Monday May 07, 2007
Puget Custom Computers recently did one of those "I wonder if it will work" projects and submerged an entire computer in mineral oil (except the monitor). Tom's Hardware did it in vegetable oil, but having a clear medium complete with LEDs and even bubbles seemed more attractive to Jon Bach and the Puget crew. Check out the video!
Also check out our recent evaluation of Puget Custom Computers.
Tuesday May 01, 2007
One thing we all learned while producing H Consumer evaluations was that Velocity Micro and Overdrive PC stood out as two of the shining stars in the boutique computer industry. As of today, these two powerhouse builders are joining forces. I think the two will both greatly benefit from each others business cultures and models. I would not hesitate to recommend either builder to anyone looking to purchase a fully built performance system.
Wednesday April 25, 2007
The Houston Chronicle says that Acer has launched a recall of 27,000 laptop batteries made by Sony. If you have one of the models listed below, I recommend you contact Acer for a replacement.
The affected Acer models were sold in the U.S. and Canada from May 2004 through November 2006 for between $500 and $1,500. The laptops possibly containing the recalled batteries were the TravelMate series with 4-digit model numbers beginning with 242, 320, 321, 330, 422, 467, 561, C20, and the Aspire series beginning with model numbers 556, 560, 567, 930, 941, 980.
A little reminder to all of you out there still tinkering around with beta builds of Windows Vista, all preview builds are set to expire May 31st. Dont feel bad, I am one of those people running a beta build because I am still on the fence about picking up Vista Ultimate. Anyone else still tinkering with Vista RC2?
On 31 May 2007, all Customer Preview Program (CPP) pre-release versions of Windows Vista will expire. If you are running a pre-release version of Windows Vista (Beta 2, RC1 or RC2), you will begin to receive warning notifications about the upcoming expiration on 18 May. To avoid work disruption and loss of data, we strongly recommend that customers running any of these pre-release versions of Windows Vista migrate their PCs to the final version of Windows Vista prior to 31 May
Security researchers say they have discovered twice as many malware threats in the first three months of this year than they did in the same period last year.
According to a study from Sophos, an antivirus and anti-spam company, researchers discovered 23,864 new threats in the first three months of 2007. That's more than double the number of new malware identified in the same period last year, when Sophos discovered 9,450.
Tuesday April 24, 2007
A new report from the research and consulting firm Millward Brown claims that Google has surpassed Microsoft as the most powerful brand in the world.
Google took the top spot with a brand value of $66.4 billion, followed by General Electric ($61.9 billion), Microsoft ($54.9 billion), Coca-Cola ($44.1 billion), China Mobile ($41.2 billion), Marlboro/Altria ($39.2 billion), Wal-Mart ($36.9 billion), Citigroup ($33.7 billion), IBM ($33.6 billion), and Toyota ($33.4 billion).
Red Hat executives say the company has reached an agreement to acquire the data management firm MetaMatrix for an undisclosed sum of money. According to details of the deal, MetaMatrix's software will be bundled in with JBoss middleware as part of a services-oriented architecture package.
MetaMatrix, based in Waltham, Mass., sells software for accessing disparate data sources. For example, its tools are used to help companies create a single "view" of a customer by pulling information from several different databases. Red Hat said it plans to change MetaMatrix's business model to align it with the Linux seller's open-source structure.
Apples ex-CFO, after settling stock option claims against him with the SEC, released a statement today that points a big fat finger at Steve Jobs. This is getting interesting.
Fred was told by Steve Jobs in late January 2001 that Mr. Jobs had the agreement of the Board of Directors for the Executive Team grant on January 2, 2001. At the time Mr. Jobs provided Fred this assurance, Fred cautioned Mr. Jobs that the Executive Team grant would have to be priced based on the date of the actual Board agreement or there could be an accounting charge. He further advised Mr. Jobs that the Board would have to confirm its prior approval in a legally satisfactory method. He was told by Mr. Jobs that the Board had given its prior approval and the Board would verify it. Fred relied on these statements by Mr. Jobs and from them concluded the grant was being properly handled.
Apple's ex chief financial officer has settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission and agreed to pay $3.65 million but
wont admit to any wrongdoing.
Anderson agreed to a fine of about $150,000 and to repay option gains of about $3.5 million under the settlement but won't admit to any wrongdoing, the Journal reported, citing unnamed sources. Heinen, who will be accused of manipulating one of her own option awards as well as a grant to Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive, plans to contest the charges, the Journal reported.
Monday April 23, 2007
Media Week says that Best Buy will soon be stocking HD radio receivers in all of its 832 stores across the country.
This is another major step forward for HD Radio technology, said Robert Struble, president and CEO of iBiquity Digital Corp., the developer of the HD Radio system. Following rapid adoption by the broadcast community and an increasing range of products for the mass market, Best Buy's efforts will dramatically accelerate consumer adoption of this great technology.
The Washington Post says that the amount of social security numbers exposed on an Agriculture Department website last week is less than originally thought. Here is a link to the original story for those of you that missed it.
Federal officials initially feared that as many as 150,000 Social Security numbers had been exposed by the security breach, discovered by Illinois farmer Marsha Bergmeier. The numbers were promptly removed after she reported her find to the government on April 13.
Part three of the extremely informative article titled What's Different About Multiprocessor Software? is online today at Embedded.com. For those of you that missed the first two parts of the article, you can find part one here and part two here. Very, very good reading.
The purpose of this series of five articles is (1) to review what is unique about multiprocessor software as compared to both uniprocessor embedded systems and general-purpose systems: (2) to study scheduling and performance analysis of multiple tasks running on a multiprocessor: (3) consider middleware and software stacks as well as design techniques for them; and (4) look at design verification of multiprocessor systems.
If you are in the market for a new mouse pad, I highly recommend you give this 21-way mouse pad roundup a look before spending your hard earned money. You will notice that our very own RatPadz XT is included in this roundup, so
if youve ever wondered how well it stacks up to the competition, this would be a perfect time to find out.
When I was offered to test a series of mouse pads I was quite skeptical at first, I had been using the smooth surface area of my desk for several years with an optical mouse and didnt feel the need to go out and buy a mouse pad. However after only having tested one of the mouse pads I came to realize what I had been missing out on, my mouse responded better in games and applications, took less effort to move around and my overall experience was improved.
PC Joint beat everyone to the punch today with pictures and specs of the recently launched Samsung R55 hybrid HDD laptop.
According to Samsung, when used for small chunks (up to 10Mb) of data in R55, Hybrid Hard Drive had 26% improvement on data reading and 71% improvement of data writing speed, 32% lower power consumption and increased HDD longevity by 10%.
For those of you that might not have seen this yet, Informit has a list of the best and worst internet laws. The list not only includes the good internet laws and effective yet questionable laws but the worst internet laws as well. Agree? Disagree? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.
This body of work is now large enough that we can identify some winners and losers. So in the spirit of good fun, I offer an opinionated list of my personal votes for the best and worst Internet statutes in the United States.
Sunday April 22, 2007
If you are a user of any ZoneAlarm products, please read this advisory of a potential weakness in your security.
Exploitation allows an attacker to execute arbitrary code within the context of the kernel.
If you are a Linux user take a peak at this review that will give you a quick rundown on why you may or may not want to switch.
Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) arrived just a few days ago with promises of better hardware compatibility, included proprietary software and drivers, and more user friendliness. Was it worth the wait? And more importantly - Is it finally time to Make the Switch? Read my review of Ubuntu 7.04 to find out!
If you are a Linux noob like me, then you might also enjoy our 30 Days with Linux evaluation.
*EDIT* It seems the original link is getting hammered at the moment, so have a look at this one from ZDNet as well.
Brett Thomas of bit-tech tackles the issues on the battle of internet radio versus RIAA and pulls no punches.
How many of you here have listened to Internet radio? Ah, good, a fair number of hands are up. You in the back, put your dog's paw down, he doesn't count. But seriously, quite a few people around here have, and there's plenty of good reasons why.
If you are a user of previous Office generations, check out this Compatibility Pack that will allow your older version to work with the 2007 formats.
By installing the Compatibility Pack in addition to Microsoft Office 2000, Office XP, or Office 2003, you will be able open, edit, and save files using the file formats new to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007. The Compatibility Pack can also be used in conjunction with the Microsoft Office Word Viewer 2003, Excel Viewer 2003, and PowerPoint Viewer 2003 to view files saved in these new formats.
Since today is Earth Day, why not check out this article on how to modify your computer sleep state to save energy, as well as keep all the functionality that makes you not use it in the first place.
Because of increasing awareness in the general public about energy conservation, the ability to utilize low power states on desktop PCs is incredibly underdocumented and widely unused. My goal with this article is to change all that, to help computer users everywhere utilize these low power states without losing any original functionality of their network drives or remote applications. Heck, if you follow this guide, you may even be able to save a buck or two in the process.
Saturday April 21, 2007
TrustedReviews decided to answer the age old question about ink cartridge replacements for your printer. Do you really need to avoid 3rd party replacements, or do they stack up just as well?
This is why third-party ink and paper has proved so popular. At a fraction of the price of manufacturer's own products, you can buy look-alike consumables which appear to do exactly the same job as the originals. But there's a nagging doubt in the back of the mind that the quality of the resulting prints won't be up to the original manufacturers standard a doubt which is played upon by all the main printer makers.
It appears Apple is under fire again for allegedly violating patents pertaining to some of the interface options used in Tiger.
IP Innovation is demanding a jury trial and asks for reparations for perceived damages which "exceed $20 million," according to the suit. It also seeks an injunction that would prevent the California-based defendant from infringing on the patent, essentially blocking Apple from continuing to sell its current edition of Mac OS X and any future editions that might draw on the supposed infringements.
PCWorld has a list of some great free software applications for everyday usage.
We've scoured the Web and come up with 15 of our favorite free utilities that most people have never heard of. We've focused on three popular categories: security software, system tools, and graphics and multimedia. But we've also thrown in some personal favorites that defy categorization.
Google would like the ability to store your web history for a new feature. You have to wonder how many people would partake in something like this.
"Imagine being able to search over the full text of pages you've visited online and finding that one particular quote you remember reading somewhere months ago. Imagine always knowing exactly where you saw something online, like that priceless YouTube video of your friend attempting to perform dance moves from a bygone age,"
Friday April 20, 2007
Apparently Microsoft is taking issue with the claim that the company only sold 244 copies of Vista in China. No hard numbers were given but Microsoft did say sales figures for Vista are double what Windows XP sold in its first month.
"Recent speculation regarding sales data in China is inaccurate," Microsoft said in response to an inquiry from CNET News.com. "We're pleased with the positive consumer response we've seen around the globe to the security and usability enhancements in Windows Vista--and China is no exception."
The latest Nielsen SoundScan numbers show that traditional album sales are down by more than 17 percent while digital downloads are up by 53 percent.
A total of 135.8 million albums were sold in the U.S. through the end of last week, compared to 163.3 million in the year-ago period, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The number of digital tracks sold, meanwhile, jumped 53 percent to 250.8 million compared to 164.2 million in the same period last year, the firm said.
The Energy and Commerce Committee's panel on commerce, trade and consumer protection approved an anti-spyware bill today aimed at protecting consumers from having their personal information harvested by spyware. Hopefully it works better than the CAN-SPAM Act.
"Protecting Internet users from dangerous programs that steal consumers' identities, invade their software or just plain harass them is a top priority," said Democrat John Dingell of Michigan, chairman of the full committee. The bill would require software distributors and advertisers to clearly notify and obtain consent from consumers before their programs can be loaded onto a computer. Violators could be fined up to $3 million for each unfair or deceptive act.
According to Gartner, first quarter PC shipments have increased nine percent worldwide. Good news for the PC industry in general, even if the growth didnt come from the geographical regions the company had predicted earlier this year.
The United States, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), and Latin America regions performed better than Gartners forecast while Asia/Pacific and Japan shipments were lower than expected. The Asia/Pacific region surpassed the U.S. PC market to take the No. 2 position in terms of shipments for the first time.
It looks like an insufficiently tested piece of software is responsible for the massive Blackberry e-mail outage this week. How would you like to be the poor IT guy that was installing THAT update?
In a statement late Thursday, the company said the outage from Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning was triggered by "the introduction of a new, non-critical system routine" designed to optimize the cache, or temporary holding space, of the system that handles e-mail sent to BlackBerry users.
Apple has issued a security update for Mac OS X that addresses 25 security flaws in the operating system.
The security update affects various parts of the operating system, including some third-party components such as the Kerberos authentication technology. The most serious of the vulnerabilities could allow an attacker to gain complete control over an unpatched Mac, Apple said in a security advisory.