New BlackBerry - The "Storm 9530"  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

RIM's first touch-screen BlackBerry, the Storm 9530, has the first touch screen you can actually physically click. Combine this innovative display with global high-speed cellular, a high-resolution camera, and an improved Web browser and you have a BlackBerry that's poised to steal some of the iPhone's thunder in corporate circles and among those who prefer Verizon's network to AT&T's. Although the Storm hasn't yet hit the PC Magazine Labs for full testing, I was able to get some quality time with the device. And I liked what I saw.
The 5.5-ounce Storm is a 4.4 by 2.4 by 0.55 inch (HWD) slab dominated by a 3.25-inch, 360-by-480-pixel touch screen, which is capacitive, meaning it detects the electricity from your fingers, and transflective, so it's easy to see outdoors in bright light. Below the display are Pick Up and End call buttons, a Back button, and the familiar BlackBerry menu key. On the sides of the handset, you'll find Camera, Volume, and a programmable Multi-Function button. Mute and lock buttons are on the top panel. The phone's metal back is home to the speakerphone and the 3.2-megapixel camera with LED flash.

The touch screen feels surreal; it's like nothing I've ever tried before. Many other touch-screen handsets vibrate slightly when you touch a virtual button. But when you press a button on the Storm, it feels as if you're actually pressing on that specific spot. That's because you are: the Storm's touch screen floats along three axes in a magnesium frame, so it provides specific tactile feedback. The screen's virtual keys are as durable as those found on any previous BlackBerry keyboard, RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis told us in a meeting. (full story Link)

Need-4-Speed : UNDERCOVER  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , ,

We got behind the wheel of Need for Speed's latest instalment. Find out if Undercover is looking ready to race in our hands-on look.

EA has been pretty clear that Need for Speed Undercover is more of a spiritual successor to Most Wanted than a follow-up to last year's iteration, ProStreet. It has brought back police pursuits, but it's also bringing the series up to date with what it claims will be an expansive open world and a deeper story mode, complete with a lead character who gains experience along the way.
Undercover takes place in three distinct cities in the fictional Tri-City Bay. Gold Coast Mountain, Sunset Hills, and Palm Harbor will offer three different regions to explore, and all of them are accessible from a main interstate highway. To give you an idea of the size of the world, the game's developers at EA Black Box said it would take eight minutes to navigate across at top speed, and 160km of drivable roads are available. Black Box is working on a streaming world that loads as needed, and with the main menu also loaded into the world (appearing
as a pop-up) there will be no breaks from the action, unless you're jumping online for a race against friends. Xbox Live and PlayStation Network will be supported, but there is no local split-screen multiplayer. In addition to embarking on missions, you'll be able to free-roam around Tri-City Bay as much as you like, and at any time you can bring up your GPS device to jump directly into races, sprints, highway battles, and pursuits.

While we still haven't seen much of the storyline, EA revealed that a character played by Hollywood actress Maggie Q (Mission Impossible III, Die Hard 4.0) will recruit you as a federal officer at the beginning of the game to help bust an underground car-smuggling operation. You'll gradually infiltrate the crime syndicate, building on your reputation as you climb the ranks by taking jobs. This is where Undercover gets its name: You'll have to complete your jobs while facing off against cops, using them as your foil in the process. Some of the cutscene cinematics look top-notch, and hopefully the story will be just as solid--it's unusual to see developers go to this length to include a storyline in a racing game. EA has used a photographic technique known as magic hour (used in movies such as Transformers and 300) to film some of Undercover's cutscenes, giving it a warm, soft "late in the afternoon" visual tone. The in-game world will also cut straight to full-motion video, with the world being rendered behind the FMV, which is designed to increase the seamless feel.
We tried out a new game mode called Highway Battle on a stretch of the Southeast I-20. Essentially a point-to-point race against other street racers with the goal to win by 1,000ft (305m), this particular challenge is one of the easier tasks early on in the game, with only some light traffic to navigate around. A nifty onscreen meter will show you how far behind or ahead of the pack you are, and once your car reaches the top of the meter, you'll have completed the challenge. Variable traffic in Undercover means you shouldn't experience the same race twice. Vehicles will indicate when they're changing lanes and will vary their speed, so you'll need to keep an eye on the surrounding traffic. You'll also be able to draft behind other vehicles, but getting too close may result in a high-speed collision, bringing your race to a quick halt. You can use vehicles to create havoc for opponents and police, by creating pileups and accidents. Damage modelling will also be part of the game, and the team is working on improvements over ProStreet.
Pursuit mode looks like it will be just as thrilling as the highway battles. The object of the challenge we played, dubbed Grand Theft 5-0, was to steal a cop car from a police station carpark and evade the pursuing officers in the process of taking it to a garage. The chase takes place in Sunset Hills, which has a more industrial feel than the other areas, complete with warehouses and derelict land. While this race wasn't too difficult, we were told that police AI will increase as the story continues, forcing you to become more adventurous as you progress. Like in the highway battles, you'll have an onscreen meter showing your distance from your competition, and you'll need to gain a sizable lead before you can escape. Not content to merely chase you, cop cars will also ram your vehicle and set up barricades, although we didn't see any spike strips deployed as they were in the Need for Speed games of yesteryear.
Because you're stealing a vehicle for commercial interest, you'll need to make sure you don't damage it too much during the sprint. While you need to keep your vehicle looking tip-top, you can earn extra points for causing damage to public property--the greater the damage to police cars and council property, the better. If you get busted, an amusing cutscene will be triggered, showing you trying to escape the clutches of the fuzz, with a look almost straight out of Cops, complete with a blurred face. (full story Link)

USB Powered Air conditioned clothes  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

We have USB powered Beverage coolers, gloves, slippers and what not here is a something really unique, USB powered powered air conditioned clothes. Everyone actually does have a natural air conditioner which is sweating and the air conditioned clothes are designed to give that mechanism a shot in the arm.
The clothes have two 10 centimeter fans located at right and left sides at the back of clothing at waist level. These fans draw in a large amount of air which helps to vapourize thus dissipating sweat and bringing down the wearers body temprature. The clothing comes with a switch to adjust the fan speed. Just connect your shirt to the USB port and be cool.
Other than USB the shirt is powered by four AA batteries or your car's cigars socket. This ingenious idea is the brain child of Kouzi Ichigaya an ex Sony technician. At present half sleeve shirts for men and women are available with this unique system in Japan.
(story Link)


USB Air Conditioned Shirt from Kuchofuku
The USB Air Conditioned Shirt is a fantastic invention for hot days! USB- fans blowing fresh air into the shirt. Best cooling effect - Made in Japan. Featured in press and gadget blogs.
Included in delivery:
1 Eco Wear shirt, Size XL (Japanese XL)

Specifications:

Size: XL 126/45.

Fans: 1,2 W.

Weight: 325 g.

Material: 80% Polyester, 20% Cotton.

Buy the air-conditioned USB shirt online.

(story Link)

Apple set to release $800 Notebook  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

The Inquisitr is reporting that Apple is getting ready to release its first sub-$1,000 computer - an $800 notebook.

According to the source, Apple retail stores have been given price sheets that list 12 price points for the new range, with prices between $800-$3100. Current lines only have 8 price points, 3 Macbooks starting at $1099, 3 Macbook Pros and 2 Macbook Airs. According to the source, retail outlets usually get the price lists 10 days before products hit the market. Technical specs for the new laptops were not included on the price sheet.

If this turns out to be true, then this is a clear sign that Apple is looking to broaden its customer base in an attempt to try to make itself more resistant to the effects of consumers tightening their belts.

Quick word of caution though - the idea that an Apple store would get pricing information for a new product so far in advance seems fishy to me. This information, if real, is coming to Duncan Riley from a much higher level than a store drone. (full story Link)


Microsoft Windows Vista is Alive & Kicking  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , ,

Microsoft has kindly extended its XP “downgrade” program for OEMs by another six months. Rather than appreciating the extension, some people have chosen to mock Microsoft and call for the curtain to close on Windows Vista once and for all.

Even my esteemed colleague Randall C. Kennedy wrote in his column entitled “Die, Vista, die!” (tell us how you really feel, Randall) that for him, “Vista’s demise was a foregone conclusion”. Personally, I get so much hate mail whenever I write something positive about Vista that I shy away from the subject. Well, in the words of Michael Corleone from The Godfather: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

Allow me to share with you some numbers that come from a Vista Tracking Poll conducted by CDW through Walker Information. They used an online survey, and participants included 772 IT decision makers who identified themselves as being familiar with Windows Vista. Here were some of their key findings:

  • 48 percent of respondents indicate that their organization is evaluating, testing, or implementing Vista. That doesn’t sound dead to me.
  • 30 percent of respondents have organizations that are currently implementing or have already implemented Vista.
  • 50 percent of the respondents said Vista is performing “above expectation” on key features.

Given that most of what we read is how worthless Vista is, one must wonder: What could they possibly about this wretched OS that is doomed to retirement at such an early age? Most of the respondents pointed to security enhancements as the No. 1 feature that attracts them to Vista. Performance improvements, search enhancements, improved networking, and patch management — these were all high in people’s list of features they liked about Vista.

It still boggles my mind that people berate Vista, even after SP1. Mr. Kennedy called it a “pretender to the desktop throne.” I’ll agree that it may not be all that it was initially hyped up to be, and hopefully Windows 7 can meet the expectations we’ve been watching and waiting for nearly a decade to see. But how can some of its finest features simply be ignored by critics?

Among them, there are enhancements to Group Policy settings (more than 800 new settings in Vista) that allow for a greater level of administrative control over such items as power use. These days, we are all about going green, and here Vista is an OS that can help us thanks to the added ability to adjust the amount of power your system uses. Other enhancements allow for greater security control within the enterprise, preventing users from plugging in USB devices and other removable media, User Account Control, and more.

Vista also introduces BitLocker protection, which is great for encrypting your entire system. Hundreds of thousands of laptops with confidential company data on them are lost or stolen each year. Without encryption of the drive, it is just a matter of time before a thief can access the contents. With BitLocker, that worry is removed. As a business person — perhaps one who has had their laptop stolen — would you mock that level of protection? Most likely not. Can you get it with XP? No. So, even if you didn’t receive a feature you wanted in Vista like WinFS (which nobody really understood anyway; it just sounded cool) but did receive peace of mind in the event your laptop was stolen, wouldn’t you say that it’s worth having?

I can go on and on with features that are a tremendous improvement over XP, features Microsoft developers can be proud of because they enhance our user experience, as well as make us more secure and more productive. (full story Link)

Asus ships Eee Box PCs with Malware  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

Asus has confirmed and apologized to customers (press release in Japanese; translated version) for shipping malware on the recently introduced Eee Box desktop computer :

“According to an email sent out by Asus, PC Advisor reports, the Eee Box’s 80GB hard drive has the recycled.exe virus files hidden in the drive’s D: partition. When the drive is opened, the virus activates and attempts to infect the C: drive and an removable drives connected to the system. According to Symantec, the malware is likely to be the W32/Usbalex worm, which creates an autorun.inf file to trigger recycled.exe from D:. Separately, we’ve been testing the Eee Box this week, and discovered our review unit came loaded with the W32/Taterf worm - aka W32.Gammima.AG, aka kavo.exe malware that sniffs out online gaming usernames and passwords.

Which models are known to carry the malware according to Asus?

The company has already managed to identify the following models with associated UPC codes :

Model number: EEEBOXB202-B; UPC code: 610839761807
Model number: EEEBOXB202-W; UPC code: 610839761814
Model number: EBXB202BLK/VW161D; UPC code: 610839530526
Model number: EBXB202WHT/VW161D-W; UPC code: 610839531202
Model number: EBXB202BLK/VK191T; UPC code: 610839547753

In addition to last month’s Asus fiasco when they accidentally shipped cracking tools and confidential documents on recovery DVDs, (full story Link)

Virgin Mobile Launches New Broadband Package  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

Virgin Mobile will today become the last of the six largest UK mobile phone operators to join the rush to connect consumers to the internet with the launch of its own mobile broadband package.

The launch of the £15-a-month service follows yesterday's news that more than a dozen mobile and IT companies had got together to push mobile broadband by creating laptop devices that would be able to connect to it "out of the box".

Companies including Dell, Toshiba, Microsoft, Vodafone, T-Mobile and Ericsson combined with the mobile industry trade group GSM Association to create a mobile broadband service mark that can be put on any hardware able to access the mobile web immediately after purchase.

The first notebook computers with mobile broadband inside will be ready to switch on and surf straight out of the box in 91 countries across the world in time for the festive season, backed by a $1bn (£562m) global advertising budget.

The move is a direct attack on the rise of Wimax, a competing technology that has limited use in Europe but is being rolled out in a number of major US cities.

It is a potential competitor to the next generation of mobile phone technology, called LTE.

Wimax has also been backed by Google, which put $500m into a Wimax venture created by the US mobile phone company Sprint and a rival communications company, Clearwire, earlier this year.

The search engine has already made another - albeit less powerful - wireless broadband service called wifi, free in its home town of Mountain View, California.

More than 55 million people currently use mobile broadband services in 91 countries. (full story Link)

Has Microsoft given up on Vista?  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , ,

There’s growing evidence that Microsoft may have, in essence, given up on Windows Vista, and plans to extend the life of Windows XP so people can continue to buy XP until Windows 7 is ready, or very close to that date.

The newest piece of evidence arrived only a few days ago, when Microsoft extended the availability of XP on PCs for another six months. A Microsoft spokesperson said that Microsoft will allow computer makers to “downgrade” machines they sell from Windows Vista Business or Vista Ultimate to Windows XP Professional until the end of July, 2009. Previously, Microsoft said the date would be January 31, 2009.

Microsoft has set no absolutely firm date for the release of Windows 7, but in a recent publicly released email, Bill Veghte, Microsoft Senior Vice President for the Windows Business wrote:

our plan is to deliver Windows 7 approximately 3 years after the January 2007 general availability launch date of Windows Vista.

That would mean there would be only six months between the end of XP’s life, and the beginning of Windows 7’s life. That’s not a ringing endorsement of Vista. And there have been some rumors floating around the Web that Windows 7 might be available as early as July, 2009 — just at the point when XP’s life ends.

If that’s the case, why would Microsoft be spending so much money on a recent ad campaign to push Windows? Because the campaign doesn’t bother to mention Vista — it’s only about Windows in general. That in itself is evidence that Microsoft isn’t pushing Vista hard. (story Link)

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