Monday, December 27, 2010

Obama Says: Steve Jobs Deserves to be Rich

"And something that's always been the greatest strength of America is a thriving, booming middle class, where everybody has got a shot at the American dream. And that should be our goal. That should be what we're focused on. How are we creating opportunity for everybody? So that we celebrate wealth. We celebrate somebody like a Steve Jobs, who has created two or three different revolutionary products. We expect that person to be rich, and that's a good thing. We want that incentive. That's part of the free market."

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

USB Key Takes its Name Too Literally

Ever look at your USB key and tell yourself, wouldn't it be great if it looked like an actual key? Well if you're the type who likes to take things literally, rejoice. The Clé USB drive from byAMT is exactly that. The name itself is French for key, taking the pun all the way up to 11.

Aside from the key-shaped 3-D printed housing, there's nothing really special about it. You can get it in several other colors if pink isn't your fancy, and you can opt for either 2 or 4 gigabytes of storage space. It's cute, plus the key shape means you can add it to your regular keychain.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Initial Chrome OS Cr-48 Hardware Impressions

This is the Google notebook.

Less than a week ago, Google took the wraps off of its Chrome OS, the search giant's take on the modern, lightweight operating system. Along with it, Google launched a pilot program by sending out specialized hardware loaded with Chrome OS.

We finally got our hands on Google's "reference design" Chrome OS Notebook called the Cr-48. To be clear, the Cr-48 isn't ever going to be a commercial product like the Nexus One (or S) is for Android, but rather the notebook pilot program is for Google to gather feedback data in preparation for when Chrome OS hits stores in 2011 with products from Acer, Samsung, and others.

Even though it isn't a commercial product, the lack of the usual commercial design thought in the Cr-48 is one of its most attractive traits. There's no logo on the back of the lid – or anywhere else on the notebook – making it a stark, bare and arguably quite beautiful. It shares a few of the design qualities of the black MacBook from years ago, minus the glowing Apple logo on the lid.

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Microsoft slates another monster Patch Tuesday

Computerworld - Microsoft today said it will deliver a record 17 security updates next week to patch 40 vulnerabilities in Windows, Internet Explorer (IE), Office, SharePoint and Exchange.

Among the 40 patches will be two that address a pair of bugs that hackers have already exploited.

"I really was not expecting 17," said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Security. "I expected 10 at the most."

The 17 updates -- Microsoft calls them "bulletins" -- are a record, beating the count from October 2010 by one. The bulletins that will ship next Tuesday will include 40 patches, Microsoft said, nine fewer than the record set last October, but six more than the next-largest months of October 2009 and June and August of this year.

The total bulletin count for the year -- 106 -- was also a record, as was the number of vulnerabilities patched in those updates: 266.

Microsoft defended the blistering bug patching pace of 2010.

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AMD Phenom II X6 1100T Review: The New Six-Core Flagship

AMD knows that we're impatiently waiting for some traction on Fusion. And while we expect to see its first notebook-oriented Fusion-based processors featured in actual products at CES, we're still a ways away from seeing the technology in action on the desktop.

In the meantime, AMD is trying to tide us over with a steady stream of frequency bumps. It seems like that has been the case for a while now, but as the company improves its 45 nm manufacturing process, it's able to reliably get incrementally more headroom to boost performance--even if it's only bit by bit. This strategy isn’t viable long term, of course, especially in the face of Sandy Bridge launching in January at CES, aiming for the same mainstream market. It tided the company over in 2010, though, allowing it to offer excellent prices on processors that performed very well, despite Intel's lock on the high-end segment.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Yahoo's Top Searches of 2010

America's obsession with celebrities like Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga will never go away, but at least this year we made room for more pressing matters, like the BP oil spill, according to Yahoo's year-end search review.

Every winter, Yahoo tugs on our sleeve and hands over a list of the year's hottest searches. Even though Yahoo isn't at the top of the search game -- by some measurements it's behind Bing as well as Google - the results tend to be more culture and news-oriented than Google's yearly Zeitgeist results, which aren't available for 2010 yet.

Here's a look at the hottest searches in 2010, according to Yahoo, plus a list of the most searched-for gadgets:

1. BP Oil Spill: Not only was this a major, drawn-out story, but it had a generally agreed-upon search term and a "spill cam" to keep people coming back.

2. World Cup: A huge event that also spurred interest in South African culture and, of course, the dreaded vuvuzela. Searches related to the Olympics weren't nearly as popular.

3. Miley Cyrus: As the Disney-backed pop star entered adulthood, fans were curious to see how she'd make the transition, explains Vera Chan, senior editor and Web trend analyst for Yahoo.

Continue reading other top searches...

Google Earth Gets Street View Integration

Google Earth 6 is out and it's got some fancy new features for those of us looking to really immerse ourselves in the digital atlas.

Anyone who has ever looked up his or her (or someone else's) house on Google Earth will know that it can only really get you so far. To get really close, you'll need to switch to Google Map's and enlist the help of Peg-man's Street View tool. However, that won't be necessary in Google Earth 6 as it will offer full and 'seamless' Street View' integration.

Aside from Street View, Google Earth users will also benefit from thousands of 3D trees that have been placed in cities and parks all over the world. Google has figured out how to produce highly detailed, photo-textured versions of specific tree species and reproduce them at large scale for an urban tree coverage that includes San Francisco (downtown and Golden Gate Park), Chicago (Grant, Millennium and Lincoln Parks), New York City (Prospect and Riverside Parks), Athens (Thiseio Park, the National Gardens, Lykavittos Hill and around the Acropolis), Berlin (Tiergarten Park) and Tokyo (Yoyogi Park, Shinjuku Gyoen and the Akasaka Imperial Grounds). The team is also working to map rainforests in Africa, Brazil and Mexico.

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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dell Laptop Uses New Intel Cooling Technology

Dell has announced an ultraportable laptop with a new technology from Intel that sucks in outside air to keep the system quieter and cooler.

Dell's Vostro V130 is one of the first laptops to incorporate Intel's Hyperbaric cooling technology, which uses an internal fan that draws air into the laptop to keep it from overheating. With most existing designs, the internal fans are used to push hot air out.

The air that's pulled in is channeled toward key components to keep them cool, such as the CPU. The air is drawn in through the left side of the laptop, and the warm air is then expelled out the right.
The system allows the fans to run at lower speeds, which results in a quieter laptop, said Rajiv Mongia, a principal engineer at Intel. It also leads to a cooler laptop, according to Intel, because the cooling system is more efficient.

"By using cold air directly from the outside and then directly blowing across the hot components, you create a more efficient cooling solution. This is because by blowing air across the components, you create more intense convective cooling and often get more cooling flow through the platform," Mongia said.

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Facebook to Launch Video Chat Effort with Skype?

Forget poke wars, how about bugging friends in different time zones by calling them at all hours of the night?

Facebook is already the king of social networks and with a newly improved messaging system and an integrated IM service, the site aims to cover all methods of communication. However, it is missing one service that rivals like Gmail already have, and that is video chatting. Still, it looks like Facebook won't be trailing behind Gmail in that regard for much longer.

A few weeks back, Skype 5.0 for Windows was released and it revealed some very interesting Facebook integration. The new feature allowed Skype users to SMS, chat or call their Facebook friends via the VOIP service right from the Facebook News Feed.  Now the latest rumors say the partnership between Facebook and Skype could widen to include video calling.

App developer Tal Ater writes that while developing a Facebook application called Green Any Site, he came across something in the site's code that as recently as a few days ago wasn't there. Further investigation revealed that the code checks for plug-in support using either ActiveX on IE or the Skype SDK. Ater says he believes Facebook is bucket testing the feature as the code doesn't appear every time he loads a page.

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Do Virus Scanners Slow Down Your System?

Does the presence of a virus scanner guarantee reduced performance, or does it have a negligible impact? We test 10 different products to see if you’re unknowingly suffering with security software.

Remember the days of Windows 98, when CPUs ran at triple-digit MHz speeds and slogged along with less than a gigabyte of RAM? Installing a resident program like a virus scanner often meant committing performance suicide. And heaven forbid a scheduled scan start up while you were actually at your desk. Productivity could literally grind to a halt. At least that’s how I remember things through the fog of time.

Today's personal computers are much more powerful than they were a few years ago, so perhaps the notion that an anti-virus application will still have a debilitating effect on performance is obsolete. Still, folks who began using computers after multi-core CPUs and gigabytes of RAM became the norm have likely never used a PC without a virus scanner installed. They'd have no way to relate to the days of running lean and mean to keep speed manageable. Now we have resources to spare. Cores sit idle, waiting for a task to execute, while low prices on memory make 6 GB and 8 GB kits affordable for even mainstream users.

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