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    Default Tech news

    USB 3.0, ExpressCard 2.0 Products Expected in 2010

    November 17, 2008

    Two popular PC I/O standards will see updated products in two years' time, standards bodies announced Monday.

    The USB Promoter Group announced that the final 1.0 version of the USB 3.0 standard had been approved and sent over to the USB Implementer's Forum, which oversees licensing and compatibility testing. USB 3.0 is a serial protocol, and its improvement also had a domino effect, allowing the PCMCIA to announce release 2.0 of the ExpressCard standard.

    First announced in 2007, the so-called "SuperSpeed" USB 3.0 standard boosts throughput by ten times, from 480 Mbits/s in the current USB 2.0 standard to 4.8 Gbits/s. USB 3.0 controllers are expected to appear in the second half of 2009, while the USB Promoter Group estimated that consumer products will show up in 2010 and include flash drives, external hard drives, and digital cameras, among others.

    Most notebooks, meanwhile, either include ExpressCard or PC Card slots -- the two standards have a market penetration rate of 95 percent, according to the PCMCIA.

    The ExpressCard 2.0 standard will build upon the updated PCI Express 2.0 standard as well as USB 3.0; the PCMCIA said that cards and peripherals could use either protocol, meaning that throughput will increase either by a factor of two (from the throughput of PCI Express 1.0) to a factor of ten (if USB 3.0 is considered).

    "ExpressCard technology is closely tied to the PCI Express and USB specifications, and the 2.0 release of our standard takes full advantage of recent advancements in both interface technologies," said Brad Saunders, chairman of the PCMCIA, in a statement. "Now that the new SuperSpeed USB specification is ready, PCMCIA can move forward to finalize the ExpressCard 2.0 release and make it available to members in early 2009. Consumers can expect to see new, innovative products that take advantage of the enhancements offered by the ExpressCard 2.0 Standard starting in 2010."

    ExpressCard products include wireless adapters, and external storage and graphics applications, among others.
    Last edited by islamirama; Feb-27-2010 at 10:41 AM. Reason: <o:p></o:p> issue

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    Buffalo Shipping External USB 3.0 Hard Drives This Month

    October 7, 2009



    The USB 3.0 race heated up Wednesday, as Buffalo made it known that its previously announced HD-HU3 range of hard drives will be the world's first SuperSpeed drives to make it to market when they ship in Japan later this month.

    Buffalo's new range of hard drives will initially be available in capacities ranging from 500GB through 1.5TB, with a larger 2TB model planned for later release.



    Unlike other USB 3.0 hard drives, such as those from Freecom and Active Media, Buffalo's HD-HU3 line will not only be the first to market, but the devices will also be actually usable out of the box. You won't be able to take advantage of the increased performance USB 3.0 devices will provide over USB 2.0 unless you have USB 3.0 ports on your PC, so until the new standard becomes more commonplace, manufacturers will have to provide a solution. Buffalo revealed that the new drives will come with a USB 3.0-friendly PCI Express controller.

    No word on when these new SuperSpeed drives will arrive stateside, but here's hoping it's soon.

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/173282/Buffalo_Shipping_External_USB_30_Hard_Drives_This_ Month.html?tk=rss_news

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    Default Internet and You

    Average Net user now online 13 hours per week

    by Lance Whitney - December 23, 2009

    How much time do you spend online each week? If you're an average Net user, a new poll shows, it's around 13 hours--excluding e-mail.

    The Harris Interactive poll, released Wednesday, found that 80 percent of U.S. adults go online, whether at home, work, or elsewhere. Those who surf the Net spend an average of 13 hours per week online, but that figure varies widely. Twenty percent are online for two hours or less a week, while 14 percent are there for 24 hours or more.

    The average number of hours that people spend online each week has grown over the years, hovering at 7 hours from 1999 through 2002, 8 or 9 hours from 2003 through 2006, and 11 hours in 2007. The level hit its peak at 14 hours in October 2008--after the global recession had set in and just before the U.S. presidential election.

    The jump in time spent in cyberspace likely stems from a few factors, according to Harris. More people are comfortable using the Internet. More of them are shopping and watching TV online. In addition, the number of Web sites and online applications has increased. Harris adds that the recession may also play a role since surfing the Net at home is free (after paying monthly access fees), while going out means spending money.

    The age group that spent the most time online per week: 30- to 39-year-olds, at 18 hours.

    The total number of U.S. adults on the Internet is 184 million, around 80 percent of the total population, according to the poll. That figure is virtually the same as in 2008 but is a big jump from 1999, when it reached at 56 percent, and from 1995, when the figure was a mere 9 percent.

    The number of people who surf the Net at home rose to 76 percent this year, compared with 66 percent in 2005, 46 percent in 1999, and 16 percent in 1996. In 1995, that specific question wasn't even asked.

    The Harris poll queried 2,029 people in early July and mid-October.

    Here are the poll results:



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    Internet "addiction" may fuel teen aggression

    By Amy Norton - Feb 24, 2009

    NEW YORK - Teenagers who are preoccupied with their Internet time may be more prone to aggressive behavior, researchers reported Monday.

    In a study of more than 9,400 Taiwanese teenagers, the researchers found that those with signs of Internet "addiction" were more likely to say they had hit, shoved or threatened someone in the past year.

    The link remained when the investigators accounted for several other factors -- including the teenagers' scores on measures of self-esteem and depression, as well as their exposure to TV violence.

    The findings, published online by the Journal of Adolescent Health, do not however prove that Internet addiction breeds violent behavior in children.

    It is possible that violence-prone teenagers are more likely to obsessively use the Internet, explained lead researcher Dr. Chih-Hung Ko, of Kaohsiung Medical University in Taiwan.

    However, the findings add to evidence from other studies that media -- whether TV, movies or video games -- can influence children's behavior. The also suggest that parents should pay close attention to their teenagers' Internet use, and the potential effects on their real-life behavior, Ko told Reuters Health.

    According to Ko's team, some signs of Internet addiction include preoccupation with online activities; "withdrawal" symptoms, like moodiness and irritability, after a few Internet-free days; and skipping other activities to devote more time to online ones.

    In this study, teenagers who fit the addiction profile generally were more aggression-prone than their peers. But the type of Internet activity appeared to matter as well.

    Online chatting, gambling and gaming, and spending time in online forums or adult pornography sites were all linked to aggressive behavior. In contrast, teens who devoted their time to online research and studying were less likely than their peers to be violence-prone.

    According to Ko, certain online activities may encourage kids to "release their anger" or otherwise be aggressive in ways they normally would not in the real world. Whether this eventually pushes them to be more aggressive in real life is not yet clear, the researcher said.

    Ko recommended that parents talk to their children about their Internet use and their general attitudes toward violence.

    SOURCE: Journal of Adolescent Health, online February 23, 2009.



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    Google's Ultra-Fast Broadband: Questions and Answers

    JR Raphael, PC World - Feb 10, 2010

    I don't know if you've heard, but Google's adding some fiber into its diet. We're talking fiber-optics here -- the stuff of high-speed Internet glory.

    Google, you see, has just announced plans to build a series of uberfast broadband networks in cities across America. The Google broadband service would bring speeds up to a hundred times faster than what we currently use, the crew from Mountain View says, and it'd all be delivered directly to our homes.

    So what's the deal? Are the days of independent ISPs behind us? Is the Internet about to change forever? Is Google finally turning evil and taking over the world?

    Hey, these kinds of questions always come up when Google reveals big plans. But not to fear, my compadres -- we've got some answers. Eleven of 'em, in fact. Read on.

    1. What exactly will Google's broadband network do?
    Google's broadband network will bring a faster form of Internet access to a handful of U.S. communities. Right now, it's described as an experimental project, so it'll reach only a small number of places to start.

    2. How fast are we talking here?

    Google says its fiber network will offer speeds of 1 gigabit per second.

    3. What cities will get access to Google's fiber network?

    That's yet to be determined. At the moment, Google is calling upon communities to express interest in participating in the trial. That window will remain open until March 26; Google says it'll then go through the submissions, make some on-site visits, and ultimately announce the cities it's selected sometime later this year.

    4. How will Google decide which cities get the broadband access?

    By seeing who offers up the best bribes, of course -- isn't that how this stuff works?

    Ah, but I jest (let's hope so, anyway). Google says it'll look for areas in which its fiber networks could be installed quickly and efficiently. The company will also consider how much community support has been expressed, what kind of resources are available, how weather conditions might affect progress, and how local regulations might play into the plans.

    Either that, or it'll hold a trivia deathmatch to see which mayor can answer the most Google interview questions.

    5. Can I submit my city to be considered, even if I'm not involved in government?

    You'd better believe it, bucko. While Google is hoping to hear from city managers and elected officials, it's also encouraging statements of interest from individual residents and community-oriented groups -- in fact, those are the very statements that'll help determine the aforementioned measurements of community support. Should you be so inclined, you can go to the Google Fiber for Communities site to get involved.

    6. Will Google's broadband service be free?

    No free rides here. Google says its service will be provided at "a competitive price."

    7. Would I end up paying Google to get on-board, then?

    Probably not directly. Like with its Android mobile phone platform, Google plans to make the broadband network "open access," meaning numerous service providers will sign on to utilize and manage the systems. You'd be able to choose from any of those independent broadband providers.

    8. So how many people will actually get this thing?

    Too soon to say. Google estimates anywhere from 50,000 to 500,000 people being involved in its trial run.

    9. What does Google hope to accomplish here?

    Officially, Google says its goal is to "experiment with new ways to help make Internet access better and faster for everyone." The company envisions the development of new kinds of "bandwidth-intensive killer apps" and other Web-based innovations that wouldn't be possible with today's comparatively turtle-like speeds.

    10. Okay, but what's Google really after?

    It's hard to gauge what the company's true long-term ambitions might be. Aside from the whole "making the Internet better for everyone" idea, one could speculate any number of potential business benefits for the big G.

    Traditionally, Google has been pretty up-front about privacy matters and how it uses our information, so odds are, we'll gain a clearer picture of how data will and won't be used as the project comes closer to fruition.

    11. When will Google's fiber network actually go online?
    No target date has been shared just yet. Google has only vaguely stated that it hopes to have the network up and running "as soon as possible."



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    Google's G-Drive: Super Cheap Hard Drive in the Sky

    Google's cloud-based storage will hold up to 1 GB of any type of file for free. After that it will cost you 25¢ per GB per year.

    Seth H. Weintraub - Jan 13, 2010

    Google today announced the meat of its mythical G-drive, the Cloud hard drive in the sky for both regular Gmail users and corporate Apps users. While Google wasn't as ceremonious as my title, they've laid out what will eventually be their Google hard drive or G-drive.

    "Now accessing your work files doesn't require a connection to your internal office network. Nor do you need to email files to yourself, carry around a thumbdrive, or use a company network drive – you can access your files using Google Docs from any web-enabled computer.

    "Combined with shared folders in Google Docs, the upload feature is a great way to collaborate on files with coworkers and external parties. Instead of using cumbersome email attachments, you can upload files to a folder and share it with coworkers, who can then access and edit the files from a single place. You can even have your sales team securely share contracts with external clients for review."

    The update is rolling out over the next few weeks and will allow you to store 1 GB of any type of file on your 'G-drive' for free. After that it will cost you $.25/per GB/year/

    The single file size limit is a pretty impressive 250MB or one quarter the size of the free storage

    "This is a natural extension and progression of what we've been doing with Google Docs," said Vijay Bangaru, Google Docs product manager.

    So this isn't going to be a good place to put that 100GB music collection of yours. And it isn't going to be a good place to back up your computer to the cloud like Amazon's S3 or various cloud backup solutions. Google doesn't want to be your backup, it wants to be your whole file system.

    As with all things Google, there will be an expectation of expanding storage. This feature will also likely tie in with Google's ChromeOS which will be Cloud based.

    While there is still no official desktop client or virtual drive component - that would allow you to map your hard drive to the Google shares, there are various utilities put out by third party companies to help you upload and access your data directly from the computer.

    Memeo Connect for Google Apps is a new desktop application that offers an easy way to access, migrate, and synchronize files to Google Docs across multiple computers. (PC and Mac)

    Syncplicity offers businesses automated back-up and file management with Google Docs. (PC)

    Manymoon is an online project management platform that makes it simple to organize and share tasks and documents with coworkers and partners, including uploading files to Google Docs.

    This feature will go up against Apple's $99/year MobileMe platform and Microsoft's Office Live services which offer online Cloud storage as well.



    comment:


    This doesn't mean, you upload your personal private files....if you want to protect your privacy

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    Most Popular PC World Stories of 2009


    Sarah Jacobsson, PC World Sarah Jacobsson, Pc World – Thu Dec 24, 9:00 pm ET

    new operating systems, a bunch of would-be iPhone killers, and Blu-ray disc players for less than $100. These news items struck us as fairly significant announcements, but how popular were they with our readers? We spent some time identifying and analyzing the ten most widely read PCWorld.com articles published in 2009--and found that readership was higher for pieces on violent video games and strange Google Street Views than on Google's new OS. Without further ado, here's the list (counting down from number 10):

    10. Snow Leopard Versus Windows 7


    Any article that compares an Apple product to a Microsoft product is sure to yield tons of hits, "hates," and controversy in the comments section (often degenerating into a Mac-fanboy/Windows-fanboy/Linux-fanboy flame war), so it's hardly surprising that the tenth-most-popular story of 2009 was about those two companies' new operating systems. "Snow Leopard Versus Windows 7," which received half-a-million page views, compares the two OSs side-by-side, highlighting their new features (such as "ridiculously big icons," which appears in both; the "Windows 7 preview pane"; and Apple's "improved window management"). A quick look through the slideshow reveals what we already sort of knew--Apple and Microsoft have been "borrowing ideas" from each other for years, and their newest operating systems uphold that tradition.

    9. The Ten Greatest PC Games Ever


    Tech nostalgia conquers us all--"I remember when my cell phone used to be bigger than my real phone." "Mom, what's a real phone?"--and at PCWorld we offer as exhibit A, "The Ten Greatest PC Games Ever," which drew more than 500,000 hits. This nostalgic slideshow lists the ten best games that owe most of their prominence to a PC platform (which is why Tetris didn't make the cut). The list of immortals begins with text-based Trade Wars 2002, and continues through the confusing-yet-serene world of Myst, the real-time strategy of StarCraft, the empire-building mindset of SimCity...all the way to the time-sucking, life-encapsulating MMORPG that is World of Warcraft.

    8. 40 Fantastic Time-Wasting Web Sites


    PCWorld readers are known for their diligence, hard work, and endless hours spent surfing the Net--and our eighth-most-popular story of 2009 was a list of the best Websites to waste time on. "40 Fantastic Time-Wasting Web Sites," which got over 600,000 page views, is a fantastic list for those in need of, erm, motivation to not work. It includes click-through venues like FailBlog, Texts From Last Night, and There I Fixed It; game and video sites, such as Homestar Runner and Virtual NES; and even some useful sites, such as Lifehacker (be more efficient!), Slashdot (news for nerds!), and FreeRice (improve your vocabulary and give to charity!). These and 32 other digital time sinks await your perusal, so get clickin'!

    20 Games That Changed Gaming Forever

    If you thought World of Warcraft was a life-changing experience, you're not alone. "20 Games That Changed Gaming Forever," a syndicated slideshow from our sibling publisher GamePro, was our seventh-most-popular article of 2009, with more than 650,000 views. The slideshow details 20 of the most innovative games across all platforms. Dance Dance Revolution, Bioshock, Final Fantasy VII, Call of Duty 4, and Super Mario 64 all make the cut, as does World of Warcraft (of course). And the number-one most innovative game--the greatest of the greatest--according to GamePro? Doom!

    6. World's Most Outrageous PC Cases


    Since the creation of the first PC tower, people have been modifying ("modding") their computer cases to suit their aesthetic tastes. They are, in all likelihood, the same people who install neon lights under their cars and slap stickers all over their laptops--the same people who asked themselves, "Why should I settle for a boring black tower when I can have an adorable Wall-E sitting on my desk?" "World's Most Outrageous PC Cases," which received more than 700,000 hits, presents some impressive examples of beyond-the-pale case mods--in particular, the steampunked Mac Mini and the R2-D2. Still, the most vivid impression that these monuments to obsessive behavior may convey is of how much downtime their creators seem to have.

    5. The 10 Dumbest Tech Products So Far


    Have you ever taken a look at some wild gadget and wondered who, exactly, paid someone to make this crackpot invention into a reality? We most certainly have, as "The 10 Dumbest Tech Products So Far" attests. This slideshow, which drew almost 750,000 disbelieving views, presents a collection of tech products that will leave you wondering "What were they thinking?" An animated, singing trophy deer head; a USB finger dance mat capitalizing on the Dance Dance Revolution craze; a wacky keyboard with shortcuts for phrases like "BRB" and "CYA"?! Say hello to some of the craziest products ever to hit the market.

    4. Best Products of CES 2009: Let Us Introduce You


    The International Consumer Electronics Show, held annually in early January in Las Vegas, is where much of the year's hottest new technology--everything from products to rumors--is unveiled. So, it's no wonder that our readers gravitated toward "Best Products of CES 2009: Let Us Introduce You" (with over 750,000 views). Among the hot items announced were the Palm Pre, Boxee (an open-source program designed to stream Internet content to your television), and the Kodak Zx1, as well as a slew of other pocket HD camcorders to rival the Flip Mino HD.

    Facebook Pages We'd Like to See

    Every now and then, PCWorld dispenses with the straight-arrow product assessments and how-to articles for which we're famous and indulges in a just-for-fun story. One such departure was "Facebook Pages We'd Like to See," which collected almost 800,000 page views; it displays fictionalized Facebook pages of an array of famous characters--from Steve Jobs and Bill Gates to Hillary Clinton to Satan to Dr. Manhattan from Watchmen. Though all of these pages are fictional, a few of the figures (not Satan) do have their own real Facebook pages.

    2. Strangest Sights in Google Street Views


    Since Google introduced its maps with "Street Views," people all over the world have been spotting strange and interesting sights (and demonstrating once again how much free time they do have). Of course, some people (829,891, to be exact) couldn't afford to spend hours scouring the virtual streets of Fuchu City, Japan, for unusual snapshots. So they read "Strangest Sights in Google Street Views," our second-most-popular article of 2009. In this article, you can see all sorts of crazy things, from a car covered in post-it notes to dinosaurs breaking out of a museum.

    1. The Most Violent Video Games Ever Made


    Well, it looks like video games are a hot topic among our readers--and what could make a hot topic even hotter? Gratuitous violence, of course! Our most popular 2009 article, with over 1 million hits, was "The Most Violent Video Games Ever Made." This gorefest samples 15 of the most violent video games ever to hit the shelves--"M for mature" ratings, bloody spatters, and creepy zombies abound. The list, assembled by PCWorld with help from the GamePro crew, includes Doom (again!), the ever-popular Grand Theft Auto franchise, and the unbelievably creepy, monster-ridden Silent Hill.

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    These videogames are not art. They are extreme pornography

    Has imagery of violence against women become so normal that we no longer notice it?

    Jacqueline Hunt - 16 December 2009

    Mark Kermode says we should be relaxed about adult themes in videogames (Should we avoid violent games?, 11 December).

    He confesses to knowing nothing about these games: "I don't play them and probably never will." But he then says, "I do know something about horror films, and the moral panic they provoke," and takes issue with the "ominous sense of ill-informed outrage" about the modern videogames market. He then advises readers looking for a sensible opinion on the subject to refer to "someone who knows, someone who plays them, someone who actually likes them". In short, the fans.

    My organisation, Equality Now, has heard a lot from the fans of some of these games. We highlighted the game RapeLay, produced in Japan, as one example of many that promote violence against women. In RapeLay the player manipulates an onscreen penis to simulate rape of a woman and her young daughters over and over again.

    Our international campaign called on the Japanese government to ban games that promote sexual violence against women and girls. Fans of these games were outraged. They asked us why we were targeting RapeLay when, they said, it was mild compared to similar available games. In Japan there is a whole genre of extreme pornography, known as hentai, which takes in cartoons and comic books as well as videogames. Imagery includes women and girls being molested, stalked and gang-raped.

    We received hundreds of emails from around the world, many calling for our own rape and murder. "By the way, I played RapeLay (doing the 13-year-old was best)", said one, referring to the pre-pubescent girl whom players "rape" in the game.

    Kermode recalls media coverage in the 1980s – when horror movies were seen as likely to "deprave and corrupt" – and suggests that we now have a more sophisticated attitude to that genre. "With almost any genuine art form, the most important works can rarely be taken at face value," he asserts.

    But if games such as RapeLay can now be classified as art, maybe the popular media promotion of sexual violence against women is so normalised that we don't even pay attention any more. Does "killing" a prostituted woman in Grand Theft Auto just reconfirm to a gamer the "lesser value" of women in prostitution generally?

    What we know is that violence against women and girls is all too real. The NSPCC for example reported in September that a third of teenage girls in a relationship suffer unwanted sexual acts (including rape) and a quarter physical violence such as being slapped, punched or beaten by their boyfriends.

    Certainly the UN's women's committee believes that gender stereotypes, including those of women as sex objects, and gender-based discriminatory attitudes, contribute to violence against women. Will the players of RapeLay act on their threats towards us? It's just a game, don't threaten our free speech, say the fans who tell us to shut up or else. Maybe Kermode was right after all when he said we should ask the fans. They certainly gave us their answer loud and clear.


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    Televisions 'to be fitted in contact lenses within ten years'

    Televisions could be fitted into contact lenses within ten years, according to analysts.

    09 Feb 2009

    The sets would be powered by the viewer's body heat, according to Ian Pearson, a so-called "futurologist" who has advised leading companies including BT on new technologies.
    Mr Pearson told the Daily Mail he believed that channels could be changed by voice command or via a wave of the hand.

    Meanwhile "emotional viewing" could be another development in television technology, according to a report commissioned by the technology retailer Comet.

    A "digital tattoo" fitted to the viewer would pick up on the feelings of characters on screen and create impulses causing them to feel the same way.

    The development could see James Bond fans become able feel the thrill of a high-speed car chase or sports fans allowed to share the joy of elated players, it said.

    "We could even get to the point where we'll be able to immerse ourselves in a football game, making it feel like you're running alongside your favourite player or berating the ref," the report added.

    Miriam Rayman, of the Future Laboratory consultancy, which compiled the report, said the basic technology needed for the developments already existed.

    She said: "The technology is getting smaller and smaller and people are trying to work out how to make it more immersible. They are trying to bring it closer and closer to the eye."


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    Google Launches Encrypted Search

    Google search results now come wrapped in a digital lock to keep them from prying eyes.

    By Thomas Claburn - May 21, 2010

    Google on Friday introduced an encrypted version of Google Search, a move that makes it far more difficult for anyone to intercept and read communication between Google and users during search sessions.

    Encrypted search is available by initiating an https:// connection to Google rather than an unprotected http:// connection.

    Had Internet users in Europe been using Google's encrypted search, their searches would not have been exposed by Google's recently disclosed inadvertent collection of wireless network traffic from public WiFi hotspots.

    But Google's introduction of encrypted search isn't in response to that incident, said Google product manager Murali Viswanathan in a phone briefing. It's part of a broad initiative to add encryption to its services.

    In January, Google enabled https:// connections for Gmail by default, having previously made it an option available to users who wanted extra security.

    As a consequence of using an https:// connection to reach Google, clicking on a search results link will send less information to the Web site at the end of the link. Encrypted search users will not transmit the search keywords they entered when they submitted their query or the fact that they used Google to find the site at the end of the search results link. This deprives publishers of information that may be useful to their marketing efforts, which may be why Google isn't forcing everyone to use encrypted search. But it provides Google users with more privacy.

    Adding encryption represents a cost for Google, though Viswanathan was unable to provide data to quantify the expense. It costs Google in terms of computational resources and engineering time.

    "It requires a lot of work from the development side," said Viswanathan. "We do realize those extra costs do bring extra benefits to our users."

    There's also a cost for the user: Encrypted search is slightly slower, through Viswanathan says it shouldn't be noticeable.

    Encrypted search is not a complete security solution. Data has to be presented to the user in unencrypted form so any person or malware that has access to the user's computer or mobile device may be able to read that information. Encryption does nothing to prevent users from being duped into supplying personal information to phishers. And the encryption only extends to Google Search at the moment; searches on Google Maps or Google Images, for example, will not be encrypted.

    To prevent users from inadvertently shifting from encrypted to unencrypted search, Google is removing the Maps and Images links from the left-hand menu pane on its search results pages.


    also see,

    FIREFOX Private Browsing - http://support.mozilla.com/en-us/kb/private+browsing


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    Google's priority inbox aims to conquer e-mail overload

    Google has updated Gmail with a feature that aims to reduce information overload in e-mail inboxes.
    Called priority inbox it automatically grades e-mail into four categories: important, important and unread, starred items and everything else.

    Experts believe less time sifting through e-mail will make people more productive.

    Google said the product acts like your "personal assistant helping you focus on the messages that matter".
    "There are a lot of signals in any message that indicate importance," Keith Coleman, Gmail director told BBC News.

    "Basic indicators include if this message is from someone you write to a lot or reply to a lot. Another category is terms - if the word Viagra is in the message, it is indicative of junk mail. And a third factor is something known as static features. That is if the message has been sent to you directly or to you and other people or a list of people."

    Google said the feature "gets smarter" the more a user uses it as it learns what is important to an individual. There is a plus or minus tool within the feature to boost or reduce the priority status of a message. This allows the product to learn which electronic communications matter more than others.

    Google is not alone in trying to solve this problem. Microsoft has updated its Hotmail e-mail system to help people organise messages better. Also stand-alone products such as Xobni and Liaise take a similar approach to that adopted by Google.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11133576

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    Homeland Security will tell you how to run your network

    Policing standards

    by Nick Farrell - 22 Nov 2010

    The Land of the Free, which revolted against a penny a year tax which was designed to pay for its defence, is ordering companies to turn over control of their networks to a government department.

    New laws are being drafted up which will give the Department of Homeland Security some amount of regulatory control over private networks

    "The Homeland Security Cyber and Physical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2010," will empower DHS to set cybersecurity standards for some private networks that are considered critical infrastructure.

    It will create a Cybersecurity Compliance Division which will pop around and see if network managers are doing what the spooks say they should.

    The DHS will have to work with network operators, to develop tailored security plans that meet risk-based, performance-based standards.

    However the DHS will have to share threat intelligence and protect proprietary information.

    Part of the problem in the US has been that the local utility companies have monopolies and thought that they could afford to skimp on security.

    But the law could also apply to whichever company's security is considered important to the defence of the US.

    For example banks, Wall Street and Walt-Disney might come under Homeland Security's powers.

    The belief that a government department could tell Wall Street about security is a bit of a joke, but too much law based on terror fears often bring out dafter ideas.



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    Google takes PC software fight to Mircrosoft's Windows

    Murad Ahmed
    December 08, 2010 10:17AM
    Source: The Australian

    GOOGLE has made its most direct challenge to Microsoft with the launch of its new operating system that aims to defeat Windows.

    It is a battle for the future of personal computing.

    Users of computers running Chrome OS will be able to get online much more quickly as the system will turn on instantly and automatically log on to the web within seconds.

    In the first public demonstration of the software in San Francisco, Googleshowed that a user can be surfing the net within 60 seconds of switching on their computer.

    Chrome also brings users a step closer to being able to store all photographs, music and emails online rather than on a hard drive. The files would be kept in the "cloud" on the internet and be accessed from any device with an internet connection.

    Eric Schmidt, Google chief executive, said: "Cloud computing will define computing as we know it."

    The first computers running Chrome OS will be made by Acer and Samsung and go on sale in the middle of next year - more than six months behind schedule. Other manufacturers are expected to release devices running the software soon afterwards.

    Google also announced a pilot program inviting business and personal users to test the new system and said it would send free computers to the first volunteers, starting with those in the US. Google aims to install the system initially on netbooks - small, cheap computers that are outselling more powerful laptops and desktop models - but it believes that Chrome would also be used eventually on those as well.

    Some commentators argued that Google may have missed its moment, since tablet devices such as the iPad are gaining popularity over netbooks. There are suggestions that the second version of the iPad will begin shipping from China by February.

    Cloud computing changes the focus of operating systems from controlling desktop PCs to smaller, slimline computers that access the internet swiftly. Google has been frustrated in its attempts to turn its vision into reality by what it perceives to be the limitations of Microsoft's Windows software, which has not been designed with cloud computing in mind.

    Sundar Pichai, the head of Google's Chrome project, said: "People on their computers live on their browsers within the web. But if you look at computers today...they have nothing to do with the browser or the web. Most personal computers were designed before the web existed."

    The launch will intensify the rivalry between Google and Microsoft, whose Windows operating system is used on 90 per cent of PCs. Windows continues to be a major source of revenue for Microsoft, alongside sales to businesses of its Office suite of programmes that includes Excel and Outlook.

    Microsoft has sold about 175 million copies of Windows 7, the latest version of the program. Revenue from Microsoft's Windows division in 2009-2010 was dollars 18.5 billion - up 23 per cent on the previous 12 months.

    Chrome is Google's latest foray into Microsoft's territory. First it launched a web browser, also called Chrome, to take on Internet Explorer. That was followed by Android, an operating system for mobile phones and tablet computers. This has overtaken Microsoft's Windows Mobile for smartphones.

    Google also launched a new store for applications for its Chrome web browser. Offers include reading and shopping apps by Amazon and games from Electronic Arts.

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/busi...-1225967473547

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    An easy way to get a free computer/laptop if you're selected. You don't have to do everything on this test computer if you're concerned about spying, just do normal browsing.

    Google announced a pilot program inviting business and personal users to test the new system and said it would send free computers to the first volunteers

    We're all ears.

    The Chrome operating system is a work in progress. We’re looking for the right users to try it out and tell us how we can make it better.
    Each participant in the Pilot program will receive a Cr-48 Chrome notebook; in return, we'll expect you to use it regularly and send us detailed feedback.

    Sound interesting? Please note:


    · Chrome OS is for people who live on the web.
    It runs web-based applications, not legacy PC software.
    · The Pilot program is not for the faint of heart.
    Things might not always work just right.


    The Pilot program is open to individuals, businesses, schools, non-profits and developers based in the United States. Learn about Chrome notebooks for business

    Applicants must be at least 18 years of age. We'll review the requests that come in and contact you if you've been selected.
    This application will be open until 11:59:59 PM PST on December 21, 2010.


    Apply Now (https://services.google.com/fb/forms/cr48advanced)

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    Obama Eyeing Internet ID for Americans

    January 7, 2011

    STANFORD, Calif.--President Obama is planning to hand the U.S. Commerce Department authority over a forthcoming cybersecurity effort to create an Internet ID for Americans, a White House official said here today.

    It's "the absolute perfect spot in the U.S. government" to centralize efforts toward creating an "identity ecosystem" for the Internet, White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt said.

    That news, first reported by CNET, effectively pushes the department to the forefront of the issue, beating out other potential candidates, including the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security. The move also is likely to please privacy and civil-liberties groups that have raised concerns in the past over the dual roles of police and intelligence agencies.

    The announcement came at an event today at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, where U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Schmidt spoke.

    The Obama administration is currently drafting what it's calling the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, which Locke said will be released by the president in the next few months. (An early version was publicly released last summer.)


    "We are not talking about a national ID card," Locke said at the Stanford event. "We are not talking about a government-controlled system. What we are talking about is enhancing online security and privacy, and reducing and perhaps even eliminating the need to memorize a dozen passwords, through creation and use of more trusted digital identities."

    The Commerce Department will be setting up a national program office to work on this project, Locke said.

    Details about the "trusted identity" project are remarkably scarce. Last year's announcement referenced a possible forthcoming smart card or digital certificate that would prove that online users are who they say they are. These digital IDs would be offered to consumers by online vendors for financial transactions.

    Schmidt stressed today that anonymity and pseudonymity will remain possible on the Internet. "I don't have to get a credential, if I don't want to," he said. There's no chance that "a centralized database will emerge," and "we need the private sector to lead the implementation of this," he said.

    Jim Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology, who spoke later at the event, said any Internet ID must be created by the private sector--and also voluntary and competitive.

    "The government cannot create that identity infrastructure," Dempsey said. "If it tried to, it wouldn't be trusted."

    Inter-agency rivalries to claim authority over cybersecurity have existed ever since many responsibilities were centralized in the Department of Homeland Security as part of its creation nine years ago. Three years ago, proposals were circulating in Washington to transfer authority to the secretive NSA, which is part of the U.S. Defense Department.

    In March 2009, Rod Beckström, director of Homeland Security's National Cybersecurity Center, resigned through a letter that gave a rare public glimpse into the competition for budgetary dollars and cybersecurity authority. Beckstrom said at the time that the NSA "effectively controls DHS cyberefforts through detailees, technology insertions," and has proposed moving some functions to the agency's Fort Meade, Md., headquarters.

    One of the NSA's missions is, of course, information assurance. But its normally lustrous star in the political firmament has dimmed a bit due to Wikileaks-related revelations.

    Bradley Manning, the U.S. Army private who is accused of liberating hundreds of thousands of confidential government documents from military networks and sending them to Wikileaks, apparently joked about the NSA's incompetence in an online chat last spring. "I even asked the NSA guy if he could find any suspicious activity coming out of local networks," Manning reportedly said in a chat transcript provided by ex-hacker Adrian Lamo. "He shrugged and said, 'It's not a priority.'"


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    Cheating Accusations Highlight Microsoft’s Decline

    Feb 2, 2011

    Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but it's also a popular tactic among those who can't innovate on their own. Such, indeed, has come to be the case for Microsoft, which on Monday was revealed to be copying Google search results for use in its own Bing search engine.

    For those who missed it, Google apparently conducted a "sting" operation recently by rigging a few select searches to display specific pages in the search results in its own search engine. It then told 20 employees to run the searches on their computers using Internet Explorer with "Suggested Sites" and the Bing toolbar enabled. Lo and behold, after a few weeks the searches began producing the same results on Bing.

    Microsoft, for its part, has argued that looking at Google's results are just part of how it makes its own results better--a tenuous argument at best for a company that also claims its product offers "a distinct approach to search."

    Rather, I believe the incident underscores Microsoft's waning ability to compete on raw merit. Increasingly, the company relies on imitation, fear mongering, litigation and lock-in for its profitability. That, in turn, is bad news for users.

    Too Little, Too Late

    There's no doubt Microsoft was once an innovative player. Whatever your preference in operating systems or office software suites, for example, there's no denying that Microsoft made a number of smart and innovative moves to create its current position of market dominance in both arenas.

    Since then, however, the company has been on the decline. In the mobile arena, for example, its performance has been too little, too late, as exemplified by the woefully inadequate Windows Phone 7. Rather than innovating on quality, the company now resorts to the industry equivalent of dirty pool.

    In defense of both Windows and Microsoft Office, for example, Microsoft has long been one of the primary sources of FUD about competing free and open source alternatives. CEO Steve Ballmer notoriously has called Linux "a cancer," for instance, and the company has made patently obvious that it fears competition from the open source contender.

    More recently, Microsoft created an anti-OpenOffice.org video--still up on YouTube--that amounted to nothing more than a smear campaign against the competition.

    Then there's the company's heavy reliance on patents and litigation to keep itself going. That, indeed, is why there's been such widespread concern over its involvement in the recent purchase of Novell patents.

    Resorting to Anything

    For users of Microsoft products, vendor lock-in has become a fact of life, as have high costs, malware, an unrelenting upgrade cycle and increasingly burdened "Patch Tuesday" events.

    Now, with these latest cheating revelations, it should be more clear than ever that Microsoft will resort to anything to remain a player, regardless of product quality, ethics, legal implications or what it means for users.

    So, what does it mean for users? Simply that the Microsoft name so longer signifies anything about quality or innovation--quite the reverse, in many cases. I'm not saying Google or any other company or product is perfect, but Microsoft clearly does not have quality or its users' best interests at heart.


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    Microsoft Certifications Won't Boost Your Pay Much

    By Jon Brodkin - Feb 14, 2011

    Microsoft certifications are dropping in value and provide a smaller pay boost than IT skills related to Cisco, Oracle, EMC, VMware, IBM, SAP and Red Hat technologies.

    "So many people have Microsoft certifications that the gap between supply and demand is not that great, like it is with other certifications," says David Foote of the IT research firm Foote Partners.

    HIGHEST DEMAND: Java supplants IT security as most sought-after tech skill set, survey finds

    On average, IT workers with a Microsoft certification earn 5.9% more than they otherwise might if they were not skilled in using Microsoft technologies, but the Microsoft pay premium is smaller than the industry average, which is 7.3% across 225 IT certifications.

    Foote Partners tracks more than 100,000 IT workers, 43% of whom are receiving a pay boost for specializations. The pay boosts related to Microsoft certifications dropped from 6.1% to 5.9% over the last six months, a larger drop than the one affecting the industry as a whole.

    The current rate of 5.9%, calculated across 19 Microsoft certifications, is significantly lower than the 8.1% average pay boost provided by 31 Cisco certifications. Six Oracle certifications average a 7.5% boost; 15 IBM certs average a 7.1% boost; five Red Hat certs average a 7.8% boost; nine EMC certs average an 8.4% boost; and two VMware certs average an 8.5% boost.

    In part because Microsoft certifications are so commonly held, "I would argue that many of their certifications are not as important as they used to be," Foote says. "There are other vendors that have more popular certifications. You're talking about a company that has lost ground over the last several years."

    Out of the 19 Microsoft certifications, the most valuable is Microsoft Certified Architect, with an 11% pay boost, whereas Microsoft Certified Professional and Certified Systems Administrator were among those below the 5.9% Microsoft average. That 5.9% figure was calculated by taking the median pay boost for each certification, and then averaging the 19 medians. In general, the most highly specialized skills are the most valuable. Another example of a Microsoft skill with above-average value is the GIAC-certified Windows Security Administrator.

    Foote Partners tracks the value of both IT certifications and noncertified skills. For some vendors, there are far more certified skills than noncertified skills, or vice versa, but in Microsoft's case Foote tracks 19 certifications and 18 noncertified skills. The average value of the 18 noncertified skills is equal to a pay boost of 6.6% of a worker's base salary. Industry-wide, across 241 noncertified skills, the average is 8.42%. For SAP, there are 76 skills that average a 9.9% pay boost.

    Out of the 18 Microsoft noncertified skills, only two -- Exchange Server and BizTalk Server -- have grown in value in the last three months. Foote has seen steady declines in value for .Net, but it's still the highest-paying Microsoft skill with a 12% pay premium. The value of .Net certifications have fallen four quarters in a row, but this can be viewed in a positive light from an employer's perspective. Falling values show that supply is catching up with demand, Foote notes.

    In addition to .Net, higher-paying Microsoft noncertified skills include Microsoft Commerce Server and SQL Server.

    On the whole, Foote says the IT jobs outlook is much sunnier than the picture painted by official government statistics. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics substantially underreports IT job creation, Foote says, by not counting IT professionals who work in line-of-business departments, such as product and marketing groups, rather than directly under the CIO.

    While the U.S. government numbers the IT workforce at 4 million, Foote Partners believes it is as high as 24 million when counting all workers being paid for IT skills.

    "The government has defined 'IT professional' in the same narrow way for several decades: just 21 job titles exist in the 2010-2011 edition of the Department of Labor's Occupational Outlook Handbook and they're all traditional technical infrastructure jobs in systems analysis, programming, data communications and networks, tech support, and database administration," Foote says in a recent analysis of federal data.

    Still, the official U.S. employment figures show eight straight months of IT job growth, with a net gain of 74,200 IT jobs over the past year.


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    Internet Explorer and Safari first to fall at Pwn2Own 2011, Chrome and Firefox still standing

    Pwn2Own, the annual three-day browser hackathon, has already claimed its first two victims: IE8 on Windows 7 64-bit, and Safari 5 on Mac OS X. Google Chrome looks set to survive for its third year in a row.

    Internet Explorer 8 was thoroughly destroyed by independent researcher Stephen Fewer. "He used three vulnerabilities to bypass ASLR and DEP, but also escape Protected Mode. That's something we've not seen at Pwn2Own before," said Aaron Portnoy, the organizer of Pwn2Own.

    Safari 5, running on a MacBook Air, was compromised in just five seconds by French security company Vupen. Both attackers netted $15,000 for successfully compromising a browser.

    The contest continues today and tomorrow. Firefox 3.6 is yet to be attacked, and tomorrow will see the very first mobile browser deathmatch. Windows Phone 7, iOS, Android and RIM OS, all with their stock browsers, will be attacked by security researchers to find out just how secure mobile browsing is. Again, $15,000 is available for the first person or team to compromise each of the browsers.

    Google, Apple and Mozilla, incidentally, all rolled out updates to their browsers just before Pwn2Own. It was not a coincidence.


    Ahead of the most recent Pwn2Own, Google made a rather proud challenge: it'd pay $20,000 to any team or individual who could successfully hack Chrome. Two takers signed up for that challenge -- and then both backed down. One individual didn't show up and a second entry, known as Team Anon, decided to focus their efforts elsewhere. There's still time left for someone to come out of the woodwork and scrape off that polish, but as of now no brave souls have registered intent. Meanwhile, IE8 was taken down by Stephen Fewer, who used three separate vulnerabilities to get out of Protected Mode and crack that browser's best locks. Safari running on a MacBook Air got shamed again, cracked in just five seconds. Not exactly an improvement compared to how it fared in 2008.

    http://downloadsquad.switched.com/20...e-and-firefox/

    comments:

    Firefox 4 will also have the same sandbox based architecture as Google Chrome, so it would be as secure as Google Chrome, and spy free as posed to Chrome!
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    Usage caps to come to AT&T DSL, U-verse in May

    Michael Santo - March 13th, 2011

    We've been wondering when the hammer would fall, and it's here. AT&T is joining some other ISPs, including Comcast and setting a hard data cap on usage of its DSL services, according to a report issued Sunday, March 13 by DSL Reports.

    From March 18 to March 31, AT&T users are going to be receiving the bad news via notices informing them of the change in the company's terms of service. The caps go into effect May 2. Anyone who's eschewed Comcast for AT&T's DSL service may be rethinking things right about now.

    DSL customers will have a 150GB data cap. U-verse customers will have a 250GB data cap. U-verse is AT&T's higher bandwidth services, that can go all the way up to 24Mbps d/l and 3Mbps u/l for U-verse Max Turbo.

    AT&T spokesman Seth Bloom confirmed the information. The caps will, naturally, involve overage charges. It doesn't sound like the company will boot users who exceed the cap, at least. To incur the overage charges, AT&T said a customer must consistently overshoot the cap.

    Consistently, however, means 3x over the life of your account. That's right, not per month. Overage charges will be $10 for every 50GB over the data cap. To be honest, that's not too bad.

    comment:

    There are reports that u-verse will not be capped since it uses fiber optics.

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    Default Mandatory Chip in all new cell phones

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