Phelps wins record eighth gold at Beijing 2008  

Posted by Mohammad Talha

BEIJING, August 17-- Michael Phelps won his record eighth gold medal in the Men's 4 x 100m Medley Relay final on Sunday but this time needed some help from his friends.

Men's 4 x 100m Medley Relay: Phelps wins record eighth gold

The US team of Aaron Peirsol, Brendan Hansen, Jason Lezak and Phelps won at the National Aquatics Center in a time of 3:29.34 and in doing so broke the world record by 1.34 seconds.

The defending Olympic champions and world record holders led from start to finish.

Men's 4 x 100m Medley Relay: Phelps wins record eighth gold
(L-R) Hansen, Phelps, Peirsol and Lezak hold the American flag (Photo credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)

Peirsol gave them a great start with a 53.16sec split. Hansen increased the lead on the world record split taking it 0.39 seconds under at the race's halfway mark. Brenton Rickard swam his breaststroke leg in 58.56, faster than Hansen, to bring the Australians into second place.

Phelps fought off the Australian challenge in the Butterfly leg before Lezak kept Eamon Sullivan on his shoulder until the wall.

The Australian team of Hayden Stoeckel, Andrew Lauterstein, Rickard and Sullivan finished 0.70 seconds behind the US to win silver in an Oceania record 3:30.04, also under the old world record.

Australia went into the race as world champions but only as beneficiaries of a US disqualification at the 2007 world championships.

Japan's team of Miyashita Junichi, Kitajima Kosuke, Fujii Takuro and Sato Hisayoshi took bronze in an Asian record 3:31.18.

Russia finished fourth in a European record 3:31.92.

Michael Phelps sets Olympic record for gold medals  

Posted by Mohammad Talha

BEIJING: Everybody has their theory about what makes Michael Phelps peerless. Simon Burnett, a freestyler from Great Britain, shared his the other day with Eddie Reese, the United States men's Olympic coach.

"He's not from another planet," Burnett told Reese. "He's from the future."

On the ninth day of swimming at the Beijing Games, Phelps collected his eight gold medal, becoming the career leader in Olympic golds with 14 Gold Medals.

Recounting the story Sunday, Reese laughed and said, "That's probably the best explanation I've heard."

Mac Users Get Clipboard-Jacked At Digg, Facebook  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

Macs dont actually get attacked by malicious code, right? No, they do, even if its a comparatively rare thing.

Consider this support thread on in which a Mac user using Firefox complains about how his clipboard gets hijacked. Once he visits a certain site, a top-level link off of, his clipboard gets stuffed with a malicious link (to Windows malware) and nothing else can change the clipboard contents.

Oh yes, that's right, Firefox also gets attacked now and then, despite conventional wisdom to the contrary.

Other readers piped up to relate similar circumstances on other sites, including Facebook and In fact, this attack was first reported about a week ago on the Spyware Sucks blog. Of course it is meant to target Windows systems and works well on them too.

If you think you are experiencing this attack take note of what sites you have open. One reader reported that the attack was only active while the page was open. So you should eventually be able to end it by closing browser windows one at a time.

There is a security setting for Internet Explorer to block/allow programmatic access to the clipboard, and the default is to prompt the user. You can test this harmlessly at


Back on the Spyware Sucks blog entry comments indicate that the prompt setting isn't working; users are getting attacked in spite of this setting. We can't confirm this.

(full story)

Mozilla Fixes Awesomebar In Next Firefox Version  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in

I've been complaining about new "Awesomebar" in Firefox 3, which is the name for all the new functions in the location bar. To quote the Firefox help on the subject, "[t]ype something into the Location bar, and the autocomplete drop-down will show matching sites from your browsing history, as well as sites you have bookmarked and tagged." Awesomebar is also known as the Smart Location Bar.

I liked to use the Tools-Clear Private Data feature now and then in Firefox 2, because it cleans out the Location bar history. You can get it with Ctrl-Shift-Del. When I started using Firefox 3 it looked like it didn't work anymore. That's because bookmarks are not considered private data to be cleared. Even after you clear all the private data, if you then drop the location bar down there are still entries in it.

I wasn't the only one who found this confusing. Several bug reports turned up on Firefox Bugzilla site and a popular add-on for Firefox, Hide Unvisited 3, came out to turn off the tracking of bookmarks in the Awesomebar.

Now Mozilla has announced that they will add functionality equivalent to Hide Unvisited 3 to Firefox 3.1. The changes will be in the form of entries in about:config. The feature will be in Alpha 1 of 3.1, which should be out soon.

(full story)

Microsoft Released 11 Patches  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

Microsoft released 11 security bulletins today along with updates to address the vulnerabilities described in them. Various versions of Windows and Office are affected. The Advance Notification indicated that there would be a 7th critical update; this appears to have been removed at the last minute.

All updates are available through Windows Update and all the other usual avenues.

(full story)

Intel's 'Core i7' Processor  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in

Intel has announced that the upcoming Nehalem processor will be officially known as the Core i7.
Nehalem has been the code name for Intel's upcoming processors first due in Q4 2008. Nehalem represents a major overhaul of Intel's processor technology and introduces a number of improvements over existing process bottlenecks.
Intel's choice of name seems to be arbitrary but will reportedly fit into the naming scheme for the full line of chips, as explained by
"Intel told us that “i7” was simply chosen because it is “short and sweet”. The company showed some understanding for our confusion over this name choice and promised that i7 would make sense down the road when additional new identifiers are introduced."
Intel is expected to reveal more information about the Core i7 at the Intel Developer Forum on August 19th. At the conference, Intel will also detail a new energy saving technique in the i7:
"Intel would not reveal the nature of the new energy efficiency feature in the Core i7 chips. A company spokesman said it is not a direct evolution of the Intel's SpeedStep technology that automates frequency scaling based on workloads."
While the first of the Core i7 processors will be introduced in Q4 2008, mainstream desktop and mobile versions of the processor will be delayed until well into 2009.
(full story)

Apple's Crap Store  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in

Ninety percent of everything is crap, science fiction author Ted Sturgeon once said. That's certainly true of the crud passing for "software" in Apple's new App Store. While there are some useful applications in there, the vast majority of programs are half-fast, buggy, repetitive, or rehashes of useful Web sites.

This makes me worry about software development in general. Mobile computing platforms are the future primary PCs for much of the world. Yes, you'll be able to get a big screen and keyboard for these small CPUs eventually. And the iPhone is a powerful platform. It's got a 600-MHz CPU, excellent network connectivity, and a desktop-class OS. In theory, we could see the kind of apps developed for this platform that helped make personal computers as popular as they are today.

The App Store is beautiful, comprehensive (by fiat), and well designed. For the first time, you can actually get an overview of all the applications available for a computing platform and easily acquire them. It's an idea that a lot of other people have had before, but Apple has done it with more polish and ease of use.

But what do we get? Some great games. Notice that when the Wall Street Journal recently reported on Apple's app sales reaching $30 million, the only examples the Journal gave were games. There are a few good vertical business and programmer's apps, and Pandora for music lovers. But we also get a surfeit of crappy little applets like currency calculators that don't download exchange rates off the Web, social networks nobody's heard of, subway maps, way too many Sudoku games, and a vast pile of reformatted Web sites in app form. About 10 percent of the apps are great. Ninety percent smell like old Sturgeon.

I know this is beating a dead horse, but we're still waiting for apps that fill in the obvious gaps in the iPhone's feature set: office suites, video cameras, GPS navigation, or voice dialing that works properly. I know there are office suites in development, but anyway, those are old ideas. The real thrill will come from new ideas.

Of course, it's not as if Apple encourages app developers to think outside the box. was a German avant-garde art project in the form of an iPhone app. It wasn't malware. Apple yanked it from the App Store just because the company didn't like its face. That's a great message to send to developers: We might kill your app if we think you're a little weird.

(full story)

Gateway P-7811FXQ  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

When Gateway announced the end of its online and phone sales, many people proclaimed it the end of an era. Well, Gateway is kicking off a new era with its first retail-only PC, the P-7811FX ($1,399 list), available, right now, only at Best Buy. This hulking laptop offers a home-theater-quality 17-inch widescreen along with decent gaming capabilities at a competitive price. In addition, the notebook debuts with the latest Centrino 2 processor, making it an all-around solid system.
The first thing I noticed when I sat down in front of the P-7811FX was its impressive 17-inch screen. The laptop offers a 1,920-by-1,200-resolution picture, which, in home-theater terms, means it can display 1080p content. Few systems are able to match that at this price point (the ASUS M70Sa-X2 is a notable exception). For a laptop of this size and with such a gorgeous display, it seems a shame not to offer a Blu-ray drive. I know: Adding Blu-ray would drive up the price, but I was left wanting more than the included dual-layer DVD burner. (full story)

Are Some PCs Born Bad?  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine told me about his wonky laptop. It was a familiar story. His newish Vista box had, without much warning, begun collapsing into a blue-screen funk on almost a daily basis. He went on to explain that he'd spent countless hours on the phone with Dell support techs, all of whom were kind, polite, and intent on being helpful. The problem, of course, was that none of them had actually helped at all.
"When did you get this?" I asked. "April," he replied.
We were near my friend's office, so we stopped in so he could show me the laptop. I was startled by how new it was.
It was early June. The PC was not even three months old. The blue screens had begun within a few weeks of owning the Dell XPS M1530 laptop—one of PCMag's favorites (Cisco Cheng gave it four out of five stars). I asked my friend the usual questions: Had he installed any unusual apps, visited any odd sites, or opened an e-mail attachment that he probably shouldn't have?
His response: "No. It happens when I use the browser."
That seemed somewhat specific. In my experience, it's usually pretty hard to recreate a blue-screen experience. But my friend walked me through a simple series of steps…
"I start it up, open the browser, visit this site [one chosen from his favorites in IE7], and then…."
He trailed off as the system lapsed into a blue-screen coma. I was stunned. Rarely had I seen a consumer so expertly recreate a PC malfunction.
Holding a sheaf of papers in his hand, my friend pointed out notes from six different multi-hour support calls. He'd recorded the names of the support techs, as well as the time, date, and duration of each call. Each support tech had tried something different. For example, even though the PC came with security software, one had him install new protection from Trend Micro. In fact, there was a lot of utility installing and uninstalling. None of it worked.
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