the GeForce 6600 GPU is a conventional aluminium heatsink with radial fins, although the fan is a relatively large 55mm diameter unit, compared to the standard size of 40mm that is used on many graphics cards.
  • Saitek PC Gaming Keyboard review - LAN Addict is looking at a USB keyboard from Saitek.
  • Motorola's Bluetooth Wireless Headsets: the HS-810 - Legit Reviews take a look at one of Motorola's Bluetooth Wireless Headsets: the HS-810

GUIDES...

SOFTWARE...

  • OpenOffice 1.1.4 RC - OpenOffice.org (download version for win32 ~ linux) is the open source project through which Sun Microsystems is releasing the technology for the popular StarOffice productivity suite.
  • StarFuck v0.81 - This small tool (Russian website ~ download) will allow you to install/use Starforce protected CDs w/o Starforce crap :)
  • Process Explorer v8.60 - The Process Explorer display consists of two sub-windows. The top window always shows a list of the currently active processes, including the names of their owning accounts, whereas the information displayed in the bottom window depends on the mode that Process Explorer is in: if it is in handle mode you'll see the handles that the process selected in the top window has opened; if Process Explorer is in DLL mode you'll see the DLLs and memory-mapped files that the process has loaded. Process Explorer also has a powerful search capability that will quickly show you which processes have particular handles opened or DLLs loaded.
  • Ultimate Boot CD 3.1 - You need the Ultimate Boot CD if you want to: 1) Run floppy-based diagnostic tools from CDROM drives. 2) Free yourself from the slow loading speed of the floppy drive. 3) Consolidate as many diagnostic tools as possible into one bootable CD.
  • Nero 6.6.0.3 changelog available - Ahead has released several changelogs of applications that were updated with Nero update 6.6.0.3.
  • AnyDVD 4.3.0.1 - SlySoft released a new version 4.3.0.1 of its popular AnyDVD. This new version adds support for an older version of the Sony ARccOS copy protection and the option to remove annoying adverts and trailers has been greatly improved.
  • ZoneAlarm 5.5.062.004 - ZoneAlarm barricades your PC with immediate and complete port blocking. And, then runs in Stealth Mode to make your PC invisible on the Internet - if you can't be seen, you can't be attacked.
  • PowerStrip 3.55 (shw) - PowerStrip 3.46 provides advanced, multi-monitor, programmable hardware support to a wide range of graphics cards.
  • GAIM 1.1.0 - Gaim (download ~ changelog) is a multi-protocol instant messaging client for Linux, BSD, MacOS X, and Windows. It is compatible with AIM (Oscar and TOC protocols), ICQ, MSN Messenger, Yahoo, IRC, Jabber, Gadu-Gadu, and Zephyr networks.
  • TightVNC for Windows 1.3dev6 beta - TightVNC is a client/server software package allowing remote network access to graphical desktops. You may allow yourself to access your machine from everywhere provided that your machine is connected to the Internet. It is optimized to work over slow network connections such as low-speed modem links. Can work remotely almost in real time in most environments.
  • Asus PC Probe 2.23.06 - Asus PCProbe is a convenient utility to monitor the computer's vital components: fan rotation speeds, voltages and temperatures.
  • CPU-Z 1.26 - CPU-Z (download) is a freeware utility that provides some information on your CPU.
  • nForce2 C0/C1/C2 Cooling Patch V2 - Allow nForce2 chipset based motherboards with AMD cpus to use C2/C1 idle state (S2K bus disconnection without HALT detection) reduce idle/load temperatures by 1-10c degrees!
AMD works to chill out Opteron - tech
(hx) 11:22 AM EST - Dec,06 2004 - Post a comment
CNet is reporting that AMD will bring advanced power management functionality to Opteron workstation and server processors. The technology, called PowerNow with Optimized Power Management, lets the operating system slow the processor's clock speed and consequently reduce power consumption by as much as 80 percent, said Ben Williams, vice president of AMD's server microprocessor business unit.  AMD's PowerNow feature has been built into Opteron processors that have been shipping since mid-2004, Williams said. However, computers won't be able to use it until the first half of 2005, when support is due to arrive in the operating system and in a lower-level hardware control system called the BIOS, or basic input-output system. Support will be included with Microsoft Windows and with versions of Linux from Red Hat, Novell and others, Williams added.
 Gameguru Mania News - Dec,04 2004 - tech
Saturday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 08:54 AM EST - Dec,04 2004 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Serious Game Engine UDP DoS Vulnerability - The Serious engine is a well known game engine developed by Croteam and used by various games. A denial of service is possible against a server written with Serious and using the UDP protocol for multi-player connectivity.
  • Lycos Europe halts anti-spam counterattacks - The company says it's canceling the program because it was always meant to be temporary and has done its job of sparking discussion about fighting spam. About 100-thousand people downloaded the free screensaver but the programs can no longer send the bogus traffic.
  • IT security sheriffs to police the web - The government today unveiled plans for UK IT security special constables to police the web. The proposals came from Eurim, the parliamentary working group that examines the use of IT in society.
  • An Invisible Technology May Slow Piracy - Invisible technology could soon point the finger toward the camcorder-wielding pirates responsible for that bootleg copy of "The Incredibles" hawked on the street or posted on the Internet. Hollywood is considering whether the technology, developed by a New Jersey company, could help reduce video piracy, which the major studios contend is costing them more than $3 billion in worldwide revenue. The secret code imprinted on a movie would not stop film pirates from spreading their grainy counterfeits on the Internet, but it would reveal the identity of the last legitimate user to industry sleuths. The developers claim their method will improve on existing techniques to create such a code, known as a "watermark" after printing, that can only be seen under certain conditions.

OFF-TOPIC...

  • How Global Warming Can Lead to a Big Chill - Global warming could lead to a big chill in the North Atlantic, at least if history is anything to go by, researchers reported on Friday. They published evidence to support a popular theory that rising temperatures caused a big melt of polar ice 8,200 years ago, causing a freshwater flood into the salty North Atlantic. This would have changed the flow of the balmy Gulf Stream and in just a few years, average temperatures plummeted, ushering in a deep freeze that lasted a century or more, researchers have proposed.
  • Your Old Inkjet Printer Could Aid Burn Victims - Looking for a place to toss your old inkjet printers? A team of scientists working to create human tissue may have a good use for them. Inkjets that are ten years old, they say, are perfectly suited to create sheets of human skin and other tissue that one day may help burn victims and even manufacture organs.
  • Sex patch decision could slow research - In a move that could chill excitement about experimental drugs to treat female sexual dysfunction, federal advisers refused to endorse a new testosterone patch for women. Procter & Gamble sought to market the Intrinsa patch to women with impaired libido due to surgical removal of their ovaries. The company told a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel that the drug had not raised significant safety concerns in clinical trials.
  • Make Your Own Cluster Balloon - Like hot-air balloons, cluster balloons are flown in the very early morning, when winds are calm. In some areas, it is also possible to fly in the evening, in the hour or two before sunset. Preparations for a morning flight flight start before dawn. The balloons range in size from four to seven feet; depending on the mix of sizes, anywhere from 50 to 150 balloons may be needed. It takes a crew of fiften to twenty people about an hour and a half to inflate the balloons. Special hoses and manifolds are used to inflate the balloons to the desired size, based on the volume of the helium tanks. The inflated balloons are sealed using tape and cable ties, and are tied with nylon twine.
  • References to Hell edited out of Doom movie - The movie project, based on the ubiquitous video game, is currently being filmed in Prague. Eastern Europe has become a hot-bed of low budget horror movie making in recent years, due to the activities of the SciFi channel, who have their Saturday night monster-flicks filmed there.
  • US Army calls up robo-warriors - The US Army will be going into battle with armed robots from next year. The Talon series machines are currently used for reconnaissance in dangerous areas, but are due to be fitted with M240 or M249 machine guns or Barrett 50-calibre rifles. The army is also testing versions armed with rocket and grenade launchers. The robots, built by American manufacturer Foster-Miller, have a range of about 20 miles and can move at up to four miles an hour. They are not independent, but are wirelessly controlled by human operators.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • IBM Reported to Put Its PC Business Up for Sale - IBM is reportedly in talks to sell its personal computer business in a deal that could be worth up to $2 billion and would cap a gradual withdrawal from the business it helped to pioneer in 1981.
  • VIA formally announces QSound support - VIA Technologies has announced a license agreement with QSound Labs for their leading edge audio technologies to further enhance VIA Vinyl Audio solutions. QSound enhancements that compliment VIA audio hardware are featured in VIA audio driver sets, already available for your downloading pleasure on VIA Arena.
  • Unified 802.11n Wi-Fi Standard to Emerge in Mid-2006 - Engineers working on the 802.11n Wi-Fi standard say that new products that support a fully defined and unified specification won't be appear on the market until mid-2006.
  • Napster founder basks in funding, label support - With $10 million in venture funding and the backing of at least one major record label, Napster founder Shawn Fanning will officially unveil his new peer-to-peer music company on Monday.
  • PlayStation 3 chip goes easy on developers - H. Peter Hofstee, a researcher in IBM's Systems and Technology division, said the Cell will benefit game developers not only by giving them a stable and easily approachable foundation for games to run on, but by powering the workstations they use to produce games. The upshot is that developers should be spending a lot less time waiting for their equipment to render the animation they create.
  • MS Rolls Out Second Interim Beta of SQL Server 2005 - Redmond releases its second Community Technology Preview of SQL Server 2005 as well as a new, free management tool.
  • Windows NT 4 support to come at price in '05 - The company has decided to expand the for-free program to cover more security issues. Microsoft is now pledging to offer fixes for vulnerabilities rated either as "critical" or "important." Previously, the software maker had only committed to fixing critical flaws. Those fixes will be available only to those that take part in the paid custom-support program, though Microsoft has said it would offer a patch publicly were there to be another virus on the order of Blaster.

HARDWARE...

  • Intel to bundle Nvidia-based graphics cards with PCIe-enabled motherboards - Intel and Nvidia have jointly launched a marketing campaign to promote Intel's own-brand PCIe-enabled motherboards and Nvidia-based graphics cards in the channel, according to sources at Taiwan graphics card makers. The campaign will last until December 31. Under the plan, an Nvidia GeForce 6600GT-based graphics card will be bundled with an Intel D925XCV/BC, D925XECV2/BV2 or D915PBL/CY/CM motherboard. The bundled products are available at Intel's licensed channel distributors, the sources said.
  • Oakley MP3 Sunglasses - The sunglasses come with 128MB of memory ($400) (pic) or with 256MB memory ($495). The device has low power consumption and USB 2.0 to ensure fast data transfer to your goggles.
  • Yamada Beatbox MP3 Player - The Yamada Beatbox is not along the same lines as the iPod MP3 players (and clones), as the capacity is a much smaller 512 Megs - which can store around 8 hours of music. Firstly, this unit is about 60% the size of a standard iPod and 75% than the iPod mini. Secondly, this unit features an inverted LCD colour backlight which can display many different colours of text during playback. The final distinguishing feature is the build-in speaker pair, which is a new feature for a mobile player.
  • Sonnet Technologies PodFreq - The PodFreq is not just only limited to your home, but it's also useful when one's travelling long distances in the car. It can easily integrate yor iPod into your car stereo system, giving you more music choices. As this device utilizes radiowaves to transmit audio to your car stereo, it doesn't require any costly installation to your car's audio system. This makes it really versatile as it can be used in any situation (such as rental cars or cabs), as long as there's a radio system present.
  • Dell XPS Gen3 vs. Compaq GX5000z shootout - Looking over our benchmarks, it's easy to see where Compaq's strengths are - in games, especially OpenGL games like Doom 3 and Call of Duty: United Offensive. This is due to the fact that NVIDIA cards have always held better OpenGL performance than ATI solutions. That said, even in the DirectX titles, the Compaq system held its own.
  • Crucial PC-4000 Ballistix Tracer Memory w/LEDs (video-review) - The Crucial PC-4000 Ballistix Tracer Memory has a fantastic default speed of 250MHz or 500MHz DDR. At this speed the timings are 2.5-4-4-8, which is speedy but can be overclocked even higher. This memory is stable, reliable, & has blistering performance! Let's not forget the "bling bling" factor; 16 active (8 Red, 8 Green) LEDs & 8 Blue ground effect LEDs.
  • ATI RADEON X850XT PE 256MB PCI-E - The most important conclusion: we shouldn't expect anything cardinally new from ATI now! In the first place the company is concerned with market saturation and the shortage of video cards based on R420 (with 16 pipelines). That's why today's attack on the market is intended to capture more various niches. R480/430 chips contain nothing cardinally new from the architectural point of view.
  • X-bit labs tests 16 hard disk drives with 200GB+ storage capacity - X-bit labs take a closer look at the solutions from Hitachi, Maxtor, Seagate and Western Digital. The Hitachi HDS722525VLAT80 drives of 200GB and 250GB capacities and the Seagate ST3200822AS are the best in the IOMeter tests that emulate the disk subsystem of servers. Thus, these drives are going to be a good choice if you’re building a simple server. The Hitachi team, the SATA model from Seagate and two drives from Western Digital, WD2000PB and WD2000BB, were the best in the patterns that emulate the disk subsystem of a desktop computer.
  • Seagate Cheetah 10K.7 Available Capacities - The Cheetah 10K.7 retains the line's signature 4-platter construction and pushes density to 75 GB/platter for a 300 GB flagship capacity. When contrasted with the 10K.6, however, other specs remain similar- a 4.7 millisecond access time and an eight-megabyte buffer.
  • 200GB External Hard Drive with easy pushbutton backup solution -  Extreme Computing take a look at Seagate's offering in the high capacity sector of the external market.
  • Thermaltake Silent 775 heatsink - The heatsink looks to be cleverly designed, offering one of the quickest and easiest non-standard installation processes seen to date. The Swiftech LGA775 installation is far too time consuming and difficult to be realistic.
  • Raidmax Samurai 908 "Spirit of War" case - The last year has revolutionized the way Gamers view their cases. From windows to neon, hard core gamers have constantly looked for a way to stand out from the beige box crowd. This Christmas wouldn't a new Raidmax Samurai 908 look good under the tree?
  • Micro WLAN 11g Turbo Mode Broadband Router and PCMCIA card - For sometime now, users have been trucking along at 11 Mbps and 54 Mbps using 802.11b and 802.11g components such as routers, PCI cards, etc. But, as with everything else built into, installed on, or just connected to a PC, there's always room for improvement, and this usually means doing something faster. That's what X-Micro intends to do with today's showcase on the X-Micro WLAN 11g Turbo Mode Broadband Router and PCMCIA Card. Both of these components use a Turbo Mode, that is supposed to bring transfer speeds up as high as 108 Mbps, all the while staying within the standard 2.4GHz frequency band that is commonly being used today.
  • Diamondback Precision Gaming Mouse - "I tested the Diamondback playing Half-Life 2 and after using the Razer Viper for quite some time it was obvious this was a different machine. I would compare it like going from a 2 barrel carburetor to a 4 barrel on a car. It took me almost an hour before I became comfortable with it but when I did it was just like using the Viper except faster and more accurate."
  • MonsterGecko's PistolMouse - The MonsterGecko PistolMouse FPS is a unique input device. It is something that takes a bit of getting used to, and it also takes up a large footprint on a regular-sized mouse pad. However, don't write it off because of the size of your pad.

GUIDES...

  • December Video Card Price Guide - This follows the same basic pattern as our CPU price guide, starting off with individual lists for both NVIDIA and ATI, then separating them into the various entry-level, mainstream and high-end market segments, and finishing up with a sorted price list combining all the cards.
  • Rojak Pot on a notebook purchasing fiasco - You would think that buying a notebook would be easy. Why should it be otherwise? You do your research, determine what you need beforehand and choose a notebook that meets your requirements. Then, you eyeball it to examine its build quality, make a decision, pay and that's it! Right?
  • Fiona's PC Tips. 8 easy steps to upgrade, replace or add a ROM drive - It can't be that hard right? Well no, not if you understand configuring IDE drives and the basic is of what plugs in where. How can you improve the performance of writing from one CD to another?
  • Web Services Enhancements 2.0 Hands On Lab - Security - Learn how to secure Web services without writing code, how to author security policies, and how to leverage the WSE programming model to secure your Web services. The labs now include both a Visual Basic and a C# version.

SOFTWARE...

 Gameguru Mania News - Dec,02 2004 - tech
Nightly Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 09:32 PM EST - Dec,02 2004 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Internet Explorer Cumulative Update MS04-040 (KB889669) - Microsoft has issued a patch (Win98/ME / WinXP/2k/NT), out of its normal security patch cycle, for a critical bug in Internet Explorer versions from 6.0 up to but not including Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). According to the advisory issued by Microsoft, the bug could allow remote code execution on an affected system. The vulnerability is a buffer overflow in the handling of IFRAME and EMBED tags.
  • Security Vulnerability in Netscape 7 With PNG Files - Multiple security vulnerabilities have been discovered in the Portable Network Graphics (PNG) Library libpng(3) which also affect Netscape 7 shipped with Solaris since Netscape 7 includes the affected libpng routines. This may allow an unprivileged user to execute arbitrary code with the privileges of a local user. This condition can be exploited when the local user has loaded a Portable Network Graphics (PNG) format image file supplied by an untrusted user and views a malicious web site or views an e-mail message containing a malformed PNG image with that application.
  • Microsoft confirms flaw in Windows - Microsoft has confirmed the flaw that has been detected in Microsoft Windows, which can be exploited by malicious users to compromise a vulnerable system. The vulnerability is caused due to an error within WINS (Windows Internet Name Service) during the handling of replication packets. This flaw can be exploited to write 16 bytes to an arbitrary memory location by sending a specially crafted WINS replication packet to a vulnerable server, claims security research firm Secunia.
  • Windows XP SP2 flaw complex but dangerous - Security experts have identified a modified exploit that can target computers running Windows XP SP2. Although the exploit is tricky to perform, it combines two vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer 6 with a series of ActiveX exploits to break security settings in computers running SP2. It runs when a user moves a file or an image from one part of a Web page to another, but in the process the exploit downloads code to machines that circumnavigates Local Computer security settings in SP2.
  • BitTorrent servers under attack - The attacks apparently targeted the central BitTorrent directories used by people to find movies, music and other content on the file-swapping network, according to information posted Wednesday on LokiTorrent, a BitTorrent tracking Web site. "We had a massive DDoS attack lasting almost 10 hours today," said the posting on the site. "It seems we were not alone in this attack, as many other torrent sites also fell victim to them.
  • Lycos Anti-Spam Screensaver Brings Down Spam Sites - Earlier this week Lycos Europe released a screensaver that bombards spam websites with data to try to increase the cost of running such sites. But analysis shows that, in some cases, spam websites are being completely overwhelmed by the traffic being directed their way. The Lycos plan has also come under fire for encouraging vigilantism. 
  • Wozniak's Wheels of Zeus Tackles Data Encryption - The Apple co-founder's "wOz Location-Based Encryption" application uses GPS tracking to encrypt and decrypt sensitive data within a proprietary wireless hub.
  • Demo disc can possibly wipeout PS2 game progress memory - PlayStation 2 owners are seething after discovering that a demo disc distributed by Sony could accidentally erase the memory cards attached to their consoles, wiping out many hours of progress in games such as "Grand Theft Auto." Sony acknowledged the problem last week in a postcard sent to members of its PlayStation Underground fan club, warning members to be careful with holiday demo discs sent out last month. Don't play the trial version of the Capcom adventure game "Viewtiful Joe 2" included on the disc, Sony warned, unless you want to start over from scratch on every PS2 game you own.
  • Microsoft sues seven sex spammers - Microsoft today began an anti-spam blitz by filing seven lawsuits against hackers who allegedly used PCs infected with Trojans to send sexually explicit spam email that violated the Can-Spam US anti-spam law.

OFF-TOPIC...

  • DNA 'Velcro' binds nanoparticles  - Strands of DNA have been used to fasten - and then separate - nanoparticles in experiments that could lead to the development of fundamentally "self-constructing" materials. DNA consists of two complementary strands that bind together depending on the chemical "bases" on either strand. Attaching nanoparticles by appending them to complementary strands of DNA is a tried and tested technique, already used in some protein sensing systems. But, until now, no one has shown that it is possible to separate the strands again afterwards.
  • Fuel Cell Supply Chain Market to Hit $1 Billion by 2012 - The automotive fuel cell industry now stands out as a glimmering beacon in the supply chain's vertical landscape. Driven by factors ranging from homeland security to diminishing natural resources, the fuel cell supply chain market will explode to somewhere between $1 billion and $2 billion by 2012, according to analysts at ABI Research.
  • Magnesium may reverse middle-age memory loss - Magnesium helps build bones, make proteins, release energy stored in muscles and regulate body temperature. In the cover story of the Dec. 2 issue of Neuron, MIT researchers report a possible new role for magnesium: helping maintain memory function in middle age and beyond. The adult daily nutritional requirement for magnesium, a trace mineral found in foods such as dark green, leafy vegetables, is around 400 mg a day
  • Japanese robot to chat lonely elderly out of senility - Japan's growing elderly population from will be able to buy companionship in the form of a 45-centimeter (18-inch) robot, programmed to provide just enough small talk to keep them from going senile.
  • The threat from life on Mars - Earth must take precautions to avoid contamination from lifeforms that must now be presumed to exist on Mars, leading scientists gave warning yesterday. Potentially deadly microorganisms could be returned to Earth on a probe which is being planned to collect samples from the Martian surface. The warning comes after a detailed scientific analysis of data sent back by the roving vehicle Opportunity which landed on Mars on January 25.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Google Groups 2 Beta Hits the Web - Google has swapped out its main Groups service with a beta of Google Groups 2, which the search giant has been testing since last May. Users who click the "Groups" link on the Google homepage will be redirected to the beta offering that promises enhanced features and focuses on community building. In fashion with MSN's Communities and Yahoo!'s Groups, Google Groups 2 allows users to design their own group Web sites, mailing lists and newsletters.
  • MSN Spaces Launched - MSN Spaces, Microsoft's blogging service, has opened itself to the public for beta testing. The service, previously only available in Japanese, is now available in English. Like the recently launched search beta, it does appear a little shakey in terms of .
  • Windows XP Starter Edition To Expand Availability - Microsoft said on Thursday it will begin shipping a low-cost version of its Windows XP operating system to three Asian countries and Russia by early-2005, tapping developing markets as growth slows elsewhere.
  • MP3 surround sound unleashed free demo available - Fraunhofer IIS, Thomson and Agere Systems unveil free MP3 Surround evaluation download. Full versions of MP3 Surround encoder and decoder available from www.mp3surround-format.com.
  • Nvidia has canned NV48? - TheInquirer is reporting that Nvidia decided to cancel its NV48 project and reliable sources are claiming that you won't see those cards at all. According to the original plan we were supposed to see those cards in Q1 2005 but Nvidia realised that it made no sense at all to push a 20 to 30 MHz faster card

HARDWARE...

  • Albatron PCIe-enabled GeForce 6600 card uses heatpipe cooling - Albatron Technology has released this week the PC6600U graphics card on the heels of Nvidia's GeForce 6600 graphics chipsets. The PC6600U is a PCI-Express (x16)-based card that utilizes a heatpipe thermal solution.
  • MSI's GeForce 6800 PCI Express - nVidia's GeForce 6800 PCI Express card performs at nearly identical levels to that of the GeForce 6600 GT card, which in itself is roughly $150 - $200 less expensive. The GeForce 6800 PCIe should be a faster card in theory, as it has twice as much memory and a significantly higher DDR memory clock speed. Still, our performance numbers show that the cards are basically on equal footing throughout all of our benchmarks. There may be good reason why nVidia is not promoting this product with the same gusto of their other 6800 and 6600 products.
  • Logitech MX900 Bluetooth Mouse - What the MX900 does bring to the table over the MX700 is it'll transform your computer into a Bluetooth control center
  • ASUS WL-330 Pocket Wireless Access Point  - This nifty little gadget's main purpose is as a massively portable 802.11b wireless access point; hook it into any wired Internet source and you have an instant hotspot. This diminutive device also doubles as a USB-powered 802.11b wireless adaptor.
  • Samsung Syncmaster 172X Display  - PyroPort.com take a brief look at Samsung's Syncmaster 172X Display.

GUIDES...

  • DDR/DDR2 Memory - If you haven't already, I recommend reading this memory guide which explains how memory works and shows the performance impact of different latencies, speeds and types of memory. This information can be very useful when it comes to your buying decision.
  • Dual CPU Database Server Comparison - Intel made a very good comeback with Nocona, as this 3.6 GHz CPU is just a tiny bit faster in DB2. This concurs with some of Jason's MS SQL server results. Of course, it is a very big question mark whether or not Intel can push this Xeon much higher. Meanwhile, it is clear that AMD has quite a bit of headroom with its new 90 nm process technology.  The Opteron systems still have a price advantage over similar Xeons, mostly thanks to the cheaper - to-produce motherboards and DDR-I. A ProLiant DL145 2.4GHz Opteron 2GB ATA Rack Model with 2 CPUs and 2 GB of memory costs about $4300, while a comparable ProLiant DL360 G4 Xeon 3.60GHz Processor, SATA - Rack Model arrives at about $4900.
  • Speakers versus headphones - Dan's Data has compared speakers versus headphones

SOFTWARE...

  • Windows XP embedded goes gold - Microsoft's Mobile and Embedded Devices Group has released the final version of Windows XP Embedded with Service Pack 2. The latest release of the componentized version of Windows XP -- targeting a wide range of embedded systems and devices -- is now available for free download from Microsoft's website. The free 120-day evaluation software kit comprises the entire product including binaries and tools, and can be used to develop, build, deploy, and test a target OS image in a real device, according to Microsoft product manager John Starkweather.
  • Office 2003/XP Add-in: Remove Hidden Data - With this add-in you can permanently remove hidden and collaboration data, such as change tracking and comments, from Word 2003/XP, Excel 2003/XP, and PowerPoint 2003/XP files.
  • Thunderbird 1.0 RC1 - A release candidate 1.0 of Thunderbird is available.
  • FileZilla Server 0.9.4d - FileZilla is a fast FTP and SFTP client for Windows with a lot of features. FileZilla Server is a reliable FTP server.
  • CopyToDVD 3.0.37 - The new version of CopyToDVD 3.0.36 introduced a problem when trying to burn a dvd video project from the Manager/Starter, the version 3.0.37 fixes it. To forgive the inconvenience, they created a special coupon ( you can enter it using Element5/ShareIt order form ) of 25% on the price of CopyToDVD, the coupon is available up to the 5/12/2004. Coupon code is "killbug36".
  • WinAmp 5.07 - Nullsoft Winamp (download full ~ lite) is a fast, flexible, high-fidelity media player for Windows. Winamp supports playback of many audio (MP3, OGG, AAC, WAV, MOD, XM, S3M, IT, MIDI, etc) and video types (AVI,ASF,MPEG,NSV), custom appearances called skins (supporting both classic Winamp 1.x/2.x skins and Winamp 3 freeform skins), etc. This new version has critical Security bug fixed in in_cdda.dll and .m3u handler.
  • Asterisk Key 7.0 - Asterisk Key shows passwords hidden under asterisks.
  • VisualRoute 2005 9.0a - 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
  • ATI Catalyst 4.12 beta 2 - Station-Drivers.com have posted a new set of Catalyst Drivers version 4.12 beta 2 ( 6.14.10.6497 ) with control panel v6.14.10.5134 for Windows XP/2000.
  • ForceWare 67.03 Win2K/XP Official - Although labeled beta, NVIDIA has released a new official driver, this is ForceWare 65 with build 67.03 for Windows 2000/XP.
Half-Life 2: Official Multiplayer Benchmarks - tech
(hx) 10:07 AM EST - Dec,02 2004 - Post a comment / read (3)
AMDZone take a quick look at the new Half-Life 2 multiplayer, and throw in some benchmarks just for fun from their own custom demo. Here's a slice:
DM_Lockdown was not quite as intensive, but again all the frame rates are stuck at just under 52. This is a bit more playable than Overwatch, but not by a lot.

So far our experience playing deathmatch is that it seems quite slow compared to CS Source, and these benchmarks seem to explain why. We will take another look at performance to see what platform is better for HL2 deathmatch to try and have an ultimate HL2 deathmatch rig.

Certainly we are quite happy to see deathmatch released for Half Life 2 besides CS Source, and we remember the fun we had with the original HL deathmatch. We are eager to see new maps and mods spring forth from the game, and certainly we will be playing it at our Texas Gaming Festival lans all over the state next year. Hats off to Valve for making HL2 that much more enjoyable.
 Gameguru Mania News - Dec,01 2004 - tech
ATI Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition review - tech
(hx) 11:19 AM EST - Dec,01 2004 - Post a comment / read (1)
TechReport, Beyond3D, AnandTech, FiringSquad, HardOCP, TrustedReviews, K-Hardware have posted a review on the ATI Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition video card. Here's a taster:
TechReport: As most of you know, I rarely recommend that anyone actually purchase a $549 video card like the Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition, or even a $499 card like the X850 XT. That's a very high price to pay when there are better values to be had at $399 and below. However, if you want to have the fastest single graphics card available, the Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition is it. The X850 XT PE came out on top in the majority of our tests, and it did especially well when 4X antialiasing and 8X anisotropic filtering were enabled. The most notable exception was Doom 3, where the GeForce 6800 Ultra was faster, but not by all that much. ATI's decision to use application-specific optimizations in its video drivers, as NVIDIA has done for some time now, has allowed the Radeons to close the gap in Doom 3.
Beyond3D: On the face of it, the X800 XT Platinum Edition seems like a bit of a tough sell - they've moved to double slot cooling, freezing out some small form factor users in the process, seemingly increase the retail price (although, perhaps this is just an acknowledgement that X800 XT Platinum Editions hardly hit that price when they could be found) and its one of the smallest performance increases from any refresh product released.
 Gameguru Mania News - Nov,30 2004 - tech
Tuesday Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 08:05 PM EST - Nov,30 2004 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Phishers target Christmas shoppers - According to IT security firm CyberGuard, the latest scam uses fake e-commerce sites offering "bargain" Christmas gifts. The sophisticated fraud works when people search on the internet for items they want to buy, and click on a link. They are then directed to a legitimate looking web page and instructed to 'Click here to download images' of what they want to buy.
  • Microsoft is investigating reports of a security issue - Microsoft is investigating reports of a security issue with Microsoft Windows Internet Name Service (WINS). This security issue affects Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Server, Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Terminal Server Edition, Windows 2000 Server, and Windows Server 2003. This security issue could make it possible for an attacker to take control of a WINS server remotely. As of November 26, 2004, Microsoft is not aware of this security issue affecting any customers.
  • Sun stamps on Java bug - Sun Microsystems claimed yesterday that its attempt to stamp on a recently discovered Java Virtual Machine (JVM) security bug has been successful. Security experts warned that the potentially devastating flaw in the JVM Run Time Environment could leave millions of desktops open to attack. However, Sun stated: "Early indications are that Sun's response to this issue has been effective. As of 29 November 824,244 users have downloaded the upgraded version of J2SE 1.4.2_06 that corrects the vulnerability."
  • Unprotected PCs can be hijacked in minutes - Each PC was connected to the Internet via a broadband DSL connection and monitored for two weeks in September. Break-in attempts began immediately and continued at a constant and high level: an average of 341 per hour against the Windows XP  machine with no firewall or recent security patches, 339 per hour against the Apple Macintosh and 61 per hour against the Windows Small Business Server. Each was sold without an activated firewall.
  • CuteFTP 6.0 Professional Remote Buffer Overflow Vulnerability - When CuteFTP Professional process replies to many commands from a
    malicious FTP server, if the reply code is big than 500(4xx works sometimes) and the length of text following is big than 65530, the Cute FTP Professional will crash. Only some command's replies are not affected(like USER, PASS). It becomes even worse when the CuteFTP connects to server to wait for the welcome message reply, the malicious server could send such a reply to crash it.
  • Hackers deface SCO website - The hack replaced the main image on the www.sco.com homepage with the words: "We own all your code, pay us all your money."  The image still retains the original alt text 'Click here to learn about SCO's Webinar Schedule.' At the time of going to press, the hacked image was still on the company's site. SCO was unavailable for comment.
  • Lycos Europe Aims To Thwart Spammers with DDoS Attacks - Lycos Europe yesterday announced that it has created a downloadable screensaver aimed at putting spammers out of business with distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks

OFF-TOPIC...

  • US Scientists Claim Breakthrough in Hydrogen Fuel Research - U.S. scientists said yesterday they have made a breakthrough in their quest to make low-cost hydrogen, a technology which is key to finding new sources of energy to end U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The conversion rate of water into hydrogen ranges between 45 and 50 percent in high temperatures, compared with about 30 percent in electrolysis, researchers said. "This is ... a crucial first step toward large-scale production of hydrogen from water, rather than from fossil fuels," said Stephen Herring, consulting engineer at INELL.
  • Lying Makes Brain Work Harder - This Wired News article say it seems to take more brain effort to tell the lie than to tell the truth according to functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans
  • Turn yourself into a diamond: tips from science on a good life, and death  - A thinktank of British scientists has come up with a new way of quickening the national intellect - a brain-taxing spin on the old formula of 100 things to do before you die. The group, which includes the evolutionary biologist, Richard Dawkins, astronomer Sir Patrick Moore, neuroscientist Susan Greenfield and the inventor James Dyson, urges us all to take samples of our own DNA, measure the speed of light with chocolate, and solve the mathematical mystery of the number 137.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King trailer - A six-minute trailer for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Extended Edition, has been released.
  • Rambo IV: Holy War details - Rambo IV: Holy War, as it's called, sees Stallone's iconic super-soldier return to the screen as the matured sage; he's married, with an adopted son, influenced by Islamic Sufism, and now working as an environmentalist at the United Nations. When the UN Assembly is hijacked by sadistic Islamist terrorists, Rambo tries to take the terrorists down, knowing that his Afghani-adopted son, Tomask, is part of the terrorist mission....apparently Stallone has nothing better to do! :)

TECHNOLOGY...

  • China Blocking Access to Google News Site - China is blocking access to the Web site Google News, media watchdog Reporters Without Borders said on Tuesday, and accused the U.S.-based company of being complicit by filtering its Chinese-language site.  The Paris-based group said the government had been blocking Google's English-language Web site (www.news.google.com) for about 10 days, after the company launched a Chinese-language version that removed politically sensitive reports. Attempts by Reuters to access the site in China on Tuesday resulted in a search freeze.
  • Linux goes Live on Gentoo CD release - The next version of Gentoo, due for release in February 2005, will include a Live CD that allows users to run the operating system off a CD, and a graphical installer that allows users to automatically install the same set-up on multiple machines.
  • RIM intros BlackBerry Java developer tools - Research In Motion (RIM) today announced the availability of its Java Development Environment for BlackBerry v4.0, claiming that the platform's improved API set gives developers enhanced flexibility and support.
  • Satellite Failure Hits Broadband Users - The failure of a communications satellite has knocked out broadband services supplied by StarBand Communications, according to a statement posted on the company's Web site. The irreparable failure of Intelsat Americas-7 at 2:30 a.m. Eastern Time on Sunday is forcing StarBand to move customers to a different satellite. Meanwhile, the company is attempting to provide temporary dial-up service to customers affected, the statement says. The satellite owner, Intelsat, says the craft had suffered a sudden and unexplained electrical anomaly and that it was permanently lost.
  • Google TV? - Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are quietly developing new search tools for digital video, reports ZDNet.
  • TiVo will add advertisements and add Macrovision's copy protection - TiVo's plans for pop-up ads and restrictions on copying have sparked worries that the service may be eroding consumer control in favor of Hollywood and advertiser interests.
  • Toshiba Wins Support for HD DVD from 4 Film Studios - Toshiba said on Monday it had won support for the HD DVD optical disc standard from Warner Bros. Studios, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures and New Line Cinema, advancing its cause in the battle for the next-generation DVD. Toshiba, with NEC and Sanyo, is promoting a next-generation DVD technology called HD DVD, while Sony Corp. and several other giants of the electronics, computer and movie industries are backing a competing standard dubbed Blu-ray.
  • New PlayStation Chip Is Getting a Preview - Industry analysts expect the new PlayStation to be released in late 2005 or early 2006. The advanced chip will include multiple processors versatile enough to provide richer video images, multiplayer gaming and the addition of still pictures, audio and other media, the companies and analysts said. Sony plans to introduce high-definition televisions powered by Cell in 2006, while IBM says the Cell chip has the potential to be included in other consumer electronics and computing products, the companies said. IBM and Sony also said they were testing a workstation driven by the Cell chip that will be used by video game makers and producers of special effects.
  • New Wi-Fi Nearly Doubles Speed - Wireless networking products are never modest in their performance claims. However, Belkin's new Wireless Pre-N Router ($150) and Notebook Network Card ($100) promise--and deliver--dramatically faster speeds and much better range than their fastest 802.11g predecessors.
  • LG Unveils Big, Pricey Plasma TV - South Korea's LG Electronics unveiled a 71-inch Plasma Display Panel (PDP) TV set last week, claiming it is the biggest of its kind available. The package will set customers back a cool $75,700 (!), says Park.
  • Company develops coating to write on recorded side of discs - DualDisc and DVD(plus) discs have until now been devoid of graphics, apart from limited text on the inner ring. Because both sides of these CD/DVD hybrids contain optical data, it has been impossible to apply graphics to them. But MediaCoat technology from Spectra Systems, a developer of systems for marking, tracking and authenticating documents and products, has opened the door to graphics, text and barcodes on the "play" side of a disc. MediaCoat is an add-on process that takes place at the end of a standard disc-manufacturing line, Lawandy explains. A coating is applied and cured, then an image is transferred to the disc using ultraviolet irradiation. A second coat is added to protect the disc from excessive exposure to light and to add scratch resistance.
  • Pentium 4 6xx series could come in February - TheInquirer is reporting that Intel's Pentium 4 6xx series could launch as early as February of next year. The new chips will boast 2MB of L2 cache, EM64T 64-bit extensions, and an enhanced version of Intel's clock-throttling SpeedStep technology that promises to lower power consumption by up to 15W.

HARDWARE...

  • Sony takes on iPod with new 20GB hard-disk Walkman - The product (pic + earlier CNew coverage) will be available in Britain before Christmas at $462.70 (249 pounds) and elsewhere in Europe in early 2005 at $489 (369 euros).
  • Cisco updates Ethernet switches - On Tuesday, the company announced a slew of enhancements to its Catalyst line of switches, including new Supervisor Engines for its Catalyst 6500 and 4500 switches, and several new capabilities across its product line. The new products and enhancements are designed to help customers more affordably extend security and resiliency across their entire network from the core all the way to access switches, where individual servers and desktops are connected.
  • Tatung DV-990 Region Code Free/Multi-System DVD Player review - The DV-990 is a region code free DVD player that also has built-in PAL/NTSC - NTSC/PAL and international voltage conversion. Also included are all needed AV outputs for international use including a European SCART connector. Other bonuses include two-microphone karaoke input and a built-in Dolby Digital/DTS decoder with 5.1 channel analog audio outputs (standard digital optical and digital coax outputs also included)
  • Sony Cyber-shot DSC P150 - Beautifully made, the Sony P150 is a classy little camera that offers a level of resolution not normally the preserve of such small digicams. Despite some image noise, fringing and a slight softness to 'standard' images, the camera offers an accomplished specification, a modicum of manual control and fast operation all within a camera that easily fits into a shirt pocket - all at a reasonable price, too
  • Hush E2-MCE - Silent Media Center PC - The front fascia of the Hush E2-MCE (pic) looks superb, in a kind of Tag-Mclaren minimalist/industrial HiFi component kind of way. On the left is a single, round power button that's circled in blue light (what else?) when the unit is powered on. The right hand side is dominated by the optical drive and the front mounted ports. The optical drive tray is long, with rounded edges - there's a single eject button, an activity light and a manual eject hole.
  • AMD 90nm Athlon 64 first impressions - Currently the Athlon 64 3200+ 90 nm core runs at 1.4 volts, as compared to the 130 nm versions which run at 1.5 volts. Again, this is with the stock cooler and stock thermal material, so nothing really high end was used to achieve these initial results. Some people have been able to get more than 2.5 GHz out of these cores fairly easily, with no real heroic measures involved (as in watercooling, liquid nitrogen, etc.).
  • AMD: Athlon 64 3500+, 3200+, and 3000+ 90nm - The major distinguishing feature of the Winchester core besides the 90nm production process is the 512 L2 cache and dual-channel memory controller supporting DDr400 SDRAM. This way, 90nm Winchester core can be considered an analogue of the 130nm NewCastle core used in Socket939 CPUs in the first place. Therefore, it is not at all surprising that the first Athlon 64 processors to use the new Winchester core appeared CPUs for Socket939 platform
  • Athlon 64 S754 Memory Roundup - MadShrimps compared 5 different TCCD powered modules and discovered some surprising performance differences between them.
  • Soltek SL-K8TPro-939 motherboard - Like most Athlon64 motherboards these days, the SL-K8TPro-939 is very nicely equipped with IEEE 1394, 7.1-channel audio, Gigabit Ethernet, a Promise PDC20579 SATA/IDE RAID controller and the always useful Port 80 diagnostics card. There are five 32bit PCI slots, four 184-pin DDR slots, as well as a standard 8XAGP port.
  • Leadtek WinFast A400 TDH (GeForce 6800) - With a core speed of 325Mhz and an effective RAM clock of 700Mhz, the A400 is well on its way to running the latest games at the resolutions and frame rates you crave. Read ahead to see how Leadtek's A400 TDH fares against last generations technology.
  • PowerColor X700PRO 256MB PCI-Express - The PowerColor Radeon X700PRO 256MB PCI-Express graphic card will be a good buy for a mainstream users, as the price is very affordable and the performance you get is very worth with the price you pay. The performance of the PowerColor X700PRO is out perform the ATI 9800 series. The overclocking results of the card is even excellent. There was an increment of 50MHz for the core and 190MHz for the memory that brings up from the default at 425/860MHz to 475MHz/1050MHz. Another review can be found here.
  • nVidia GeForce 6200 GPU - Overall the GeForce 6200 graphics card is something that nVidia really needed to stand out with as the budget sector simply had died off since the GeForce 4 MX died its slow death. The 6200 guarantees a good performance while in the process wiping out the ATI Radeon X300 in our benchmarks along with compatibility with the PCI express architecture, along with the 128-bit memory bus and DDR SDRAM support. You will find these cards coming out very shortly to a store near you.
  • External 250GB HDD from Maxtor: OneTouch II E01G250 - The OneTouch II family consists of three models of 200, 250 and 300GB capacities. The drives use 100GB platters and rotate their spindle at 7200rpm. The amount of cache memory differs, though. The junior model has a standard 8MB buffer, while the senior two models are equipped with a 16MB buffer. This fact, of course, can seriously affect the performance of the devices. The manufacturer specifies an average seek time of less than 0.9 milliseconds.
  • MSI DR16-B 16x Internal DVD writer  - This 16x Dual Format Double-Layer DVD writer possesses the fastest burn speed for DVD±R media, supports 4x DVD±RW writing and has a speedy 16x DVD-ROM read speed. CD users are not neglected and the write speed for CD-R and CD-RW is at 40x and 24x respectively; though these specifications are no longer the fastest around anymore, they should suffice nonetheless.
  • Creative Labs Audigy 2 NX External Sound Card - In conclusion, the Creative Audigy NX is a superb external sound card. Although small, it is great sounding and offers a perfect solution to people with laptops who prefer not to have their music sound like it was bellowing from a tin can. Any windows system with USB is supported, but you need USB2.0 to get the most out of this sound card.
  • Thermaltake PurePower 350W Fanless PSU - The Thermaltake PurePower 350 watt Fanless Power Supply pretty much proves that when it comes to power supplies, size is not everything. Even at a relatively low rating of 350 watts it is able to supply stable voltages rails to a power hungry, overclocked system. The silent operation of the PurePower Power Supply would be great for use in a Home Theater PC or for anyone trying to set up a quiet PC.

GUIDES...

  • How to recognize if your computer has a virus or trojan - It isn't always easy to tell if your computer has become infected with a virus or similar anti-social piece of software. Normally, your antivirus software will locate and identify any malicious programs that find their way onto your computer. However, in the event that you haven't yet installed the antivirus software, or have let it get out of date (shame on you), here are a few things to look for as clues that you have an infection of some sort on your machine.
  • Half-Life 2, all you need to know when upgrading - What we're looking for is a system that can sustain a minimum frame rate of 45 frames per second, under any circumstance and at a minimum 1024x768 resolution
  • A Guide to Choosing the Right 19" LCD Monitor - 7 Models Reviewed - Our Samsung 193P won our hearts in almost every benchmark - colors were great, the design is awesome and we noticed no motion blur. Unfortunately, that amazing performance comes with a $700 price tag - you could almost get two NuTech L921Gs for that price!
  • Ars holiday gift guide -  What do you buy the geek in your life? Or what do you tell your not-tech-inclined family to buy you? That's where we come in.

SOFTWARE...

  • Mandrake Linux 10.1 - Mandrake Linux 10.1 Official is now available for download.
  • Python 2.4 Final - The final release of Python 2.4 was just released. New features are, but not limited to, function decorators, generator expressions, a number of new module and more
  • PHP 5.0.3 RC1 - PHP 5.0.3RC1 has been released for testing. This is the first release candidate and should have a very low number of problems and/or bugs.
  • PowerPoint Viewer 2003 - PowerPoint Viewer 2003 lets you view full-featured presentations created in PowerPoint 97 and later versions. This viewer also supports opening password-protected Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. You can view and print presentations, but you cannot edit them in the PowerPoint Viewer 2003.
  • BWMeter 2.2.0  - BWMeter (download) is a powerful bandwidth meter and monitor, which measures and displays all traffic on your network. Unlike other products, it can analyze the data packets (where they come from, where they go, which port and protocol they use).
  • TaskInfo 2003 6.0.0.120 Beta - TaskInfo2003 (download) is combination of Task Manager and System Information Utility, It visually monitors different types of System information in Microsoft Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP.
  • RightMark Memory Analyzer 3.43 - The RightMark Team has released a new version of their RightMark Memory Analyzer (download). It aims the detailed, stable and accurate measurements of the most important low-level characteristics of the CPU/Chipset/RAM subsystem of your PC
  • DVD Region+CSS Free 5.60 - DVD Region+CSS Free enables you to watch and copy any region-coded/CSS-encrypted DVD movies on any DVD drive! It fully supports region-protected (RPC2) DVD drives, and does not require any firmware modifications. It will even work if you have used up your region counter and can no longer change the DVD drive's region. This new version Remove Structure Protection (such as Sony ARccOS)" now supports movie "Walking Tall", R2 (German) and fixes crash problem on several games (such as doom3) caused by "Audio CD Free".
  • NEC ND-3100 firmware (unofficial) - Firmware expert Liggy has released a new firmware that brings DVD-R(W) writing to the NEC ND-3100A
 Gameguru Mania News - Nov,29 2004 - tech
NVIDIA's SLI in action - tech
(hx) 04:37 PM EST - Nov,29 2004 - Post a comment / read (1)
TechReport have posted a feature on NVIDIA's SLI (2xGeForce 6800 Ultra), taking a look at what this has to offer. Here's a slice:
SLI gives us a new way to expand the horizons of PC graphics power. By teaming a pair of cards, SLI delivers quite a bit more peak graphics performance than a single-card solution.

I should mention, however, that NVIDIA and Asus have some work to do on system stability. I ran into way too many lock-ups with the SLI test system during my testing. The problems were intermittent but came in bunches and seemed to be related to heat. A pair of GeForce 6800 Ultra cards generates lots of heat, and Asus has placed the nForce4 chip on the A8N-SLI directly between and below the two graphics cards, leaving little room for a heatsink on the nForce4. Asus's solution for this problem is a squat little cooler that's basically a tiny metal cage that houses a fan. This fan spins at upwards of 8,000 rpm and still may not do the trick. I'll have to spend some more time trying to iron out these problems as I work on my review of the A8N-SLI.
PS3 Cell Processor Unveiled - tech
(hx) 12:33 PM EST - Nov,29 2004 - Post a comment
IBM, Sony, and Toshiba today revealed the first technical details of the "Cell" processor that will be used as the main processor for the Playstation 3 console:
Specifically, the companies confirmed that Cell is a multicore chip comprising a 64-bit Power processor core and multiple synergistic processor cores capable of massive floating point processing. Cell is optimized for compute-intensive workloads and broadband rich media applications, including computer entertainment, movies and other forms of digital content.

Other highlights of the Cell processor design include:

-- Multi-thread, multicore architecture.

-- Supports multiple operating systems.

-- Substantial bus bandwidth to/from main memory, as well as companion chips.

-- Flexible on-chip I/O (input/output) interface.

-- Real-time resource management system for real-time applications.

-- On-chip hardware in support of security system for intellectual property protection.

-- Implemented in 90 nanometer (nm) silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology.

Additionally, Cell uses custom circuit design to increase overall performance, while supporting precise processor clock control to enable power savings.
Another press release announcing that the first workstation prototype using the Cell processor has been created with claims that one rack of a Cell-processor-based workstation will reach a performance of 16 teraflops or trillions of floating point calculations per second. The first pilot production of Cell chips will start in the first half of 2005. (thanks HomeLAN)
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