[Geeks are Sexy] technology news

Thursday, November 30, 2006

First Microsoft Vista Commercial: See the Difference (Video)

Microsoft has just released the first official Vista ad. Check it out!

I wonder why this commercial makes me think of the iPod Pro 2005 XP: Human Ear Professional Edition video we posted a while ago? Hmmmm, probably because of the music...

A Code of Conduct for Bloggers?

Everyone knows that most bloggers express their opinions online without any taboos, but it seems that certain people would like this situation to end. A UK press organization believes that online publications and bloggers should sign a journalistic 'code of conduct'. Would the net be a better place with such a code in place? Personally, I do not think so. The beauty of blogging resides in the fact that people can honestly express their opinions online without being influenced by third-party factors, or fear of reprisal. What are your thoughts on this issue?

The head of the UK Press Complaints Commission has suggested that bloggers and other Internet content creators should agree to a voluntary code of conduct that governs what they publish online.

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Intel jumps on 802.11n bandwagon with Centrino

According to this article, Intel has just announced that they will be including preratification 802.11n wireless networking in the next generation of Centrino chipsets. Will this make a de-facto standard?

On Tuesday, at the IEEE Globecom 2006 Expo in San Francisco, Intel announced that the company is planning to put a pre-standard version of 802.11n wireless networking into the next release of the Centrino chipset. Alan Crouch, director and general manager at Intel's Communications Technology Lab, told the crowd of engineers and technologists that the new WiFi technology was slated for inclusion in the Centrino chips as early as next year.

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Dragon Naturally Speaking Contest Ending Today

Just a quick note to remind you guys that the "Dragon Naturally Speaking" contest is ending today. If you didn't drop your name in the hat yet, it's still time to do so.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Brand New Batch of 'Get a Mac' Ads

I know how much you guys enjoy those "Get a Mac" ads, so for your viewing enjoyment, here are the 3 newest ones that just got released by Apple. Enjoy!

Gift Exchange

Sales Pitch

Meant for Work

A Comprehensive Guide to Windows Notebook Backup

The guys at Mobility Guru just pubbed a useful guide which covers the terminology, techniques and tools you'll need to protect the precious content of your notebook computer. Learn about backups, what to backup, where to backup and how to backup. A must read for those of you who are not backing up their data and are thinking about doing it.

Nowadays you'll find many backup methods, options, and features in the wide range of backup software products available in the marketplace. These products let you choose from among simple to complex backup options. To make the most of your backups and to choose the solution that's right for you, you need a working knowledge of applicable terminology. So, that's where we'll start.

Read more.

Let's Celebrate: [GAS] is 1 Year Old

Yes, [GAS] has reached the venerable age of 1 this week. 1 year old for 1 million page views (765k uniques). Not bad hey? During this first year, we've published a lot of good material, informed you about all sorts of interesting facts concerning the world of IT and made you laugh with our occasional humorous posts. We've also been linked to by a lot of great sites. Here are a few of the most interesting ones:

I'd also like to thank all readers and contributors who have helped [GAS] becomes what it is today. Thank everyone!

My blog is worth $305,416.14.
How much is your blog worth?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

An Important Lesson in Privacy

Scott Granneman has always been one of my favorite security writer. His articles are always interesting, easy to understand and to the point. If everyone could read what this guy has to say, the Internet would definitely be a better, and more secure, place to visit. In his latest article, Scott takes a look at an unfortunate event that happened to a very well-known female television show host in Europe. He then uses her story to teach you a very good lesson in privacy.

The embarrassing goodies didn't have to be sexy pics and vids, of course. They could just as easily have been IM conversations, or emails, or letters, or banking info, or accounts of medical issues, or just about anything that should be seen as privy to only a very few. No matter what it is, the lesson is crystal clear: destroy that data before it leaves your possession!

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Related [GAS] Technology article:

New Technology Sees Through Clothing

While browsing my daily list of reads this morning, I stumbled on this interesting article reporting that a bunch of perverts scientists from the NGST Corporation have discovered a way to see through clothing and other inert materials. I'm sure such a technology will be very useful in airports and other sensitive areas, but strangely, I can easily imagine people using it for other purposes.

According to the materials presented by the ISSCC organizers, the technology offers only "somewhat-fuzzy" grayscale images. But privacy advocates may understandably balk at a technology that sees through clothing, especially with the potential through technology development of improving the quality of such images.

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First Mac OS X Spyware Spotted

Yes folks, the time where Mac owners could safely brag about how secure their system are now gone. According to this eWeek article, F-Secure Anti-Virus researchers have recently spotted the first real Mac adware program capable of launching browser windows on OSX.

The company said the sample, named iAdware, successfully launched the Mac's built-in Safari Web browser whenever applications were being used.

With the ever increasing popularity of Mac desktops and laptops, something like this was bound to happen eventually.Be forewarned: this is only a beginning and there is not much we can do to stop this trend.

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Nintendo Wii: the Ars Technica review

Nintendo throws its hat in the next-generation console ring with the release of the Wii. How does Nintendo's tiny console with the novel controller scheme match up against the heavyweights from Sony and Microsoft? This review from the folks at Arstechnica lets you find out.

Will lightning strike twice for Nintendo? We're going to take a deep look at the Wii hardware and a few of the launch games and see if the Nintendo's low-priced, standard-definition system has any hope of gaining a beachhead in the next-gen console war.

Read more

Monday, November 27, 2006

Late Monday Fun: Get a Laptop (Video)

Here is an hilarious FutureShop commercial titled "Get a Laptop".

So, has anyone here ever been caught in a similar situation?

AllAdvantage is Back!: Get Paid to Surf The Web

For those of you who were surfing the net back in 1998, you probably remember a company named AllAdvantage who used to pay people to surf the web. All you needed to do was install their "surf bar", and voilà, you were ready to earn some good money, especially if you could refer others. I made more then $1000 with them back then, but unfortunately, the company closed after a while.

Now, 8 years later, AllAdvantage is back, but under a new name: AGLOCO (A Global Community). This time, the founders are doing things differently to avoid making the same mistakes as in the past. The new viewbar will not be paying a flat fee per hour anymore, but will give you a share of income the viewbar earns. This way, the company will not be paying out more then they're making, which was what the old AllAdvantage did.

The new Viewbar offers spyware protection, phishing protection, Privacy protection, IM and Voice communications, RSS feeds and the list goes on.

Since we here, at [GAS], we're curious about Agloco, we decided to sign up and check out what these guys had to offer. Agloco offers a great opportunity for everyone to earn a nice little income with no risk involved at all. This business was started by a couple of stanford's MBAs and a few ex-Alladvantage founders, so there's really nothing to lose by signing up.

[GAS] Giveaway Contest: Dragon Naturally Speaking 9

Dragon Naturally Speaking 9We just made a deal with the folks at Nuance to giveaway 2 copies of Dragon Naturally Speaking 9 to you guys. For those of you who wish to learn more about this awesome speech recognition application before putting their name in the hat, just watch this demo and be amazed.

All you need to do to participate is to fill up this two-question quiz and you'll be automatically entered into the drawing. The contest will run for a total of 4 days. Good luck to all of you!

update (01/12/06): The contest has now officially ended. The winners will be announced in a few days. Please stay tuned!

15 Years Of Hard Drive History: Capacities Outran Performance

We've got quad-core processors, gigabytes of RAM and awesome graphics. But what has been going on with hard drives during all the time that these goodies have been developed? Capacities have multiplied and will hit one terabyte per drive soon, but as you'll see in this article, performance hasn't been able to keep up the pace.

These are exciting but also difficult times for the storage industry. The gradual transition to high definition multimedia content greatly improves our experience, but also multiplies our storage requirements. There is high demand for ever-increasing storage capacities thanks to ever-larger quantities of digital audio, photos and video. As a consequence, capacities for 3.5" hard drives have also grown, all the way up to 750 GB. Unfortunately, performance has not been able to increase at nearly the same rate.

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Health Fears Lead UK Schools to Dismantle Wireless Networks

wireless signalAccording to this Time Online article, schools in the UK have recently started to dismantle their wireless network installations due to illness concern coming from parents and teachers.

But many parents and some scientists fear that low levels of microwave radiation emitted by the transmitters could be harmful, causing loss of concentration, headaches, fatigue, memory and behavioural problems and possibly cancer in the long term. Scientific evidence is inconclusive, but some researchers think that children are vulnerable because of their thinner skulls and developing nervous systems.

After having worked in a wireless lab once a week for 6 months last year, I can attest that prolonged exposition to wireless signals can indeed cause massive headaches. If you are feeling concerned about how WI-FI signals can affect your health, here's a post we wrote a few months ago about safety guidelines to follow when working in such an environment.

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

Wacky Inventions - The Daily Show (Video)

Here's an absolutely hilarious clip of a Daily Show episode presenting a bunch of funny inventions such as the male chastity belt, the mobile suitcase and the gaydar. Which ones are your favorites? Enjoy!

If you enjoyed this post, take a few seconds of your time and subscribe to our feed! [GAS] is updated multiple times per day and is enjoyed by over 150000 unique visitors each month.

Special announcement: We're giving away 2 copies of Dragon Naturally Speaking 9, click here for more details.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Six Notebooks that Won't Go BOOM!

If are currently planning to purchase a new laptop and are worried about not making an enlightened choice, here's an article that lists 6 notebooks that won't explode in your face and will give you the best performance for the buck.

Solution providers selling notebooks have been taking a lot of heat this year. Customers concerned about reports of notebooks burning up and a Sony notebook battery recall of 9.6 million batteries from vendors as diverse as Dell, Apple, Sony and Toshiba have customers pounding on partners for recommendations about which notebooks run coolest with the longest battery life and best performance for the buck.

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Warning: You May be Experiencing the Vanishing Vacation

Whatever happened to unwinding, hanging loose and actually using your paid-vacation time from your job? A new survey makes the concept of a relaxing holiday, away from work, look like an endangered species.

Shortened workdays before big holidays are an increasingly rare occurrence, finds a survey released Nov. 15 by Hudson Employment, a New York-based staffing and outsourcing company. Half of the workers surveyed responded that their companies do not offer them any extra flexibility around the holidays, and 54 percent say their office is no more casual during the holidays than in the rest of the year. This is despite the fact that 37 percent of the work force admits to being less productive around the holidays.

So, what are your thoughts on this? Are any of you caught in a similar situation?

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

How to get a 'One Laptop Per Child' Image Running on your System

For those of you who feel like experimenting a bit this morning, here's a link to a perfectly good and working VMware image of a "One Laptop Per Child" system (mirror #1, mirror#2). Don't forget that if you want to run that image, you'll need to install VMware Player on your system first. Here are some detailed instructions:

  • Download VMware Player (Free) and install it
  • Download the OLPC image (mirror #1, mirror#2) and unzip it on your drive
  • Double click on the "OLPC" Vmware config file
  • Tell the player it is ok to change the system’s UUID and click through the error messages
  • Voilà! You now have a fully functional OLPC system running on your box.

Here are some alternate instructions for those of you who want to try this under Mac OSX.

Have fun! (
thanks Tuttle SVC!)

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Exclusive Tom and Katie Wedding Video.

At first, when I saw this, I thought to myself, "Who really cares about these two?" Ergo, "What's the big deal."

But when I saw that it was done in The Sims 2, I laughed my butt off!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Recovering Exchange Items that have been 'Shift-Deleted' in Outlook

For those of you who work in IT and manage an exchange server, at some point you've probably all faced the situation where a user came to you asking to recover an item that was lost, after said user emptied their "deleted items" folder. Most of the time the solution to their problem is an easy one.

  • Select the "Deleted Items" Folder
  • Select Tools -> Recover Deleted Items
  • Select the items you want to recover and click on the small envelope with an arrow

Voilà, the items that were selected are now supposed to be back in your Outlook trash can.

The only problem with this extremely useful feature is that if a user deletes items using [SHIFT] + [DELETE], the items will get permanently nuked and the recovery utility will not be able to restore them back to their previous location.

Fortunately, there's a quick registry tweak that will fix this problem:

(Warning: Serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly by using Registry Editor or by using another method. These problems might require that you reinstall your operating system. Microsoft or I cannot guarantee that these problems can be solved. Modify the registry at your own risk.)

  • Close Outlook
  • Click on start -> Run type "regedit" in the "run" field and press ok
  • Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SOFTWARE \ Microsoft \ Exchange \ Client \ Options
  • Right-click the "Options" Key, select "New"->"DWORD Value" and name it "DumpsterAlwaysOn"
  • Double click that new value in the right section of the registry editor and assign it with a decimal value of 1
  • Quit Regedit

Now that you have done the proper modification to the registry, start outlook again, select the folder where the desired item was hard deleted, head over to the tools menu and click "Recover Deleted Items". You should now see all the mails that were hard deleted in the previously selected folder. An important thing to note though is that emails will remain in the recovery utility for as long as the exchange server was configured to retain deleted objects.

If you enjoyed this post, take a few seconds of your time and subscribe to our feed! [GAS] is updated multiple times per day and is enjoyed by over 150000 unique visitors each month.

The Truth About Digital Cameras: Why Megapixels do not Matter Anymore

David Pogue from the New York Times posted a very interesting article on his blog today explaining why megapixels do not really matter anymore when shopping for a new digital camera.

We blew up a photograph to 16 x 24 inches at a professional photo lab. One print had 13-megapixel resolution; one had 8; the third had 5. Same exact photo, down-rezzed twice, all three printed at the same poster size. I wanted to hang them all on a wall in Times Square and challenge passersby to see if they could tell the difference.

So, what are your thoughts on this? Do you think you would notice the difference?

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Wii Launch Report: Nintendo's Next Generation is Set in Motion

Nintendo WiiNintendo made its long-awaited comeback bid Saturday night with Wii, and the console's launch was deemed a success. Two million Wiis sold out (or came damn near close to selling out) and Link returned with Twilight Princess. But can a cute, affordable console with motion-based gameplay win the next-generation console race?

Not a whole lot is riding on the launch of the Wii - just Nintendos's future. Consider for a moment that if Sony's PlayStation 3 was to be a disappointment and its gaming business suddenly crashed, Sony itself would surely go on. As for Microsoft and its Xbox business, well, I doubt anybody weeps for a software giant with $40 billion in cash reserves. Nintendo, however, has taken more than a few lumps during the last decade.

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Trillian 4: Sneak Preview

Trillian 4I've never installed AIM on any computer I've had any control over. I've cringed when people think the protocol and the client are one-and-the-same. I always encourage people to install alternate clients, and poke fun at those who don't.

Trillian was the first IM client I ever used. It proved to be solid even at version 1.0. I stuck with the free version through 2.0, demoed the Pro (for-pay) edition during the development and release of version 3, and eventually decided to buy it. After version 3's release, I started growing annoyed with Trillian. I started doing more work on other platforms, and experimenting with other software. Trillian's bloat, and Windows-only state simply couldn't compete with Miranda's speed (and portability), Gaim's cross-platform compatibility (and portability), or Adium's beautiful eye-candy.

But I've always maintained a shred of Trillian loyalty, and kept track of Cerulean Studios through their very slow release cycles and sparse blog updates. And now, after entirely too long, they've released a bunch of information on the forthcoming 4.0 release of Trillian (and concurrent web services). The first-look is exciting, and is impressive enough to make me feel inclined to try it out again. If the Trillian dudes come through with their promises, this software might just be a worth a serious look again.

More information and eye-candy can be found at the related blog post and preview site.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Cute Geekette Sells Ads on her Mac Laptop

Leah CulverThis pretty geekette came up a very innovative way to have her expensive Core2 Duo laptop pay for itself. A few months ago, she decided to start selling advertising space on the lid of her notebook, and guess what? Her plan worked! Some of the web's biggest names bought every single inches of free space on her Macbook, and now, have a look at what it looks like:

Wow, not bad at all. Good job Leah!

All of this proves what we here at [GAS] have been knowing for a long, long time: Geeks are definitely sexy!

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Panasonic Offering Free Technical Service - Even to Non-Customers

Panasonic logoAs you likely know, it can be quite difficult for consumers to get fully educated on flat panel TVs and advanced television technologies. In fact, a recent Consumer Electronic Association/Yahoo! survey found that consumers spend an average of 15 hours of online research for television purchases. To help cut through the infoglut, Panasonic is now offering technical service to anyone who seeks it – even those who aren’t Panasonic customers. In a bold move, the company has decided to extend and open its exclusive concierge service to anyone who is seeking advice/support through the holiday season.

Open access to the Panasonic Plasma Concierge service ends December 31, 2006. Consumers can access the service by calling 1-888-777-7134 Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. ET and Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. ET where they will be connected to a Panasonic Concierge expert. Consumers also can find tips, facts about flat panel television and a guide, What2Look4, which highlights the ins and outs of shopping for a flat panel at www.panasonic.com/plasmacentral.

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Many thanks to Melody for sending this in!

Vista's EULA Product Activation Worries

Windows Vista logoSecurityFocus.com has a great piece today that takes a look at Vista's EULA and how using its new product activation module - a module which can disable operation of your computer - may be just like walking on thin ice.

Does the Microsoft EULA adequately tell you what will happen if you don’t activate the product or if you can’t establish that it is genuine? Well, not exactly. It does tell you that some parts of the product won’t work - but it also ambiguously says that the product itself won’t work. Moreover, it allows Microsoft, through fine print in a generally unread and non negotiable agreement, to create an opportunity for economic extortion.

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Tips For Safer Online Shopping

Since Christmas will soon be upon us and more people then ever will use the web to shop for gifts this year, I thought it would be a good idea to point you guys to an article on safe online shopping. Yes, you don't need to remind me, I know most of you don't need to read this, but I'm sure that there are a few people in your surroundings that could profit from taking a look at it.

Perry says people let their defenses down during the rush to buy gifts. He cautions against having too much holiday "good will" when shopping online, and notes that there tends to be an uptick in scams, spam, and malware attacks during the holiday season. MX Logic reports that during the months of September through November e-mail recipients clicked on an average of 12 to 26 phishing messages a week, compared to an average of 7 per week during the rest of the year. MX Logic attributes increased clicks to an onslaught of holiday-related spam containing phishing lures.

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Sony PlayStation 3: the Ars Technica review

Playstation 3The long-awaited arrival of the PlayStation 3 marks Sony's entry into the next-generation console market. Does the PS3 live up to Sony's high hopes for it? This interesting review at ArsTechnica will let you find out.

There it is, sitting in my entertainment center: the PlayStation 3. Getting my PS3 was surprisingly easy—no long preorder line—and when the system was released I arrived at 8:00am and picked it up. Simple. I wasn't shot at and there wasn't a lot of fuss. It sounds like I was one of the lucky ones.

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10 Thankful Things in IT for 2006

As the holiday season approaches once more, it’s always a good thing to look back over the course of the year to give thanks to Providence for the things that took place across the land of IT that were more beneficial than harmful. Following this line of thought, the folks at eWeek pubbed this interesting list of 10 Thankful Things in IT for 2006.

Check it out.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Here Comes the Fastest Storage in the World

RamSan-400According to this article on techworld.com, a company named TMS has recently produced an SSD storage device that works around 600 times faster than a regular disk drive.

A RamSan drive has an access time of 15 microseconds, 250 times faster than a hard disk drive. A good hard disk drive provides 250-300 random I/O's per second. InfiniBand-based RamSan drives offer up to 50,000 random IOPS per single-ported controller, 200,000 random IOPS with four controllers.

Read more

TMS official press release:
Texas Memory Systems Introduces First Solid State Disk for InfiniBand

It Runs on Water - The story of Free Energy

On Sunday, 17 December 1995, viewers in U.K. saw an hour-long T V. program which, at long last, puts across the clear message that "free energy" is on the way. A world powered by water might seem like a dream today, but 100 years ago, that is exactly what the men of steam would have thought about a world powered by oil. Enjoy the show.

If you enjoyed this post, take a few seconds of your time and subscribe to our feed! [GAS] is updated multiple times per day and is enjoyed by over 150000 unique visitors each month.

Special announcement: AllAdvantage is Back: Get Paid to Surf the Web!

PCI Cards the Next Haven for Rootkits?

According to this SecurityFocus.com article, a security researcher named John Heasman came up with a way to hide malicious code on PCI cards that use expansion memory to accomplish their functions. This technique would unfortunately allow infected computers to carry on the code even after a full OS re-installation.

The paper (PDF), published on Wednesday, builds on the work presented by Heasman earlier this year, describing ways to use the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) functions available on almost all motherboards to store and run a rootkit that could survive a reboot. The current paper outlines ways to use the expansion memory available on Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) cards, such as graphics cards and network cards.

Even if such techniques will probably not become commonplace anytime soon, the fact that someone thought of a way to do this is frightening nonetheless.

Read more

Sunday, November 19, 2006

IT Certifications get No Respect Anymore?

An interesting article got pubbed in InfoWorld last week saying that IT cerfications are starting to become less and less relevant to employers and just may not be worth your time anymore. I've been working in IT for more then 10 years, and having no official IT certifications has never prevented me from getting a job, and has never even affected my salary whatsoever. Experience and a good head on your shoulders will always be more important on the field of action then having theoretical knowledge and a piece of paper saying you passed a series of exams. I've known a lot of people who had an MCSE and couldn't even restore a crashed exchange server, set up an AD domain or even configure a Cisco PIX firewall properly.

Are certified IT jobs just becoming more of a commodity, facing stiffer offshore competition? Are certifications becoming less relevant because anybody can go to Google and get themselves a minitutorial on almost any tech topic, any time? Or as Foote Partners CEO David Foote suggests, have enterprise employers simply refocused their priorities on “niche,” noncertified skills such as applications and Web or e-commerce development?

So, what are your thoughts on this issue?

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Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Case Against 1080p

A 1080p high definition television set may represent the height of native resolution right now, but it may just not be worth your money, at least not right now. Here's an article explaining you why.

But for this column, I'm going to go real-world on you and step into our A/V lab, where Mr. Katzmaier and I have set up five flat-panel HDTVs with native resolutions ranging from 1,024x768 (the Philips 42PF9631D 42-inch plasma) to 1,366x768 (the Panasonic TH-50PH9UK 50-inch plasma) to 1,920x1,080 (the Westinghouse LVM-47w1 47-inch LCD, the Sharp LC-46D62U 46-inch LCD, and the JVC LT-40FN97 40-inch LCD). We've hooked up the Samsung BD-P1000 Blu-ray player running the latest firmware and are using a Gefen HDMI Distribution Amplifier to pump out images to all five TVs at the same time.

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Friday, November 17, 2006

Avoiding the Heartbreak of Notebook Hard Drive Failure

Your notebook's hard disk drive will fail some time and unfortunately, there's nothing you can do about it. Here's an article that will tell you what you, hard disk designers and operating system architects can do to lessen the impact of drive failure.

Most notebook drive failures fit into two categories: Heat and physical failure. First, heat is unavoidable, it is not possible to mount three 120 mm fans on a notebook and still have it be a notebook. Second, notebook drives are not designed for 24x7 operation, it's more like eights hours a day (8x7) typically.

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Related [GAS] Technology articles

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Recycling is a Grigri: Just Plain Bullshit

Here's an interesting documentary explaining why recycling is mostly a total waste of time, money and resources. Enjoy the show.

Sorry, the video isn't available anymore, but if you are interested in getting the penn & teller bullshit dvd boxsets, they are available at amazon.com for a reasonable price.

If you enjoyed this post, take a few seconds of your time and subscribe to our feed! [GAS] is updated multiple times per day and is enjoyed by over 150000 unique visitors each month.

Related post: Environmental Hysteria is Bullshit!

Special announcement: AllAdvantage is Back: Get Paid to Surf the Web!

Only 1% of the Internet is Porn

ACLUAccording to the Mercury News, a confidential analysis disclosed to the public last week by the ACLU revealed that only 1% of web pages on the Net contain porn. Surprisingly, this study was originally comissioned by the Justice Department in an effort to resurrect the Children's Online Protection Act of 1998. Obviously, the results of the study did not really help their cause.

The analysis was presented in a federal court hearing last week in Philadelphia in a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union against U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and obtained Monday by the Mercury News.

The ACLU said the analysis, by Philip B. Stark, a professor of statistics at the University of California-Berkeley, did not appear to substantially help the Justice Department in its effort to prove that criminal penalties are necessary to protect minors from exposure to sexually explicit information on the Internet.

Only 1%? Am I the only one here who is surprised by this percentage?

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Kevin Mitnick's Top 10 Security Tips

Kevin MitnickWired has a nice piece today from Ex-Hacker Kevin Mitnick giving simple tips that should help you secure your desktop against internet villains. An enlightening read for those of you are still green to the world of Internet security.

Protecting yourself is very challenging in the hostile environment of the internet. Imagine a global environment where an unscrupulous person from the other side of the planet can probe your computer for weaknesses, and exploit them to gain access to your most sensitive secrets.

Read more

Related [GAS] technology articles:

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Extreme Diet Coke & Mentos Experiments #2

The guys from EepyBird are back, with 251 bottles of Diet Coke and over 1,500 Mentos mints. In Experiment #137, they did a mint-powered version of the Bellagio fountains. This time, it's one giant Coke & Mentos chain reaction that has to be seen to be believed.

Free Subscription to the Microsoft TechNet Magazine

I just thought to let you guys know that we just started offering free subscriptions to the TechNet magazine. This is an excellent offer with no strings attached.

The TechNet Magazine is the premier source of essential information for IT professionals optimizing Microsoft technologies. It covers the most current solutions for managing IIS, Exchange Server, Active Directory, Windows Vista, SharePoint, Office, Windows Server and much more.

Check it out.

You can also subscribe to all of our other great magazines right here. Grab them if you want them, try them if you haven't! You can subscribe to as many as you want, they're all free.

Today is Microsoft Patch Day

Yep, it's that time of the month again folks. Microsoft has just released six new security bulletins yesterday. They have also updated their Malicious Software Removal Tool.

Here are the details:

Microsoft Security Bulletin
Vulnerabilities in Client Service for NetWare Could Allow Remote Code Execution (923980) Severity: Important

Microsoft Security Bulletin
Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (922760) Severity: Critical

Microsoft Security Bulletin
Vulnerability in Microsoft Agent Could Allow Remote Code Execution (920213) Severity: Critical

Microsoft Security Bulletin
Vulnerabilities in Macromedia Flash Player from Adobe Could Allow Remote Code Execution (923789) Severity: Critical

Microsoft Security Bulletin
Vulnerability in Workstation Service Could Allow Remote Code Execution (924270) Severity: Critical

Microsoft Security Bulletin
Vulnerability in Microsoft XML Core Services Could Allow Remote Code Execution (928088) Severity: Critical

Happy patching everyone!

Quad-Core Arrival: Intel

Quad Core logoIt's here folks. For you cutting edge computer guys that are looking to put the latest, greatest and fastest CPUs in your boxes. Intel announced today that it has released the Quad-Core processor on the computer world!

Server vendors including Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM Corp. have already announced systems using the chips, and others including Fujitsu, Rackable and SGI will join them soon. Gaming desktop vendors that plan to use the QX6700 include Alienware Corp., Dell, Falcon Northwest, Gateway Inc., Hypersonic PC Systems, Velocity Micro Inc. and Voodoo Computers Inc.

The begging question, however, is how many application can take advantage of multi-threading enough to make a Quad-Core machine/server worth the expenditure?

Kiltak? Today is the day you've been waiting for!

Read Article Here.
Read Intel Press Release.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Moving your IE7 Menu Bar Back to the Top

The first thing I noticed when I installed IE7 on my Windows box was the very inconvenient location of the address bar. Why the heck is it located above the menu bar? (File, edit, view, etc.) I don't know what the folks at Microsoft thought when they designed IE7 that way, but this must be one of the most idiotic design decision they've ever made (For me at least).

For those who think that the address bar should be back at the bottom of IE7's menu section, do not despair! There is a simple registry tweak that will let you put it back as it was in IE6. All you need to do to set thing right again is add a simple key to your XP registry. Here's how to do it:

(Warning: Serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly by using Registry Editor or by using another method. These problems might require that you reinstall your operating system. Microsoft or I cannot guarantee that these problems can be solved. Modify the registry at your own risk.)

  • If IE is opened, close it before doing anything
  • Start your registry editor (Start -> Run, type regedit in the run field and press OK)
  • Browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ InternetExplorer \ Toolbar \ WebBrowser and be sure that the WebBrowser key is selected
  • Right-click the right part of the registry editor, select New->DWORD Value, and name it "ITBar7Position"
  • Double click that new value, and assign it with a decimal value of 1
  • Restart IE7, and voilà! You're done.

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Alien Rain: 'our alien origins'

alienScientists believe that the red rain that had fallen in Southern India in 2001 was actually teaming with alien bacteria which could survived the extreme conditions of outer-space. This has fueled debate that the theory of 'Panspermia' is actually possible.

...recent work of Dr Louis which shows that the red rain can replicate at 300C, an essential attribute of a space micro-organism that might have to endure extreme temperatures.

Bacteria might survive the journey through space
All this has convinced Professor Wickramasinghe that the red rain is a form of alien life.

Now this can spark many other debates as well. This could support a Darwinian philosophy and blow the "Earth Created In 6 Days" philosophy out of the water.

The question is: Are the people of Earth ready for this kind of discovery amidst all of the world's religious unrest and political prejudice?

I believe that the scientific community is dying to have these questions answered. Why else would NASA and some of the finest minds in the world be spending millions, and risking their professional reputations in sending a submarine to one of Jupiter's moons as part of an effort to provide those answers?

Science is catching up people; it's just a matter of time.
Whether you agree with this or not, the notion is intriguing!

Read the article.

Scientists Create Air Guitar T-shirt

This is a big day for all air guitar player through the world. An Australian engineer has announced yesterday that he has invented a device that will change how Air-Guitarist engage in their favorite pastime: The Air-Guitar Shirt. This new fashion accessory allows wearers to play actual music when they simulate playing a virtual guitar. The concept is pretty simple: movement sensors are inserted inside the shirt's sleeves and are connected wirelessly to a computer that will play guitar samples each time the wearer simulates strumming virtual strings.

Check out the video!

The 25 Best Colleges for Nerds

educationFor all you geeks out there who plan to pursue their education in college but have no idea about which establishment to pick, here's a list that should help you make up your mind. The article classifies the best colleges out there for several fields of study such as network security, game design and even ethical hacking.

Pull out your pocket protectors and penny loafers...its Nerd Time Baby! From video game design, to artificial intelligence, to majors in 'ethical hacking', colleges around the world are starting to appeal to the nerds in all of us. This list of 25 courses and programs offered at colleges around the world identifies some of the nerdiest coursework, starting with the most obvious, and winding up with the most obscure...

Read more

Monday, November 13, 2006

Lithium-Ion Laptop Battery Explosion Demonstration (Video)

laptop batteryAfter the Sony battery fiasco we all heard about in recent months, I'm sure a few of you wondered what a laptop battery explosion would look like. Here's a small video that should satisfy your curiosity.

We intentionally created conditions in which the Li-ON battery pack would explode inside a generic portable. The results are dramatic. There are numerous conditions where these fires can occur in real life. Faulty battery packs (driving the recalls), faulty protection circuits inside the PC, exposure to excessive heat, and blunt force are some of the major ways that this could happen to you.

Vista and Office 2007 cracked. Kind of.

No sooner than Microsoft announced the release to manufacturing of Windows Vista and Office 2007, pirates, from their side, have also announced that they have bypassed those products' copy protection schemes.

The crack for Windows Vista (which is called "Vista BillGates") is not a true crack, as it replaces components from the final version of the operating system with those from earlier betas. This allows the would-be pirate to use a product key that worked with Beta 1, Beta 2, RC1, or RC2, with the Gold release of the operating system. This allows the OS to be activated normally over the Internet, but does not bypass the activation system itself. Microsoft had made these earlier betas available to the public on a limited basis.

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On Your Mark, Get Set for Job-Hunting Season

For those of you who feel like they'll need to look for another job in the next few months, it seems that now is the time to prepare... at least that's what experts say.

If you're among those thousands of techies who want to change jobs in the new year, however, hiring professionals will tell you that Jan. 1 isn't the time to kick off your preparations—it's now.

So, what are you waiting for? Head over to your computer, fire up your favorite word processor and update that old resume. Sooner is always better then later right?

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