iWork '09  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

Apple has a lot to boast about in iWork '09, the latest version of its productivity application suite and still the only one written from the ground up for OS X. Keynote, still the most dazzling presentation program on any platform, now offers spectacular slide transitions. The uniquely innovative Numbers spreadsheet (the sole such app to support multiple tables on a single page) continues to one-up Microsoft Excel in many ways. And, this time around, the table-organizing feature works. The Pages word processor adds to its already powerful graphics glitz and makes a start at supporting features for long documents by adding easy-to-use outlining. Apple has also put a toe into the online-document world by launching iWork.com, a sparsely featured sharing and viewing service that lets iWork users share documents with users on any platform, including Windows and Linux. The result is a $79 (direct) suite that gives home and student users a huge bang for a small number of bucks—and it feels far more at home on the Mac platform than Microsoft's pricier, professional-oriented Office for the Mac.

If you're a Mac user, can you trash your copy of Microsoft Office for the Mac? If you're a Windows user desperate to switch to OS X, is iWork '09 the tool you want for getting serious office work done on the Mac? The answer in both cases is: It depends. If you're a home or high-school-level user, you'll find it more than up to the challenge. But business and professional Office users will still want to stick with Microsoft's venerable suite. Those who write long documents, for example, or use database functions in worksheets, will find iWork '09 both tantalizingly close to displacing Office and frustratingly distant from that goal. As usual, Apple has put tremendous effort into features that look terrific and make work seem less like drudgery. But for hard-core users who need the raw power that only Office can provide, well…Office is still the only suite that provides it.

Pages '09

Pages is both a word processor and what used to be called a desktop publishing program—software that let you create graphics-rich leaflets, posters, and greeting cards. Pages' strength is creating pages that look terrific. It's clearly designed for the more casual user, the kind of casual student or home-based business user who might use it to type letters; create menus, greeting cards, and announcements; or send out those long end-of-year reports on the family that no one else wants to read. And for that user, it's a great product. But it's better suited to creating individual pages than long documents. If you really want to, you could use it to write a full-scale senior thesis, or a scientific paper, or a multi-chapter book, but you'll probably grit your teeth much of the time you're doing it.

You choose between two different editing modes when you create a document in Pages: word processing or page layout. The first creates a conventional document with a stream of text flowing down the page. Page layout treats each page as a canvas on which you create text and graphics boxes.

I started the app in word processing mode and chose the Personal Photo layout. Pages created a letter that had my name and a sample picture as the letterhead with some boilerplate text beneath it. To replace the text, I simply clicked in the boilerplate area and started typing. The template looked terrific, but I quickly tired of replacing sample text each time I wrote anything at all. After a short time, I started over with a blank page, as you normally do when working in a word processor.  (story Link)

Review: Samsung NC10-14GB  

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From cell phones to HDTVs, Samsung products have successfully found their way into American homes for the past decade. But the company hasn't made much headway with its laptops, and for good reason: The laptops have only recently started selling in the United States. Samsung needed a strategy that would jump-start its laptop presence. A netbook was the obvious choice, as this category is taking the market by storm. The Samsung NC10-14GB ($480 street) is a lot like every other netbook, but it has a few small advantages. It comes with a six-cell battery instead of a puny three-cell, and the keyboard is a tiny bit (1 percent) bigger than those of the MSI Wind and the HP Mini 1000. Ultimately, though, it loses out on price: The MSI Wind is a lower-priced package for now (by about $50, which in the netbook category is significant).

The white exterior of the ASUS EeePC 4G, once thought of as sleek and sexy, has been copied over and over for other netbooks like the Wind, the Acer Aspire One, and the Lenovo IdeaPad S10. Splashed in navy blue, the NC10 is neither bland nor head-turning. The HP 1000's embedded patterns and the metallic lid of the ASUS EeePC 1002HA are taking netbook designs to another level, and the trend won't stop with them. At 10.3 by 7.3 by 1 inches, the NC10's dimensions practically identical to those of the ASUS EeePC 1002HA. The HP Mini 1000 (10.3 by 6.6 by 0.9 inches) and the Lenovo S10 (9.8 by 7.3 by 0.9 inches) are slightly thinner and smaller. At 2.9 pounds, the NC10's frame seems heavy, but once you factor in the standard six-cell battery, its weight is actually on a par with its 10-inch counterparts.

By 10-inch, I mean the size of the widescreen. Netbooks like the Acer Aspire One (2.1 pounds), the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 (2.3 pounds), and the ASUS EeePC 900 (2.2 pounds) are noticeably lighter because they have smaller 8.9-inch widescreens. The viewing experience is obviously better with a bigger screen, but the 1,024-by-600 resolution is the same across the board. The NC10's brightness and contrast levels are consistent with those of other 10-inch netbooks and make for pleasant viewing. Its 93 percent keyboard is 1 percent larger than those found on the Mini 1000 and the MSI Wind—not a huge difference, although the keys are noticeably bigger and the typing experience better. Consequently, the touchpad is minuscule compared with those of the EeePC 1002HA and the Wind, resulting in a tighter pinch when using your thumb and index fingers to navigate.

The NC10's features are consistent with those of other top-rated netbooks. It comes with three USB ports, a VGA-out, an Ethernet port, and an SD slot. Lenovo opted to forgo a USB port in its S10 to make room for an ExpressCard slot, which is a handy addition for expansion devices that enable 3G wireless services and other specialty ports. Both the HP 1000 and the Dell Inspiron Mini 9 have 3G wireless built in, simplifying things even further. A 160GB hard drive is included and appears to be the capacity that everyone is settling on. By next year, you'll see netbook hard drive capacities standardized at 320GB.

The NC10 contains the same parts as every netbook. Its 1.6-GHz Intel Atom N270 processor and 1GB of memory are no surprise. The same could be said about the integrated graphics. The ASUS N10Jc-A1 is an exception, a netbook that utilizes two sets of graphics chipsets to its advantage—one for 3D work and another to save battery life. The NC10's SYSmark 2007 Overall score topped the Wind's by a point, though you wouldn't notice it in real-world applications. The NC10 was a bit slower on video-encoding tests, trailing the others in the comparison by at least 2 seconds. (full Story)

Best 5 Megapixel Camera Phones  

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Although nearly every cell phone available today lets you take photos, it's no secret that the cameras on most phones are, well, lame. Shots snapped by your run-of-the-mill phone shooter are plagued by blown-out highlights, soft focus, low contrast, and poor detail. That's not to say that phone cameras don't come in handy in a pinch; in fact, cameras on some of today's most popular handsets, including the iPhone 3G and the BlackBerry Curve, can take decent pictures (especially outdoors) despite their middling 2-megapixel sensors and subpar lenses.

Still, their shots are nothing compared with those from any one of the 5MP camera phones that have hit the market in the past couple of months. Each one of these handsets takes quality photos that, while still not standalone digital camera quality, are easily good enough for archiving—even printing.

Astute digital-camera shoppers know that the number of megapixels means virtually nothing these days when it comes to choosing a camera. But when it comes to cell phones, a 5MP sensor is still rare enough to show that some thought went into the camera. These phones aren't one-trick ponies, either; all of them are solid communication devices, too.

Behold the latest 5MP camera phones. With one of these, you might actually want to ditch your digital camera.

See how the features on all these cell-phone shooters compare side by side, or click through to the full reviews below.

Camera Phones Featured in This Roundup:

Motorola MOTOZINE ZN5 : FrontMotorola MotoZINE ZN5 (T-Mobile)

$199.99 - $349.99 direct
Motorola has been struggling lately, but you wouldn't know it from the MotoZINE ZN5, a stellar Motorola/Kodak camera phone that can go toe-to-toe with lower-end point-and-shoot digital cameras. On our tests, we found the ZN5 to have good resolution, little barrel distortion or chromatic aberration, and a fast shutter. It even sports a Xenon flash that's worlds better than the wimpy LED lights you'll find on many other handsets (if they have a flash at all).

Nokia N82 Nokia N82 (Unlocked)
Editors' Choice Logo
$549.00 – $749.95 list
The Nokia N82 isn't only a quality Symbian smartphone, it also took stellar pictures on our tests thanks to its Carl Zeiss lens, 5MP sensor, autofocus, and xenon flash. The N82 is available only unlocked in the U.S.; which means it will work with either AT&T or T-Mobile SIM cards and doesn't require a contract—but in either case, prepare to pay a hefty up-front fee.

Nokia N95 8GB USNokia N95 8GB (Unlocked)

$750 list
Nokia's N95 8GB improves on its successful predecessor by adding 8GB of internal storage and plenty of additional memory. It also features a nifty dual-slider design that's perfect for N-Gage gaming and multimedia playback. Unfortunately, as with the N82, you can get the N95 8GB only unlocked in the U.S.

Samsung Behold SGH-T919Samsung Behold SGH-T919 (T-Mobile)

$199 – $399 direct
The Samsung Behold SGH-T919 gives T-Mobile subscribers a powerful 5MP camera phone with autofocus. On our tests, we found that the handset takes pleasing pictures that are almost on a par with those of the Motorola ZN5, although the Behold's regular LED flash is just about useless. Except for that, it's a dependable touch-screen phone. Mobile Web fiends should also take note: It's a particularly good handset for hooking into T-Mobile's brand-new 3G data network.

Samsung Omnia (Verizon) : FrontSamsung Omnia SCH-i910 (Verizon Wireless)

$249.99 – $496.99 list
The Windows Mobile 6.1–based Omnia includes a fast CPU, a 5MP camera with autofocus, and 8GB of internal storage. Its shutter lag is a respectable 0.3 second with prefocusing and 1.2 seconds without, and the Omnia can even record 640-by-480-pixel videos at 15 frames per second. It also features the same robust Microsoft Outlook synchronization and document editing common to all Microsoft-based smartphones. (story Link)

Advanced Page Layout in MS Word 2007  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

Full-featured desktop publishing programs such as Adobe InDesign CS4 or QuarkXPress 8 are a must for truly professional page layout work, but Word 2007 can take you reasonably far and give you highly satisfying results. We'll show you how.

Prepare the Workspace

To begin, if you're not already in Print Layout view, switch to it via the View tab—you need to see what the page really looks like as you work. Also on the View tab, in the Show/Hide group, click Ruler to help you position and measure objects, then Thumbnails to give you a running view down the side of what your pages look like. When you determine your page requirements, come back here and click Gridlines; these help you position objects on the page. To change the grid spacing, click the Insert tab and add an object to the page (a shape, for example), yielding the Format tab, and then on the Format tab click Align | Grid Settings .

Use Text Boxes

Instead of Word's standard page, employ text boxes to hold your text, tables, and graphics files. To do so, click Insert and choose Text Box in the Text group. Word reveals the Text Box Gallery , which offers numerous choices, but for now choose Simple Text Box. Enlarge the box to whatever size you want, then type or paste inside it. add tables, clip art, or graphics files , all of which integrate into the text box (although Shapes do not). When you have as much material in the text box as you want, drag it wherever it belongs on the page, using the rulers and the grid to help position it. Repeat the process, adding as many text boxes as necessary (you can even overlap them).

Text Control

Fine control over text is available from the Paragraph and Font dialogs. In the Paragraph section (on the Home tab), use the Spacing controls to exercise precise control over (among other things) the distance between the lines of text—you can adjust the Before and After spacing via the arrows or by typing in a point size, and you can set exact line spacing as well.  in Font , the Character Spacing tab gives you control over how the letters, numbers, and symbols appear. Select the text in the document and scale it, expand or contract it by specific point sizes, and raise or lower it on the line, again by specific point sizes. The dialog displays the result before changing the actual document.

Word offers numerous other layout options, including page color, page border, and a wide variety of built-in galleries, but the major tools for text layout are those encountered here, which allow precise control of placement, spacing, and appearance.  (story Link)

Firefox Trojan Steals Passwords  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

A new Trojan horse program identified by anti-malware company BitDefender as Trojan.PWS.ChromeInject.B works as a Firefox plug-in.

Two files, one Javascript and one Windows executable, conspire to steal user logon credentials whenever you log on to one of 103 domains, largely belonging to banks (see the BitDefender link for the complete list). The sites are largely out of the US.

BitDefender identifies ChromeInject as "...the first malware that targets Firefox." It's the first we've heard of as well. The writeup has no information on how the file is being distributed or if it's mislabeled as something else, but they give it a spreading factor of "very low".

Take this as a warning, in case you thought otherwise, that Firefox is vulnerable to all the usual forms of attack. Use common sense when surfing even in Firefox, and especially when installing plug-ins. (story Link)

You Need Anti-Virus For Your Mac  

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Thanks to Brian Krebs of the Washington Post for pointing out a recently published Apple Technical Note that encourages Mac users to get antivirus software:

Apple encourages the widespread use of multiple antivirus utilities so that virus programmers have more than one application to circumvent, thus making the whole virus writing process more difficult. Here are some available antivirus utilities:


It then goes on to list Intego, Symantec, and McAfee AV products for the Mac.

This is a pretty low-key, technical endorsement, and as Krebs notes, Apple Store employees are still telling customers otherwise, as are Apple advertisements.

There is malware for the Mac (see here and here for example), but it's still not a gangbusters malware market. In fact, if I were to say that the amount of Mac malware doubled or tripled this year it would not necessarily be a reason for panic.

But it is a reason for concern: Apple undoubtedly knows that they are not immune to malware, they just haven't been the target of it much, and that could change. Perhaps they are actually seeing enough of it among real customers that they are concerned about those users' unpreparedness for attack. Anti-virus may be an inadequate security solution for Windows users, but at least they have some protection that will stop a very high percentage of attacks. Mac users still have an open door and a welcome mat out.

Don't look for Apple to be much more public about their users' need for anti-malware protection, as it would be a serious buzz-killer for their hype. This could change if a real attack commenced and got traction against Mac users. Security experts have mumbled about such a real possibility for years. (story Link)

Need For Speed: World Online - Interface Revealed  

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Here is a preview screen shot from Need For Speed: World Online. Also, there is a bit more info from the producer of NFSWO.

“Key to the concept of NFS World Online is the user interface which has been built from the ground up to take advantage of the PC architecture. Instead of a traditional console view of a game, we’re using a user-selectable gadget interface designed specifically for the PC. The system allows the gamer to choose which components of the interface they want to add to their game. The gadgets are really flexible and offer a wide range of display options: docked/undocked, floating in the game window or just sitting outside of the game space. A lot of gamers now have more than one monitor so you could keep the game window entirely clean and then have all the gadgets sit in the other monitor. We think it’s about time PC gamers had games that allowed them to arrange their information their way.” - Scott Henshaw - NFS: World Online Producer. (story Link)

Mac OS X 10.5.7 may have Nehalem, Radeon HD 4000 support  

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In addition to expected fixes, Apple's upcoming 10.5.7 update to Mac OS X Leopard is now claimed to recognize Intel's newer Nehalem architecture as well as AMD's ATI Radeon HD 4000 graphics chipsets.

The reported discovery by netkas has produced just five kernel extensions for the video cards and doesn't appear to work perfectly in a bootleg installation for 10.5.6 meant for hacked Mac OS X installations. The retrofitted version doesn't recognize DVI ports fully and doesn't even recognize widescreen resolutions without third-party utilities to force the expanded screen area.
Radeon HD 4800 OpenGL ExtensionsHowever, the extensions are enough to not only identify the mid-range Radeon HD 4850 and high-end 4870 chipsets by name but to enable Core Image and Quartz Extreme acceleration of the Mac OS X interface, which would require the direct involvement of AMD, Apple or both firms to work. They also support the full OpenGL 2.1 specification for 3D graphics.
And while screen captures aren't available to support the claims as with the video hardware, the slip also hints that 10.5.7 is the first edition of Mac OS X to recognize Intel's Nehalem architecture.

Radeon HD 4800 series cards in the OpenGL Extensions viewer and Apple System Profiler. | Image credits: netkas.

Radeon HD 4800 in System ProfilerThe structure is a major overhaul of Intel's approach to processors and abandons the conventional system bus in favor of an interface that lets the processors talk directly to memory, peripherals and each other.
While it's not known when or even if Apple will definitively expose the new hardware support in the formal release of 10.5.7, such add-ons will eventually be necessary. It's commonly thought that Apple will use Nehalem-based Xeon processors at the heart of its next Mac Pro workstations and will eventually filter the technology down to its portables and mainstream desktops through Core i7 processors, which share the same essential design.
Apple has also remained comparatively dormant in its support for AMD's ATI Radeon graphics and hasn't used hardware newer than the Radeon HD 2600 found in the iMac and as an option for the Mac Pro; the technology is now approximately two generations old. (story Link)

Sony Launches MDR-NC7 Noise-cancelling Headphones  

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Sony has launched MDR-NC7 noise canceling headphones that feature a foldable and swivel design.

Claiming a battery life of approximately 50 hours, the haedphones have a dual-use capability that gives users the option to listen to music with or without the noise cancellation feature. The 30mm driver (Neodymium magnet), and an on/off switch for noise cancelling will allow someone to use the headphones even if the battery runs dry.
The headphones weigh approximately 134g (including AAA battery) and work on a 30 - 20,000Hz range with a maximum output of 100mW and a sensitivity of 102dB/mW while it is switched on and 100dB/mW in switch off mode. A plug adaptor is also supplied to connect directly to stereo or dual jack of in-flight music services.

Priced at Rs. 4,490, the Sony MDR-NC7 will be available at Sony owned stores, select Sony authorized dealers, as well as national retail partners across the country. (story Link)

Asus has announced the launch of the Asus G50V gaming laptop in India.

The G50V looks at delivering extreme gaming performance with intense visual computing power and is equipped the G50V with an Nvidia GeForce 9700M GT graphics processor backed by 512MB of dedicated GDDR3 memory. The 9700M has 32 DirectX 10-class "compute cores" and a 128-bit memory interface, and it is largely derived from the G96 GPU that powers desktop graphics cards like the GeForce 9500 GT. The G50V a 15.6" LCD and comes equipped HDMI, LifeFrame, SmartLogon and Virtual Camera and comes with double SATA hard disc drive (up to 640GB).

Stanley Wu, Country Head for Notebook Business, Asus India said, "We believe in providing the best technology in all our product categories to our customers. The G50V is one of the most revolutionary products in the high end gaming category. With a gaming focused design and strong graphics, the Asus G50V will redefine performance and enhance the entire gaming experience for the user."
The laptop comes bundles with a Republic of Gamers backpack, a 1600dpi mouse and a Siberia Steelseries Gaming Headset.

The Asus G50V is priced at Rs. 1,15,000. (story Link)

Sony Ericsson has recently unveiled four new panels for its Xperia X1 mobile phone. Available for download from mid-March 2009, the latest panels should help enhance the unique user interface of the X1 that enables users to customize the handset.

  • A new CNN panel will allow users to constantly get updates of the latest news, sports, or weather and a host of CNN content including access to CNN’s  popular citizen journalism tool, ‘i-Report’. Users will also be able to browse information by category, personalize their experience or plug in their location and get instant updates for wherever they are in the world.  
  • A unique Skype panel brings quick access to Skype on the X1, allowing users to get instant information on friends online. Users can easily browse through their contacts and call or IM them in just a couple of clicks, or customize their handsets using the evening, daylight or event based effects.
  • A new Mytopia panel will let users play bingo and poker games with people around the world. Users can even collect virtual coins and improve their rank by winning live matches.  
  • The specially developed ‘On the Road’ panel includes large touch icons and a simple layout. Offering direct access to your music playlists and tracks, navigation tools and easy to use call-handling, this panel will make a users driving convenient and entertaining while on the go.

According to Sony Ericsson, since its launch in Q4 2008, close to 420,000 panels have been downloaded onto X1 devices around the world with half a million unique hits for X1 panels on the Sony Ericsson Fun & Downloads service.

Catherine Cherry, Global Marketing Business Manager, Sony Ericsson commented, “We are very pleased with the success of the Xperia X1 and will continue to evolve the device to meet the consumer demand for a rich, individualized multimedia experience on their phones. By partnering with some of the world’s most popular content providers and applications we are giving consumers the opportunity to customize the device bringing the applications that they use most directly onto the desktop. Users can personalize the device to suite their mood and lifestyle making the mobile experience even more enjoyable and entertaining.”

As you may already know, the X1 comes pre-loaded with a range of panels including a Google search panel. Facebook and Windows Live panels are already available on www.sonyericsson.com/fun for download onto the Xperia X1. (story Link)

Facebook Lets Users Comment On New Terms of Service  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

Facebook Inc is asking its members to help shape its governance policies after drawing their ire for a policy change that many perceived as being overbearing and potentially compromising privacy.
From now on, the social networking site will be guided by a set of principles that reflect its dedication to transparency and openness in communication, Facebook said on Thursday. Two draft documents are being put to test under what Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg called a "new model of governance." The "Facebook Principles" lay out the startup company’s philosophy on privacy and control of information, while the "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities" are operating guidelines based on its big-picture stance. Any Facebook member can access these proposals on the site and opine on them over the next few days.
The networking site will incorporate people’s reviews when firming up governance policies. Future policy changes will follow the same democratic model, the company said. "It’s a big statement that we trust users and we want their involvement in the process," Zuckerberg said in an interview.
The move comes after thousands of people reacted angrily to a revision in Facebook’s terms of service earlier this month that suggested it was asserting permanent control over people’s personal information even after they quit the site. Facebook responded to the controversy last week by reverting to its old terms of service for the short term, as it solicited feedback from members and figured out how to create a new user agreement.
The new proposals make it clear that Facebook users have ultimate control over their information, including messages and photographs. One of the 10 principles states that people should own their information and have the freedom to take it with them wherever they go, including removing it from Facebook. The "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities," which replaces the old terms of use, translates the principles into specific rules. Simon Davis, director of Privacy International, a watchdog organization, said it was a "bold move" on Facebook’s part. "The devil will be in the detail, but, overall, we applaud these positive steps," he said. (story Link)

World of Warcraft is as addictive as cocaine  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

The computer game World of Warcraft is the most dangerous game on the market with a high risk of addiction, according to a new report from a Swedish youth organization

The Youth Care Foundation (Stiftelsen Ungdomsvård), which works to advocate active alternatives to gaming, described the game as "the cocaine of the computer games world".
The foundation’s report is as yet unpublished and is based on the experiences of gamers and their parents who have been in contact with the group.
"There is not a single case of game addiction that we have worked with in which World of Warcraft has not played a part," according to Sven Rollenhagen at the foundation to the newspaper Metro.
World of Warcraft is an online fantasy game, which according to the Game Over treatment centre in Linköping in central Sweden are the types of games which carry the highest risk of addiction.
The Local reported in November 2008 that a boy in Laholm, southern Sweden had been admitted to hospital after collapsing following a 20-hour World of Warcraft binge.
The foundation, founded in 1991, works with all types of addiction and since 2007 this has included computer games. The group runs the help website spelfritt.se.
Of the 2,000 calls received by the foundation in 2007, 170 concerned computer games, Metro reports. (story Link)

Fazle write on his own site : After you upgrade to Windows Installer version 2.0, the Windows Installer Service may not start, and you may receive the following error message:
The Windows Installer Service could not be accessed. This can occur if you are running Windows in safe mode, or the Windows Installer is not correctly installed. Contact your support personnel for assistance.
CAUSE
This behavior can occur when either of the following conditions exist:

  • In the DCOM permissions, the default authentication level is set to None, and the default Impersonation level is set to Anonymous.
  • The system account does not have Full permissions on a folder or registry key that the Windows Installer is trying to access. This is NTFS-specific.
    SOLUTION

Method 1: Unregister and re-register the Windows Installer
1. Click Start, click Run, type MSIEXEC /UNREGISTER, and then click OK. Even if you do this correctly, it may look like nothing occurs.
2. Click Start, click Run, type MSIEXEC /REGSERVER, and then click OK. Even if you do this correctly, it may look like nothing occurs, or you may briefly see an hourglass. After you run this command, the operation is complete.
3. Try your Windows Installer-based application again.
Back to the top Back to the top
Method 2: Verify the DCOM permissions
This method involves changing the DCOM default impersonation level to Identify, removing the Msisip.dll file, and then reinstalling SP 3 for Windows 2000.
To do this, follow these steps:
1. Click Start, click Run, type dcomcnfg, and then click OK.
2. On the Default Properties tab:
a. In the Default Authentication Level list, click Connect.
b. In the Default Impersonation Level list, click Identify, and then click OK.
3. Click Start, click Run, type explorer /select, %windir%\system32\msisip.dll, and then click OK.
4. Rename the Msisip.dll file as Msisip.old.
5. Reinstall Windows 2000 Service Pack 3.
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Method 3: Give Full Control permission to the SYSTEM account
1. Start Windows Explorer, right-click the computer’s root hard drive, and then click Properties.
2. Click the Security tab, and then click Add.
3. In the Select Users, Computers, or Groups dialog box, click the SYSTEM account, click Add, and then click OK.
4. Under Allow, click to select the Full Control check box, and then click OK.
5. Click the TEMP folder and then verify that the SYSTEM account has full control.
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Method 4: Verify the registry permissions
1. Click Start, click Run, then type Regedt32.
2. For each of the registry hives, follow these steps:
a. Select the hive.
b. For Windows XP, on the Edit menu, click Permissions.
For Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4, on the Security menu, click Permissions.
3. Verify that the SYSTEM account has been added and that it has Full control. If it does not, add the SYSTEM account with Full control.
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Method 5: Fix the broken security key for the MsiServer service
1. Start the computer by using Windows 2000.
2. Click Start, click Run, type regedit.exe, and then rename the following key to Old_Security:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSIServer\Security
3. Restart the computer (you must do this).
4. Run Instmsiw.exe for installer 2.0 again; this corrects the broken security key for the MSI service. (story Link)

Opera 10 Alpha  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , ,

Today Opera Software made available a preview of its next major browser version, Opera 10. The pre-release alpha version showcases a new rendering engine, Presto 2.2, which the company states will improve browsing performance over the previous version by 30 percent. The company also claims that the reengineered browser and rendering engine will lead in standards support, saying that it manages 100 out of 100 on the Web Standards Project's Acid3 browser test. The previous best among major browsers was Google's Chrome, scoring 79 out of 100. In my testing, I confirmed the rare 100 score, as you can see from the accompanying slideshow.

The very lightweight installer is a mere 6MB download. Firefox is just a bit bigger, at 7.2MB. Internet Explorer 7 dwarfs both, at 14MB. Installation itself is straightforward and quick. When you launch the browser, it loads in less than 2 seconds. On the same machine, Firefox 3 and Google Chrome take slightly over 2 seconds. But startup speed for all of the browsers is good on a reasonably up-to-date machine.

For speed, Opera 10 won't set any records, but it's fast—and it's still an alpha. Chrome's performance on the Sunspider JavaScript benchmark, however, vastly exceeded what the new Opera engine managed. The test runs a balanced variety of JavaScript operations—such as string manipulation, graphics operations, and decompressions—multiple times. Opera took 8,088ms (a lower score is better), far faster than Internet Explorer 7's 256,116, and slightly lower than Firefox 3's 6,535, but still substantially trailing Chrome's 2,763 on the same Vista machine.

Of course, according to Microsoft, JavaScript performance accounts for just a small fraction—under 4 percent—of actual Web-page loading time. And anecdotally, a PCMag.com page that took 4 seconds to load in Chrome took only 2 in Opera 10. But in a test called Lots of Text, which evaluates a different aspect of performance, Opera took only 92ms compared with IE's 128ms. Chrome blew both of them away, clocking a mere 12ms Firefox posted a respectable 64ms. I should note, though, that the developers may not have optimized Opera's memory usage yet in this alpha build. I loaded the same ten popular media-rich sites into Opera 10 and Firefox, and Opera required 156MB of RAM, and FireFox only 111.

In real Web site testing, the Opera 10 alpha works well with Facebook, though it didn't seem any faster than Firefox, despite the Opera team's claims. And Yahoo mail (in its newest form) still presents an error page stating that the browser isn't supported. Opera had no trouble with Citibank's site, but the Fidelity Investments financial site claimed that the browser didn't support 128-bit encryption, and it wouldn't display in my account.

The new version keeps all of the former's helpful and unique browsing helpers, such as tab previews, mouse gestures, and its trademark speed-dial page. With speed-dial, whenever you create a new tab, it opens and shows nine favorite sites of your choice, any of which you can visit with a single click. Of course, you still get a predictive address bar, much like what you'll find in Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer 8. And Opera still boasts one of the best implementations of tabs in any browser. The "new tab" button is the clearest of that in any browser, and you can drag tabs out to a new window or to the trash can. This version adds spellchecking and a streamlined feature for updating the browser. (story Link)

10 Bugs Fixed in New Mozilla Apps  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

The final version of the Firefox 2 generation made it's debut with a series of updates from Mozilla to address 10 vulnerabilities in their products. New versions of Firefox 3, Thunderbird and SeaMonkey are also out now for the same reason. Firefox 2.0.0.19 has no phishing protection anymore.

[Update: Well, turns out Firefox 2.0.0.19 will not be the last. A "clerical error" caused the omission of one of the updates for this version from the release. Sometime in the next few days Firefox 2.0.0.20 will be released to address this one vulnerability, which we are told is not an especially serious one.]

8 of the 10 vulnerabilities affect Firefox 3 which is now up to version 3.0.5, and 3 of them are rated Critical:

  • MFSA2008-69: XSS vulnerabilities in SessionStore—Content could be injected into the session restore data, causing the browser to violate policies. This one also affects Firefox 2. Sounds difficult to exploit to me, but there aren't any details provided.
  • MFSA2008-68: XSS and JavaScript privilege escalation—It's possible to attach commands to an unloaded document that will cause the browser to run Javascript with Chrome privileges. Serious. Affects all 4 apps, although by default Javascript is disabled in Thunderbird.
  • MFSA2008-60: Crashes with evidence of memory corruption (rv:1.9.0.5/1.8.1.19)—A common scenario in Mozilla disclosures: As the title says, there is memory corruption and they are reporting the worst-case outcome from them, which is entirely plausible. All four products affected.

Another vulnerability, rated High for severity, is interesting to read. MFSA2008-65: Cross-domain data theft via script redirect error message—. In this bug a special error condition is deliberately caused, exposing potentially sensitive data from the first domain session through the DOM.

The remaining errors in Firefox 3 are of either Moderate or Low severity.

There is one more Critical vulnerability, although it affects only Firefox 2: MFSA2008-62: Additional XSS attack vectors in feed preview—A previous bug fix in Firefox 2 turns out to be incomplete, and this fills the gap.

And we should add that actually, a new version of Thunderbird (version 2.0.0.19) may have been announced in the security bulletins but, as is usually the case, the software is not yet available. As of Wednesday morning 2.0.0.18 is still the version available for download.

Finally, and to repeat, Firefox 2.0.0.19 is the last of that generation of product. The official policy is that there will be no more updates, even for security issues. It's time to move on to Firefox 3. (story Link)

Norton Internet Security for Mac  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

Do you need security software for the Mac? This is a subject of ongoing debate with some recent developments. Many Mac users ignore such products, but many don't.

Now Symantec thinks there is a market and/or a need for security software on the Mac and they are releasing Norton Internet Security 4.0 for the Mac today. There really is malware for the Mac and some users do get attacked by it. How many is "some"? Probably not a lot, and if malware were really a problem it would obviously be a problem.

Could it develop into a more serious problem? Absolutely it could, and that's a reason to be prepared. NIS4Mac isn't the first or only anti-malware for the Mac; some, such as Intego VirusBarrier, specialize in the Mac, and there are more than a few users who take measures to protect themselves.

But even if you scoff at the notion of anti-malware for the Mac, NIS4Mac has many security features that would be beneficial for you. Symantec argues it has the best firewall on the Mac, adding features that aren't available in other products. There are location-based network rules which set different rules based on where you are connecting from (home, office, Starbucks, etc.). You can set rules for which applications can access the Internet and log that access. Symantec integrates blacklist data gathered from their worldwide DeepSight network to block access from known-malicious sites. The firewall also includes an IDS of sorts with signatures for vulnerability-based attacks in the Mac and 3rd party apps on the Mac.

There's no reason to think Mac users get phished any less than Windows users, so NIS 4 the Mac includes phishing protection based on blacklists and heuristics. Norton Confidential lets you define text or files that is sensitive, such as bank account numbers and records, and which shouldn't be sent out to the Internet without explicit consent. File Guard encrypts sensitive files.

Are you a techie Mac user? Like the command line? NIS for the Mac has a terminal interface for doing scans, manipulating firewall features and other functions of configuring the product.

Do you run Windows in a VM on your Mac? Then Norton Internet Security for Mac Dual Protection could be a bargain. It adds a copy of Norton Internet Security 2009 for Windows for your VMs and a 1 year license for it for $10 more. Many of the features in NIS 4 the Mac seem innovative there, but old news on Windows, and that's natural. In some cases the Mac doesn't implement a Windows feature; NIS on Windows updates itself very frequently with short updates because of the level of activity on that platform. But on the Mac updates are much less common, as little as once a week. If more become necessary they’ll do more. That will be good news for them, bad news for users. (story Link)

AMD Cuts Phenom II X4 920-940 Price  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) has quietly cut prices on two of its high-end Phenom II X4 chips to counter Intel's own price cuts, a spokesman confirmed on Wednesday.

The price cuts have yet to appear on AMD's own site, however. They will be made official most likely within 48 hours, the company spokesman said.

E-tailers such as Newegg.com began advertising that customers could buy the 3.0-GHz AMD Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition for $235, versus the $275 AMD said it publicly charges on its Web site. Newegg also said it would charge $195 for the 2.8-GHz AMD Phenom II X4 920, down from the advertised price of $235. The discounts represent cuts of 15 percent to 17 percent.

AMD spokesman Matt Davis confirmed that the price reductions were authentic and had been approved by AMD. The moves were made from a "price-competitive standpoint," he said.

On Monday, Intel drastically reduced the price of its quad-core processors by as much as 40 percent, which in turn affected the price-performance equation those chips offered.

AMD's Davis said that the moves were not publicly announced, as AMD is in its SEC-mandated quiet period; the company announces its fourth-quarter results Thursday, after AMD preannounced lower fourth-quarter revenue in December, due to weakened demand. "We have embargos, but once something like this is in the hands of retailers..." Davis said.

"The important changes are the ones you're seeing – that customers can get out and buy these," Davis said.  (story Link)

Microsoft Patches Major IE Bug  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

n record time, Microsoft released today an "out of band" patch for a significant security flaw in Internet Explorer that burst onto the scene 8 days ago.

We strongly recommend that all Windows users, especially Windows XP and Windows 2000 users, apply the patch as soon as possible. It is available on Windows Update and through Automatic Updates and by direct download through the security advisory for the vulnerability.

Here is the description of the vulnerability that it presents:

A remote code execution vulnerability exists as an invalid pointer reference in the data binding function of Internet Explorer. When data binding is enabled (which is the default state), it is possible under certain conditions for an object to be released without updating the array length, leaving the potential to access the deleted object's memory space. This can cause Internet Explorer to exit unexpectedly, in a state that is exploitable.


That's not quite enough to help you to write an exploit, but it's a lot more detail than they usually release.

Once again, run, don't walk, to your vulnerable PCs and apply these updates. (story Link)

External Hard Drives: Stay-at-Home Protection  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

Today's PCs are overburdened with files, files, and more files. Whether digital photos, music, home videos, or downloaded videos, all these files take up a lot of space on your notebook's or desktop's hard drive. Digital photos typically run about 3MB to 5MB, as does each MP3 song on your hard drive (roughly 1MB per minute of music). When you get into videos, each file can run from hundreds of megabytes up to multiple gigabytes.

Today's budget laptops and desktops come with 160GB hard drives at a minimum, and capacities go up from there. I've seen massive multimedia systems with 750GB to 1 terabyte drives that are still in the affordable (sub-$1,000) price range. All of these internal drives fill up eventually, and you'll need a space to keep all of your stuff.

With apologies to the late George Carlin, your computer is now the place where you keep all your stuff, and sooner or later you'll need to find a place for more stuff. The Internet and all the files on it are growing, after all, not shrinking.

Don't leave businesspeople out of the equation. Small-business owners have important files on their hard drives as well. Invoices and QuickBooks databases are hard to recover or replace when your system goes down.

Recent notebook PCs will have a hard drive with a capacity from 4GB all the way up to 500GB (for now). What I propose is that you get a drive that will sit on your desk, backing up all the files on your notebook, and hold other files that don't need to be on your notebook 24/7. For this purpose, you'll need more than 320GB. Here are a few recent candidates for your backup solution. External desktop hard drives such as the Iomega eGO have reached terabyte capacity, and the WD My Book Mirror Edition does it one better, combining two 1TB drives, each backing up the other. A lot of vendors have increased the capacity of their pocket hard drives to 500GB; our favorite of these half-terabyte mini wonders is the Seagate FreeAgent Go, which although insanely portable also comes with a svelte, superbly designed dock. When placed in the dock, it can back up your PC around the clock.

Already made your New Year's resolutions? Add "backup" as one more item to the list.

Featured in this Roundup:

Iomega eGO Desktop Hard Drive (1TB) : AngleIomega eGo Desktop Hard Drive (1TB) ($218.45 direct)

The Iomega eGo is your basic large-capacity hard drive. It's pretty inexpensive ($140 to $170 street) and has a lot of space to hold all of your files. The eGo connects to your laptop via USB 2.0, and it works reasonably well as a backup drive. Its hip-flask-shaped chassis is reasonably attractive, and it's available in three colors: black, blue, and red.

Seagate FreeAgent Go 500GB : Angle Seagate FreeAgent Go (500GB) ($239.99 list)

The FreeAgent is a 500GB portable drive that you can bring along on trips or when commuting, but its greatest strength is the innovative design of the unit and its dock. You can keep the combo on your desk; that way, it's always ready to be connected to your desktop or notebook PC. The 500GB capacity is enough to back up the largest notebook drives, and the Seagate comes with a class-leading five-year warranty.

Right Angle Western Digital My Book Mirror Edition (2TB) ($399.99 list)

The Western Digital My Book Mirror Edition is the ultimate USB drive for backups. Its twin internal 1TB drives back each other up (hence the "Mirror" in the name), so even if all hell breaks loose and you suffer multiple drive failures (your C: drive and one drive in the mirror), you're still safe. About the only way to become safer is to take the Mirror Edition and lock it in a fireproof safe every night. At this price, it's more of a business protector, but it could keep your irreplaceable family photos and home videos safe as well.  (story Link)

Now AOL Webmail Connects Gmail, Yahoo Mail  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

AOL's newly formed Products and Technologies Group made its first product announcement on Thursday, an update of AOL Mail that allows users to access Gmail and Yahoo Mail accounts.

In addition to the plugins for external mail accounts, the second largest free email service has also been updated for faster performance, over 45 new customization themes, and calendar and address syncing with mobile devices including BlackBerry and the Apple iPhone.

"Web mail is an integral part of the AOL experience and at the heart of our product offerings," said Ted Cahall, president of AOL Products and Technologies. "With this new release, we can showcase the important role AOL products continue to play in the company. Enhancing products that already attract a large, engaged audience is a key goal for our organization."

The company claims that has 48 million users for all of its mail services, including installed software and Web-based. Unique visitors to the web mail services, mail.aol.com and AIM mail users saw a 27 percent increase in unique visitors. Page views were up 21 percent in 2008.

"People who are using AOL Mail represent an already-engaged audience," said Rich Landsman, senior vice president of AOL Mail. "As we continue to extend our capabilities far beyond sending and receiving mail, we are challenging ourselves and third-party developers everywhere to create new opportunities for delivering customized, relevant content using our mail platform."

The new Products and Technologies group is part of the company's move to an ad-based profit model, and includes Mail, Mapquest, AOL Search, Truveo video search, and AOL Mobile, as well as the back-end infrastructure teams. You can check out the new webmail client at mail.aol.com. (story Link)

MobileFiles Pro (for iPhone)  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

When the iPhone first got app-running capability, PCMag mobile-device analyst Sascha Segan bemoaned the lack of Microsoft Office document editors, believing that their absence hampered the slick communicator's acceptance as a serious business tool. Well, Quickoffice has stepped in, with MobileFiles Pro ($9.99 direct). It's not a complete iPhone office suite—yet. You can view Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and Word files, but you can edit only Excel 2003 spreadsheets. Still, it's a start, and the software may eventually give Microsoft Mobile Office a run for its money. Certainly for those who prefer the sleek iPhone to the generally clunky Windows Mobile devices, this app is a welcome foot in the Office door.

The MobileFiles Pro viewing feature extends beyond Microsoft Office to include iWork and PDF files. You can also listen to music, watch videos, and look at still images using the software. The application even lets you use the iPhone's wireless feature to swap files with a networked Mac or PC.

The home screen, a very simple affair, shows where you can get, store, or create files. Right now, you can do so either on the iPhone, in your Apple MobileMe account, or on a Wi-Fi-connected Mac or PC. According to a Quickoffice representative, later this year you'll be able to keep files in Google Docs and box.net, too. On the Settings page, which is as sparse as the home screen, you can perform just two tasks: choosing a passcode to protect the app and setting a maximum cache size (the default is 100MB) for your working files. To create a new document, you first have to choose a folder location. Once you're in a folder, icons for creating folders and spreadsheets show up at the bottom of the screen. When you open a document, a new set of icons for formatting appears.

Transferring files between your desktop system and the iPhone is easy. Connect both to the same Wi-Fi network, and in the desktop's browser, navigate to the URL that MobileFiles shows on the iPhone. If you want, you can passcode-protect the resulting Web page, too. Note that the Wi-Fi router needs to be connected to the Internet for this to work—it's not simply a Wi-Fi connection between the iPhone, router, and PC. The Web page lets you get to your documents on the iPhone as well as upload and download them but gives you no spreadsheet or other program functionality. While this file-transfer feature isn't as slick as the one in Air Sharing (which adds drag-and-drop capability), it worked flawlessly in my testing. (full Story)

10 Weirdest USB Devices  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , ,

Through my years here at PCMag.com, I've certainly come across odd USB-powered devices, from USB humping dogs to scented USB drives to USB pole dancers. One would assume that devices we connect to our computer's USB port would perform useful functions—like backing up important files or accessing Wi-Fi—but many USB-powered devices on the market today serve just one purpose: sheer entertainment.

My third installment of the weirdest USB devices contains products you'd never dream of wasting your money on, such as a USB humping bunny or a USB desk lamp. So if you need some cheering up after a difficult year, or you're looking for some gag gifts to give, these ten gadgets will undoubtedly amuse you.

And check out my previous Weirdest USB Devices roundups, Part I and Part II.

Here are some of the products featured in today's The 10 Weirdest USB Devices slideshow:

HumpingBunnies

Aircraft Mouse

Retro Lamp

Plasma Ball

Robot Owl

Punch Head

Mini Webcam with Sucker

Webmail Notifier

Cooler and Heater Keyboard

Mirror Card Reader

(save pic to see in original size)

USB Humping Bunnies
When Bazoo Toys first sent me the USB Humping Bunnies, I couldn't help but laugh at the sight of these cute USB gadgets doing their business to my laptop. Like the ever-popular USB Humping Dogs, these bunnies are surely strange, since all they do is, well, hump. Each Humping Bunny is both Mac and PC compatible and sells for $15 on UrbanOutfitters.com.

USB Mirror Card Reader
I can understand why people would find the LG Shine phone useful: it has a mirror finish over the screen, handy for reapplying makeup or checking for food caught in your teeth. But a USB card reader with a built-in mirror is just plain weird: who carries their memory card reader wherever they go? The USB Mirror Card Reader ($15) from Gadget4all.com supports all of the popular memory card types and dons a mirror.

Now check out the rest of The 10 Weirdest USB Devices slideshow, including the USB Mini Webcam with Sucker, USB Webmail Notifier, USB Plasma Ball, USB Punch Head, USB Cooler and Heater Keyboard, USB Robot Owl, USB Retro Lamp, and USB Aircraft Mouse. (story Link)

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