Tuesday, March 31, 2009

PC Worlds First Look: Skype for the iPhone

"At long last, Skype has made it to the iPhone. Skype for iPhone offers features similar to those found in the company's other mobile versions, which work on Windows Mobile, Android, and Java-based phones. It lets you see when your Skype contacts are online and available; make free Skype-to-Skype calls; use the SkypeOut feature to make calls to landlines and cell phones; send instant messages to your Skype contacts; and receive incoming calls via a SkypeIn number. You can't make video calls or conference calls, as you can with the desktop version of Skype, but you can, reportedly, accept an incoming conference call (though we weren't able to test this feature).

Skype for iPhone requires Wi-Fi to make any kind of voice calls. 9to5Mac was able to make voice calls over AT&T's 3G network on an iPhone running the not-yet-released 3.0 software; we tried the same thing on a 3G iPhone running the current 2.2 software, and were unable to connect."

Read the full PC World article here

Help Your PC Friends Through The Conficker Virus/Worm Tomorrow

"Millions of PCs the world over are infected with Conficker. Yes, your Mac is safe. No, that guy who continues give you such insights as "Macs suck" since 1994 is not safe. So let's do our best not to snicker."

Continue Reading

Monday, March 30, 2009

Apple Mac malware: caught on camera

"Pob in our analysis labs blogged earlier this week about a new variant of the RSPlug Trojan horse for Mac OS X that he had written protection against. One of the ways in which the OSX/RSPlug-F Mac Trojan horse is being distributed by hackers is in the form of a poisoned HDTV/DTV program called MacCinema.

Oh, and Windows users shouldn't feel too smug about this either. If you visit the site on a Windows computer, it will serve up a malicious Windows executable from the Zlob family of malware rather than a Mac OS X Trojan horse."

This attack does not depend on any browser vulnerabilities - it works by the user being convinced via social engineering that this is a program that they would like to run on their computer.

read more | digg story

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Skype handles more international calls than AT&T

"Skype has become the world's single largest provider of international calls, surpassing even incumbent telcos like AT&T. Unfortunately for the company, few of these calls generate any revenue, and corporate parent eBay grows impatient.

Skype might not be performing quite as well as parent company eBay would prefer a $2.6 billion acquisition to perform, but that hasn't dampened worldwide enthusiasm for the VoIP service. Skype is so popular, in fact, that new numbers out from TeleGeography suggest that it has become the "largest provider of cross-border voice communications in the world." Take that, AT&T!

Actually, AT&T probably doesn't care, since long distance has lost some of its revenue-generating luster, but the surging popularity of VoIP no doubt keeps future-thinking execs up at nights. Skype's revenues are more modest than the big telcos, despite its usage numbers; at eBay's annual meeting earlier this month, the company said that Skype pulled in $550 million in 2008."

read more | digg story

Saturday, March 28, 2009

1000s of GM Workers Get Company Cars & Gas

"General Motors continues to slash costs. But even as the company asks for more taxpayer loans, there's one perk GM refuses to give up: a company car and company-paid gas for about 8,000 white-collar employees.

Kleinbaum says it's one thing for a company to offer such a generous perk when it's making tons of money, but GM lost more than $30 billion last year. The company has already received more than $13 billion in taxpayer loans to avoid bankruptcy and is asking for up to $16 billion more.

GM insists its employees appreciate the impact of high fuel prices, but one current GM staffer interviewed for this story said the perk does blind some people. He recalled that when gas spiked last summer, a colleague complained.

It wasn't because of the cost. It was because he had to swipe his credit card twice to fill up the tank of his big SUV.

A former GM economist estimates that last year alone, the automaker spent nearly $12 million on fuel for its staff."

read more | digg story

Friday, March 27, 2009

$38 for a Cup of Coffee?

"Would you pay $38 for a cup of coffee? Clifford Phillips of Wash., did. He used his debit card to pay for a latte, not knowing there wasn’t enough money in his checking account to cover it. The bank could have declined the transaction for insufficient funds. Instead it approved the electronic payment and hit his account with a $34 overdraft fee.

At most banks and some credit unions, most checking accounts are now automatically enrolled – as a customer service – in an overdraft protection program. The financial institution lets you spend more than you have, loans you the difference (up to a certain amount) and hits you with a hefty fee."

read more | digg story

New worm can infect home modem/routers

"A new botnet, “psyb0t” is the first known to be capable of directly infecting home routers and cable/DSL modems.

The malware contains the shellcode for over 30 different Linksys models, 10 Netgear models, and a variety of other cable and DSL modems (15 different shellcodes).

A list of 6000 usernames and 13,000 passwords were also included, to be used for brute force entry to Telnet and SSH logins which are open to the LAN and sometimes even the public WAN side of the routers. Generally, routers do not lock a user out after a number of incorrect password attempts, making brute force attacks possible."

Read the full article here

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Cautionary tales from the social-networking universe

“There are so many people on social-networking sites that it is becoming profitable for bad guys to go there,” David Perry, global director of education at software security firm Trend Micro, recently told Agence France-Presse (AFP). “Bad guys can see all the things you post. You may be revealing personal information that is extremely valuable.”

Now Facebook has made revealing personal information even easier. This past week, it announced that users can change their privacy settings so everyone can see their profile. The company was actually responding to a request from many users who wanted the ability to share their information with even more people."

Continue Reading

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Mac vs. PC

Nick Greenlee has made a fantastic video showing off his talents. Take a look at the full video here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Is Dry Wall the Next Chinese Import Scandal?

Homeowners claim toxic drywall imported from China is endangering their health and the value of their houses. Beck is among hundreds of homeowners in Florida alleging that toxic levels of chemical pollutants such as sulfur are issuing from contaminated drywall made in some Chinese factories. At least four class-action lawsuits have been filed in Florida; others have been filed in California, Louisiana and Alabama.

read more | digg story

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Apple's Delays Could Cost iPhone Developer $600K

"A software company could potentially lose more than half a million dollars because of an iPhone app that Apple has ignored for six months.

Eric Thomas, CEO of FreedomVoice Systems, told staff this week that the company is ceasing indefinitely any work on an iPhone voice app, called Newber, because Apple will neither accept it nor reject it. FreedomVoice has so far invested $600,000 and more than half a year in the app.

"We followed all guidelines set by Apple throughout the development process and have never received comment from Apple as to why the Newber application has still not even been reviewed," Thomas wrote in a letter to FreedomVoice staff, provided to Wired.com. "Steve Jobs hailed the App Store as, 'the best deal going to distribute applications to mobile platforms.' Our experience is that it is the worst deal going."

With more than 25,000 applications available, the iPhone App Store has attracted a horde of developers with dreams of striking it rich with their apps."

read more | digg story

Friday, March 20, 2009

Get your Gmail stickers for free!

"Not too long ago, one of the Gmail engineers broke out her vinyl cutter and made some Gmail m-velope stickers. Pretty soon, they were pasted to our desks, stuck on our laptops, and adorning the walls around the office. Then other people started asking us about them -- first it was just other Googlers. But when a guy I was sitting next to on an airplane asked where he could get a Gmail sticker, we realized other people might like them too."


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Dollars from dirt: Economy spurs home garden boom

Just like the Russians have been doing for many years at their dachas it seems many in the USA are finding that having a green thumb saves you money. 

"LONG BEACH, Calif. – With the recession in full swing, many Americans are returning to their roots — literally — cultivating vegetables in their backyards to squeeze every penny out of their food budget.

Industry surveys show double-digit growth in the number of home gardeners this year and mail-order companies report such a tremendous demand that some have run out of seeds for basic vegetables such as onions, tomatoes and peppers.

"People's home grocery budget got absolutely shredded and now we've seen just this dramatic increase in the demand for our vegetable seeds. We're selling out," said George Ball, CEO of Burpee Seeds, the largest mail-order seed company in the U.S. "I've never seen anything like it."

read more | digg story

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Solar panels in the Sahara 'could power the whole of Europe'

"All of Europe’s energy needs could be supplied by building an array of solar panels in the Sahara, the climate change conference has been told.

Technological advances combined with falling costs have made it realistic to consider North Africa as Europe’s main source of imported energy. By harnessing the power of the Sun, possibly in tandem with wind farms along the North African coastline, Europe could easily meet its 2020 target of generating at least 20 per cent of its energy from renewable sources.

“It [North Africa] could supply Europe with all the energy it needs,” Anthony Patt, of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, in Austria, told scientists. “The Sun is very strong there and it is very reliable."

read more | digg story

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Liberal Parenting Causing Teenage Time Bombs

The biggest mistake we can make as parents is to want to be our children’s friends. Yes, they may like us more, their classmates may think we’re cool, (Really? Gosh, isn’t that lovely!) but the truth is that they also see us as weak. And weakness in those who ought to be powerful will always invite contempt.

Can there be a parent in the country who isn’t chilled to the marrow watching the Myerson family implode so very publicly? The sight of such ordinary middle-class people locked in the sort of internecine warfare more usually associated with The Jeremy Kyle Show is a wake-up call to every mother and father in the land.

The Myersons were plunged into a state of despair and fear when their eldest child Jake’s drug use destabilised family life, throwing out their volatile and violent son in an attempt to safeguard his two younger siblings. In her controversial new book, The Lost Child, Myerson documents the pain, shock and sadness as her domestic life fell so messily apart.

The rights and wrongs of whether Myerson should have published (she has certainly been damned for it) have become something of a side issue. What she has succeeded in doing is lifting the lid on our darkest fear, that through our own well-intentioned but wishy-washy parenting, we are creating a generation of teenage timebombs.

“I wish you weren’t my parents! I want to live with Phoebe’s parents. At least they respect her.”

As the door slams behind my furious six-year-old daughter (yes, that’s six, not 16) I am left wondering what on earth I’m supposed to do next. I have no idea. Should I run after her, rugby-tackle her on the stairs and demand she acquiesce to whatever request I had made – to hang up her coat perhaps, or tidy away her toy farm? Quite possibly, but I haven’t the energy, or, if  I’m honest, the will.

I would never have dreamed of giving cheek to my mother at any age. There was, at the heart of our relationship, a healthy degree of fear on my part, and steely resolve on hers. I knew, instinctively, that her word was final, argument useless and retribution would be swift and biblical if I was disobedient.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

California Planning for Alternative Fuel Highway

SAN FRANCISCO – Soon after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) took office in 2003, he set in motion a campaign promise to build, by 2010, a "hydrogen highway" composed of 150 to 200 fueling stations spaced every 20 miles along California's major highways.

Schwarzenegger's "Vision 2010" plan promised that every California motorist would have access to hydrogen fuel by the end of the decade. He has since repeatedly mentioned the highway in a standard stump speech on his environmental accomplishments.

But the program has fallen short of expectations. With less than 10 months until the end of the decade, only 24 hydrogen fueling stations are operating in California, most of them near Los Angeles.

The vision of a hydrogen infrastructure, with fueling stations dotting the interstates, has not materialized, partly because the eager governor may have set unrealistic targets.

read more | digg story

15000 join KFI talk show hosts in California tax protest

They're revolting in Fullerton. Families with children, bikers, seniors, pirates - by the thousands descended on a Fullerton bar Saturday to join talk show hosts John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou of KFI in protesting tax increases recently approved in Sacramento. Police estimated that over 8,000 people came to the Slidebar Café in downtown Fullerton to listen to The John & Ken Show.

"I expected a lot and it was way more than I expected," said co-host John Kobylt.
The talk show hosts put forward an ambitious goal for their Tax Revolt 2009 live broadcast that ran for more than three hours.

"The purpose is to vote down Prop 1A on May 19 because it's a two-year tax extension," said Kobylt. "The purpose is to tell people how their Republican legislators lie about their votes. The purpose is to get support to recall Schwarzennegger, (Assemblyman) Anthony Adams, (Assemblyman) Jeff Miller, and everybody else."


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Here's a Bunch of $2 Bills. Go Stimulate the Economy.

BREWTON -- A small-town pharmacist intrigued by the government's economic stimulus plan decided to launch his own version with $16,000 in $2 bills, and area stores have already felt the impact.

read more | digg story

Saturday, March 7, 2009

MacBook Pro 17-Inch Unibody Review

There's not much that can be said about the 17-inch version of the MacBook Pro that hasn't already been said about the 15-incher (and to some extent, the MacBook). Still, the big, big brother of the family has a few key differences that make it stand out from the rest of the gang. The first being its non-removable battery, built out of tech which Apple claims will result in groundbreaking lengths between charges. The second difference, available only as an option, is a non-glossy display -- an addition which many have pined for since Apple's full throttle decision to move to extremely high-glare screens. Are these changes compelling enough to induce users to upgrade? Will previous 17-inch fans find a slam dunk or a dud underneath the unibody exterior? Read on for the full scoop.

read more | digg story

Ban Hydrogen Dioxide?

Penn And Teller Get Hippies To Sign Water Banning Petition

Friday, March 6, 2009

Apple's New Safari Succeeds at Speed, Flops on Features

Apple's Safari browser has always been speedy and has introduced its share of innovations. While it is mostly used on Apple's own Macintosh computers, with which it is bundled, Safari also comes in a Windows version and it is the browser on the iPhone as well.

Last week, Apple released a new version 4 of Safari, for Mac and Windows, that it claims is the world's fastest browser, and that has a number of new graphical features Apple says will make it easier to navigate the Web. Safari 4 is labeled as a beta, and both the Windows and Mac versions are free downloads at apple.com/safari.

read more | digg story

Mystery of Anastasia -- Daughter of the Last Czar -- Solved

Confusion reigned for 90 years about a possible surviving daughter of Czar Nicholas II, the last Imperial ruler of Russia. Now a report reveals how modern investigators established that neither Anastasia nor the czar's other children found a fairy tale ending. Bolsheviks killed Czar Nicholas II, Empress Alexandra, and their 5 children in 1918.

DNA analysis linked a known grave for most of the murdered Romanov family with two human remains found in 2007. Russian authorities confirmed the discovered bodies as the last missing children in mid-2008, after getting results from labs in Russia, the U.S. and U.K.

read more | digg story

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Browser Battle: Nine Browsers of Today and Tomorrow Compared

Anyone who may have thought the death of Netscape would signal the end of the browser wars, boy were they mistaken. In fact, it could be argued that it was at that point it all began. It didn't take long for Mozilla's Firefox to emerge from Netscape Navigator's ashes, and over time, Firefox would win over enthusiasts with a potent combination of speed, security, and an unprecedented level of customization.

But what started as a two-man battle is quickly growing into all-out warfare. Prepare to be overwhelmed by an onslaught of new browser releases in the coming months as Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple, Opera Software, and Google all vie to provide your vehicle for navigating the web. Each one brings something new to the table, whether it be blazing fast performance or a unique feature-set. Don't worry if you haven't been paying attention - we jump in the trenches with whole lot of them and get to know each one on a personal basis.

read more | digg story

Ars Reviews iLife '09: making the cut with iMovie and iPhoto

The latest version of Apple's popular iLife suite of media applications brings a number of new features, as well as tweaks to some existing functionality. Ars dives deep on two of the members of the suite: iPhoto and iMovie. If you're wonder whether an upgrade is worth it, read on for our take.

Since its introduction in 2003, the iLife suite has become an integral part of Apple's sales pitch for the Mac platform. And as the Mac has evolved, the suite's makeup has also changed with the times. iTunes has more or less been made a permanent part of Mac OS X, and so is no longer in the collection. iWeb was added in iLife '06 for creating simple, template-based websites. And iDVD has been relegated to a quaint anachronism as more and more video is shared and streamed online. (Indeed, because iDVD hasn't received any significant updates since iLife '06—and none at all since iLife '08—we have not reviewed it here.)

In the suite's 2009 incarnation, all of the iLife apps add numerous small interface tweaks (except for, again, iLife's appendix, iDVD). And while the apps continue to integrate with Apple's MobileMe (née .Mac) service, there is also added integration with other online services, such as Facebook and Flickr. All told, the individual apps in iLife continue to make some rather amazing capabilities—sorting and editing thousands of digital images, editing digital video into watchable form, creating and editing great looking websites, or creating (or learning to create) music—accessible to mere mortals. This series of reviews will walk you through the suite, starting with the latest versions of iPhoto and iMovie, and tell you what improved, what stayed the same, and whether you should upgrade.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Apple ready with new Time Capsules, AirPort Extremes

Apple is poised to introduce new versions of its Time Capsule wireless backup appliance and AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless routers, regulatory filings with the Federal Communications Commission reveal.

A filing for a new AirPort Express (ID Label diagram) was originally lodged in January and granted on Monday, while a filing for a new Time Capsule (ID Label diagram) was first made back in August of 2008 and also granted this week.

The documents appear to indicate that Apple is adding a combined mode, allowing its AirPort base stations to simultaneously support iPhones and other 802.11b/g devices operating at 2.4 GHz, while also broadcasting 802.11n wide signals in the 5GHz band to maximize throughput for notebooks and devices such as Apple TV. Existing models can only run in one mode or the other, providing either wide compatibility or the highest possible network performance, but not both.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Apple refreshes Mac mini lineup with GeForce 9400M graphics

After all that excitement in the run-up, Apple's done just about the bare minimum that was expected in a Mac mini update. The new SKUs both run 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo processors and are backed up by the same NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics that've done wonders for the MacBook. For $600 you get 1GB of RAM and a 120GB hard drive, $800 nabs 2GB of RAM and more!

read more | digg story

Monday, March 2, 2009

How Obama Will Change Your Taxes

The $787 billion stimulus package passed in February and President Barack Obama's budget plan released on Thursday contain a confusing assortment of changes to the tax code.

Some will see their taxes go down this year, especially those earning less than $100,000 a year. Beginning in 2011, when Obama hopes the recession will be a fading memory, some people, especially those earning more than $200,000 a year, will see their taxes go up.

read more | digg story

French farmer to install 36K square meters of solar panels

WEINBOURG, France (Reuters) - Bright winter sun dissolves a blanket of snow on barn roofs to reveal a bold new sideline for Jean-Luc Westphal: besides producing eggs and grains, he is to generate solar power for thousands of homes.

Economic crisis has cast doubt on funding hopes for many big renewable energy projects, but the giant panels built into roofs on this sloping farm at the foot of the Vosges hills in eastern France are attracting attention from farmers to financiers.

read more | digg story