ASUS P6T - Not the Deluxe Version but equally impressive...

The competition in the X58 market is finally heating up and that is good news for enthusiasts and buyers alike. The retail introduction of the Foxconn BloodRage and DFI LP X58-T3eHS at the $299.99 price range is significant in this market sector as both boards were expected to be priced near the $400 mark. This pricing strategy should drive down the cost of the current $300 boards shortly, provided their performance and stability are on par or better than current products. This is something we should find out shortly as Raja has been busy testing these boards against the EVGA X58 SLI with the sub-zero setup.

In the meantime, the lower end (not really considering the price point is $210~$250) of the X58 market is starting to heat up, finally. Gigabyte has introduced their GA-EX58-UD3R product at $210 that is a well rounded board but with CrossFire support only. Gigabyte just introduced their UD4P board with CrossFire and SLI support in the $270 range. The MSI X58 Platinum (CrossFire only) is available for $220 and after the latest BIOS, this board is really starting to look an excellent performer for the money. Biostar's TPower X58 is another mid-level X58 product selling for $270 that supports CrossFire and SLI. We just purchased this board and the Gigabyte UD4P for our retail customer experience program discussed in our X58 roundup and should have results shortly.

All that said, we had a very interesting delivery a couple of days ago. ASUS dropped off their new P6T board that offers CrossFire and SLI support along with a smorgasbord of features for $250. Our first experiences with this board have been excellent with both performance and stability matching that of the $300 boards. To be honest, we think it is probably a better upgrade option than the $300 boards for users looking to move to the i7 platform that are not interested in extreme overclocks or rarely utilized features. Is it better than the Gigabyte and Biostar $270 boards? We have not had enough test time with the other boards yet to make a decision, but it appears they are basically equal when overclocking with an air cooler while application performance is just slightly better on the P6T.

Those wondering what the differences between the P6T and P6T Deluxe can refer to this chart. The quick run down is a change from the 16+2 phase setup to an 8+2 setup that we find just as stable so far, a single Realtek Gigabit LAN controller instead of dual Marvell controllers, Marvell SAS support is dropped but the two additional SATA ports are retained via a JMicron JMB322, and on-board audio switches from the ADI AD2000B to the Realtek ALC 1200 chipset. The P6T features true dual-slot card three-way CrossFire or SLI support compared to the two-way dual-slot card support on the Deluxe board. Also, the P6T features both an LGA 775 and 1366 mounting hole pattern that allows current LGA 775 liquid cooling users to retain their setup. We still recommend that air cooler users utilize an LGA 1366 setup (native or mount kit update) although you could get by with a LGA 775 design in a pinch.

We will have a first look up shortly featuring the BIOS layout and initial overclock results against our other mid-range boards, but in the meantime we think ASUS has a potential winner here.

Source AnandTech

Secure Your Vista PC in 10 Easy Steps

While Windows Vista may be Microsoft's most secure operating system ever, it's far from completely secure. In its fresh-from-the-box configuration, Vista still leaves a chance for your personal data to leak out to the Web through Windows Firewall, or for some nefarious bot to tweak your browser settings without your knowing. But by making a few judicious changes using the security tools within Windows Vista--and in some cases by adding a few pieces of free software--you can lock down your operating system like a pro.

Use Windows Security Center as a Starting Point
For a quick overview of your security settings, the Windows Security Center is where you'll find the status of your system firewall, auto update, malware protection, and other security settings. Click Start, Control Panel, Security Center, or you can simply click the shield icon in the task tray. If you see any red or yellow, you are not fully protected. For example, if you have not yet installed an antivirus product on your machine, or if your current antivirus product is out-of-date, the Malware section of the Security Center should be yellow. Windows does not offer a built-in antivirus utility, so you'll want to install your own. For free antivirus, I recommend AVG Anti-Virus 8.

Use Windows Defender as a Diagnostic Tool
The Malware section also covers antispyware protection, and for that Windows Vista includes Windows Defender. The antispyware protection in your antivirus program usually trumps the protection Microsoft provides, but there are several good reasons to keep Windows Defender enabled. One is that every antispyware program uses a different definition of what is and what is not spyware, so redundant protection can actually offer some benefit.

Another reason to keep Windows Defender enabled: diagnostics. Click Tools, and choose Software Explorer from the resulting pane. You can display lists of applications from several categories such as Currently Running Programs, Network Connected Programs, and Winsock Service Providers, but Startup Programs is perhaps the most useful. Click on any name in the left window, and full details will appear in the right pane. By highlighting, you can remove, disable, or enable any of the programs listed.

Source pcworld

Feedburner Becomes Google Feeds

Migration of FeedBurner and Google feeds is to occur in the very near future. This is likely a very important step in progression of the RSS standard. Many large publishers used the FeedBurner platform to publish their RSS feeds. Google bought FeedBurner quite some time ago. I've been informed that my FeedBurner account will be transferred to my Google account. Not sure how they associated those two accounts, but they did. Let's track this closely.

Source therssfeed

YouTube Aims to Curb Abuse With Safety Center

YouTube is getting more proactive in dealing with emerging issues such as cyberbullying and online abusive behavior. The video provider has created a safety center on its site that has resources for education and reporting of abuse.

Recent headlines focusing on the Web's dark side and its impact on young people can be enough to frighten parents into shutting down their child's Internet service accounts. The world's top user-generated video Web site has another idea: Give teens and parents more information about the kinds of cyber-behavior they should report when they do bump into it on the Web.

During this week's Family Online Safety Institute conference in Washington D.C., YouTube unveiled its Abuse and Safety Center, a clearinghouse of sorts for families concerned about issues like cyberbullying, suicide and child exploitation. "Our new Abuse and Safety tool lets users better manage their channel, giving them the option of blocking specific users from making comments or sending e-mails, and makes communication with us about hate speech, harassment, and privacy concerns straightforward and specific," YouTube spokesperson Scott Rubin told TechNewsWorld.

Safety Resources
The section allows users to click on buttons corresponding to various topics. That action sends them to another page that offers definitions of issues like cyberbullying, a tutorial on how to spot the offending behavior and links for reporting problems. YouTube has partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the National Crime Prevention Council for help with putting the Safety Center together and providing it with resources.

The recent publicity from two separate incidents -- the Lori Drew cyberbullying trial and the live Web suicide of a troubled youth on -- is no doubt on the minds of child safety advocates who have long pressured Web sites and social networks popular with young people to better police themselves.

"I think it's an important, step, so we commend them for doing what they're doing," Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, told TechNewsWorld. "This is one of those areas where YouTube, I think, has seen indications that people are willing to attempt to do things that are inappropriate and post inappropriate content, and YouTube reached out to us. We were certainly eager and willing to help."

Layer of Professionalism
Allen, whose group has worked with YouTube in the past in helping parents post videos asking for help in finding missing children, said the Center will take in any information sent from YouTube regarding suspected child exploitation. Trained members of its staff will then notify law enforcement if necessary; YouTube's moderators and customer support staff will not be asked to make those decisions.

That's important for Parry Aftab of, which has worked with MySpace and other popular Web sites regarding child safety issues. "We have to start professionalizing the industry," Aftab told TechNewsWorld. "If there's a suicide threat they have to know who to reach out to and what information to give them. You have to train users to know what to report, let them know what to look for, and at the same time collect the information that YouTube is going to need.

"YouTube has been late to the game in providing that information and the abuse reporting tools. I think it's great that they are doing something. There's been a lot of pressure for them to do something."

One Father's Story
Mark Neblett of Mt. Washington, Ky., also praises YouTube, but in his mind he wonders if something like the Abuse and Safety Center would have kept his daughter Rachel from taking her own life in October 2006.

"I know it wasn't MySpace's fault, but that's where it was," Neblett said, referring to the e-mail account where 17-year old Rachel began receiving threats and harassment. After her suicide, local police found that the offending e-mails must have come from another student at her high school, but no charges were filed due to a lack of evidence.

"If they (MySpace) had been doing public service announcements, it might have deterred her. I don't know," Neblett told TechNewsWorld. The YouTube suicide issue page includes a video PSA from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. "It's a great thing when Web sites do things like this. I think every one of them needs to do it."

Neblett is now involved with Make A Difference for Kids, a non-profit group that helps with cyberbullying and teen suicide awareness. The accompanying Web site is a memorial to Rachel and to Kristin Settles, another Kentucky teen who committed suicide.

"A lot of people are reacting. They're not being pro-active," said Neblett, a suicide prevention trainer. "Cyberbullying is rampant and suicide is out of proportion. A lot of the children are thinking that it's a way out, a solution to a temporary problem and they're so wrong. We need to spread the word. I wish MySpace and Facebook and more of those sites would take the initiative to start helping our children like that. We need more awareness."

Source technewsworld

Mozilla reverse-engineers OS X to add multitouch gestures to Firefox 3.1 for Mac

Chicago (IL) – Owners of a multi-touch trackpad Macbook have been able to use gesture support in Firefox since the introduction of v3.1 beta in October. The recently released Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 added more gestures, like a twist gesture that lets users move through open tabs. However, Mozilla had to resort to reverse-engineering to enable gestures in Firefox on Macs as Apple has not been especially supportive in providing the necessary APIs to developers. While some claim that the company is still figuring out how to deploy multitouch across OS X, others are concerned that Apple quietly enhanced its own applications with gestures, like iPhoto and Safari, while shutting out potential rivals from taking advantage of the feature as well.

The advanced multitouch capabilities included in the final candidate build of Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 released one week ago did not show up on our radar initially. Curiously enough, Mozilla did not advertise these features either - probably with a good reason since the company had to reverse-engineer Apple's multitouch technology to replicate it in Firefox, according to blogger Edward Lee. Although the new multitouch gestures are available only in the OS X version of Firefox, some Firefox Mac fans may have noticed that support for basic multitouch gestures were included already in October Firefox builds.

Initial gestures introduced back then replicated gestures found in the OS X version of Safari, like pinch zoom and multi-finger scrolling. Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 expands the initial set of gestures with additions that are not included in Safari, like a three-finger swipe and a unique twist gesture that lets users navigate through open tabs simply by rotating two fingers on a trackpad. Here is the complete list of gestures that are supported by Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 for OS X:

- Swipe left or right - move backward and forward through the browsing history (hold the Command key to open it in a tab)
- Swipe up or down - move to the page top or bottom
- Twist left or right - cycle through open tabs
- Pinch in or out - increase or decrease the font size

As Lee points out, the potential problem with gesture support in Firefox is that the gestures interface in Firefox was - most likely - reverse-engineered. With that in mind, it should be noted that Mozilla is not the only developer forced to resort to such steps. Multi-touch may be available in all Mac applications at some point in time, but the consequences of Mozilla's reverse engineering of Apple's multi-touch may be the removal of the gesture interface from Firefox if it is not considered stable enough. Apple, in a way, is to blame for the current developer dilemma.

When Apple rolled out its Macbooks with multi-touch trackpads, it did not provide software developers access to the technology through public APIs. This behavior forces some developers to resort to reverse-engineering until Apple opens up multi-touch. One developer we talked to said that Apple's multi-touch APIs are in their infancy and are likely change soon, concluding that at least some developers will wait until Apple locks-down the multi-touch user interface in OS X. It is unclear when that will actually be done.

Critics, however, stress that Apple uses its APIs to enable gesture-support in its own applications, like iLife and Safari, which indicates an unfair advantage over third-party developers. The developer community has reacted already – for example, there is a free System Preferences add-on dubbed MultiClutch that lets users define custom gestures for any keyboard shortcut within specific applications. With a little help from MultiClutch, users of Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 can easily customize Firefox keyboard shortcuts with a gesture-based user interface.

Source tgdaily

Top 10 Microsoft Stories Of 2008

Having bid farewell to Bill Gates, Microsoft tempered its appetite for Yahoo, tweaked Vista, leapt into cloud computing, allowed a peek at Windows 7, and warmed up to open source.
The company is striving to find its footing as it shifts from long dominance in a proprietary client-server world to a more uncertain future where competition comes from open source, the Web and other corners. Old leaders are on the way out, while new faces and ideas are beginning to show their influence.

So, without further ado, the top ten stories of 2008 for Microsoft, still the 800-pound gorilla nobody can afford to ignore.

1. Bye, Bye Bill

There were plenty of changes in management at Microsoft in 2008, starting at the top with the company's co-founder and one of the most influential people in the history of computing. Bill Gates left his full-time role this summer as the company's chairman and chief architect to spend more time with his charitable foundation.

Microsoft rang in the new year as it has for a number of years, with Gates giving an address at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, including a humorous video anticipating Gates' last day at the company.

As Gates' departure grew nearer, our reporters and bloggers took trips down memory lane and looked at how Gates might be remembered, as well as his legacy for business IT.

Microsoft also made its own glances backward and forward, telling InformationWeek that it was ready to move on. It's impossible to replace Gates, but the company is certainly doing its best to fill the gaps. And Gates wasn't the only long-time executive to leave this year. Microsoft president Jeff Raikes also departed, to be replaced by former Macromedia exec Stephen Elop. Management change was in the air from the beginning of the year until its end.

2. To Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) Or Not To Yahoo

That was the question, and it's still an open one. A 10-month-and-counting saga to acquire all or part of Yahoo, or just hire away all of its top executives, began in February as Microsoft bid about $44.6 billion for the struggling search site in order to shore up Microsoft's online search and advertising position and give it some good Web properties.

Quickly, criticism arose that Microsoft might not be up for the challenge that a Yahoo acquisition would represent, both in terms of integration and in terms of passing anti-trust muster. Google (NSDQ: GOOG), which would be the chief competitor of a combined Microsoft-Yahoo, (Microhoo?) cried foul. That criticism fell by the wayside as Yahoo's initial rejection of Microsoft's offer and further meddling led to a protracted debate about how Microsoft would respond, including a bid for just part of Yahoo or a hostile takeover. Ultimately, Microsoft pulled out of the bid altogether, ostensibly wiping its hands of Yahoo and sending Yahoo spiraling down.

Source informationweek

The hottest PC technology for 2009

Lightning-fast components headed for your computer

Updated: As one year draws to a close, it's only natural that we all want to know what new technologies are in store for us in 2009.

How many cores will your CPU have? How fast will they be? What will be powering PC graphics, and what type of memory will be the next must-have?

The problem is that top technology firms are already beavering away on products and kit that will supersede next year's star buys. So we set ourselves another task – to discover what's over the horizon.

Is next year's kit part of a bigger trend or a gathering revolution in technology? Read on to explore the PC's near and distant futures.

Intel processors

The most hyped and heralded Intel technology for 2009 is the Core i7 processor, which was formerly codenamed Nehalem. Initial product launches will be aimed at high-performance servers; desktop and laptop versions will appear in the second half of 2009. From information provided at the Intel Developer Forum in August and the results we've seen in our lab tests, we can confidently say that Core i7 is the biggest architectural advance Intel has made since the Pentium 4 launched in 2000.

The architecture is scalable from two to eight cores and offers HyperThreading technology – the same system used in some Pentium and Xeon processors – to permit two threads per core. Energy efficiency is high on the list of benefits too. Rafts of architectural features provide increased performance per core at the same clockspeed (so more performance per Watt), and an innovative 'Turbo' mode works hand-in-hand with an improved sleep facility.

Unused cores can be put to sleep, as could those in Core 2; but whereas Core 2 processor cores still used some power in sleep mode, the unused cores in Core i7 will consume virtually no power. And there's more; to provide additional performance for applications that are not multithreaded and hence not able to take advantage of multiple cores, the Core i7 will boost the clock frequency of the remaining core while still keeping the chip within its design power consumption.

Intel isn't saying exactly how much of a boost the remaining core will get, but there are suggestions that it will be from 3.2GHz (the highest launch speed) to 3.4GHz or even 3.6GHz.

The introduction of Core i7 is an example of – in Intel speak – a 'tock'. Intel's so-called 'tick tock' model involves introducing a new generation of silicon technology and a new processor architecture in alternating years. This means that 2009 will be a 'tick' year and, in particular, it should be the year that Intel introduces its 32nm process. Intel was not willing to comment on whether the new process technology will permit an increase in clockspeed, even if only in Turbo mode.

AMD processors

AMD was not as forthcoming on its plans, initially only telling us that its main focus for 2009 will be on the 45nm technology transition. It's pertinent to note that AMD are a whole generation behind Intel. Despite this initial reticence to talk about futures, Senior Product Manager Ian McNaughton did respond to a couple of questions. His main revelation was that six-core processors will join triple- and quad-core products in the Phenom processor line up during 2009.

Having seen that Intel is looking to boost clockspeeds when some of the i7's cores are idle, we tried to get the lowdown on whether AMD has any plans in this area – or whether the megahertz wars are truly over. Ian's response was not surprising given that AMD hasn't quoted the clockspeed in its part numbers for many years.

Source techradar

Asus N10J A1 - Atom N270 1.6 GHz - 10.2

Product summary

The good:
In a Netbook first, it includes a dedicated graphics chip, which can be switched off to extend battery life; decent keyboard; excellent battery life, especially with GeForce graphics turned off; HDMI port and ExpressCard slot are useful bonuses.

The bad:
Low screen resolution won't appeal to all gamers; underpowered Intel Atom CPU is far from ideal for graphics-heavy applications; high price.

The bottom line:
It may look like your standard Netbook, but the Asus N10J is unique because underneath it features discrete, switchable graphics. You'll pay a bit more for the privilege, but the end result works for gaming on the go, as long as you don't mind dialing down your game settings.

Processor: Intel Atom (1.6 GHz); RAM installed: 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM; Weight: 3.5 lbs; See full specs

Price range: $679.95 - $749.99

Source cnet

BitTorrent Shuts Down Video Store, Brings Back Search

February 2007, BitTorrent Inc. launched its ‘Torrent Entertainment Network’ where users could download movies and TV-shows legally, via BitTorrent. Despite the ever increasing popularity of BitTorrent as a download tool, the store never became profitable and has now closed. The store is replaced by a BitTorrent search portal.

While spending on online video content is increasing, BitTorrent Inc’s Torrent Entertainment Network wasn’t as successful as the company had hoped. Converting the millions of BitTorrent users into paying customers didn’t go as easily as they had hoped, and the DRM restrictions that were enforced by Hollywood were no help either.

In the tough economic climate, which already caused several layoffs at the company, BitTorrent Inc. decided that it was best to close their video store completely. Simon Morris, BitTorrent’s VP of Product Management told TorrentFreak: “After a great deal of soul searching we decided to close down the Torrent Entertainment Network content store.”

“Its about focus and economics,” Morris added. “We want to focus on core technology rather than merchandising and given the harsh economic environment, we can’t afford to continue to invest in endeavors that don’t come close to break-even.”

Together with the closure of their entertainment network, the company reintroduced its search portal for BitTorrent users. Unlike before, there are no torrents indexed or tracked by the companies servers. Instead, it uses a branded version of the search engine, where BitTorrent sites are prioritized in the search results.

When BitTorrent Inc. had its own search engine, the company had an agreement with the MPAA to filter search results. According to Morris this is no longer needed now. “We agreed to filter search results when we were in the business of torrent search, but that work is also discontinued. This is Ask’s search engine, not ours.”

“The decision to work with Ask is simply an effort to provide people who come to download the client with a place to go next,” Morris added. While the search engine will generate some income, most future revenue is expected to come from content publishers that use BitTorrent’s DNA, and deals with device manufacturers.

Source torrentfreak

Microsoft signs major deal with Dell for Live Search

Microsoft and Dell have signed a deal via which Dell will be shipping new PCs with the Live Search toolbar preinstalled, according to sources familiar with the arrangement between the two companies.

Microsoft officials declined to comment on the alleged deal, as did Dell officials. Officials with both companies said they would not comment on “rumors and speculation.”

I wouldn’t put this in the speculation category, myself. My sources say that Microsoft has offered Dell sweet enough terms to entice the PC maker to replace its search-preload deal with Google with a comparable offering from Microsoft.

The Dell-Google deal, cemented in 2006, called for Dell to preload the Google search toolbar on “millions” of consumer and business PCs. The Dell-Google deal also included a co-branded Dell-Google home page. It’s not clear whether the alleged Microsoft-Dell deal also includes a new home page.

Microsoft has been seeking to land new OEM search deals with various PC makers as a way to grow more quickly its lagging search market share.

In March 2007, Microsoft signed a search-preload deal with Lenovo. Under terms of that relationship, Lenovo agreed to preload Live Search and Windows Live services — delivered via the integrated MSn toolbar — on new Lenovo consumer laptops.

Word of Microsoft’s latest search-preload deal comes a day after Microsoft announced it had hired former Yahoo search expert Qi Lu as the new head of its Online Services business.

OEM deals are just one way Microsoft is looking to grow its search share. The company also is considering rebranding Live Search with a more verb-like term. The leading candidate is thought to be Kumo.Com.

Source zdnet