Episode 157 – Glenn & Reg

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GLENN’S SHOWNOTES

From today, anti-virus is free, says Microsoft
From today, anti-virus is free, says Microsoft

The free anti-malware shield for Windows XP, Vista and 7 goes live today, replacing OneCare (and Windows Defender) as a simplified and streamlined solution.

Available from microsoft.com/security_essentials, the program is designed to sniff out and smack down common threats such as viruses, spyware, rootkits and Trojans.

It runs on Windows XP, Vista and 7, in both 32-bit and 64-bit editions, provided those systems have recognised as ‘genuine’ installations.

Trading Post goes online only | Australian IT
Trading Post goes online only

from the end of October Trading Post will be exclusively online, at the cost of 279 jobs.

The 43-year-old weekly had fallen victim to the global trend toward online shopping

Foxtel opens up download service | Australian IT
Foxtel opens up download service

Tomorrow Foxtel, part-owned by News Corporation (owner of The Australian) will launch a download service offering 400 hours of TV content, as well as paid movie downloads. Online TV content will be free to subscribers

From November 15, Foxtel subscribers will also have access to 30 new pay-TV channels – including 10 new high-definition channels, six of which will be dedicated to movies and three to sport – pushing the total number of channels past 180.

Mr Williams said the company’s iQ personal video recorder and set-top box would be given away to new customers as part of a plan to get them in every Foxtel home “in a few years”.

Nine web news for the time poor | Australian IT
Nine web news for the time poor

NINEMSN’S first live video news bulletin created solely for the internet has generated an average of 7000 views a day in its first week as the company attempts to lure office workers to check out a lunchtime news bulletin each day.

The 12.30pm bulletin, branded Nine Newsroom – will be replayed till 1.30pm each day. 10 min bulletins

Pirate Party reaches critical mass – Telco/ISP – Technology – News – iTnews.com.au
Pirate Party reaches critical mass

The Australian Pirate Party, which hoped to contest the next Federal election, saw its numbers double after it advertised for office bearers late last week.

As at 8:30pm yesterday the party had more than 500 preliminary members, the amount required for it to register as an official political party in Australia.

Kraft admits VegeFAIL – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Kraft admits VegeFAIL

The makers of Vegemite have bowed to intense pressure from the public and canned their new iSnack 2.0 product branding.

Doctors back volume limits on MP3 players – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Doctors back volume limits on MP3 players

Australian doctors say new overseas restrictions on the volume level of portable music players should be implemented here

Australian Medical Association vice-president Dr Steve Hambleton says

“Portable music players can go up as high as 120 decibels, which is about what you get at a rock concert, and that’s dangerous to your hearing.

“Exposure to that level of noise will give you noise-induced hearing loss, without a doubt.

“In a conversation in a quiet room, your decibel levels are about 60 and you can safely tolerate about eight hours at about 85 to 90 decibels. More than that, you’ll get hearing los

Google’s eye in the sky sparks stalker fears – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Google’s eye in the sky sparks stalker fears

The Georgia Tech trial video of an augmented virtual Earth shows people just walking around, a soccer game being played in a park, how fast clouds move across the sky and the speed traffic is moving along the highway.

But the things you are seeing are not actually real, rather animations based on recordings of real people and events.

The researchers have produced the realistic animations of humans and various objects using live video feeds that detect the position and motion of things.

They also use behaviour simulation and motion capture data so the animated humans look and move realistically.

What Makes Startpage Special
THE SCOOP ON STARTPAGE

www.startpage.com

Startpage is a metasearch engine: when you search Startpage, you are searching many popular search engines – anonymously – at the same time. Combined, these engines cover more of the Internet than any one search engine covers.

A Startpage result is awarded one star () for every search engine that chooses it as one of the ten best results for your search. So a five star () result means that five search engines agreed on the result.

Startpage does NOT record your IP address!

REG’S STORIES

Film studios drop more of iiNet case

in brief The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft’s (AFACT) legal action over iiNet’s alleged breach of copyright took a further watering down today as the film studios removed the “primary” copyright infringement claim.

iiNet said in a statement that the dropped claim alleged that the ISP made copies of the films and demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge of internet technology and operations.

A spokesperson for AFACT said that the authorisation claim, not the copying claim, has always been the main focus of the case for AFACT and that AFACT is so confident in the authorisation claim that it feels it doesn’t need the subsidiary claims.

The ISP said it will be seeking costs for today’s withdrawal and was “ready and eager” to have the case heard. The start of the hearing is set for Tuesday, 6 October. AFACT did not respond to a request for comment.

This is not the first time a claim has been removed by AFACT in this case, in May a claim of conversion was dropped.

Windows 7 logo program is 6,000-strong, leaves most Atom netbooks out in the cold

 

The Windows Ecosystem Team has gone official with the new ‘Compatible with Windows 7’ sticker, which we sincerely hope won’t be as laughably misapplied as its Vista-related predecessor. Set to appear on both hardware and peripherals, the label is intended to reassure customers that they’ll have the “optimal Windows 7 experience” thanks to “robust testing requirements” and a longer testing cycle. That’s good to hear, as is the fact that already over 6,000 products have been given a passing grade, meaning that — surprise, surprise — when you get your Windows 7 machine, it will most likely be compatible with everything you own or intend to buy. An intriguing tidbit is that one logo will cover all flavors, including 64-bit, meaning that you’ll have to wait for Intel’s Pineview chips to come around the turn of the year if you want to get a certified Atom-based Windows 7 netbook.

How to Pick a Great Flat Screen TV, And Not Get Sucked In By Marketing Hype: Wall mounting your TV

If you want to hang your television on your wall, make sure it’s got holes in all the right places. Here’s what you need to know

Most flat panel televisions and monitors adhere to the VESA mounting standard, specifying a pattern of screw holes on the back so it can be attached to a VESA-compliant wall or desk bracket.

There are a handful of non-compliant televisions and monitors, especially from lesser known brands, so make sure you check the spec sheet carefully before before buying a television.

The original VESA MIS-D 100 standard – also known as VESA 100 – specified four screw holes in a 100x100mm square, each hole featuring an M4 thread 10mm deep. The standard has since been expanded to include MIS-D 75 for smaller displays as well as MIS-E (200×100mm) and MIS-F (ranging from 200x200mm to 800x400mm, with holes 10 or 15mm deep).

 

A VESA 200 mount [source: Wikipedia]
A VESA 200 mount [source: Wikipedia]

There are also weight guidelines for each VESA mounting standard, so it’s worth doing your research before buying your television and mount. Just like putting up shelves, you need to take care when attaching the bracket to the wall.

It’s best to screw the bracket into a wall stud, although it is possible to attach smaller brackets to plaster using high load plasterboard anchors.

If in doubt, consider spending extra to get the television professionally installed – to reduce the chances of your beautiful flat panel crashing to the ground and tearing you a new window.

Introducing the Atomic KitLog

Introducing the Atomic KitLog

Want to know the best parts for any PC, from a LAN box to the ultimate in PC performance? Our friends over at Atomic have introduced the online KitLog

Our friends over at Atomic magazine have introduced a new quarterly issue of KitLog, their popular magazine section devoted to the best of the best hardware and PC builds.

The good news is there is a now a new quarterly issue of KitLog – a twenty three page ebook packed with the best builds, based on the hardware Atomic reviews every day.

Here’s what Atomic’s Editor David Hollingworth has to say: “Along with selections of the best articles on PC building and design, each issue will feature completely updated PC builds specced for everything from the most budget rig we can make, through to perfect gaming machines and home server setups.

Edited and compiled by Atomic’s Deputy Editor, Justin Robinson, KitLog is the last word in the best hardware you can get. It can be read online in our ebook viewer, or downloaded in part or whole cloth as a PDF file for your own reference. Every item we’ve chosen also links through to a StaticICE search so you can find the nearest dealer or even start shopping online right away.”

Foxtel Reloaded: new pricing changes, new channels, online downloads

iSuggest, Record Me, 12 new SD channels, 15 new HD channels, new plan pricing, IQ formatting changes and more time-shift options are all expected to be phased in over the next month.

Amid great fanfare, pumping surround sound, celebrity attendances and an audio-visual display worthy of a theme park attraction (Cue Titanic theme music), Foxtel officially this week unveiled the biggest changes to the service since the cable rollout began in 1995.

The launch wasn’t short on marketing hype and buzzwords: Foxtel are calling it a “digital revolution” in home entertainment, and have introduced “Generation Next”, a branding platform designed to introduce sweeping changes to subscription TV in Australia.

ATI 5870 in Crossfire

Snapshot: A quick-fire look at dual 5870’s.

Crossfire has been around for ages, but it’s only recently been redesigned to work inside the case as opposed to the annoying external dongle that plagued the 1xxx series.

And of course the 5xxx series cards have well and truly launched, which brings us to actual performance numbers, somewhat hindered by the looming deadline tomorrow.

Thankfully I nabbed just enough time to throw together a rig and whacked together the following tech, to give a mini-update on what you can expect from high-end gaming rigs:

  • Core i7 965
  • ASUS Maximus II Extreme
  • OCZ 1866 CL7
  • ASUS 5870
  • XFX 5870
  • Corsair HX1000
  • Intel 80GB SSD
  • Dell 30″ LCD

Amazingly with all this tech running, Crysis was playable at 1920×1200 on Ultra high at 30-50fps! The two cards (for a combined total of 3200 shader units) worked together to eke out this excellent result in both 3DMark programs:

Intel pledges ‘big leap’ in integrated graphics performance

IDF Intel has given further insight into its attempt to build a better reputation as a provider of integrated graphics products, specifically as its takes the IGP out of the chipset and builds it into the CPU.

Hopefully, we may have reached the point when the arrival of a new Intel IGP launch is no longer damned with the faint praise of critics saying it sucks less than the previous one did.

The first CPU+GPU processor will be the dual-core, four-thread ‘Arrandale’, Intel’s first 32nm mobile chip. Arrandale is derived from Intel’s ‘Westmere’ architecture. Arrandale’s desktop equivalent is ‘Clarksdale’, which should become available around about the same time, according to roadmap slides presented by the chip giant today.

When Arrandale ships, it will indeed contain a 32nm processor. But its graphics core will be a 45nm unit that also includes the memory controller. So, unlike other Nehalem derivatives, the memory controller will sit on the IGP die rather than the CPU die.

Intel isn’t saying if subsequent Westmere processors will gain 32nm IGP, but it did reveal that the graphics engine and the memory controller will be integrated into the CPU die in the ‘Sandy Bridge’ generation, which is due next year. Sandy Bridge CPUs with on-board GPUs will be a “monolithic” CPU+GPU design, Stephen Smith, Director of Operations within Intel’s Architecture Group, said.

Arrandale’s graphics engine will be slightly different from the one found in Clarksdale. It will support a feature called Graphics Turbo, presumably a means by which the core can overclock itself if it can do so without busting the chip’s thermal limits.

Sandy Bridge chips will get a souped up version of this technology, called Graphics Turbo+.

Both processors’ IGPs will incorporate Clear Video HD, the next generation of Intel’s video processing technology. It will support two HD video streams, allowing media player apps to do picture in picture. The IGPs will support DirectX 10 but not DX 11, Smith said.

Mozilla sides with Microsoft against Google IE

Mozilla has joined Microsoft in questioning the logic of a new Google plug-in that turns Internet Explorer into Google Chrome. But unlike Redmond, the open source outfit actually presents a well-reasoned argument.

Last week, Google released a plug-in that equips Internet Explorer with the rendering and JavaScript engines at the heart of its very own Chrome browser. Known as Google Chrome Frame, the plug-in significantly boosts JavaScript speeds, while introducing Microsoft’s market-dominating browser to HTML5, a still-gestating update to the web’s hypertext markup language.

In a Monday night blog post, Mozilla vice president of engineering Mike Shaver said that, like Google, he longs for a world where IE runs more like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Opera. But he’s adamant that Chrome Frame isn’t the way to get there.

“Running Chrome Frame within IE makes many of the browser application’s features non-functional, or less effective,” he says. “These include private browsing mode or their other security controls, features like accelerators or add-ons that operate on the content area, or even accessibility support.”

Shaver’s view was buttressed by a second post from Mozilla chief Mitchell Baker, who sees Google’s plug-in splintering the web rather than pulling it together. “The overall effects of Chrome Frame are undesirable,” she writes. “I predict positive results will not be enduring and – to the extent it is adopted – Chrome Frame will end in growing fragmentation and loss of control for most of us, including web developers.”

Though Microsoft has finally joined the HTML5 effort in earnest, IE has yet to adopt the proposed standard. And that’s a problem for Google as it prepares to expand access to the preview version of Google Wave, a new-age communications platform that leans so heavily on HTML5.

When Internet Explorer users visit the new Google Wave preview release – due out Wednesday – Google will suggest they either install the new Chrome Frame plug-in or switch to another browser. What’s more, Mountain View has encouraged other developers to rejigger their web applications so that they too will run inside Chrome Frame.

Predictably, Microsoft released a statement badmouthing the plug-in, but it was short on particulars – and long on FUD. “Given the security issues with plug-ins in general and Google Chrome in particular, Google Chrome Frame running as a plug-in has doubled the attack area for malware and malicious scripts. This is not a risk we would recommend our friends and families take,” it said.

Internet growth independent of finance

commentary The global financial crisis that began early in 2008 has put many of the seemingly unstoppable processes of globalisation into reverse.

The volume of international trade has fallen sharply, and that of international financial transactions even more so. The banks and financial markets that seemed to define the global economy have retreated into the arms of national governments.

There is one striking exception to this pattern of retrenchment. According to the TeleGeography Global Internet Geography Research Service, international internet traffic has grown at an annual rate of 74 per cent in 2009, well above the 55 per cent growth measured in 2008.

In part this is a matter of momentum. The huge growth in capacity that was already committed before the crisis ensured that growth could continue. Although new investment in fibre-optic capacity has slowed as a result of the crisis, the system has proved capable of absorbing massively greater traffic.

But there are more fundamental forces at work here. Although the internet and its main manifestation, the World Wide Web, depend on physical communications networks and commercial service providers, they are not, in the end, about cables and modems.

The web is a set of protocols and social institutions for the expression and exchange of ideas of all kinds, whether expressed as text, audiovisual material or software. Ideas are public goods. They can be shared without losing value, and they cannot easily be restricted. The web is a prime example of a global good, one which benefits people everywhere in the world and depends for its value on contributions made all over the world.

Inmate hacker locks down jail computers

A UK prison computer system was left in lockdown after jail bosses gave a convicted cybercriminal the task of reprogramming it, the Sunday Mirror reports.

Douglas Havard, 27, an inmate at Ranby Prison, Nottinghamshire, was asked to take over a project to create an internal TV station using the jail’s computer network. Havard is half-way through a six year term over his involvement in a £6.5m hacking and phishing scam (more details here), something the prison governors must have reckoned gave him the requisite computer programming skills.

Havard, originally from the US, was jailed in 2005 after he was convicted for running the UK end of an international phishing scam estimated to have netted up to £6.5m. The American and partner in crime Lee Elwood, 25, were jailed after pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to launder money.

Data dumps of compromised credit card and bank account details were sent over from Russia to Havard, who used this information to fraudulently purchase goods online. These goods were then sold in online auctions by UK-based affiliates with the proceeds, less Havard’s cut, sent back to Russia. The duo were involved in credit card counterfeiting and active on underground websites such as carderplanet and shadowcrew, according to investigators.

Havard and Elwood were arrested following a National Hi-Tech Crime Unit (NHTCU) investigation into eastern European phishing fraudsters.

After he was reportedly left unsupervised during the prison programming project, Havard spent his time altering system passwords so that everyone else was locked out. Prison bosses had to hire external consultants to sort out the resulting mess. Meanwhile Havard was put into segregation as punishment.

HTC Leo benchmarked, leaves blisters

The HTC Leo has already got hearts-aflutter the world over with its high-end spec sheet and huge capacitive touchscreen, but now that some early benchmarks have hit we might have a full-on fanboy panic on our hands. That 1GHz Snapdragon processor isn’t just for show, people — you’re looking at least a 300 percent improvement over the Touch HD on every single 3D graphics benchmark with an astounding 1,822 percent improvement on one test, and raw CPU performance was nearly three times as fast. Yeah, those are some wild numbers — we’ll have to see what battery life is like when this thing ships, but for now we’d recommend hitting the read link and taking in the full set of benchmarks.

Intel Light Peak optical interconnect is blisteringly fast

Intel Light Peak optical interconnect is blisteringly fast
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Speeds up to 10Gbps over huge distances.

Though you’d never guess from the oddly named Light Peak announcement, it’s not an information-deprived sneaky look at something but rather a brand-new optical technology that aims to provide a huge amount of bandwidth.

It uses a special controller much the same as the USB standard, and even the connector looks quite similar, but the performance hits 10Gbps sustained over a 100m distance.

Most interesting of all is that it’s a standard for mobile devices more than anything, giving ultrafast bandwidth to perform all the tasks future devices might want to support – from external displays, media streaming and ultrafast data syncing.

It’ll be good to have a standard fast connector to use, but sadly Light Peak is sometime off in the distance, running only in prototype stages for now and not being anywhere near small enough to fit inside a mobile device.

Still, there’s some exciting ideas for its use, so head to engadget for a little more on Light Peak.

First USB 3.0 product ships

USB 3.0 products are starting to hit the market overseas, according to the USB Implementors Forum (USB-IF)

The new USB format, dubbed SuperSpeed, transfers data at about 250MB/s, compared to 20-30MB/s with USB 2.0. It also has the advantage of consuming less power.

“It’s 10 times the speed for less power,” USB-IF chair Jeff Ravencraft said.

“Manufacturers are lining up to build it in as soon as possible.”

The new system requires a new USB host controller and a special cable but sticks with the familiar USB interface. The cable has nine interior wires, not the usual five, with two extra upload and download channels, and an extra ground wire.

NEC has already announced production of the first host controller and half a dozen other companies including Fujitsu were demonstrating applications for the new standard at the Intel Developer Forum.

protection for lost or stolen notebooks

Protecting assets and minimising financial and/or legal risk


Absolute Software and Intel deliver a new level of theft deterrence and data defence through integrated hardware and software technologies for notebook PCs. Computrace, a leading IT asset-management and security solution from Absolute Software, is taking advantage of Intel Anti-Theft Technology – PC Protection (Intel AT-p),2 which is designed into system hardware. Through Computrace, an authorised information technology (IT) administrator can remotely delete data on a notebook, or the notebook can now intelligently lock itself down and prevent an OS from booting. If the notebook is reported lost or stolen, the IT administrator simply flags it in the Computrace Web portal and sets up a “poison pill” so the next time the notebook “phones home,” it will be disabled. In both cases, whether the notebook locks itself down or receives a poison pill, and even if the hard drive is reformatted or replaced, anti-theft security options remain in place. Getting the system operational again is easy – authorised users can quickly restore the system with a one-time reactivation token provided by the IT department. IT now has a more reliable, robust approach to protecting assets and minimising financial and/or legal risk from lost or stolen notebooks.

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