Thursday, November 29, 2007

Byte Into It - 28 Nov 07




Digg - Is this the most newbie-friendly/easy distro so far? Linux Mint 4.0 Daryna
Linux Mint 4.0 is a Linux distribution based on Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon that has lots of packages in its repositories (like multimedia codecs, Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader, Skype, Google Earth, etc.) that are relatively hard to install on other distributions; it therefore provides a user-friendly desktop experience even for complete Linux newbies.

Digg - DirectX 9.0c on Linux with Wine
A howto about installing DirectX 9.0c into Wine, the diagnostics program (dxdiag.exe) passes each of the test that is included in the standard DirectX install.. after the install only five dlls need to be set as builtin Wine dlls and the rest can be run as native Windows dlls. While this is not 100% DirectX on Linux, it is 95+%

Only Ubuntu Linux: Howto Tweak Ubuntu
This tool is for ubuntu which makes it easy to change hidden system and desktop settings.Ubuntu Tweak is only for GNOME desktop environment.This is still under heavy development and very good utility for ubuntu users.

Digg - Firefox 3 vs. Firefox 2
comparison of Firefox 3 with Firefox 2

Linux Tip: Discover More Linux Alternatives at Linux App Finder
The Linux App Finder is an organized, extensive list of programs that includes screenshots, desktop environment information, and links to source and download sites. Even more handy is the searchable list of Windows and OS X "equivalents," organized by the names of proprietary software. If you're new to Linux or have given up trying to find a certain kind of application, Linux App Finder is worth a look.

Speed up your GMail and GCal | Lifehacker Australia
Here's a nice little tip for speeding up your GMail and Google Calendar, and it's incredibly simple too. You can refresh the view by clicking the Gmail (or GCal) logo on the top left of your screen. This refreshes the view without reloading the page so it's much faster.

First look at ASUS Eee PC | Lifehacker Australia
# The OS is a simplified version of the Xandros Linux distro
# It's running Open Office with 40 built-in apps ranging from Firefox to Skype
# The Media Player can play DivX and .avi files
# 15 second boot time, 5 second shutdown
- battery time is quoted at up to 5 hours
# it's aimed at kids but its size makes it a worthwhile contender for a laptop replacement - the keyboard is small for a laptop, but huge for a PDA

Google's mobile guru talks Android | Lifehacker Australia
instead of a Google phone, Google's delivered  is Android, an open software mobile phone. Google's fostering development on the platform by releasing a developer kit and offering $US10 million in prizes for the best software developed for the new platform.

ZDNet has today published an interview with Andy Rubin, head of mobile platforms at Google, where he talks about Android, Linux, the iPhone and the "Dream" prototype phone.

Find Critically-Acclaimed Torrents at PickyPirate | Lifehacker Australia
BitTorrent search sites like The Pirate Bay can help you find recently-released tunes, flicks and video games, but deciding which are worth the hefty downloads usually involves digging in more mainstream channels. Enter PickyPirate, a mashup website that matches scores from review compilation sites Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes to download links from torrent search sites The Pirate Bay and Mininova. For casual torrent browsers, the site could be a nice reminder of what's floating around and save a few clicks on the way to a download.

Hot Image Your PC's Hard Drive with DriveImage XML | Lifehacker Australia
free utility DriveImage XML can save a full, working snapshot of your Windows hard drive while you work on it. When your PC crashes and burns or just slows down over time, the best insurance you can have is a mirror image of your operating system, complete with drivers, user settings, software applications, and documents in one place.

Ex-AT&T employee: NSA snooping Internet traffic too
In addition to listening in on phone calls, the National Security Agency has also been monitoring the Internet traffic of US residents, according to a retired AT&T engineer. Whistleblower and ex-AT&T employee Mark Klein said that the telecom has been diverting IP traffic to a secret NSA listening room in San Francisco.

Infringement in perspective: major movie bust fine dwarfed by RIAA tab
If a woman found to have shared 24 songs over KaZaA was ordered to pay $9,250 for each track, what do you think an appropriate fine for uploading the first copy of The Simpsons Movie to the Internet? According to an Australian magistrate, AUS$1,000, or about US$890.

U R SUED: Patent holding company targets 131 companies over SMS patents
Sometimes, it seems as if licensing and patent holding companies are holding a secret contest between themselves to see who can pack in the most defendants into a patent lawsuit. Technology Patents LLC may be the new champion for suing 131 companies worldwide—the list goes on and on, naming companies like Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile, Telstra, AT&T, Cincinnati Bell, Motorola, Microsoft, Helio, Taiwan Mobile, O2, Rogers Wireless, China Resources Peoples Telephone Company, Yahoo, Sprint, and everyone in between. The company and its founder, Aris Mardirossian, are suing over what he believes to be infringement on two of his patents that address international text messaging.

Judge tosses options backdating lawsuit by Apple shareholders
back in January, Apple shareholders (including the New York City Employees' Retirement System) filed a class action suit against Apple. They alleged that the backdating of stock options violated securities laws, misled shareholders, and caused shares of AAPL to decline in value. Judge Jeremy Fogel issued his ruling yesterday, in which he granted Apple's motion to dismiss the case.

Setback for wiretapping plaintiffs bodes well for EFF class action
A federal appeals court has dealt a setback to plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the NSA's warrantless surveillance program, ruling that the state secrets privilege precludes the use of evidence gleaned from a classified document inadvertently given to a Muslim charity accused of terrorist ties. But in a hopeful sign for the Electronic Frontier Foundation's pending class action lawsuit against AT&T, the three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit took a dim view of the government's broader claim that the very existence of the so-called Terrorist Surveillance Program was a state secret.

RIAA told to show cause why .edu subpoenas shouldn't be quashed
A federal judge in Washington, DC, has handed the RIAA another setback in its campaign against on-campus file-sharing. In Arista v. Does 1-19, a case brought against 19 George Washington University students by the Big Four record labels, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has ordered the RIAA to show cause why the ex parte subpoenas issued to GWU shouldn't be quashed.

EFF, others ask Supreme Court to reinstate "patent exhaustion doctrine"
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Consumers Union, and Public Knowledge have joined forces and filed an amicus brief (PDF) in a pending Supreme Court case that could help set limits on the number of times in a single supply chain that a patent holder can profit from its patents.

Overly-broad copyright law has made USA a "nation of infringers"
How many copyright violations does an average user commit in a single day? John Tehranian, a law professor at the University of Utah, calculates in a new paper that he rings up $12.45 million in liability (PDF) over the course of an average day. The gap between what the law allows and what social norms permit is so great now that "we are, technically speaking, a nation of infringers."

T-Mobile forced to sell unlocked iPhones in Germany
T-Mobile Germany announced this morning that it would begin selling iPhones without a contract or a SIM lock that would restrict the device to its network. Those SIM-unlocked iPhones will be available starting today, in fact, but they won't run cheap. T-Mobile is selling them for €999 (just under US$1,500).

The insanity of France's anti-file-sharing plan: L'√Čtat, c'est IFPI
It's hard to engage in file-sharing if you don't have any Internet access. That's the threat behind a new memorandum of understanding between the government, ISPs, and Big Content in France that would see repeat P2P infringers lose their Internet connections. In exchange, the French music industry would make its French-language archive freely available available sans DRM. In addition, DVDs would be on store shelves within six months of a film's theatrical release, instead of the current seven and a half months.

Microsoft criticizes "Vista Capable" plaintiffs for focus on tiny sticker
The plaintiffs claim that the entire "Windows Vista Capable" program was little more than a marketing campaign designed to keep profits high during the transition from XP to Vista. The "Windows Vista Capable" sticker told consumers that "their soon-to-be-obsolete XP PCs were 'Windows Vista Capable' state-of-the-art," said the class action request.

Google launches custom search - Internet - www.itnews.com.au
The Google Custom Search Platform, which allows organisations to add Google search functionality to their web sites is now available internationally.

The new downloadable search platform will be less expensive and simpler to obtain than the search product currently supplied by Google, the plug-in appliance, which was launched in April 2006, according to the firm. The Custom Search Platform is also purely for websites, whereas the Google Search Appliance can index documents held internally by firms.

Google-mobiles start snapping Aussie cities - Internet - www.itnews.com.au
Camera-shy pedestrians should be advised to stay indoors this summer as a fleet of Google-mobiles equipped with roof-mounted cameras trawl Australian capital cities snapping locales for the Internet search giant’s Google Street View.

The cars will be doing the rounds in Australian capital cities, taking 360 degree panoramic street-level photographs to be used on Google Maps’ Street View feature.

How your creepy ex-co-workers will kill Facebook - Internet - www.itnews.com.au
Cory Doctorow describes how Facebook and other social networks have built-in self-destructs: They make it easy for you to be found by the people you're looking to avoid.

Digg - How a Computer for the Poor Got Stomped by Tech Giants
From its inception, One Laptop Per Child posed a threat to the personal-computing dominance of software giant Microsoft and chip maker Intel. The team (drawn from MIT) designed a machine that didn't use Windows or Intel chips

Digg - Zune 2.1 firmware available now!
Are you one of the many who snagged an el cheapo, first generation Zune 30GB off of Woot or a big box fire sale? Or -- gasp -- paid full price? Good, the moment you've been waiting for has arrived. All the new features and interface bumps of your second generation peers are just a click away

Split personalties: new hypervisor/flash combos mean an OS is just one way to boot
Let's call it the "widgetification" of the computer: with a suitably-sized chunk of flash memory, you can instantly boot a stateless, safe machine that connects directly to a network and provides a fixed suite of task-specific functions—web browsing, media playback, VoIP, or even the execution of a specific HPC kernel. So you could say that in the recent rash of embedded hypervisor announcements we're seeing the rise of the computer-as-multifunction-widget, to revisit the widget vs. platform dichotomy

Merlin Mann's productivity talk at IDEO - Boing Boing
Productivity guy Merlin Mann did a great presentation for IDEO, a great design shop. He talks about how to regulate the technological systems in your life, and how to get the people around you to play along

Broken DRM scheme: $45 million; trampling fair use: priceless
Macrovision, the DRM firm perhaps best known recently for creating security holes in Windows with its SafeDisc DRM, has purchased the intellectual property surrounding the BD+ DRM scheme used by Blu-ray to thwart attempts at copying. For $45 million, Macrovision will get ownership of the Self-Protecting Digital Content (SPDC) technology that forms the basis for BD+ as well as associated patents owned by Cryptography Research.

UK retailers to record labels: DRM is killing us
In response to declining music sales in the UK, the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) has called for the music industry to put an end to DRM. The organization—which represents retailers who sell music and DVDs—blames draconian digital copy protection technologies for the slow growth of the digital music market.

Big Content asks presidential candidates for more restrictive copyright laws
The Copyright Alliance, which counts the MPAA and RIAA amongst its members, has sent letters and questionnaires to presidential candidates in an effort to determine where they stand on issues relating to intellectual property law. In a copy of the letter seen by Ars, Copyright Alliance executive director Patrick Ross says he speaks "on behalf of the 11 million Americans employed in the creative industries," and asserts that piracy reduction is essential.

Nokia N810: unboxing and first impressions
The N810 is a bit smaller than the N800, which makes it more comfortable to use and easier to tote around in a pocket.

Pirate Bay laughs off three-pronged legal assault
The Pirate Bay faces three separate legal challenges this holiday season, though site administrators tell Ars that they're not worried by any of the pending cases. A Swedish prosecutor wants to take down the site, though, and Prince has set his lawyers on the same task.

Microsoft "learning" from WGA failures, but the lesson should be: kill it
The introduction of Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage (WGA) anti-piracy program was met with emotions ranging from indifference to outright anger by legitimate Windows users. Certainly those who were falsely accused of pirating Windows had something to be upset about, as did the people who suffered from the service being unavailable earlier this year. Even those that have not been caught in the WGA snare are uncomfortable with it: the idea of a low-level system process watching your system for signs of piracy so it can reduce the functionality of your system is just a little Orwellian.




What does the Microsoft "partnership" with Facebook mean for users? | Linux Journal
Here's the key fact: Facebook's users are not its customers. They're the targets to which Facebook's customers aim advertising. In old media this was no big deal. But Facebook isn't just a "medium". It's a vast walled garden where the social activity of members and visitors constantly improves the ability of advertisers to "target" both.

This is a Good Thing only if it works for everybody — including both those targeted as well as those doing the targeting. And if users are actually involved, they have some important questions:

* What happens to my identity-related information?
* How is it used, and by whom?
* How much control do I have over my data (or data about myself) — including what Facebook "partners" do with that data?

Jeremiah Owyang visits these questions in his latest post, How Microsoft got their Passport after all.

Google preps magic GDrive | The Register
The GDrive rumors have resurfaced. This morning, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google is preparing an online storage service capable of housing all the files you now store on your very own hard drive.

According to The Journal, the service could allow access from both PCs and mobile phones, and it could be released "a few months from now."

Power-hungry Google launches green energy scheme - Technology - theage.com.au
Google is expanding into alternative energy in its most ambitious effort yet to ease the environmental strain caused by the company's voracious appetite for power to run its massive computing centres.

Why is the iPlayer a multi million pound disaster? | The Register
The story of the BBC's iPlayer is of a multi-million pound failure that took years to complete, and was designed for a world that never arrived. More was spent on the project than many Silicon Valley startups ever burn through, but only now can we begin to piece together how this disaster unfolded.

When the iPlayer was commissioned in 2003, it was just one baffling part of an ambitious £130m effort to digitise the Corporation's broadcasting and archive infrastructure. It's an often lamented fact that the BBC wiped hundreds of 1960s episodes of its era-defining music show Top of the Pops, including early Beatles performances, and many other popular programmes.

The scope of the restructure was welcomed: it would be hard for anyone who values the BBC's place in society to argue against preserving and making available the huge investment in quality programming by licence fee payers over the last 50 years.

The iPlayer was envisaged as the flagship internet "delivery platform". It would dole out this national treasure to us in a controlled manner, it was promised, and fire a revolution in how Big TV works online.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Byte Into It - 21 Nov 07

Social Television Links

ABC mobile phone application for election results

mirofundraisersept07.jpg

Twine: The First Mainstream Semantic Web App?
described as a "knowledge networking" application. It has aspects of social networking, wikis, blogging, knowledge management systems - but its defining feature is that it's built with Semantic Web technologies.The aim of Twine is to enable people to share knowledge and information. At first glance it is very much like Wikipedia, but there is a whole lot more smarts to the system.It's not based around socializing, but to share and organize information you're interested in. Using Twine, you can add content via wiki functionality (there are many post types), you can email content into the system, and "collect" something (as an object, e.g. a book object).

Twine
Use Twine to better leverage and contribute to the collective intelligence of your friends, colleagues, groups and teams. Twine ties it all together.

Blu-ray’s DRM crown jewel tarnished with crack of BD+
One advantage that backers of Blu-ray have touted in the format battle with HD DVD is its extra helping of "unbreakable" DRM called BD+. It's not unbreakable after all. SlySoft, makers of AnyDVD, have released a new beta of their AnyDVD HD disc ripping application that it claims can successfully crack and rip Blu-ray discs protected by BD+.

Paramount and Warner Bros. market $3 DVDs in China
Paramount has become the newest movie studio to make efforts to compete with pirates by offering low-cost, legitimate DVDs in China. New movie titles will go on sale some two months after their theater debut in the US, and for only $3. Paramount will also be joining forces with an unlikely partner in order to combat piracy: competitor Warner Bros., which already has outlets set up in China to sell DVDs.

Networks want to nobble ad-skipping - Technology - theage.com.au
The free-to-air television industry has declared war on ad-skipping personal video recorders as it prepares to release a free electronic program guide for the first time. Despite releasing the guide, the industry is pressuring PVR makers to limit the advertisement-skipping functions of their products before they are authorised to access it. The networks have threatened legal action under Australian copyright law, but manufacturers say Australia-specific modifications to the advertisement-skipping features would not be possible as their products are made for global markets.

Slashdot | 90% of IT Professionals Don't Want Vista
A survey by King Research has found that Ninety percent of IT professionals have concerns using Vista, with compatibility, stability and cost being their key reasons. Interestingly, forty four percent of companies surveyed are considering switching to non-Windows operating systems, and nine percent of those have already started moving to their selected alternative. "The concerns about Vista specified by participants were overwhelmingly related to stability. Stability in general was frequently cited, as well as compatibility with the business software that would need to run on Vista," said Diane Hagglund of King Research.

Virtual Visa cards for secure online shopping | Lifehacker Australia
For those wary of using their credit card online, our mates at Gizmodo AU have written up the new Visa Virtual Prepaid (VCARD) - which works as a virtual debit card. You buy a card of the value you want (with a $5.50 set up fee) - and if you want, you only have to use it once and then ditch it.

Microsoft Launches Windows Live Domain Apps | Lifehacker Australia
Microsoft has quietly launched a free for-your-domain apps suite, Windows Live Community Builder, that offers a number of Windows Live services customised for domain owners, including Live Mail, photo sharing, calendars, the LiveDrive online storage app and more. The services offered indicate a clear attempt to match up with Google Apps, but users of Windows Live and other Microsoft applications may be to get more out of this suite—alerts, central contact lists, the "Spaces" page builder and other features. The Live Community Builder requires a free sign-up and a registered domain name.

Monitor Application Usage with RescueTime | Lifehacker Australia
Windows and Mac only: Monitor your computer activity easily and efficiently with freeware application RescueTime. Just install the application and let it run in the background so that it can capture data for your online activity and application usage, then check the dashboard and view graphs and charts about your habits. Beyond the rich set of analytics provided, RescueTime also knows when you're away and will not collect any data during that time. If you really want to know how you're spending your time while you're "working," RescueTime is a solid choice. RescueTime is a freeware application for Windows and Mac, requires a free registration to download.

Give or get tech support at Fixya | Lifehacker Australia
In beta at the moment, Fixya is aiming to be a one-stop-shop for people seeking tech support, user guides and repair guides for products from a range of vendors. Rather than a tech support business, Fixya is designed as a community, where users provide both the questions and the answers. You can browse the database of already answered questions, or pose your own question to the community of registered experts. Experts are users who have registered with the site and nominated their own area of expertise. They can post answers to the site, or help users directly via online chat. The success of a site like this will be in attracting knowledgable people who can provide decent answers to user questions. The site encourages people to sign up and answer questions by paying them. It's not a huge amount, a few bucks per answer posted to the site. I noticed that the Top Expert on the site has already racked up 300 solved problems, so the incentive scheme seems to be working to attract problem solvers to the site.

Ditch Your Taskbar for Minimised Thumbnails with miniMize | Lifehacker Australia
Windows only: Freeware application miniMize creates thumbnail images of your minimised application on your desktop, providing an interesting and customisable alternative to the Windows taskbar. Similar to previously mentioned ThumbWin, miniMize boasts virtually all of the same features in addition to an arguably improved interface. If thumbnails on the desktop sound to you like clutter, miniMize won't be for you. If you like the idea of ditching your taskbar for minimised thumbnails, miniMize or ThumbWin should do the job. miniMize is freeware, Windows only.

iiNet cuts the cord and delivers nation-wide Naked DSL - Telecommunications - www.itnews.com.au
iiNet has unveiled its long awaited and Australia’s first nation-wide Naked DSL broadband service which eliminates the need to pay telephone line rental for ADSL2+ internet access. iiNet's Naked DSL offering has been positioned for both home and business users and is bundled with the ISP’s iiTalk VOIP product, allowing customers to retain their existing phone number. The bundle offers free local and national phone calls over the VoIP service. It is worth noting that upload traffic appears to be counted as part of your monthly limit.

Internet could face meltdown by 2010 - Internet - www.itnews.com.au
The internet could suffer drastic slowdown by 2010 as the sheer scale of data carried exceeds the ability of the network to handle it. Analyst house Nemertes Research Group has spent the last year analysing both data flows over the internet and the core infrastructure that carries it and concluded that in three to five years serious bottlenecks will occur. "Our findings indicate that although core fiber and switching/routing resources will scale nicely to support virtually any conceivable user demand, internet access infrastructure, specifically in North America, will likely cease to be adequate for supporting demand within the next three to five years," reads the report, 'The internet singularity, delayed.' "We estimate the financial investment required by access providers to “bridge the gap” between demand and capacity ranges from $42bn to $55bn, or roughly 60 – 70 per cent more than service providers currently plan to invest."

BBC NEWS | Technology | Warning over net address limits
Internet Service Providers urgently need to roll out the next generation of net addresses for online devices, internet pioneer Vint Cerf has said. Every device that goes online is allocated a unique IP address but the pool of numbers is finite and due to run out around 2010. A new system, called IPv6, has been awaiting roll out for 10 years. Unless IPv6 is switched on in the coming years, some devices might not be able to go online, Mr Cerf has warned.

Search: Find Anything Online with Search Operators
Search operators—those commands that engines use to narrow down what you're looking for—are pretty useful. The HybridSEM weblog goes into extreme detail about the various search operators that work for Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Looking for a video on MSN about monsters? Use the feature:video monsters operator. If you're a searchaholic, this guide comes in pretty handy, and you'll certainly learn a thing or two about how to find things more easily on the 'net.

Featured Firefox Extension: Save a Link for Later with Read It Later
Windows/Mac/Linux (Firefox): Keep track of your daily to-read list with the Read it Later Firefox extension. Similar to previously mentioned Readeroo—which integrates directly with Del.icio.us—Read it Later takes a slightly different approach, keeping your reading list local until you read it and decide whether or not you want to bookmark it. If you do, you have the option to bookmark on any number of popular bookmarking sites, from Del.icio.us to Digg. The drawback is that Read it Later doesn't currently sync across browsers, which would be a nice touch. Read it Later is free, works wherever Firefox does

Miro 1.0: the free and open future of video on the net - Boing Boing
Miro, the open and free video player, has gone 1.0, and launched in a polished, slick package for Windows, Linux and MacOS. Miro (formerly Democracy Player) is the open and free alternative to Joost, Windows Media Player and iTunes for getting, watching and organizing your video. In place of DRM and proprietary formats, Miro uses the VLC video-engine to play practically every video format under the sun. It has over 2,700 channels of free content (and does extensive outreach to indie creators to get their material front-and-center in Miro's excellent channel-guide). And it uses BitTorrent to download, which means that the creators you love won't get clobbered by bandwidth bills when their videos get popular.

Daily Show writer explains writers' strike -- if digital content isn't worth anything, how come Viacom is suing YouTube for $1 billion? - Boing Boing
In this youtube, Daily Show writer Jason Rothman delivers an hilarious monologue about the Writers' Guild strike against the studios, who claim that they can't compensate writers for digital media because no one knows how much this stuff is worth. The clip delivers a Daily Show-style montage of coverage from the $1 billion+ Viacom lawsuit against YouTube, including clips of Viacom's CEO talking about how digital content is worth tons of money and getting paid is the name of the game. The clip includes a nice guest appearance from Daily Show correspondents, too.

Obama's innovation plan a Christmas list for the geekerati—analysis
Barack Obama's campaign has now released a relatively comprehensive and extremely ambitious technology document (PDF) that lays out a whole slew of general and specific proposals for doing everything from reforming the patent system to implementing a national broadband policy. In releasing this "technology and innovation plan,"

Digg - Opera Mini 4 released
After three beta releases Opera Mini 4 is finally here!

HOWTO Use Creative Commons licenses - Boing Boing
"Creative Commons" explains the fundamentals of using CC licenses for people who are interested in the idea but haven't tried it yet.

Slashdot | Wikipedia Begets Veropedia
"October saw the launch of Veropedia, a collaborative effort to collect the best of Wikipedia's content, clean it up, vet it, and save it in a quality stable version that cannot be edited. To qualify for inclusion in Veropedia, a Wikipedia article must contain no cleanup tags, no "citation needed" tags, no disambiguation links, no dead external links, and no fair use images after which candidates for inclusion are reviewed by recognized academics and experts. One big difference with Wikipedia is that Veropedia is registered as a for profit corporation and earns money from advertising on the site. Veropedia is supposed to help improve the quality of Wikipedia because contributors must improve an article on Wikipedia, fixing up all the flaws, until a quality version can be imported to Veropedia. To date Veropedia contains about 3,800 articles."

Flashback | Lifehacker Australia
You love to read the Wikipedia, but do you write it?

Digg - Electronics + YouTube = Engineer Resource [Google Ajax API]
Your Electronics Open Source blog, used the new Google Ajax API to make an electronics project video-page. The Electronics Engineer can bookmark this page, and everyone can grab this idea (code) to insert video-related content in own Blog.

laptop TV | Lifehacker Australia
CNET reporter Elinor Mills has a computer but no TV and runs down how she watches television on the laptop on the cheap. See also "6 ways to catch your favourite TV shows online".

FileMaker diversifies, offering yet another OS X personal database app
FileMaker has launched a brand-new product, called Bento, which is being billed as an easy-to-use "information manager" that will use databases to store all of your bits and pieces. The new application includes lots of templates and themes for organizing all different types of information, and also allows users to easily customize the various templates and displays. Actually, the applications looks much more like something that Apple itself would release, three-pane interface and all. If you'd like to play with Bento, FileMaker has already released a preview version of the application, and says that the full version is expected to launch of January or February. Both the beta and the final version are Leopard-only, since they use Core Animation as well as other Leopard tricks.

Mac OS X 10.4.11 lands, along with iPhoto 7.1.1
The latest update to Mac OS X Tiger, 10.4.11, was finally released this afternoon at a medium-hefty ~130MB for Intel users (just under 70MB for PPC). The update includes a long list of improvements that affect both PowerPC and Intel users.

Check Software Update: 10.5.1 is upon us
Mac OS X 10.5.1 should be appearing in Software Update shortly, bringing a whole slew of improvements. Here's a brief rundown of what's covered: * Password-protected AirPort disks now show up in the Finder sidebar, and an issue with saved passwords for wireless networks is resolved * Back to My Mac reliability improvements * Tweaks to Disk Utility, including improvements to disk partitioning when multiple RAID sets are created on the same drive * Tweaks and fixes for iCal and Mail * Fixes a bug where Windows shared folders are sometimes read-only over SMB * Printing and security fixes * Time Machine tweaks

Top 10 Quicksilver Plug-ins | Lifehacker Australia
check out top 10 favourite Quicksilver plug-ins, and how to set them up.

Digg - Terminal Codes for Leopard Tweaking
Beautify your Leopard with single liner terminal codes.

Digg - Top 15 Leopard Hints
It’s been almost a month since Leopard was officially released, and in that month we’ve had some time to play with the OS and get to know it.

Batch Process Images with Photo Drop | Lifehacker Australia
Mac OS X only: Resize, rotate or convert multiple digital images at once with Photo Drop, a small utility that creates programmable image editing droplets. Launch Photo Drop and set the actions you want to perform, like rotating, padding, cropping, resizing, resampling or adding copyright or other meta info and save your droplet. Then, drag and drop any number of images onto the droplet, which processes them and saves them. Great for making high-res digital photos fit for email, watermarking your stuff or resizing a group of images for your blog, Photo Drop is a free download (donations encouraged) for Mac only.

http://macapper.com/2007/11/17/dockulicious-customize-your-dock-in-a-jiffy/

http://macapper.com/2007/11/17/tip-stack-your-recent-items-in-leopard/

http://macapper.com/2007/11/18/imagewell-33-leopard-ilife-08-compatible/

http://macapper.com/2007/11/15/seashore-freeware-image-editing-for-mac/

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Byte Into It - 14 Nov 07

driverquery.jpg

Filesystem In Userspace (FUSE)
Examples

* ElasticDrive: Amazon S3 backed Virtual storage system
* SSHFS: Provides access to a remote filesystem through SSH
* GmailFS: Filesystem which stores data as mail in Gmail
* EncFS: Encrypted virtual filesystem
* NTFS-3G and Captive NTFS, allowing access to NTFS filesystems
* WikipediaFS : View and edit Wikipedia articles as if they were real files
* iPodDisk: Uses the MacFUSE system to display the iPod's hidden and obfuscated file system as if it were a well-organized music directory, also allowing users to copy files from an iPod to another disk
* GIT-fs: Filesystem to view GIT repository.

A list of FUSE filesystems can be found on the FUSE website

eGames & Entertainment Expo(FUSE)
Melbourne, Australia is again host to the eGames & Entertainment Expo at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre from 16 – 18 November this year.



Windows: Get a Complete List of Drivers On Your Machine
List all the drivers you've installed on your Windows machine by typing driverquery from the command line (start->Run->cmd->OK). This works under Windows XP, 2003, and Vista systems

Featured Windows Download: Kill Runaway Processes from the Task Bar with Task Killer
Windows only: Freeware application Task Killer sits in your taskbar and displays all of your running processes—something like a streamlined version of Windows Task Manager. If you see a runaway process or a process you want to end, just click it and confirm that you want to unload that process. Hanging processes will appear in red so you can quickly hunt down and end that frozen process. Even if you don't want to kill a process, Task Killer provides a quick view of memory usage of your currently running processes. It's not as robust as the full-featured Process Explorer, but if you're looking for a quick way to examine and end processes, Task Killer is a handy, extremely lightweight (under 1MB memory) app.

Windows Networking Admin Blog » Blog Archive » Microsoft Announces New Virtualization Offerings, Windows Server 2008 Details, System Center Product Availability at TechEd IT Forum 2007
New Windows Server 2008 Virtualization Offerings, Pricing, Licensing Details

Windows 7 "top feature request list" leaked to the public
A few years ago, before Windows Vista had even shipped, Microsoft sent out a wish list form asking people what features they would like to see in the next version of Windows, currently code-named Windows 7. The top wished-for features in this list were recently leaked to the public and have popped up at various sites (e.g., Neowin). While anonymous sources at Microsoft tell us that they bear no relationship to the actual feature set Microsoft is currently writing for Windows 7, the list does provide interesting insight into what the Windows-using public most wants from Windows.The features are listed in no particular order, but they break down into various categories depending on what part of Windows the feature request falls under. Many requests for improvements in Internet Explorer, such as a session restore function, are fairly obvious wishes for features that already exist in competitive products such as Firefox and Opera. Other suggestions, such as a tabbed Windows Explorer, look for features from web browsers to migrate into the general user interface.

Some of the feature requests are clearly unrealistic, such as the desire to "back up" Xbox 360 games to the PC (yeah, I don't think Microsoft will be doing that one). Others are minor user interface enhancements that would be nice additions but wouldn't really change the Windows experience, such as a progress bar when hibernating the system. However, there are a few that make good sense and would be welcome additions to the operating system, such as a built-in video and audio codec manager.

SIGs/Games/GamesLive - Fedora Project Wiki
Fedora Games spin is a custom variant of Fedora targeted at Linux gamers. This is to demonstrate the gaming potential of Fedora without altering user's existing configuration. The Live DVD also allows installation to hard disk or USB flash.

Learn More About Linux with Free eBooks | Lifehacker Australia
Over at homelinux.org, one kind soul has posted an extensive collection of free Linux-related PDF ebooks, covering topics ranging from installation and dual-booting to specific distribution tweaks and programming guides. The owner has instituted a 10-downloads-per-day quota, but the books are meaty enough to make that a non-problem. You could also consider donating a few dollars to the site if you find yourself downloading, say, the 1,400+ page Linux Bible and coming back for more.

TiVo starts selling subscriber info to advertisers - Telecommunications - www.itnews.com.au
TiVo has been selling to advertisers second-by-second ratings of programs and commercials based on the viewing habits of subscribers for about a year. But this is the first time the service -- dubbed, Power Watch -- expands on the available information by providing data that could help advertisers understand why people watch or skip TV ads.The new service provides demographic data on subscribers, such as age, income, marital status and ethnicity; and also lets advertisers pose questions to some TiVo subscribers. The latter feature could shed light on viewers' habits and feelings toward particular advertisers and marketers.

Power Watch gathers its information from 20,000 TiVo subscribers who have opt-in to the program

Conroy vs Coonan: The war of words wages on - Telecommunications - www.itnews.com.au
Labor’s Shadow Minister for Communications, Senator Stephen Conroy, has hit out at the Government's $1 billion fixed wireless broadband network scheme, claiming it offers 50 percent less coverage than promised.During his Tasmanian visit today, Conroy accused the Government of misleading the Australian public on its broadband plan claiming the Coalition Government failed to exhibit topographical constraints in original maps that were sent constituents.

[H] Enthusiast - Lord of the Rings Online: DX10 Patch
Turbine's DirectX 10 client for The Lord of the Rings Online is upon us. Though the company admits that its DirectX 10 offers "minor visual upgrades," we seek to find what kind of performance penalty comes with the new DX10 code. All is not well in the land of Middle-Earth...with DX10.

Digg - Review: Assassin's Creed: As Good As We Imagined
Assassin's Creed is an extraordinary gaming experience that will definitely leave a lasting impression.

Digg - Game of the Year Shootout: Call of Duty 4 Vs. Halo 3
If you had to choose, would you buy Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare or Halo 3?

PlayerzBlog.com » Hellgate: London - A Knight’s Story
The original idea that gave inspiration for the concept of Hellgate was “Half-Life meets Diablo”, according to one of the developers

Gphone: Everything We Know About the gPhone, Android, and Open Handset Alliance
•Who's missing is interesting: Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Blackberry/RIM, Apple, Verizon, and AT&T. Oh, did I forget to mention Microsoft?

US intelligence honcho channels Orwell, redefines privacy - Boing Boing
Donald Kerr, the US Principal Deputy Director of Intelligence, has decided to kill privacy. He says that human beings can no longer expect governments and companies not to spy on them; instead "privacy" will now mean having the right to expect that governments and companies won't tell other people what they learn when they spy on you

Asus plans to bring Eee PC design to the desktop
Since the Eee laptop's American debut earlier this month, the small system has received a great deal of positive press from reviewers. Based on this early success, Asustek is planning to launch a desktop version of the Eee PC, possibly in 2008. Like the $199 gPC available at Wal-Mart, the Eee PC desktop won't ship with a monitor, but will presumably be available at a competitive price point in the ultra-value segment.

Games that can educate: SimCity donated to OLPC project
Electronic Arts announced yesterday plans to donate the original version of the SimCity computer game to the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project so that it can be distributed to schoolchildren in developing countries on OLPC's XO laptop.

Google announces $10 million contest for Android devs, "early look" SDK
Google has announced a $10 million contest to spur interest in development on the Android platform. The newly announced Android Developer Challenge will feature monetary prizes ranging from $25,000 to $275,000, to be doled out to those developers whose applications are picked by a panel of judges. The best apps will become features on Android-based phones that will ship later this year.

Xbox 360 passes PS3 on Japan sales chart on strength of exclusive title
One thing has been true for the PlayStation 3 since its launch: it consistently trounces the Xbox 360 in Japan in terms of weekly sales. That appears to have changed.

[Phoronix] Fedora 8 Werewolf (2007-10-24 Rawhide)
Fedora 8 will offer a Codec Buddy for installing audio/video codecs, an open-source Java stack now based upon IcedTea, improved laptop support, the Pulse Audio sound server, remote virtualization support, and much more. As a sneak peak at the final release of Fedora 8, taken from the Fedora 2007-10-24 Rawhide spin we have screenshots of the improvements to the Fedora Firstboot, the Fedora 8 GNOME desktop, and also the KDE version of Fedora 8.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Byte Into It - 7 Nov 07



US tops "dirty dozen" of spam-relaying countries by a landslide
Critics of the inadequacy of antispam legislation like the 2003 CAN-SPAM Act have more tinder for the fire this week, thanks to a new report from security firm Sophos. The report, which ranks the top twelve countries by the sheer amount of spam they relay, places the US in the number one spot for the third quarter of 2007, sending more than 28 percent of the world's spam. In other words, that's 500 percent more than its nearest competitor, South Korea, which came in at 5.2 percent. It appears that, despite claims from the FTC and Microsoft and a slew of high-profile spam convictions, the US still has a ways to go in the war on spam.

AT&T's guilt-by-association algorithm for finding "terrorists" - Boing Boing
Andrew Appel has some fascinating analysis of the "guilt by association" algorithm that AT&T uses to help the FBI. They use high-tech data-mining algorithms to scan through the huge
daily logs of every call made on the AT&T network; then they use
sophisticated algorithms to analyze the connections between phone
numbers: who is talking to whom? The paper literally uses the term
“Guilt by Association” to describe what they’re looking for: what phone
numbers are in contact with other numbers that are in contact with the
bad guys?

UK government: Schools shouldn't sign licensing agreements with Microsoft
Concerns over Microsoft's Office 2007 and Vista licensing terms have prompted a UK government agency to warn schools against signing licensing agreements. Becta, the UK's education technology branch, has also filed a complaint with the UK's Office of Fair Trading, alleging that Microsoft engages in anticompetitive practices in the academic software license marketplace.

Microsoft's EU patent pledge incompatible with GPL - Linux & Open Source - www.itnews.com.au
Linux vendors will be unable to license Microsoft's interoperability patents under the terms that were mandated by the European Commission, open source legal experts argue.

It is claimed that the the terms are incompatible with the General Public Licence (GPL), the licence that governs the Linux operating system.

"The agreement is going to run foul of the GPL," Mark Webbink, a director with the Software Freedom Law Center said. The group offers legal support to open source developers and users.

Class action targeting mobile phone locking practices green-lighted
The practice of locking cell phones to a specific carrier is heading for court in the US. The California Supreme Court has given the go-ahead to a lawsuit that targets T-Mobile for the practice, after the company had tried to get the suit dismissed.

Learn More About Your Linux: Ten Absolutely Stupid Quotes By Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer has been the CEO of Microsoft since year 2000. As you probably know, he is a bit eccentric guy. So far Steve has produced dozens of absolutely "outstanding" quotations which definitely should be known. So, here is the list of Steve Ballmer's most famous quotes. Have fun ;)

1. "I'm going to f---ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I'm going to f---ing kill Google." [Sydney Morning Herald]
2. "Developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers, developers..." [Watch at YouTube]
3. "Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches." [Chicago Sun-Times]
4. "My children - in many dimensions they're as poorly behaved as many other children, but at least on this dimension I've got my kids brainwashed: You don't use Google, and you don't use an iPod." [money.cnn.com]
5. "We've had DRM in Windows for years. The most common format of music on an iPod is "stolen"." [The Register]
6. "I have never, honestly, thrown a chair in my life." [CNET News]
7. "Google's not a real company. It's a house of cards." [Court transcript]
8. "There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." [unsourced]
9. We don't have a monopoly. We have market share. There's a difference. [unsourced]
10. DRM is the future. [unsourced]

Digg - Mythbuntu 7.10 hits 20,000 downloads in one week
The Ubuntu based MythTV distribution, Mythubuntu 7.10, released on Monday 25th October 2007, and in less then a week tracked it’s 20,000th download.

Slashdot | EMI Caught Offering Illegal Downloads
"While the RIAA is swift to punish any person caught offering illegal downloads, they're not very swift with outrage when a member company like EMI offers illegal downloads. Not only did the band King Crimson's contract never allow digital distribution to begin with, but band member Robert Fripp claims that EMI offered their music for sale even after their contract ended entirely."

Not over yet: Microsoft Final Judgments extended until January 31
The Final Judgments from the antitrust case against Microsoft are due to expire on November 12, thus putting an end to the whole drawn-out affair. Now, though, the states say that they need more time to argue for an extension of court oversight, and Microsoft has agreed to extend the Final Judgments through January 31, 2008.

OiNK’s new piglets proof positive that Big Content’s efforts often backfire
It took investigators two years to infiltrate and bring down UK-based OiNK, an invite-only music sharing site that was much loved by its smallish community. As we reported at the time, the IFPI and the BPI lauded the takedown as a major victory against piracy.

After the echoes of OiNK's final snort dissipated, one could hear the virtual rumbling of a new stampede: the post-OiNK explosion. The closure of OiNK has led directly or indirectly to the establishment of nearly half a dozen new file-sharing sites. Is this what the IFPI and BPI had in mind? Somehow we doubt it.

OpenDocument Foundation drops support for ODF, backs obscure W3C format
The OpenDocument Foundation has decided to end its support for OASIS's OpenDocument Format (ODF) and instead support W3C's Compound Document Format (CDF), which is currently described in the Web Integration Compound Document Core 1.0 draft. This move reflects growing concerns within the interoperability advocacy community about the long-term viability of both ODF and Microsoft's Office Open XML (OOXML).

Miro talks trash, takes aim at Joost with its over 2,000 channels
The makers of Miro, the open-source video player and television platform, have stepped up and challenged the big guys behind Joost. Citing Joost as the competition "with the most hype," Miro has posted a list of features and how they compare between the two platforms. The point of this chart is clearly to bring more viewers over to the charity-backed Miro

Rockstar may end up with big headache over unlocked AO content in Manhunt 2
It had to have been a relief for Rockstar when the hyper-violent Manhunt 2 finally received its M rating and was shipped to store shelves. From countries that banned the game outright to fights with the ESRB over an AO rating, the story of the game's release is a long one. However, it looks like Rockstar may have taken some shortcuts when exorcising the over-the-top violence, as Russian hackers have discovered that the original Adults Only content still exists on the PlayStation Portable version of the game.

IP firm sues... everyone for WiFi patent infringement
Another day, another patent infringement lawsuit. This time, Canada-based Wi-LAN—"a leader in technology licensing"—has filed two suits against 22 total companies that it alleges have infringed on its patents relating to WiFi and power consumption in DSL products. Those companies include some strange bedfellows: PC manufacturers like Apple, Acer, Gateway, and HP; WiFi gear makers such as Atheros Communications, Belkin, Broadcom, Buffalo Technology, and D-Link; and a pair of big-box retailers—Best Buy and Circuit City—just for kicks.

It's official: Google announces open-source mobile phone OS, Android
The Google Phone has arrived, sort of, but not in the long-rumored embodiment that many had expected. Google announced this morning that it has developed a new mobile OS called "Android"—a result of its acquisition of a mobile software company of the same name in 2005—that will allow the company to get Google's mobile apps into as many hands as possible starting in mid-2008. Android is Linux-based and open source, and aspects of the platform will be made available to handset manufacturers for free under the Apache license.

Google's handset partners upon launch will include Motorola, HTC, Samsung, and LG, confirming many of the recent rumors that Google would not be developing the hardware on its own. Google has a number of carrier partners worldwide as well, such as T-Mobile and Sprint in the US, T-Mobile/Deutsche Telekom in Europe, and China Mobile in China, to name a few. The whole thing comes as part of the Open Handset Alliance—also announced by Google today.

Congress unimpressed by Yahoo apology for China dissident e-mail testimony
Congress has lambasted Yahoo again over its actions relating to the jailing of two Chinese dissidents. The House Foreign Affairs Committee held the hearing today so that Yahoo officials could explain why they previously withheld information from the government over its role in human rights violations in China. Yahoo's executive VP and general counsel Michael Callahan called Yahoo's foibles a "misunderstanding," but the committee was having none of it. "Yahoo claims that this is just one big misunderstanding. Let me be clear—this was no misunderstanding. This was inexcusably negligent behavior at best, and deliberately deceptive behavior at worst," said panel chairman Tom Lantos (D-CA).

Judge forces telcos to retain data in NSA spy case
In a victory for the EFF, Judge Vaughn Walker ruled today that AT&T, Verizon, Cingular (now part of AT&T), Sprint, and BellSouth (also part of AT&T now) must all maintain any data or papers related to the NSA spying case that Walker is overseeing in California. The EFF had requested the ruling out of concern that documents would be destroyed as part of routine data deletion practices before the case could even progress to discovery.

The move was opposed not only by the telcos but also by the federal government, which has repeatedly pursued the claim that the case involves "state secrets" and should not proceed.

dmiessler.com | New OS X “Trojan” In the Wild
A new “trojan” has been identified by Intego that enables phishing attacks to take place against Mac users. But before you get too worried, let’s take a look at how it works.

1. Go to a malicious site.
2. Get prompted to install software.
3. Choose to install it.
4. Put in your admin password when it asks for it.
5. Get pwned.

So basically a hostile, unknown website asks you to install software on your system with elevated privileges, and if you willfully go through the entire install process (including entering your administrator password) something bad will happen.

Digg - Designer makes 15+ Leopard Docks - And Still Making More!
Looking for a new Dock pattern in Leopard? Well, you've just hit the right place, as the designer here has made over 15 docks for Leopard, and he continues to make more! Stop in and have a look. You're bound to find a dock you like!

Digg - Quicksilver goes Open Source
Now after previously making promises to that effect, the developer (who likes to go by Alcor) has released the source for Quicksilver as a Google Code project

Digg - Mass Collection of Leopard Dock Designs, Auto Dock Replacer App
Over 35 dock designs and counting, an app that automatically replaces the dock design with whichever you choose, idea from digg, created by a digger, designs submitted by diggers.

Mac OS X 10.5.1 on the way, everyone dies of shock
In addition to the nasty data loss issue discussed earlier today, the launch version of Leopard has had its share of other bugs. Although many of the problems seem to be related to specific people's computers and/or user accounts, some others include widespread issues with 802.11, QuickLook, and closing applications. Fortunately, Apple is on the case: AppleInsider is reporting that 10.5.1 is already on the way and that Apple plans to issue builds to testers in the coming week.


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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Byte Into It - 31 Oct 07

fury_concept_environment_deathschool_statue_0001.jpg
Featured Windows Download: Micromanage Your Widescreen Monitor with AutoSizer
Windows only: Freeware application AutoSizer automatically resizes and moves application windows to specific, user-defined sizes and screen locations as soon as they're opened. That means that if you've got a widescreen monitor with the perfect window layout that packs every last pixel with useful information, you can save each window size and location with AutoSizer and restore the perfect layout automatically, day after day, as soon as you launch the applications.

25+ Sources For Creative Commons Content
25+ sources of content licensed under Creative Commons inc: Audio, Video, Text & Search

Making Documents Look Much Better in MS Word | Lifehacker Australia
mMany of us use Microsoft Word, particularly in the workplace. Like Excel, it's a fairly feature packed program which many people never delve into. Web Worker Daily wrote up a list of tips for making your Word documents look better.

Manage iCal or Google Calendars with Sunbird/Lightning | Lifehacker Australia
All platforms: Add tasks, set appointments and keep on top of your schedule with Mozilla Sunbird and Lightning, the free calendar managers that function as a stand-alone client or extension to the Thunderbird e-mail program. Version 0.7 of Sunbird/Lightning touts a redesign of the user interface and task-adding dialog, along with user-requested functions like adding tasks in different timezones, more customizable recurring events and an improved "Today" glance panel. Sunbird and Lightning store information in a SQLite format, but can also work with iCal data or Google Calendar through an extension. Both are free downloads and work on Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

Avoid Leopard teething issues | Lifehacker Australia
Apple's put up a support page for Leopard installation issues and so far the top support topic is how to deal with the "blue screen of death" phenomenon reported by CNET. Hopefully FileMaker users are already aware that it won't run on the new Mac OSX, Leopard.

Help identify mystery music at iden.tify.us | Lifehacker Australia
The beta of iden.tify.us allows people to upload snippets of the songs they wish to identify, and any description they can provide (for example, the radio show or movie where they heard it). Visitors to the site can use the inbuilt audio player to listen to the snippets and then reply.

3 Network to offer Skype 3G phone | Lifehacker Australia
The Skype phones will offer free calls and SMS between Skype users, and normal 3 rates for other calls. The handset will have a dedicated Skype button. Local pricing hasn't been announced, although the model launching in the UK this week costs around $120.

HTC to launch Touch Cruise PDA phone in November
The Touch Cruise, originally the HTC Polaris, is powered by a Qualcomm MSM 7200 400MHz processor and Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6 OS (operating system), the sources noted. In addition, the new PDA phone, equipped with a 2.8-inch QVGA screen and a 3-megapixel camera, supports HTC's TouchFLO technology and the HSUPA (high speed upload packet access) standard, the sources added.

PC World - Faster USB 3.0 Is Coming
Intel and other companies have formed a group to promote the USB 3.0, which should deliver more than ten times the speed of the existing USB 2.0 standard. The third-generation Universal Serial Bus interconnect will transfer data at speeds up to 4.8Gbit/s, ten times faster than USB 2.0's 480MBit/s. It will be backwards-compatible with USB 2.0, which is backwards-compatible with the first USB 1.1 definition.

WARNING: device driver updates causing Vista to deactivate | APC Magazine
WARNING: device driver updates causing Vista to deactivate. Something as small as swapping the video card or updating a device driver can trigger a total Vista deactivation. If you install and activate Vista using some Microsoft drivers downloaded from Windows Update (which is a very common practice) but then discover that a manufacturer driver gives better functionality (as is often the case for audio, video, storage and network drivers) you are running the risk that the drivers use different reporting models and will register as a physical change.

Microsoft antes up $240 million for a piece of the Facebook action
All of the recent flirting between Facebook and Microsoft has turned into hot equity action, as the two companies have announced that Microsoft will make a $240 million investment in the social networking site. In addition, Microsoft will begin selling ads for Facebook outside of the US and will become the site's exclusive ad provider in the US. Facebook's value is not in the software itself—which could be duplicated relatively easily by a small group of programmers—but in the vast social networks the site has gathered, networks that contain information about people's interests and desires that would be invaluable for any marketing company.

Microsoft apologizes for Windows Update snafus
Microsoft has been having all sorts of problems with automatic Windows updates lately. First, it was reports of users who had turned off automatic update installations finding that their computers had installed and rebooted anyway without their consent, then some enterprise Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) users found out that Windows Desktop Search (WDS) had been installed without administrator approval. Microsoft acknowledged the first problem but denied the second, then relented and issued an apology via WSUS product manager Bobbie Harder's blog.

StormWorm botnet lashes out at security researchers - Boing Boing
The Storm Worm botnet (thought to be the largest network of compromised machines in the world) has begun to figure out which security researchers are trying to disrupt its command-and-control systems and knock them offline with DDoS attacks against them, shutting down their Internet access for days, says Josh Korman, host-protection architect for IBM/ISS, who led a session on network threats. “As you try to investigate [Storm], it knows, and it punishes,” he says. “It fights back.” As a result, researchers who have managed to glean facts about the worm are reluctant to publish their findings. “They’re afraid. I’ve never seen this before,” Korman says. As researchers test their versions of Storm by connecting to Storm command-and-control servers, the servers seem to recognize these attempts as threatening. Then either the worm itself or the people behind it seem to knock them off the Internet by flooding them with traffic from Storm’s botnet, Korman says.

[H] Enthusiast - NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT
The new GeForce 8800 GT gives the GeForce 8800 GTS and 2900 XT a run for the money.

LucasArts to wield Wii Light Sabre in UK next week | Reg Hardware
British fans of Nintendo Wii and Star Wars will get a first glimpse of the Wii Remote as a Light Sabre at a gaming festival being held later this month.

Hellgate: London Demo Now Available on FileFront
Hellgate drops players into a London where the streets teem with demonic enemies, and the only refuge are underground sanctuaries held by the Templar. It also incorporates a free-to-play, pay for more content subscription model that seems to be becoming more prevalent every day.

Digg - Gears Of War PC Goes Gold
Microsoft has announced that the PC version of Gears of War has gone gold. The sci-fi third person action game from developer Epic Games will ship to stores on Nov. 6.

Crysis Demo Now Available For Download | BizzNtech
Fileshack.com is hosting a 1.77GB demo of Crysis. If you are going to download this demo then you will also have to update your nVida drivers to v169.01. This driver is recommended by nVidia for Crysis single player game demo.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Family-friendly Xbox goes on sale
Microsoft has released a new Xbox 360 console - dubbed The Arcade - which is aimed squarely at the family market.

BBC NEWS | Business | Wii helps Nintendo double profits
The success of the Wii has helped Nintendo to double its profit in the six months to the end of September. Demand for the console has outstripped that for Sony's Playstation 3 and Microsoft's XBox 360 - selling about 7.3 million units.

devotii :: News :: Unreal Tournament 3 Demo Released!
Epic Games' mega shooter, in the making for nearly 3 years has finally arrived - the Unreal Tournament 3 demo!

ComNetSlash
The developer behind Assassin’s Creed has revealed 2 problems - 1) The memory inside the Playstation 3 is causing problems and 2) The Xbox 360 version of the game is struggling to fit on a 360 DVD!

Auran Games:
http://www.auran.com/auran/default.htm
http://www.unleashthefury.com/

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