[Geeks are Sexy] technology news

Friday, June 30, 2006

Transformers Movie Teaser Leaked EARLY

I'm not too sure about what to think of this. What do you guys think? Will the Transformer movie be a total flop, or could it be the movie of the decade? When I'm looking at this trailer, the child in me screams "YES!" and the adult "NOOOOO!". I'll let you guys be the judges. Enjoy the show.

Vista Beta 2: It's Now or Never!

If you've been wanting to try out Vista Beta 2 for yourself, you better go and get it now, because tomorrow will probably be too late to do so.

In case you weren't aware, we are only providing a limited number of copies of Windows Vista Beta 2--either download or physical copies--and we're fast approaching the cutoff point, " Moulster wrote. "What this means is--if you want to get a copy, get it now (and I mean now).

Read more.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The First Wireless, Rechargable, Backlit Keyboard

Guys, I really, REALLY need to get hold of this keyboard when it gets released. Apart from looking extremely cool, it's jam packed with great features:

  • Smart recharging that will let you power-up your keyboard and mouse in one easy-to-use place
  • Ambient backlighting smart enough to know when you have dimmed the lights or left the room
  • Proximity sensing that will turn on backlighting whenever it sense that someone approaches the keyboard
  • Cutting edge design with premium-grade finish and authentic metal accents
  • Has a maximum range of 30 FEET!

If you want to know more about the "ultimate keyboard", you'll probably have to wait a few months, because the only details that were released up to now are the one that I previously mentioned. If anyone is interested in seeing some useless media mumbo-jumbo about the product, you can have a look at it right here.

(via Gearlog)

'Blue Pill' Prototype Creates 100% Undetectable Malware

Joanna Rutkowska, a security researcher at Singapore-based IT security firm COSEINC, has created a working prototype of a new technology that is capable of creating undetectable malware using AMD's Pacifica virtualization platform, and this, even on Windows Vista x64 systems. Apparently, this technology can be used to easily insert arbitrary code into the Vista Beta 2 kernel without relying on any implementation bug.

The technique effectively bypasses a crucial anti-rootkit policy change coming in Windows Vista that requires kernel-mode software to have a digital signature to load on x64-based systems.

Frightening isn't it? But wait, it gets better:

Now, Rutkowska is pushing the envelope even more, arguing that the only way Blue Pill can be detected is if AMD's Pacifica technology is flawed.

Great, just what we need, undetectable malware.

The prototype will be demonstrated at the SyScan Conference in Singapore on July 21 and at the Black Hat Briefings in Las Vegas on Aug. 3.

Read more.

LED Architecture picture gallery

While browsing my list of daily reads, I stumbled upon this fantastic picture gallery featuring LED covered buildings from all around the world.

Light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, are reinventing the look and feel of skylines, bridges, facades and other architectural surfaces around the globe. The light bulb is being unscrewed by energy-efficient LEDs that are both environmentally friendly and cost-effective. The $10.2 billion industry is growing to provide new design options for architects and planners.

Just imagine what cities would look like if all skyscrapers would be illuminated like this. Apart from making buildings look great, LEDs would help tenants save a lot of money out of their energy bill.

Check it out.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Net Neutrality Update

This is just a quick update for those of you who are following the Net Neutrality debate that is continuing to rage. It seems further efforts to push through anything related to Net Neutrality have gone down in flames.

You may hate politics (Much like I do), but this is one issue that as an IT Professional, we should care about. You can read more about the
recent vote here.

The Intel Song : We're a Happy Family!

I don't think I ever heard anything so ridiculous in my life. If my company would make me listen to something like this each morning to "motivate" me, I would either quit my job or end up mad.

Apparently this song is used in Intel’s internal training in China, as well as to boost employees’ morale during daily morning exercises. (Source: tian.cc)

Our operation is satisfaction,
We are sure perfection,
Quality we fair achievement we share,
For the staff Intel cares…

Intel, Intel,
The leading company,
Intel, Intel,
We work in harmony…

We are proud to say we lead all the way,
Technology today…
With a better show to the front we go,
Just watch us as we grow.

Intel, Intel,
The place for you to be,
Intel, Intel,
The happy family…

Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2 Test Drive

Microsoft has just started to offer a free online demo version of Office 2007. The real-time test drive does not require any product installation or download, so you don't have to be afraid about Mr. Gates installing unnecessary crap on your system.

Check it out.

A Guide to Understanding Power Supplies

Power supplies have always been one of the most overlooked part when dealing with PC hardware issues, and unfortunately, people often tend to forget about them in their search of a solution to their hardware problems. A couple of years ago, I had a system which was extremely unstable, and before discovering that my power supply was responsible for this situation, I wasted a lot of hours swapping out most of the other parts in my machine. Just imagine my frustration when I finally discovered that I had a faulty PSU; I almost threw my system out of the window of my office!

In order to troubleshoot these kinds of problems, you really have to have a good understanding about how power supplies work. To help you in this task, Motherboards.org has posted a pretty good guide that should answer everything you ever wanted to know about PSUs but were afraid to ask.

Watts, amps, volts, rails, PFC, efficiency; there's a lot of buzzwords flying around there and hardly anyone seems to know what they all mean. Well, now's your chance to finally become a power supply guru. I am going to try to explain it all to you. Hopefully, in the end, your brain will not be a buzz of over-information. Rather, you'll be better informed and may learn that your power supply may not be sufficient... or the power supply you've been shopping for is overkill and a tremendous waste of money!

Read more (via Hard OCP)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Free Corporate Spyware protection: Shavlik NetChk Spyware

Shavlik has recently started to offer NetChk Spyware for free on their website (50 seats max). NtChk Spyware is one of the best and most powerful anti-spyware solution currently available for SMBs. It is fully automated and will keep your network safe from the nastiest and most current adware, spyware, malware and nonbizware. If your environment is infested by these kind of nasties, I would definitely recommend that you give it a try.

Shavlik are also the makers of HfNetChkPro, my favorite patch management solution. If you are in need of something that is better and more powerful then WSUS to deploy your Microsoft product updates, you can have a look at the review we did of the product right here.

Hotel offers 'CrackBerry' therapy

I never understood why people would desire to bring work with them wherever they go, especially if it's after office hours or during their vacations. Why don't they just pull the plug? I know that VPs and CEOs have a lot of responsibilities, but personally, I think that health and family should always be the most important thing in one's life, especially when you're not supposed to be working. If there's one gadget that really doesn't help businessmen leave work behind, it's the BlackBerry. If you're a "CrackBerry" (a BlackBerry addict), and wish to take a break from work, there's a few hotels through America that started to offer "CrackBerry" therapies. When you rent a room in one of these hotels, you will be asked to leave your blackberry with the manager, who will put your beloved communication device under lock until you decide to leave the establishment. Simple and effective.

Rick Ueno, general manager of the Sheraton Chicago Hotel, said the program that began on Wednesday grew out of his own personal BlackBerry addiction. His one-step recovery was switching to a regular cell phone.

Read more.

How Perpendicular Recording Works

HardwareSecrets has an interesting piece up describing how perpendicular recording works. If you don't know what this new recording technology is all about, just go and read the article right here. Most new hard drives are now using perpendicular recording, so if you are a true geek, you should at least know about it, even if it's of no practical use to you.

The majority of hard disk drives found on the market today use a recording technology called longitudinal, where bits are stored side by side on the magnetic surface. This recording technique has been used since the first hard disk drives. A new recording technology, called perpendicular, is being used on newer hard disk drives, allowing a higher recording density.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Express Yourself on the Road with the Drive-e-mocion

When you're on the road, communicating with other drivers is not always easy, and that is why London-based AU-MY Ltd developed the Drive-e-mocion: an electronic display that sticks to your back window and let surrounding drivers know about your feelings. It can display a smiley face or a frowning face, along with the messages "thank you" and "back off". Is someone riding your bumper? Just take the remote and hit the "back off" button. Is there a pretty lady (or a nice looking guy) following you? Don't be shy and show her your best "smiley face". Who knows, doing this could eventually lead you to meet the woman of your life!

Check it out. (via Gearlog)

The 10 Tech People Who Don't Matter

After having published an article about the Top 50 People Who Matter in the Tech World, Business 2.0 just released a similar one, but this time, they're listing the Top 10 People Who Do not Matter. Guess who's at the top of the list? Our good friend, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

The list may surprise you. Collectively, these people are worth billions of dollars. They command big salaries and have impressive titles. Among them are the creators of the Sony PlayStation, the DVD, and Linux.

Read more. (via slashdot)

Protecting Your Business Network from Wireless Devices

I've been telling it to you guys again and again: Protect your wireless networks! There are too many unsecured ones out there and shamefully, a lot of them are on corporate networks. If you are currently looking to implement or improve WLAN security in your environment, you'll be pleased to learn that ZDNet UK has published a guide that takes a different approach to wireless security. While most WLAN security tutorials on the web teach you how to create a secure wireless network, this one will show you how to protect your environment FROM wireless devices.

There's no shortage of information explaining how to create a secure wireless network. But what about securing your network FROM wireless devices? This list of pointers from Dr. Thomas Shinder will help you reduce the risk.

Read more.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Top 10 MP3 Players for Under $100

If you are on a low budget and want to get yourself a brand new MP3 player, you'll definitely want to have a look at this article. The guys at CNet evaluated a bunch of low-cost media player and published a Top 10 list of the best ones that can be bought for under 100$. Unsurprisingly, my beloved SanDisk Sansa m250 is in there, and guess what? The iPod Shuffle did not make it to the list!

Electronic gadgets don't have to be expensive to be good, and we can prove it. We scoured CNET.com to find the best MP3 players that can be had for less than a C-note. All the devices that made this top 10 list offer at least 512MB of storage and two or more of the following characteristics: good sound quality; a stylish, compact design; advanced features such as an FM radio or recording capabilities; and an impressive battery life. Of course, the best part is that none of them will break the bank. Find the right player for you below.

Read more

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Montreal Grand-Prix Pre-Celebration Event

I'll be out for the remainder of the weekend guys. I'll be going to a very special event. Here's a little something to wet your appetite. More details about it next week!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Daily Show on violent video games (Video)

The daily show speaks about the effect of violent video games on children, and what congress thinks about all of this. Simply hilarious. Enjoy the show!

Followup post: Politician: 0 Daily Show: 2

Other daily show episodes: Daily Show on Net Neutrality

Preventing Microsoft WGA from Phoning back home

A few months ago, Microsoft started forcing its Windows customers who were using the windows update site to install a verification tool on their computer to validate if their OS was legit or not. The problem with this is that they did not warn people that they would do so. The tool was downloaded automatically as a critical update when users went to WU, fooling them into believing that this was something they had to install.

This "update" named as the "Windows Genuine Advantage" tool (WGA) does 2 things:

  • 1- It takes a look at your installation key, verify if it's in a database of "pirated" ones, and block you from accessing downloadable content from Microsoft's website in the case you've been classified as a "big, bad and evil pirate".
  • 2- If you failed to prove that you bought your own version of Windows in #1, it keeps on harassing you via a small application that resides in your taskbar. It also sends indeterminate information to Microsoft every time you boot your computer, and does it even if your installation of Windows was considered as legit, which can be perceived by many as a violation of their security and privacy.

Fortunately, a private security company released a nice little utility to get rid of the controversial callback component in Microsoft's Windows Genuine Advantage anti-piracy tool. If you feel that Microsoft has no business sticking their pointy nose into your system and want WGA to stop "phoning back home", you can download the utility right here.

(via fixgadgets)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Samsung Considers Blu-ray / HD DVD Hybrid Player

Have you been debating about which HD player technology to support? Blu-ray or HD DVD? If you can't make up your mind yet and want to purchase an HD player, an hybrid drive may be the solution to your problem.

Samsung was the first to market a Blu-ray player with the launch of the BD-P1000 last week and could also be among the first with a hybrid drive. "We don't have a plan to make an HD DVD-only player but are considering a universal player. We are preparing HD-DVD [support] now and if we launch a universal player it will be the end of this year or early next year," said Kim Du-Hyon of Samsung's home-platform division.

I have the feeling that this player will be insanely expensive, even more then the Blu-Ray one which is currently priced at $1000USD. Eventually, one of the two technologies will die, and if you buy that hybrid drive, you will have paid way too much money for a player that will become half-useless in the near future. Whatever you decide to do, it's your money, not mine!

Read more.

Top 100 Network Security Tools

After conducting a survey of Nmap users from the nmap-hackers mailing list to determine their favorite security tools, the guys at Insecure.org compiled the results and released them to the world in this fantastic top 100 list. Security practitioners are strongly encouraged to read the list and investigate tools they aren't familiar with. Who knows, you may find the little gem that you never knew about in there.

Check it out.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Exploding Laptop

Considering the source, I might question the validity of the story. But I don't care. It is hilarious, and the pictures are priceless.

I have a somewhat personal stake in this as well, considering the company from whom my department buys the vast majority of PCs.

"For the record, this is a Dell machine," notes Guilhem.
We don't have any further details of the model of the computer in question. In light of the evidence, however, we'd suggest you avoid actually using a laptop on your lap.

Read More.

First Look at the Samsung's BD-P1000 Blu-ray DVD Player

Samsung's BD-P1000 first Blu-ray player follows Toshiba's HD-A1 HD-DVD to market by about two months. Dan Bradley From DenGuru got his hand on it before its official launch, bringing you a first look at the much talked about product.

Check it out!

Vista Performs As Fast As XP on Same Hardware

The guys at CNet tried to run Vista and XP on 2 computers with identical hardware to see which one would perform better. Surprisingly, the Vista installation was as fast as the XP one.

We loaded Windows Vista beta 2 (build 5384) and Windows XP Professional SP2 on a 3.2GHz Pentium 4, with 1GB of DDR2 memory running at 664MHz and an ATI Radeon X850 XT graphics card. We ran a few of CNET Labs' home-brewed tests on the two operating systems to see if we could discern any significant performance differences between XP and Vista. The results were surprising.

Hmmm, maybe not that surprising considering the specs of the systems they used. They should have tried with lower-end computers instead. I'm pretty sure that if they would have done so, the results would have been very different.

Read more.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

(Video) Introducing the Apple iBox

If Apple would ever market a gaming console of their own, I'm pretty sure it would look like the iBox: Pretty and useless. Enjoy the show!

(Via Resistance is Futile)

Destroying Data Beyond All Possible Recovery

How do you make a hard drive completely unreadable? A team at Ga Tech explored a broad range of possible destruction techniques, including burning diskettes with heat-generating thermite materials, crushing drives in presses, chemically destroying the media and finaly, exposing the disks to a magnetic force microscope.

If you erase the data by whatever means, you should see a surface devoid of any specific pattern or periodicity,” Knotts explained. “Our goal was to see a random distribution of magnetization that would indicate a clean disk.

If you ever need to get rid of a drive at home, the [GAS] team recommend using the good old "Sledgehammer" technique: Just wipe your disk using a utility like Darik's Boot and Nuke, then bring it outside and whack it with a sledgehammer until you cannot recognize it anymore. If the drive's platter is broken in multiple pieces, your data will probably remain permanently unrecoverable and no, freezing the disk won't help you in this case!

Read more.

L.A. sheriff to use drones for surveillance

The city of L.A. just announced that it is going to be using remotely controlled surveillance drones to catch some real-time color footage of crimes in progress, eliminating the need of exposing officers to dangerous situations that do not require direct action. At $30,000 per unit, the victims of the drone's objective are better not be aware that they are filmed, because all of this could become very expensive for Los Angeles if criminals decide to start shooting on the high-tech devices.

If deputies want a bird’s-eye view of a standoff, they might scramble the unmanned drone instead of a helicopter to get a closer, quieter look. Within minutes, real-time color video would be streamed to a portable computer system manned by an officer 250 feet (76 meters) below.

Read more (via tech. filter).

Monday, June 19, 2006

Will The Xbox 360 Make the World Go Bankrupt?

The guys at DX gaming published an interesting article taking a look at the power consumption of some of the most popular gaming consoles that are on the market right now. They measured how much power each system gobbled while being used, and also how much when they were turned off.

At 14 hours of usage per week, an xbox 360 will consume approximately $20USD of electricity per year ($0.15 per kWh used for calculations), almost 4 times as much as a PS2. A lot of people don't really care about this; $20 is nothing when you get to play some of the best games that the gaming world has to offer, but if you consider that by the end of 2007, Xbox 360 sales are projected to reach 11 millions units, it puts an all new perspective on the subject. 11 million consoles eating away $220 million dollars of power is a pretty big issue considering that a lot of countries, and even a few U.S. states, have to import electricity since they cannot meet their own demand. Let me ask you something dear readers: what usually comes with an increase of demand? Does anyone beside me think that there is a problem with the state of the North American lifestyle? Ok, enough with my rants, you guys can go on and read the article right here.

Microsoft Ending XP SP1 Support

This is a friendly reminder for all of you who are still running XP SP 1. Microsoft plans to end all support for this service pack starting October 10th 2006, so be sure to migrate over to SP2 before the fatidic date.

Customers running Windows XP SP1 must migrate to Windows XP SP2 over the next three months, or they'll lose incident support as of Oct. 10. Microsoft also said it won't release any more security updates for SP1 after that date.

Read more.

Monday Morning Humor: Your Monthly Geek Horoscope

BBSpot has just released their latest edition of the Geek Horoscope. Funny stuff, like always.

Sagittarius Nov 22 - Dec 21
Neighbors will complain when your "mosquito repeller" that requires a 25000 watt subwoofer, shakes their house off of its foundation.

Read more.

Uwe Boll's Challenge to Critics

Do you hate Uwe Boll? Do you think his movies, such as House of the Dead, Alone in the Dark, and Bloodrayne were some of the worst pieces of film to hit theaters in recent years? Do you find the German Ed Wood's hubris to be so gargantuan that you want to beat him upside the head with a tubesock filled with woodscrews?

PSST: The correct answers are "Yes", "YES", and "GOD IN HEAVEN, YES! WHERE DO I SIGN UP?!"

Well, guess what? If you happen to be one of those outspoken critics of Mr. (sorry, sorry, "Dr.") Boll's celluloid shlock, you could possibly be lucky enough to take him on in the boxing ring. In a recent press release, Boll issued a challenge to those who've vocally blasted his films. Essentially, he is willing to go ten rounds in the ring with these folks, so long as they meet his rather stringent criteria:

  • Your criticism must predate January 1, 2006. "Critics of 2006 will not be considered." (Damn, guess my little rant isn't eligible)
  • You must be male.
  • You must weigh between 140 and 190 lbs.
  • You will have to sign the necessary forms, be inspected by a doctor, blah blah blah blah blah...
So, if you're interested, go ahead and shoot an email off to info@boll-kg.de with your anti-Boll message. Boll has promised to pay for transportation and hotel stays for anyone he goes toe-to-toe with (just watch, the challengers are gonna be stowed away in baggage compartments and housed in flea-ridden cardboard boxes). Hopefully, whoever gets to go will knock some sense into the man and convince him to stop defiling video game franchises.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Remotely Monitoring Windows Memory Usage

A lot of techies tend to suggest adding more memory to a computer when someone complains about the general slowliness of his system, but often, this won't solve the problem. Adding extra RAM to a machine when it doesn't really need is costly and pointless. Information Week has an interesting article that presents you with a few tools and techniques that should help you understand what is really happening with a system memory usage when it seems that everything is running slowly on it.

Obviously, being able to monitor and visualize actual memory consumption can yield a tremendous amount of insight into the actual utilization of your different systems. This leads to more informed conclusions about how to get the most bang for your memory dollars. While RAM may be cheap, it's not always needed, and adding more memory when it won't actually do anything is simply wasted time, money, and effort.

Read more. (via digg)

Jet-Powered, part 2

The previous jet-powered post is great. And then there's this. I was just surfing around last night when I happened upon this set of images. The jet-powered bike was amazing, but this VW and the scooter (at the bottom of the page) are simply unreal! Sadly, no video though. If any of you wonderful readers have some time to troll YouTube or Google Video, and happen to find some video of these beasts (or others), then spread the love! The comment board is open.

My Return to Broadband Hell

For the last several years, I have been lucky enough to have my high speed internet access paid for by my brother (Thanks, Seth) and provided by a local company called Dataflo. Four years ago, when I left my job as a technical trainer for The Chubb Institute, I also left access to a T-1 line behind. After researching for a couple of months, I came to realize that I lived in Broadband hell. No access to DSL (too far from the Central Office). No cable modems (our cable company had changed hands several times and no one had upgraded us). Sprint had wireless DSL, but by the time I found the phone number to call, they were not accepting any new customers. Then one day, after resigning myself to dial-up and the installation of a second phone line, I came home to a flyer on my screen door. A company had just brought microwave delivered broadband to my neighborhood. I called, they installed, and I have had ZERO downtime for 4 years.

Yesterday I returned home from work to find a letter from Dataflo informing me that they were leaving the residential business. What did this mean for me? Well, after investigating their website, I found that I would have to DOUBLE my monthly cost to a minimum of $99 to upgrade to a business account, or I would have to find another provider.

A quick trip to the Internet revealed that my broadband options had improved, but not by much. I could go with
DirectTV satellite for $99, Comcast 6mb (finally!) for $34.99 for the first 4 months and $57.99 after that, and extremely slow Yahoo DSL (1.5mb) for $12.99 provided I commit to 12 months of service. Several of my friends had Comcast, but service is spotty. Yahoo DSL is cheap, but a lot slower than what I am used to. And if I was willing / able to pay $100 a month, I would stay with Dataflo.

After a lot of thinking, I decided to go with the Comcast for $34.99 and leasing the modem for $3 a month. There is no length of service required, so I can cancel when the price goes up. Who knows, maybe I will find a better alternative by then. My installation is scheduled for June 30th. The installer does the outside work (which there shouldn't be much, we had cable about 4 years ago), runs the line to my computer, and then I have to do everything else. Gee, I hope I can handle it!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

New Paypal Issues?

It seems that someone has uncovered a vulnerability in Paypal that is making it even easier for scammers to steal credit card numbers from users. The scary part about this one, is that the content that redirects you to the scammer, is on paypal's site.

I wont try to explain it here,
but you can read all about it here.

Needless to say, Paypal seems to badly need what Google is going to give them, some genuine competition.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Simulating the Sociable Wordpress Plugin under the Blogger Platform

A few days ago, while following some of my incoming links through my stats engine, I stumbled upon the blog of Evan Spiegel, one of our long time readers. Evan has coded a very interesting feature into his Blogger blog that allows him to simulate the effect of the Wordpress Sociable plugin on the Blogger platform. After asking him how he did it, Evan nicely provided me with the code he added to his template to make this work. You can see the result at the bottom of each blog entry on [GAS]. He gave me the permission to publish the code, and also the way to integrate it into the template.

Note: The TXTs that contain the code are zipped, so you'll need Winzip (or any other compression utility that supports the zip format) to uncompress them.

Step #1

Go to your Blogger dashboard, click on "Change Settings" and then click on the "Template" tab.

Step #2

Select all of the text in your template and copy / paste it in notepad. Save this file and keep it as a backup in case you mess up your template.

Step #3

Download, uncompress and edit this code. Replace the values marked as "Insert URL of icon right here" by the links to the location where you stored your icons of the various social networking sites you want displayed on your blog. (digg, reddit, del.ico.us, etc.). You can add and remove as many as you want. Add the code just before the < /style > tag in your Blogger template.

Step #4

Download this
additional code and edit it. The top block contains everything you need to display the icons configured in step #3. The second block contains most of the other known social networking sites and will add them to a drop down box that will be displayed right after the icons configured in block #1. You can add or remove as many services as you want, just study the code carefully if you decide to do so. When you are finished, paste everything directly after the "<$BlogItemControl$>" tag into your Blogger template.

Step #5

Save your changes, and hit "Republish".

Step #6

Have a look at your blog and see if everything worked as planned.

Voila, you're done! Now, your readers have a convenient way to submit / bookmark your blog entries to their favorite social networking sites.

Edit (17/01/07): These customizations will not work for those of you who have migrated their blog to the new Blogger and have also upgraded their template by hitting "Customize Design" in the template tab. If your blog runs on the new Blogger, but with the old template code, everything will work as indicated.

Weekend Fun: DIY Jet-Turbine Powered Bicycle

If you ever get the chance to ride one of these jet powered bicycles, don't forget to put on your helmet, and whatever you do, never, ever sit on the engines!

Bill Gates to retire in 2008

Microsoft Corp. today announced that effective July 2008, Bill Gates will be transitioning away from his day-to-day role at Microsoft, and will hand his chief software architect role over to CTO Ray Ozzie. Steve Ballmer is expected to remain CEO, and Gates will remain chairman. Apparently, Mr. Gates wanted to retire early so that he could spend more time on his global health and education work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Read More.

D.I.Y. Projectors

...and more!

Check out Lumenlab for all the details, documents, and whatnot. There are also resources (and a store) for getting cheap parts for your D.I.Y. project, an extremely cheap pre-made projector (for those who can't or don't want to build their own), and some lively forums devoted to Home Theater technology.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Digg Clone from Netscape / AOL?

Over the past year, Netscape.com's traffic has been plummeting, and AOL has done the unthinkable to try and revert this situation: they transformed the once popular portal into a clone of the famous social networking site digg.com. AOL's site isn't bad, but one thing that I really hate about it is that when you click on a link to view a story, it opens it in a framed page showing the article on the right, and an ugly toolbar that shows other stories on the left. It's pretty ironic that when you access the front page, the first thing you see is a story titled "AOL Copies Digg". I wonder what Mr. Rose is thinking about all of this absurdity? Probably not much; he may even be rolling on the floor laughing!

Check it out.

Attack code comes on heels of Microsoft patches

Oh great, just what we need. Only a day after Microsoft released 21 patches to fix vulnerabilities in its Windows OS, some attack code that takes advantage of those vulnerabilities was released. Don't you love the Internet and its ability to spread information faster then light? Sometimes, I think that we'd better be off without it.

Most of the patches that Microsoft issued were for flaws that were widely known. But at least two flaws were made public for the first time on Tuesday as part of the company's monthly security update. Security firms reported finding the code on Wednesday. The exploit code for previously unknown flaws means hackers could use the code to pounce on computer systems with managers who are slow to apply patches.

Read more.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Q it up!

Motorola has finally rolled out the long awaited "blackberry killer," the Motorola Q. I've been waiting with a bit of anticipation wondering if this will finally be the killer phone I've been waiting for. I have never been able to adapt to the Blackberry, so have had to settle for a Starcomm, but this indeed looks promising.

Check out this first look movie from ZDNet, and I think you'll be impressed. I have yet to see if it can do voice dialing over a bluetooth headset (Without touching the phone), that would probably push me over the edge.

Check it out!

Net Neutrality - More than meets the eye?

Net Neutrality is not dead. But the issues surrounding it are much more complicated than whether or not something actually reaches the Presidents desk that has verbiage protecting net neutrality. What is most worrisome about this process so far is that if you look very carefully, you’ll see that the debate is about much more than just net neutrality. The two other issues that, if you look carefully, are probably bigger issues in the politicians mind, are the issues of who does the regulating, and who gets the money.

You see, some of the biggest political contributors really do not want to see something like Net Neutrality ever see the light of day. Why? Because they want to be able to break into the lucrative area of offering cable services over their broadband pipes. It’s a little discussed issue of Video Choice. And to do so, they need to make sure they are able to have the ability to segment that traffic, and treat it differently than the traffic generated by you and I jamming the refresh button on geeksaresexy.blogspot.com. While no one seems to be talking about it, the politicians are taking that issue very seriously. While anecdotal, I was called (As were several of my competitors locally) by a senator desperately seeking someone to sign their name to (And give credibility to) a letter to the editor rebutting an article that was pro net neutrality. Why does he care? Because he badly needed to demonstrate to his contributing lobbyists that he was working on their issue. Whether we like it or not, the money wielded by the lobbying groups for the telecoms is very significant.

Secondly, is the issue of who gets to control the regulation that would occur if net neutrality became reality. You can
read a lot more about that in this article here. But because of the lobby money discussed above, this is a huge issue.

Whether you are for or against net neutrality, it’s important to understand the underlying issues that are driving the debate, and let your opinion be known.

Microsoft Has a Big Date Set with 'Black Hat' Hackers

In an unprecedented move, the software maker will reach out to some of the world's smartest hackers to show off some of the key security features and functionality being fitted into Vista. Will this be Microsoft's toughest crowd yet? No software vendor has ever presented a pre-release product to the Black Hat security conference; it's pretty Ironic that Microsoft is going to be the first one doing it. I'd give a lot to witness this historic event. We all know that the Black Hat community has always made fun of Microsoft, so this meeting promises to be pretty interesting.

Read more.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Oh No! It's Microsoft Patch Tuesday!

Yep, it's that time of the month again. Microsoft has released TWELVE new security bulletins today and has re-released one prior security patch. Here are the details:

MS06-021: Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (916281) Severity: Critical

MS06-022: Vulnerability in ART Image Rendering Could Allow Remote Code Execution (918439) Severity: Critical

MS06-023: Vulnerability in Microsoft JScript Could Allow Remote Code Execution (917344) Severity: Critical

MS06-024: Vulnerability in Windows Media Player Could Allow Remote Code Execution (917734) Severity: Critical

MS06-025: Vulnerability in Routing and Remote Access Could Allow Remote Code Execution (911280) Severity: Critical

MS06-026: Vulnerability in Graphics Rendering Engine Could Allow Remote Code Execution (918547) Severity: Critical

MS06-027: Vulnerability in Microsoft Word Could Allow Remote Code Execution (917336) Severity: Critical

MS06-028: Vulnerability in Microsoft PowerPoint Could Allow Remote Code Execution (916768) Severity: Critical

MS06-029: Vulnerability in Microsoft Exchange Server Running Outlook Web Access Could Allow Script Injection (912442) Severity: Critical

MS06-030: Vulnerability in Server Message Block Could Allow Elevation of Privilege (914389) Severity: Important

MS06-031: Vulnerability in RPC Mutual Authentication Could Allow Spoofing (917736) Severity: Moderate

MS06-032: Vulnerability in TCP/IP Could Allow Remote Code Execution (917953) Severity: Important

MS06-011: Permissive Windows Services DACLs Could Allow Elevation of Privilege (914798)

GBuy vs. Paypal: Fight!

There have been rumors about Google offering their own version of Paypal floating around the web for years now, and apparently, the rumors were recently confirmed: Google is about to launch their own online payment system dubbed "GBuy". According to Forbes, the service is set for release on June 28.

Consumers using GBuy, which is set for release on June 28, will be taken off the merchant's site to complete the payment. This will enable Google (nasdaq: GOOG - news - people ) to capture e-commerce transaction data, driving more precise targeting in future searches. (source: Forbes).

Will Gbuy be the next PayPal killer? Maybe, maybe not. Personally, I think that the coming of Gbuy will be splitting the online payment market in two, bringing a new source of revenue for Google, and cutting Paypal's share in half. Whatever happens, I think that with the exponential growth of the online world, there are enough opportunities on the Internet for 2 competing players to live comfortably.

[Geeks are Sexy] Introducing the Consultant

Hi guys, I'm the owner of a small Consulting and IT Support business, and I'm the newest addition as a contributor to this awesome blog. I've been involved in IT since I was a freshman in college (Which sadly, is getting to feel like a long time ago).

Much like Kiltak, I'm an IT Generalist. Because of what my business does, we are jacks of all trades, and masters of nothing. So I am aware of and knowledgeable in most all SMB technology like servers, firewalls, desktops, etc. I'm also very much a techie, so if its electronic, I can figure it out. If there's a new device out there, I can figure it out. And I'll be the first one to run out and partition my hard drive, install the Vista Beta 2, and see what I can find. But you'll hear more about that later.

I used to be an avid gamer, but now my time outside of computers is mostly devoted to my family. Some of my other hobbies currently include football, softball, and I'm horribly addicted to playing poker (And fortunately, relatively good at it).

Anyhow, I look forward to contributing on a regular basis, so please feel free to leave feedback, especially if its a topic you want to hear more about!

Google Earth v4 Released

Google Earth v4 is out folks! The new version features 3D textured buildings, new UI updates and better internationalization. A lot of people will also be pleased to learn that Google Earth now officially supports Linux.

(via slashdot)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Happy Anniversary Hot Coffee!

Roughly a year after the infamous Hot Coffee scandal which pretty much rocked the video game industry, the first annual Sex in Video Games conference was held in San Francisco last week... trust me, the thing was way less exciting than it sounds.

Essentially, this event was put on by Evergreen Events with the goal of discussing a plethora of subjects including the controversy of erotic content in games, the workings of the adult industry, "emergent sex" in games, and why the gaming and adult entertainment industries haven't had a great deal of success working with one another.

Audio recordings of the speeches and panel discussions on Thursday, June 8, are available online (recorded by yours truly):
"Sex in Games: Where Are We Now?"- Brenda Brahwaite; speaker
"Selling Adult Games"- Damon Brown (moderator), Daniel Terdiman, Peter Payne, Gabe Zicherman; panel discussion
"Game Off: How Sex Happens Online"- Regina Lynn; speaker
Guest Speech- Gregory Piccionelli; speaker
"The Future of Technology and Sex"- Dave Taylor; speaker
"Integrating the Adult and Game Markets"- Jeb Havens (Moderator), Brad Abram, Kathee Brewer, Brian Schuster; panel discussion
"Pleasing the Player: What Emergent Sex Can Teach Developers"- Andrea Fryer, Phoenix Linden, Noche Kandora; panel discussion

Installing WordPress Locally Under Windows XP

In the past few weeks, I've tested a few blogging platforms for the upcoming launch of Geeksaresexy.net, and right now, I hesitate between 2 alternatives: WordPress and Textpattern. I'll be fooling around with both in coming weeks to familiarize myself with them. I have now been running Wordpress for a week or so, and I must say that I am quite impressed by its ease of installation. Running a local version of your blog is very useful because it lets you fool around with themes and plugins to your heart's desire without having to risk breaking your live blog.

Here's a little guide that will help you install and run Wordpress locally on your XP box in less then 10 minutes:

1- Get XAMPP lite for Windows. Choose the exe version, and install it at the root of your C drive.

2- Browse to C:\xampplite and double click setup_xampp.bat

3- Once that is done, double click xampp-control.exe and start the Apache and Mysql services.

4- Open your browser and go to this address: http://localhost/. From the menu on the left column, choose your preferred language.

5- Now that the interface displays a language that you can understand, click on phpMyAdmin (on the left column once again)

6- Enter "wordpress" (without quotes) in the "Create New Database" Field, and select utf8_unicode_ci in the drop down box in the next field (as shown in the picture below). Click on Create. The Xampp setup is now complete.

7- Download Wordpress and unzip it under c:\xampplite\htdocs.

8- You should now have a wordpress folder under c:\xampplite\htdocs. Browse to the folder, and you will see a file named wp-config-sample.php. Open it in your favourite text editor and replace the default values by the ones you see under this paragraph. Save the file as wp-config.php (under the same folder).

// ** MySQL settings ** //
define('DB_NAME', 'wordpress'); // The name of the database
define('DB_USER', 'root'); // Your MySQL username
define('DB_PASSWORD', ''); // ...and password (needs to be empty, just for local install)
define('DB_HOST', 'localhost'); // 99% chance you won't need to change this value

9- Open your browser and navigate to http://localhost/wordpress/wp-admin/install.php , follow the instructions, and voila, you are done.

That was easy wasn't it?

Update: If you already have a web server (IIS, etc.) running on your box while trying to set up XAMPP, be sure to follow the instructions provided here. If you don't, you won't be able to access the XAMPP config page as described in step #4.

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