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Showing posts from June, 2010

The Fastest ISPs In the US

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PCMag recently put Internet browsing speeds to the test to see which ISP was the fastest. The results were based on a quarter million tests run between May 1, 2009, and April 30, 2010, by more than 6,000 users. The tests were carried out using SurfSpeed, which takes into account the complete, real-world download time of a web page to a browser. According to the results, Verizon's FiOS took the top spot as the nation's fastest ISP, with a SurfSpeed score of 1.23 Mbps. Interestingly though, of all the regions where Verizon's FiOS is available, its dominance is only seen in the northeast and the west, whereas cable service from Cox and Comcast won out in the southern region. Moreover, cable through Cox and Optimum Online beat AT&T's fiber optic service in the nationwide results, with SurfSpeeds of 1.14Mbps, 1.12Mbps, and 1.06Mbps respectively. The worst results mostly consisted of DSL providers, bottoming out at 544 Kbps from Frontier and going up to 882K…

Barack Obama Security Coordinator Shows Interest In Zombie Quarantine Code

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Barack Obama's cyber-security coordinator has shown interest in an e-security code of practice developed in Australia that aims to quarantine Internet users infected by malware, also known as zombie computers. He reportedly said it would be a useful role model for the US to adopt. One suggestion within the code is to put infected users into a 'walled garden,' which limits Internet access to prevent further security problems until quarantined. Another is to throttle the speed of an infected users' Internet connection until their computer fixed. The code is also being considered by other Asia-Pacific countries, ZDNet reports.

A zombie computer (often shortened as zombie) is a computer connected to the Internet that has been compromised by a hacker, a computer virus, or a trojan horse. Generally, a compromised machine is only one of many in a botnet, and will be used to perform malicious tasks of one sort or another under remote direction. Most owners of zomb…

Visa Launches PayPal Alternative PayClick

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Visa Inc. has entered the micropayment processing space with payclick, a pre-paid hosted service that will compete with the likes of PayPal. Payclick is aimed at teenagers purchasing online content like music and games where the value of the transaction is likely to be less than $20. Like PayPal, payclick is an online money repository that people can pay into with a bank account or credit card (Visa or MasterCard) and then use the funds to purchase products online. The service was developed and launched in Australia with a view for global markets. PayPal integration is not there yet, but parents can monitor the amount of funds their under-18 children have to spend online. For e-commerce sites, an SDK is available for payclick integration.

Nokia Trades new N-Series OS MeeGo

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Nokia announced that moving forward, MeeGo would be the default operating system in the N series of smartphones (original Reuters report). Symbian will still be used in low-end devices from Nokia, Samsung, and Sony Ericsson. The move to MeeGo is a demonstration of support for the open source mobile OS, but considering the handset user experience hasn't been rolled out and likely won't be rolled out in time for its vague June deadline outlined at MeeGo.com, could the decision be premature?

1,400 Megapixel Pan-STARRS Telescope Comes Online

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Astronomers in Hawaii have announced they've successfully managed to boot up the Pan-STARRS (Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System) telescope. Working from dusk to dawn every night, Pan-STARRS is able to map one-sixth of the sky each month, allowing astronomers to track all moving objects, calculate their orbits, and identify any potential threats to Earth. There are four Pan-STARRS cameras in total, each capable of capturing around 1.4 billion pixels over a sensor measuring 40 centimeters square. The focal plane of each camera contains an almost complete 64x64 array of CCD devices, each containing approximately 600x600 pixels, for a total resolution of 1.4 gigapixels.

Astronomers Solve the Mystery of 'Hanny's Voorwerp'

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In 2007, a Dutch school teacher named Hanny van Arkel discovered a huge blob of green-glowing gas while combing though images to classify galaxies. Hanny's Voorwerp (meaning Hanny's object in Dutch) is astounding because astronomers have never seen anything like it. Although galactic in scale, it is clearly not a galaxy because it does not contain any stars. That raises an obvious question: what is causing the gas to glow? Now a new survey of the region of sky seems to have solved the problem.

Google Voice Opens in US

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Google Voice is now open to anyone in the US, removing the need to search for an invite. At the Google Voice site, anyone with a US IP address and a US phone number can sign up for an account. Non-US IPs are blocked, and non-US-based phone numbers are prevented from attaching to Google Voice (with the single odd exception of the 403 area code of southern Alberta)." Good timing on the part of Frontier Communications Corp., which just filed a lawsuit claiming that the Google Voice feature connecting a user's home, work, and cell phone numbers to another number infringes one of their patents.

Intel says farewell to PCI bus

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Soon another technology that in past years dominated the always changing universe of computer hardware will bite the dust. That's the decision by Intel, the merciless executioner of standards that the company itself imposes on the market. In upcoming months it will end official support for the PCI bus. Developed by the chipmaker in 1993, the PCI Local Bus standard was implemented on all motherboards for x86 and compatible platforms until 2004, the year it passed the baton to the younger and faster PCI Express technology.

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Apple Sues HTC Again Over Patents

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Apple is suing HTC again over patent infringement. Apple is adding two new patents to the 20 included in the earlier case while adding additional details to two patents included previously. Although Android is not mentioned in any of the court documents, many of the patent infringement complaints refer to the software rather than the hardware that HTC manufactures, leading to speculation that Google is the real target, especially considering that Android sales are surpassing the iPhone's. With HTC countersuing Apple, Microsoft siding with HTC over Android, and Apple trying to stop import of Nokia phones, it seems like Apple has set off a patent Armageddon in the mobile space.

ICANN Likely Finally To Approve .xxx For Porn Sites

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ICANN company that oversees Web addresses is expected to give the go-ahead on Friday for the creation of a .xxx suffix for websites with pornographic content, company officials indicated on Thursday. The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which oversees the Internet on behalf of the US government, has in the past resisted creating a .xxx generic domain name system akin to those for .com and .net.

IEEE Releases 802.3ba New Ethernet Standard for 40Gbps and 100Gbps

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IEEE announced the ratification of IEEE 802.3ba, a new standard governing 40Gbps and 100Gbps Ethernet operations. An amendment to the IEEE 802.3 Ethernet standard, IEEE 802.3ba, the first standard ever to simultaneously specify two new Ethernet speeds, paves the way for the next generation of high-rate server connectivity and core switching. The new standard will act as the catalyst needed for unlocking innovation across the greater Ethernet ecosystem. IEEE 802.3ba is expected to trigger further expansion of the 40 Gigabit and 100 Gigabit Ethernet family of technologies by driving new development efforts, as well as providing new aggregation speeds that will enable 10Gbps Ethernet network deployments.

ADOBE Systems fight with zero-day-attack on flash

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Adobe issued an alert late Friday night to warn about zero-day attacks against an unpatched vulnerability in its Reader and Flash Player software products. The vulnerability, described as critical, affects Adobe Flash Player 10.0.45.2 and earlier versions for Windows, Macintosh, Linux and Solaris operating systems. It also affects the authplay.dll component that ships with Adobe Reader and Acrobat 9.x for Windows, Macintosh and UNIX operating systems.

AMD Coming UP with its Fusion Processor(Combination of CPU and GPU)

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At Computex 2010 AMD gave the first public demonstration of its Fusion processor, which combines the Central Processing Unit (CPU) and Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) on a single chip. The AMD Fusion family of Accelerated Processing Units not only adds another acronym to the computer lexicon, but ushers is what AMD says is a significant shift in processor architecture and capabilities. Many of the improvements stem from eliminating the chip-to-chip linkage that adds latency to memory operations and consumes power — moving electrons across a chip takes less energy than moving these same electrons between two chips. The co-location of all key elements on one chip also allows a holistic approach to power management of the APU. Various parts of the chip can be powered up or down depending on workloads.

Dual- Touch Screen "Kno" booklet Debuts At D8

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The Microsoft Courier may be a dead project, but that doesn't mean you can't still have a dual-touchscreen e-reader. And a super-sized one at that, says blogger Peter Smith. The Kno, which debuted at All Things Digital's D8 conference yesterday has 'two 14.1-inch (1440 x 900) capacitive touch screens. Each screen has its own battery, giving the Kno 8-hours of battery life, but a hefty weight of 5.5 lbs. ... If Kno (the company) has its way, students will be carrying around a Kno (the device) rather than a stack of textbooks. That's the reason for the huge screens; most textbook pages can be shown 'full size' on a 14-inch screen.' Engadget, who got some hands-on time with the device, says 'the entire experience is essentially a WebKit instance.' Price is still up in the air but Ina Fried at CNET says the company is aiming for a price well under $1,000.

IPSC 2010

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Roughly a thousand teams from all around the globe have already registered for IPSC 2010, which takes place on Sunday, June 6. $3,000 in prize money (courtesy of Facebook, Inc.) is waiting for the best few of them. Participation is free and the contest is open to everybody. IPSC is what you could call a programming contest with a twist. Over the years, the problems always push the boundary and go beyond the usual stuff you see in a programming contest. For example, in past few years the contestants have had to understand how arithmetic in computers differs from that in mathematics, produce a sequence of cache requests that generates many page faults, solve a logic puzzle given as a Flash game, and recognize images to evaluate a rock-paper-scissors game.

Call Google Android OS phone and get the rootkit

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Hoping to understand what a new generation of mobilemalware could resemble, security researchers will demonstrate a malicious 'rootkit' program they've written for Google's Android phone next month at the Defcon hacking conference in Las Vegas. Once it's installed on the Android phone, the rootkit can be activated via a phone call or SMS message, giving attackers a stealthy and hard-to-detect tool for siphoning data from the phone or misdirecting the user. 'You call the phone, the phone doesn't ring, and when the phone realizes that it's being called by an attacker's phone number, it sends him back a shell [program],' said Christian Papathanasiou, a security consultant with Chicago's Trustwave, the company that did the research.

Mobile Phones vs. Supercomputers of the Past

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The recently published Top 500 list of the world's fastest supercomputers is based on the Linpack benchmark developed decades ago by Jack Dongarra. This same test has been ported to Android mobile phones, which means that we can compare the performance of our phones against that of the supercomputers of the past. For example, a tweaked Motorola Droid can hit 52 Mflop/s, which is more than 15 times faster than the CPUs used in the 1979 Cray-1." But even today's most powerful cellphones don't come with an integrated bench.