Wednesday, December 31, 2008

PIRATED WINDOWS 7 Beta AT BIT TORRENT


Pirated copies of a Windows 7 build pegged by many as the beta Microsoft will release next month have leaked to the Internet, according to searches at several BitTorrent sites today.
A search on the Pirate Bay BitTorrent site, for example, returned two Windows 7 Build 7000 listings, both of which had been posted Friday.
As of Saturday afternoon, one torrent on Pirate Bay showed more than 1,800 "seeders" -- the term for a computer that has a complete copy of the torrent file -- and about 8,500 "leechers," or computers that have downloaded only part of the complete torrent. The torrent is a disk image of the 32-bit version of Windows 7 Ultimate, Build 7000, according to users commenting on the site and elsewhere on the Internet.
Pirate Bay and other BitTorrent sites, including Mininova, listed the beta build as a 2.44GB download.
This is not the first time Windows 7 has escaped from Microsoft's limited testing pool. Just hours after the company unveiled an earlier version at its Professional Developers Conference in late October, the alpha edition hit BitTorrent.
Users first reported the newest Windows 7 leak on Neowin.net's forums Friday, with the opening message and screenshots coming from someone identified as "+fivestarVIP", who said he was from Beijing, China.
Build 7000 is what Microsoft will issue next month as Windows 7 Beta, according to other reports by Windows bloggers who have copies. Paul Thurrott, for example, posted a review and screenshots of Build 7000 today on his "SuperSite for Windows" site, naming it as the Beta build.
Although Microsoft has promised to open the beta to all users in early 2009, it has been mum on an exact release date. Information published on its own Web site earlier this month, however, hinted that the beta will be available no later than Jan. 13.
Some commentators and bloggers have maintained that Microsoft may release the beta as early as Jan. 7, after CEO Steve Ballmer delivers a keynote that evening at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where he is expected to talk about Windows 7.
The successor to the perception- and problem-plagued Windows Vista will ship in late 2009 or early 2010, according to previous statements by Microsoft executives.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

MEET INDIA'S 9-YEAR-OLD CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL IT


Microsoft has a new certified professional in its ranks -- and she's 9 years old.
The girl, from the Tamil Nadu region of India, passed Microsoft's exam this week, according to Indian media reports. She's now the youngest person to ever do so, breaking a previous record held by a 10-year-old from Pakistan.
Microsoft's Certified Professional exam is designed for IT professionals. As you'll see, though, being ahead of her age is nothing new for this young gal. She explains her story in the video below.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

ANOTHER LIFE EXTENSION FOR WINDOWS XP


Microsoft has once again put Windows XP on life support, extending the OS's death date to May 30, 2009. This reprieve comes two months after rumors swirled about another potential bail out.
In the new agreement -- first discovered by ChannelWeb -- distributors can purchase XP licenses until January 31, 2009, the original date in which XP was supposed to turn to dust, but take delivery against those orders through May 30.
Windows XP was supposed to stop shipping on January 30, 2008, but that date has been extended several times. It will live on Netbooks until 2010. XP is also still a booming business: Dell started charging $150 per Vista downgrade -- three times as much as the original fee.
Meanwhile, Windows 7's rumored release date hovers around October 2009. With each extension of Windows XP's death, Microsoft inches closer to Windows 7's release, thereby sublimating Vista and its skimpy chances at some kind of late-blooming success. Given the market's resistance to Vista -- and Microsoft's own perceived uncertainty -- we should expect Windows 7 to arrive sooner rather than later so the monstrous software company can save face.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

NEW SAMSUNG ANDROID


Samsung will roll out a mobile phone based on the Google Android operating system by the second quarter of 2009, according to a report from Korean news agency ETNews. While details are sketchy, Samsung will reportedly release the phone via cellular carriers Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile.
The phone will likely be a touchscreen model similar to Samsung's Instinct and Omnia handsets, both of which more closely resemble the Apple iPhone than HTC's less sleek T-Mobile G1, currently the only Google Android phone on the market. Samsung's device will provide all the Google essentials we'd expect, include search, mapping, mail, and instant messaging, the report states, but it's a safe bet that other Google tools will be added as well.
It would appear that Samsung has high hopes for its Google phone. It has reportedly "accelerated" development of the project, adding 30 Linux and Java experts to a design team that now has up to 80 members. It seems likely that Samsung will beat other Open Handset Alliance members to market, including Asus, LG, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson, all of whom have Android-based projects in the works.
The growing interest in the Android OS, as well as the staggering popularity of the iPhone, which now commands over 30 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, is more bad news for Microsoft's Windows Mobile, which is declining in popularity among end users and phone manufacturers alike.
Let's hope the Samsung handset will borrow some of the iPhone's elegance, but a slide-out keyboard would be nice too.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

IE BUG USED TO EXPLOIT WORD DOCS


Attackers are exploiting the just-patched vulnerability in Internet Explorer (IE) by hiding malicious ActiveX controls in Microsoft Word documents, a security company said Thursday.
"Inside the document is an ActiveX control, and in that control is a line that makes it call out to the site that's hosting the malware," said David Marcus, the director of security research and communications for McAfee Inc.'s Avert Labs. "This is a pretty insidious way to attack people, because it's invisible to the eye, the communication with the site."
Embedding malicious ActiveX controls in Word documents isn't new -- Marcus said he had seen it "a time or two" -- but using an ActiveX control to ping a hacker's server for attack code is "definitely an innovation," he added. "They're stepping it up."
The rogue docments can be delivered as attachments to spam e-mail or offered up by hacked sites.
Attackers have been exploiting the IE bug since at least Dec. 9, when reports first surfaced about malicious code found in the wild and on several Chinese hacker servers. McAfee was one of the first security companies to report the emerging exploit.
Since then, Microsoft acknowledged the bug, then offered up a series of advisories urging users to take protective steps until a fix was available.
Wednesday, the company released the patch.
Although other researchers continue to claim that thousands of legitimate Web sites have been compromised, then used to serve "drive-by" attacks against unpatched browsers, Marcus wasn't certain about the numbers he's seen bandied about. "But absolutely, there's been a lot of activity around this," he said. "A lot of the bad guys have embedded IFRAMES in their sites to attack IE."
According to other reports, the IE exploit has been added to one or more multi-strike hacker toolkits that try several different exploits when users visit a compromised or malicious site. "If it's not in one of those yet, it probably will be," said Marcus. "Some of the exploits in those kits are years old, so a good one like this, unpatched until yesterday, will make its way into them."
Marcus recommended that users be cautious about opening Word documents, keep their security software up-to-date, and apply the IE patch as soon as possible.

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Friday, December 19, 2008

GOOGLE'S SHUMAN GHOSEMAJUNDER EXPLAINS CLICK FRAUD - a SES Video



Click fraud is a very complex issue. Unfortunately, much of the information available has been misinterpreted due to that complexity. In this video, Shuman Ghosemajumder of Google gives some information that will hopefully clear up that gray area.
For starters, click fraud is driven by 2 major incentives:
1. Attacking advertisers - when an advertiser tries to hide one of his competitors
2. Inflating affiliates - when an AdSense publisher tries to fraudulently increase his own revenue by generating false clicks
Methods of click fraud stem from simplistic techniques to sophisticated techniques. Simplistic methods include manual clicks such as when a fraudster personally clicks ads on his own computer. It gets a little more sophisticated when a fraudster organizes botnets and uses them for click fraud. Click farms, which consist of individuals or organizations that try to hire people to click on ads continuously, fall somewhere in the middle of the simple and sophisticated click fraud techniques.
Shuman does point out that: “the impact of invalid clicks at Google is minimal.”
Google detects click fraud through simple rules and statistical anomaly detection. Google’s simple rules consist of certain rules they have already defined as what they classify as an invalid click. Since some simple rules can be easily broken, statistical anomaly detection is more effective because it looks at specific activities on websites and compares the expected behavior to the observed behavior. This data gives Google a better understanding of how to detect invalid clicks.
For advertisers wanting to take proactive measures to prevent click fraud, Shuman advises keeping the return on investment (ROI) as the central focus. Research and gather as much data as possible, test everything, and track all results. If you apply these actions and your ROI drops for no reason, you have a good reason to suspect undetected click fraud and should file a claim.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

IS CHROME 1.0 READY FOR PRIMETIME?


Opinion
Google's chief of user experience Marissa Mayer told TechCrunch' Michael Arlington at yesterday's Le Web' 08 conference in Paris that Chrome is coming out of beta. Period. No further explanation was provided and the company did not even issued a press release. The only official information is a low-key Google blog post.
It is very unusual for any vendor to move such a young product out of beta after just 100 days of availability. That is especially true for Google, which had no problems with freezing flagship products in beta for years so far. Gmail is five years old and still carries the beta label, as does the three-year old Docs service.
What about Chrome? If we leave aside for a moment that the 1.0 version is virtually identical with the most recent beta version that preceded it, the removal of a beta label typically implies that a product is reliable enough for everyday use and that it is feature complete. Such a message tries to attract users who were previously put off by a beta product, which usually yells “be careful, bugs!” If you think about it, beta always means "work in progress." Also, any product development team typically aims to test a feature-complete version of a product in a beta or at least release candidate phase, before rolling it out as a final. Chrome may be lightning-fast, but, in our opinion, Chrome is not only rough around the edges. It is also far from being feature-complete.
Stable enough for everyday use? Feature complete?
The company's blog post states that audio and video plug-ins are improved, claiming "better performance and stability." The 1.0 Chrome release still has issues with the Flash plug-in and stopped working on several websites we accessed. Yes, there were thirty-something tabs open, but the Flash plug-in should not crash in a 1.0 browser release regardless of the number of open tabs. Simply put, Chrome 1.0 is as stable as the 0.4.154.22 beta was and Google can’t wiggle itself out of this claim.
Google highlights a bookmark manager and more granular privacy controls in a manner that implies changes in the 1.0 version whereas, in fact, they were first rolled out nearly a month ago in a release with version number 0.4.154.22, followed shortly by a bugfix-only release with the version number 0.4.154.22. The latter was the 13th release in a row, followed by yesterday's 1.0 release.
Google may have a different definition of what is feature-complete and not and it may want to keep the browser as streamlined as possible. But Chrome needs more security and privacy options, its minimal user interface and the variety of configuration options could use some improvements. Right now, Chrome seems to appeal to a very specific user group that looks for uncompromised performance, whereas Firefox appeals to a much broader range and provides a much more reasonable compromise between feature set and streamlined browser design. The product itself is clearly not yet competitive enough to play with the big boys.
Marketing reasons?
Chrome is not a final version in a traditional sense. It is just not a good idea to replace a beta label simply with a final label and hope that it magically becomes final as a result.
The only reasons that make sense to us are marketing related. Beta browsers tend to be stuck below the 1% market share level and are not as strongly adopted as “final” browsers. Perhaps Google got tired of being compared to the market shares of Opera and IE8 Beta? From our perspective, the decision to remove the beta label is a sign of desperation and pure marketing move designed to inflate Chrome's market share.
Also, think about Google’s intention to bundle Chrome with PCs. If you were a PC vendor, would you give your customers a beta browser? As a customer, would you like to get beta software on your PC? Of course not.
Conclusion
The bottom line is: End-users do not benefit from Chrome 1.0 compared to Chrome 0.4.154.22 beta in any way. From a marketing perspective, the removal of the beta status will probably drive Chrome's market share, but the gains will be short lived, if there aren’t any substantial updates that do not offer widespread plug-in support and new end-user features in a timely manner.
Delivering the features users want may be the easiest way to drive user numbers up and create a loyal following. Resort to cheap tactics like pushing a beta product into an official 1.0 status out of the blue is a risky attempt to inflate user numbers and may backfire. As a final product, Chrome has lost its beta benefit in browser comparisons and may not fare as well anymore. Even worse, the credibility of final versions delivered by Google may suffer.
I would have no problem with their removal of the beta label at all if a) Chrome 1.0 brought a jump in quality compared to the most recent beta version or b) if Google provided a Chrome roadmap months in advance, as Mozilla does, to let users know which beta release should be considered the final candidate release.
We still believe that Chrome may become a fantastic browser overall. But yesterday’s 1.0 rollout was wrong. Chrome should still be labeled as a beta product. Sure, it is difficult to downgrade it back again to a 0.9 version. But what about an upgrade to 1.5 beta?

By Christian Zibreg

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Monday, December 15, 2008

uTEST BROWSER REPORT: CHROME IS THE BUGGIEST


As Firefox and Chrome battle it out with new betas and rumored release dates, a newly completed analysis is answering the question over which browser has the most bugs.
Mozilla released Firefox 3.1 beta 2 this week and is now working on a third beta set to debut in early January. Google executives, meanwhile, reportedly indicated during a Web conference interview that Chrome is on the brink of coming out of beta altogether.
Testing, 1, 2, 3
In contrast to what those timelines might suggest, Chrome is being called the buggiest browser of all in a review released Wednesday. Open software testing community uTest used its crowdsource-based model to sign up 1,300 volunteer testers for the project. Each tester compared Firefox 3.1's first beta with Chrome's third beta (0.3.154.9) and Internet Explorer 8 beta 2. Neither Opera nor Safari was included in the analysis.
The testers competed for eight days to see who could uncover the most problems. uTest then verified and compiled the results to determine how each browser fared.
General Findings
The test's overall message is positive: uTest uncovered no major security flaw in any of the three browsers covered. "We're very encouraged by it," says spokesperson Matt Johnston. "In years past, we wouldn't have been able to say that."
The community did, however, discover 672 bugs across the browsers -- an average of almost one bug found for every 15 minutes of testing. All were user interface-related functional or technical issues, Johnston says. One bug, for example, caused a newly opened tab to have faulty color properties. Another caused a blip when trying to import favorites from another browser.
"They were general usability and functional things," Johnston explains.
Browser Breakdown
So here's the breakdown, browser-by-browser:
• Internet Explorer 8 beta 2: 168 bugs identified
• Firefox 3.1 beta 1: 207 bugs identified
• Chrome 0.3.154.9: 297 bugs identified
Among those bugs, 101 were labeled as "showstoppers," or more serious flaws that warrant immediate attention. Firefox had the highest percentage of those, at 24 percent. Twelve percent of Chrome's bugs were deemed "showstoppers," while 9 percent of IE's received the designation.
As for overall usability, Firefox had the highest number of "excellent" ratings, followed by Chrome, then IE -- which did not receive a single "excellent" score. Firefox also came out on top in ratings for general preference.
(The uTest community, by the way, is by its own reporting a fairly tech-savvy crowd. Nearly 80 percent of the members list "software tester" as their full-time professions.)
Putting It All Together
The Chrome-tarnishing results may not be entirely surprising. Chrome -- the newest browser of the three -- has seen numerous bugs and compatibility issues since its debut. Still, each release has made the product more stable than the last. And though Chrome has the smallest market share of the three browsers included here, Google has suggested its biggest push won't start until the software is deemed stable enough for a full release. Then, recent reports indicate, the company will "throw [its] weight behind it," heavily promoting Chrome and possibly even inking deals to have it preinstalled on new PCs.
With the notion that such a full release could be right around the corner, though, one has to hope Google has one serious update ready to roll out. Otherwise, if the uTest results are to be believed, that first full version may still be a bit too buggy for the masses.

JR Raphael

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

FREE XBOX LIVE TITLES THIS MONTH


Last week, Xbox Live Director Larry "Major Nelson" Hyrb announced Microsoft's Xbox Live "Friendship is Free" program.
Under the program, eight popular Xbox Live Arcade titles-- A Kingdom for Keflings, Aegis Wing, Bomberman Live, Hardwood Hearts, Hardwood Spades, UNO, Small Arms and Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix--will be free to play online for Xbox Live Silver members all this month.


Normally, gamers have to pay US$8 a month, $20 for three months, or $50 a year to have access to Xbox Live Gold accounts and unlimited online gameplay.
Of course, a caveat to this "Friendship is Free" program exists in the fact that you have to pay for most of the games (the Major confirmed this in an email), although Aegis Wing is free. If you want a free copy of "Friendship is Free" headliner A Kingdom of Keflings, you could try to win one via GamePro Arcade's latest contest!

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Friday, December 12, 2008

A SMALLER 32nm CHIP DEVELOPED BY INTEL


Intel on Wednesday said it finished development work on manufacturing technology that will allow it to produce chips with circuitry just 32-nanometers in size, a billionth of a meter, by the fourth quarter of next year.
The new production technology will enable the company to lower costs and power consumption in chips, while adding more speed and functionality. In general, microprocessing speeds are directly related to the number of transistors on a chip, and the smaller the transistor, the more can be packed together on a single chip die. Smaller production technology lowers costs by enabling companies to increase output.
The development also means Intel will for the fourth consecutive time match its "tick-tock" strategy, a target to introduce an entirely new microprocessor architecture alternating with new production technology roughly every twelve months.
At a technical conference later this month, Intel engineers plan to detail how they will transition from the current crop of 45-nanometer processors to chips that are built on a new 32-nm manufacturing process. Intel is developing this new line of processors under the code name “Westmere,” and Intel plans to bring the first of these 32-nm microprocessors to the market in late 2009. At the same conference, IBM and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing also plan to detail their efforts at developing and manufacturing 32- and 22-nm processors.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

JAVA 6.0 UPDATE 11 PATCHES BUGS


Sun patched at least 14 vulnerabilities in Java last week as it updated the popular software to version 6.0, build 11.
The release notes for Java 1.6.0_11, as Sun dubbed the update, skimped on details about the security flaws that were patched, but listed a total of 14 alerts, each of which will presumably provide information about at least one vulnerability.
Those alerts have not yet been published, however, leaving users in the dark about the specifics of what has been patched.
Sun also addressed 34 non-security problems with 1.6.0_11, ranging from a data corruption bug to a compatibility issue with some Java-based games.
Windows users, who account for the bulk of Java's installs, can update by clicking on the Java icon in the Control Panel, clicking on the "Update" tab, then clicking the "Update Now" button. Users running other operating systems can grab the newest version from Sun's Web site.
Mac OS X users must wait for Apple to craft its own Java update. Unlike rivals like Microsoft , Apple maintains its own version of Java and is responsible for delivering patches to Sun's software.
If the past is an accurate indicator, Apple's customers may not receive yes this Java fixes for months. When Apple refreshed Java in late September, for instance, it fixed more than two dozen vulnerabilities, some of which had been patched in updates for Java for Windows, Linux and Solaris as far back as March 2008 .
Apple has been frequently criticized for its sluggish patching of third-party components, particularly open-source code, that it bundles with its operating system. More than a year ago, Charles Miller, a researcher with Independent Security Evaluators, called Apple's inability to keep up with open-source fixes "negligent." More recently, Miller and others took Apple to task for not scheduling updates , instead releasing them at any time during the month.
Users can check to see which version of Java their machine is currently running by visiting this page on the Sun site.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

SYMBIAN FOUNDATION ON OPEN SOURCE OS


The Symbian Foundation is on track to take over Symbian as an open-source operating system in 2010 and will put out its first distribution of software for developers in the first half of next year, its executive director said Thursday.
The foundation is the successor to the Symbian consortium that has administered the OS since 1998. It is being formed after Nokia agreed to buy the remaining part of Symbian, a deal that closed on Tuesday. The world's largest handset maker, which has been perceived as dominating Symbian since its creation, is releasing the platform as competition for developers grows among Google's Android, Apple's iPhone and other systems.

Nokia, Motorola, NTT DoCoMo, LG Electronics, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, AT&T and other companies agreed in June to form the foundation. Six new members, including AOL, Fujitsu's Cell Telecom division, and Intrinsyc, were announced Thursday at the Symbian Partner Event in San Francisco. That brings total membership to 64, the group said.
The distribution of code coming in the first half of 2009 won't be entirely open source. It will be released to members of the foundation, under a new partner organization that eventually will supplant Symbian's current partner program, said Lee Williams, executive director of the Symbian Foundation. It will include elements of Symbian and of Nokia's Symbian-based S60 platform. The group is already working on code for that distribution.
The open-source OS coming in 2010, will unite Symbian with S60 as well as two other platforms built on it: UIQ and NTT DoCoMo's MOAP (Mobile Oriented Applications Platform).
The foundation is now defining roles within its organization and starting to work on recruiting for those jobs, Williams said. By the end of April, there will be staffers answering calls and e-mail for developer support and other needs, he said.

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Saturday, December 6, 2008

OPERA 10 Alpha DESKTOP BROWSER UP FOR PREVIEW


Opera Software is giving developers and users an early look at its Opera 10 browser, which features a new version of its rendering engine that the company says offers 30 percent improvement in the speed of loading Web pages.
An alpha version of Opera 10 is available online. The rendering engine, called Opera Presto 2.2, is the foundation of all of Opera's browsers, including the popular Opera Mobile. It also runs on the server that powers the Opera Mini, Opera's thin-client browser that is used on cell phones.
Jan Standal, director of consumer product management and developer relations at Opera, said better loading speed and support for Web standards are the key design goals for Opera 10's release.
Standal noted that the alpha of Opera 10 released Thursday received a perfect 100 test score on the Acid3 test, which is the standard test from the Web Standards Project that gauges how well a browser follows generally accepted standards -- such as Javascript, Document Object Model and Cascading Style Sheets -- for Web pages. In the Acid3 test, a browser is expected to render a page a certain way.
Support for Web Font, a technology that allows a Web developer to specify any font that's available on the Internet rather than depend on ones available locally, also is available in the alpha release of Opera 10 as part of the Presto 2.2 software, Standal said.
Opera expects to release a beta of Opera 10 in early 2009 and a full version of the browser before midyear, he said.
While Opera's desktop browser has only a very small market share in the U.S., the software is more popular with users in Europe and Asia.

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Friday, December 5, 2008

NEW PASSWORD STEALER TARGETS FIREFOX USERS


Researchers at BitDefender have discovered a new type of malicious software that collects passwords for banking sites but targets only Firefox users.
The malware, which BitDefender dubbed "Trojan.PWS.ChromeInject.A" sits in Firefox's add-ons folder, said Viorel Canja, the head of BitDefender's lab. The malware runs when Firefox is started.
The malware uses JavaScript to identify more than 100 financial and money transfer Web sites, including Barclays, Wachovia, Bank of America, and PayPal along with two dozen or so Italian and Spanish banks. When it recognizes a Web site, it will collect logins and passwords, forwarding that information to a server in Russia.
Firefox has been continually gaining market share against main competitor Internet Explorer since its debut four years ago, which may be one reason why malware authors are looking for new avenues to infect computers, Canja said.
Users could be infected with the Trojan either from a drive-by download, which can infect a PC by exploiting a vulnerability in a browser, or by being duped into downloading it, Canja said.

When it runs on a PC, it registers itself in Firefox's system files as "Greasemonkey," a well-known collection of scripts that add extra functionality to Web pages rendered by Firefox.
BitDefender has updated its products to detect it, and other vendors will likely follow suit quickly, Canja said. Users could avoid it by only downloading signed, verified software, but that's a measure that restricts the usability of a PC, he said.
The malware is not present in Mozilla's repository of add-ons, Canja said. Mozilla had taken steps to ensure that its official site hosting add-ons -- also called extensions -- are free from malware.
In May, Mozilla acknowledged that the Vietnamese language pack for Firefox contained a bit of unwanted code. Although widely reported as a virus, the language actually contained a line of HTML code that would cause users to view unwanted advertisements.
Mozilla now scans new add-ons for malware. However, those scans will only detect known threats, and there was no signature in the security software Mozilla was using at the time that could detect the code.
Mozilla said the code probably ended up in the language pack after the PC of its developer became infected. More than 16,000 people downloaded the language pack, but only about 1,000 people regularly use it.
After the incident, Mozilla said it would scan add-ons in its repository when antivirus signatures were updated.

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

MUMBAI SIEGE TERRORISTS USED GOOGLE EARTH


The terrorists that attacked various locations in south Mumbai last week used digital maps from Google Earth to learn their way around, according to officials investigating the attacks.
Investigations by the Mumbai police, including the interrogation of one nabbed terrorist, suggest that the terrorists were highly trained and used technologies such as satellite phones, and global positioning systems (GPS), according to police.
Google Earth has previously come in for criticism in India, including from the country's former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam.
Kalam warned in a 2005 lecture that the easy availability online of detailed maps of countries from services such as Google Earth could be misused by terrorists.
A Google spokeswoman said in an e-mail Monday that Google Earth's imagery is already available through commercial and public sources. Google Earth has also been used by aid agencies for relief operations, which outweighs abusive uses, she said.
Indian security agencies have complained that Google Earth exposed Indian defense and other sensitive installations. Other nations, including China, have made similar complaints regarding military locations.
However the places attacked by terrorists last week did not come under the category of defense or sensitive installations. The information available to the terrorists on Google Earth about the locations they attacked is also available on printed tourism maps of Mumbai. The locations included two hotels, a restaurant, a residential complex and a railway station.

John Ribeiro, IDG News Service

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

WORLD OF WARCRAFT EXPANSION SHATTERS RECORD


Online gamers, bow before the king.
According to developer Blizzard, the recently released World of Warcraft expansion Wrath of the Lich King sold over 2.8 million copies in its first 24 hours of availability, making it the single fastest selling PC game in history.
In an official statement, Blizzard CEO and co founder Mike Morhaime expressed thanks.
"We're grateful for the incredible support that players around the world have continued to show for World of Warcraft," he said. "Wrath of the Lich King contains some of the best content we've created for the game so far, and we look forward to seeing even more players log in to experience it in the days ahead."

He didn't, however, express much surprise. That's because the second fastest selling PC game of all time is none other than the first World of Warcraft expansion, The Burning Crusade, which sold through roughly 2.4 million copies in its opening day.
Those numbers are just as stunning as they look. To give some context, it took EA's chart-topping evolutionary simulation Spore a good three weeks to hit the two million mark. And with 11 million active Warcraft subscribers out there, expect more records to be broken before the year is over.

By Ben Silverman

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AIDS: REAL IMAGES, REAL PEOPLE, REAL SUFFERINGS


In observance of this year's World Aids Day, I decided to pause, reflect and pay respect to those suffered and died, not the numbers and figures in the statistics, but the real people who are unwilling victims of this dreadful disease. As I was preparing and gathering resources for my World Aids Day post, with a mindset that this is a usual post with statistics and everything, I came upon this very disturbing Aids In Asia photos, taken in Cambodia. Truly a single picture speaks a thousand words, and it presents me with the harsh and painful reality.

Here's the reality and some words from the photographer:
"Numbers and statistics are just that, nothing more than markings on paper or words on a news program, the human side however is truly disturbing. Patients wait to die alone, coated in flies and nursed by family members. Understaffed hospitals are in such disrepair that they have been deemed biohazard and HAZMAT threats and workers refuse to even enter the premises, much less make necessary repairs and provide care to patients. In several well known hospitals I found myself literally wading through ankle deep piles of disposed needles, catheter bags and soiled linens, as patents navigated hallways with potholes that dropped through to the floors below."
He further dedicates his photos and closes as saying:
"This photo story is dedicated to my new friends who sit quietly and wait to die, those who choose not to sit quietly but fight for the lives and the health of their friends, family, and complete strangers. This photo story should also serve as an attack on the organizations, governments, corporations and pharmaceutical giants who quite simply are doing too little."

Maybe after posting, I will take a short walk outside, take a deep breath and find a quiet corner where I can be alone, maybe mumble a few prayers, and ponder on this lousy overasked question, but weighs a ton at this moment....WHY?





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Friday, November 28, 2008

NEW NOKIA 6260 SLIDE HI SPEEDS UPLOAD AND DOWNLOAD


Nokia's 6260 is the company's first phone with support for both faster download and upload speeds using HSPA (High Speed Packet Access), at up to 10.2 M bits per second and 2M bps respectively.
Nokia has been dragging its feet on support for more bandwidth, but there is now enough demand from consumers and support from network operators for the faster upload and download speeds to make it worth the effort.
Users will be able to take advantage of the higher speeds when uploading images and videos to Web sites, blogs and social networks, and the faster download speeds when, for example, watching videos, according to Nokia.
So far Nokia phone users have been limited to download speeds of 3.6M bps and upload speeds of 384K bps.
Other phones that support faster speeds include the T-Mobile G1, Research in Motion's BlackBerry Storm and the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1.
The 6260 slide is expected to retail for €299 (US$386) before taxes and subsidies, and will ship at the beginning of next year, according to Nokia.
The phone runs Nokia's Series 40 software and offers quick access to search engines from the home screen. Other features include support for Wi-Fi, a 5-megapixel camera and A-GPS (Assisted Global Positioning System).
"Nokia is looking at the current downturn, and I think it sees an opportunity to really consolidate and capitalize on its scale, and keep coming out with more and more feature-rich, aggressively priced devices to put more pressure on its competitors," said Ben Wood, director of research at CCS Insight.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

SONY RELEASES ITS V2.53 PS3 UPDATE


You can learn more about what you didn't realize was wrong with your PS3 from reading these updates. Did you know the browser couldn't play Flash videos? The system couldn't be set to turn off automatically after a given period of inactivity? You couldn't print to network printers? That the mini panel for music playback didn't have a pause icon?
Neither did I. I also had no idea what "mosquito noise" was until I looked it up. Actually I knew what it was, I just called it something else. You'd know it as "fuzz" around the edges of objects in a compressed video or picture. It's technically a subset of the sort of general artifact degradation that can occur when complex data gets dropped or misplaced during an aggressive compression process. The update adds a feature to reduce it on videos saved to the hard disk or played from other media.
Wait. Stop. Back up. What I meant to say, was the last few updates added all that stuff. Seems some sites are confused about what's new and what isn't. In the v2.53 update, the only change is apparently this one:
An update to the PS3™ system software was released on November 26, 2008. You can use this update to upgrade your system software to version 2.53.
New to 2.53: The Internet browser now supports full-screen mode for Adobe® Flash® Player content.*
Support for Adobe® Flash® Player 9 has been added.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

HOW'D THOSE TECH PRODUCTS GET THEIR NAMES (Final Installment)

Coming up with a great technology product or service is only half the battle these days. Creating a name for said product that is at once cool but not too cool or exclusionary, marketable to both early adopters and a broader audience, and, of course, isn't already in use and protected by various trademarks and copyright laws is difficult--to say the least.
The makers of these 10 tech products--the iPod, BlackBerry, Firefox, Twitter, Windows 7, ThinkPad, Android, Wikipedia, Mac OS X and the "Big Cats," and Red Hat Linux--all have displayed certain amounts marketing savvy, common sense and fun-loving spirit in settling on their products' names. Here are the intriguing, surprising and sometimes predictable accounts of their creation.
ThinkPad: Simplicity Wins Out

The venerable line of PC notebooks rolled onto the scene in 1992. While the concept was spot on, there was turmoil at IBM as to what to call it. IBM's pen-computing group wanted to keep it simple; they liked ThinkPad. But IBM's corporate naming committee didn't--it didn't have a number, and every IBM product had to have a number, and how would ThinkPad translate into other languages? Due to the chutzpah of the IBMer who unveiled it, ThinkPad won out, and it was a huge hit for IBM, which eventually sold it to Lenovo in 2005.
Android: Secretive, But Still Not Exciting

You'd think the story behind the naming of the Open Handset Alliance's new open-source platform for mobile devices, which includes the brand-new G1 loaded with Google's goodies, would be cool. But, uh, not so much. Back in 2005, Google quietly acquired a mysterious startup named Android Inc., which had been operating under "a cloak of secrecy" on "making software for mobile phones," reported Businessweek. The result of all Google's secrecy and Internet hype was the debut of T-Mobile's G1 on Oct. 22, 2008.
Wikipedia: Just What It Sounds Like

According to Wikipedia, the name Wikipedia is a portmanteau of wiki (a technology for creating collaborative websites) and encyclopedia (you remember, those large books that, as kids, we ruthlessly plagiarized for school book reports). FYI: a portmanteau is a fancy way of saying that we're going to take two words, jam them together and (hopefully) create a new concept that people will love. So far, so good. In an illustration of the axiom "the more things change the more they stay the same": Today, kids and adults now ruthlessly plagiarize Wikipedia instead of encyclopedias.
Mac OS X and "The Big Cats": Catlike Sleekness and Style

Apple's popular Mac operating system X actually denotes the Roman numeral 10, since it is the OS's tenth release, following Mac OS 9. To the ire of Apple fanboys, many people do refer to it as letter 'X.' More interesting have been the "big cat" code names assigned to each succeeding X release that have stuck with Apple's marketing: Cheetah (10.0), Puma, Jaguar, Panther, Tiger and current kitty Leopard. Snow Leopard has been assigned for the 10.6 release, with rumors that Lynx and Cougar are in the works.
Red Hat Linux: A Name Rich with Meaning

Cofounder Bob Young has given multidimensional origins of the red fedora name:
1. It was named after red, which in Western history is "the symbol of liberation and challenge of authority."
2. Cofounder Marc Ewing wore his grandfather's red Cornell lacrosse hat in college and became known for this tech expertise--those with problems went to see the guy in the red hat.
3. Ewing named his software projects Red Hat 1, Red Hat 2 and so on. "So, when he started his Linux project, he just named it Red Hat Linux," Young said. All righty then!

Thomas Wailgum, CIO

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Monday, November 24, 2008

MICROSOFT MSRT UPDATE REMOVES FAKE SECURITY SOFTWARE


Microsoft said that the anti-malware tool it pushes to Windows users as part of Patch Tuesday removed fake security software from nearly a million PCs during nine days this month.
In a post to the company's malware protection center blog on Wednesday, three of Microsoft's security researchers spelled out the impact this month's edition of the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) has had on phony security software. In the period from Nov. 11 to Nov. 19, said Scott Wu, Scott Molenkamp and Hamish O'Dea, MSRT purged more than 994,000 machines of what the tool recognizes as "W32/FakeSecSen," the malware label for a broad range of bogus security program with names such as "Advanced Antivirus," "Spyware Preventer," "Ultimate Antivirus 2008" and "XPert Antivirus."
Windows users have been plagued with a flood of worthless security software in recent months as criminals have discovered that they're money-makers. According to one researcher, cyber-crooks can pull in as much as US$5 million a year by installing the rogue programs on PCs, then dunning users with made-up claims that the machine is infected. Unless consumers fork over a payment -- usually $40 to $50 -- the constant stream of pop-up messages continue, making the machine hard to use.
Windows users may install the fake programs because they've been duped into thinking that they're real -- at times, bogus security software has been ranked high in Internet search results -- although the rogue applications are also often secretly installed by malware that's infected a system.
The clean-up job was one of Microsoft's biggest ever. In June 2008, MSRT sniffed out 1.2 million PCs infected with a family of password stealers, while in February, it scrubbed the Vundo Trojan from about a million machines. Over several months at the end of last year, the tool hit the then-notorious Storm Trojan hard, eventually eradicating it from a half-million PCs, something Microsoft bragged about later.
This time, Microsoft took the opportunity to pat itself on the back again. Although each FakeSecSen installation normally contains an .exe file, one or two .dat files, a control panel applet and other components, the MSRT found that only about 20% of the infected PCs it uncovered still harbored the .exe. (Other components remained, however, as evidence of the bogus program's installation.)
Microsoft speculated that the .exe files had been removed by other anti-malware software that had overlooked the other pieces. "Microsoft was able to thoroughly clean systems of FakeSecSen while other malware detection tools may not have caught and cleaned as many executables," said Bill Sisk, a Microsoft security spokesman, in an e-mail.
Windows users can download the MSRT manually from Microsoft's Web site, or via the Windows Update service

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Friday, November 21, 2008

NEW GTA lV CONTENT OUT BY FEB.17, 2009 ... ROCKSTAR


Thank you Rockstar, it's about time we're finally talking release dates for the Grand Theft Auto IV downloadable content you promised ages ago. We won't hold your tardiness against you, though you are rather tardy here. February 17, 2009? That's stringing things out a bit, no?
The first of two episodes, "The Lost and Damned" will be exclusive to Xbox 360 and include a new main character and plot that intersects with GTA IV's central storyline. Rockstar says it'll include new missions "that offer an entirely fresh way to explore Liberty City with new multiplayer modes, weapons and vehicles, and a diverse soundtrack with additional music."

“Making these episodes has enabled us to expand the narrative and the experience of interacting with a game world in really innovative ways,” said Sam Houser, Founder of Rockstar Games. “We hope fans of the game enjoy the new way of experiencing life in Liberty City contained in this first episode.”

Great if belated news for Xbox 360 owners, but why no love for PlayStation 3 or PC (the PC version ships in just a few weeks on 12/2)? Or is all this ballyhoo just a smokescreen for timed exclusivity?

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

HOW'D THOSE TECH PRODUCTS GET THEIR NAMES {First Part Installment}

Coming up with a great technology product or service is only half the battle these days. Creating a name for said product that is at once cool but not too cool or exclusionary, marketable to both early adopters and a broader audience, and, of course, isn't already in use and protected by various trademarks and copyright laws is difficult--to say the least.
The makers of these 10 tech products--the iPod, BlackBerry, Firefox, Twitter, Windows 7, ThinkPad, Android, Wikipedia, Mac OS X and the "Big Cats," and Red Hat Linux--all have displayed certain amounts marketing savvy, common sense and fun-loving spirit in settling on their products' names. Here are the intriguing, surprising and sometimes predictable accounts of their creation.
iPod: "Open the pod bay door, Hal"

During Apple's MP3 player development, Steve Jobs spoke of Apple's strategy: the Mac as a hub to other gadgets. Vinnie Chieco, a freelance copywriter Apple hired to help name the gadget before its debut in 2001, fixed on that idea, according to Wired. He brainstormed hubs of all kinds, eventually coming to the concept of a spaceship. You could leave it, but you'd have to return to refuel. The stark plastic front of the prototype inspired the final connection: pod, a la 2001. Add an "i" and the connection to the iMac was complete.
BlackBerry: Sweet Addictiveness

Canada's Research in Motion called on Lexicon Branding to help name its new wireless e-mail device in 2001. The consultancy pushed RIM founders away from the word "e-mail," which research shows can raise blood pressure. Instead, they looked for a name that would evoke joy and somehow give feelings of peace. After someone made the connection that the small buttons on the device resembled a bunch of seeds, Lexicon's team (see profile) explored names like strawberry, melon and various vegetables before settling on blackberry--a word both pleasing and which evoked the black color of the device.
Firefox: Second Time's a Charm

Choosing a name that evokes a product's essence and is available can be quite complicated, as the Mozilla folks found out. The early version of Mozilla's browser was called Firebird, but due to another open-source project with the same name, the Mozilla elders renamed their browser Firefox, which is another name for red panda. Why? "It's easy to remember. It sounds good. It's unique. We like it," they said. Best of all? Nobody else was using it.
Twitter: Connecting the Digital Flock 140 Characters at a Time

When cofounder Biz Stone saw the application that Jack Dorsey created in 2006 he was reminded of the way birds communicate: "Short bursts of information...Everyone is chirping, having a good time." In response, Stone came up with "twttr," and the group eventually added some vowels. It's hard to think of a more evocative name in the tech world than twitter, but what began as what Stone described as "trivial" bursts of communication developed into a powerful means of networking, breaking news, and forum for the 44th U.S. president's campaign.
Windows 7: Counting on the Power of 7

While Microsoft's next OS is kind of a "Ho-hum" name, one has only to look at what happened with the most recent Windows release to understand why Microsoft might have gone back to a tried-and-true naming philosophy: Vista? Ouch. Windows 95 and XP? Those have done much better. Microsoft's Mike Nash announced the name this way: "Simply put, this is the seventh release of Windows, so therefore 'Windows 7' just makes sense." We're betting that Microsoft execs are hoping that number 7 will deliver on its promise of luck--they could sure use a win after Vista.

Thomas Wailgum, CIO
{end of first installment - watch my future posts for the second part installment}

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

CHEAP SMARTPHONE TREND START-OFFS WITH NEW NOKIA E63


Nokia's E63 smartphone, announced Wednesday, will cost €199 (US$250) before any subsidies -- a price that puts the phone maker ahead in a burgeoning price war and which one analyst described as "eye-popping."
The E63 is a qwerty messaging device, with a 2.36-inch display, a 2-megapixel camera and two customizable home screen views for both business and personal use. Nokia promises easy e-mail setup and users can surf the Internet using a WLAN.
The phone also comes with support for Files on Ovi, so anyone buying the handset will have access to 1G byte of free online file storage, according to Nokia.
"Nokia has never made any secret of the fact that it wanted to take S60 to aggressive price points and with a retail price of 199 it is certainly showing Nokia can do that," said Ben Wood, director of research at CCS Insight.
Other phone vendors will have no choice but to follow Nokia's lead. Companies that want to be competitive have to match the best prices in the market and with the economy being what it is pricing will become increasingly important, according to Wood.
"Given the current economic climate, price is becoming more important than ever before, because what we are seeing is that the major network operators are starting to take subsidies out of phones, so if you want well-featured phones bought by consumers you have to supply them at an aggressive price," Wood said.
Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms & Media, has identified the same trend -- the price war will only intensify at a time when new entrants into the market are increasing their pressure on competitors to reduce prices, mainly for feature phones and smartphones, he wrote in a recent research note.
Nokia isn't the only company that plans to put smartphone pricing under pressure. Huawei and newcomer INQ are also getting into the game. Huawei -- a company that has already turned mobile infrastructure pricing on its head -- said last week that it plans to launch both Android and Symbian phones during the first half of next year. And INQ is launching Thursday, with its devices designed to stimulate mass-market mobile data use, featuring a select set of geographically relevant social networking, e-mail and instant messaging applications, according to a company presentation.

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

CHROME'S NEW QUIET PATCH BY GOOGLE


Google Inc. has patched Chrome to prevent attackers from stealing files from PCs running the open-source browser.
The update, however, has not been pushed out to most users yet.
Google quashed the bug in a developer-only version of Chrome that has not been sent to all users via the browser's update mechanism. Chrome users, however, can reset the browser to receive all updates, including the developer editions, with the Channel Chooser plug-in.
Chrome 0.4.154.18, which was released Tuesday, fixes a vulnerability that could be used by hackers to read files on a user's machine, then transfer them to their own malicious servers. "We now prevent local files from connecting to the network with XMLHttpRequest() and also prompt you to confirm a download if it is an HTML file," Mark Larson, Chrome's program manager, said in an entry to the browser's developer blog.
Google also enhanced Chrome by adding several new features to the 0.4.154.18 build, including a bookmark manager, more granular control over the browser's built-in privacy mode and a revamped pop-up blocker.
Larson warned users, however, that Chrome continues to have problems synchronizing offline data using Gears, Google's platform for building Web applications that can be used offline as well as when the user is connected to the Internet. "Sites that use Gears to synchronize offline data may occasionally hang," Larson said. "You should disable offline access for sites until a fix is released."
Chrome 0.4.154.18 also includes a newer version of V8, the name for Google's JavaScript interpreter.
The current "official" beta build of Chrome is 0.3.154.9.
Google's browser accounted for only 0.74% of the browser usage share last month, according to data from Web metrics company Net Applications Inc.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

CRITICAL MICROSOFT PATCH FOR WORM RISK


A scary security flaw that would allow malicious worms to infect one PC and then automatically jump to others prompted Microsoft to release a rare out-of-cycle patch in October. The glitch is critical for both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, and for Windows Server 2000. Microsoft says that targeted attacks exploited the hole prior to the patch's release, and that "detailed exploit code" is currently available online.
This marks the first time since April 2007 that Microsoft has released a fix outside of its normal Patch Tuesday cycle; it wa s sparked by lessons learned from worm epidemics like Blaster and Slammer, which cost users billions of dollars to disinfect in 2003.
Though the new hole is a huge risk, protections put in place since the worms surfaced make another epidemic far less likely. Most important is Windows XP's default-on Windows Firewall: A worm crafted to attack the new flaw would have to establish an external connection, which firewalls usually block. If a PC has no firewall, however, or if it is set up to permit file sharing and an attack comes from an infected PC on the same network, the conquering worm could take over the targeted PC. Business networks, which typically have many PCs configured for file sharing, are thus at high risk.
Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 have mitigating factors that reduce the risk from "critical" to "important," as rated by Microsoft. The company distributed the fix via Automatic Updates, but alternatively you can download it from Microsoft's Bulletin MS08-067 page. That page also provides further information on the situation.
IE Fixes, Too
On its regular Patch Tuesday schedule, Microsoft supplied fixes for six bad holes in Internet Explorer, underscoring the need to upgrade to IE 7 as soon as possible.
The wide-ranging flaws affect IE 5, 6, and 7 on Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Server 2003, and Server 2008, but they're most serious if you use an older version of IE on Windows XP or 2000. In those cases, an attack could run any command and have its way with your PC. If you've upgraded to IE 7, the flaws permit miscreants to steal user names or other cookie-based data, but nothing more.
Two of the bugs rated as most dangerous in Microsoft's new "exploitability index assessment," which gauges how likely an attack is against a given vulnerability. Get the fixes through Automatic Updates, or download the patch (and read more info on the new exploitability ratings) from MICROSOFT TECHNET.
Insecure F-Secure
Once again, security software has created an insecurity. If an F-Secure's program--ranging from Internet Security 2008 to Anti-Virus 2008 to Home Server Security 2009, in versions dating to 2006--scans a poisoned compressed file, your PC could be compromised. F-Secure says that no attacks have occurred, but if you use any of these versions, make sure that it has picked up the latest program updates (which should happen automatically).

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

HEART THREATENING EARBUDS


The dangers of headphones now extend beyond accidentally walking into traffic: a new report released today suggests that pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) may react negatively to the magnets inside MP3-player headphones.
After testing eight different models of earbuds and clip-on headphones, Harvard researchers determined that patients with pacemakers and ICDs should keep headphones at least 1.2 inches away from the device. The magnets inside the headphones send false signals to the heart that may result in skipped beats or, in the case of ICDs: shutdown. According to the Washington Post, "15 percent of patients with pacemakers and 30 percent of those with defibrillators had a response to the magnets."
Keep in mind these problems arise from internal magnets, so the danger exists even when the MP3 player is not operating.
Some doctors are saying that this news sounds far more ominous than it is. Dr. Spencer Rosero, an associate professor of medicine in the electrophysiology unit at the University of Rochester Medical Center, told the Post that while this information good to know, it's not immediately life-threatening. "It would not kill you," he said. I don't know -- "defibrillator shutdown" sounds pretty dangerous to me.
Though the report suggests that iPods themselves do not interfere with pacemakers, previous reports say otherwise. It's important to remember the breadth of these studies do not encapsulate huge portions of the population and can be easily misread. Still, it's best to be safe and keep those earbuds tucked in your pocket.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

DOING NOTHING IS DOING HARM


I'm taking a time out from my usual blogging post for my blog group, BLOGGERS WANTED TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, to turn our attention to the plight of refugees worldwide with this brief situationer. Everytime armed conflicts escalates anywhere in the globe so does the refugees population. We also witnessed a significant rise of various humanitarian groups/persons-celebrities along with UNHR helping to find a solution to the this rising refugees pop. and internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Refugee definitions are defined in 1951 Convention and 1969 OAU Convention, wherein 140 countries incorporated their refugee in their national legislation and keeping track of refugees easier. Besides this, there here has always been a conflict of definition of a refugee between UNHR, NGO's and the host country. In line with this, and for a refugee to be adequately protected and documented, a refugee must be registered. With this UNHR often supports countries in register and documenting refugees and categorized them into 7 groups and sub groups:

Refugees - Refugees include individuals recognized under the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees; its 1967 Protocol; the 1969 OAU Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, except some 4.6 million Palestinian refugees residing in areas of operation of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Asylum-seekers - Asylum-seekers are persons who have applied for asylum or refugee status, but who have not yet received a final decision on their application.

Returned Refugees - The population category of Returned refugees refers to refugees who have returned to their country of origin

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) - are people or groups of individuals who have been forced to leave their homes or places of habitual residence, in particular as a result of, or in order to avoid the effects of armed conflict, situations of generalized violence, violations of human rights or natural- or human-made disasters, and who have not crossed an international border.

Returned IDPs - Returned IDPs refers to internally displaced persons who have returned to their place of origin or habitual residence. In returnee situations, UNHCR seeks to reintegrate former IDPs as soon as possible by targeting both returnees as well as receiving communities.

Stateless persons - Stateless persons are individuals not considered as nationals by any State under relevant national laws. UNHCR statistics on statelessness also include people with undetermined nationality.

Other groups or persons of concern - Other groups or persons of concern refers to individuals who do not necessarily fall directly into any of the groups above but to whom UNHCR has extended its protection and/or assistance services, based on humanitarian or other special grounds. Until 2003, this category also included stateless persons.

Georgian women refugees sit on a straw-laden farm transporter as they rest before continuing their flight from Russian troops.

Basing on UNHR's 2007 Global Trends, refugees and IDPs falling under UNHCR’s responsibility was estimated at 25.1 million, available information suggests that a total of 67 million people had been forcibly displaced at the end of 2007. This includes 16 million refugees, of whom 11.4 million fall under UNHCR’s mandate and some 4.6 million Palestinian refugees under the responsibility of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The number of IDPs is estimated at 51 million worldwide; some 26 million were displaced as a result of armed conflict and another 25 million were displaced by natural disasters. In addition, while often not considered as being displaced per se, it is estimated that there are some 12 million stateless people worldwide.

Against this global refugee backdrop, how are we Bloggers placed. Keeping in mind, that DOING NOTHING IS DOING HARM. Besides individual financial contributions wherein your $80 can provide 20 wool blankets to protect refugees from the cold, and your $100 can already provide a survival kit to a refugee family, with essentials such as blankets, cooking and heating stove, we can also use our individual talents, although each of us bloggers, originating from different countries and religions with diverse political beliefs will unite in one call - Bloggers Unite !!!

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Sunday, November 9, 2008

INTEL TO SHIP NEHALEM CHIPS ON NOV. 17


Intel has scheduled the launch of its first Nehalem chip for Nov. 17, which also will be the day several PC makers begin shipping desktops running the new processor.
Steve Smith, vice president and director of operations for Intel's digital enterprise group, told Computerworld earlier this week that the first Nehalem chip, officially named Core i7, will be a quad-core designed for high-end desktops used by power users and gamers. Intel has been shipping previews of the chips to hardware vendors since September.
Rob Enderle, an analyst at the Enderle Group, said this week that he's been test-driving an Intel-built desktop running the quad-core chip with the hyper threading turned on, so it's virtually an eight-core. "It's fast. It's really fast," said Enderle.
The analyst also noted that the chip shows "significant improvement" in power efficiency, a key requirement for high-performance computing.
The Nehalem architecture features a 45-nanometer, four-core processor with an integrated memory controller that eliminates the need for a front-side bus. The new architecture is modular, which officials say will make it easier to scale from two to eight cores.
The Core i7 chips also are being designed to have two-way, simultaneous multi-threading, use Intel's QuickPath interconnect, and have a three-level cache hierarchy, Intel said.
Smith said an eight-core Nehalem is slated to ship in the second half of 2009, while two-core and four-core Nehalem chips for laptops should ship at about the same time.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

A NEW MOTO ANDROID


With no popular phones released for this holiday season, and hardly any this year, Motorola is set to revamp its entire mobile phone division with the help of Google's mobile operating system, Android.
Sanjay Jha, the company's new handset division chief, is planning large scale job cuts and will slash the number of mobile operating systems the company uses at the moment.
Six is the number of operating systems Motorola uses so far in its phone lineup and the new strategy will reduce this number by three. As reported earlier this month, Motorola gathered a 350 strong Android developers team and now revealed plans use of Google's operating system for its mid-tier phones, which constitute the company's largest volume sales.
The other two remaining mobile phone operating systems at Motorola will be Windows Mobile, which will be used for high-end phones and its proprietary system (P2K OS) for its inexpensive handsets.
Google's Android is based on Linux, an open source standard that Motorola was fancying for quite a while, so there's no wonder that the company adopted Android as its preferred platform. Also, Google isn't asking for any royalties from manufacturers that use Android, so here's another well-spent buck for Motorola.
It's hard to predict whether Android is going to save Motorola from further trouble. However, Motorola seems to be taking the right steps toward a rejuvenated future, also making users happy by providing a decent and easy to maintain software platform.
We should see anytime now an Android-based Moto prototype.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

SPAMS WITH THE HIGHEST RATINGS IN MY E-MAIL INBOX


Email spams can be described in two simple words "junk e-mail". Junk as they are, which are now a common fare in everyone's email inbox, but they can rob and con you and are dangerous, malware embedded, links you to dangerous sites if you heed them. Sometimes before branding them as spam in my Yahoo Mail inbox, I took the time to read them, and found out that they are becoming more creative each day. If you have read my previous post, "One of My Fave Spams ..." you will find that some are amusing to the point of beguiling the ignorance in us. Presently these spams cluttered my inbox in various prose and forms. As usual, no point in being irritated, so, I took the time to read, 'appreciate', and research them in various anti spam sites.
Here's what I found out:

THE "NIGERIAN" E-MAIL SCAMS
The Bait: Con artists claim to be officials, businesspeople, or the surviving spouses of former government honchos in Nigeria or another country whose money is somehow tied up for a limited time. They offer to transfer lots of money into your bank account if you will pay a fee or "taxes" to help them access their money. If you respond to the initial offer, you may receive documents that look "official." Then they ask you to send money to cover transaction and transfer costs and attorney's fees, as well as blank letterhead, your bank account numbers, or other information. They may even encourage you to travel to the country in question, or a neighboring country, to complete the transaction. Some fraudsters have even produced trunks of dyed or stamped money to try to verify their claims.
The Catch: The emails are from crooks trying to steal your money or your identity. Inevitably, in this scenario, emergencies come up, requiring more of your money and delaying the "transfer" of funds to your account. In the end, there aren't any profits for you, and the scam artist vanishes with your money. The harm sometimes can be felt even beyond your pocketbook: according to State Department reports, people who have responded to "pay in advance " solicitations have been beaten, subjected to threats and extortion, and in some cases, murdered.
Your Safety Net: If you receive an email from someone claiming to need your help getting money out of a foreign country, don't respond. If you've lost money to one of these schemes, call your local Secret Service field office. Local field offices are listed in the Blue Pages of your telephone directory.

FOREIGN LOTTERIES
The Bait: Emails boasting enticing odds in foreign lotteries. You may even get a message claiming you've already won! You just have to pay to get your prize or collect your winnings.
The Catch: Most promotions for foreign lotteries are phony. The scammers will ask you to pay "taxes," "customs duties," or fees – and then keep any money you send." Scammers sometime ask you to send funds via wire transfer. Don't send cash or use a money-wiring service because you'll have no recourse if something goes wrong. In addition, lottery hustlers use victims' bank account numbers to make unauthorized withdrawals or their credit card numbers to run up additional charges. And one last important note: participating in a foreign lottery violates U.S. law.
Your Safety Net: Skip these offers. Don't send money now on the promise of a pay-off later.
For more spams update, visit:
Hoax Busters.org
OnGuard OnLine
Snopes.com

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