Facebook Phishing Attack Continues  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in ,

The recent Facebook phishing attack we reported on the other day has apparently continued at least for a second day.

This report on Silicon.com notes that the first one, using the FBaction.net domain, was stopped within a few hours. As we warned, it came back the next day with another domain, in this case BAction.net.

The attack comes to you in your Facebook inbox as a terse message with a link in it. Click on the link and you are prompted to log in to a fake Facebook login page. Log in and the attackers have your credentials, which they then use to pass the attack on to everyone in your Friends list. Always be certain when you log in to Facebook that you are actually logging in to facebook.com.

If you or one of your friends has this problem and Facebook finds out you may end up with Facebook resetting your password for security purposes. Be on the lookout for notices from Facebook about this. (full Story)

Sony BDP-S360 (Blu-ray)  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , ,

Sony's BDP-S360 Blu-ray player ($299.99 list) is a fine example of getting more for less. It delivers even better picture quality than its predecessor, the excellent BDP-S350, yet the S360's price is $100 lower. A few sacrifices were made: You won't get the multimedia streaming features some other players in this price range offer, for example. But if you care about picture quality above all else, the S360 delivers.

Behind a fold-down door on the S360's glossy tinted face you'll find a centrally located tray mechanism, an information display, and basic playback controls. The player's forward-facing power and eject buttons in the upper corners of its face are much easier to operate than were the upward-angled buttons of the S350, especially when the unit is stacked under other components. The basic remote control is a step back from the S350's, which featured bigger buttons on a larger frame. Sony has also eliminated the eject button on the new remote, making it more likely you will smudge the player's glossy face with fingerprints when inserting and removing discs.

The S360 lacks the S-Video connection that was on the S350 but retains the HDMI and component video outputs that support HD video formats. Like the LG BD370, the S360 also features coaxial and optical digital audio outputs for greater flexibility when connecting to an amplifier that may not support HDMI audio. As with most Blu-ray players, the S360 settles for a composite video cable; manufacturers should include HDMI cables, instead, for superior picture quality and simplified setup.

An Ethernet port on the S360 allows simplified firmware updates over a broadband connection, and a USB port can be filled with 1GB or more of flash storage to enable support for BD-Live downloadable multimedia features. The cheap cost of flash memory nowadays should make this optional upgrade standard, but at least this player's USB port is hidden out of sight; the LG BD370 leaves the memory sticking out the front of the player.

Unlike other $300 players such as the Samsung BD-P1600 and Panasonic DMP-BD60, the S360 doesn't support Internet-based streaming of services such as Netflix's Watch Instantly (Samsung) or YouTube (Panasonic). The player supports JPEG and MP3 multimedia file playback, but only from a recorded disc (Blu-ray, CD, or DVD) and not also via USB like other players, including the aforementioned Panasonic and Samsung models.

At 41 seconds, the S360's Blu-ray load time is 2 seconds faster than the S350's. When the S360's Quick Start feature is enabled, it reduces the time the player needs to start up and eject its disc tray from 23 seconds to 7 seconds. The S360 is below average at quickly scrolling through long menus, however: It took 22 seconds, whereas the LG BD370 needed only 15 seconds.

The S360 is better at upconverting standard-definition DVDs than any other Blu-ray player I've tested. The challenging HQV Benchmark DVD showed that the S360 could minimize jagged-edge artifacts better than the Panasonic DMP-BD60. And the S360 nailed all of the benchmark's film cadence tests that check for preservation of detail when dealing with some of the more common frame rates used video production—including the rate of 24 frames per second (fps) in which most movies and prime-time TV shows are captured.

Most Blu-ray movies are stored in the 1080p24 format (1080p resolution, 24 fps), and the BDP-S360 can output this video format to a compatible display via HDMI. But unlike the Panasonic DMP-BD60, the S360 upconverts DVD movies not to 1080p24 but to the more commonly supported 1080p60 format that can introduce judder, which is noticeable in slow panning shots.

On my tests, the S360 displayed exceptionally detailed 1080p Blu-ray video, but it was slightly less capable with 1080i, the format commonly used for bonus material and some animated titles. The 1080i HD HQV Benchmark's video resolution test revealed some flicker that could result in a minor loss of detail; this has been a consistent issue with all Sony BD players that I've tested, including the PlayStation 3. (full Story)

Netbook vs Laptop Performance  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , ,

It's safe to say that netbooks are here to stay, and they could even come to dominate the laptop landscape in a couple of years. Since their humble beginnings as cheap laptops that could be used to surf the Web, compose e-mails, do light office tasks, and play music or videos but not much more, they are evolving into more substantial machines. Set against their low price and portability are limitations such as screen and keyboard size, and lack of a built-in optical drive. But perhaps the biggest differentiator between netbooks and other laptops is performance. We know netbooks can easily handle the sort of basic tasks I mention above, but how do they do at more rigorous tasks such as resizing photos, transcoding videos, or ripping an audio CD? And how do they stack up against mainstream laptops?

First, I'll say a few words about netbook limitations other than performance. We know that the small screens (most less than 12 inches), lack of optical drive, and constricted keyboard influence price (and buying decisions), but we'll keep our focus here on performance, which for many users is paramount.

Key to the performance of any PC, netbook or otherwise, are its processing parts. The vast majority of netbooks (including the two we'll focus on here) run on an Intel Atom processor, a small percentage use VIA processors, and a scant few with processors from Texas Instruments and ARM have trickled out. Netbooks typically ship with 1GB of memory, while bigger laptops are standardizing at 3GB and 4GB now. And let's not forget that graphics components and hard drives can influence the performance of a netbook.

Performance-wise, netbooks are configured with very few differentiating features between them. But how do they fare against other laptops that cost a little more, run faster processors, and pile on memory? Is improved performance commensurate with the increase in price? Well, we took two netbooks—the Acer Aspire One (10-inch) and the Dell Inspiron Mini 12, which cost $350 and $500, respectively—and compared them with mainstream laptops that aren't outrageously expensive (ranging from $700 to $1,300) but cost considerably more than your average netbook. Next: How We Tested >

12 things need to know before installing Windows 7  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

Today’s the big day. Windows 7 RC will finally be publicly released by Microsoft. Remember, Microsoft has said that it will provide an unlimited number of downloads this time, but they will only be providing it until June 30th. Beta keys will still work with the RC and you can download the RC from microsoft here.

But before you download and install Windows 7 RC, here are 12 very important things you should know beforehand:

12. You’re probably not going to get it on May 5th

As we saw with the public release of Windows 7 Beta, Microsoft’s servers crumbled from the traffic generated to their site. The same happened with the Technet/MSDN subscriber-only release of the RC. They even sent an email out with this phrase bolded:

So you don’t need rush to make sure you get your copy. When you’re ready to download the RC, it’ll be waiting for you.

Still think Microsoft is going to try their best to keep their servers up tomorrow? If you’re fast enough, you might be able to access the download. If not, luckily you have some alternatives:

  • Wait a day or two until the server errors are over. You have until June 30th to download the RC.
  • Download the image from P2P networks. Make sure your image contains the right hashes before installing.

11. What the changes are:

Everyone always asks what the changes are. Microsoft has listed 64 changes from the Beta RC here, here, and here. If you want the short version, here’s a quick list of the most significant changes:

  • Improved Taskbar: Can now fit 24-39% more icons depending on your resolution, opened apps stand out more, smaller jumplists, and items that need your attention now blink faster.
  • UAC vulnerability fix: Every time the level of UAC is changed, you will be prompted for confirmation.
  • Stream your music library over the Internet in Windows Media Player: This feature would be great if easier to use. To access it, go to Library in WMP and click on Stream in the breadcrumb. It is a lengthy process but the instructions given should get you where you want.
  • Turn Windows features on or off: Yes you can finally “uninstall” IE8 or other “unnecessary” Windows features. Read about it here
  • Improved Driver Support: Didn’t download the beta because of all those hardware incompatibility stories you’ve heard? It’s still not perfect in the RC but a lot has improved since the Beta. It’s worth a try.
  • Insane wallpapers, new themes and sound schemes: If you love customization, Windows 7 RC will satisfy your tastes. There are a lot more goodies added for you to customize to your liking in the RC.

10. You DON’T have to burn a DVD or create a bootable flash disk to install Windows 7

Most users won’t have to burn a single DVD to install Windows 7 RC. You’d have to burn a DVD if you want to install a 64-bit edition of Windows 7 and you’re running a 32-bit edition of Windows or vice versa

Since Windows Vista, you can now install Windows even after already booting up into your OS. After you have downloaded the .iso image file, instead of burning it, simply download an archiver program such as WinRAR, extract the contents to a folder, and run Setup. And yes, you can install Windows 7 on the same volume as your existing OS.

Bonus Tip: If you want to install now and backup later, choose Custom Installation instead of Upgrade Installation during the setup wizard. Windows will store all the contents of your C Drive in a folder named Windows.old once Windows 7 is installed.

12 things you need to know before installing Windows 7 Release Candidate

9. Upgrade installs from the Beta won’t work

Microsoft has stated that they’d prefer users to either do a clean install or do an upgrade install from Vista to help them evaluate how they can support the most real world scenarios possible. Unless you’re running Windows Vista or Windows 7 Build 7077, you won’t be able to perform an upgrade install. To help with Microsoft’s testing process, I would recommend testers to help MS out on this one and go for a clean install or Vista upgrade.

8. How to do a build-to-build upgrade installation anyway

12 things you need to know before installing Windows 7 Release Candidate
Microsoft realized not too many users would be happy if they made everything impossible so they have provided a workaround for users to still perform an upgrade installation for Windows 7 Beta. The workaround is very simple. Simply extract the image, browse to the sources folder, and open cversion.ini. Then edit the MinClient value to 7000.

7. How to create a separate partition for your Windows

12 things you need to know before installing Windows 7 Release Candidate

7 Beta installation:

Running Windows 7 Setup in Windows XP or Vista will not allow you to access the Disk Management options during the setup wizard. Instead, you would have to do this manually.If you plan to resize partitions, I highly advise you to backup your files.

If you are running Windows Vista or 7, open up your Start Menu, type Disk Management and push Enter. Right click any area of Unallocated Space and create a New Simple Volume. From there, complete the wizard to create your new volume. Once created, make sure that it is a Primary Partition. Now you’re all set and good to go with the installation.

12 things you need to know before installing Windows 7 Release Candidate

If you are running Windows XP or you’re having problems dealing with parititions in Windows Vista, you can download the EASEUS Partition Manager. EPM is only compatible with Windows XP and Vista. The process for creating a new partition with EPM is the exact same as above, except that you must select to create a Primary partition as shown below:

12 things you need to know before installing Windows 7 Release Candidate

6. You can run Windows 7 under VMWare or Virtual PC instead of doing a full-fledged install

12 things you need to know before installing Windows 7 Release Candidate

If you just want to briefly check out the RC, you may want to consider the option. However, you won’t be able to fully take advantage of all the features of a full installation such as the Aero Interface. Also keep in mind that Virtual environments are incapable of running hardware intensive apps such as games.

In Layman’s terms, running Windows 7 under a virtual environment is like running an Operating System (OS) inside an OS, so you don’t have to worry about putting your actual computer at risk. You can start by downloading Virtual PC here for free. For further instructions please check out the tutorial here. (The tutorial is for running XP in Vista, but works for Windows 7 too. Just select Windows Vista at the OS Menu. When your mouse is in the Virtual PC area, press Right-Alt to drag your mouse back onto the screen of your current OS.)

5. How to properly burn an ISO to your DVD

If you still want to burn the image onto a DVD, make sure it is done properly. I know a few people that actually just took the ISO file and burned the exact file directly onto the DVD. That’s not the way to do it. The DVD should show the ISO image’s contents (not just one .ISO file) once you have burned it. I recommend using ImgBurn, which is a free and easy tool for burning ISOs.

Your DVD contents should look this after you've burned it

Your DVD contents should look this after you've burned it

4. Don’t take out those driver CDs yet…

Windows 7 contains updated hardware drivers so chances are you won’t need to install a single driver if your hardware isn’t as old as Zeus. Once you’ve got Windows 7 installed and running, perform a Windows Update and Windows should download the necessary drivers.

If you run into any incompatibility problems, then you may want to install the Vista driver instead. You can find it on the manufacturer’s website. Once you’ve downloaded the driver, if you run into compatibility problems, you may have to run the setup file in Vista compatibility mode for it to work. Consult this guide for more help if needed. (full Story)

Windows 7 - XP Mode Screenshots  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

Windows XP Mode (XPM) allows you to run your Windows XP apps in a virtual environment alongside your Windows 7 apps in the same desktop. It was designed by Microsoft to ease the transition from XP to Windows 7, particularly for small businesses that are reliant on their legacy apps.

Here is a quick screenshot tour from getting Windows XP Mode ready to publishing apps directly into Windows 7. You can click on screenshots for full size view.

Windows XP Mode

Here are the files that are part of the package. The KB Update must be first installed, since it installs Virtual PC into Windows 7. After a reboot, running the VirtualWindowsXP Package will automatically install XP onto a VHD and run it in Virtual PC

Giant Windows XP Mode Screenshot Tour

Running the VirtualWindowsXP package will first prompt you to enter a password. You "must" enter a password now to properly enable integration features, or else you'd have to do it manually from Control Panel later on. It'd also be a good idea to check the "Remember Credentials" box because you get prompted very often later on if you don't.

Giant Windows XP Mode Screenshot Tour

Giant Windows XP Mode Screenshot Tour

The EULA you probably won't read

Giant Windows XP Mode Screenshot Tour

After clicking next a few times, just wait 15 minutes and you're all set. The setup is completely automatic.

Giant Windows XP Mode Screenshot Tour

Clicking Continue will insert a CD image into XP and allow you to install the tools necessary for the integration features.

Giant Windows XP Mode Screenshot Tour

It will then install a Driver in your Virtual OS and your Host OS. Setup process doesn't take too long

Let’s take a look at how to publish apps over to Windows 7:

First, you have to create a shortcut of the app you want to transfer over

First, you have to create a shortcut of the app you want to transfer over

Giant Windows XP Mode Screenshot Tour

Right Click the Start menu and select Open All users

Once you're in the All Users folder, open Programs, and drag the corresponding shortcut. Wait for a bit (the screen will flicker), and your app is published!

Once you're in the All Users folder, open Programs, and drag the corresponding shortcut. Wait for a bit (the screen will flicker), and your app is published!

A new folder is now added into the Start menu under Windows Virtual PC with all your Virtual apps stored inside

A new folder is now added into the Start menu under Windows Virtual PC with all your Virtual apps stored inside

When you launch your virtual app, you have to shut down the Virtual PC window. However, the Virtual PC process will still run in the background

When you launch your virtual app, you have to shut down the Virtual PC window. However, the Virtual PC process will still run in the background

Initializing virtual environment again. This usually takes 1-2 minutes.

Initializing virtual environment again. This usually takes 1-2 minutes. Good thing is after you've initialized the environment, opening apps open just as fast as any other app

Who knew we'd live to see IE6 running right beside IE8 in the same desktop

Who knew we'd live to see IE6 running right beside IE8 in the same desktop.

(full story)

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