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  1. #21
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    Mozilla Aims to Speed Up Slow Firefox Add-Ons

    By Jeff Bertolucci - Apr 3, 2011

    Firefox add-ons are a great way to add features and improve security in Mozilla's browser, but they can seriously slow performance too. Now Mozilla is taking action against those speed-killing extensions.

    In an April 1st blog post, Mozilla product manager Justin Scott outlines a series of initiatives designed to minimize delays caused by add-ons.

    "Firefox performance is extremely important to our users, especially how quickly it starts up and loads websites. Customization is also extremely important, and while most add-ons cause only a tiny performance impact, others can significantly slow down Firefox," Scott writes.

    Sluggish Surfing

    The slowdown can be significant, particularly if you're running several add-ons at a time. According to Mozilla, each add-on adds about 10 percent to Firefox's startup time. The company's performance data shows that installing 10 add-ons will double the amount of time it takes the browser to launch.

    In an era where speed is king--performance is the most appealing attribute of the latest versions of Google Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer--the move to address speed-killing add-ons is critical. Mozilla's new Firefox 4 browser promises faster graphics rendering, page loads, and startup times. Faster add-ons will help the new version succeed, too.

    So what's Mozilla doing about slow extensions? First, it's running automated performance tests on the top 100 add-ons and posting the results. The worst offenders, which currently include the FoxLingo Translator/Dictionary and Firebug, a developer's tool, will be publicly shamed. Users will know which add-ons to avoid.

    Mozilla is asking developers of slow add-ons to improve the speed of their software. In addition, its add-on gallery will show warnings of programs that slow Firefox's startup time by 25 percent or more. A future version of Firefox will display these warnings in the browser's Add-Ons Manager too.

    Third-party software is notorious for installing performance-killing browser toolbars and other add-ons without your permission. To prevent that, an upcoming version of Firefox will not allow the installation of third-party add-ons in the browser without your consent.

    "We expect this to have a huge impact on Firefox performance, as well as giving users back the control they should have over their add-ons," Scott writes.

    What Firefox Users Can Do


    If your version of Firefox is running slowly, the best way to speed it up is to disable add-ons you aren't using. These instructions from Mozilla tell you how to disable or uninstall add-ons. By turning off an add-on, you're preventing it from loading (and slowing) the browser. Since you haven't uninstalled it, however, you can always reactivate the add-on later, if you need it.


  2. #22
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    Textfree App to Add Free Calling Feature This Summer

    Jun 3, 2010

    Mobile users looking to beat the high cost of phone calls will soon have another weapon at their disposal. This summer, developer Pinger is planning an update to its Textfree Unlimited app that will add free voice services over 3G and Wi-Fi.

    Textfree Unlimited already lets users avoid SMS charges--or, in the case of iPod touch users, add messaging capabilities--by sending text messages over the Internet. Last week, Pinger removed the app's price tag; instead of $6, Textfree Unlimited is now a free download.

    That sets the stage for this summer's update, which will extend Textfree's feature set to include calling features. Appropriately, that will also usher in a new name--Textfree with Voice.

    According to a Pinger representative, Textfree with Voice will provide users with a second phone number. Friends will be able to call and text that number free of charge. iPod touch users will be able to use the calling features as well, though only when they're connected to Wi-Fi. Because of policy changes earlier this year that allow VoIP apps to work over AT&T's network, iPhone users will be able to call and text over 3G as well as Wi-Fi.

    Textfree with Voice will join a growing of apps that offer calling features over a network connection--most notably Skype, which just added 3G support in its version 2.0 release. However, only Skype-to-Skype calling over 3G is currently free, and that's expected to change in August when the company starts charging a small monthly fee. In contrast, Pinger says that Textfree users will be able to call anyone for free whether they use the app or not. The service will be supported by ads.

    Textfree Unlimited is currently at version 3.4; the calling features will be added in a free update.



    Google Voice - phone


    what it is - http://www.google.com/googlevoice/about.html

    how it works - http://www.youtube.com/v/m4Q9MJdT5Ds&autoplay=1

    how to get it - https://services.google.com/fb/forms/googlevoiceinvite/


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Cell Phone Cancer Fear: Daily Radiation Exposure

    news video: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=YTqphSjYchA



    Cell Phone Radiation

    What many cell phone users may not know is that cell phones send electromagnetic waves into users' brains. In fact, every cell phone model sold in the United States has a specific measurement of how much microwave energy from the phone can penetrate the brain. Depending on how close the cell phone antenna is to the head, as much as 60 percent of the microwave radiation is absorbed by and actually penetrates the area around the head, some reaching an inch to an inch-and-a-half into the brain.

    To see the radiation emitted by your phone see our Cell phone radiation chart


    "This is the first generation that has put relatively high-powered transmitters against the head, day after day," says Dr. Ross Adey, who has worked for industry and government for decades studying microwave radiation, and is one of the most respected scientists in the field. Tests conducted by the ABC show 20/20 have found that some of the country's most popular cell phones can - depending on how they're held - exceed the radiation limit. 20/20 reported that government-testing guidelines are so vague that a phone can pass the Federal Communications Commission's requirements when tested in one position and exceed those maximum levels when held in another position.

    Experts say it's particularly hard to predict the long-term impact of a product that's just two decades old, especially since most of the 95 million Americans who now have cell phones began using them in the past five years.

    radiation chart - http://www.sarshield.com/english/radiationchart.htm


  3. #23
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    Mozilla Aims to Speed Up Slow Firefox Add-Ons

    By Jeff Bertolucci - Apr 3, 2011

    Firefox add-ons are a great way to add features and improve security in Mozilla's browser, but they can seriously slow performance too. Now Mozilla is taking action against those speed-killing extensions.

    In an April 1st blog post, Mozilla product manager Justin Scott outlines a series of initiatives designed to minimize delays caused by add-ons.

    "Firefox performance is extremely important to our users, especially how quickly it starts up and loads websites. Customization is also extremely important, and while most add-ons cause only a tiny performance impact, others can significantly slow down Firefox," Scott writes.

    Sluggish Surfing

    The slowdown can be significant, particularly if you're running several add-ons at a time. According to Mozilla, each add-on adds about 10 percent to Firefox's startup time. The company's performance data shows that installing 10 add-ons will double the amount of time it takes the browser to launch.

    In an era where speed is king--performance is the most appealing attribute of the latest versions of Google Chrome and Microsoft Internet Explorer--the move to address speed-killing add-ons is critical. Mozilla's new Firefox 4 browser promises faster graphics rendering, page loads, and startup times. Faster add-ons will help the new version succeed, too.

    So what's Mozilla doing about slow extensions? First, it's running automated performance tests on the top 100 add-ons and posting the results. The worst offenders, which currently include the FoxLingo Translator/Dictionary and Firebug, a developer's tool, will be publicly shamed. Users will know which add-ons to avoid.

    Mozilla is asking developers of slow add-ons to improve the speed of their software. In addition, its add-on gallery will show warnings of programs that slow Firefox's startup time by 25 percent or more. A future version of Firefox will display these warnings in the browser's Add-Ons Manager too.

    Third-party software is notorious for installing performance-killing browser toolbars and other add-ons without your permission. To prevent that, an upcoming version of Firefox will not allow the installation of third-party add-ons in the browser without your consent.

    "We expect this to have a huge impact on Firefox performance, as well as giving users back the control they should have over their add-ons," Scott writes.

    What Firefox Users Can Do
    [IMG]file:///C:/Users/Zahid/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image002.jpg[/IMG]

    If your version of Firefox is running slowly, the best way to speed it up is to disable add-ons you aren't using. These instructions from Mozilla tell you how to disable or uninstall add-ons. By turning off an add-on, you're preventing it from loading (and slowing) the browser. Since you haven't uninstalled it, however, you can always reactivate the add-on later, if you need it.


  4. #24
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    109-Terabit Broadband Test Breaks Records, Engages Geek Envy

    By Kevin Lee - May 2, 2011

    We’ve got a new 109 terabit-per-second broadband speed to aspire to--and secretly envy. The new record holder is the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology in Tokyo. This record-setting broadband speed was not produced through any regular old fiber-optic cable, though.

    A typical fiber-optic cable pulls off its faster data transfer speeds by separating one light to carry multiple snippets of data across the same cable that end up being received as one pulse. The Japanese institute simply added 7 more of these data-guiding cables, each carrying 15.6 terabits per second to bring a total of 109 terabits per second.

    This isn't the first time researchers have managed such ridiculously high data transfer rates. Just last month, researchers at the Optical Fiber Communications Conference in Los Angeles achieved a 101.7 terabit-per-second data transfer rate by splitting the fiber light into 370 separate lasers.

    Meanwhile, the rest of us are sad-faced and wondering what’s the point of clamoring over a measly 1Gbps fiber network.

    ------------------------------


    26Tbps Transmitted with a Single Laser, Could Supercharge Internet Backbone

    May 23, 2011

    Blasting away all previous records, a data rate of 26Tbps over a single optical fiber with just one laser has been achieved by researchers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. At a rate of 26Tbps, 3.3 terabytes -- 3,328 gigabytes -- can be transferred in a single second. If you had a system capable of writing that much data to storage, the entire Library of Congress could be transferred in just 3 seconds.

    While transmission speeds of over 100Tbps have already been demonstrated by researchers in America and Japan, their approaches are simply infeasible. "[Their] problem was they didn't have just one laser, they had something like 500 lasers, which is an incredibly expensive thing. If you can imagine 500 lasers, they fill racks and consume tens of kilowatts of power," said Wolfgang Freude, co-inventor of the new single-laser technique. Instead of using "brute force" wavelength-division multiplexing (WDM) or spatial division multiplexing (SDM), the German researchers successfully used orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) to encode 350 separate data streams into a single laser beam. While ISPs and internet backhaulers would never use a system that requires 500 lasers, a single-laser single-fiber system could be commercially viable, and possibly compatible with their current fiber networks.

    The 26Tbps-with-a-single-laser technique uses fast Fourier transforms (FFT) to de-multiplex the data using circuitry that can be shrunk onto a standard silicon die, which means commercial applications could be just around the corner. Couple this new technique with the fact that multi-core fiber cables are both tricky to manufacture and expensive, and you can begin to see why this is such an important invention. The researchers don't say whether existing fiber networks can support their OFDM transmission method -- but if they can, then the backbone of the internet might soon get a very big boost. We might even see the wide-scale return of unlimited traffic allowances on home connections.

    -------------------------------


    Laser puts record data rate through fibre

    By Jason Palmer - 22 May 2011

    Researchers have set a new record for the rate of data transfer using a single laser: 26 terabits per second.

    At those speeds, the contents of nearly 1,000 high-definition DVDs could be sent down an optical fibre in a second.

    The trick is to use what is known as a "fast Fourier transform" to unpick more than 300 separate colours of light in a laser beam, each encoded with its own string of information.

    The technique is described in the journal Nature Photonics.

    The push for higher data rates in light-based telecommunications technologies has seen a number of significant leaps in recent years.

    While the earliest optical fibre technologies encoded a string of data as "wiggles" within a single colour of light sent down a fibre, newer approaches have used a number of tricks to increase data rates.

    Among them is what is known as "orthogonal frequency division multiplexing", which uses a number of lasers to encode different strings of data on different colours of light, all sent through the fibre together.

    At the receiving end, another set of laser oscillators can be used to pick up these light signals, reversing the process.

    Check the pulse

    While the total data rate possible using such schemes is limited only by the number of lasers available, there are costs, says Wolfgang Freude, a co-author of the current paper from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany.

    "Already a 100 terabits per second experiment has been demonstrated," he told BBC News.

    "The problem was they didn't have just one laser, they had something like 370 lasers, which is an incredibly expensive thing. If you can imagine 370 lasers, they fill racks and consume several kilowatts of power."

    Professor Freude and his colleagues have instead worked out how to create comparable data rates using just one laser with exceedingly short pulses.

    Within these pulses are a number of discrete colours of light in what is known as a "frequency comb".

    When these pulses are sent into an optical fibre, the different colours can mix together and create 325 different colours in total, each of which can be encoded with its own data stream.

    Last year, Professor Freude and his collaborators first demonstrated how to use a smaller number of these colours to transmit over 10 terabits per second.

    At the receiving end, traditional methods to separate the different colours will not work. In the current experiment, the team sent their signals down 50km of optical fibre and then implemented what is known as an optical fast Fourier transform to unpick the data streams.

    Colours everywhere

    The Fourier transform is a well-known mathematical trick that can in essence extract the different colours from an input beam, based solely on the times that the different parts of the beam arrive, and at what intensity.

    The team does this optically - rather than mathematically, which at these data rates would be impossible - by splitting the incoming beam into different paths that arrive at different times.

    In this way, stringing together all the data in the different colours turns into the simpler problem of organising data that essentially arrive at different times.

    Professor Freude said that the current design outperforms earlier approaches simply by moving all the time delays further apart, and that it is a technology that could be integrated onto a silicon chip - making it a better candidate for scaling up to commercial use.

    He concedes that the idea is a complex one, but is convinced that it will come into its own as the demand for ever-higher data rates drives innovation.

    "Think of all the tremendous progress in silicon photonics," he said. "Nobody could have imagined 10 years ago that nowadays it would be so common to integrate relatively complicated optical circuits on to a silicon chip."


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    Google’s Microsoft moment?
    Dominic Rushe in New York, Thursday 23 June 2011
    Google to be formally investigated over potential abuse of web dominance US Federal Trade Commission antitrust inquiry will examine heart of Google's search-advertising

    < http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jun/23/google-investigation-federal-trade-commission/print >



    In Antitrust Probe, Google's Critics Have it Wrong
    David Balto, 06.24.2011
    Antitrust attorney
    Much of what motivates supporters of an investigation of Google at the Federal Trade Commission is not a genuine desire to protect consumers, but a desire to protect competitors from Google's intense competitive nature.

    < http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-balto/post_2155_b_884283.html?view=print >



    The Internet as a Tool for Repression
    Mark Engler - April 26, 2011 1:00 pm
    We often hear about the revolutionary power of the Internet to take down authoritarian regimes. Less often do we consider how online technologies can provide dastardly means for repressive governments to locate, monitor, and persecute dissidents.

    <http://www.dissentmagazine.org/atw.php?id=437>



    Apple's Pre-Emptive Strike Against Free Speech
    by Tim Karr
    Published on Wednesday, June 22, 2011 by Save the Internet
    So you think you control your smartphone? Think again.
    Late last week reports uncovered a plan by Apple, manufacturer of the iPhone, to patent technology that can detect when people are using their phone cameras and shut them down.

    <http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/06/22-8?print>



    Apple may have tough road in Amazon lawsuit
    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Apple Inc may face hurdles in stopping online retailer Amazon.com Inc from using Apple's App Store name through a trademark lawsuit, a U.S. judge indicated at a hearing on Wednesday.
    Wed June 22, 2011

    <http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110622/...e_amazon/print >



    What goes on in the mind of internet obsessives?
    These days it's virtually possible to live entirely online if you want to. But the real world tends to intrude eventually, says Alexander Chancellor

    < http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jun/23/socialnetworking-gary-mckinnon/print >



    Internet domain addresses opened up to wave of new suffixes
    By Charles Arthur, technology editor, Monday 20 June 2011
    Internet naming board approves huge expansion of approved domain extensions with .hotel, .bank, or .sport auctions likely

    < http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/jun/20/internet-domain-wave-new-suffixes/print >



    Scams: Cyber fraudsters exploit economic downturn
    By Miles Brignall and Rebecca Smithers, Friday 24 June 2011
    24 Jun 2011: Fake online jobs, flats and festival tickets are on the increase as scammers target consumers' money-saving ethos

    < http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/jun/24/cyber-fraudsters-economic-downturn/print >



    Typing-powered laptops 'in three years'
    By Ian Douglas, 24 Jun 2011
    Australian researchers are claiming a breakthrough in technology that could extend battery life dramatically.

    < http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8596137/Typing-powered-laptops-in-three-years.html >



    Copy/Paste: How to Add Images to Your Gmail Messages Quickly
    By Erica Ho on June 14, 2011

    < http://techland.time.com/2011/06/14/...etter-techland >



    Rhodri Marsden: Boring emails that are the stuff of life
    Monday, 13 June 2011
    Unsurprisingly, my own collection of 23,549 emails over the same period is equally dull

    < http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion...e-2296774.html >

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    Samsung Solar Netbook Great Where Power Is Scarce

    By Michael Kwan - May 11, 2011






    While we focus on innovations like Super AMOLED touchscreens and high-resolution cameras, there’s another concern for developing countries: having the power to juice up these gadgets. Samsung is apparently working on a solution to that and it’s going to be a solar-powered netbook.

    I’m not entirely sure that some small solar panels are going to be able to absorb enough power to run a netbook for a substantial amount of time, but I’ll be more than happy if Samsung proves me wrong. We’ve seen solar panels as supplemental power on concept devices before, but if they can step it up even further, it’d be fantastic for places like Kenya where wall plugs aren’t exactly as accessible as you might think.

    And that’s precisely where Samsung is holding a forum this week. They’re in Kenya showing off their usual array of notebooks, tablets, and other electronics for Africa, but the solar netbook is really going to be the media darling if it holds up. That sure beats the hand crank we once saw the OLPC.




    -------------------------------


    Typing-powered laptops 'in three years'

    Australian researchers are claiming a breakthrough in technology that could extend battery life dramatically.

    By Ian Douglas - 24 Jun 2011

    Piezoelectric materials - substances that generate electricity when subjected to pressure or concussion - have been known since the 1880s when they were discovered by Pierre Curie, husband of Marie. The researchers from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology have become the first to be able to accurately measure the energy generated by thin pizoelectric films, which they hope will be easier to incorporate into electronic devices such as laptops, mobile phone chargers and pacemakers.

    The research, published in the journal Advanced Funtional Materials, does not go so far as to say that the films will be able to power the devices entirely, but does hope for the development of what it calls ‘integrated microscale energy scavenging systems,’ which would improve efficiency and extend battery life without having to wait for improvement in the batteries themselves.

    Dr Madhu Bhaskaran led the research. She told ABC News in Australia: ‘Currently the energy levels we’re able to generate is around ten times less than what’s required, so that’s the next step, to amplify it by ten times, so we can produce an everlasting battery or replace exisiting batteries. If we can amplify the power, which we think will take three years, it should be fairly quick to commercialise it.’



    -------------------------------




    Samsung Transparent 46-inch LCD Powered by Solar Energy

    by Mihai Sandru - March 6, 2011



    Samsung has recently revealed a transparent 46-inch LCD screen powered by solar energy. It is an upgraded model of a see-through LCD panel showed at the SID 2010 in Seattle, in May last year.

    You don’t need to put the screen outside to have it powered up. It is able to get the energy just from “ambient lighting”, being also energy efficient.

    Demoed at CeBIT 2011, the prototype supports full HD resolution (1920×1080 pixels) as well as providing a full ten finger touchscreen surface and a viewable size of 46 inches.

    According to company officials, commercial models based on the technology will soon hit the market. Samsung has not yet revealed any details regarding the position of the backlight unit as well as the power consumption.

    It will be interesting to find out how the panel could be compared to existing traditional models in terms of price, color reproduction and refresh rates. The company also has great plans for the future, by planning to expand such green power technologies to other gadgets, as well.


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    Four Intriguing New Smart Phones

    By ConsumerReports.org

    At Consumer Reports, we're continually testing the latest smart-phone offerings. And recently, several of the most promising and even ground-breaking cell phones we've seen in a while have come into our labs for testing: The Samsung Infuse 4G, T-Mobile G2x, Sony Xperia Play, and Nexus S 4G. Here's a rundown on each phone and why Senior Editor Mike Gikas thinks it stands out from the crowd.


    Samsung Infuse 4G
    This AT&T phone features a big, brilliant display at 4.5-inches. And in our tests of the Infuse 4G, colors popped, and videos were smooth and sharp. The phone also features an 8-megapixel camera with 720p video recording and HDMI playback, so you can view videos on your TV. The Samsung Infuse has accomplished an impossible task: Squeezing one of the largest and perhaps best displays in telecom land into an incredibly slim, pocket-friendly package—seemingly without making any compromises regarding performance. $200 after rebates with a two-year contract.


    T-Mobile G2x
    This sharp-looking device is one of the first smart phones with the ability to record video at 1080p. And it has one of the best HD video recorders we’ve ever seen on a phone--on a par even with some standalone camcorders The camera, which includes a flash, has more than the usual amount of manual controls, including ISO adjustments and other image settings. And the G2x has an HDMI connector—so you can hook it up to your TV and view your photos and video. $200 after rebates with a two-year contract.


    Sony Xperia Play
    This hybrid gadget combines a portable gaming console with a smart phone, and does an admirable job of balancing those disparate demands. Gaming on the Play is very much like using one of the non-phone Sony portables: Its controls will be instantly familiar to PlayStation veterans. It also offers built-in Wi-Fi, so you can engage other gamers via the Web. Over 50 games were available at launch, and more are on the way. And it’s a top-notch Android phone, as well. $200 after rebates with a two-year contract.


    Samsung Nexus S 4G
    The Nexus S 4G give Sprint customers a leg up for key Google services. Significantly, it’s the only device that will work with Google Wallet—the company’s upcoming pay-by-phone system—at launch. Another is Google Voice, which lets you manage up to six different phones through one number with intelligent call routing. The phone also features a 4-inch touchscreen and a 1-GHz Samsung processor with a dedicated graphics processor, which can enhance performance for mobile games, Web browsing, and videos. And finally, the Nexus S 4G can serve as a 3G/4G mobile hotspot for up to six Wi-Fi enabled devices simultaneously. $200 after rebates with a two-year contract.

    Attached Files

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    Is the personal computer dead? HP, the largest PC maker, thinks so

    By Sebastian Anthony - August 19, 2011


    Hewlett-Packard announced that it would be dropping its webOS-based smartphones and tablets immediately. The TouchPad, which has only been available for a few weeks — and just four days in Australia — has died. The Pre3, which was literally released a few hours before HP’s announcement, has been terminated. There is no word about whether unsold devices will be pulled from the shelves, nor how long HP will support owners of webOS devices.

    The sad truth is that buying Palm and building webOS-powered products was only ever an experiment for HP. It cost the boys in Palo Alto $1.2 billion to buy Palm in 2010, and probably a few tens of millions to develop and ship the TouchPad, Pre3, and Veer, but in the grand scheme of things this was a very cheap foray into the world of mobile computing. You have to be in it to win it, and God knows it was cheaper, easier, and quicker than developing its own mobile OS. WebOS itself isn’t dead, either; it will live on in HP’s printers, and perhaps other non-mobile devices.


    Frittering away a billion dollars in just over a year wasn’t HP’s biggest bombshell yesterday, though. During the same third-quarter earnings call, HP announced that it was spending $11 billion on UK “big data” analysis company
    Autonomy — and just to prove that its exit from the smartphone and tablet market wasn’t mere happenstance, HP also announced that it is looking to exit the PC market as well.

    Hewelett-Packard’s Personal Systems Group, if you weren’t aware, is the
    world’s largest seller of laptop and desktop PCs. Out of the 300 million PCs sold around the world in 2009, HP sold 20% of them. The problem, though — at least according to HP’s CEO and board of directors — is that the Western PC market is saturated and fundamentally at a stand still. Almost every home in Europe and the US has a PC, and when the upgrade cycle finally rolls around, every computer on the shelves of Best Buy is basically the same. There’s PC apathy, in other words.

    The other issue is
    tiny profit margins: when it comes to bang for your buck, commodity PC hardware simply doesn’t match up against software and prestige hardware. For example, Microsoft and Apple both have monstrous profit margins — around 30% — while HP, lumbered by its PC division, makes less than 10% profit. This isn’t to say that there isn’t money to be made from PCs — it’s just HP’s way of saying that it would rather be making software, or focusing on high-margin corporate and enterprise hardware like mainframe servers and printers.

    But what does this mean for the personal computer in general? Dell, the second largest PC OEM in the world, also makes most of its money from enterprise solutions; what if it sells off its consumer PC division too? Is this the beginning of the end?


    Now, with 400 million PCs expected to be sold in 2011, the PC market isn’t going to vanish over night — and likewise the
    post-PC world won’t magically burst into existence — but HP’s strategic maneuvering away from personal computers does highlight a massive lack of confidence in the market’s continued health. It might look like a simple matter of profit margins and shareholder happiness, but ultimately HP is implying that personal computers will now begin their slow, commoditized, twilight waltz into becoming — gulp – Household Goods.

    In their place, of course, smartphones, tablets, and wearable computers will gush forth. The PC has had a good run — they’ve been hunkering on or below our desks for more than 30 years — but with the incessant march of Moore’s law and our neverending desire for more choice, more flexibility, and more connectivity, it seems like the humble personal computer might finally have reached the end of the line.



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    HP says prefers to spin off PC unit

    Aug 29, 2011


    Hewlett-Packard said on Monday it prefers to spin off its personal computers unit and is currently working on understanding the larger implications of separating the business from the company.

    The world's largest technology company by revenue shocked investors when it announced earlier this month that it is considering strategic alternatives for its Personal Systems Group (PSG) -- which includes PCs -- and would kill its new tablet computer as part of a major revamping away from the consumer market.

    "We prefer a spin-off as a separate company and the working hypotheses is that a spin-off will be in the best interests of HP's shareholders, customers and employees," a HP spokeswoman said. "However, we have to complete the diligence process and validate this assumption, including fully understanding the dis-synergies in separating the PSG business from HP."

    Some of the alternatives HP is exploring for the PC unit include hiving off the business into a separate company through a spin-off or sale.

    HP said the whole process could take 12 months to 18 months, but a final decision on the unit is expected by the end of this calendar year.

    The California-based company has been struggling in the PC market -- a low-margin but high revenue business -- as niftier gadgets such as Apple Inc's iPad have lured consumers away.

    HP's WebOS-based TouchPad was killed after sales failed to take off. The company is now also exploring options for its WebOS software, which it acquired through the acquisition of Palm.


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    Apple copycat ‘hiPhone 5’ comes calling in China

    By REUTERS - Aug 10, 2011


    SHANGHAI: The newest version of Apple Inc’s popular iPhone has already hit the Chinese market — the fake market that is. The ‘hiPhone 5’ is selling for as little as 200 yuan ($31) on China’s top e-commerce platform Taobao, which is owned by Alibaba Group.

    But one has to pay around 800 yuan for a more “genuine” one, according to some shop clerks at a mobile phone market in Shanghai.

    “Look at this. It’s not the same as the 300-400 yuan ones,” Shanghai-based daily Metro Express quoted a clerk as saying, pointing to one originally priced at 850 yuan.

    The ‘hiPhone 5’ is based on leaked images of the yet-to-be-launched iPhone 5 and is thinner and with less rounded edges than the existing iPhone 4, according to the newspaper. However, it is extremely light, almost like a plastic toy, like most pirated mobile phones, it said.

    Western governments have repeatedly criticized China for widespread violation of intellectual property rights, but pirated goods from branded watches, to bags and computer software can be easily found in shops.

    Last month, an American blogger set off a media storm after she posted pictures of an elaborate fake Apple Store in Kunming, selling genuine if unauthorized iPhones, Macbooks and other widely popular Apple products.

    Reuters also uncovered a look-a-like of the Swedish furniture giant Ikea in the southwestern Chinese city.

    Apple, which is expected to roll out the latest version of the iPhone 5 smartphone within a few months, sold a record 20.34 million iPhones during the last quarter, even though its newest model is over a year old.

    comment:

    Why is Apple or any such company and their western government upset over these fake markets and products?! These Capitalists want a Free Market and in such a market there is no whining over who is copying whom and trying to control everything, in such a market there is only demand and supply (fake products or not). The consumers decide whether they want to buy something or not, not big companies.

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    When you look at what copyright laws were originally intended to protect and what they do now its a completely different thing. Governments no longer regulate, business regulates and tells government what it should do, as long as they do that, they agree to pay taxes.

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    Windows To Go: take Windows 8 and your files with you on a USB stick (video)



    A new feature in Windows 8 Server, due out at the same time as Windows 8 itself, allows you to boot almost any computer into Windows 8 using a USB thumb drive. Dubbed Windows To Go, it is effectively a Windows live CD — though, as far as we know, you won’t be downloading a Windows To Go ISO from Microsoft: it’s an enterprise tool for IT administrators. For a hands-on review of Windows To Go, watch the video below — or read on.

    Basically, you insert a blank USB drive into a Windows 8 Server machine, click “Provision removable drive with Windows To Go” (or similar — the exact process isn’t known), and that’s it. Unlike a live CD, though, you can create a Windows To Go installation with your documents on it — so you could, in theory, carry an up-to-date copy of your files and a bootable copy of Windows 8 in your pocket at all times. Unfortunately, for licensing reasons, it’s unlikely that Windows To Go will be available for consumer installations of Windows 8 — unless you purchase a second license, perhaps — but who knows, it might be a feature of Windows 8 Ultimate.

    In practice, Windows To Go really, and rather surprisingly… works. You plug it in, select the USB stick during boot, and about 30 seconds later you are looking at the Windows 8 Start screen. We’re told that this really is a full version of Windows 8 — and it sure feels as fast and fluid as the real thing — but the exact feature set is undetermined (you will probably be able to select/deselect features during disk creation). We can assume that it should at least support domains, though, which will make it ideal for hot desking or quickly returning a computer to a usable state.

    Everyone here in the ExtremeTech bunker would love the ability to give our ancestors a USB stick on Windows To Go; just imagine, if they mess the installation up with malware, just burn them a fresh stick. Documents in Windows 8 are automatically synced to your Windows Live SkyDrive, too… so it really would be easy to just nuke everything and start again.

    To see Windows To Go in action, watch our hands-on video below.






    -------------------------------------------------------------


    5 deal-breaking flaws in Windows 8


    At the Build Windows in Anaheim, California, excitement, eagerness, and trepidation fill the air in equal measures. Developers are overjoyed that Microsoft’s best-in-class development tools can now target tablets, a slew of new, low-level features will usher in entirely new species of always-on, omnipresent devices, and few can deny the awesome money-making potential of the Windows Store.

    Once you see past the emphatically strident Steven Sinofsky and the repeated reassurance that you will like Windows 8, however, a handful of flaws begin to rear their ugly heads. As awesome as Metro might be, and as fresh and invigorated the re-imagined Windows team is, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that Windows 8 will break the user experience paradigm that two or three billion people have grown accustomed to. Almost every computer user alive today cut their teeth on Windows — on icons, on Alt-Tab, and on the Start menu — and as of Windows 8, that body of experience, that muscle memory, and those expectations, will all be for nought.

    Windows 8 re-imagines Windows, and Metro – the primary interface that you have to use — is completely different from what users expect. Metro might not be a separate OS, but beyond low-level features like the kernel and drivers, Metro is about as disparate as it gets. It’s like iOS and Mac OS X, or Android and Ubuntu — they’re built on much the same architecture, but you interact with them in very, very different ways.

    Five flaws

    Now, it wouldn’t be quite so bad if Metro and Explorer/Desktop were separate, but Windows 8 machines will run both interfaces interchangeably — as Sinofsky says, you can switch between Metro and standard Win32 “like tabs in a browser” — but don’t be fooled into thinking that Desktop is a first-class citizen in Windows 8. Many affordances are made to ensure that Windows 8 is tablet- and touch-first, and as a result the desktop and laptop experience will suffer.

    There are five big potholes that, unless they are rectified, will create a seriously jarring experience for most of Earth’s inhabitants.

    1. Multi-tasking

    The most obvious omission from Windows 8 is proper multi-tasking and task/app switching. Unless you are in Desktop and you have a keyboard attached, there is no way to switch between currently-running apps; all you can do is flick cyclicly through open apps — in just one direction. If you want to alternate between two apps — to copy and paste something, for example — it’s simply not possible. If you have 10 apps open (an activity that is encouraged because Windows 8 has received a bevy of power management tweaks) you need to flick left 10 times to arrive back at the beginning.




    2. You can’t close apps

    As a corollary, if you want to close a handful of those 10 apps — if you want to make task switching easier, or free up some memory — then… well… you can’t. The only way to close apps in Windows 8 is through Task Manager, which exists solely within Desktop. Needless to say, toying with Task Manager with a fat finger isn’t the best experience in the world. We would expect that a Close button might appear in the right-side menu at a later date, though.

    3. Goodbye Start menu

    For 16 years Windows has revolved around the Start menu — but in Windows 8, the Start menu ceases to exist; in fact, the Metro-style interface that Windows 8 boots up into is actually called the Start screen. Even if you flip into Desktop view and click the flag in the bottom left corner you don’t get the Start menu; it just jumps back to Metro. It’s hard to describe how this will affect Windows veterans: it’s now Metro tiles, Desktop icons… and that’s it. The interface paradigms that they have come to know (and in rare cases love) are gone; it’s time to re-skill, whether you like it or not.

    The only saving grace is that the glorious Windows 7 superbar still exists — but before you get too excited, only standard Windows (Win32) programs will grace the task bar; again, beyond flicking left, there is no way to switch between Metro apps.





    4. It’s very hard to reboot and shut down

    It now requires no less than four gestures to shut down or reboot a Windows 8 tablet — and for some reason it is hidden behind the Settings charm in what is now the Metro-style system tray. Basically, Microsoft doesn’t want you to shut down Windows 8 — much in the same way that you rarely shut down Android, iOS, or any other mobile OS. Instead, Microsoft wants you to hit the physical power button, which simply hibernates the machine — which makes sense, if you only use the Metro side of Windows 8, but what about all of the business and enterprise users that might need to reboot a buggy machine?

    As an irritating aside, because the Start menu has died a death, shutting down Windows 8 with a mouse is painful: you have to click in the bottom left corner, then move your mouse all the way over to the right to click the Power button; fun times.





    5. The beautiful Start menu search is dead

    Finally, one of Windows 7′s best features — the ability to hit the Windows key and find any app or file on your computer simply by typing — is no more. You can still search in a similar fashion in Windows 8 (though it requires a right flick and then a click) but you can only search apps, or settings, or files — and changing between each category requires yet another click/prod.



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    Mozilla BrowserID for Firefox, IE, and Chrome does away with usernames and passwords

    By Sebastian Anthony - July 15, 2011

    Over the last couple of years, Mozilla Labs has been fervently working on features that empower both Firefox and the web in general. Mozilla doesn’t have to concern itself with commercial ties or conflicts of interest — it doesn’t have worry about whether a new feature will impact the viability of its other products, like Microsoft and Google with their browsers. As far as Mozilla is concerned, its only real interest is in the long-term freedom and openness of the web, and thus your freedom, privacy, and security on the web as well. Which leads us neatly onto BrowserID, where effectively your web browser becomes you.

    In other words, instead of logging into Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, and a thousand other services, you simply log into your browser by providing an email address. Now whenever you visit a website, BrowserID tells the website who you are — and you’re automatically logged in. Basically, it’s like Facebook Connect or Google Single Sign On, but the federated login provider is your browser. There’s no passwords to remember — and there isn’t even anything to type. You just visit a site, and the remote server and BrowserID do all the work to log you in.

    That’s how BrowserID works from the view point of the user, anyway. There’s actually some funky technology under the hood — primarily, a new protocol called Verified Email Protocol. Basically, BrowserID uses your email address to create a standard public/private cryptographic key pair. Your browser keeps the private key, and your email provider (Gmail, Hotmail, etc.) keeps the public key. When you visit Facebook, BrowserID hands over your email address and an identity token that’s signed with the private key. Facebook queries your email provider for your public key, decrypts your identity token, and confirms that you are in fact you; voila, you’re logged in.

    It’s an absolutely fantastic idea that completely removes any reliance on commercial federated login solutions — and as an added bonus, it’s completely leak-proof; just like Firefox Sync, your sensitive data is stored locally and never transmitted to the web. As with all Mozilla offerings, BrowserID is of course open source and based on open standards — and better yet, because the prototype is written in plain ol’ HTML and JavaScript, BrowserID even works on all modern browsers… including mobile browsers! Hopefully, though, BrowserID will eventually find a home in Firefox itself (in version 15, perhaps) — and for a tantalizing hint of what the web will be like when it is integrated into Firefox, check Mozilla Labs’ mockups.

    Head along to the demo site and give it a whirl — and developers, in case you were wondering, it’s really easy to implement BrowserID on your site. It’s also worth noting that it’s really early days for BrowserID, so don’t be alarmed if the demo doesn’t work — and don’t be surprised if it takes a few months or more for BrowserID to begin its percolation across the web.


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    Firefox 8 released, finally fixes frivolous add-ons and tubby tabs

    By
    Sebastian Anthony -November 7, 2011

    Ahead of its official launch tomorrow, the latest iteration of everyone’s favorite furry is now available to download from Mozilla’s central FTP server. As with the other rapidly-released iterations, Firefox 8 is mostly just a faster, cleaner version of the previous version — except for a couple of cool features: third-party apps (like AVG or Skype) can no longer install add-ons without your consent, and you can now toggle your saved tabs to load on demand.


    The first change really is a no-brainer: Why should any add-on install itself without your permission? It would be OK if such add-ons were light-weight and well-programmed, but they are usually bloatware toolbars that are bundled with application installers. Basically, Mozilla has known for a long time that add-on performance directly affects the user’s perception of
    Firefox — in other words, it might be an add-on that makes Firefox slow, but the user sees that as Firefox’s fault. By disabling stealthy, third-party installation of add-ons, Mozilla simply hopes to improve its very sticky reputation of being Chrome’s slower cousin. Furthermore, when you first install Firefox 8, you’ll be prompted to enable any third-party add-ons that have been running without your consent for months, or maybe even years (pictured below).


    The second “big” change is all about power users. If you regularly have 10 or 20 or 30 tabs open, you might have experienced the crunch that occurs when you open the browser for the first time. Now, from Settings, you can enable “Don’t load tabs until selected” (pictured below) — this means that the content of each tab isn’t rendered and loaded into memory at first-run. This improves startup time and browser responsiveness within the first few seconds — again, Mozilla is trying hard to make Firefox appear fast, and none to soon.


    Finally, there’s the usual kitchen sink of small changes and bug fixes. Twitter is now available from the top-right search box, there’s a little more HTML5 support, tab rearrangement animations have changed slightly, the whole thing is a bit faster and more stable, WebGL is a little more secure, and more.

    If you’re a conscientious soul, please wait a few more hours and wait for the official Firefox 8 release. At the moment it’s only available from the nightly FTP server (
    Windows / Mac / Linux), which is currently being linked to by dozens of thoughtless tech blogs. Alternatively, just wait for Firefox 7 to prompt you that an update is available.'


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    Report: HP’s $99 TouchPad to return again in HP eBay store



    The HP TouchPad flew off shelves when the company slashed the base price of the tablet from $400 to $99. The company promised that there would be a final run of the tablet, but TechCrunch is reporting that the company will be selling its 16GB and 32 GB models at firesale prices on its eBay store this Sunday. The sale is set to start at 7 p.m. Eastern time, 6 p.m., Central.


    The models will be refurbished — not new — the report said. According to what appears to be a leaked employee memo, the company planned to let its workers have first crack at the eBay sale by delaying their announcement of the auction.


    The tablets will reportedly be listed under the “laptops” section of the store and will be selling for $99 and $149, respectively. The company is limiting sales to two tablets per person, and purchases can only be made via PayPal. The refurbished tablets come with a 90-day limited warranty, and all sales are final.


    The flurry of excitement around the TouchPad — thanks entirely to its price tag — was a wake-up call to tablet makers, who hadn’t aggressively pursued the lower-end of the market. Now that the Kindle Fire is selling for $199 and Ainovo is planning to release its $99, Ice Cream Sandwich-powered tablet, manufacturers may be working harder to tap into the demand for tablets at lower price points.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/busine...HfO_story.html

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    Thanks for the heads-up. I will look for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hussein View Post
    Thanks for the heads-up. I will look for it.
    You and me both!

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    Dell Challenges MacBook Pro With UltraThin Laptop

    The XPS 14z, Dell's new flagship laptop, measures less than one-inch thick and boasts a 14-inch display in a 13-inch frame--putting it in the same league as Apple's MacBook Pro.


    By Paul McDougall - October 25, 2011


    Dell on Tuesday launched a new flagship for its high-end line of business/consumer hybrid laptops-a slick, sub-one inch thick entry that the company is pushing as a rival to Apple's sleek MacBook Pro line of portables.


    The Dell XPS 14z packs plenty of power in a light, stylish package. It boasts a
    2nd generation Intel Core i5 processor or optional Core i7 Dual Core; it can handle up to 8 GB of DDR3 memory at 1,333Mhz, and it is compatible with external graphics cards. The standard OS is Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium edition.

    Dell's hope is that business users and consumers who like to be on tech's leading edge will find the XPS 14z as aesthetically pleasing as any MacBook and as powerful as the heavier, shoulder-dislocating systems from Lenovo or HP.


    [ Dell is active on a lot of fronts, including social. Read
    Dell Hopes To Score With Gamification. ]

    "The XPS 14z delivers what professionals want--raw power paired with a stunning, sophisticated design that signals 'I've arrived,'" said Steve Felice, president of Dell's Consumer and Small/Medium Business group, in a statement.


    "The XPS 14z is specifically engineered to help our customers do more in their personal and professional lives--and it advances our industry-leading vision for thin-and-powerful solutions that deliver performance without compromise," said Felice.


    The kicker: The XPS 14z accomplishes the seemingly impossible feat of delivering a 14-inch screen in a 13-inch frame, thanks to the unit's overall convex shape and edge-to-edge, borderless display. There's also some other impressive specs, including a maximum
    storage capacity of 750 GB, a 1.3-MP Webcam, and a backlit, spill-resistant keyboard. Dell rates battery life at up to six hours, 42 minutes.

    With prices
    starting at $999 and likely ranging up to $1,500 or more depending on the choice of processor and other options, Dell is clearing aiming the XPS 14z at consumers and business pros who are willing to pay a premium for form as well as function. It's a market segment that often opts for Apple's line of glassy MacBooks.

    Can Dell, known mostly as a builder of reliable but hardly distinct PCs and laptops, compete for computing's smart set?


    It's got a shot. The XPS 14z, like Apple's latest line of MacBook Pro machines, checks in at less than one inch thick. And although it doesn't pack quite as much horsepower as Apple's offering--the
    MacBook Pro line uses Intel's quad-core line of chips while Dell maxes out with the dual-core version--the XPS 14z's $999 starter price handily beats the $1,199 sticker on the new 13-inch MacBook Pro and, even more so, the $1,799 tag on the 15-inch version.

    Of course, Dell lacks Apple's cachet in the high-end of the market. Apple will tell you that you can't put a price on that. With the XPS 14z, available Nov. 1, Dell begs to differ.



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    Sold out before I could complete my purchase.


 

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