Friday, March 27, 2009

Turn Out Your Lights During Earth Hour
What will you be doing on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 8:30 P.M. local time? Will you be sitting in the dark? If the WWF-World Wide Fund For Nature meets its goal, over a billion of your global neighbors will be turning off their lights for an hour in a symbolic gesture to increase awareness about human-induced climate change--all participating in a worldwide event called Earth Hour...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Synology Announces Business and Home NAS Devices
Synology might not be as well known in the U.S. as other network-attached storage (NAS) device manufactures such as Buffalo, Maxtor/Seagate, or QNAP; but with Synology's announcement today of a slew of new NAS devices for small businesses and home users, Synology NAS devices might be finding their way into many more U.S. companies and homes soon...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Review: Linksys by Cisco Media Hub
With the wide variety of network storage device offerings hitting the market, you'd think that this was the year of the NAS (network-attached storage) device. Considering how many people need or want a central location--a "hub" of sorts--to store their media and other files, share these files with other people, and access this data remotely, the NAS device has finally become mainstream...It's no longer just how powerful is your PC or how fast is your broadband connection; but now it's also how much data can you store on your home network...
Blockbuster OnDemand Comes to TiVo
It looks like Netflix isn't the only company that sees that streaming is the future of movie rental distribution. Blockbuster, which always seems to be playing catch-up with Netflix, will start making its on-demand rental and purchase content available on TiVo DVRs...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

vReveal Improves the Image Quality of Your Video
We've all captured precious, one-of-a-kind moments on video, only to find that the recorded image didn't look that great. Perhaps the video was too shaky, dark, blurry, or grainy. Or perhaps the device used to capture the video wasn't ideally suited for capturing video, such as you might see with video captured by a digital camera or mobile phone. But what if you had an inexpensive application that could rescue your video quality and make it look significantly better--much like the expensive video enhancement tools available to video professionals? And what if this software could harness the additional processing power of a GPU you might already have installed in your system in order to perform up to five times as faster than powered by a CPU alone...
Seagate Launches Two New BlackArmor NAS Devices
Many small business owners operate without any dedicated IT support, while sole proprietors often find that one of the many hats they have to wear is that of CTO. Even if you are technically minded, the time commitment often needed to keep equipment up and running can take you away from your core business goals. What small businesses need is easy-to-use, reliable equipment. With this exact scenario in mind, Seagate Technology has just added two new network storage devices, the BlackArmor NAS 420 and BlackArmor NAS 440 servers, to its growing family of BlackArmor secure storage solutions...

Friday, March 20, 2009

"Feel" the Movies With Philips' Tactile Jacket
Not counting tasting popcorn or soda or whatever yummy morsels you might have snuck into a movie theater, the only human senses that are typically engaged in "watching" a movie are seeing and hearing--someone sitting behind you, kicking your seat, doesn't count, as that is not part of the "film's world" (or diegesis as film scholars like to call it). Not that some innovators haven't tried to engage the sense of smell for movies, such as the short-lived Smell-O-Vision or John Waters' tongue-in-cheek, Odorama. But what about the sense of touch? What if someone kicking your seat or a similar sensation was actually part of the film's world and the intended viewer's experience...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Safari, IE8, & Firefox Hacked in Pwn2Own Contest
No less than three different browser platforms have succumbed to zero-day exploits by the end of the first day of the three-day long, third-annual Pwn2Own contest being held at the CanSecWest 2009 digital security conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. Safari on Mac OS X was the first to fall, followed by Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) on Windows 7, and then a second Mac OS X Safari exploit, and finally Firefox (the specific OS-version of Firefox was not supplied in the announcement). Making this even more impressive is that the first winner of the day, Charlie Miller, was the same guy who was the first winner in last year's contest; and the three additional exploits from day one were all cracked by the same person, who goes by the moniker, "Nils...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Scribd Partners With Major Book Publishers
Will there come a point in the near future when physical books printed on paper will be regarded as little more than an anachronism? The growing popularity of e-book platforms, such as the new Amazon Kindle 2, as well as the recent transformation of several tech magazines from physical magazine publishers to exclusively online-only entities, might be harbingers of a new era. And with today's announcement that several major book publishers will be making some of their content, such as entire novels, available for free on Scribd, "the world's largest social publishing website," another potential nail might have just be driven into the physical book-publishing world's coffin...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Comcast User Names and Passwords Exposed
Googling your own name might not be such a narcissistic activity after all; in fact, it just must save you from identity theft. At least that's what Kevin Andreyo, a Wilkes University professor, discovered when he used the "deep web" search engine, Pipl, to see what information about him might be publicly available on the Internet. What he found was a link to a document that not only included his Comcast user name and password, but the document also included what appeared to be the user names and passwords of over 8,000 other Comcast customers...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Review: Maxtor Central Axis Business Edition NAS Server
You'd be hard pressed these days to find a small business or even family home that doesn't have at least a few computers being used by a number of different local users. This multi-user scenario poses at least a couple of potential complications for managing all the files and data that gets created, stored, and used by the different users: How do you share files with the other users on your network and how do you seamlessly back up files that are stored on the different user systems...
Huge Growth in Daily Mobile Web Access
What are the chances that you are reading this right now on a mobile device, such as mobile phone, nettbook, or MID? According to comScore, that likelihood is roughly twice as great as it was this same time last year. More than twice as many people used their mobile devices to access "news and information on the Internet" on a daily basis in January 2009 than did in January 2008...

Friday, March 13, 2009

New Browser Test Shows Safari 4.0 is the Fastest
Finnish-based benchmark development company, Futuremark, has just unveiled an online-based benchmarking tool for measuring the performance of Web browsers, and so far results are showing that Safari 4.0 is the speediest browser of them all. The new tool, ironically called Peacekeeper, might just be the first free, publicly-available tool for pitting the performance of Internet browsers against each other that comes from a source other than one of the respective browser's own developers--consider it an "impartial" third-party of sorts..

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The New iPod Shuffle Speaks!
Apple has just announced its new third-generation iPod shuffle, which the company claims is "the world's smallest music player." The new iPod shuffle is almost half the size of the previous generation iPod shuffle, measuring a scant 1.8x0.7x0.3-inches (HWD) and weighing only 0.38 ounces. What makes this new iPod truly unique, however, is not just its size, but also that it actually talks to you in any one of 14 languages using text-to-speech capabilities that Apple calls "VoiceOver...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bequeath Your Facebook Account When You Die
Making contingency plans for the possibility of becoming incapacitated or for our inevitable demise is seldom a pleasant a subject to discuss or even think about. Many people often postpone or even never get around to creating a living will or a last will and testament. For those that do, their concerns are usually focused on their quality of life, assigning guardianship for their children, and designating beneficiaries for their assets. That covers what to do when you are on life support, what happens to the kids, and who gets your stuff, but what about your "online assets...
Review: Asus VH242H 23.6" Widescreen LCD Monitor
With Asus's recent Blitzkrieg of inexpensive Eee PC netbooks and nettops, it might be easy forget that Asus also manufactures a full bevy of components and peripherals from motherboards to graphics cards to networking products. Asus also makes LCD displays, ranging in size from 17-inches on up to 26-inches, which cover a wide swath of feature sets and needs from the budget user to the graphics professional. One of Asus' recently released displays is the Asus VH242H 23.6-inch widescreen LCD Monitor...

Monday, March 9, 2009

24 Samsung SSDs Linked Together for 2GB/Sec
What would you do if Samsung gave you only 24-hours of hands-on time with a stack of solid-state drive (SSD) engineering samples to do some viral marketing with? For you this is surely just an academic question, but for the blokes in the YouTube video below, it was a very real challenge. And they took the challenge to the limits of where only the truly geekiest would go: they custom-built an 8-core, triple-RAID, Windows Vista system, utilizing 24 256MB MLC SSDs, for a total of 6TB of storage...
Facebook Glitch Loses Photos
For Facebook users who might have noticed that some previously-uploaded photos were mysteriously missing from their Facebook pages, Facebook wants you to know that it is aware of the problem, it is fixing the problem right now, and perhaps most importantly: "Don't worry: Your photos are safe...

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thermaltake Shows Unique Level 10 Desktop Case
Thermaltake has been turning more than a few heads at the CEBIT show, presently taking place in Hanover, Germany, with a new and unique desktop chassis called the Level 10. The Level 10 chassis is on display in Thermaltake's booth with a "No Photos" sign in front of it; so naturally, pictures of it have started popping up all over the Internet. Thermaltake reps are staying mum on most of the details of the case--such as when it will ship and how much it will cost--but we've been able to glean a few details and speculations about the new chassis...
Fox To Strip Special Features Out of Rental DVDs
As DVD movie sales continue to slowly dry up, some motion picture distribution companies are looking to make up lost revenue from other mediums, such as from Blu-ray movie disc sales and distribution deals with online media-streaming services, such as Netlfix, Vudu, and the recently announced ZillionTV. Blu-ray isn't anywhere as successful as the industry had hoped, and online streaming is a nascent business that is still just getting its financial feet wet. So, perhaps, desperate times call for desperate measures; which might explain why 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will start making two different versions of its DVDs: a stripped-down version for DVD rentals, and a premium version with extras for DVD sales...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

U.S. Population Radiation Exposure On The Rise
The National Council on Radiation Protection & Measurements (NCRP) released a report that states that the average effective radiation dose individuals in the U.S. have received in 2006 has increased about 1.7-times since the early 1980s (from 3.6 mSv to 6.2 mSv)*. Contrary to what many might think, however, this almost doubling in radiation exposure does not come from the increased use of consumer electronics devices or from the increase in the number of devices that utilize radio frequencies, such as mobile phones or Wi-Fi networking; but, it in fact comes primarily from the significant increase in the last few decades of medical imaging procedures that use ionizing radiation...

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

ZillionTV On-Demand Service Streaming To Your TV
We might not quite be at the point where we can watch whatever we want, when we want, but we're getting a little closer all the time. In addition to the plethora of sites that offer on-demand streaming content to our computers, such as Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon, new devices and services keep popping up that deliver Internet-based streaming of on-demand content to our television sets. The latest to join the likes of Roku and Vudu is a new service called ZillionTV...
Review: HP Pavilion Elite m9550f
Perhaps we're so used to reviewing high-end gaming rigs and inexpensive budget PCs that we're having a difficult time finding the right way to classify the $1,199 HP Pavilion Elite m9550f. Its price sits in the middle ground often referred to as "mainstream"—and that potentially implies "average." But the m9550f's smart design, usability features, and relatively high-end configuration make it anything but average...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Apple Updates AirPort Express and Time Capsule
Today's big news from Apple are its new iMac and Mac Mini consumer desktop lines and its updated professional-level Mac Pro desktop. But what shouldn't get lost in the shuffle is that Apple has also updated its AirPort Extreme Base Station and Time Capsule automatic wireless backup products as well. The most significant upgrade to both the AirPort Express and the Time Capsule is that both now support "simultaneous 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz dual-band networking." Dual-band networking is certainly nothing new; in fact, most 802.11n routers are backward compatible with 802.11b/g wireless devices...
Apple Updates the Mac Pro Desktop
In addition to its new iMac and Mac Mini consumer desktop lines, Apple has also announced significant updates to its professional-level Mac Pro desktop as well. The new Mac Pro starts at $2,499; but Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing is quick point out that "the new Mac Pro is a significant upgrade and starts at $300 less than before." Schiller adds that "the Mac Pro features an advanced system architecture, new faster processors and our best-ever graphics options to deliver a faster, more powerful system that our professional customers are going to love...
Apple Updates iMac and Mac Mini Desktops
Rumors have been circulating for months about new updates to the iMac and Mac Mini desktops, and today Apple finally confirms these rumors with the announcement of updates to both consumer desktop lines. Starting with its most-affordable offering, the new Mac Mini maintains its small form-factor, measuring 6.5x6.5x2.0-inches. The Mac Mini is powered by a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and now uses Nvidia GeForce 9400M integrated graphics, which Apple claims offers "up to five times better graphics performance" than the previous iteration (which used integrated Intel GMA 950 graphics)...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Run Presto Instant-On OS on Existing Systems
The ability to have a PC turn on instantly, providing immediate access to the operating system, files, applications, and network connections has long been a pipe dream. This pie-in-the-sky concept has only recently started to see some traction with alternative, "instant-on" operating systems (OS) that come built into the firmware of some newer systems. Today, however, system management tools provider, Xandros, introduced a new instant-on OS called Presto, that can be installed on virtually any Windows XP or Vista system...
Vue Wireless Camera System Uses Mesh Network
Perhaps it's a bit difficult to fathom, but a technology that was originally developed for "homeland security and defense purposes," is now being unleashed in a consumer product that will let you remotely see what your pet is up to while you are away from the house. San Diego-based, Avaak, today officially announced its first general consumer product, the Vue Personal Video Network, a "wire-free video system...