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 Gameguru Mania News - May,19 2005 - tech 
Xbox 360 GPU Explained - tech
(hx) 03:50 PM EDT - May,19 2005 - Post a comment
HardOCP sat down with Bob Feldstein, VP of Engineering at ATI, and lead sled dog on the Xbox 360 GPU development team to get the lowdown on just what the XBox 360's graphic unit is capable of. Here's an excerpt:
The Xbox 360 Smart 3D Memory is a relatively small piece of DRAM sitting off to the side of the GPU but yet on the same substrate. The Smart 3D Memory weighs in at only 10MB. Now the first thing that you might think is, "Well what the hell good is 10MB in the world of 512MB frame buffers?" And that would be a good line of questioning. The "small" 10MB of Smart 3D memory that is currently being built by NEC will have an effective bus rate between it and the GPU of 2GHz. This is of course over 3X faster that what we see on the high end of RAM today.

Inside the Smart 3D Memory is what is referred to as a 3D Logic Unit. This is literally 192 Floating Point Unit processors inside our 10MB of RAM. This logic unit will be able to exchange data with the 10MB of RAM at an incredible rate of 2 Terabits per second. So while we do not have a lot of RAM, we have a memory unit that is extremely capable in terms of handling mass amounts of data extremely quickly. The most incredible feature that this Smart 3D Memory will deliver is "antialiasing for free" done inside the Smart 3D RAM at High Definition levels of resolution. (For more of just what HiDef specs are, you can read here. Yes, the 10MB of Smart 3D Memory can do 4X Multisampling Antialiasing at or above 1280x720 resolution without impacting the GPU. So all of your games on Xbox 360 are not only going to be in High Definition, but all will have 4XAA applied as well.
Another article can be found on TechReport.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,18 2005 - tech
Asus to build PhysX boards - tech
(hx) 10:13 AM EDT - May,18 2005 - Post a comment
At the E3, AGEIA Technologies today announced that ASUS Computer will be AGEIA's first PhysX board partner. Details of the agreement will be announced at a later date, but the two companies have agreed in principle that ASUS will develop and market PPU boards with the AGEIA PhysX processor, the world's first and only dedicated physics processing unit. Gamers using ASUS add-in boards with the AGEIA PhysX processor will experience unprecedented physics-based effects and environments in next-generation games. Products are expected within 2005, coinciding with the release of popular game titles incorporating AGEIA physics technology. In related news, AEGIA has announced that several upcoming games, including Yager, City of Villians, Ghost Recon 3, Arena Online and Stoked Rider will use its technology.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,17 2005 - tech
Nightly Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 08:53 PM EDT - May,17 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Virus infecting Neo-Nazi political spams circulating on the Web - Sober.q, an email virus that sends neo-Nazi spam, has attacked thousands of computers last week and has been circulating over the Web ever since. Targeting email addresses stored on infected computers, the virus sends messages that contain links to news stories with topics that ‘smells of right-wing political rhetoric’, said security specialist McAfee Inc’s Vincent Gullotto. Some of the email messages have links to a Web site that tries to infect the computers of those visiting the site. According to Gullotto, Sober.q is the most successful variant of the Sober family of viruses.
  • Malicious Bots Hide Using Rootkit Code - Computer viruses and remote control programs called bots are adopting features from stealthy programs called rootkits to avoid detection, according to researchers at Finnish anti-virus software company F-Secure. New versions of Rbot, a malicious and ubiquitous remote control program, have features copied and pasted from a well known open-source rootkit called FU. The new features make Rbot invisible to system monitoring tools.
  • Commwarrior virus marches on -The cell phone virus Commwarrior recently surfaced in Italy, in a sign that destructiveness of the Symbian OS nemesis is reaching a boil after simmering for months. As feared, the virus is showing its propensity for spreading. Italy is the third nation in only three weeks to suffer Commwarrior attacks, according to security experts F-Secure. The other nations are India and Oman.
  • Security Update for MSN Messenger 6.1 or 6.2 (KB890261) - A security issue has been identified that could allow an attacker to compromise your Windows-based system and gain control over it. You can help protect your computer by installing this update from Microsoft
  • Apache HTDigest Realm Command Overflow (Exploit) - htdigest is "a utility included with Apache Web Server, useful to create and update usernames, realms and passwords for digest authentication of HTTP users". Due improper testing of bounds by the htdigest program, an attacker that is able to invoke the program can cause it to execute arbitrary code.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Nuclear battery will last 10 years - US researchers have claimed a breakthrough that promises nuclear battery technology with a lifespan measured in decades. The project, which is in development at the US University of Rochester, has demonstrated an enhanced fabrication method that "in its roughest form" is already 10 times more efficient than current nuclear batteries.
  • Manufactured diamonds move closer to nature - Researchers at the Carnegie Institute have come up with a way to produce 10-carat diamonds measuring a half-inch thick that are also colorless, an attribute that has bedeviled diamond makers until now. Manufactured diamonds--which some believe could play a large part in the industrial and jewelry market--are generally produced through the so-called high pressure/high temperature (HPHT) method, similar to how diamonds are created in nature.
  • Star Wars Ends With Solid Sith - Aside from a number of impressive set pieces (the movie's got light-saber showdowns galore), Sith's best feature is that it finally answers all those nagging questions about the galaxy from long, long ago, particularly about the role of the clones/stormtroopers in the future Emperor's monumental conspiracy to gain power. Here we get to see exactly how the clone wars go down, what happens to the Jedi, how the Republic turns into the Empire, and how earnest Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) plays the ultimate pawn in all of this. It's a long way from Attack of the Clones to A New Hope, but Lucas deserves credit for getting us from point A to point B -- logically (for once), and in just 138 minutes.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Xbox 360 will include built-in Windows Media Center Extender - Microsoft today announced it will release a free software update to Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 that will enable customers to take advantage of the Media Center Extender technologies built into Xbox 360  gaming systems to access and enjoy digital entertainment anywhere in the home. Every Xbox 360 will have Media Center Extender functionality built in and available out of the box.
  • Xbox 360 will play old Xbox games - As for backwards compatibility, Microsoft is hedging its bets. Currently, the company is only promising that Xbox 360 will be compatible "top-selling" Xbox games, and not the entire catalog of first generation games. The problem, apparently, is that Xbox 360 runs on a completely different hardware platform than the original Xbox, and Microsoft will have to custom-create software fixes, or shims, that will let Xbox titles run normally on the new system. Continue At Source
  • Games Get AIM - AOL today announced a new kit that promises to make it easier to integrate its AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) into video games. The new AOL Messaging Software Developer Kit (SDK) offers developers the opportunity to AIM- or ICQ-enable their games. An integrated buddy list will let gamers see when their friends are online and ping them to play a game. The SDK also allows for IM integration within live play, including game-specific AIM expressions, icons and sounds.
  • Creative Xtreme Fidelity claims to make MP3's beat CD quality - The Xtreme Fidelity features a 24-bit DAC, minimum SNR of 110dB and multi channel sound experience on headphones. Its processor is capable of 10k+ MIPS, or 24 times the performance of its predecessor. For gamers, this means that with less audio processing load on the CPU, more processing is spent on the game itself thus leading to faster refresh rates as well as the advantage of more realistic audio.
  • IE 7 to take a cue from Firefox - Microsoft has confirmed that its upcoming version of Internet Explorer will include tabbed browsing, a feature made popular by competitors Opera Software and Firefox. In a Microsoft blog, IE product unit manager Dean Hachamovitch told consumers not to expect too much from tabbed browsing in IE's beta offering.

HARDWARE... 

  • ASUS' Intel 945P Mainboard Supports Multi-GPU Mode - ASUSTeK Computer is showcasing a mainboard based on yet unreleased Intel 945P chipset which is believed to be designed for performance-mainstream PCs. The mainboard has two PCI Express x16 slots and officially supports multi-GPU setups, such as NVIDIA SLI, which, in case such mainboards are affordable enough, will enable platforms supporting two graphics cards for customers in budget.
  • PowerNotebooks PowerPro A 2:21 Laptop - While you can configure the the A 2:21 for the most part, the 15.4 inch WSXGA screen is locked in stone, as is the GeForce Go 6600. Otherwise, you have a range of processors from 1.6 to 2.13 Ghz; hardrives starting at 40GBs and going as high as 100; 512MB of RAM to 2 GBs; Combo DVD/CDRW drive or a DVD +/- R/RW drive, and a spare bay you can use for an additional battery or hardrive. Oh, and the Arctic Silver option.
  • AMD's Athlon 64 3800+ "Venice" processor - The Venice core typically offers a bit of a performance advantage over the previous Newcastle core, and it does so while consuming less power at idle and under load than any of the processors we've tested alongside it. In some cases, like 3DMark05's CPU test, Sphinx speech recognition, and video encoding with Windows Media Encoder Advanced Profile, the Venice version of the Athlon 64 3800+ even outruns the older-rev Athlon 64 FX-55. Such events may become more common in the future, as SSE3 becomes more widely used.
  • OCZ EL PC-3200 Gold Series Dual Channel Kit - I would recommend not getting these if you’re still on the 478 P4 platform though, unless you have some massive voltage available for your VDIMM. Considering that you can pick a set of these up for about $200 bucks, they are also very competitively priced.
  • EPoX 9NPA+ Ultra (nForce 4 Ultra AMD) Motherboard - EPoX has done a pretty good job with the 9NPA+ Ultra, with only a few design layout flaws, Twektown recommends this motherboard as one of the better non-SLI AMD configurations which they have tested so far.
  • BFG GeForce 6800 Ultra OC 512MB - If it indeed turns out that the performance seen herein is what you can expect from a 512MB GeForce 6800 Ultra, BFG has a tough sell on its hands at an MSRP of $999. Out of the box overclocking is exciting, as are BFG’s warranty, tech support program, and accessory bundle. But even after ratcheting our test bed’s resolution up to 1980x1200, there is still no discernable difference between the 512MB and 256MB GeForce 6800 Ultra cards in the tests run herein.
  • ASPIRE X-QPACK-AL/420 Black/Silver Aluminum MicroATX Case w/ 420W PSU - At 420 watts and a 25 amp +5 volt rail, this power supply should be plenty good enough for all but the most demanding systems and a power cord is included. I wasn't able to get any other specs for this PSU, but I assume it lacks PFC and other features desirable in a higher-end power supply.
  • I.Tech Bluetooth Virtual Keyboard - Looking like an extra terrestrial black monolith may be part of what makes the i-Tech cool, but it's actually the functionality that's the really cool part. Stand the i-Tech on a desk/table/any flat surface and press the button on the side - instantly the image of a keyboard will be thrown onto the surface in front of it. Press the button again and the keyboard disappears - magic! Of course just having a keyboard projected onto your desk isn't much use unless you have some kind of device connected to it. Here i-Tech has pulled the stops out and gone for a Bluetooth connection method, allowing the keyboard to be connected to a multitude of devices, without the shackles of any wires.
  • Logitech Z-5500 THX Certified Digital Speakers - The Logitech Z-5500 Digital speakers are well designed, and produce jaw dropping high quality sound.
  • SonicWALL TZ 150 Wireless - The TZ 150 showcases SonicWALL's experience in security matters to a tee. It may be no bigger than a video cassette but it’s packed full of features that few, if any, vendors can match, let alone beat at this price. Wireless security options are better than most and the Security Gateway Suite upgrade is well worth having for the price. The web content filtering options in particular are far better than those offered by Watchguard and are also geared up to enforce AUPs in the workplace.
  • Lite-On LVW-5045 160GB HDD+DVD Recorder - If you aren't quite ready to have a PC in your living room, then a TiVo or other hard drive recorder would make a great DVR (digital video recorder) for you. With its 160GB LVW-5045, Lite-On enters the hard drive recorder market with an affordable offering that has a lot of potential. The LVW-5045 not only features recording to hard drive but also to DVD and CD media, building on the capabilities of the LVW-5005.
  • Sony PlayStation 3 coverage - More PS3 coverage can be found on AnandTech, DesignTechnica, Bytesector.

GUIDES... 

  • Getting Started with 64-bit Windows - ExtremeTech has posted a Windows XP Professional x64 installation guide.
  • A Guide To Audio Cables - Do They Sound Different? - One of the most common questions asked by consumers faced with purchasing cables for their audio or home theater system is, "What is so important about cables anyway?" They can cost as much or more than some of the hardware in the system and to many it is difficult to understand why wire isn't just wire.
  • Controlling peer-to-peer applications with Cisco routers - Networks Today has posted a new article about controlling peer-to-peer applications with Cisco routers
  • ATI Catalyst 5.5 performance comparison - Check this article for the results.

SOFTWARE...

  • Unofficial Windows 98 SE Service Pack 2.0.1 - It contains all Windows98 SE updates from Windows Update site and more. It is a self-extracting and self-installing pack like Microsoft's update files. Thus, you cannot choice files individually. However, the pack installs only required fixes for your system.
    Uninstallation is possible from Add-Remove Programs.
  • DVD Region+CSS Free 5.85 - DVD Region+CSS Free is an unique, effective DVD tweaking tool. It allows you to watch all region DVDs on any DVD drive even if it has been locked.
  • Real Alternative 1.38 - Real Alternative will allow you to play RealMedia files without having to install the official RealPlayer
  • FileZilla Server 0.9.8 - FileZilla is a fast FTP and SFTP client for Windows with a lot of features. FileZilla Server is a reliable FTP server
  • Hmonitor 4.2.1.3 - Hardware Sensors Monitor (download) has been updated. Hmonitor has much more functions than MotherBoard Monitor, for example, including thermocontrol features and COM/PerfMon API support (quoted from the author). Please check its homepage for additional information. This new version adds suport for Windows 2003 x64 edition (for AMD64/EM64T).
  • EVEREST Home Edition v2.00 - EVEREST Home Edition is a freeware hardware diagnostics and memory benchmarking solution for home PC users.
  • Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS series x64 driver 2.03.0002 - This standalone driver adds Windows XP Professional x64 Edition support for Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS series internal audio devices.
  • NGO nVidia Optimized Driver x64 v2.7671 - The NGO NVIDIA Optimized Driver is a tweaked version of the nVidia Forceware driver. The main purpose is to satisfy the users with a better performance and better image quality. The Driver has support for all Geforce cards. These drivers are for Windows Server 2003 AMD64, Windows Server 2003 IA-64, Windows XP AMD64, Windows XP IA-64. This release is for the 64 bit versions of Windows only !
  • NGO nVidia Optimized Driver v1.7300 - The NGO nVidia Optimized Driver is a tweaked version of the nVidia Forceware driver. The main purpose is to satisfy the users with a better performance and better image quality. The Driver has support for all Geforce cards. These drivers are modified Forceware drivers, meaning they are NOT supported or endorsed by nVidia, or any 3rd party OEM manufacturers.
  • MATROX Parhelia, Millennium drivers 1.09.01 - This driver supports Parhelia 128MB/256MB AGP, Parhelia PCi 256MB, Millennium P650, Millennium P750, Millennium P650 PCIe, the QID series boards, G550 Low-Profile, G450MMS and Millennium G450.
ATI CATALYST Drivers v5.5 - tech
(hx) 04:36 PM EDT - May,17 2005 - Post a comment
ATI has released a new ATI Catalyst drivers (release notes / download ~ 26MB) bringing them up to version 5.5. The package contains: RADEON display driver 8.132, Multimedia Center 9.08, Catalyst Control Center 5.5 (requires .NET Version 1.1 Framework), HydraVision Basic Edition 3.25.9006, Remote Wonder 3.02, WDM version 5.03 (6312) and Southbridge/IXP Driver.
The following section provides a summary of the issues that have been resolved in the latest version of Catalyst. These include:
  • 3DMark05: Running the application under Windows XP for extended periods of time no longer results in the operating system failing to respond when using an ATI Radeon X700 PRO
  • Ashli Viewer sample Wood: Display corruption is no longer noticed when Anisotropic Filtering set to 4x or above
  • Ashli Viewer v1.6.0: Running the application under Windows 2000 and launching a sample item found in the Programs & Shaders no longer results in corruption being displayed in the sample item
  • City of Heros: Playing the game under Windows XP with an ATI Radeon Xpress 200 series installed no longer results in the characters in the game appearing corrupted
  • Freedom force VS The 3rd Reich: Playing the game under Windows XP with an ATI Radeon 8500 installed no longer results in the super hero character attributes appearing blank
  • Imperial Glory Demo: Playing the game under Windows XP with an ATI Radeon X800 installed no longer results in the game failing to respond
  • Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic 2: Setting the graphic option in the Catalyst Control Center to Optimal Quality, followed by launching the game and setting the resolution option to 1600x1200, no longer results in a performance drop being noticed
  • Star Wars Knights of the old republic: Loading the Dantooine level of the game under Windows XP no longer results in slow game performance
  • Setting the desktop display to 800x600 or 1600x1200 16/32bpp no longer results in the incorrect display resolution information being provided when checking the video control panel in the Catalyst Control Center
  • Setting the display device to 1080i no longer results in the text on the custom format being illegible
  • Setting a customized resolution for 720p now works properly when maintaining the aspect ratio
  • Moving the TV to desktop2 and selecting swap device or double up no longer results in the CRT being in panning mode and display corruption being seen on the TV
  • Having a TV connected as the only display device and clicking the OK button in the ATI displays tab found in the Advanced section of the Display Properties results in a flash of the TV image being noticed
  • Connecting and enabling an HDTV and entering the properties page for the HDTV no longer results in the D3/D4 options being available in the D-Connector Control Panel
  • The occasional Windows error messages no longer occurs when booting into extended desktop under Windows XP when using an ATI Radeon X300 or X600
  • Corruption is no longer seen when connecting a secondary display device and moving the primary display device to the left of the secondary device, followed by disconnecting the primary display device and then reconnecting it
  • Previewing or launching the aquarium screen saver under Windows XP Media Center Edition no longer results in the operating system failing to respond
  • RF online game compatibility issue with all ATI Radeon series
  • Launching the Catalyst Control Center help files from the Start->All Programs->Catalyst Control Center now results in the localized version of the help file being displayed
  • Catalyst Control Center: Running the French custom install no longer results in a NewFeature1 component being listed
  • The link found in the second and third help page for the Change Desktop Settings found in the Japanese version of the Catalyst Control Center no longer cross-references to an incorrect help page
  • A black screen is no longer displayed when launching AMCap and attempting to view video from the tuner when using either the svideo or composite inputs
  • Display corruption is no longer noticed on the TV when setting the TV format to PAL-B and attempting to adjust the flicker removal in the TV Advanced option
  • Having a TV and CRT connected and clicking on Preview Automatic adjustment in the Optimize Media Center no longer results in both display devices displaying a black screen
 Gameguru Mania News - May,14 2005 - tech
Saturday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 01:34 PM EDT - May,14 2005 - Post a comment / read (1)

SECURITY...

  • Critical flaws found in IPsec protocols - Flawed cryptography is leaving people using IPsec security protocols vulnerable to hacking, according to the UK's National Infrastructure Security Coordination Centre (NISCC). The organisation has released an advisory about the discovery of three key flaws in the Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP) that provides base-level encryption of data, typically travelling though virtual private networks. "An attacker could modify sections of the IPsec packet, causing either the cleartext inner packet to be redirected or a network host to generate an error message," warned NISCC.
  • Mozilla fixes Firefox flaws - Less than a week after the discovery of critical flaws in Mozilla's Firefox browser, the organisation has released a fix. The Mozilla Foundation is urging users to upgrade their browsers to the new version 1.0.4, which is available for download.
  • Symantec Worm Simulator 1.0 - A new simulation program developed by Symantec Research Labs not only has the answers, it also provides pictures. The new Symantec Worm Simulator visually demonstrates how worms spread through the Internet, and how they fare against a custom network and security policy.To use the Worm Simulator, all users need to do is load a simulation file and click "play." The Worm Simulator is distributed with simulations of six actual worms: MyDoom, Netsky, Sasser, Slammer, Blaster, and SoBig. Each simulation is tailored to accurately represent how the real worm spread in the wild. As the worm spreads, nodes in the network and on the globe start turning colors.
  • Tiger update to patch Dashboard vulnerability - The fix is believed to be one of over three dozen expected in Apple's Mac OS X 10.4.1 Update. According to rumors, the update, code-named "Atlanta," could see a release as early as the end of the week
  • Student Raises the Specter of an Attack on Intel Chips -  A research paper released on Friday by Oxford University computer science student Colin Percival details a method by which an attacker could heist cryptography keys on servers running Intel processors with Hyperthreading. Hyperthreading technology runs two threads or streams of data, making computer software view a single processor as two.  The exploit Percival details takes advantage of the threads' shared access to memory caches within the processor to interpret data that's being processed and thus lift the keys. A software timing attack basically watches the behavior of a computer in an effort to expose protected information.
  • In War on Terrorism, New Search Engine Seeks Hidden Vulnerabilities - As part of an effort to anticipate -- and thwart -- the plans of potential terrorists, the Federal Aviation Administration is supporting the development of a new search engine by University at Buffalo researchers that is designed to detect "hidden" information that can be gleaned from public Web sites.
  • MPAA targets TV download sites - Continuing its war on Internet file-swapping sites, the Motion Picture Association of America said Thursday that it has filed lawsuits against a half-dozen hubs for TV show trading.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Cornell researchers build a robot that can reproduce - video - check it out!! (story)
  • Hybrid Mileage Comes Up Short - Hybrid cars are hot, but not as hot as their owners, who complain that their gas mileage hasn't come close to well-advertised estimates. Don't knock the car companies for inflated claims: Experts say the blame lies with the 19-year-old EPA fuel-efficiency test that overstates hybrid performance.

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Microsoft Readies a 'Lean' Windows Client - Code-named 'Eiger,' the stripped-down version of Windows XP is designed for business users who want more security and manageability on older Windows PCs. What's fatter than a thin client, but svelter than Windows XP? Microsoft's forthcoming "lean" client, code-named "Eiger." Eiger, a stripped-down version of Windows XP Professional, is designed for customers who want more security and manageability, but who aren't ready or able to upgrade to Windows XP, according to Microsoft officials. It is not a thin client in the traditional sense. Instead, Microsoft will offer it as an interim, "bridge" solution for enterprise users who ultimately plan to move to XP or Longhorn, officials said
  • IBM backs Firefox in-house - Firefox is already used by about 10 percent of IBM's staff, or about 30,000 people. Starting Friday, IBM workers can download the browser from internal servers and get support from the company's help desk staff.
  • Broadband Over Gas Lines - Nethercomm Corporation announces the development of Broadband-in-Gas (BiG) Technology. This technology is designed to effectively multiply the current available bandwidth of cable television and all other broadband systems with data capacities exceeding ten gigabits. Broadband-in-Gas delivers unmatched levels of connectivity by making use of Ultra Wideband technology to wirelessly broadcast information in a way that is both safe and reliable by using the private spectrum isolated within natural gas pipelines.
  • Xbox 360 previews - An Xbox 360 previews can be found on AnandTech, ByteSector, HardOCP and GamerAlias. In related news, Bit-Tech has posted an interesting editorial called "How the Xbox 360 will affect PC gamers"

HARDWARE... 

  • 283000$ AMD Turion 64 notebook - AMD Board has posted some info about the Tulip E-Go! Diamond a 283000$ AMD Turion 64 notebook.
  • OCZ EL 1GB DC DDR400 Gold Edition - The OCZ EL 1GB Dual Channel DDR400 Gold Edition memory module is great memory; with the use of the legendary Winbond BH-5 RAM chips, it will meet the needs of most enthusiasts. This pair of DDR400 is one of the fastest RAM frequencies of the DDR memory range. This dual channel RAM kit is able to run tight timings of 2-2-2-5, which is the best and basic requirement for a good memory module. Furthermore, with the voltage of 2.8V, it was able to hit 221 MHz which is equal to DDR 442 with the tight timings of 2-2-2-5. With higher memory voltage at 3.5V, this pair of modules is able to read 251MHz which is equal to DDR502 at the timing of 2-2-2-5.
  • Asus K8N4-E Deluxe/Extreme N6600 - TrustedReviews posted a review of the Asus K8N4-E Deluxe/Extreme N6600 Motherboard & Graphics Card Bundle.
  • Gigabyte's GV-RX80L256V graphics card - The lack of bundled oven mitts aside, it's hard to find fault with the GV-RX80L256V, especially given its $312 street price. At that price, it's only about $10 more expensive than competing Radeon X800 XLs, and well worth the premium for low-noise systems. Even if we disregard the card's silent cooler, the rest of the package—its VIVO capabilities, HDTV dongle, and decent software bundle—packs in plenty of value. Dual DVI output is the only feature we found lacking on the card, and while that may only be a minor issue for some, it will undoubtedly be a deal-breaker for others.
  • ASUS Extreme AX800XL-2DTV - Performance in our tests was pretty good. In all the game tests, except Doom 3, the x800XL did very nicely providing playable frame rates in basically all situations. Doom 3 is playable at 1024*768 with 4X AA and 16X ansiotropic filtering, but going higher isn't too recommended.
  • SLI Comparison : nVidia's nForce4 SLI for Intel and AMD  - Unfortunately, the new nForce4 SLI Intel Edition cannot make up for the architectural differences which have held back the Pentium 4 against the Athlon64 FX-55. In the majority of benchmarks, a top of the line Athlon64 FX-55 SLI system will best a top of the line Pentium 4 Extreme Edition system in gaming benchmarks.
  • Budget Battle: HyperMemory vs. TurboCache - We really can't see much reason to recommend the 64MB TurboCache part. Unless one of the vendors comes out with a solution that runs the memory at 700MHz or more, there's really no advantage to the 32MB onboard part (in fact, there is a disadvantage at the speeds that we tested). We really can't see any reason for the most expensive part that we tested to cost as much as it does.
  • Western Digital Caviar SE WD3200JB - 320GB models from WD are presently the second in capacity on the market (after 400GB models from Seagate and Hitachi), but they are noticeably less noisy and less hot than similar models from the competitors. The WD3200JB/JD drives with their current price only slightly exceeding $200 are a good choice for those PC users, who want a high-performance system of a high capacity, which will still be quiet and relatively cool. 
  • Vantec All in 1 USB Card Reader - The size of the Vantec All in 1 USB Internal Card Reader is specially design to be mount into the 3.5" drive bay. It also bundles with a extra face plate to be exchange in order to match the color of your case. The card reader function is even better, it able to support the CF/CF ll, MMC/MMC2, SD,SM, Microdrive, MS, MS DUO, MS Pro and MS Pro DUO.
  • HP PSC 1610 Multi Function Device - TrustedReviews posted a review of the HP PSC 1610 Multi Function Device.

GUIDES... 

  • XP Media - A Windows XP Media Guide - Media editing in Windows XP requires having the right software. This guide will show you the best Free Applications that will let you create, edit, playback and display Documents, Reports, Spreadsheets, Multimedia Presentations, Graphics, Photos, Pictures, Audio, Music, MP3s, Video, Movies, DVDs and CDs.
  • Linux vs. Windows Web Hosting - The Tech Zone continues their guide to web hosting with a comparison of Linux vs. Windows web hosting.

SOFTWARE...

  • Nero 6.6.0.13 - Nero 6.6.0.13 (changelog / download - mirror1, mirror2) fixes these bugs: AAC Audio encoder settings not applied, Error using disc finalize feature in the 'Disc Info' section, Using UDF as default file system for using dual layer DVD-R medias with multisession compilation, Nero Express did not ask to save a LightScribe document if the application was closed by ALT+F4 or the [X] close button, An internal LightScribe error occurred for print and/or preview if Nero was accessing (e.g. erasing) the same device, An "Internal error" occurred if accessing a folder which was linked to a remote network path.
  • MR Tech's Local Install 1.3.2 Firefox Extension - This extension adds an Install button to both the Theme & Extension Manager to match the Thunderbird interface, "Install.." options to the File Menu, Alt-X Access Key for "Install Extension" 1, Alt-M Access Key for "Install Theme" 1 and more.
  • EliteToolbar Remover 1.3.0  - This freeware utility (download) helps people to delete the new infestions caused by the EliteToolbar variants that are circulating on the Net nowadays.  Tool should be run from safe mode.
  • VideoLan 0.8.2 Beta 1 - VideoLAN (download) main goals is MPEG streaming on a network, but it also features a standalone multimedia player. The VideoLAN Server can stream video read from a hard disk, a DVD player, a satellite card or an MPEG 2 compression card, and unicast or multicast it on a network.
  • Forceware 73.00 WinXP & Win2k BETA Driver - A new ForceWare driver has hit the web. This time version build 73.00 It Supposedly fixes dual display issues with SLI. Also it seems some game profiles were added. OpenGL 1.5.3 supported.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,13 2005 - tech
Nvidia to showcase G70 at Computex - tech
(hx) 07:15 AM EDT - May,13 2005 - Post a comment
Nvidia will unveil its next-generation flagship chip, the SLI-supporting G70 graphics chip, at the Computex Taipei 2005 show from May 31 to June 4, according to motherboard makers in Taiwan. Market sources indicated that the Nvidia G70 should deliver twice the performance of the current flagship series, the GeForce 6800. The chips will be built using a 0.11-micron process at TSMC, as opposed to ATI’s R520 chip, which will be manufactured using a 90nm process, the sources suggested. The makers did say the G70 may begin volume shipments in the latter half of the third quarter at the earliest and will retail for US$549.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,11 2005 - tech
Wednesday Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 04:17 PM EDT - May,11 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • [MS patch] Vulnerability in Web View Could Allow Remote Code Execution - This update resolves a newly-discovered, public vulnerability. A remote code execution vulnerability exists in the way that Web View in Windows Explorer handles certain HTML characters in preview fields. By persuading a user to preview a malicious file, an attacker could execute arbitrary code in the context of the logged on user.
  • [MS patch] Default Setting in Windows Media Player Digital Rights Management Could Allow a User to Open a Web Page Without Requesting Permission - This issue does not automatically cause malicious software to run on a user's computer. However, as a result of the malicious attacker's actions, users may be persuaded to install malicious software if they are redirected to a malicious web page when acquiring a license. An update to the Windows Media Player is available that allows users to modify the functionality involving automatic license acquisition in order to help prevent such attacks.
  • Mozilla Firefox Arbitrary Code Execution (Exploit) - This proof of concept involve exploiting two flaws: 1) Tricking Firefox into thinking a software installation is being triggered by a whitelisted site, using history stored trusted URL. 2) Software installation trigger not sufficiently checking image URLs containing JavaScript code. More details can be found here.
  • Cisco: Dude, who stole my IOS? - Cisco Systems has recently announced the Swedish authorities have detained a person accused of stealing the source code and instructions which regulate the world wide Internet traffic. The company based in San Jose, California, has announced it encourages through every available means the case's inquiry. The Times announces the accused has been identified in the person of a 16 year old teenager from Uppsala, Sweden, and the FBI confirmed this information. For now, it is unknown if the teenager will be convicted for violating American laws
  • Serious holes in antivirus software - What if the bad guys found ways to infiltrate your computer through the very antivirus software that you thought was protecting you? Recent discoveries suggest that this scenario isn't so far-fetched. If you have the latest antivirus definitions, aren't you protected? Not necessarily. Most programs have an automatic update feature that's turned on by default, but the tool may update only the definitions, not other software modules such as the scanning engine. The good news: Several antivirus software companies have patched their programs to fix this vulnerability.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Centrifugal weapon could deliver stealth firepower - A gun that spits out ball bearings after spinning them to extreme speeds is being developed by a US inventor. The novel design has already caught the imagination of some defence industry experts. The gun consists of a mounted circular chamber that spins the metal ball bearings to high speed. A release mechanism on one side spits the balls out one behind the other, a handful at a time. St George says the projectiles travel at around 300 metres per second upon release from the weapon, about the same speed as a handgun round. He claims a fully developed DREAD gun would be quieter than a conventional gun, less prone to malfunction, and could contain more ammunition. DREAD also releases its balls in extremely rapid succession, which allows it to unleash formidable firepower against a target. Promotional material for DREAD states: "Due to its extraordinary high rate of fire capability, it delivers its bullets 8.5 millimetres apart, thereby delivering more mass to the target than any other weapon."
  • Solar sail completes first crucial tests - A lightweight solar sail that could one day allow spacecraft to be propelled by the power of the Sun has passed its first crucial test. The sail, made by NASA and Alliant Techsystems (ATK), was successfully deployed and its orientation controlled in the world's largest vacuum chamber - which mimics the space environment - it was announced on Tuesday.
  • Self-cloning robots are a chip off the old block - The first scalable robot to have built an exact copy of itself could herald a fundamental rethink of how robots may be used to explore other planets. Hod Lipson and colleagues at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, built their self-replicating device using small mechanical building blocks that can swivel, and also attach themselves to one another using electromagnets. (Ed.note: Do you remember replicators from Star Gate series?....)

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Microsoft, HP unveil new high-def video disc formats - While a compromise standard for high-definition DVDs is being negotiated in Japan between backers of the HD-DVD and rival Blu-Ray discs, two rogue high-def video disc formats may have a chance to sneak in the back door. Both came to light at the recent Home Entertainment Show in New York. A Microsoft executive, Ed Bland, let on that his company's forthcoming second-generation game console - now expected to be called Xbox 360 - will deliver high-definition content using a conventional red laser pickup and the DVD-ROM discs found in current game consoles, computer drives and video disc players. By contrast, both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray formats require finer-focusing blue lasers, as well as new breeds of higher-capacity discs.
  • Toshiba expands HD-DVD capacity to 45GB - Toshiba Corp. has developed a prototype HD-DVD disc that increases the format's storage capacity by 50 percent and brings it much closer to that of the rival Blu-ray Disc, the company said Tuesday. The new disc has a capacity of 45GB, which is just under the 50GB offered by a dual-layer Blu-ray Disc, and will give content producers additional space to store longer high-definition movies or extras such as trailers, out-takes or interactive features. Toshiba accomplished the capacity jump by adding an extra data storage layer to the disc. Each HD-DVD layer has a capacity of 15GB and the new disc packs three such layers. Toshiba will take the wraps off the new DVDs at the Media-Tech Expo 2005 in Las Vegas. In related news, Toshiba yesterday admitted there are still major stumbling blocks to efforts to create a single format for the next generation of DVDs.
  • Gates confirms Office 12 will release in 2006 - Microsoft will release a new version of Office next year, Bill Gates said yesterday. The last major version arrived in late 2003. Microsoft officials have been coy about the next release, but Gates released some new details including that it will include improvement in workflow capabilities, rights management, advanced scheduling, document sharing and business intelligence.
  • Microsoft Releases Windows Mobile 5.0 - Microsoft has released Windows Mobile 5.0 (fact sheet). Word is "this new version of the Windows Mobile software platform delivers on partner requests, including more platform flexibility to customize devices and solutions; productivity enhancements that include updated Microsoft Office software and persistent memory storage for more efficient data management; and a powerful multimedia experience with Windows Media Player 10 Mobile and support for hard drives. "
  • Blue Screen of Death, Move Over - As if the dreaded "Blue Screen of Death" that plagues users of existing Windows variants weren't enough, some beta testers are reporting that they've encountered a new "Red Screen of Death" in early versions of Longhorn. The first Red Screen of Death (RSOD) reports surfaced this past weekend on various Weblogs, including one written by a Microsoft employee.
  • Google launches mini search-in-a-box  - Google has launched the Google Mini, a scaled-down version of its enterprise search appliance, to the UK. The small, blue box is designed to provide a search function for the intranets or public websites of small to medium businesses. The box is capable of searching and indexing 100,000 documents and it recognises over 220 different file types, including HTML, PDF and Word, provided they are web enabled.
  • MS IE7 screenshots - According to a screenshot making its rounds on some forums, Microsoft's answer to Mozilla's Firefox, Internet Explorer 7, might be in its alpha stage. The about IE shows a build of 0719, and another screenshot shows what appears to be tabbed browsing.

HARDWARE... 

  • Via Plans Sub-$250 PCs - The designs are part of a Via project called Terra PC and will be unveiled at the Via Technology Forum (VTF), scheduled for the first week of June in Taiwan, says Richard Brown, the company's associate vice president of marketing. VTF will be held alongside the Computex exhibition in Taipei. The Terra PC range includes a fully featured PC, priced at $250, including a hard drive and a monitor, Brown says. It also comes with a flash memory-based Media Station and a $100 Communication Station, that uses flash memory and is designed for broadband Internet applications, such as VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol), he says.   Additional details about the Terra PC effort will be announced in June.
  • Sony announces VAIO T-Series with Cingular EDGE Built-in - The new Sony VAIO VGN-T350P/L and VGN-T-350/L have now built-in SmartWi, that lets users switch from Wi-Fi connectivity to Cingular EDGE connectivity. The Pentium M powered Sonys feature also Bluetooth, DVD writer, 60GB HDD, 512MB RAM and a 10.6" WXGA screen with XBRITE. The difference between the Sony VAIO VGN-T350P/L and Sony VAIO VGN-T-350/L seems only to be that the P/L has Windows XP Professional installed and the /L only the Home edition.
  • NVIDIA integrated graphics chipset on the way - The C51-series will have two versions, with the C51PV supporting Socket 939 K8-compatible motherboards, and the C51 supporting Socket 754 motherboards, the makers stated. Sources at the makers stated that the two chips will have different graphic cores, but declined to provide more details. In addition, Nvidia plans to reduce the prices on its current line of SLI chipsets, with the FOB (free on board) price of SLI-based motherboards expected to fall from US$110-120 at present to US$90, the motherboard makers expect.
  • Dell Inspiron XPS Gen 2 - Open up the XPS and things just get better - you're instantly greeted by a 17in widescreen display, with a high contrast gloss coating. The coating makes both games and movies look so much better, and although you do have to put up with a more reflective screen, I find that a small price to pay. But it's not just the size and the coating that make this screen so impressive, it's also the resolution. The 17in display in the XPS sports a native resolution of 1,920 x 1,200 - this gives you an amazing amount of desktop real estate and makes working at the XPS almost as enjoyable as gaming.
  • Pentium Extreme Edition 840 - Does a dual-core, single-die CPU make much difference in the performance of your PC? If you are looking to utilize your computer for calculation heavy tasks such as 3D animation, CAD and vector calculations, then yes. If you're looking for a CPU to use in a video or audio editing workstation, then yes, there is a benefit. However, when you look at how small the performance increase is, you might be questioning the expenditure. Also, the issue of using HyperThreading Technology is something to pay attention to.
  • AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800 - The key things to take from today's look at the 4800+ is that it's generally no slower, but generally no faster either, than an FX-53 in single-threaded tests, yet it'll cost you a fair bit more. I hope it's obvious that a dual-core processors benefits lie elsewhere, with multi-threaded applications and real-world operating system usage. Think HyperThreading. Another reviews can be found on TechWareLabs and X-bit Labs.
  • AMD Vesus Intel Battle of the Dual-Core CPUs at Motherboards - Although both Intel and AMD have entered the Dual-Core CPU arena, it was the AMD 4800+ CPU, which showed the best results here in the lab
  • DDR2 Memory Roundup Q2 2005 - Results:  1) Overall Mushkin did very well in this roundup and given the recent changes made over at Mushkin in R&D and customer service I highly recommend looking into their entire product line. 2) Corsair took a firm second, and while it's somewhat more costly the ergonomics and reliability can't be beat. 3) Crucial has done some amazing things with their Ballistix line, and was the only company to spec double sided DDR2. All the brands represented here today have their strengths and looking over the results I was simply amazed at the performance consistency comparitively.
  • ATI Radeon X300 SE 128MB HyperMemory performance comparison -  Looking back at the series of tests we ran, the majority of the tests leaned in favor of the GeForce 6200 TurboCache 128. Final Fantasy, 3DMark05, Halo and Doom 3 were all dominated by the 6200 with its higher clock rates. Half-Life 2 was the tightest race between the two cards, but still, the 6200 prevailed. The only time the X300 SE came out on top was with Far Cry, where we saw the X300 SE HyperMemory 128 hold a slight lead over the generally faster GF 6200 TC128.
  • Western Digital Essential 120GB USB 2.0 external hard drive - Unsurprisingly, the external drive is some way slower than its internal cousins, although it does manage to match the 250GB Serial ATA offering when it comes to access times. The use of a USB 2.0 interface means that CPU utilisation is much higher, although not disastrously so in all honesty, and indeed this figure will vary dependant on motherboard chipset and the like. Read and burst speeds are clearly limited by the USB interface, staying around a steady 18MB/second.
  • 23" and 24" LCD Monitors Roundup - The Dell PVA panel provides nicer colors but has a lower reactivity. It compensates with a reasonable price and astonishing ergonomics. (there is no point in listing once more all the details ).  ViewSonic and HP IPS panels provide a less deep dark, the color quality (for a professional or a player looking for high contrast ratio in order to see the dark areas' details) is slightly less good, and the liquid crystals' reactivity still doesn't allow the possibility of playing FPS games without afterglow effects.
  • Samsung Yepp YP-MT6Z 1GB MP3 Player  - The Yepp YP-MT6Z's retails for around $230CDN ($180USD), a remarkably affordable price compared to just a year or two ago, given its 1GB of internal flash memory. Furthermore, in a rare move of consumer friendly design, the Yepp YP-MT6Z is powered by a single AA battery that will last for upwards of 42 hours (straight playback). Long battery life and inexpensive AA batteries are probably one of the greatest attributes of this MP3 player; heck a AA battery is even included!
  • Optek Fretlight USB/LED Guitar - TrustedReviews take a look at the Optek Fretlight USB/LED Guitar which is a guitar for beginners that teaches you how to play with the help of built in LED lights.

GUIDES... 

SOFTWARE...

  • May 2005 Update for Outlook 2003 Junk Email Filter (KB894384) - This optional update provides the Junk E-mail Filter in Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 with a more current definition of which e-mail messages should be considered junk e-mail. This update was released in May 2005.
  • Attachment Options 1.8.17 - Attachment Options (download) is a COM add-in for Outlook 2000 SP3 or higher, Outlook 2002, and Outlook 2003 that provides a user interface for changing which file types are restricted as Level 1 attachments. Level 1 attachments are hidden by Outlook, and cannot be seen, saved or opened from Outlook items. Moving an attachment extension to Level 2 enables the user to see the attachment and to save it to the file system. The attachment saved to the file system can later be opened by the user.
  • Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) 2.8 SP1 - Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) 2.8 SP1 contains core Data Access components such as the Microsoft SQL Server™ OLE DB provider and ODBC driver. This redistributable installer for the MDAC 2.8 SP1 release installs the same Data Access components as Microsoft Windows XP SP2. This release does not include Microsoft Jet, the Microsoft Jet OLE DB Provider or ODBC driver, the Desktop Database ODBC Drivers, or the Visual FoxPro ODBC Driver.
  • Internet Information Services 6.0 Migration Tool - The Internet Information Services 6.0 Migration Tool is a command line tool that automates several of the steps needed to move a Web application from IIS 4.0, IIS 5.0 or IIS 6.0 to a clean installation of Internet Information Services (IIS) 6.0. The tool transfers configuration data, Web site content, and application settings to a new IIS 6.0 server.
  • Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool 1.4 - This tool checks your computer for infection by specific, prevalent malicious software (including Blaster, Sasser, and Mydoom) and helps to remove the infection if it is found. Microsoft will release an updated version of this tool on the second Tuesday of each month
  • phpMyAdmin 2.6.2-pl1 - 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.
  • Win32Whois 0.9.6 - 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.
  • [!] Mozilla Firefox 1.0.4 RC - Firefox 1.0.4 (download RC) includes security fixes for the two security flaws that can lead to arbitrary code being executed. See our article about the arbitrary code execution exploit and yesterday's report with details of the two vulnerabilities for more information.
  • Firemonger 1.04 CD - Firemonger 1.04 has been released. Firemonger offers a downloadable Windows CD image of Mozilla Firefox 1.0.3 and Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0.2 packaged with some popular plugins, extensions and themes
  • Google Toolbar 3.0.123.2 Beta - The Google Toolbar (download Win2k/XP / Win98/ME) increases your ability to find information from anywhere on the web and takes only seconds to install
  • DustBuster 2.8.1 - DustBuster (download) is a free garbage file removing utility for Microsoft Windows operating systems. It searches for junk files and temp files that are of no use and are just taking space on your hard drive. Based on a "common sense" scanning technology, DustBuster cleans over 1500 different types of useless temp files and directories in a single click, detecting and deleting all these unneeded files automatically.
  • AIM Ad Hack 4.04 - With this small file (download) you can effectively remove all the ads from AIM you must be using.
  • Gaim 1.3.0 - Gaim (download) is a multi-protocol instant messaging (IM) client for Linux, BSD, MacOS X, and Windows. It is compatible with AIM and ICQ (Oscar protocol), MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, IRC, Jabber, Gadu-Gadu, SILC, GroupWise Messenger, and Zephyr networks.
  • Apple iTunes 4.8 - This new version includes new Music Store features and support for transferring contacts and calendars from your computer to your iPod (requires Mac OS X version 10.4 on your computer).
  • GIMP 2.2.7 - The GIMP (download) is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages.
  • WinRAR 3.50 Beta 4 - WinRAR (download) is a powerful archive manager. It can backup your data and reduce size of email attachments, decompress RAR, ZIP and other files downloaded from Internet and create new archives in RAR and ZIP file format.
  • TaskInfo 6.1.0.140 Beta - TaskInfo (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 Audio Analyzer 5.5 - The test suite performs various tests of electroacoustical performance of sound cards and other real-time audio devices. Testing is accomplished by playing the test signals and recording them after they pass through the testing chain.
  • PSPad 4.3.3 Beta Build 2072 - PSPad editor (download) is freeware programmer editor.
  • New Sony PSP Firmware 1.51 - Playstation Japan have released an updated firmware v1.51, that fixes a few security bugs. Try at your own risk!
  • nForce 6.56 64-bit Beta - This nForce WinXP 64-bit driver package contains the below components: Audio driver version 4.60 (WHQL), Audio utility version 4.51, Ethernet NRM driver version 4.75 (WHQL), Network management tools version 4.80, SMBus driver version 4.48 (WHQL) with updated uninstaller files Installer version 4.64,WinXP IDE driver version 5.24 with updated uninstaller files, WinXP RAIDTOOL application version 4.82.
  • Radeon Omega v2.6.25a (2000/XP) - OmegaDrivers has released their modified Drivers of the Official ATI Catalyst 5.4 Drivers. These drivers always deliver exellent performance and image quality.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,09 2005 - tech
AMD's Athlon 64 X2 processors - tech
(hx) 04:42 AM EDT - May,09 2005 - Post a comment
Now it's time for AMD's dual-core desktop processor line, the Athlon 64 X2, to take its turn on stage. TechReport has tested two versions of this CPU - the screaming 4800+ that may be the fastest single microprocessor on the planet, and the gotta-have-it 4200+, AMD's most affordable dual-core processor that promises to be every enthusiast's new sweetheart. Here's an excerpt:
Let's start by talking about the Athlon 64 X2 4200+. This CPU generally offers better performance than its direct competitor from Intel, the Pentium D 840. Most notably, the X2 4200+ doesn't share the Pentium D's relatively weak performance in single-threaded tasks like our 3D gaming benchmarks. The Athlon 64 X2 4200+ also consumes less power, at the system level, than the Pentium D 840—just a little bit at idle (even without Cool'n'Quiet) but over 100W under load. That's a very potent combo, all told.

In fact, the X2 4200+ frequently outperforms the Pentium Extreme Edition 840, which costs nearly twice as much. Thanks to its dual-core config, the X2 4200+ also embarrasses some expensive single-core processors, like the Athlon 64 FX-55 and the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.73GHz. Personally, I don't think there's any reason to pay any more for a CPU than the $531 that AMD will be asking for the Athlon 64 X2 4200+.

If you must pay more for some reason, the Athlon 64 X2 4800+ will give you the best all-around performance we've ever seen from a "single" CPU. The X2 4800+ beats out the Pentium Extreme Edition 840 virtually across the board, even in tests that use four threads to take best advantage of the Extreme Edition 840's Hyper-Threading capabilities. The difference becomes even more pronounced in single-threaded applications, including games, where the Pentium XE 840 is near the bottom of the pack and the X2 4800+ is constantly near the top. The X2 4800+ also consumes considerably less power, both at idle and under load.

Another review/preview of AMD Athlon 64 X2 4800+ can be found on Bit-Tech, TrustedReviews, X-bit labs, Hot Hardware, SimHQ, Sudhian, Techware Labs, AMDZone, HardOCP.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,07 2005 - tech
Saturday Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 08:21 PM EDT - May,07 2005 - Post a comment

SECURITY...

  • Microsoft revamps security hole approach - Microsoft has a new security service that will provide an immediate response when researchers publicise unpatched vulnerabilities. The pilot programme run by the Microsoft Security Research Center (MSRC) and called simply Microsoft Security Advisories, complements the monthly scheduled Security Bulletins ordinarily accompanied by patches.
  • QuickTime PictureViewer GIF Images DoS Vulnerability (Depth) -  QuickTime player contains a module PictureViewer to view still images". PictureViewer for Windows suffers from a vulnerability that allows an attacker to crash the program when opening a specially crafted GIF file.
  • Security Fears Over Google Accelerator - Google Web Accelerator is currently in beta and automatically stores and updates the content of pages accessed through it. However, ZDNet reports at least one user having problems as he suddenly discovered he was logged in as someone else - a problem replicated here. The searchenginejournal.com is offering some free code to companies who want to block Google's Web Accelerator traffic from accessing their web site here.
  • Key-loggers the new phisherman's friend - Phishing attacks are increasingly using key-loggers as another method to steal personal information, according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG). These attacks usually redirect users to a bogus website and record details once they are entered. But the past six months has seen a tenfold rise in the number of phishing sites hosting key-logging software which can be transferred to a user's PC via an improperly patched browser.
  • Spammers launch Tony Blair Trojan - UK computer users are being warned of a malicious email purporting to be about Tony Blair. The emails were spammed out last night with the subject line: 'BBC: Tony Blair email account hacked!'. If users click on the link a series of Trojan programs are downloaded that monitor key strokes and could allow a hacker to take remote control.
  • Jail for "Robin Hoods" who cost Microsoft millions - Four Britons have been jailed for being part of a global gang described as "Robin Hoods" who stole expensive software from rich companies and gave it away for free over the internet. The group, described by prosecutors as 'sad individuals' who spent their lives in front of computers, were said to have cost firms such as Microsoft Corp. millions of dollars in profit and enraged its chairman, Bill Gates. Prosecutors told London's Old Bailey criminal court that the four men, motivated by a hatred of software companies, were the key players in an international ring called DrinkorDie.com, said to be one of the world's most sophisticated Web piracy groups.The gang allowed internet surfers to download new software for free, often before it came on the market, including the Windows 95 operating system two weeks before it was released.
  • Court says 'No' to digital TV 'copy flag' - A federal appeals court on Friday struck down an antipiracy rules requiring computer and television makers to use new built-in technology that would make it difficult for consumers to copy and distribute digital programs.
  • Hackers figure out file extraction from Sony UMD - Software developers have figured out how to extract files from the Universal Media Discs used in Sony Corp.'s new PlayStation Portable handheld video game device, though there is no way to play the games extracted from those discs. Some details of the exploit were posted Wednesday night on the Web site PS2nfo.com, along with lists showing all the files pulled off the game discs for "Ridge Racers," "Wipeout Pure" and "Vampire Chronicles." Another story can be found here.

OFFTOPIC...

  • Bold thieves build complete ATM - Audacious thieves in Romania have constructed a complete automated teller machine (ATM), minus the cash box, to steal the details of account holders, banking officials said. Fake ATMs have appeared at apartment buildings or in areas of the capital where there are no banks, local papers reported.
  • Vacuum elevator gives users a gentle lift - A one-person vacuum elevator that slots into buildings with a minimum of fuss has gone on sale in the US. The tube-shaped transporter carries a person upwards at a steady speed of 15 centimetres per second using turbines to suck air out of a pressurised chamber above the passenger capsule. The capsule is lowered when the pressure in the upper section is returned to normal.
  • Gore to receive Internet lifetime achievement award - Al Gore may have been lampooned for taking credit in the Internet's development, but organizers of the Webby Awards for online achievements don't find it funny at all. Gore, who boasted in a CNN interview he "took the initiative in creating the Internet," was only 21 when the Internet was born out of a Pentagon project. But after joining Congress eight years later, he promoted high-speed telecommunications for economic growth and supported funding increases for the then-fledging network, according to the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, which presents the annual award
  • Central Park Media Offers PSP Downloads - Starting today, the trailers include both recent CPM releases such as Munto, Cat Soup, Shadow Star Narutaru as well as classic anime titles such as Dominion Tank Police and Patlabor. Ranging from the family oriented Doggy Poo to the ultraviolent Ichi The Killer: Episode Zero, CPM's trailers will demonstrate the amazing variety of animation art which is the hallmark of Japanese anime. Trailers will rotate on a regular basis.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard trailer - See Jessica Simpson, Johnny Knoxville, and Seann William Scott in the trailer debut for 'The Dukes of Hazzard."

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Yahoo developing an audio search engine - The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company plans to introduce the music search engine within the next couple of months, according to a source familiar with the service. The specialty engine will let people search on an artist's name, for example, and retrieve all the available songs from other music services, as well as album reviews and band information from Yahoo Music.
  • Yahoo! video search is fully operational - Yahoo! has launched its eagerly awaited its video search service, which will allow viewers to search news clips, music videos and movie trailers from sources such as CBSNews.com, MTV.com and IFILM.com. The yahoo video search, which was released as a test site last December, is now available as a fully operational site at http://video.search.yahoo.com.
  • AOL Builds Browser into AIM - America Online Inc. is bundling its own Web browser into the newest versions of AOL Instant Messenger in an effort that is likely to expose a wider swath of users to the browsing features it has built atop Internet Explorer.
  • Red Hat/Apache Slower Than Windows Server 2003? - In a recent test by a company called Veritest, Windows 2003 web server performs up to 300% higher throughput than Red Hat Linux running with Apache. Veritest used webbench to do there testing.

HARDWARE... 

  • NVIDIA to Fix “Dual Display Issue” with Upcoming GPUs - Those of you with NVIDIA's SLI configuration and dual monitors know that both monitors must run from a single card in order to operate. If dual monitors are enabled, two cards operating as one takes control of the single screen, which leaves the other monitor ineffective.  A source close to NVIDIA recently confirmed that the dual display issue will be corrected with NVIDIA's upcoming line of GPUs that are expected to debut at Computex in early June.
  • AMD Next Gen. Socket M2 & S1 Revealed! - AMD's next generation of processors will be based on the Socket M2, like the current Socket 939 it will be based on the PGA package, but the pin counts will increase to 940. The S1 socket, engineered for the mobile platforms for the next generation, will have a pin drop from 754pins to 638pins.
  • Alienware Unleashes Star Wars PC - Star Wars-series computers are based on up to AMD Athlon 64 FX-55 processors as well as NVIDIA nForce4 SLI core-logic. Users may choose to equip their computers with up to two NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra graphics cards for enhanced performance in modern games. Systems' price starts at $1499 for a mainstream configuration.
  • ASUS M5A Notebook - This review is about the ASUS M5A model that has all the typical traits of a small-size notebook like small dimensions and weight, portability, compactness, but is not technically impaired as it is based on the new platform. Yes, ASUS based the M5A on the second-generation Centrino technology thus increasing its performance in contrast to its analogs on the older platform.
  • Processors for common people Part 2: Intel LGA775 Platform - Celeron is no good for complex professional packages anyway (though Photoshop was a pleasant surprise), the same concerns games, at least if you expect high performance. However, there are still a couple of applications, where these processors are very good - MP3 and DivX/XviD encoding. In other respects, it's a regular low-end, nothing special.
  • Asus K8N4-E Deluxe Motherboard - Based around the nForce4 chipset, this motherboard supports Socket 754 AMD Athlon64 or Sempron processors. It's memory slots will accommodate up to 3GB of single channel DDR memory. Graphics come courtesy of a standard PCI Express x16 slot, which is the key selling point as far as we're concerned.
  • NVIDIA GeForce 6600GT Round-Up - Asus provided the fastest card overall, although it didn't seem to be clocked any faster than the competition. We can guess that Asus has somehow overclocked its card but tweaked things so that the card reports standard clocks, essentially delivering overclocking but under warranty. But in the end the winner of this group test is MSI, as the NX6600GT-TD128E is the cheapest card on test. It performed just as well as any of the other cards in the 3D benchmarks and comes with a very good accessory and software bundle.
  • Budget GPU Comparison: TurboCache vs HyperMemory - Without going into too much detail here, both HyperMemory and TurboCache technologies attempt to do the same thing. Using the north bridge of the core logic chipset that usually controls the memory (except for the case of AMD's Athlon 64 processors), ATI's X300 SE HyperMemory GPU can directly address system memory for frame buffer usage, just as the TurboCache technology allows the 6200 TC cards to do the same.
  • PNY Verto GeForce 6600 GT 128MB AGP - The underlying technology is good enough to state that you cannot buy a bad GeForce 6600 GT card. It's best-suited for playing games at 1280x1024 with a modicum of image enhancement. That fits in perfectly with the kind of customer it's aimed at, who'll most likely be using a 17" TFT or 19" CRT that both tend to run natively at that resolution. PNY's effort, by dint of its bundle and warranty, is a pretty good choice for those who have <L150 to spend on a graphics card right now, although the addition of a custom, quieter fan and dual-DVI would be on the top of my wish list for PNY's engineers, however. A solid card based on sound tech.
  • Heatsink Comparison - By comparison Gigabyte's G-Power is a wonder; reasonably sized and not too heavy, it has the best performance, is the easiest to install and comes with is the only heatsink of the three which is supplied with a re-usable tube of thermal paste. Far and away the best heatsink on test here today.
  • Creative Sound Blaster Audigy4 Pro Sound Card: Nothing New? - Creative Labs replaced the converters with better quality ones and pushed the product into the market. Therefore, the actual hardware of the sound card got only a few small changes. It would be fun if next time Creative launches not the fifth version but maybe the tenth right away, why wait? Maybe the next offspring will be designed for PCI Express, but I am not quite sure about it yet, because in this case they will have to completely modify the CA-102-ICT, which implies additional financial investments in RND.
  • Hitachi SATA II - 250 Gig Hard Drive -  As with SATA 150 we are not seeing the full speeds as per the specifications. However if you are building a new computer it makes sense to go with a SATA 300 drive. Provided your motherboard supports it of course. Currently the Hitachi cost the same as most SATA 150 7200 RPM equivalents or even less and it's faster.
  • External Storage round-up - At the end of our testing we couldn't help but be impressed with each drive in a different way from the others. The Maxtor won us on looks, durability and its best-in-class performance, while the Seagate 100GB took our hearts for its size, and finally the 400GB Seagate unit did us in for its sheer capacity and lower price.
  • Corsair USB2.0 Flash Voyager 512MB - Overall, the 512MB Flash Drive is a solid in what it does. With a slew of sizes to choose from (128MB - 2GB, it also provides shock protection, water resistance, password protection and bootability at an affordable price.
  • LG Flatron L1750H 17in TFT monitor - That said, the L1750H is not really designed for high-end colour critical applications - you'd have to pay far more than the L1750H's current L203.16 price tag for one of those - yet for gaming and day-to-day use overall image quality is acceptable.

GUIDES... 

  • Install and Upgrade to Windows Server 2003 R2 - This article describes how to install and upgrade from earlier versions of Windows Server to Windows 2003 R2. Includes information about installing Server 2003 from the product CDs, a shared network resource, and using unattended setup.
  • Voice for the Masses - Voice Over IP technologies, on the other hand, have come a long way in the last decade, and they have finally reached the level of integration and performance that turns them into a viable alternative to traditional phone calls. They still require the use of a computer, which may well be a household item, but that still has many older generations terrified with its blue screens of death and incomprehensible jargon.

SOFTWARE...

  • SQL 2000 Service Pack 4 - SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 4 (SP4) (download) adds platform support for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition, allowing 32-bit SQL Server 2000 applications to run on 64-bit platforms using the Windows on Windows emulator (WOW64). SP4 addresses specific issues discovered in SQL Server 2000 since its ship date. SP4 is also the first service pack to service the 64-bit edition of SQL Server.
  • MDAC Utility: Component Checker updated - The new tool includes updated snapshots for MDAC 2.7 SP1 on Windows XP SP1 and MDAC 2.8 SP2 on Windows Server 2003 SP1
  • MSN Messenger for Windows 7.0.0813 - MSN Messenger lets you see when your friends are online and exchange instant messages with them.
  • Google Web Accelerator 0.1.52.58 Beta - Google Web Accelerator employs a number of different methods to speed up Web browsing, including caching frequently looked at pages to make them more accessible. Google will only refresh a Web page when it has been updated, saving the user from reloading content when unnecessary
  • FlashFXP 3.2 (shw) - FlashFXP (download) is the most powerful and popular FTP & FXP Client for Microsoft Windows 9x/Me/NT/2000/XP on the market today
  • WhereIsIt? 3.67 - WhereIsIt (download) is an application written for 32-bit Windows operating systems, designed to help you maintain and organize a catalog of your computer media collection, including CD-ROMs, audio CDs, diskettes, removable drives, hard drives, network drives, DVDs, or any other media that Windows can access as a drive
  • Opera 8.01 Technical Preview 1 - Opera Software has released the first Preview release of Opera 8.01. Word is: "Unfortunately, a number of users have been experiencing frequest crashes when clicking links on certain pages since installing Opera 8.0 Final. This build contains a fix for these crashes. Your feedback about the stability of this release compared to Opera 8.0 Final is greatly appreciated."
  • xp-AntiSpy 3.94-1 - The xp-AntiSpy (download) is a little utility that lets you disable some built-in update and authentication 'features' in WindowsXP.
  • RivaTuner 2.0 RC 15.5  -  The purpose of this utility is to give you access to all the undocumented features of the Detonator drivers. All versions of the Detonator drivers have a lot of undocumented registry entries. Some of them don't affect anything, but there are some that are very useful.
  • DNA-Force 1.4.7644 (ForceWare) - These are modified NVIDIA ForceWare drivers for Windows 2000 & XP. Modified drivers simply means that the author takes official or beta drivers from the manufacturer and starts to tweak them for either better image quality and or performance. Please bare in mind that the driver manufacturer, in this case NVIDIA, does not support drivers like these.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,05 2005 - tech
Intel's Pentium Extreme Edition 840 processor - tech
(hx) 11:06 AM EDT - May,05 2005 - Post a comment
TechReport has posted a review of the Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 840. In fact, this dual-core chip, code-named "Smithfield," is actually a pair of Pentium 4 "Prescott" cores situated together on a single piece of silicon. Each core has 1MB of L2 cache onboard, and the two cores share an 800MHz front-side bus. Here's a taster:
Our benchmarks have dramatically illustrated the power of thread-level parallelism to enhance performance. The Pentium Extreme Edition 840 was able to take advantage of this effect to outshine its primary single-core competitors, the Athlon 64 FX-55 and P4 Extreme Edition 3.73GHz, in a range of multithreaded applications. Even without considering its multitasking benefits, the Pentium XE 840 looks like a worthy addition to Intel's Extreme Edition lineup, so long as threading is the name of the game. Throw in the smoother multitasking that comes with any SMP system, and the logic behind the XE 840 begins to make sense.

Unfortunately, not all applications are multithreaded, and many won't be for months or even years into the future. The relatively slow 3.2GHz clock speed of the XE 840 demands a real shift in mindset in order to accept the loss of single-threaded performance in exchange for multicore bliss. I wouldn't expect big-time PC gamers, some of the Extreme Edition line's supposed target customers, to accept this tradeoff willingly. Gamers would be better served by the P4 Extreme Edition 3.73GHz, or, as we have pointed out in the past, practically any variety of Athlon 64 down to the 3500+. Non-gamers who use mainly single-threaded applications may not want to accept the XE 840's slower performance, either.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,04 2005 - tech
Wednesday Tech Madness - tech
(hx) 04:32 PM EDT - May,04 2005 - Post a comment / read (1)

SECURITY...

OFFTOPIC...

  • Rebecca Romijn on X-Men 3 - IESB.net caught up with Rebecca Romijn, who has played Mystique in the first two X-Men movies: "I took a few minutes to ask Rebecca about the X-Men franchise and her thoughts on Bryans departure from X-Men 3. She was quick to say that she will miss Singer as the director and that she has now been given an August 1 start date." When asked about the script she mentioned that last she heard it was not done yet and that there has been plenty of changes from the first drafts. The early reports that the storyline would revolve around the Dark Phoenix may no longer be accurate. Part of the problem that Fox is having is that they currently don't know what character the third movie will focus and revolve around.
  • Constantine DVD Announced - Warner Home Video has announced the details for the Constantine DVD, coming July 19th. The movie will be available in both a two-disc Deluxe Edition and single-disc Widescreen and Full Screen versions. The Deluxe Edition includes audio commentaries, 18 minutes of deleted scenes (including an alternate ending) with optional commentary by director Francis Lawrence, "The Production From Hell," "Imagining the Underworld" (includes a 'Demon Face' Easter Egg), "Foresight: The Power of Pre-Visualization" and "Conjuring Constantine" featurettes, A Perfect Circle's "Passive" music video, theatrical trailers, DVD-ROM content and a collectible Hellblazer comic. The single-disc editions will include the 18 minutes of deleted scenes with alternate ending, theatrical trailer and DVD-ROM content.
  • New Movie Trailers @ Coming Soon - Batman Begins (final trailer) | Brothers (drama starring Connie Nielsen, Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Ulrik Thomsen) | Flightplan | Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (early look at the film) | House of Wax (horror) | Kicking & Screaming (five clips from the Will Ferrell comedy) | Pure (drama) | Saving Face (romantic comedy) | Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith ("A Hero Falls" music video featuring new footage) | The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3-D (Robert Rodriguez action adventure) | The Legend of Zorro | The Devil's Rejects  | Three...Extremes (three clips from the horror comedy) | The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (third TV spot) | The Man (Samuel L. Jackson and Eugene Levy action-comedy) | Unleashed (music video from Massive Attack)

TECHNOLOGY...

  • Xbox 360 Will Not Make Microsoft Dominant - Analyst - The analyst suggests that once Microsoft Xbox 360 is launched, people will continue to get software for the PlayStation 2 anticipating the PlayStation 3 release. He believes few PlayStation 2 owners will get the new Xbox save for hardcore gamers who own numerous consoles. Mr. Pachter thinks only about 30% or a bit more of consumer gamers will get the Xbox 360 in foreseeable future even with Microsoft’s advantage in terms of time-to-market over Sony and Nintendo.
  • Showtime to give Xbox games to new subscribers - Showtime Networks, a unit of Viacom Inc. said on Tuesday it will give away games for Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox video game console throughout the summer to its new subscribers. People who sign up during the promotional period will get either two free Xbox games or one game and a starter kit with 12-month subscription to the Xbox Live online gaming service.
  • Google eyes better news searches - Google is planning to improve online news searches. A patent filed in the US will allow stories to be ranked according to their quality, rather than just by relevance. The patent would create a system to compare the track record and credibility of different news sources, New Scientist magazine has reported. The database would weigh up a series of variables, including story length, number of staff employed and amount of traffic to its website.
  • Bluetooth Looks To UWB For Turbocharging - The 3,400-member Bluetooth special interest group, whose members include Nokia, Motorola and Intel has said it has begun working with two industry bodies developing versions of Ultra-Wideband, or UWB.
  • NanoCoolers puts liquid metal in your PC - The liquid metal has significant advantages (homepage) over other single phase liquid solutions. The thermal and physical properties of the material give it the ability to cool extremely high heat fluxes. With its very low vapor pressure, the boiling point of the material is in excess of 2000°C. This provides the capability to cool extremely high power densities without the liquid-metal changing phase, removing power density as the limiting factor in cooling performance. The liquid metal is non-flammable, non-toxic and environmentally friendly.
  • OLED: the Next Thing in Monitors - The future for OLEDs looks bright! For conventional displays, OLED will offer a better, clearer picture and lower power consumption. OLED technology will spread far; it will make new displays into previously undeveloped markets. We will see the emergence of transparent and flexible displays.

HARDWARE... 

  • Sony Unveils DRU-800A, DRX-800UL - Sony s latest addition to its DVD burner line-up is a pair of new drives that support 4X DVD-R Dual Layer recording. The internal DRU-800A and external DRX-800UL models can burn up to four hours of high-quality video or up to 8.5 GB of data, music or images onto a single DVD-R DL disc.  The internal DRU-800A drive comes with an ATAPI interface and includes a black replacement bezel for black-colored PC cases. The external DRX-800UL drive features a space-efficient vertical design and offers connectivity with both i.LINK (IEEE 1394) and hi-speed USB (USB 2.0) digital interfaces for set-up and maximum flexibility. The 800 series features 4X DVD+R DL, 16X DVD+/-R, 8X DVD+RW, 6X DVD-RW, 48X CD-R and 24X CD-RW recording.
  • Athlon 64 Venice 3800+ - As is seen in the benchmarks, the Athlon 64 3800+ is very fast and is fairly dominant in gaming, but it does have some weaknesses on the rendering and encoding side of things. There should be no instances where a 3.0 Ghz P4 should beat the 3800+, but we see that in both XviD encoding as well as MPEG2 encoding. For those who like to dabble in media editing / encoding, the results here suggest that an Intel solution would be a better choice.
  • OCZ PC2-6400 Platinum Bandwidth Enhanced DDR2 Memory Overview - OCZ Technology has just announced the release of the OCZ PC2-6400 Platinum Bandwidth Enhanced series - an extremely high performance line of DDR2 memory. The OCZ PC2-6400 Platinum Bandwidth Enhanced memory boasts 4-3-3 timings at 800MHz! Those are ultra low latencies for DDR2-800 memory! Let's take a look at it!
  • Corsair Twin2X1024-4300C3Pro DDR2-538 Memory Module - The TWIN2X1024-4300C3 is a pair of 512MByte, two-rank DDR2 SDRAM DIMMs designed for extreme speed. This part delivers outstanding performance in the latest generation of DDR2-based motherboards. It has been tested extensively as pairs in multiple DDR2 motherboards to ensure compatibility and performance at its rated speed. This memory has been verified to operate at 538MHz at the low latencies of 3-3-3-8.
  • Corsair XMS Xpert TWINXP1024-3200XL - The XL memory IC's are actually rated at 500MHz, though at this frequency the timings are not quite as aggressive being 3-4-4-7: 2T. The great thing about the memory modules is a feature Corsair calls Plug-and-Frag. No surprises that this is much like Plug-and-Play, in the sense that it will make installation easy for novice users as the SPD is programmed with the 2-2-2-5: 1T settings. This means by simply selecting the BySPD option in the BIOS, the memory modules will operate at their eXtreme Latencies. Another review can be found on Ninjalane.
  • ABIT AG8 Motherboard - The ABIT AG8 is Abit's answer for performance gamers on a budget. With SATA RAID, Dual Channel DDR 400, PCI-Express X16, IEEE1394, Gigabit LAN, and ABIT Engineered µGuru, what more could you ask for? Let's take an indepth look at the AG8.
  • ABIT Fatal1ty AA8XE i925XE Motherboard - Remember back to the ABIT IC7-MAX3 - a premier Canterwood-based S478 motherboard that ran with a decent array of features, both in terms of peripherals and cooling. Well, ABIT is kind of at it again. This time, its Intel-based LGA775 AA8XE has been given the makeover from ordinary, decent i925XE Alderwood to Fatal1ty status. Fatal1ty, I hear you say? Read on to see why this could be the must-have LGA775 mainboard if you like pushing your CPU and memory to the absolute limit.
  • [!] ATI's Radeon X800 XL 512MB graphics card - The Radeon X800 XL 512MB's extra 256MB of memory certainly improves performance, but only in Half-Life 2, and then most dramatically with 6X antialiasing and 16X anisotropic filtering. Otherwise, our test results don't show much performance benefit from the extra memory apart from the elimination of stuttering in DOOM 3's Ultra Quality mode. Those benefits are far from universal, especially since DOOM 3's Ultra Quality mode doesn't look all that much better than its High quality setting. Another reviews can be found on Beyond3D, Guru3D, PC Perspective, DriverHeaven, ExtremeTech
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.8 SATA NCQ Hard Drive - Because of their capacity, low noise level and performance, I look forward to using these drives when I rebuild my main rig. Having 400GB (it's really 372GB) of storage is a great luxury, and as you know, luxury doesn't come cheap. The 400GB 7200.8 costs around $290-300 if you shop at the right places. The unit cost of 73-75 cents per gigabyte is very reasonable though, so the only reason this drive seems "expensive" is that it packs a huge capacity. It might not be the cheapest 400GB drive available, but I think getting the industry-leading 5-year warranty is worth the extra cost.
  • Seagate 400GB Pushbutton Backup External Hard Drive - With hard drive capacities increasing at an exponential rate backing up your PC has become an increasingly difficult task. As far as capacities go, Hitachi is in the lead at the moment with its recently announced 500GB drive. The Seagate 400GB Pushbutton Backup external hard drive might not be able to back up the Hitachi monster drive, but it should be ample for most of us.
  • Plextor PX-716A DVD Writer - Looking at the basic specs the PX-716A doesn't look anything special ­ 16x DVD+/-R, 4x DVD+R DL, 8x DVD+RW, 4x DVD-RW, 48x CD-R and 24x CD-RW. However, a quick firmware flash boosted DVD+R DL speed up to 6x and DVD-RW up to 6x, while also enabling DVD-R DL support. Of course there's still no DVD+R 8x, DVD-R 6x or DVD-R DL media, so despite having the  ability, the drive couldn't prove itself in these areas. That said, like all the drives I've looked at recently, the PX-716A did manage to over- burn to 2.4x DVD+R DL media, turning in some blistering times.
  • Trust BT210 Bluetooth Headset - Techconnect take a look at Trust's BT210 - a wireless earpiece/microphone combo that relies on Bluetooth technology to provide magic wire-free voice recording and playback.
  • Canon PowerShot A510 Digital Camera - The A510 has nearly all of the features I like to see on a camera, including aperture priority, shutter priority and full manual exposure modes, manual focusing, spot metering, AA batteries and it even comes with a digital zoom set to off as a default. Of course, it also has a full auto mode and a wide selection of scene modes and program modes. It also has a useful 4x optical zoom, equivalent to a 35-140mm zoom on a 35mm film camera.

GUIDES... 

  • nVidia Chips Comparison Table - Hardware Secrets published a nVidia Chips Comparison Table
  • How to improve HDD speed - One of the improvements you can make on your storage is to align the disks. Microsoft provides a tool, Diskpar, which allows to align the disk tracks with sector tracks. For partitions created by Windows 2000 and Windows Server 2003, the default starting sector for disks that have more than 63 sectors per track is the 64th sector, causing one out of every eight blocks of data written to your disk to span two disk tracks. Diskpar can increase disk performance as much as 20 percent, but you should always consult your hardware vendor before using this tool. Some disk configurations will have no benefit from the tool.
  • What's a Longhorn? - Microsoft has recently released a great deal of information about their upcoming Longhorn operating system. Here is a compilation of both recent features and information, along with what's been known for a while. The guide explains all the features, so you understand what's coming with Longhorn.
  • Changes to Functionality in Windows XP Professional x64 -  Microsoft have today, released a document at their Download Center, that describes the changes in functionality for Windows XP Professional x64 Edition over Windows XP Professional SP2.
  • Benchmarking Games using Windows XP 64-bit - This article is not an overview or in-depth look into WinXP Pro x64 Edition. The chaps over at HardOCP decided to find out the hard way if upgrading to Windows XP Professional x64 Edition would offer an ehanced gaming experience.

SOFTWARE...

  • UNOFFICIAL W98 SE SP1 v2.0 Final -  It contains all Windows98 SE updates from Windows Update site and more. It is a self-extracting and self-installing pack like Microsoft's update files. Thus, you cannot choice files individually. However, the pack installs only required fixes for your system.
    Uninstallation is possible from Add-Remove Programs.
  • Apple Mac OS X v10.3.9 - 2005-005 Mega Security Update - This massive update patches tons of issues with: Apache, AppKit, AppleScript, Bluetooth, Directory Services, Finder, Foundation, Help Viewer, LDAP, libXpm, lukemftpd, NetInfo, Server Admin, sudo, Terminal and VPN
  • McAfee AVERT Stinger 2.5.4 - McAfee AVERT Stinger is a stand-alone utility used to detect and remove specific viruses. It is not a substitute for full anti-virus protection, but rather a tool to assist administrators and users when dealing with an infected system.
  • SPAMfighter Standard 3.5.3 -  A tool to remove spam from your Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express
  • [!] Total Commander 6.52 - Total Commander is a file manager replacement that offers multiple language support, search, file comparison, directory synchronization, quick view panel with bitmap display, ZIP, ARJ, LZH, RAR, UC2, TAR, GZ, CAB, ACE archive handling plus plugins, built-in FTP client with FXP, HTTP proxy support, and more. This is a minor update, which fixes some problems found since the release of Total Commander 6.5, and adds IPv6 support to the FTP client.
  • Azureus 2.3.0.0 - Azureus (download / changelog) offers multiple torrent downloads, queuing/priority systems (on torrents and files), start/stop seeding options and instant access to numerous pieces of information about your torrents.
  • BWMeter 2.3.1 - 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).
  • ChrisTV 4.50  - ChrisTV is a PVR (Personal Video Recorder) Software (download) designed to control analog TV Cards, Graphic Cards with Video Input (VIVO), Combo Cards (Graphic Card and TV Card), Webcams, DVcam Capture that have WDM Drivers(Windows Driver Model) compatible with DirectShow specifications.
  • FreeEnc 0.43 - FreeEnc is a free MPEG-2 encoder which uses avcodec library to encode.
  • AnyDVD 5.1.2.1 (shw) - AnyDVD allows you to decrypt CSS encrypted DVDs on the fly. Insert your CSS- (Content Scrambling System) and RPC (Region Code Protected) - protected DVD into your DVD drive.
  • CloneCD 5.2.2.1 (shw) - CloneCD is a powerful CD-Copy program. It writes in Raw mode, which allows it to have total control on the data written. Therefore, it will produce real 1:1 copies of your CDs. Because of its special operation, it requires a CD-Writer which is capable of writing in this mode.
  • Nullsoft WinAmp 5.09 - Winamp (download) is an audio player that can handle audio CDs, MP3 audio files, and streaming audio broadcasts. It combines extensive functionality with an intuitive interface.
  • FileZilla 2.2.13c - FileZilla (download) is a fast and reliable FTP client and server with lots of useful features and an intuitive interface. They fixed these bugs: PROT command was not sent if using implicit SSL; Move TYPE command before PORT/PASV command; If showing Site Manager on startup, main window did not always appear.
  • Forceware 76.45 Win2000/XP WHQL *BETA*-  Station Drivers stumbled into new ForceWare drivers dated at the 22th or April!. The download is a 15 meg sized file and does include an easy to install setup.exe in the extracted folder. The good news is that it is a WHQL approved driver (Microsoft tested and verified). The bad news is that it's only for GeForce series 6. This driver has an included modified.inf file (courtesy of laptopvideo2go) for non-GeForce series 6 users.
  • WDM driver - GeForce2 to GeForce FX GPUs  - This WDM driver kit must be used with the latest ForceWare Graphics driver for GeForce GPUs. Please install that driver first before installing this WDM driver. This driver only supports GeForce2 through GeForce FX products with a TV Tuner or video capture input.
  • WDM driver - GeForce 6 series GPUs  - This driver only supports GeForce 6 series products with a TV Tuner or video capture input.
  • NGO nVidia Optimized Driver v1.7189 - The NGO nVidia Optimized Driver is a tweaked version of the nVidia Forceware driver. The main purpose is to satisfy the users with a better performance and better image quality. The Driver has support for all Geforce cards.
  • Audigy 4 Pro Drivers 2.05.0000 Beta - This beta driver (mirror) adds full support of the OpenAL interface for Sound Blaster Audigy 4 Pro audio devices. The driver provides full OpenAL / EAX ADVANCED HD support when used with the DOOM 3 3 1.3 patch, Includes EAX 4.0 support for the new DOOM 3: Resurrection of Evil expansion pack and Improves performance of all OpenAL game titles, including Battlefield 2.
  • Realtek ALC AC97 Audio Driver 3.72 WHQL - This driver (mirror) supports all ALC series audio chipsets from ALC100 up to ALC861. It is used as onboard sound on many motherboards.
 Gameguru Mania News - May,02 2005 - tech
Nightly Tech Reading - tech
(hx) 09:04 PM EDT - May,02 2005 - Post a comment / read (3)

SECURITY...

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

OFFTOPIC...

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

TECHNOLOGY...

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

HARDWARE... 

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

GUIDES... 

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

SOFTWARE...

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

SECURITY...

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

OFFTOPIC...

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

TECHNOLOGY...

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

HARDWARE... 

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

GUIDES... 

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

SOFTWARE...

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

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

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

SECURITY...

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

OFFTOPIC...

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

TECHNOLOGY...

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

HARDWARE... 

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

GUIDES... 

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

SOFTWARE...

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

SECURITY...

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

OFFTOPIC...

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

TECHNOLOGY...

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

HARDWARE... 

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

GUIDES... 

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

SOFTWARE...

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

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

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

SECURITY...

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

OFFTOPIC...

TECHNOLOGY...

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

HARDWARE... 

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

GUIDES... 

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

SOFTWARE...

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

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

SECURITY...

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

OFFTOPIC...

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

TECHNOLOGY...

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

HARDWARE... 

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

GUIDES... 

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

SOFTWARE...

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