Thursday, November 15, 2012

Windows 8 Not the Beacon of Hope the PC Market Needs it to Be

The PC market is slipping and, despite being launched with much fanfare, Windows 8 doesn't seem to be the shining beacon of recovery for the market as predicted. According to analysts, Windows 8 may do well to keep the PC industry running, but isn't enough to restore it to its former glory. According to Pund-IT Analyst Charles King, "Unfortunately, it seems unlikely that Windows 8 will be enough to turn around PC sales."

In addition to that, King added, "At the end of the day, IT sales depend as much on customer confidence as they do on vendor innovation. Vendors can occasionally nudge a market in one direction or another, a bit like a tugboat guides a far larger ship. But no single company can drag broader markets along in its wake."

The weight of the sluggish world economy has brought down the PC industry and so has a growing consumer infatuation with products like the iPad and other tablets. A lot of analysts have said that some enterprises have been holding off laptop and desktop purchases until Windows 8 comes out while others have been turning to tablets and smartphones as replacements for the traditional systems.

Robert Enderle, an analyst for the Enderle Group, believes that the PC business should get help from at least some of the waiting demand for Windows 8. "We do traditionally get a slowdown prior to a release," Enderle added. "Windows 8 is compelling. It could help turn things around but it will really depend on demand."

Another analyst, Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy, isn't quite as optimistic as Enderle. Moorhead notes that the biggest drag on the business hasn't been the imminent shipping of Windows 8 but has been the economy and tablets. "Windows 8 will help PC sales some, but won't be enough to make up for the lousy economy," he stated.

To top it all off, King added that he thinks the release of Windows 8 could even hurt business. "Windows 8 is so new and so radically different than previous versions of Windows that it could spark as much resistance as curiosity. On the other hand, some research has found that Windows 8's touch enablement tops the wish lists of most PC users. If that proves right, Microsoft and its OEM partners should reap the benefits."

Note: Windows 8 is expected to be readily available on computer rentals starting in early 2013.

Source: Computer World - Windows 8 not likely to restart ailing PC market

Monday, November 12, 2012

At $199 Will The New(er) Chromebook Finally Become Mainstream?

Consumers lining up to get their hands on the all new, low-priced Samsung Chromebook may want to wait. Google announced today that a new Acer Chromebook will be released tomorrow for the new low price of $199. This comes a little over a month after Google released the new Samsung Chromebook, at a then-low-price of $249.

The move by Google is an unexpected but pleasant one. Releasing a brand new Chromebook by a different manufacturing partner a month after the release of the Samsung Chromebook begs the question as to why the two were not released at the same time? Regardless of the timing, Google is now looking to make this Acer Chromebook the first truly mainstream Chromebook laptop.

Some of the new features, or to put it better, differences between the Acer and Samsung Chromebooks include storage and battery life.  The display of the Acer is the same as the Samsung Chromebook, an 11.6 in. display with a resolution of 1,366x768. The Acer Chromebook also comes with the same Chrome Operating System as the Samsung and the 100 GB of Google Drive Storage for two years. The differences, however, between the two computers as far as storage could not be more different. The Samsung Chromebook featured a SSD (solid state drive) that contained only 16 GB of storage, while the new Acer Chromebook has a traditional HDD (hard disk drive) that contains 320 GB of storage. This major leap in storage is sure to be a tipping point for many consumers who like the idea of the Chromebook but did not like the lack of storage. The other major difference, and really major flaw for the Acer-made Chromebook, is the decrease in battery life. While the Samsung Chromebook has a good 6.5 hours of battery life, the Acer Chromebook's battery lasts only 3.5 hours. This lack of battery life is sure to be a big issue for many potential customers who are not looking for a laptop that you have to "plug in" every few hours.

Google, with these two new laptops, and more specifically with the Acer Chromebook, is trying to get their Chrome Operating System into the mainstream computer world. Chrome Operating System, or Chrome OS, is a very basic and simple operating system that uses Google's popular web browser, Chrome, to operate. Users of Chrome OS do all of their interaction through the Chrome interface and can download and use applications from the "Chrome Web Store". Since the productivity and usefulness of this operating system is largely dependent on the internet, it has not become a huge success. With the addition of offline apps and the continual drop in price of Chromebooks, however, Google may finally see their product become mainstream.

While Google certainly has a long, and frankly impossible, shot of taking down Microsoft as the king of computer operating systems, they certainly are taking steps in the right direction. While the functionality of the Chrome OS may still be limited, the reduced price point for a "fully functioning laptop" is sure to attract many consumers. Only time will tell if the new $199 price point will be just what was needed to lure customers to their brand, but one thing is for sure, at that low price Google will get people's attention.

Source: CNET - Acer C7 Chromebook

Friday, October 26, 2012

Windows 8 Released to the World, But is it Good?

The wait is finally over, Microsoft Windows 8 is officially here. The newest iteration of the world's most popular computer operating system was released today after months of demos and commercials showcasing it. Microsoft has said that over 1.24 billion hours of testing went into the new operating system and is in many ways hedging the future of the company on the new release. Because of the increased pressure from Apple and Google, Microsoft wants to assure consumers that they are still relevant in today's world.

Windows 8 marks a radical change for Microsoft in terms of the layout of their operating system. Gone is the traditional start menu, replaced by an entirely new start interface with "live tiles" and an array of downloadable applications from the all new Windows Store. Current windows users will notice a drastic change from Windows 7 to Windows 8. While the traditional "desktop" is still there, it is no longer the center of the computer's processes, and more of a "background application". Part of Microsoft's reason for making such drastic changes to the interface is to make their operating system compatible across more devices. Microsoft is trying to not only keep hold of the traditional PC market, but also branch into tablets and smartphones. Windows 8 is truly built more for new hybrid, touch-based computers and tablets more so than traditional desktops, though it is built to run on those as well.

Having already downloaded Windows 8 to my laptop early this morning, I have only had a short time to interact with it. That being said, I noticed one thing right away, there is a steep learning curve. The interface, short of the traditional desktop which is now essentially an "app", is completely different. Even for someone that is very familiar with the way Windows computers work, navigating Windows 8 is in many ways a whole new experience. That is not to say that all is bad. I do like the modern interface that Microsoft has introduced, and I like many of the new, full screen applications that are available from the Windows Store. I also like the deep integration with all Microsoft services, if you have an email account, that allows many settings and files to be synced over the cloud.

There are, however, plenty of drawbacks, at least currently, to Windows 8. For starters, nothing is where it used to be. Just trying to turn the computer off takes multiple steps that may take users a while to figure out. Also while Windows 8 is "easy" to navigate, it is more so for a touch screen rather than a traditional computer. A traditional keyboard and mouse feel "out of place" in this new user interface, save for when working with the traditional desktop. I understand Microsoft wanting to make Windows 8 touch friendly for tablets and new touch-enabled computers, but traditional computers upgraded to the new OS feel a bit neglected. In addition, the current offering of applications in the Windows store is very limited, and until more popular applications are added, it will suffer.

Overall, my opinion of Windows 8 is still up in the air. While I think it is a must have if you are looking for a new, touch enabled PC, it is not yet a necessary upgrade for existing computers. If Microsoft continues to add new, relevant applications to its Windows Store and allows easier ways to interact with the traditional desktop, then I think it will truly be useful to everyone. It remains to be seen how the radical change in design will impact sales of the operating system, but one thing is certain right now, it is a new age for Microsoft and for the future of personal computers.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Firefox 16 Re-released After Fix of Flaw

One day after suddenly pulling the latest version of its popular web browser off of their website, Mozilla has re-released Firefox 16 for download. Mozilla pulled the latest version of Firefox from their install page as a result of a discovered security flaw. The security flaw apparently allowed harmful and malicious websites to track and identify which websites the user had visited. This flaw was discovered by security researcher Gareth Heyes, who then publicly disclosed the vulnerability.

While Mozilla has stated that there is no evidence of this flaw "in the wild", Mozilla on Wednesday recommended that users who upgraded to version 16 downgrade back to 15.0.1. By noon Thursday, however, a new version, 16.0.1, was available for download and according to Mozilla, is now safe to download and use. Anyone that had already downloaded version 16 was upgraded to this newer version, along with an update for the Android version released Wednesday night.

The good news for Mozilla is that this security flaw appears to be minor and was one that they were able to quickly fix. Their browser Firefox, an open-source, free web browser, has enjoyed continued growth and success since its release in November of 2004, and now holds 22% of the global browser market share. With the continued competition from poplar web browsers such as Internet Explorer and Google Chrome, Mozilla has to ensure that their browser is safe and secure for users. It remains to be seen if any more security flaws will be discovered with the updated version, but for now it appears to be working well for Firefox.

Source: CNET - Mozilla rereleases Firefox 16 after fixing critical flaw
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Thursday, October 4, 2012

PC Satisfaction Increased by Tablets?

Recent news on PCs have been mostly negative with most people in the tech industry saying that the PC is dead, due in large part to the incredible rise of the tablet PC. Many people have been saying that tablets are killing the PC business and that it is only a matter of time before tablets completely make PCs obsolete. However, recent reports are suggesting that tablets may actually be boosting the rate at which consumers appreciate their PCs.

Personal computer satisfaction increased by 2.6% this year, giving it a record high score of 80 on the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ASCI). According to the index, the reason for this satisfaction increase is probably due to rise in tablet use among consumers.

When you think about it, this seems a little contradictory, though ASCI founder Claes Fornell has a theory. Fornell's theory is that when unsatisfied PC users move to Apple and other tablet makers, only the most loyal and happy users are left using traditional PCs, such as Dell, HP and Acer computers. That actually makes a lot of sense. If all the unsatisfied people switch to tablets, then only the happy and satisfied customers are left to take the surveys.

There may be an additional reason that tablet growth has increased PC customer satisfaction. Tablets typically server as an ancillary device, meaning they are viewed as second in importance to a PC. If this is true then tablets, instead of taking the place of a PC, are used solely for the tasks that they are best at, like surfing the internet, watching movies or checking Facebook. This leaves PC users fully aware of everything that their PC offers and everything that their tablet doesn't, further increasing their satisfaction.

Source: PC World - Tablets might actually be increasing PC customer satisfaction

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Microsoft Issues Fix It Patch for Internet Explorer Vulnerability

Microsoft has just released what it is calling "Fix It" software that was designed to protect Windows users from a critical hole in Internet Explorer that was being exploited by hackers. While this is all well and good, it isn't the big fix that everybody has been waiting for. Instead, this is merely a temporary fix until Microsoft releases a cumulative update for Internet Explorer.

According to Trustworthy Computer Director for Microsoft Yunsun Wee, the Fix It tool "is an easy, one-click solution that will help protect your computer right away. It will not affect your ability to browse the web, and it does not require a reboot of your computer. This will not only reinforce the issue that the Fix It addressed, but cover other issues as well, including four other critical remote code execution issues."

This isn't some minor hole, however. In fact, the vulnerability is so severe that the German government and security experts have been advising people to avoid using Internet Explorer altogether until the vulnerability is patched entirely, which won't happen until the larger update is released. That update, which has a severity rating of Critical, should come out any day now, meaning users won't have long to wait until they can get back to viewing the internet in peace.

This vulnerability, more specifically, was uncovered within the past week and could very well compromise the PCs of every single Internet Explorer user who visits a malicious site. The flaw itself is being actively exploited to deliver a back-door Trojan known as Poison Ivy. My recommendation is that you download the patch as soon as it is available so as to not risk any critical harm befalling your PC.

Source: CNET - Microsoft issues fix for IE hole; full update coming Friday

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Microsoft Drops Metro, Calls Everything Windows 8 Now

It appears as if Microsoft has entered into a naming dispute with European partner Metro Group over the design language for the company's upcoming operating system, Windows 8. Metro has long been used by Microsoft in reference to Windows 8 but, instead of fighting it out with Metro Group, Microsoft has simply decided to change the name. The new name that the company is using is none other than Microsoft 8 itself. Wow, what a change.

According to sources from Microsoft, anything currently or formerly known as a Metro-Style application (regardless of the hyphen) will henceforth be referred to as a Windows 8 application. In addition to that, references to the Metro user interface will be replaced by a Windows 8 user interface and instead of using Metro design, Microsoft and everybody else involved with the project will use the term Windows 8 design.

This news doesn't seem to be a big secret though as some OEMs seem to have gotten the message. Lenovo's new promo page for the new Windows 8 Thinkpad Tablet 2 has no mention of the word Metro anywhere on it. Instead, the heading Windows 8 apps is used. However, some at Microsoft are still using the Metro term in certain situations.

Some divisions at Microsoft were still using Metro to refer to the tiled interface with bold Segoe-font typographic elements. Metro became a nickname to refer to the new look and feel of Windows 8, as well as a way to refer to apps built using the new WinRT programming interface. It also seems as if Microsoft is going to use the Windows 8 name change with its Windows Phone as well. That means the Metro interface on Windows Phone will now be known as the Windows 8 interface.

Source: ZDNet - Microsoft: Don't call it Metro. Call it 'Windows 8'
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Blackhole Exploit Sucks in Twitter Users

According to the security firm Sophos, who seems to be on top of every single major spam attack that happens on the internet these days, a widespread spam attack that links to malware has weaseled its way onto Twitter. The tweets that are trying to lure unsuspecting users in include things like: "It's you on photo?" or "It's about you?" In addition to that, the tweets and URLs typically include a user's Twitter handle. Many of the links that Sophos has discovered include a .RU domain name.

According to Head of Sophos' U.S. Labs Richard Wang, "The attack itself is very simple, relying on people's natural curiosity about anything they think mentions them. Including the target's Twitter username in the link is an added hook to reel people in." Twitter added through a spokesman's email saying, "We're aware of the issue and we're working to resolve it."

The links in the tweets themselves lead to a Trojan that ultimately redirects users to Russian websites that contain the Blackhole exploit kit, according to Sophos. The Blackhole exploit kit first emerged back in 2010 and is widely used in spam attacks. The version of the kit that is floating around Twitter targets vulnerabilities in Adobe Reader and Shockwave Flash, Sophos discovered.

If you feel that you have been affected by the spamming attacks, or you just want to take precautions against it in general, then you can protect yourself by updating your anti-malware software, patching your operating system and making sure your browser and browser plugins are up-to-date. In addition to that, you could just be smart and not click on anything on Twitter that you don't recognize.

Source: Computer World - Twitter suffers malware spam outbreak
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Yahoo Gets Hacked, Quickly Follows Up with a Patch

Yahoo recently announced that it has fixed the vulnerability in its system that led to the unauthorized release of more than 450,000 email passwords from users of Yahoo Voices. According to a blog post by Yahoo, "We have taken swift action and have now fixed this vulnerability, deployed additional security measures for affected Yahoo! users, enhanced our underlying security controls and are in the process of notifying affected users. In addition, we will continue to take significant measures to protect our users and their data."

The released data only affected those users who joined Associated Content before May 2010, the same time Yahoo acquired the company. According to Yahoo, "This compromised file was a standalone file that was not used to grant access to Yahoo systems and services." The next time the affected users sign into their Yahoo account, they will be asked to answer a series of authentication questions to change and validate account details, according to Yahoo.

The company added, "At Yahoo we take security very seriously and invest heavily in protective measures to ensure the security of our users and their data across all our products. We sincerely apologize to all affected users." Those affected users encompass 453,491 people whose emails and passwords were posted online by hacker group D33DS Company according to security firm Sophos. In a recent response to Sophos, D33DS Company stated, "We hope that the parties responsible for managing the security of this subdomain will take this as a wake-up call, and not as a threat."

Sophos recently released a new blog post that highlighted some of the insecure passwords many of the Yahoo hack victims were using. This included 1,666 people who used "123456" as their password and an additional 780 users who used "password" as their password. Among the other top choices were passwords like "welcome", "ninja", "sunshine", "princess" and "qwerty". I suddenly don't feel as bad for these people as I used to.

Yahoo isn't the only one who got hacked this week. Nvidia recently announced that it shut down its Developer Zone after it got hacked. That hack may have allowed the hacker to gain access to password information as well. In addition to Nvidia and Yahoo, Phandroid also got hacked, this one occurring on its Android forums.

Source: PC Mag - Yahoo Patches Email Vulnerability

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Twitter Ends Partnership with LinkedIn

According to a recent blog post by LinkedIn, Twitter has decided to end a two and a half year partnership with the website. The partnership allowed users of the social networking site for business professionals to publish tweets directly to their LinkedIn profiles. Consumer Product Chief for Twitter Michael Sippey recently wrote a post on the site's developer blog that the changes were part of a move to "deliver a core Twitter consumption experience through a consistent set of products and tools."

This isn't too surprising as Twitter has been slowly trying to push out partners who show tweets on their websites. However, those efforts have also been primarily focused on mobile clients, the same place Twitter has been emphasizing its own offerings.

LinkedIn and Twitter users will still be able to post updates on LinkedIn and broadcast them to Twitter, though the content sharing will not go the other way. This actually goes along with what Twitter's overall strategy has been recently. The social network is welcoming of others sending content to Twitter but isn't so keen on having others use tweets as content on their sites.

The strange thing about all of this, however, is that Twitter just upgraded its own Facebook app, which crossposts tweets to users' Facebook profiles, which is the exact same thing that the partnership with LinkedIn allowed since the partnership between the two sites formed back in 2009.

Twitter has struggled with rule and practice consistency for some time now with its partners like LinkedIn. Developers who have created apps for viewing tweets have found themselves placed at a disadvantage by changes to Twitter's rules and the site's efforts to develop its own mobile clients.

Source: Business Insider - Twitter Gives LinkedIn The Bird

Thursday, June 14, 2012

ARM Develops New GPU for Low-Cost Tablets

ARM has just created a brand new, entry level version of its Mali graphics processor that, if incorporated, could expand the market of low cost Android tablets. Known as the Mali-450, this GPU is designed to help manufacturers build tablets that are less expensive than the ones currently leading the markets, like Apple's iPad which runs $399. However, these manufacturers still want good enough graphics performance to keep most users satisfied.

Touchscreens and HD video are pretty standard when it comes to tablets these days, with the GPUs in these devices accounting for a big share of the price you pay. In addition to that, more powerful GPUs take up more space on the CPU, which could also increase costs. A lot of manufacturers are looking for cheaper parts that offer decent graphics performance while also occupying less space. This is where the Mali-450 fits in.

The new GPU is offered with as many as eight cores and offers double the performance of its predecessor the Mali-400. The Mali-450 is also expected to appear in tablets in the first half of 2013 according to Director of Marketing for ARM's Media Processing Division Ian Smythe.

Tablet makers are showing an increased demand for a wide range of price and performance characteristics, which is where this new ARM GPU comes in . The company is planning on offering the Mali-T600 series for high-end devices and the Mali-400 series for low-end devices.

Both series will be able to do gaming and video playback but, according to Smythe, only the high-end parts will be able to handle "computational graphics". That includes things like matching points on two images to do facial recognition or stitching photographs together into a panorama. ARM is also developing a high-end part known as Skrymir (not to be confused with Skyrim, cheeky devils) which is due out sometime in 2014.

Source: Computer World - ARM preps Mali GPU for low-cost Android tablets

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Bing Gets Updated, Only the U.S. Has Access to New Style

How many people actually use Bing? I mean, I'm sure there are people who use it religiously, I just prefer Google. But what I think doesn't matter right now because Bing users can rejoice (or cringe) because if you head over to Bing right now, you will find that the service has an all new layout. That's right, the search engine has slapped on a fresh coat of paint and added some new things to test on the Bing community.

The Bing Team just announced that the latest version of the search engine is now available for every single Bing user in the United States. Microsoft had announced a couple of weeks ago that Bing would be getting an update, promising to deliver it to the entire U.S. "in due time". For once, a company has actually made a promise and made good on it. Is this the dawn of a new era of company trust and customer loyalty? Probably not, but it's still nice.

The new face of Bing is definitely a noticeable difference from the old look. Users will now find a three-column layout. The left column includes search results, the center column (known as "Snapshot" by Microsoft) is designed to give users relevant information and services that are related to web results and the right column (or "Sidebar") adds some social features like an activity feed for Facebook updates and the ability to ask your friends questions.

According to a blog post that Microsoft released last month detailing the changes, "Whether it's making a purchase, deciding on a vacation destination, choosing a great restaurant, or figuring out which movie to see this weekend, the new Bing focuses on bringing friends, experts and enthusiasts into your search experience through a dedicated social 'sidebar'."

Reports are coming in from people who have already started using the new layout and the response was generally positive. Many people are praising the responsiveness of the the new Bing, though there are some disappointments with the lack of content offered. According to Rafe Needleman of CNET, "I expect that as this socially enabled version of Bing matures, Microsoft (and Facebook) will figure out a way to layer in more and better content. But I expect a more useful offering for a major update to social search from a partnership between tech giants Microsoft and Facebook."

If you are an avid Bing user then head on over to the search engine right now and take the new layout for a spin. Then come back here and tell us what you think. Do you like the new three-column structure? Are the social features cool or pointless? Do you believe that there is a general lack of content? We want to know everything you think about the new and improved Bing so let us know!

Source: CNET - New-look Bing hits U.S., but will it satisfy?
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Microsoft's Summer Xbox Deal Is Back!

Microsoft had a nifty back to school special last year that awarded customers a brand new Xbox 360 with the purchase of any new Windows PC. Well, it seems as though the promotion was a success, enough of one at least to make the company want to do it again this year as well. Starting on Sunday, May 20, U.S. students who buy a new Windows 7 PC will also receive a free Xbox 360 as well.

The deal doesn't just apply to U.S. students, however, as Canadian students also qualify for the deal which started on the 18th. In order to be eligible you will have to be a high school or college student with proof of status, like a campus ID or an email address that ends in .edu. If you qualify, you will receive a 4GB Xbox 360 with the purchase of a Windows PC for $699 or more. If you're a Canadian student, you only have to buy a $599 PC.

The Xbox that students will receive is Microsoft's current $199 console, which is the lowest priced model the company offers and the one that doesn't come with a Kinect motion sensor. Best Buy was the only retailer partner that Microsoft paired with for the offer the last time, though the company has greatly increased their partners this time around. In the U.S. Microsoft is partnering with Best Buy and Fry's Electronics while the company will be teaming up with Best Buy, Future Shop, Staples and The Source in Canada. You can also get the deal online through Dell, HP and Newegg in the U.S. and through Dell in Canada.

If you happen to live close to an actual Microsoft store, you can also get the deal there as well. There are 21 Microsoft stores currently open (or expected to open in the summer), all of which are located in the United States. Microsoft's online store will also support the deal. Also new this year is the amount of control Microsoft has left in the hands of the retailers. This means that the deal won't last the same amount of time for every retailer so make sure you check your dates before you go in for the deal.

Source: PC World - Buy a Windows 7 PC, Get an Xbox
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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Internet Disappearing for Thousands of People in July

DNSChangerThe FBI has warned hundreds of thousands of people that they could lose their internet connections in July. That is, of course, if they don't take steps to diagnose and disinfect their computers. The problem that these individuals are facing is related to malware known as DNSChanger, which was first discovered in 2007 and has since infected millions of computers around the world.

Basically, what this malware does is that whenever you type a web address into your browser, your computer contacts DNS servers to discover the numerical IP address of the site you are looking for and then takes you there. The DNSChanger malware messes with an infected computer's settings and directs it to a rogue server set up by an internet crime ring.

According to an Attorney General for the United States in an FBI press release, these criminals "were intentional cyberbandits who hijacked millions of computers at will and rerouted them to Internet Web sites and advertisements of their own choosing -- collecting millions in undeserved commissions for all the hijacked computer clicks and Internet ads they fraudulently engineered."

However, the FBI busted up the crime ring last year and took control of the rogue servers. Considering so many infected computers relied on the servers to reach the internet, the agency decided not to shut them off and instead converted them to legitimate DNS servers. However, running these servers is costing the government money, which is why they are being turned off in July. If you are one of the unfortunate ones whose computer got infected, the internet will no longer exist for you.

The DNSChanger Working Group (DCWG) has created a website designed to help you diagnose your computer and see if you are infected and remove the DNSChanger if necessary. I'd recommend checking it out, especially before July 8, or you can say goodbye to Facebook, Google and whatever else you use the internet for.

Source: CNET - Web could vanish for hordes of people in July, FBI warns

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Identity Theft Vulnerability Affects All iPhones, Not Just Jailbroken Ones

iPhone Facebook appsA report surfaced recently about a vulnerability in Facebook that allowed people to access someone else's account. The report initially stated that this vulnerability only affected people on a jailbroken iPhone, however, that doesn't seem to be the case anymore as two new reports are stating that it isn't only jailbroken phones that are at risk.

Gareth Wright, an app developer from the U.K., along with The Next Web have each confirmed, separately, that this new vulnerability affects any and all iPhones, not just jailbroken ones. In addition to that, it has been discovered that the vulnerability originated in Facebook's iPhone app.

Wright released his report earlier in the week and claimed that the iPhone Facebook app includes a vulnerability that fails to encrypt log-on credentials whenever you get on Facebook on your iPhone via the app. Wright also said that he also discovered a Facebook access token in the Draw Something game. Wright copied the token, used the Facebook Query Language and extracted the information.

According to Wright's report, "Sure enough, I could pull back pretty much any information from my Facebook account." Wright also mentioned that the property list of the app contained any and all information needed to allow someone other than you to access your Facebook account, send private messages and do anything else imaginable.

However, Facebook is sticking by their claim that the vulnerability only affects jailbroken phones. In a statement from the social media giant, the company said, "Facebook's iOS and Android applications are only intended for use with the manufacture provided operating system, and access tokens are only vulnerable if they have modified their mobile OS (i.e. jailbroken iOS or modded Android) or have granted a malicious actor access to the physical device."

That may have been believable had The Next Web not released their very own report separate from Wright's. The Next Web confirmed themselves that the vulnerability also affects non-jailbroken phones. However, The Next Web also found that Dropbox also suffers from the same vulnerability, leaving the application open to a property list hack.

According to The Next Web, "We copied the .plist from one device, with the app installed and logged in, over to another which had a fresh installation of Dropbox on it. The profile copied and it worked seamlessly, as if we had logged on ourselves, which we had not." The Next Web also added that the Dropbox vulnerability works on phones that are passcode protected.

Facebook keeps saying that the vulnerability is only on jailbroken phones, though with the reports from Wright and The Next Web, I don't know how much longer the social media company can keep that story going.

Source: CNET - facebook ID theft impacts all iPhones, Dropbox
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Most business class projectors will do a good job displaying your PowerPoint presentation. If you have a small presentation group, a 2000 lumen LCD projector will be able to produce a nice and clear picture. For larger audiences you should consider a 5000 lumen LCD projector.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

AOL Saves Nearly $5 Million by Decommissioning 10,000 Servers

AOLIn recent news it has been discovered that AOL has decommissioned nearly 10,000 servers, saving the company almost $5 million on its way to winning a competition that highlights the cost of running inefficient or underutilized IT equipment.

Nobody really realizes how much underutilized or inefficient servers can cost until they see the numbers. Decommissioning a 1U rack server could potentially save you $500 a year in energy costs, $500 a year in operating system licenses and $1,500 a year in hardware maintenance, and that's just one server!

Uptime Institute is behind the competition, which it is calling the Server Roundup Contest. Companies that participate could move workloads to newer, virtualized equipment or even into the cloud. In addition to that, each company had to provide paperwork to verify what they had done, which included work requests and recycling receipts and even photographs.

AOL decommissioned 9,484 servers over the past year, which accounted for nearly 1.4 of its worldwide servers. The savings included nearly $1.65 million in energy bills, $2.2 million in operating systems licenses and $62,000 in maintenance costs. AOL also gained $1.2 million from scrap and resale while reducing its carbon emissions by 30 million tons.

AOL was the best in the competition by far, beating out five other companies. The closest competitor was NBCUniversal, which removed 284 servers. However, AOL may have benefited from the fact that the company is in the middle of a multi-year effort to reinvent itself from an internet access provider to a content and advertising company. A majority of the servers AOL replaced were running applications and web properties that had become useless, according to the company.

Source: Computer World - AOL unplugs 10,000 servers, saves $5M is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mozilla Finally Succumbs to H.264 Support

H.264Mozilla just announced that it is about to begin supporting the H.264 video codec, a move the company has said goes against its better judgment. Mozilla suggested that it had been forced into this decision, which is patent laden, and also assured users and developers that it would continue to offer its software free of charge as it currently does.

According to a blog post by Mitchell Baker, Chair of the Mozilla Foundation, "Mozilla is on the cusp of changing our policy about our use of video codecs and making use of a format known as 'H.264'. We have tried to avoid this for a number of years, as H.264 is encumbered by patents. The state of video on the web today and in mobile devices in particular is pushing us to change our policy."

Baker also added that Mozilla resisted the move to H.264 support because it wants to build products that people "love". He also added that using standards that are laden with patents is not supportive of this goal. "We've declined to adopt a technology that improves user experience in the hopes this will bring greater user sovereignty. Not many would try this strategy, but we did. It's time to shift our weighting. It's time to focus on shipping products people can love now, and to work on developing a new tactic for bringing unencumbered technology to the world of audio and video codecs."

Mozilla CTO Brendan Eich posted an additional blog post covering Mozilla's decision in greater depth and also suggests that Mozilla could have avoided this transition altogether if it had support from firms like Google and Adobe. In case you missed it, both Adobe and Google started talks about supporting more open standards recently. Unfortunately both Google and Adobe had to drop those ideas due to the commonplace of H.264.

According to Eich, "Some say we should hold out longer for someone (Google? Adobe?) to change something to advance WebM over H.264. Others say we should hold out indefinitely and by ourselves, rather than integrate OS decoders for encumbered video. What I do know for certain is this: H.264 is absolutely required right now to compete on mobile. I do not believe that we can reject H.264 content in Firefox or Android or or in B2G and survive the shift to mobile. Losing a battle is a bitter experience. I won't sugar-coat this pill.... Failure on mobile is too likely to consign Mozilla to decline and irrelevance."

Source: The Inquirer - Mozilla grudgingly adopts H.264
Mitchell's Blog - Video, user experience and our mission
Mozilla Hacks - Video, Mobile, and the Open Web
Engadget - Mozilla caves, will support H.264 to avoid 'irrelevance'

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Metadot Corporation Goes Retro with the DasKeyboard

Metadot Corporation DasKeyboardAt this year's South by Southwest conference Metadot Corporation unveiled their very retro keyboard known as the DasKeyboard (German for "The Keyboard"?). Basically, what this device aims to do is bring back the touch and feel of typing on one of those old IBM Selectric typewriters. In fact, Metadot Corporation wanted to let users know just how retro the DasKeyboard feels by having a few of those old IBM Selectric typewriters at their South by Southwest booth.

The keys on the DasKeyboard are larger than most traditional keys with slightly concave tops. In addition to that, they make a rather enjoyable click when you press on them. The DasKeyboard also gives you some tactile feedback as well that provides you with a little assurance while typing.

Metadot Corporation also makes a similar keyboard to the DasKeyboard without the clicky noise, perfect for office settings, school settings or people who talk on the phone a lot while typing. There is even another version that doesn't have any labels on the keys whatsoever, something Metadot believes helps you type faster.

Regardless, if you are looking for some nostalgia or you are really into either retro keyboards, IBM Selectric typewriters or both, the DasKeyboard from Metadot Corporation may be the perfect thing for you. You can get the three different models when they launch later this year with the standard keyboard costing $129, the clickless keyboard costing $135 and the labeless keyboard costing $129.

Source: PC World - The DasKeyboard Brings Back the Feel of an IBM Selectric

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Poor Ultrabook Sales See Manufacturers Opting for Low Cost Machines

UltrabookAccording to multiple reports and sources, suppliers of ultrabooks are facing a lot of issues with profitability and market. As a result, many manufacturers are expected to turn to low-cost designs to make up for it. According to an anonymous CNET source that speaks directly to ultrabook suppliers, "The ultrabook adoption during the holiday season was ugly." Before you go jumping to conclusions, this source was only talking about one ultrabook manufacturer specifically.

That being said, the ultrabook market for all suppliers is still facing challenges. According to the same source, "You've got a down market on the eve of a new operating system (Windows 8, obviously) at a price point that's fairly robust (meaning high)." On top of that, Acer, one of the high-profile ultrabook vendors, stated that it is currently not making a profit on lower-end models according to a recent report in The Verge.

A Tech Travel Agent can get an ultrabook rental to you within 24 business hours in over 1000 cities worldwide.

The company's Aspire S3 ultrabook has been generally priced at $899 but could drop as low as $799. Acer's Chairman also stated back in December that ultrabook sales should be somewhere between 250,000 and 300,000 in Q4. Other top vendors, like HP and Dell, have just started selling ultrabooks, which makes their success or failure hazy.

However, a recent report from Asia has claimed that poor sales for vendors is forcing them to rethink ultrabooks altogether. According to a report in Digitimes citing industry sources, "Existing Sandy-bridge ultrabooks are too expensive." Many are speculating that, as a result, many ultrabook manufacturers will turn to thin laptops similar to ultrabooks that do not incur the high costs of current designs. Things like metal cases, expensive hinges and expensive solid state drives are what are keeping ultrabook prices high enough to dissuade potential buyers.

These new thin laptops are predicted to have prices in the $600 range and launch in Q2 2012, although that strategy could also backfire. Low-cost laptops, like the netbook, have yet to be widely accepted due to the fact that they were built from cheap chassis materials, had low-end components and lacked the performance power of other laptops. What this could mean for the laptop industry as a whole is still up in the air.

Source: CNET - As ultrabook makers seek stronger sales, some opt for low cost

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

LeanPrint Reduces Ink Use by 40 Percent

On Monday, March 5 Adobe announced a new service that is designed to reduce the amount of ink used when printing. It is being called LeanPrint.

According to Adobe, LeanPrint will save up to 40 percent of the toner that would normally be used when printing something. It is able to do this in certain modes like “SuperSaver” and “TonerSaver.” The basic idea of LeanPrint is that it will work to squeeze more onto a page and reduce the amount of toner used on prints that use a lot of ink. This will help to not only save on ink but paper as well.

Now, when you think about it, this new software seems like it would be undermining printer company’s plans to sell you a cheap printer that must be replaced with expensive toner when the ink runs out; however, Toshiba America Business Solutions (TABS) is the first printer maker to endorse and promote the new LeanPrint software. According to Adobe, Toshiba will be available to distribute LeanPrint to its customers across the continent.

Adobe said that LeanPrint is targeting both large companies as well as individuals. Those who are interested must purchase a license from a company that is partnering with Adobe, like Toshiba. Customers can either sign up for a 30-day free trial or pay $99 for a one-year subscription.

"Adobe has always prided itself on environmentally conscious behavior, from its LEED Platinum certified buildings to its carbon offsets," said Raman Nagpal, the senior director and general manager of Adobe Print and Scan Business. "With LeanPrint, we are bringing together our commitment to the environment and a deep understanding of the print industry to further drive down printing costs. Adobe is excited to launch LeanPrint with a like-minded company like Toshiba, who will help distribute this technology throughout North America."

All of this news is not good for printer companies like HP. During a second quarter conference call, the chief executive of HP, Meg Whitman, discussed the current shift of corporations and individual consumers towards printing less.

"We faced a number of challenges and the printing market is more mature and more mature markets tend to be governed more by macroeconomic forces," Whitman said. "I am convinced that a number of our challenges do relate to the macroeconomic challenges, weak consumer demand, weak small office, home office demand. The sell-through of ink in particular is at pretty low levels and it's not just our ink, it's industry ink."

This really could pose an issue to printer companies in the near future; however, it also might help to reduce the inflated pricing of toner. It will be interesting to see how printer companies react.

Sources: PCMag - Adobe 'LeanPrint' Claims to Cut Ink Use by 40 Percent and Tom's Guide - Adobe Releases LeanPrint Software to Save on Ink, Paper

Power Point Projectors
Most business class projectors will do a good job displaying your PowerPoint presentation. If you have a small presentation group, a 2000 lumen LCD projector will be able to produce a nice and clear picture. For larger audiences you should consider a 5000 lumen LCD projector.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Drastically Lower Windows 8 SKU Options

Windows 8Windows 8 will be coming soon (we hope) and the tech world is in a frenzy. Windows 7 was one of the best operating systems released by Microsoft and was a much welcomed change over its previous iteration, Windows Vista. Naturally, Microsoft will be making a few changes here and there to the operating system but one that may catch people off guard is that Microsoft may be making a change to the number of editions, or SKUs, that will be sold to the public.

A couple of different files from HP's website uncovered by ZDNet blogger Stephen Chapman seem to indicate how many different versions of Windows 8 Microsoft is planning on selling to the public. Specifically, these files list the versions of Windows 8 that will be supported by drivers in an HP laptop smart card reader. Suspiciously, HP has already removed these references to the operating system from the files.

Fortunately, Chapman was able to record what the files said, which offered six different versions of Windows 8:

  • Microsoft Windows 8 32 Edition

  • Microsoft Windows 8 64 Edition

  • Microsoft Windows 8 Enterprise 32 Edition

  • Microsoft Windows 8 Enterprise 64 Edition

  • Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 32 Edition

  • Microsoft Windows 8 Professional 64 Edition

Individual consumers will most likely be interested in the standard 32 and 64 editions of Windows 8 with the Enterprise versions targeting large businesses and the Professional versions targeting small businesses and high-end users. However, it is still not 100% clear as to whether or not these will actually be Windows 8 SKUs. Chapman noted that these names could simply be fill-ins until the actual SKUs are announced, though the specifics are throwing some people off of that idea.

If this is real, then it is obvious that Microsoft is trying to limit the different versions of Windows 8 available to customers. In the past Microsoft has rolled out a lot of different versions of its operating systems, with some of the more complicated ones being Windows Vista and Windows 7. Windows 7 came with six different SKUs: Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate with 5 of those 6 coming in both 32 and 64 bit versions, making a grand total of 11 different versions.

Vista was exactly the same with 32 and 64 bit versions of Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate, Business and Enterprise with the Starter version (like Windows 7) only coming in a 32 bit version. If the HP files tell the truth, this should be a good step for Microsoft in limiting the number of SKUs. Fewer choices mean less confusion, less confusion means happier customers, happier customers means more business. The Windows 8 beta is said to start this Wednesday so maybe Microsoft will unveil something then.

Source: CNET - Microsoft may limit the number of Windows 8 editions
ZDNet - Windows 8 SKUs mentioned on

Friday, February 24, 2012

Samsung Unveils New Quad-Core Exynos Processors

Samsung has just displayed a new processor at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference. The new Exynos chip will be available in dual-core or quad-core configurations with 200MHz to 1.5GHz frequencies. In addition to that, the new Exynos chip is a 32nm part unlike the current Exynos chip which is only a 45nm process. This smaller footprint also means that the chip will have a higher performance and less power consumption for the same clock speeds.

Samsung is pairing this new chip with the latest version of the company's very own graphics chip, which has 4 pixel processors and 1 geometry engine with 128 KB L2 cache. The graphics will also support OpenGL ES 2.0 and can also generate up to 57 MPolygons/s. Considering that Samsung recently announced new low power DDR3 memory, it isn't surprising to see that this CPU also has support for LPDDR2 or DDR3.

According to the company, this chip will be able to deliver up to 26% more performance than the current Exynos chip and will also be able to deliver battery life improvements of up to 50% with a 45% power save for CPU tasks and 48% for 3D calculations. These comparisons seem to be made with the dual-core chip and it will also be interesting to see how the quad-core chip compares. Samsung is expected to officially announce the chips at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona so we will surely find more information there.

It is also expected that Samsung will begin shipping these chips to customers and retailers in the next couple of months, bringing quad-core performance with more battery life to all. Samsung has also stated that this new version of the Exynos was designed with power consumption in mind unlike the current chip which was built around performance.

Source: Engadget - Samsung demos new 32nm quad-core Exynos ahead of MWC
Unwired View - Samsung shows off quad-core Exynos processor

Security Camera Solutions

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Dedicated Tech Support for HP Elite PC Customers

HPIf you are one of Hewlett-Packard's Elite PC customers, then I have some good news for you. The company recently announced that it has officially expanded tech support options for its Elite PC customers who will now have the opportunity to select a single tech support official to deal with exclusively for the entire life of their computer. This basically means that Elite PC owners will have a single tech support professional that will deal with all of their computer problems. Whenever you need tech support, you will always get the same guy or gal.

When this new tech support plan goes into effect, Elite PC customers will get a single number to call and a single point of contact for all of their tech support needs. In addition to that, business customers can schedule support calls whenever they chose. Other options include prioritized support and PC set-up options with the support plans extending to remote and cloud-based PC support.

A lot of tech analysts are applauding HP for this move, calling it a great step forward for the company, which is currently trying to win back the confidence of its PC customers, as well as the PC community at large, after a rough 2011. It was originally reported that the company had written off its PC division altogether due to poor numbers, though it appears as if a change of heart has occurred as the company is working harder than ever to get back on top.

Tech support comes standard with every Elite PC purchase from HP and is also available for existing Elite PC customers. Elite laptops, desktops and workstations are usually aimed at business professionals and thus are priced a little higher on average than consumer devices. HP also offers business PCs, like Folio and ProBook laptops, though this new support option will not be available for those customers. More support options are also said to be arriving in the coming months, HP said.

Source: PC World - HP Assigns Dedicated Tech Support for Elite PCs

DVD Video Projectors are exactly what they sound like, a combination unit that combines a DVD media player with a video projector, cutting out the need for multiple pieces of electronics and wiring.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Google Steals Senior Apple Executive for Project

Simon PrakashGoogle is definitely one of the most prominent and influential technology businesses in the world. I can't think of anybody who doesn't use the Google search engine on a daily basis and the features like Gmail, Google+, Google Docs and others make the site all the more accessible for everybody.

Being the technological giant that it is, it isn't surprising that Google is always scouting for new talent, trying to get the very best possible employees on its team. In many cases this results in Google stealing some of the best and brightest minds in the industry away from other companies, including the almighty Apple.

Apple is the most recent victim of a Google acquisition as the Cupertino company has just lost its Senior Director of Project Integrity Simon Prakash to Google. At the moment it is unclear why exactly Google wants or needs Prakash. It could be for some new intellectual property or it could be to simply weaken Apple by stealing away a great mind. VentureBeat has noted that the project Prakash was brought on for is, unsurprisingly, a secret one.

In addition to that, VentureBeat says that this is the first time that Google has been able to convince a senior employee to leave Apple. There are many reasons for that. One could be that Google never made a good enough offer but I'm betting that people were just too afraid to walk out on Steve Jobs. What's more interesting is that this job deal comes right at the time the Department of Justice is investigating both Apple and Google, as well as a host of other companies, for having a proposed agreement to not go after each other's employees. It is rumored that this agreement was put in place to keep salaries in the industry low while also limiting competition.

Prakash has worked at Apple for the last eight years and was also responsible for product quality across all of the company's product lines. It has also been said that Prakash started his employment at Google today. Given his past at Apple, Prakash may very well be in charge of overseeing Motorola's Android devices though this is just speculation.

Source: Slash Gear - Google swipes Apple senior director of project integrity
Engadget - Report: Google hires Apple exec to work on 'secret project'
VentureBeat - Google hires a senior director at Apple for a top secret project (exclusive)

Short-throw projectors only require half the projection distance of traditional projectors. The projector can be placed just a foot or so from the screen. This is nice because it keeps the projector and screen near each other instead of having a long throw projector that people can accidentally block.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Steve Appleton, CEO of Micron, Dies in Plane Crash

In a very sad announcement, it has been discovered that CEO and Chairman of the Board at Micron Steve Appleton died in a plane crash earlier this morning in Boise, Idaho. 51-year old Appleton was in the process of flying an experimental fixed-wing plane at the time of the accident.

According to a statement from Micron regarding the loss, "Steve's passion and energy left an indelible mark on Micron, the Idaho community and the technology industry at large." Appleton had been working for Micron for 29 years since he started in 1983 and had served the company as a Production Manager, Director of Manufacturing, Vice President of Manufacturing and Chief Operating Officer.

Based in Boise, the company is the largest memory chip manufacturer in the United States and one of the largest in the world. Micron has plants scattered across several states including Idaho, Utah and Virginia and also operates a joint manufacturing venture with Intel. Micron, for those who don't recognize the name, is responsible for brands like Lexar as well as Crucial.

Mr. Appleton began work for Micron when he was only 22, where he worked the overnight shift at the company's factory. From there he climbed the ranks until he reached the top spot of Micron CEO in 1994. However, Micron wasn't Appleton's only venture as the CEO was also a stunt pilot, triathlete and tennis player.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Appleton's friends, family and coworkers in this difficult time.

Source: CNET - Micron CEO Steve Appleton dies in plane crash
USA Today - Micron CEO Steve Appleton dies in crash of small plane

Put your eye on the problem with Camera Security Now, installing security cameras since 1999. We install in the US and we can help you do it yourself.

Call us toll free 877-422-1907 between 8am EST and 5pm PST M-F. Talk to an expert about your serious security camera needs.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Apple's iPad Outsells HP's PCs in Q1 2012

iPadsIt's no surprise that Apple is one of the top PC and technology makers in the world. What may be surprising is the fact that Apple has surpassed HP in computer unit sales and revenues for the first time ever, making the Cupertino giant the number one company. Apple can attribute a lot of this success to record sales of iPads and, instead of losing sales to low priced tablets, Apple said that it would continue to "innovate like crazy" in the tablet market.

The company reported quarterly sales of 15.4 million iPads and 5.2 million Macs, which gave Apple more than 20 million sales of dedicated computing devices. It was reported that HP's sales for the fourth quarter of 2011 were close to 14.7 million, with Lenovo and Dell selling 12.9 million and 11.6 million units, respectively. In addition to that, Apple's figures were twice that of those reported by Microsoft for the same quarter.

Tim Cook, the new CEO of Apple, was asked about the impact of lower-priced tablets in the market, like Amazon's Kindle Fire. Cook replied that he was happy with the iPad's sales and pointed out that sell-through had exceeded sell-in, which left the company with strained inventory levels around the world, contradicting the rumors that the Kindle Fire had dampened potential iPad sales. Cook also stated that Apple sees the iPad as a "huge opportunity for Apple over time" and that "there will come a day when the tablet market in units is larger than the PC market."

Tablets are indeed doing very well with almost every name in the tech world offering their own version of the iPad which pioneered the market. However, I don't think that tablets will ever fully replace computers or laptops. Physical keyboards and mouse controls are too ingrained in people and are also extremely necessary for a lot of computing tasks. Sure you can make keyboard docks and mouse attachments, but what's the point?

Cook also pointed out that the rapid growth of iPad sales was eating up the growth of generic PC sales but not hurting the Apple's own Mac sales. It seems that all of Apple's mobile tech gadgets draw in customers for the company's netbooks and desktop computers. Sales of both have been up, and over 1/5 of all Apple Mac sales were through the company's own retail stores.

Source: Apple Insider - Apple now largest computer maker, sold more iPads alone than HP sold PCs
Slash Gear - Apple sold more iPads than HP sold PCs in Q1 2012

Power Point Projectors
Most business class projectors will do a good job displaying your PowerPoint presentation. If you have a small presentation group, a 2000 lumen LCD projector will be able to produce a nice and clear picture. For larger audiences you should consider a 5000 lumen LCD projector.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Amazon's Cloud Allowing Windows Server to Run Free

Amazon CloudIf you are wanting to run Windows Server via Amazon's Cloud Service for free, the time has come for your wish to be granted. That's right, enterprise companies now have the ability to run Microsoft's Windows Server for as many as 750 hours in Amazon's cloud completely free using the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Free Usage Tier according to a statement released by the website on Saturday.

This announcement will allow enterprise companies that already run applications on Windows Server to give Amazon's cloud service a test drive completely free of charge. Enterprise users will be able to select from a wide array of pre-configured Amazon Machine Images without Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2. The Windows Server images run on a Micro instance (virtual sever) that includes 613 MB of memory as well as 32-bit or 64-bit support.

The Free Usage Tier was launched back in 2010 but has only recently become available with Linux. Enterprise companies now have the opportunity to run both operating systems simultaneously for as long as 750 hours per month for one year. After that, these companies will have to pay regular fees that start as low as $0.02 per hour for Linux and $0.03 per hour for Windows.

If a company exceeds its usage limits, additional fees will be incurred. For instance, if you have two different server instances active for 400 hours a piece for the entire month, you have gone over your monthly usage by 50 hours. The first 750 hours will still be free, but you will have to pay the standard price for the 50 hours extra you used. In addition to that, the tier also includes limited use of Amazon's load balancer, storage services and the SimpleDB database.

Source: Computer World - Windows Server now runs for free in Amazon's cloud

Short-throw projectors only require half the projection distance of traditional projectors. The projector can be placed just a foot or so from the screen. This is nice because it keeps the projector and screen near each other instead of having a long throw projector that people can accidentally block.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Upgraded Samsung Series 7 Gamer Laptop Set to Hit U.S. in April

Samsung Series 7 GamerUs laptop gamers here in the states have been pretty envious of our European brothers as they have had the privilege of buying the Samsung Series 7 Gamer notebook since last spring. Well, this spring (April, to be specific) that envy dies and becomes reborn as jubilation as Samsung will be shipping the Series 7 Gamer to us Yanks while giving it a nice increase in specs at the same time.

The 17" gaming laptop will still have the same aesthetics, as well as the same external features, as its European counterpart, including the 2.1 speaker setup with down-firing Subwoofer, super-bright screen and that big knob thingy that switches the device between power modes, like the Gaming Mode, which clocks up the CPU turbo mode, changes the keyboard backlighting, disables the Windows key and a few other things. The only real external difference is the lack of a 3D display option and the addition of a DisplayPort output.

Crack this bad boy open and you will be able to find the differences. On the inside the Series 7 Gamer gets a nice new set of parts. The second generation Intel Sandy Bridge Core i7 processor is gone, replaced by a quad-core third-generation Intel Ivy Bridge Core i7 processor instead. In addition to that, the graphics have received an increase from the Radeon HD 6970M to the upcoming GeForce GTX 670M. You will still have a Blu-ray drive as well as the 2TB hard drive so nothing's new there.

You will be able to grab this mobile gaming giant when it is released in April for a reasonable $1,799, or whenever Intel's high-end Ivy Bridge chips and Nvidia's next-generation GPUs are ready to go, which we hope is by April because, honestly, we can't hold out on this laptop forever.

Source: PC World - Samsung to Bring Series 7 Gamer to the U.S., With Upgrades

Put your eye on the problem with Camera Security Now, installing security cameras since 1999. We install in the US and we can help you do it yourself.

Call us toll free 877-422-1907 between 8am EST and 5pm PST M-F. Talk to an expert about your serious security camera needs.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Quanta Sues AMD Over "Faulty" Chips

Quanta Computer logoThe world's largest contract maker of notebook computers, Quanta Computer Incorporated, has filed a lawsuit against Advanced Micro Devices Incorporated (AMD) for what Quanta is calling a breach of contract. Quanta is accusing AMD of selling the company defective products and thus seeks compensation.

AMD and its ATI Technologies Incorporated unit sold chips to Quanta that did not meet the company's tolerances and were unfit for particular purposes, the company noted in a federal court filing in San Jose, California. The chips Quanta purchased were used in notebooks Quanta manufactured for NEC which caused the computers to malfunction and crash according to the court filing.

In a statement from Quanta that is found in the court documents says, "Quanta has suffered significant injury to prospective revenue and profits." Quanta is seeking a trial by jury as well as damages for the faulty chips. AMD, which accumulates over $6 billion in annual revenue, is the second largest maker of computer processors, bested only by Intel, which has a staggering $50 billion annual revenue.

The lawsuit also claims breach of warranty, negligent misrepresentation, civil fraud and interference with a contract. "AMD disputes the allegations in Quanta's complaint and believes they are without merit," AMD spokesman Michael Silverman said in a statement. "AMD is aware of no other customer reports of the alleged issues with the AMD chip that Quanta used, which AMD no longer sells. In fact, Quanta has itself acknowledged to AMD that it used the identical chip in large volumes in a different computer platform that it manufactured for NEC without such issues."

In addition to NEC, Quanta makes computers on contract for HP, Dell and Acer. The company's shares increased 1.9% in Taipei today before news of this lawsuit went public, and the case has been filed as Quanta v. Advanced Micro Devices, 12-cv-12, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California.

Source: Bloomberg - Quanta Sues AMD Over Allegedly Unsuitable Chips for NEC Notebook Computers is news of, for and by SMBs! The Small & Medium Business Magazine!