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 Gameguru Mania News - Jan,06 2006 - tech 
InPhase announces 300GB holographic discs - tech
(hx) 03:42 PM EST - Jan,06 2006 - Post a comment / read (1)
InPhase Technologies announced today that it has successfully demonstrated a data density of 200 gigabits per square inch, significantly higher than any other optical format. InPhase achieved this breakthrough by using its patented polytopic recording method, which will be implemented in all generations of the Tapestry drive family. The first generation drive, targeted at a 300 gigabytes (GB) capacity on a single disk, will be available in 2006. This will be followed a family of products ranging to 1.6 terabyte (TB) capacity in 2009.
Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi-Dual Core Notebook - tech
(hx) 09:54 AM EST - Jan,06 2006 - Post a comment
TrustedReviews take a look at the Acer TravelMate 8204WLMi - Dual Core Notebook, one of the first notebooks with the brand new Intel Core Duo Processor. The TravelMate 8204WLMi features a 2.0GHz dual core Yonah chip, 2GB of RAM, ATI Radeon X1600 with 256MB, LG DVD+/-R 8x, and a 120GB hard disk.
The TravelMate 8204WLMi can't be described as an ultra-portable notebook by any means, but it's not a huge beast either. To be honest the chassis is pretty much the same as the 8104WLMi before it and the Ferrari 4000 - at just under 3kg you'll know that you've got it with you, but it's not going to give you back ache.

Although Acer has a reputation for creating very good notebooks at amazing prices, with a machine based on this kind of brand new technology you're going to have to expect to dig deep. That said, the price of L1,761.33 is far from exorbitant, especially considering the components you're getting. In fact the TravelMate 8204WLMi looks like a bit of a bargain when you consider the cutting edge CPU, the graphics chipset with 256MB of memory and the 2GB of system RAM. If you've been holding out for a dual core notebook, you could do a lot worse than to throw your hard earned cash at this little beauty from Acer.
 Gameguru Mania News - Jan,05 2006 - tech
NetGear Skype WiFi Phone - tech
(hx) 07:28 PM EST - Jan,05 2006 - Post a comment
NetGear together with Skype announced the world's first WiFi Skype phone at the CES 2006. The NetGear Skype phone works without a PC and just needs access to a WiFi network. Here's some info:
The NETGEAR device will combine the best of Internet calling and wireless. The NETGEAR phone is pre-loaded with Skype's software, ready out-of-the-box to use with a wireless network. All a user needs to do after turning on the phone is enter a Skype username and password. The Skype software pulls up the user's full contact list, displays the connection status on the phone screen, and allows the consumer to connect to any other Skype user for free. The phone will also allow users to connect to non-Skype users with the SkypeOut feature. More information on NETGEAR's Skype WiFi phone, including pricing and availability, is planned for the first quarter of 2006.

In addition to the Skype Wifi phone, NETGEAR and Skype also announced that the NETGEAR RangeMax Wireless Router (WPN824) with Smart MIMO technology will be equipped to optimize Skype. Adapting to changing wireless conditions is unique to NETGEAR's RangeMax technology, and RangeMax routers dynamically avoid interference from neighboring wireless networks and eliminate dead spots to maintain the most reliable, high-performance, long-range network connections to each client, making them ideal for supporting applications such as Skype.
Dell's new PC gaming monster boasts four GPUs - tech
(hx) 07:20 PM EST - Jan,05 2006 - Post a comment
GameSpot reports that the XPS 600 "Renegade" houses four GeForce 7800 graphics chips:
The computer will run four GeForce 7800 GPUs, two more than the maximum allowed in the standard XPS 600. In tests, the rig and its Intel Pentium processor Extreme Edition 955 was factory over-clocked at 4.2GHz, making it one of the (if not the) fastest computers on the market. The Renegade is scheduled to be available in the first quarter of 2006 with marketing and sales largely through Dell's online site. A base price has not yet been announced, but Dell admitted it would be "a lot."

Dell is also a leader in computer displays, and he showed off a new 30-inch LCD monitor, the Dell UltraSharp 3007WFP, that he is particularly proud of. Dell proclaimed that the monitor has "over three times the resolution of so-called 'high-def gaming' that comes with an Xbox 360." The monitor requires graphic cards that support dual-link DVI connectivity for its top-tier output. The display supports resolutions up to 2560 x 1600, can display 4.1 million mega pixels, has a 700:1 contrast ratio, and a 178-degree viewing angle. The monitor will be priced at $2,199 and is available now.
Raptor X 150GB SATA Announced - tech
(hx) 06:55 PM EST - Jan,05 2006 - Post a comment
Western Digital today introduced the world's only manufacturer-produced clear-top hard drive, WD Raptor X. The new Raptor X is mechanically identical to the recently announced WD1500 - 10,000 RPM, 4.6ms seek time, 16MB buffer, and, yes, there's a clear window so you can see what's going on inside!

I'm surprised something like this has never been built before purely for educational purposes :)
Microsoft Releases WMF Exploit Fix - tech
(hx) 04:53 PM EST - Jan,05 2006 - Post a comment
Microsoft released a fix for a serious security vulnerability in Windows on Thursday, several days before the patch's scheduled delivery. Patches for the "critical" flaw are available for Windows 2000 Service Pack 4, Windows XP Service Pack 1 & 2, Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, and various flavors of Windows 2003:
Security Update for Windows XP (KB912919)

Security Update for Windows XP x64 Edition (KB912919)

Security Update for Windows Server 2003 64-bit Itanium Edition (KB912919)

Security Update for Windows Server x64 Edition (KB912919)
While Windows 2000, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 are vulnerable, Windows 98 and Windows Millennium Edition are not exposed to the same threats that exploit the WMF flaw, according to an update to a Microsoft security advisory on the issue.
 Gameguru Mania News - Jan,04 2006 - tech
Western Digital unveils new Raptor WD1500 - tech
(hx) 05:28 PM EST - Jan,04 2006 - Post a comment
The new Raptor retains the 10K-RPM spindle speed of previous models, but boosts cache and capacity to 16MB and 150GB, respectively. Western Digital has also added support for NCQ, although the drive's Serial ATA interface tops out at only 150MB/s. The first extensive review can be found on StorageReview:
The WD1500's standing in the enterprise world remains less clear. 10K RPM 147 gigabyte Ultra320 SCSI drives sit squarely within the Raptor's price bracket Unencumbered with the concern of delivering blazing desktop performance and featuring time tested, mature command queuing implementations, these offerings from Seagate, Maxtor, Fujitsu, and Hitachi all significantly outdistance the WD1500 under even the lightest of concurrent loads. To compete in the market that WD covets so much, the Raptor must seek out some sort of advantage such as price or ease of integration with the budding SATA nearline field. As of this moment, the relative infancy of SAS's supporting infrastructure when contrasted with even SATA's nascent offerings may give the Raptor the nod in this regard. Such a lead, however, is temporary at best... SAS (and its compatibility with SATA drives) is the ordained successor to parallel SCSI and will inevitably level the playing field within the WD1500's product lifespan.

Thus, as of right now, the Raptor's primary advantages remain in the non-server field. Here the WD1500 once again demonstrates that efficient code coupled with a large buffer is the dominant factor when it comes to solving today's localized data access patterns. Manufacturers of 10K and 15K RPM SCSI drives simply do not take the time (and indeed, do not really care one way or another) to cater to the non-server market by aggressively coding and continuously refining firmware for single-user access paradigms.
Western Digital is selling the new Raptor through its online store for $299, and it's apparently in stock.
Wednesday Tech Reading-VIA HyperionPro v5.07A - tech
(hx) 11:56 AM EST - Jan,04 2006 - Post a comment

SECURITY... 

  • Microsoft to Release WMF Vulnerability Patch on January 10th - Microsoft has announced that it will not rush its patch to release, but will instead test the patch with plans to release it on Tuesday, January 10th as a part of it's routine monthly security bulletins.  In related news, SANS / The Internet Storm Center are offering a patch to protect users from the problem. You can download it here (msi). Once again, the patch is un-official.
  • US-CERT Releases 2005 Year-End Index of Vulnerabilities - This list includes vulnerabilities that were identified between January 2005 and December 2005 and covers all types of software including operating systems. Of the 5,198 reported vulnerabilities, 812 pertained to Windows OS vulnerabilities; 2,328 pertained to Unix/Linux OS vulnerabilities; and 2,058 were vulnerabilities that affected multiple operating systems.
  • BlackBerry users face security threat - Windows users know opening a malicious e-mail attachment can wreak havoc on their PC. It appears BlackBerry users have to use caution too.
  • Opera is Faster, More Secure and More Compliant than Firefox? - Popular Technology website claims that Not only is Opera Faster then Firefox in all performance areas, it is much more Secure and more Compliant.
  • Microsoft Windows Shimgvw.dll WMF (Exploit) - check it out!

CRIME/LAW...

OFF-TOPIC

  • Studios announce next-generation DVD titles - News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox said it will release 20 Blu-ray films in a first wave this year that will include hits like "Fantastic Four" and "Ice Age." Sony Pictures Home Entertainment said it will release 20 titles on Blu-ray beginning this spring, including "The Fifth Element," and "Hitch."
  • BBC opens news archives to surfers - The BBC has opened its news archives to users in the UK for the first time in its 75 year history.  Nearly 80 items are being offered in a trial covering many iconic events of the past 50 years, including behind-the-scenes footage of the 1966 England football team before their World Cup win in 1966.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • No PlayStation 3 announcement at CES 2006? - A spokesperson for Sony's PlayStation division denied to TG Daily this morning that the company would be making a PlayStation 3 related announcement at CES 2006.
  • D-Link Makes Skype Adaptor - D-Link and Skype have introduced a USB adapter which allows users to communicate over the popular VOIP service using their standard corded and cordless telephones, a move which could woo many users who find the concept of conversations through their PC microphones and speakers too cumbersome.
  • AMD Licenses Rambus Technology - AMD has agreed to pay Rambus $75 million over five years to license technology that helps boost the speeds at which computer chips communicate with one another, according to CNN Money.
  • Scientific-Atlanta unveils streaming high-def DVD/DV-R/set-top box combo - The system uses a coax RF-based distribution method (which, incidentally, is not MoCA compliant), for streaming to any other Sci-At digital STB. It supports both 720p (progressive) and 1080i (interlaces) HD standards. But although it can record DV-R content onto DVD, the system will prevent itself from streaming DVD content throughout the home network, in order to comply with the digital rights mandates of the DV-R forum.
  • Samsung develops faster mobile phone - Samsung said the new phones can download at 3.6 Mbps and use an integrated version of Qualcomm’s latest chip, Mobile Station Modem or MSM6280.
  • MSI to launch digital TV USB drive - MSI recently launched its latest DTV product, the Mega Sky 580 digital TV receiver, for use with desktop or notebook PCs. The USB drive is fully compliant with DVB-T standards and supports screen resolutions up to full HD quality (1920×1080). The Mega Sky 580 can also be used to turn a computer into a digital video recorder (DVR), as it supports time-shifting and scheduled recordings. Additional features of the USB drive include support for electronic program guide (EPG), digital teletext and remote control. MSI will begin volume shipments in March or April, with the target markets being Europe and Taiwan. The suggested retail price is 69 euros.

HARDWARE... 

GUIDES...

  • The Definitive BIOS Optimization Guide Revision 8.7 - Adrian has updated his premier BIOS optimization guide.
  • Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide Rev. 9.8 - Adrian's Rojak Pot has posted rev. 9.8 of their Desktop Graphics Card Comparison Guide.
  • Mobile GPU Comparison Guide Rev. 4.4 - Currently covering over 40 mobile GPUs, this comprehensive comparison will allow you to easily compare 14 different specifications for each and every GPU!
  • The Benefits Of Using Ergonomically Correct Mice And Keyboards - The type of injuries found on those working on a computer can be found in different places -- in areas like the hands, wrists, arms, back, etc. These repeated stress injuries get worse over time because many people don't know what's causing them, they don't understand what ergonomics is and they don't do anything about it until the injury has become a permanent fixture of pain.
  • Windows Vista Step-by-Step Guides for IT Professionals - These step-by-step guides will assist IT Professionals in deploying or migrating to Windows Vista. These guides will also provide step-by-step information on how to monitor performance, manage printing, control how CPU and memory resources are allocated using Windows System Resource Manager (WSRM), control device installation using Device Management and Installation (DMI), and manage ADMX files.
  • Firefox Myths v1.0.1 - While Firefox is a decent Web Browser, there are numerous Myths floating around the Internet regarding it.

SOFTWARE...

  • Portable OpenOffice.org 2.01 - Portableapps.com has released Portable OpenOffice.org 2.01 -- the complete office suite you can run from a USB drive for complete access to both your files and your office apps -- anywhere you go.
  • Kernel 2.6.15 Final - Linux Kernel (download) has been updated.
  • XP-AntiSpy 3.95-1 - XP-AntiSpy (download) is a little utility that let's you disable some built-in update and authetication 'features' in WindowsXP.
  • SpywareBlaster 3.5.1 - Prevent the installation of spyware (download) and other potentially unwanted software.
  • Kodak EasyShare version 5.2 - Kodak has introduced the latest version of its EasyShare Software (download), which helps users to effortlessly organise, edit, share and print their digital pictures.
  • Mp3CoolPlay-X 3.7 - Mp3CoolPlay-X (download) is a MP3 player that can play most popular audio formats, including Mp1, Mp2, Mp3, Ogg.
  • MAME v0.103 - MAME is Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. It emulates classic arcade games.
  • BWMeter 2.3.5 - 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).
  • LanTool 2.0.0.1 - LanTool (download) is ideally suited for environments that require some sort of network management and administration.
  • myWIFIzone 3.0 - myWIFIzone (download) lets you decide who gets blocked and who doesn't with a click of the mouse.
  • Koepi`s XviD Codec 1.1 Final - XviD is an ISO MPEG-4 compliant video codec.
  • nHancer 2.0 first beta - This test version adds support for the new anti-aliasing modes introduced with the 7800GTX (transparent AA and gamma corrected AA.
  • [!] VIA HyperionPro Driver Package v5.07A - VIA's Hyperion Pro driver suite has been updated to version 5.07A.  The package contains Updated VIA RAID driver to 5.20A, Updated VIA INF driver to 2.70A and Updated AGP driver to 4.50D.
Dual-core gaming on test-Quake 4 & Call of Duty 2 - tech
(hx) 05:41 AM EST - Jan,04 2006 - Post a comment
EliteBastards take a look at dual-core performance of Quake 4 and Call of Duty 2:
Moving on to those examples, it's something of a mixed bag - John Carmack's engines have always had some awareness of multiple processor systems, so the Doom 3 engine-based Quake 4 was probably a natural target for dual-core optimisations. And, it has to be said, the results are impressive - Of course, you can't expect throwing any amount of processing power to help out in a GPU-limited situation, but where the CPU is even vaguely a limiting factor there is performance to be gained from enabling SMP in this game using the 1.05 patch.

Call of Duty 2 shows far less impressive results, and indeed a drop in performance at all but the highest resolutions, where it ekes out a tiny advantage - A rather bizarre state of affairs in all honesty. It would be interesting to see what happens with this title on Intel's dual-core and HyperThreading parts - The 1.01 patch is titled as an 'Intel update' after all!

From our testing here, the biggest cause of concern is the seeming incompatibility between the dual-core enhancements to NVIDIA's video card drivers and the improvements made to these game titles themselves - In Quake 4, with both NVIDIA's and the games dual-core enhancements turned on, there is a very large drop in performance, leaving you with an either/or situation as to which you have enabled. Obviously, this isn't a particularly satisfactory state of affairs, and is something that can hopefully be resolved as time goes on. Nobody is going to want to spend their time hacking through the registry depending on whether or not the game utilises multi-threading, so hopefully NVIDIA or the game developers will take some time to work out what's going wrong here and prevent it from happening in the future. At present I haven't repeated these tests using an ATI board and drivers, but will look into doing so to see if the recent CATALYST drivers with dual-core optimisations present the same kind of issues as we've seen here.
Daemon Tools 4.03 - tech
(hx) 05:33 AM EST - Jan,04 2006 - Post a comment
DAEMON Tools 4.03 (download Win32 / Win64 version) is an advanced application for multiprotection emulation. It is further development of Generic Safedisc emulator and incorporates all its features. This program allows running BACKUP copies of SafeDisc (C-Dilla), Securom or Laserlock protected games. Also included is a Virtual DVDROM drive (V386 STEALTH DVDROM) enabling you to use your CD images as if they were already burned to CD! DAEMON Tools works under Windows9x/ME/NT/2000/XP with all types of CD/DVDROM drives (IDE/SCSI) and supports nearly any CD protection.
What's new in this version:
  • This version fixed some small and not so small glitches/bugs introduced with V4.0.0 (X86) and V4.0.1 (X64)
  • One blacklist fixed (a SF-Game, that behaved odd when running from virtualdrive)
  • RAID-Bugs fixed, too Some reboot-problems also fixed
  • Nero-issues also fixed
  • Additional functionality (for X86-version, X64 already contained it since very first version): Disable "Open file handle" dialog, as it seems it annoyed some users.
  • We herewith also confirm the latest blacklist introduced by Securom (SeriousSam2-patch). This blacklists will not be possible in future versions anymore (as in old 3.xx-series,we will add feature to randomly generate names for driver-parts). As we got info about it, we couldn't fix it with this version, but work is in progress for next release already
  • EDIT: We also offer a bunch of tools especially for new V4, f.e. Anti-Blacklist-Tools, DaemonScript for V4,Translations and other tools - stay tuned!
  •  Gameguru Mania News - Jan,03 2006 - tech
    Google PC to Hit Walmart? - tech
    (hx) 10:20 AM EST - Jan,03 2006 - Post a comment / read (5)
    According to the LA Times, Google has been chatting to Wal-Mart and other retailers, to peddle a Google PC which will run Google's own operating system:
    Sources say Google has been in negotiations with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., among other retailers, to sell a Google PC. The machine would run an operating system created by Google, not Microsoft's Windows, which is one reason it would be so cheap -- perhaps as little as a couple of hundred dollars.

    Bear Stearns analysts speculated in a research report last month that consumers would soon see something called "Google Cubes" -- a small hardware box that could allow users to move songs, videos and other digital files between their computers and TV sets.

    Larry Page, Google's co-founder and president of products, will give a keynote address Friday at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Analysts suspect that Page will use the opportunity either to show off a Google computing device or announce a partnership with a big retailer to sell such a machine.

     Gameguru Mania News - Jan,02 2006 - tech
    Welcome to DRM Hell - tech
    (hx) 04:15 AM EST - Jan,02 2006 - Post a comment / read (2)
    BentUser take a look at the future of pervasive DRM and what that means for the end user. Is the future of content a dark, post-apocalyptic nightmare of encrypted license files and protected video paths - DRM Hell? Or will it be a paradise of content and new content distribution models made possible by DRM? Here's a taster:
    At the moment, premium content played in Windows XP - and most other operating systems, for that matter - is "vulnerable" in a number of ways. Even if the software side of the equation is secure, in many cases these measures can be circumvented. The lowest-common-denominator attack is the "play and record" attack, where a user plays the premium content and then plugs the outputs of the computer - audio and video - into a recording device. The upcoming Windows Vista will include Protected Video Path Output Protection Management (PVP-OPM), a system which essentially allows content to contain flags determining what protection is required on the outputs of a PC. If these requirements are not met, those outputs will be blocked. So for example, you could conceivable download a movie which requires High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) encryption for the display adapter; if you don't have a compatible display/video card combination then you basically won't be able to watch the video. HDCP has been around for a few years, but many LCD monitors and projectors do not support it. HDCP requires DVI.

    At first this sounds pretty close to DRM Hell. It is easy to imagine a scenario where an unsuspecting consumer buys a video and is then completely unable to watch it without buying a new monitor. Although this is certainly bad news, it is important to remember that this is an optional feature of video playback in Windows Vista and most content providers will probably avoid such heavy-handed measures as most computers currently in existence do not support HDCP - or even DVI for that matter.
     Gameguru Mania News - Jan,01 2006 - tech
    Windows WMF exploit remains grave threat - tech
    (hx) 01:22 PM EST - Jan,01 2006 - Post a comment
    A security analyst has warned that the WMF zero day exploit has worsened over the last two days:
    Ken Dunham, director of the rapid response team at iDefense, said today that WMF exploitation "has started to take off in the wild". He said that "dozens, if not hundreds" of sites exploiting the hole are likely to be reported in the coming days and weeks. Don't think, as some do, that this problem is just confined to Windows metafiles. Dunham said that iDefense analysed a live sample of a WMF attack spread via email and disguised as a JPG file. He said it was fully functional and downloaded and installed a variant of a trojan called Bifrose. Idefense says that enabling Windows Data Execution Prevention software and/or disabling SHIMGVW.DLL successfully blocks WMF attacks so far.
     Gameguru Mania News - Dec,29 2005 - tech
    AMD and Intel Servers Comparison - tech
    (hx) 06:11 PM EST - Dec,29 2005 - Post a comment / read (1)
    THG compared Hewlett Packard Proliant DL380 (Intel Xeon), Hewlett Packard Proliant DL385 (AMD Opteron), Dell Power Edge 2850 (Intel Xeon) and Tyan Transport GX28 (AMD Opteron) servers. The AMD systems were furnished with Opteron 275 (HP) or Opteron 280 CPUs (Tyan) with 1 MB L2 cache for each core. They also had two Opteron 248 and 254 processors for additional tests, since comparing dual core Opterons to single core Xeons would be quite unfair. The Intel 3.6 GHz and 3.8 GHz systems were tested both with and without Hyper Threading (HT).
    Of the two AMD contestants, the Tyan server comes out first; this is mostly due to the DDR interface that operated above the AMD specifications when using eight DIMMs. HP would have won with its 5 MHz overclocked Proliant DL385, but had both servers run at the recommended DDR333 with 8 DIMMs installed. We have no criticism of this decision, though.

    HP bests the Dell server in the Intel competition everywhere but in the RAR test, where it takes a heavy beating. The fact that the Dell server runs 10 MHz below specification explains these results, at least to some extent.

    Intel would have benefited considerably from dual core CPUs in this test, and we hope to include them at some point. The results might look as if Intel had nothing to fight AMD and in fact there is the Xeon dual core at 2.8 GHz. The Intel single cores are having a hard time competing with the dual core Opterons while remaining neck and neck with the AMD single cores.

    Overall, AMD's Opteron solution can be said to be a clear winner, while the dual core Xeon will certainly help Intel reduce the gap. Also, we have to state that Intel's roadmap for the next year is pretty appealing, while there has been no substantial news from AMD.
    ATI X1900 photo - tech
    (hx) 03:26 PM EST - Dec,29 2005 - Post a comment
    A Chinese website HKEPC has pictures of X1900, ATI's newest video card. This card is based on the R580-chip and is expected to be introduced around the 24th next month in January 2006. (thanks MadShrimps)
    specifications:
    - 48 Pixel Processors
    - 8 (or more) Vertex Processors
    - 90nm core: 650Mhz (for the top model)
    - Memory: 1550Mhz (again, for the top model)
     Gameguru Mania News - Dec,28 2005 - tech
    Wednesday Tech Reading - WinXP SP2 vulnerable! - tech
    (hx) 12:43 PM EST - Dec,28 2005 - Post a comment

    SECURITY... 

    • [!] Trojan programs exploiting the latest Windows vulnerability - Kaspersky Lab has detected a range of Trojan programs (classified as Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Agent.acd) which exploit the Windows Meta File vulnerability. This vulnerability is rated highly critical, and so far, no patch has been issued. The WMF vulnerability is present in computers running Microsoft Windows XP with SP1 and SP2, and Microsoft Windows Server 2003 with SP0 and SP1. The vulnerability can be exploited when viewing infected sites with Internet Explorer, Firefox (if certain other conditions are met), or when previewing *.wmf format files with Windows Explorer.
    • 'Leaked' MSN Messenger 8 Beta Really A Trojan - Helsinki-based F-Secure told users to ignore instant messages with the subject head "MSN Messenger 8 Working BETA" that go on to claim that "Messenger 8 BETA has been leaked!"  The message, which refers to an alternate name for the upcoming Live Messenger, also sports a link. Users who click on the link, then download and run the executable, are in reality installing the Virkel.f Trojan.  Virkel.f adds the compromised machine to a botnet, from which the hacker can update the Trojan with additional malicious code, to make the PC into a spam zombie or along with others, launch a denial-of-service (DoS) attack on Web sites.
    • Two New Trojans Stalk Spanish Net Users -  The first Trojan, named Nabload.U, downloads a second Trojan if a user clicks on a Spanish-language instant message in Messenger while also displaying two URLs that download a configuration file. The message appears to be from a personal contact, according to a Panda news release. Then, the Trojan Banker.BSX opens port 1106 and waits to capture login and password information if the user visits any of 10 different Spanish banking sites. The login and password information is subsequently forwarded to an e-mail address, Panda says.

    OFF-TOPIC

    TECHNOLOGY...

    • Pioneer BRD-101A Blu-ray burner Announced -  Pioneer just officially announced their DRC-101A Blu-ray burner.This OEM-targeted burner/player is capable of hitting up both DVD+R/RWs and Blu-ray's beefier 25GB next gen optical format.
    • Microsoft may "encourage" support for HD-DVD - According to the EE Times, the Vole is using its operating-system clout to bundle HD-DVD within Vista, the company's next-generation OS. Microsoft is also offering  "coupons" (that is, cash incentives)  to system vendors or retailers if they agree to support HD-DVD.
    • What can we expect from Microsoft in 2006 - Bink.nu has published its list of the software we can expect from the giant during 2006. In related news, The Microsoft Watch has a top 10 list of the biggest Microsoft surprises of the year.
    • PC World names top 50 gadgets of the past 50 years - PC World has released its compilation of the 50 greatest gadgets of the past 50 years.

    SOFTWARE...

    • Firefox Gets File Sharing Extension - Created by British-American-Czech software developer Matthew Gertner, the AllPeers extension uses a taskpanel approach rather than a dialogue box.
    • µTorrent 1.3.1-beta build 380 - Torrent (download) is an efficient and feature rich BitTorrent client for Windows sporting a very small footprint. It was designed to use as little cpu, memory and space as possible while offering all the functionality expected from advanced clients..
    • Maxthon v1.5.2 build 21 - Maxthon (MyIE2) (download combo / standard) is a powerful web browser with a highly customizable interface. It is based on the Internet Explorer engine (your most likely current web browser) which means that what works in IE, works the same in Maxthon but with many additional efficient features.
    • MediaMonkey 2.5.1.933 RC4 - MediaMonkey is an easy-to-use music manager and media jukebox for serious music collectors and iPod users. It catalogs your CDs, OGG, WMA, MPC, FLAC, APE, WAV and MP3 audio files
    • Nero posted 7.0.1.4b - Nero released after version 7.0.1.4 now version 7.0.1.4b. No new Release notes at the moment.
    • IrfanView 3.98  - IrfanView is a very fast, small, compact and innovative freeware (for non-commercial use) graphic viewer for Windows 9x/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003.
    • PSPad 4.5.0 Build 2175 - PSPad editor (freeware) is my favourite programmer editor.
    • PCI Latency Tool 3.1 v2 - Utility to set PCI Latency and possibly prevent game stutter or improve FPS.
    • Realtek AC97 Driver v3.81 - This driver supports all ALC series audio chipsets from ALC101 up to ALC861. It is used as onboard sound on many motherboards. Chips covered include ALC101/201/202/203/250/650/653/655/658/850/861.
    • NGO ATI Optimized Driver v1.5.13 - The NGO ATI Optimized Driver is a tweaked version of the ATI Catalyst driver. The main purpose is to satisfy the users with better performance and image quality. The Driver has support for all Radeon cards.
     Gameguru Mania News - Dec,27 2005 - tech
    Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 955 - tech
    (hx) 04:01 PM EST - Dec,27 2005 - Post a comment
    Today Intel launched the Intel Pentium Processor Extreme Edition 955. Due to hit retail on January, 16th for $999.00, this CPU sports two physical cores and Hyper Threading for another two virtual cores. Is the the ultimate processor for the hardcore gamer, or is it more suited to power users? The first (p)reviews can be found on:
    Viperlair: The Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 955 is a dual core processor clocked at 3.46GHz built on the 65nm fab process. This is a small 260MHz bump from their Extreme Edition 840 that can be attributed to the bump in FSB. Previous dual core CPUs ran at 800FSB, but the newest is now riding a 1066FSB, erm, bus. So, while the small clock speed increase may not seem like much, the faster FSB should yield an improvement, especially in memory intensive applications. The L2 caches is made up of 2MB per core, bringing a total of 4MB to the CPU. This is essentially a doubling of the cache introduced with the EE 840 and should positively affect business application performance.

    Bit-Tech: In our second Multi-Tasking test, the Pentium Extreme Edition 955 was not too far behind the Athlon 64 X2 4800+. The single cored Athlon 64 processors ground to a halt and we found it very hard to control DVD Shrink - we ended up having to end the process, rather than close the program in the normal fashion. We also experienced hitching inside Far Cry, more so than when the virus scanner was running in the background. In short, don't try and play games while encoding a DVD on a single cored Athlon 64 processor, you will not have a pleasurable gaming experience, no matter how fast your single cored CPU is.

    Hexus: Being critical, the Intel Extreme Edition runs a little hotter than we'd like and should have shipped with a default clock speed of at least 3.73GHz, giving better out-of-the-box performance. The days of performance, single-core CPUs are numbered, even for gamers, with the likes of ATI and NVIDIA investing in multi-CPU driver support that makes better use of the parallel power on tap. The Intel Extreme Edition 955 is a mighty fast, overclockable CPU that's out of the reach for most punters. Official release date for the E.E 955 is slated for mid-January 2006 along with cheaper models that will undoubtedly cut core speed and features (Hyper-Threading) with each model a rung down the pricing ladder. What'll be interesting to note is how quickly Intel is able to release slower, cheaper models into the retail domain. A 3GHz dual-core CPU for L200 sounds just about right. Will you oblige, Intel?

    Xbitlabs: Besides higher performance, the new Presler core of the dual-core Intel CPUs can also boast very high overclocking potential. We managed to reach 4.26GHz clock speed on Pentium Extreme Edition 955 easily without any additional cooling involved. And the experiments carried out by some hardware enthusiasts proved that even 5.5GHz is not the maximum for the new Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 955 on the Presler core. So, you can speed it up quite tangibly by simply overclocking to higher frequency.

    Legitreviews: Now entering 2006 we have a new processor coming out that is able to overclock to roughly 4.8GHz on the reference Intel board and with a $200 water cooler that anyone can buy and install in under twenty minutes. While Intel has kept their mouth shut on how well they expect these new 9XX series to scale we think they know and it is high. Maybe in 2006 we will see 5GHz if we are lucky and in all honesty 5GHz shouldn't be hard on these if the retail processors perform any where close to how our test sample did.

    HotHardware: The Pentium Extreme Edition 955 processor performed well overall throughout our entire battery of benchmarks. Due to the processor's relatively high-clock speed, dual execution cores, HT technology and 1066MHz bus, the synthetic benchmarks, 3D rendering tests, and audio encoding tests ran best on the Pentium Extreme Edition 955 / D975XBX platform. However, most of the gaming tests, content creation and desktop applications, and the video encoding tests ran best on the AMD Athlon 64 X2 / NF4 SLIX16 combo.

     Gameguru Mania News - Dec,25 2005 - tech
    Take an extra second to reflect on 2005 - tech
    (hx) 07:09 PM EST - Dec,25 2005 - Post a comment / read (2)
    If 2005 is disappearing too fast for you, just hold on for a second, because this year you have an extra second to pause and reflect on the year before the ball drops and the calendar flips New Year's Eve. That means 7 p.m. EST, Dec. 31, will occur one second later than it would have otherwise.
    Leap seconds are needed occasionally because modern atomic clocks measure time with great accuracy, while the rotation of the Earth can be inconsistent.

    The rotation of the Earth has been slowing down, so leap seconds keep the clocks and the Earth from getting out of sync with each another.
     Gameguru Mania News - Dec,23 2005 - tech
    Friday Tech Reading - France to legalize P2P? - tech
    (hx) 08:25 PM EST - Dec,23 2005 - Post a comment / read (2)

    SECURITY... 

    • Santa delivers more Christmas malware - The Trojan horse MerryX.A is delivered in an e-mail that encourages the recipient to open an attached "animation." While the animation of Santa Claus delivering presents plays, a piece of malware hiding behind the name SQLServer.exe is installed on PCs running Windows, according to security staff at Panda Software SL's PandaLabs. The software transmits information about the infected computer to a remote server, and then attempts to download files, which could include other malware, Panda said.
    • Santa worm is coming to IM - A new virus is taking advantage of the Christmas-time custom of sending cards and joke attachments to spread itself among users of instant messenger software. The IM.GiftCom.All, or Santa Claus worm presents itself as a harmless image of Santa Claus and appears to be sent from someone known to the recipient. If victims click the file a worm is loaded on to their computer. The worm then sends the same message to everybody on that person's address list.
    • Critical bug found in anti-virus software - The glitch affects 39 different Symantec products - including both home and enterprise versions of its anti-virus software. It resides within the Symantec anti-virus library, which is used by all of the packages. The analyst, Alex Wheeler, discovered that a critical error occurs when the Symantec anti-virus library decompresses files from "RAR" format for analysis. An attacker could exploit the loophole to load unauthorised code onto a computer, and potentially to crack open its defences, he says. Symantec has confirmed the problem and produced an advisory (PDF) of its own.
    • Google Plugs Site Security Holes - Google has patched security flaws in its Web site that would have exposed users to phishing and other attacks designed to steal account information, according to security researchers. The possibility for attacks at google.com was present when users encountered two different error pages, the "404 not found" error message and a Web site redirection error message. Google did not properly secure these pages, which exposed users to possible attack by exploiting the 7-bit Unicode Transformation Format character-encoding mechanism, according to Watchfire.
    • Watch out With Metadata in Vista, Analysts Warn - Windows Vista will improve search functionality on a PC by letting users tag files with metadata, but those tags could cause unwanted and embarrassing information disclosure, Gartner analysts have warned.
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Security Guide- The Windows Server 2003 Security Guide focuses on providing a set of easy to understand guidance, tools, and templates to help secure Windows Server 2003 in many environments.

    CRIME/LAW...

    • France on track to legalize P2P downloading -  France's lower house of parliament has voted to legalize peer-to-peer file sharing of films and music on the Internet, unleashing a wave of protest from the country's film, audiovisual and music industry organizations. If the measure passes in the upper house, France would become the first country to legalize peer-to-peer downloading at a time when most Western nations are battling to curb illegal downloading on the Internet.
    • Internet worm catches child porn surfer -  A 20 year-old German man has turned himself over to the police for owning child pornography after an email worm warned that he was being 'investigated'. The man had received a copy of a mass email that was sent by the Sober Y internet worm.
    • Nazi Ringtone Leads to Jail Sentence - A 20 year old man in Austria has been found guilty of breaking a law against displaying Nazi Propaganda when he used a Nazi salute as a ring tone on his mobile phone. Police came across the ringtone purely by accident after they called him into a police station on suspicion of burglary - and his phone rang while there.
    • Crazy Frog hops into trouble - Mblox, the company responsible for distributing the Crazy Frog ring-tone, has been fined L40,000 and told to reimburse disgruntled customers who had to pay a subscription when they thought they were making a one-off payment.
    • New Spyware Claim Against Sony BMG - The Texas attorney general said on Wednesday that he added a new claim to a lawsuit charging Sony BMG Music Entertainment with violating the state's laws on deceptive trade practices by hiding "spyware" on its compact discs.
    • 3 LA men charged for selling Xbox mods with preloaded games - Three owners of a videogame game shop in Los Angeles have been charged for copyright infringement for selling Xbox game consoles that have been modded and fitted with a large hard drive containing pirated games. The investigation involved undercover agents purchasing a modded Xbox, which came fitted with a hard drive containing 77 pirated game titles for $265.

    OFF-TOPIC

    • Ingredients of Life Found Around Sun-Like Star - NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope has detected the basic organic building blocks of life in a ring orbiting in the 'habitable zone', that area where Earth orbits the Sun and where water exists on the borderline between gas and liquid, in a nearby stellar nursery.

    TECHNOLOGY...

    • AMD reports desktop CPU shortage - According to EETimes, AMD has notified certain partners that several of its desktop processors are currently in high demand and will be difficult to purchase. Affected models are the Athlon 64 3500+, 3800+, Athlon 64 X2 3800+, and the Semprons 2600+ and 2800+.
    • Seagate to acquire Maxtor - Seagate and Maxtor announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Seagate will acquire Maxtor in an all stock transaction. The value of the transaction is approximately $1.9 billion.
    • New WD Raptor on the Horizon? - Hardware sites are buzzing today with news that Western Digital plans to announce a new version of its 10,000RPM Raptor Hard Drives in the new year.  Rumored features of the WD1500AD (Server) and WD1500AH (Gamer) versions include: SATA-II Capabilities w/ NCQ, 16MB Cache, 4.5ms Seek Time, 1.2 million hours MTBF.
    • ATI Reveals Radeon X1900 Details Internally - ATI secretly released its Silver Bullets material to AIBs this week and the picture of R580 is slowly coming together. R580, or Radeon X1900 as it is called internally, is expected to "launch" in January according to ATI documentation.
    • Limewire improves security by adding feature to filter fakes - Even though Limewire is preparing a version to block the sharing of files without a license, so far they have released a new beta version of Limewire which fights fake files, such as those containing spam, viruses, Trojans and so on. This version incorporates a feature called TigerTree hash, which effectively keeps the integrity of files during download.
    • Google Creates Spinoff - Google will create a limited liability company that will own the $1 billion 5 percent equity interest the search engine giant will acquire in Time Warner's America Online subsidiary.  Moreover, as of July 1, 2008, this new company, which Google calls HoldCo, will be able to register for an initial public offering (IPO), according to a document Google filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week.
    • Microsoft sheds control of its cable network - NBC Universal and Microsoft on Friday announced a deal in which the media conglomerate will purchase a controlling stake in the MSNBC cable channel.  Under the agreement, NBC Universal, a subsidiary of General Electric, will receive an 82 percent stake in the network, with the option of claiming the remaining 18 percent after two years. The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.
    • Mozilla Seeks Filmmakers For Ad Contest - Mozilla launched the second phase of its ad-making contest, which calls for professional and amateur filmmakers to develop a 30 second, broadcast quality commercial for Firefox.
    • PS3 to sell 200 million units in first 5 years? - Business Week has an interesting article up where they say that Sony is expected to sell 200 million units of the PS3 in the first 5 years.
    • The 11 mistakes of Microsoft's Xbox 360 discussed - 11 mistakes were made by engineers and techies at Redmond according to the Firingsquad team. Ranging from Overheating of the CPU/GPU to the lack of WMV HD-DVD playback, there are indeed quite a few lackings that should have been solved even before the launch of the Xbox 360 was launched

    HARDWARE... 

    GUIDES...

    • How FB-DIMM Memories Work - Everything you need to know about the new FB-DIMM memory standard, created to increase the capacity and speed of the memory system.
    • What is Blu-ray Disc? - The Blu-ray format will provide consumers with a new optical disc capable of holding up to 27GB on a single-layer disc and 54GB on a dual-layer disc. An estimation that 1 hour of HD video is around 12GB in size means that the single-layer Blu-ray Disc could hold a little over 2 hours of HD video and the 54GB could hold around 4.5 hours of HD video.
    • What is High Definition Audio - Everything you need to know about High Definition Audio, a high-quality audio standard present on Intel PCI Express chipsets.
    • ffdshow/Avisynth with Limited Sharpen how to guides for HTPC users - The guides are broke up in to three areas, one for DVD playback, another for LiveTV and an Advanced section for more tips, tweaks, options, miscellaneous scripts, Avisynth plug-ins, etc…which will be pertinent to both DVD and Live TV.
    • Compression Comparison Guide Rev. 2.0 Part 1 - This guide will examine the performance of the more popular data compressors for the PC. This will allow us to select the best data compressor for our use.
    • Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Security Guide- The Windows Server 2003 Security Guide focuses on providing a set of easy to understand guidance, tools, and templates to help secure Windows Server 2003 in many environments
    • ATI Catalyst Drivers of 2005 - The Ultimate Analysis! - check it out

    SOFTWARE...

    • DirectX 9 End-User Runtimes (December 2005) - This download provides the DirectX end-user redistributable (48MB) that developers can include with their product. This update includes the DirectX for Managed Code Update from the DirectX SDK Update (December 2005).
    • OpenOffice.org for Windows 2.0.1 Final - OpenOffice.org (download) is the open source project through which Sun Microsystems is releasing the technology for the popular StarOffice productivity suite.
    • Mozilla Thunderbird for Windows 1.5 RC2 - Mozilla Thunderbird (download / release notes) is a redesign of the Mozilla mail component.
    • Pegasus Mail 4.3.1 - Pegasus Mail (download) is a free, standards-based electronic mail client suitable for use by single or multiple users on single computers or on local area networks.
    • Yahoo! Messenger 7.0.2.120 - download
    • YPOPs! 0.8.4 - YPOPs! 0.8.4 has been released! NOTE: Yahoo! Mail Beta is not supported yet. If you are asked if you want to try Beta, please select "No Thanks!". If YPOPs! stops working, check the html files. If one of them has this Beta prompt, please log into Yahoo web site and choose "No Thanks!". After that, YPOPs! should function fine.
    • Adobe Reader SpeedUp 1.34 - Adobe Reader SpeedUp 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.
    • nLite 1.0 RC4 - nLite is a GUI for permanent Windows component removal by your choice. After removal there is an option to make bootable image ready for burning on cd or testing in virtual machines.
    • Windows Vista 5270 Tweak Pack - Windows Vista 5270 Service Pack 1 is a pack that fixes compatiblity issues with Aero Glass on non LDDM drivers.
    • K-Lite Mega Codec Pack 1.46 - K-Lite Codec Pack is a collection of codecs and related tools. Codec is short for Compressor-Decompressor. Codecs are needed for encoding and decoding (playing) audio and video.
    • Nero 7.0.1.4b  - Nero 7 Premium (mirror1) now offers both the PC and TV media management experience for a complete solution. As usual, there's no changelog.
    • Win32Whois 0.9.9 - Win32Whois (download) is a small and efficient Whois client. It is able to retrieve domain information for most of the common TLDs (top level domains). It has it is internal list of servers that it connects to in order to provide a detailed report on a requested domain. This new version adds support for "eu TLD".
    • Nvidia Unified (nforce 2/3/4) 8.22 (v5) - This driver set was assembled (remixed) by Guru3D's forum users HLH & Squall and have been tested on NFORCE 2,3 and 4 platforms. It contains all of the latest drivers, install at YOUR OWN RISK of course.
    • New official ForceWare BETA drivers 82.12 - This new drivers adds support for GeForce 6800 GS AGP.
     Gameguru Mania News - Dec,22 2005 - tech
    Albatron announces AGP-based GeForce 6800 GS - tech
    (hx) 06:06 PM EST - Dec,22 2005 - Post a comment
    Albatron’s AGP6800GS AGP
    DigiTimes reports Albatron has launched a new, AGP-flavored GeForce 6800 GS video card. The graphics card will be available worldwide by the end of December, according to the company. A suggested retail price is not yet available. If Albatron's AGP 6800 GS lands in $200-$240 range as the current PCI-E models, vendors may be hard pressed to keep them in stock!
    The engine core is rated at 350 MHz with 12 pipelines, said the graphics card maker, adding that the card has a 256-bit memory bus and 256 MB of DDR3 memory that can be clocked up to 1 GHz. The AGP6800GS contains two independent 400 MHz RAMDACs with resolutions up to 2048×1536, going hand-in-hand with the card's nView dual display technology, noted Albatron, adding that the AGP6800GS will support TV-OUT, DVI and D-sub interfaces.
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