iPhone: Second most popular handset in US  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in

The latest sales figures from NPD have show Apple’s new 3G iPhone gaining market share rapidly.
The 3G iPhone now accounts for 17 per cent of the market, second only to Motorola’s RazR2 handset. Before the launch Apple’s market share was 11 per cent.
The survey of over 150,000 consumers also found that 30 per cent of iPhone buyers switched networks to AT&T to get the phone. Verizon Wireless were the biggest losers, with 47 per cent of that figure, with 24 per cent coming from T-Mobile and 19 per cent from Sprint.
“The launch of the lower-priced iPhone 3G was a boon to overall consumer smartphone sales", Ross Rubin, NPD director of industry analysis, said in a statement.
"While the original iPhone also helped win customers for AT&T, the faster network speeds of the iPhone 3G (have) proven more appealing to customers that already had access to a 3G network.” (full story Link)

Apple's Brick: A Radical New Laptop?  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

The latest whispers are that Apple will announce a notebook made from a solid brick of aluminum.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the MacBook Air out of an interoffice envelope to showcase its thinness. Does Apple have another innovation coming with its "brick" product?
When they're not hand-wringing over the recent drop in Apple's share price, Mac enthusiasts have been transfixed lately by the mystery product, code-named "brick," that's due for release later this month.
Some bloggers and pundits have suggested it might be a new iteration of Apple TV or an updated Mac Mini. But according to a report on 9to5Mac.com, "brick" refers not to what it is, but how it's made. The Web site, which cites an anonymous source, says the code name has to do with a manufacturing process for Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro lines of laptops. Apple (AAPL) will build the notebook out of a single piece of carved-out aluminum—a brick.
Whatever it signifies, the new computer may be precisely what Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer meant when he referred to a "new product transition that I can't talk about yet" during Apple's most recent earnings conference call in July. The transition is among the reasons Apple said it expects to make lower gross profit margins (BusinessWeek.com, 7/22/08) during the next several quarters.
But if the new product does prove to be a notebook made from a block of aluminum, how much pressure are Apple's margins likely to undergo? More to the point, would Apple's brick be a brick?

Savings on Materials and Labor

A radically different production method might well boost costs, at least at the outset. But there could also be savings from the change, says Kevin Keller, an analyst at market research firm iSuppli. "If you're working with one single unit of metal, you're reducing a lot of the materials costs and also a lot of labor time on assembly," he says. (full story Link)

Upgrade Firefox  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

With all its fantastic extensions, Firefox has become an all-round genius. CHIP has tracked down the 25 best add-ons for you—and packed them on the issue DVD.

The latest stable release of Firefox, version 3, has been out for over a month now. CHIP gives you the latest extensions that add all the functions you need to make your Web surfing experience stress-free and fulfilling. With version 3, Firefox has fully embraced the add-ons experience. The Add-ons dialog box, accessible from ‘Tools | Add-ons’ now comes with a ‘Get Add-ons’ tab, such that users no longer have to navigate to the website (addons.mozilla.org) to get them. It even has a handy search field.

Complete comfort

To ensure that you surf more comfortably and make the Fox fit for the Internet of the future and hassle-proof, the first thing to do is to check out the following add-ons.

Sometimes, it is really annoying to click on countless links while searching on the Internet. With ‘Interclue’, you need not go through this unnecessary step—hover your cursor over a link, and a small icon will appear next to it. When you hover over that icon, it opens up a pop-up window that shows a preview of that website. You can enlarge the window as desired, or send the links directly via mail or even save them as bookmarks. An alternative to ‘Interclue’ is ‘Cooliris’. While ‘Cooliris’ is merely a pop-up window, ‘Interclue’ has the advantage of notifying the user about potentially harmful websites that contain malicious content or are phishing scams. However, while the ‘Cooliris’ preview displays the Web page as it will appear on your Web browser, the ‘Interclue’ preview displays only the bare basics—text, images and links. Which add-on will best suit your purposes is up to you, depending on your preferences. (see full story link)

Security on the Web

Firefox developers patch security loopholes in the browser regularly. However, hackers always find new leaks in no time. Use security tools for this purpose and protect the fox from all those dangers yourself.

JavaScript presents an enormous security loophole. The problem is when you deactivate these functions, most websites will not be displayed correctly any more, especially in the age of interactive Web 2.0. With ‘No-Script’, you can determine the websites on which scripts may run—namely which websites should always display scripts and which are supposed to be blocked.

am-packed Multimedia

Listening to music, viewing pictures and storing videos—all these multimedia functions can be undertaken by Firefox effortlessly with the right add-ons.

With ‘FoxyTunes’, you can upgrade your Web browser to include a slim audio player. The tool uses any player installed on the PC for playing and can even access Internet services such as last.fm. With different skins available from the manufacturer’s homepage and diverse setting options like cover artwork display, ‘FoxyTunes’ is a very flexible tool to use.

Community tools

The world of social networking survives exclusively on community spirit, and people who actively participate in blogs and forums. The only problem is that the number of such sites has grown immensely in the past few years—and new ones are being added each day.

It is barely possible to get an overview of all the activities on such sites. In order to make searching for the latest news easier, we have helpful tools like ‘BlogRovR’. If you store interesting websites, sorted according to topics of your choice, it will gather news and comments automatically. Besides, the extension can also be used as a track-back display.

Extensions for developers

Specialized web programs are a must if you want to tinker about with homepages or work with servers. Luckily, there are extensions for Firefox which makes the working a lot easier.

The extensive add-on ‘Firebug’ is available for analyzing websites. No action on a site will ever go unnoticed by this tool; Firebug lists hidden processes as well. If you want, it can also change the entire look of a website for you. There is a special add-on for this purpose though—with ‘Stylish’, you can edit the look of any site with the help of CSS. Alternatively, it is possible to download ready scripts from the manufacturer’s website.

Firefox add-on packages

Comfort: All-in-one sidebar, DownThemAll, Interclue, Cooliris, IE Tab.

Security: Adblock Plus, FoxyProxy, NoScript, Secure Login.

Multimedia: FireShot, FoxyTunes, Gspace, PicLens, Video DownloadHelper.

Community: BlogRovR, ChatZilla, Locator, ReminderFox, SamePlace.

Professional: Firebug, FireFTP, Stylish, SQLite Manager, Web Developer, Greasemonkey.

(full story Link)

Mac Security Focus: Firewalls  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

Firewalls monitor and regulate the data moving on and off your computer or network. They can keep criminals out while allowing legitimate network traffic in. Mac OS X comes with not one but two firewalls of its own. However, those two aren't always enough.

The Threat

Years ago, a bug (long-since fixed) let attackers send Macs a so-called "ping of death"--specially designed network traffic that could crash a system. There aren't any such network vulnerabilities on Macs (that we know of) now, but many of Apple's security updates specifically address network vulnerabilities. Clearly, Macs aren't inherently immune.

With millions of computers in the world, it might seem that the odds of your Mac being targeted are awfully small. But there are computers out there that do nothing all day but probe Net-connected machines for vulnerabilities; it's certainly possible that one will find yours. And don't forget that any time you're on a network--a coffee shop's Wi-Fi system, for example--you're exposed to anyone else on that network.

The risks--the loss of private data and the hijacking of your Mac's computing power--are great enough, and the cost of prevention low enough, that implementing a good firewall on your Mac and your local network is a no-brainer.

OS X's Firewalls

All versions of OS X through 10.4 (Tiger) have included a Unix-based firewall called ipfw. In security parlance, ipfw is a packet-filtering firewall: it checks each packet coming or going through the Mac's network interfaces against a set of rules, and allows it to pass or blocks it.

Packet-filtering firewalls like ipfw classify network traffic two ways: by type, using port numbers, and by origin and destination, using IP addresses. For instance, a packet-filtering firewall could accept file-sharing connections from IP addresses of your work network but not from other addresses on the Internet. (full story Link)

Toshiba's First Fuel Cell is Coming  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

Toshiba is close to launching its first commercial direct-methanol fuel-cell device, which promises a faster way to recharge portable electronics products.

The company said Monday that the DMFC will be launched during its current financial year, which ends March 31, 2009. Toshiba won't say yet what the product will be, although it offered a possible clue last week at the Ceatec show in Japan, where it showed a cell phone based on a fuel cell.

DMFCs produce electricity from a reaction between methanol, water and air. The only byproducts are a small amount of water vapor and carbon dioxide, so DMFCs are often seen as a greener source of energy than traditional batteries. Another advantage is that they can be replenished with a new cartridge of methanol in seconds.

Toshiba and its competitors, including Sharp, NEC, Hitachi, Sanyo, Fujitsu and Canon, have all shown or disclosed prototype fuel-cell work in the past few years, but nothing has yet come to market.

In the product shown at Ceatec, the fuel cell had been integrated into the clamshell phone under the keypad and made the handset a little thicker, though not considerably. While the phone was a prototype, the build quality was close to what you might expect from a commercial product. (full story Link)

AMD's External Graphics Card  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

AMD XGP - eXternal Graphics Platform, a slimline box you connect your GPU-lite laptop to when you need more graphics horsepower.
Fujitsu Siemens (FSC) was on hand to demo the concept with its Amilo GraphicBooster, an AppleTV-like unit with an AMD ATI Radeon HD 3870 GPU built in and hooked up to 512MB of GDDR 3 memory. The box can drive four displays simultaneously, the company claimed.
AMD's pitch is that users will be able to connect their slim'n'light laptops to an XGP, which will supply the level of graphical grunt that they don't need when they're on the move and, more importantly, running on battery power.

XGPs are designed to be hot-pluggable, the driver knowing about and enabling the use of the discrete GPU as soon as it's connected to the host.
With that multi-monitor support, XGP will undoubtedly also be pitched at businesses who want to give their laptop-equipped workers multi-display desktops.

Of course, this is the same notion companies like DisplayLink are peddling, but they're delivering multi-screen support over USB using the host system's GPU. AMD's approach - since it's in the business of selling more graphics chips - is to add a second GPU to the system.
That said, Fujistu Siemens has its eye on the consumer market - we understand it's pitching the technology to Dixons and other big retailers - as a way to allow ordinary punters to effectively upgrade their older laptops' graphics capabilities. The technology doesn't require an external monitor - the XGP can render images on the host laptop's own screen.
And XGP has its own connector, which although based on PCI Express 2.0 technology, does require the laptop to have a special XGP slot on the side. AMD has two connectors, one for eight PCIe lanes, the other for 16. At this stage it's unclear whether you can connect, say, an XGP with a 16-lane cable, using an adaptor, to a notebook with an 8-lane port. (full story Link)

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