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Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing cyber-crimes, and, as a result, 38 states have identity theft legislation

-- with some states using encryption as a safe haven," said Southwestern Illinois Community College CIO Christine Leja. "The education market as a whole is becoming more serious about protecting student information and is looking to encryption as the means to making that happen." Free WiFi Hotspot Locator from TechNewsWorld Wondering where to find the nearest publicly available WiFi Internet access? Our global directory of more than 100,000 locations in 26 countries is a terrific tool for mobile computer users. Research into encryption technology is on the rise at universities and colleges, spurred on by technological advances, pressing security needs, and new legislation and regulations, as Part 1 of this series notes. Investigators in both industrial and academic settings are now looking into a wide range of areas where encryption can be applied. "There is a 'productization' of the technology, where it is being used to protect USB thumb drives, shared and virtual storage environments, and throughout the supply chain," PGP President and CEO Phil Dunkelberger told TechNewsWorld. "Encryption is also being used with nanotechnologies and quantum cryptography, which can guarantee secure communication among two parties. Key management is the cornerstone of encryption and true enterprise data protection." While most research is aimed at finding ways of creating more robust encryption algorithms, network performance is an area that should not be overlooked, CipherOptics' Chief Marketing Officer Jim Doherty added. "In general, stronger encryption means more processing, which almost always means longer processing times," he explained. "Today's high-performance networks must be able to meet the latency requirements of delay-sensitive applications such as Voice and Video over IP. While there may be a niche market for security over performance types of solutions, broad adoption of new encryption algorithms will be determined by speed as much as they are by security." Security vs. Performance The Rochester Institute of Technology's (RIT) networking, security and systems administration department is undertaking exactly that type of research. Last October, members of a study team published a paper detailing the results of their investigation into the comparative performance of Layer 2 and Layer 3 IPSec Ethernet encryption. Sponsored by SafeNet, which was looking for independent testing and benchmarking of its Ethernet Encryptors, the study was designed to test and confirm significant performance advantages associated with using Layer 2, as opposed to Layer 3, encryption solutions, which were suggested by earlier research. "Today's networks require encryption to secure data as it traverses the globe. SafeNet identified early on that the overhead resulting from the use of IPSec to secure these networks was detrimental to network performance," SafeNet's Matt Pugh told TechNewsWorld. "Finding a solution required us to re-evaluate how we typically go about protecting networks," he continued. "At SafeNet, we learned that if we could push encryption further down the network stack -- say to Layer 2 -- huge performance benefits could be gained in terms of latency and available bandwidth. For most organizations, this translates directly to reduced costs of expensive WAN links." The RIT researchers also made recommendations for future studies. "There are a number of factors that must be considered when choosing a WAN (widearea network) encryption technology," they wrote. "Performance is one such factor; however, a careful analysis must be performed to ensure the solution meets all of the needs of the organization. A future study might work to develop a quantitative framework for analyzing these non-performance related factors. This study was performed using discrete frame sizes for each test run. A future study might analyze these performance characteristics with varying frame sizes as commonly

found in mixed Internet traffic." ID Theft, Legislation Southwestern Illinois Community College is among a growing number of higher education institutions building encryption into their courses and curricula -- as well as using it on campus to protect data. In addition to offering a data assurance course that includes an encryption component, "there is discussion about making the class a required course, given the new student online self-services. [The] curriculum committee and the industry advisory group for information sciences are discussing the infusion of encryption throughout [the college's] curriculum offering," Christine Leja, chief information officer, told TechNewsWorld. Legislation and the introduction of payment card security standards, such as the Payment Card Industry Self-Assessment Standard, are encouraging colleges and universities, as well as public and private sector organizations, to curb the growth of identity theft. The activity is also prompting them to find applications for encryption technology, Leja noted. "Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing cyber-crimes, and, as a result, 38 states have identity theft legislation -- with some states using encryption as a safe haven. Higher education provides open and secure access for its students, and encryption offers a clear path to secure sensitive data and support an open, mobile environment. The education market as a whole is becoming more serious about protecting student information and is looking to encryption as the means to making that happen," she commented. Given constraints on available funds and time, colleges and universities for the most part are taking a phase-in approach to their adoption of encryption solutions, choosing one area as a starting point and expanding usage from there, Leja explained. "In the case of securing data, the most critical data is protected first, followed by an augmentation in services." Putting Encryption to the Test Southwestern Illinois is making use of GuardianEdge's encryption solution to secure its mobile data. The first phase of the implementation focused on securing mobile data for a team of 30 IT project managers making use of student information for their project. "Because the 30 team members worked both in the office and remotely, each of them were given laptops containing the student data they required to complete the project, thus dramatically increasing the risk of having a laptop lost or stolen, or of the data being exposed to a non-project team member," Leja elaborated. The need for different approaches to encrypting static and dynamic data also factors into Southern Illinois' encryption deployment plans. "Static data -- data stored on databases -- will be encrypted when stored and stay encrypted until decryption is required for readability. Dynamic data is 'on the move' and may encounter change. Encryption for dynamic data involves sharing keys and algorithms with trusted parties to prevent open data viewing should the data fall into nefarious hands. First, a primary focus is protecting the static data. Encryption of dynamic data will then follow the static data," Leja explained. While database software for application systems, such as enterprise resource planning, provides secure encryption for static data, there is a corresponding lack of support for dynamic data. "What is extremely difficult is protecting dynamic data on the move via laptops, USB devices, iPods, etc.," noted Leja. "Encryption to the device and sustained on the device is extremely important in an academic environment where data is very mobile." The University's Role in Advancing Data Encryption, Part 1 Next Article in Education: The University's Role in Advancing Data Encryption, Part 1 Print Version E-Mail Article Digg It Mac users who've steered their computers toward the Net's red light district may wake up to find a nasty surprise if they've hooked up with the wrong site. Malware

targeting the Mac OS X platform, a rare find, has been spotted in the wild. The malware relies on tricking the surfer into granting certain permissions, however, meaning it doesn't exploit a flaw in the OS X; rather, it exploits a flaw in user behavior. You don't have to break the bank to own powerful server technology. The HP Proliant DL380 G5 Server with Systems Insight Manager (SIM). Comes equipped with everything your business needs to succeed - including a smaller price tag. Researchers at Intego, a maker of Mac-based security software, have announced they have recently discovered malware targeting the Mac OS X on some adult-oriented Web sites. The company dubbed the malicious Trojan software "OSX.RSPlug.A." "A malicious Trojan Horse has been found on several pornography Web sites, claiming to install a video codec necessary to view free pornographic videos on Macs," Intego said. The warning is significant because the find is relatively rare. Security researchers have unearthed a miniscule number of Mac exploits in the wild compared to the legions designed to attack more widely used operating systems like Windows. "It is unusual. The number of malicious code samples for the Mac is lower than its market share might suggest it should be. The number of malicious code threats for Mac is in the low hundreds, most of them for versions of the OS that predate OS X," said Andrew Jaquith, a Yankee Group analyst. Virtual STD Categorized as critical by Intego, OSX.RSPlug.A passes from porn sites to Macs when users are told they need to download a new Quicktime codec. "A great deal of spam has been posted to many Mac forums in an attempt to lead users to these sites. When the users arrive on one of the Web sites, they see still photos from reputed porn videos, and they click on the stills, thinking they can view the videos, they arrive on a Web page that says the following: 'Quicktime Player is unable to play movie file. Please click here to download new version of code,'" Intego explained. The deception continues when the phony program download requires users to consent to a fake license agreement. Once users have agreed, they then must give permission for the program to install, done by entering their user name and password. Files are delivered as a Disk Image (DMG) file. Once installed, the malware changes DNS server entries in order to direct Internet users to phony Web sites where they will unwittingly divulge user names, passwords and other sensitive information. Criminals could then take the data and use it to commit phishing schemes, identity theft or "drive traffic to alternative Web sites," according to Sophos . Testing by Sophos has found that the Trojan changes DNS server settings -- used to match up domain names with IP addresses and request information from that Web site -- to point to "ones located in Belarus." On the other end, hackers are notified that they have a new victim, the OS version and that it is a Mac user. Mac OS X 10.4, or Tiger, users will have no way to tell that their DNS server has been changed. Leopard users can go to their Advanced Network preferences, Integro advised. The newly added servers are "dimmed and cannot be removed manually." The Trojan also installs a root crontab that checks every minute to verify that the DNS server is still active. Your Worst Enemy The problem, however, in this instance is not a deficiency or flaw in the Mac operating system but more a case of human error. Users should never download content from an unknown source. Since the Trojan is only downloaded from porn sites, security experts said it actually poses little risk to the bulk of Mac owners. "This is relatively low risk. It's distributed by porn sites, apparently, so it's really only a risk to porn-surfers who are also susceptible to social engineering. It requires the user's consent to install," Jaquith explained.

The Trojan has larger implications for Mac users who up until now have only had to deal with a small fraction of the malicious malware PC users contend with. However, as Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) share of the computer market continues to increase, Macs have been besieged by a growing number of exploits. "This signals that Web threats and specifically Web exploits are going to be cross-platform or cross-operating system. So there really isn't a user group out there that is impervious to user threats," Mike Haro, senior security consultant at Sophos, told MacNewsWorld. "As Apple increases their market share you'll probably see a lot more hackers and malware developers develop Trojans and viruses that will affect Mac users," Terrence Brewton, a Frost & Sullivan analyst, told MacNewsWorld. Next Article in Security: Security Flaw Doesn't Discriminate Print Version E-Mail Article Digg It Think of a medical study that is backed by experimental data and statistical analysis. This study gets published in an academic journal, and its findings are picked up by the mainstream media. The coverage helps shape political debate, policy, funding and public opinion. It is important that all of this information -- both the mass-media sound bites and the original experimental data and raw numbers -- is widely available. You don't have to break the bank to own powerful server technology. The HP Proliant DL380 G5 Server with Systems Insight Manager (SIM). Comes equipped with everything your business needs to succeed - including a smaller price tag. Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) , Wikipedia and other information resources have changed the world in many ways, but their users generally search via words, not numbers. Now, those who think about and work with numbers are helping the world's numeracy catch up with its literacy. Web sites like, and are promoting data availability so that anyone with access to a computer can browse data, visualize it in a number of ways, learn from professionals in the field and share their insights with the rest of the world. Why is this important? Global health threats make the world seem ever smaller. Viruses and other illnesses ignore borders and leapfrog from continent to continent, exploiting new connections between nations, goods and people. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) show how local outbreaks can have global impacts within days. Information is Key Yet the tools to combat these illnesses do not travel nearly as efficiently as their pathogens. Information often moves slowly from wealthy nations to developing countries, and too often it does not move at all, preventing appropriate medical treatments from being implemented. Drugs and treatment regimens are not the only tools needed to address global health issues. Numbers are the raw material of science, and increasing access to data can lead to better health care worldwide. Think of a medical study that is backed by experimental data and statistical analysis. This study gets published in an academic journal, and its findings are picked up by the mainstream media. The coverage helps shape political debate, policy, funding and public opinion. It is important that all of this information -- both the mass-media sound bites and the original experimental data and raw numbers -- is widely available. While no one will dispute the importance of publicity, access to the original data is equally critical so that research, interpretation and experimentation will continue. Much of the effort and infrastructure behind the Internet has focused on improving access to information. Yet despite the Internet and other communications technologies' profound impacts on the advancement of human knowledge, numbers have been somewhat neglected. A New Focus The primary focus has been narrative text that interprets raw data. Access to the

data has only recently become a focus for innovation, tied to the growing realization that without the numbers, research findings can easily be misrepresented. Lack of raw data constrains further research that could save lives worldwide. It also prevents informed discussion, as readers of narrative material are forced to take claims about research at face value. Consider the WHO/UNICEF guidelines for infant feeding by HIV-positive mothers in Africa. When they are not implemented effectively under operational conditions in the field, the result can be more infant deaths. Data and methodology can differ from country to country, as in the case of Botswana and Kenya. Those making recommendations in the field need access to all the facts for better decisionmaking in individual circumstances. Access to the best data is a critical component of improving population health. Important findings are not confined to one indicator, methodology or organization. As avian influenza and SARS have shown, useful analysis can link areas as diverse as epidemiology, agriculture and weather. Yet philanthropists, policy-makers, scientists, practitioners and students often lack access to basic data they need to assess priorities for public health. Data Access Saves Lives How can public health professionals see the broader impact of their work? The key is free access to data from many different sources. These data must be made clear and engaging to spur insight, facilitate application and solve problems. Tools are being developed to help more people use basic data and encourage factbased decision-making. These platforms provide ways to access and understand data that were previously reserved for academics. New tools provide consistent and constantly updated access to data culled from many domains. These numbers can forge communities of similar interests and spark new public health perspectives. Improving numeracy will improve health by keeping professionals involved, governments honest and citizens informed. Data and tools accessible to all can empower civil societies around the globe. Ultimately, this transparency leads to better data, better debate, better policy decisions and longer lives. ? 2007 World Health Organization. All rights reserved. Ltd., one of China's fastest-growing technology companies, reached its goal of raising $1.5 billion in its initial public offering Saturday, people close to the deal said. Alibaba, an e-commerce portal, sold 858.9 million shares, or a 17 percent stake, at roughly $1.75 each, a source told Dow Jones Newswires on condition of anonymity. The shares will debut on the Hong Kong stock market on Nov. 6. The IPO price translates to a multiple of 55 times its forecast 2008 earnings, above the 34 times price-to-earnings ratio of Nasdaq-listed business-to-business search engine Global Sources Ltd., analysts said earlier. But the ratio is much lower than the 83 times price-to-earnings multiple of Chinese-language Internetsearch provider Inc. The IPO has drawn huge interest in Hong Kong, with the retail tranche of 128.83 million shares more than 250 times oversubscribed by Friday, newspaper reports said. Alibaba drew $57.7 billion in orders for the retail shares -- the largest in the territory's IPO history. The institutional tranche had locked up about $180 billion in subscriptions, The Standard reported, citing unnamed people involved in the deal. The underwriters have an option to release an additional 113.67 million shares. Analysts said surging demand for Alibaba and other shares had pushed up the local currency, prompting the monetary authority -- Hong Kong's de facto central bank -to step in for the second time in a week to defend its peg to the U.S. dollar. The monetary authority bought about $100 million on Friday when the U.S. currency reached about $1, the upper limit of the narrow range in which it trades against the greenback. It sold a similar amount of Hong Kong dollars on Tuesday.

Alibaba Group founder, Jack Ma, has said proceeds from the IPO would be spent on acquisitions and development, designed to grow the company's business both in China and overseas. Alibaba -- whose Web sites allow companies in China and overseas to trade with one another online -- is one of China's fastest growing Internet companies. It has seen its registered members soar from 6 million in 2004 to 24.6 million in 2007. Paying members increased from 77,000 in 2004 to 255,000 by June 2007. Yahoo! Inc., which holds a 39 percent stake in Alibaba's parent, Alibaba Group, had agreed to subscribe to about $100 million worth of shares. Alibaba said another seven investors had agreed to take a stake, representing about $296 million, or 20 percent of the offering. ? 2007 Associated Press/AP Online. All rights reserved. ? 2007 Top Tech News. All rights reserved. SEATTLE, Washington (AP) -- Some academics cringe when students turn to Wikipedia as a reference for term papers. University of Washington-Bothell professor Martha Groom has more of an "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" response to the online encyclopedia that anyone can write or edit. Instead of asking students in her environmental history course to turn in one big paper at the end of the semester, she requires them either to write an original Wikipedia article or to do a major edit on an existing one. The inspiration came to her as she prepared teaching materials for her class. "I would find these things on Wikipedia," she said, and would think, "Gosh, this is awfully thin here. I wonder if my students could fill this in?" Wikipedia has been vilified as a petri dish for misinformation, and the variable accuracy of its articles is a point Groom readily concedes. Since the advent of the Web, she said, the quality of sources students cite has deteriorated. For her students, the Wikipedia experiment was "transformative," and students' writing online proved better than the average undergrad research paper. Knowing their work was headed for the Web, not just one harried professor's eyes, helped students reach higher -- as did the standards set by the volunteer "Wikipedians" who police entries for accuracy and neutral tone, Groom said. The exercise also gave students a taste of working in the real world of peerreviewed research. Most of the articles were well received, but Groom said some students caught heat from Wikipedia editors for doing exactly what college students are trained to do: write an argumentative, critical essay. "Some people were a little rude," she said of the anonymous Wikipedia editors. Ultimately, she had to teach the students the difference between good secondary research and the average college paper. "You don't get to say that last little bit on, 'This is why this is the truth and the way,"' she LucasArts, owner of the "Star Wars" franchise of video games, has announced a partnership with BioWare, a veteran of massively multiplayer online role-playing games. Though details on what their "interactive entertainment" offering will actually be are scarce, watchers are loudly buzzing that it may be a "Star Wars" MMO. Vendor White Papers �C Featured Listings ECT News Network's directory of e-business, IT and CRM white papers provides resources you need to make informed purchasing decisions. Browse Listings. "Star Wars" fans got a lot to think about following the announcement Tuesday from LucasArts and BioWare that the two companies have teamed up on what they call an "interactive entertainment" product. "LucasArts has a deep commitment to developing compelling stories and characters for the unique medium of interactive entertainment, and we have been searching for

a developer that shares this value. We found this in BioWare," said Jim Ward, president of LucasArts. The project, few details of which where divulged, will be the second collaboration between the two. In 2003, a BioWare and LucasArts partnership resulted in the release of "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic" ("KOTOR"). BioWare's Odyssey Engine, developed for "KOTOR" was also used for the second version, "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords," released in 2004. "Through our previous collaborations, we know that BioWare has an impressive ability to blend gripping stories with technological advancements, and we believe that our upcoming product will deliver an experience that will span the traditional boundaries of video game entertainment," Ward continued. 'KOTOR' MMORPG? Details in the release were kept to a minimum, but the game collaborators did say the product "will push the boundaries of the gaming market by utilizing the strengths of both companies to deliver an innovative, high-quality experience." The release promises more information "at a later date," but that has only served to fuel the rumor mill in the gaming blogosphere. General consensus from gaming pundits is that the deal strongly points to the creation of a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) that takes gamers into the "Star Wars" universe. LucasArts brings its overall focus on reality and creating very beautiful games with its visual expertise, said Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group. BioWare, meanwhile, tells great stories and can take a good idea and weave it into something that is compelling and powerful. "In the combination of the two, you get beauty and the power of the story," he noted. "[LucasArts has 'Star Wars'], and clearly this is tied to that." "BioWare made the "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic" games; both were RPGs," Michael Pachter, a Wedbush Morgan analyst, told TechNewsWorld. "BioWare is working on an MMORPG -- not yet announced -- according to Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: ERTS) (EA)," said Michael Pachter. As BioWare will soon join Pandemic under the EA umbrella, a move that cost EA US$860 million, bets are fairly good that the software publisher knows of what it speaks. "Putting two and two together, it's likely that BioWare is working on 'SWKOTOR' as an MMORPG," Pachter said. Strong Competitor LucasArts could barely be blamed for thinking a Star Wars MMORPG might be a good idea, judging the massive success of "World of Warcraft" (WoW) and its sequel "The Burning Crusade," not to mention the legions of "Star Wars" fans worldwide. "The idea that they might do a massively multiplayer online game is probably a good one," Enderle continued. "With 'World of Warcraft' remaining dominant even in the face of properties using 'Lord of the Rings' and others, there is an opportunity to at least create something that is as compelling using the capabilities of both firms a combination of stories, visual effects and the 'Star Wars' franchise." Since its debut in 2004, WoW has attracted more than 9 million gamers to its online universe, according to Blizzard Entertainment. A "Star Wars" MMO will not come close to those numbers, Pachter told TechNewsWorld, but it will still do well. "No MMORPG will rival WoW in terms of popularity," he stated. "Two million subscribers would be a humongous win, or less than 25 percent of WoW's number." Dough-Nu Matic Makes a Dozen Donuts in Less Than Six Minutes Posted Nov 1st 2007 4:07PM by Terrence O'Brien We're ordering one for the Switched offices. That's all there is to it. AOL will just have to foot the bill for our out of control cholesterol levels. The DoughNu-Matic forms, fries and dispenses mini donuts automatically.

This might the greatest invention since the wheel. Think about it. No more runs to Dunkin' Donuts to get your fill of deep fried sugary goodness. You can sit around and get fat with out the help of a drive-through window. This symbol of American ingenuity (or gluttony) can be had for $130 through the most appropriate of retailers, SkyMall. From Boing Boing Related Links: * Mousetrap Gases Rodents, Texts You When It's Done * Dog Shaped Dog Cooker * Automated Pet Feeder Also Talks Add your comment ? * Permalink * Comments (0) * Email this * IM this * Share o Add this post to... o Netscape o Digg o Is 'Manhunt 2' the Most Violent Video Game Ever? Posted Nov 1st 2007 2:34PM by Terrence O'Brien Filed under: Video Games Rockstar, maker of the ever popular 'Grand Theft Auto' series, got in on the Halloween action yesterday and released its new ultra violent and extremely controversial title 'Manhunt 2.' After being banned in Britain, twice, a greatly toned down version of the game is seeing the light of day in the US. In the game you play a patient in a mental institution with some, um... violent tendencies. Some are in fact claiming that 'Manhunt 2' is the most violent video game ever. The Wii version might be the most disturbing, requiring you to pantomime the deadly acts with the motion sensing controller. Feel a need to rip out a skull with a sickle? Beat a cop to death with a his own night stick? Or perhaps caving in a person's head with a fire extinguisher is more your style. If any of these three things sounds exciting to you, then you are a sick person. The title is rated 'M' for mature audiences, meaning that no one under the age of 17 can purchase it. However, these rules are easy to circumvent and rarely enforced. We normally don't buy into the dangers of video games mumbo-jumbo, but the idea of small children physically acting out acts of such brutal violence is a little shiver-inducing. Parents may want to be extra vigilant and keep their young away from this title. What do you think? Is this just over-hyped hysteria about what is essentially a fictional game? Or do you think 'Manhunt 2' has gone too far? From CBS. Related Links: * 'Manhunt2' Banned Again in UK * Judge Strikes Down Violent Video Game Law * Violent Video Games a Visual History Add your comment ?

* Permalink * Comments (4) * Email this * IM this * Share o Add this post to... o Netscape o Digg o Citing High Price, Kmart Stops Selling Blu-ray Players Posted Nov 1st 2007 1:14PM by Tim Stevens Filed under: Audio/Video In the war of Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD, each of the opposing camps seems to think that having an exclusivity deal is a powerful weapon. It started in June, with Blockbuster making a big deal about going exclusive for Blu-ray in its brick-and-mortar stores (despite still offering both formats in its Netflix-like online rental service). Most recently, it was Paramount going exclusive to HD-DVD, meaning that, at least for the moment, the only place to get 'Transformers' in high definition is with that format. Now comes an intriguing new twist. According to BetaNews, It looks like Kmart has chosen to stop selling Blu-ray players. The discount retailer cited the high cost of Blu-ray players (compared to HD-DVD players), which doesn't end up being a good value for its customers. As we reported earlier this week, you can currently buy an HD-DVD player for under $200, and before the end of the year, they should be available for under $170 (you can get one for $100 tomorrow only at select Wal-marts). By comparison, the cheapest Blu-ray player currently clocks in at around $375. Given that both formats offer the same video quality, Kmart is of the opinion that Blu-ray just doesn't make sense. Of course, given that this announcement is being made by the HD-DVD Promotion Group also suggests that some of this might be spin. Also, when it comes to influencing the minds of many shoppers, the name "Kmart" doesn't exactly have quite the ring it used to. What is clear is that this war, if it can be called that, is destined to rage on for quite some time yet. HD-DVD players are definitely taking the value route while Blu-ray advertising seems to be targeting higher-end customers. Still, with Blu-ray players finally adding the ability to have tricks like picture-in-picture and other next-gen extras, which HD-DVD players have long-since offered, it looks like these formats are only getting more alike. With that in mind, the question of cost may be the deciding factor for many in the long run. From BetaNews Related Links: * HD-DVD Players Drop to Sub-$200 Price Tag * Xbox 360 With Built-In HD-DVD Capability On Its Way? * Headaches for Blu-ray Owners Add your comment ? * Permalink * Comments (0) * Email this * IM this * Share o Add this post to... o Netscape o Digg o HD-DVD Players Drop to $100, For One Day

Posted Nov 1st 2007 12:17PM by Terrence O'Brien Filed under: Audio/Video, TV No that photo is not doctored. The Toshiba HD-A2 that we reported just a few short days ago had dropped to $200 is being marked down even further at select Wal-Mart stores. Check here to see if the sale is coming to a store near you. The sale is this Friday (tomorrow) only. Price-wise, Blu-ray's back is against the wall at this point. The fight for HD supremacy is far from over, but with the cheapest Blu-ray players coming in at almost $400, HD-DVD has scored a clear victory just in time for the holidays. From Engadget Related Links: * HD-DVD Players Drop to Sub $200 Price Tag * Headaches for Blu-ray Owners * Xbox 360 With Built-In HD-DVD Capabilities On the Way? Add your comment ? * Permalink * Comments (0) * Email this * IM this * Share o Add this post to... o Netscape o Digg o MacBooks Get Upgrades -- Should You Have Waited? Posted Nov 1st 2007 11:14AM by Tim Stevens Filed under: Computers Not content to sit back and bask in the praise for Leopard, Apple has given its MacBook line a bit of a freshening. None of the specs are a huge boost, but they will bring some welcome performance increases to the slick portables, and, like so many of Apple's surprise updates, will be enough to make anyone who purchased last week wish they'd waited. All the MacBooks have moved to the Santa Rosa architecture. This is a new(er) offering from Intel that offers a better blend of performance and power efficiency for mobile computers. More important, though, is the shift to a new graphics processor, the GMA X3100, which should offer much better performance in games and other graphics-intensive applications than the GMA 950 processor found in older MacBooks. Finally, the MacBook Pro series top speed has been upped to 2.6-gigaherz from the previous 2.4-gigaherz, though that upgrade comes at a $250 premium. The base MacBook still starts at a quite economical $1,099. The MacBook Pro starts at $1,999, though if you want that 2.6-gigaherz chip, you'll have to spend at least $2,749. So, if you were thinking of moving on to a new MacBook, now would probably be a good time -- before Apple upgrades again and you're one of the poor suckers who bought a week too early. From Engadget Related Links: * Apple's New Leopard Hits Illegal Download Sites * Leopard Out Tomorrow, and the Reviews Are Positive

* iMac Touch-Screen on the Way? Add your comment ? * Permalink * Comments (0) * Email this * IM this * Share o Add this post to... o Netscape o Digg o Coming Soon -- the Fully-Customizable Linux Phone Posted Nov 1st 2007 9:07AM by Terrence O'Brien Filed under: Cell Phones, Computers, iPhone The Linux revolution is making a run for the smart phone market. This isn't exactly new news. In fact, Linux started taking off in the cell phone market in about 2003. Major companies from NEC to Samsung are shipping phones loaded with the open source OS, though primarily in China, and Motorola seems to be slowlybut-surely letting Linux take over its hand-held line up. Certain versions of the RAZR 2, the ROKR, the SCPL, and the China-only Ming all run a custom version of Linux designed by Motorola. The problem is that all of these companies run their own customized, closed, and incompatible versions of Linux. Luckily, two companies are working on open, standardized, and in the case of OpenMoko (pictured above), completely free and open sourced versions of Linux for hand-helds. This doesn't mean much to those of us who can't program, but all those intrepid programmers and hackers out there are usually very willing to share the fruits of their labor with the rest of us. A standardized mobile Linux would have many advantages. For one, an almost endless supply of applications are bound to pop up, and no convoluted hacking is required (as is the case with the iPhone). Additionally, the low overhead required for Linux means a much faster and more responsive device than anything out there running Windows Mobile. As for Palm OS (which has an oft-delayed Linux based successor in the works), well, it's showing its age and simply unable to compete with the capabilities of a Linux phone. Wired writer Paul Adams ordered himself a pre-alpha (which means it's just past the conceptual stage) version of the OpenMoko Neo1973. The Neo1973 is currently intended for developers, but anyone can order it for $450. The device is small and rounded on both ends, and features a large bright touch screen. It doesn't skip on other features either, Bluetooth, GPS, MicroSD slot, and globe-hopping quad-band GSM so it can work on all five continents. In essence, these are all the goodies you've come to expect from high end smart phones. Future versions of the phone will feature Wi-Fi as well. Sadly for Adams, and OpenMoko, the first "tussle" with the Linux-based supposed iPhone-killer was less than smooth, to put it lightly. At first, the phone wouldn't boot at all. Then Adams discovered he had to download the software separately to install on the phone. Once booted, he found the GPS only functioned through obscure text commands from the terminal, and that the phone couldn't connect to his T-Mobile network for some reason. In the end, Adams opted to install OpenMoko's primary competitor, Trolltech's Qtopia, the more mature, but partially proprietary hand-held Linux variant. After installing Qtopia, the phone worked almost perfectly allowing Adams to send text messages and make calls.

So, OpenMoko's software platform isn't quite usable yet, so we certainly don't suggest buying one any time soon. However, the ability to simply replace the OS on the OpenMoko is certainly an attractive feature. Imagine picking up the latest LG handset, deciding you don't like preloaded interface, and simply downloading a replacement that seems more your style. That's a cell-phone future we can get behind. From Wired Related links: * Intel Shows Off Prototype iPhone Killer * Are Your Ready to Ditch Windows? * Dell Selling Linux Based Computers Add your comment ? * Permalink * Comments (0) * Email this * IM this * Share o Add this post to... o Netscape o Digg o Wearable Antenna Uses Your Body to Get Better Reception Posted Nov 1st 2007 8:01AM by Evan Shamoon Filed under: Audio/Video, Cell Phones, TV Humans are a weird species. Check this out: NEC has just announced its wideband wearable antenna, which essentially turns a a person (wearing a special suit) into a high-performance mobile antenna. The prototype apparently works in either open space or when using the human body for conduction. The plan is to use it for digital terrestrial broadcasts, so presumably for live TV broadcasts to your cell phone? Seriously, though. You don't see goats or chimpanzees pulling these sorts of shenanigans. At least we know what we're dress up as for Halloween next year. (A human antenna). From Engadget Related Links: * William Shatner to appear in next Star Trek movie * Regis and Kathy Lee go 3D Add your comment ? * Permalink * Comments (0) * Email this * IM this * Share o Add this post to... o Netscape o Digg o

Even Search Engines Dress Up for Halloween Posted Oct 31st 2007 6:03PM by Colin McDonald Filed under: Top Lists, Google, YouTube It's no secret that the Web's heavy hitters like to show their seasonal spirit with mods of the subtle and not-so-subtle variety to their brand identities. Google's logo has become especially known for its Google Doodles, and this year's full-on ghoulish painting logo continue that fine, quirky tradition.

The search giant has even dressed up its significant new addition to the family in some festive holiday threads (though if our TV became a pumpkin we'd be a little upset). BooTube, anyone? Our last spooky Google shoutout comes via our friends at Geeksugar - we've been flying a witch through Google Street View all day! Head over and give it a try �C a little rehearsal of the trick or treating route through your neighborhood for the evening can't hurt! Google's not the only one having fun with logo ornamentation, though. In fact, our research indicates that Halloween logo competition may be just as fierce as competition for your search queries. Yahoo, for one, has made their logo the center of an entire bone-rattling animation. We only have a still to show you here, so check out its homepage for the show! However, we think that Ask has won our haunted hearts by placing its entire homepage in a Jack-O-Lantern lit night. Can you think of a better setting for your last minute costume questions? Until next year (or Thanksgiving, at least), thanks for indulging our logo lust, and stay safe out there tonight!

Related Links: * How to Print Your Own Halloween Mask Add your comment ? * Permalink * Comments (0) * Email this * IM this * Share o Add this post to... o Netscape o Digg o The 10 Most Annoying Things On the Internet Posted Oct 31st 2007 4:37PM by Terrence O'Brien Filed under: Computers, Top Lists There's plenty to love about the Internet. But there is also plenty to loathe.

Ridiculous banner ads, the crappy quality of the vast majority of Web video, and complex Web 2.0 services without any support. PC World surveyed its readers and found out what they think the Top 10 Web Annoyances are. From Ticket Master to trolls (those people who post annoying, nonstop comments on forums), there's plenty of annoying stuff you'll recognize in this piece. Online forms -- a pet peeve of ours -- makes the list. These overly complex forms that ask for a head scratching amount of personal information just to read an article or post on a forum are, to put it lightly, a bit pain in the ___. We can't count the number of times we've spent five minutes filling out a form, only to have missed a "required field" that wasn't marked clearly. Or the instances where we've input an answer in an unsuitable format that had no instructions, only to have the form clear itself completely and tell us we messed something up (but not tell us what!). For all the convenience it has brought us, the Internet sure is annoying. How about you? What do you think is the most annoying stuff on the Internet? From PC World Related Links: * Top 11 Celebrity Messes Online * Top 11 Geek T-Shirts * Best Gadgets for New Moms Add your comment ? * Permalink * Comments (21) * Email this * IM this * Share o Add this post to... o Netscape o Digg o British Army Testing Tech That Makes Tanks and Troops Invisible Posted Oct 31st 2007 2:51PM by Tim Stevens Filed under: Computers

So you may be able to earn college credit learning to speak Klingon, and you can order yourself replicas of many bits of Klingon weaponry. But even though you may wish it otherwise, you have to face facts: Klingons are not real. That other bane of the Starfleet's existence, the cloaking shield, isn't real either. That said, it seems we may be getting closer to invisibility becoming a reality, at least if results from a recent British test are to believed. According the Daily Mail, British forces recently demo'd technology that can "make a vehicle seem to completely disappear." Unlike the Klingon technology, which is said to form a field that bends light around the ship, the British cloaking technology relies on cameras and projectors to actually project a picture of what's behind the vehicle onto the vehicle itself. The tanks, such as the ones pictured above, are said to have been painted in a highly reflective paint that effectively turns them into big, rumbling movie screens. In true science-project style, the technology is loosely demonstrated with what

looks like a small volleyball in this random video from Japan. The system is being developed by QnetiQ, which has worked on other random cool tech projects that range from a long-distance solar powered aircraft to a machine that can measure your feet in 3-D. Cloaking apparently is just the company's latest experiment ... at least the latest one that we've been allowed to hear about. From Daily Mail (via Engadget) Related Links: * Video Game Trains Airport Security Guards * Gay Bomb Makes Love, Not War * The Defense Department's New Robot Dogs Add your comment ? * Permalink * Comments (0) * Email this * IM this * Share o Add this post to... o Netscape o Digg o New 'Simpsons' Game Is Actually Good Posted Oct 31st 2007 1:49PM by Switched Staff Filed under: Video Games

'The Simpsons' game has finally touched down at retai (well, tomorrow, anywayl, and the reviews, such as GameDaily's, are starting to trickle in. Meanwhile, IGN says it's got "a sense of humor that can only be described as equal to Simpsons episodes of old," and 1up notes that "while the action can be uneven -- though never bad -- creativity and charm carry the game to a higher level." Our hands-on take? It's easily the best Simpsons game since the original arcade rendition Konami put out in 1991; Simpsons fans will find tons to love, as the game is peppered with an amazing number of characters, references, and in-jokes from the show. Those simply looking for a great action game may have some better options, though; The combat is a bit simplistic, and there are quite a few obtuse puzzles that will slow your progress (read: frustrate the living daylights out of you). Definitely worth a rental for casual fans, and if you're a Simpsons junkie, go ahead and spend the sixty bucks. Related Links: * 'The Simpsons' On Your Cell Phone * 'CSI' and 'The Office' Coming to Second Life * 'Guitar Hero III' Is Ready to Rock, Say Reviews Add your comment ? * Permalink * Comments (0) * Email this * IM this * Share o Add this post to... o Netscape o Digg

o Five Percent of U.S. Electricity Wasted By "Vampire" Electronics Posted Oct 31st 2007 12:27PM by Terrence O'Brien Filed under: Audio/Video, Cell Phones, Computers, TV, Green Tech You may not know it, but your electronics use electricity even when they're "off." Most home electronics, including your microwave, TV, and DVD player, continue to consume small amounts of power even after you're done using them. Why? Because rather than switch off all electronic circuits, gadgets and devices often switch into "standby" mode. This small amount of power adds up over time. It's estimated that five percent of all electricity in the United States is wasted powering devices that are not in use, and that figure could rise to 20 percent by 2010, according to the Department of Energy. California, which is usually at the forefront of conservation efforts, passed the Vampire Slayers Act last year, which requires that electronics have a tag detailing the amount of energy used not only during normal use, but also in standby mode, as well as when turned off. Even chargers, such as those for cell phones, are a major drain on the system. They use up a trickle of energy after the phone is completely charged, or even if the phone is disconnected. You can avoid adding to the problem with some simple tips: * Unplug any devices you can when not in use. If you're done charging your phone, don't simply disconnect the phone, but unplug the charger completely. The same goes for laptops, electric razors and toothbrushes. When you're done watching TV, unplug the set from the wall. * Utilize power strips. Plug your home entertainment system, as well as your computer, monitor and other peripherals into power strips or surge protectors so that you can easily shut off the whole set up when you're done. You can try "Smart" power strips, which shut off automatically if a device isn't on for a certain period of time, as well as shut off, say, all your peripherals if you turn off your computer. (That said, make sure to keep your cable box plugged in to a separate, always-on power strip, since the cable box often de-authorizes itself if left unplugged for too long.) * Look for the Energy Star logo. The government backed program rates electronics on energy efficiency. Looking for electronics with the highest Energy Star rating possible will guarantee you waste as little electricity as possible. Vampire electronics not only drive up your electricity bill, but also drive up the price of energy in general and pollute our environment. These tips along with switching your light bulbs to compact fluorescent bulbs will make sure you contribute as little as possible to global warming. From AOL News (AP) Related Links: * Earth-Friendly Tech * Earth-Friendly Tech Tips * iPhone Bad for Environment, Says Greenpeace * Internet Eats Up Nearly 10% of US Electricity * Ford Developing 100 MPG Escort Hybrid Add your comment ? * Permalink

* Comments (24) * Email this * IM this * Share o Add this post to... o Netscape o Digg o Rover Video of Mars "Dust Devil" Posted Oct 31st 2007 11:38AM by Tim Stevens Filed under: Cameras

You've probably seen dust devils swirling about on a windy day. They're basically mini-tornadoes that form when turbulent air sucks up some dust or snow or other debris into a column. Usually they're only a few feet high, but sometimes they can be much, much larger. On Mars, apparently, they can apparently be several kilometers high, as attested by the above image captured by Spirit, one of the Mars Rovers. The animation (based on a series of pictures and available in a larger version here) shows a dust devil travelling from left to right across the Martian landscape. The surface there is so dusty that these columns of air are particularly noticeable, even from sattelite images as shown in this NASA article on the subject. This is a graphic display that Mars does indeed have one at that, despite having less than one percent of atmosphere here on earth. The footage is a few months old, but we're huge Mars If anybody's got any other similar clips or links to below. From NASA Related Links: * William Shatner to Appear In Next 'Star Trek' Movie * X-Wing Rocket Succumbs to The Force (Of Gravity) * Real-Life 'Star Wars' X-Wing To Launch Next Week Add your comment ? * Permalink * Comments (50) * Email this * IM this * Share o Add this post to... o Netscape o Digg o Mo Rocca Talks About Baring It All, Online Posted Oct 31st 2007 10:51AM by Switched Staff Filed under: <a href="/category/editors-pick an atmosphere, and a strong the pressure of our nuts and haven't seen it yet. similar videos, let us know