Today is that time ... article 1 out of 3
Network Status Sunday 15th - A little Downtime
Earlier this morning we had we've been offline for a little while. This was not related to our server farm yet due to a problem at our host. Once the problem was detected support staff went to the datacenter and discovered that one of the optical glassfibers was not passing thru data.
The passive backupline was activated and everything popped back on-line. The issue has thus been resloved.
My apologies for the downtime folks !
OCZ Diesel USB drives released
Core 2 Quad Q8200 Information Revealed
Intel is planning to launch a Core 2 Quad Q8000 CPU series, offering entry-level prices to counter AMD's triple-core CPUs in the mainstream market, according to sources at motherboard makers.
Intel will launch the Core 2 Quad Q8200 in the third quarter this year, supporting FSB up to 1333MHz, L2 cache of 4MB and a core frequency of 2.33GHz. Pricing will be set around US$203 in thousand-unit quantities
In order to separate the Q8000 series from Intel's Q9000 CPU family, the Q8000 CPU series will not support Intel's VT and TXT technology.
Disgruntled admin gets 63 months for massive data deletion
An IT manager who sought revenge for an unfavorable job evaluation
was sentenced to more than five years in federal prison after being
convicted of intentionally triggering a massive data collapse on his
former employer's computer network.
Jon Paul Oson, 38, of Chula Vista, California, was sentenced to 63 months behind bars and ordered to pay more than $409,000 in restitution, according to federal prosecutors in San Diego. He was immediately taken into custody after the sentence was handed down on Monday. It is one of the stiffest penalties ever for a computer hacking offense.
Oson was hired in May 2004 as a network engineer at the Council of Community Clinics in San Diego, a nonprofit that provides various services to 17 regional health clinics in Southern California. He performed well in that role and five months later was promoted to technical services manager. He ended up bitterly resigning a year later after a performance evaluation cited interpersonal difficulties, according to court documents.
On December 23, Oson logged onto servers belonging to his former employer and disabled the program that automatically backed up medical records for thousands of low-income patients. Six days later, he logged on again, and in the span of 43 minutes, methodically deleted the files containing patients' appointment data, medical charts and other information.
The dollar cost of Oson's rampage was pegged at $409,337.83 and accounted for expenses for technical investigations and moving to a paper-based system in the weeks following the attack. But the real toll came when doctors at North County Health Services no longer had medical records for thousands of low-income patients who sought medical care. North County Health Services contracted with Oson's employer to store the records.
By destroying the records, Oson threatened the health of patients who visited the clinic immediately after the attack, prosecutors argued. They cited two examples, including a nine-year-old who had been diagnosed with an ear infection several days before Oson's rampage. When he returned a few weeks later, doctors had no record of the previous diagnosis, and they also had no idea he was due for a routine physical exam.
"Patients who visited the clinic in the weeks following the network disruption were kept waiting hours and sometimes futilely while their charts were located and delivered to the appropriate clinic and doctor," prosecutors said in court documents. "With the shutdown of its Practice Management system, NCHS had to shift to a paper-based system."
After ransacking his former employer's network, Oson took pains to cover his tracks. When FBI agents raided his home in May 2006, they found all but one of his PCs had been wiped clean, irretrievably destroying data that might have shown he was behind the attacks.
But Oson slipped up and left other clues. One was an HP 2100 LaserJet printer he kept at his home and another was an HP LaserJet 4M printer physically located near the workstation Oson used at his new job.
It just so happened that in the weeks leading up to the data meltdown, an intruder had cased the network by logging in from at least three different machines. One was a computer named "TEMP3" that was equipped to work with an HP 2100 LaserJet printer. A second PC happened to contain drivers for the HP 2100 and a LaserJet 4M.
Even more incriminating, the nickname of this second PC was "kuku" and one of the printers it was configured to work with was named "mike2003 HP Laserjet 4M". That just happened to match the name of Oson's son and the network name of the printer sitting by his workstation.
"At the sentencing hearing, the court talked about the impact of Oson's actions and his arrogance," Assistant US Attorney Mitchell Dembin, who prosecuted the case, wrote in an email to The Reg. "The court said that Oson seemed to think that he was the smartest guy around but, as often happens, he ran into someone smarter (the FBI)."
Win an exclusive Alone in the Dark Shuttle XPC system
[QUOTE]To mark the release of the new title, Shuttle, in co-operation with ATARI, is running a great competition. Up for grabs is a Shuttle XPC in exclusive Alone in the Dark design, which more than caters for the game
Always read the small print...
"Licensee also agrees that Licensee will not use the Apple Software for any purposes prohibited by United States law, including, without limitation, the development, design, manufacture or production of nuclear, missiles, or chemical or biological weapons."
It must take a creative terrorist to convert iTunes into a weapon, although perhaps the American military has set a precedent. It allegedly found that prisoners quickly spilled their terrorist secrets when made to listen to Neil Diamond records.
The iTunes EULA demonstrates that there are interesting things to be found buried deep within all of that legalese. Just ask Doug Heckman, a man who decided to read a PC Pitstop program EULA before he installed the software. That agreement included a clause offering 'financial compensation' to licensees who read the license agreement. Heckman emailed PC Pitstop and was promptly rewarded with a cheque for $1000.
Soldier thought hitman site was online joke
An Irish soldier has told the Ennis conspiracy to murder trial that
he filled out an application form on a website called Hitman for Hire
because he thought it was an internet joke.
23-year-old Brian Buckley from Finglas is giving evidence in the trial of Sharon Collins and Essam Eid.
Ms Collins denies hiring Mr Eid through the internet to kill her partner PJ Howard and his two sons.
Mr Buckley described to the Central Criminal Court that he had been on his mother's computer in 2006 looking for cheats for a computer game called Hitman when he came across a website called Hitman for Hire.
He clicked on the website and was shown an animation of a cartoon hitman - a man wearing sunglasses and holding a pistol. He said he never once considered it was real - he thought it was an internet joke.
He filled out a recruitment application form on the site 'out of curiosity and stupidity', he said. He gave a fictional list 'the length of his arm' of his weapons skills on the site and gave a false name.
He wrote on the form that he could use a handgun, rifle submachine gun, grenades, and had experience of basic booby traps and limited poison making experience. He later got a number of emails and phone calls from someone calling himself Tony Luciano, whom the prosecution allege is Essam Eid.
'Tony Luciano' said he had a job for Mr Buckley: 'Two males in Ireland, one in Spain, as soon as possible. Let us know. We will try to phone you.' Another email asked for Mr Buckley's help in getting some strong poison - it said one of them would be at Shannon and could not import it into the country. And he promised to pay.
Mr Buckley said initially he thought it was a joke and was curious to see what it was. But he became uneasy about the whole situation. He got a few phone calls from 'Tony' and fobbed him off telling him he had the wrong number.
He said he wanted to stay as far away as possible from the whole thing. He felt it was getting serious and did not want to have anything to do with it. He said in the end he did not see it as a joke but did not see it as serious either - it just seemed odd.
A team funded by the US Army Space and Missile Defense Command in Huntsville, Alabama, has developed panels of carbon foam with pores varying in size from 50 micrometres to 2 millimetres.
Carbon foam is made by heat-treating particular materials made from carbon fibres. In tests, panels of the foam absorbed up to 83% of the energy of a blast wave from the detonation of 2 kilograms of C4 explosives at a distance of only 20 centimetres.
This is possible because the foam's pores collapse when hit by a compression wave, absorbing its energy.
The team says the material could be used to protect rooms and vehicles and, if used to enclose explosives, could prevent their accidental detonation when caught in a blast.
Read the full explosion-absorbing foam patent application.
Firefox record breaker sets the date
Mozilla has finally set a date for the official launch of Firefox 3
- which open sourcers hope will set a world record for most ever
downloads in a day.
Firefox 3.0 will be ready for download from next Tuesday - 17 June. But the big day, dubbed Download Day, could be delayed if a serious bug is uncovered at the last minute. The browser claims to be quicker, more stable and to make it easier to set bookmarks.
Mozilla hopes to get at least 1.6 million downloads within 24 hours and set a new Guinness world record. It hopes Firefox fanboys and girls will organise parties and get people to sign pledges to download the browser. Mozilla claims to have received over 40,000 pledges from the UK and more than 180,000 from the US.
Release Candidates of the software have been tested over the last few weeks.
Firefox accounts for some 20 to 30 per cent of browser market share, depending on whose figures you believe. It is the most popular of the alternative browsers - those that are not pre-installed on PCs.
There's more on the record attempt here.
download: AMD Overdrive 2.1 beta
Every of the top
Borderlands will be DX10 compatible
German magazine PCGHX conducted an interview with Corrinne Yu, Studio Wide Director of Technology at Gearbox Software talking about the science fiction shooter Borderlands. He confirmed that Borderlands will indeed support DX10:
PCGH: Will the PC version support DX10?
Corrinne Yu: The PC version supports DX10.
PCGH: What are the technical advantages of that API?
Corrinne Yu: The most significant advantage of DX 10 is virtual texture management. It provides a unified reliable render memory model not available in DX 9.
PCGH: Do you use advanced features of Direct X 10/Shader Modell 4 like Geometry Shader, Virtual Texture Management etc.? Can you please give examples how they are utilized? In what way do these features improve or simplify the rendering process?
Corrinne Yu: We take advantage of many features of SM 4.0. We use DX 10 geometry shader to improve shadow map precision. We use virtual texture management to increase pixel fidelity of our rendered worlds.
PCGH: Will the DX 10 visualization differ substantially from the graphics that are rendered with DX 9 hardware?
Corrinne Yu: Lighting, shadowing and visual fidelity will improve on DX 10 hardware. SM 4.0 allows us to compute lighting more correctly. The GPU API is designed better this time around.
BorderlandsPCGH: How much of a performance hit will the improved optics of DX 10 incur? With all details maxed out is a typical first gen DX 10 card like the Geforce 8600 GTS/8800 GTS (320 MB Video RAM) or HD2600/2900 XT already running at its limits?
Corrinne Yu: I recommend the GeForce 8800 GTX over earlier GTS models. VRAM-wise we can display details even on a 320 MB adapter because of our streaming system and the render buffer memory design we created for our gun compositing system.
PCGH: Finally: Can you tell our readers what hardware will be recommended (not required) to play the game with all detail in 1.280x1.024 (no FSAA/AF) and 1.600x1.200 (4x FSAA/8:1 AF)?
Corrinne Yu: I recommend a DX 10 class card coupled with a PC with a lot of CPU memory, not just GPU VRAM. Sufficient CPU RAM is crucial to the proper performance of virtual texture management.
PCI Express 3.0 - Going for 300 Watt !
The PCI Special Interest Group held a press conference, detailing the shift to PCI Express 3.0 in roughly 2010, and improvements to the external cabling specification that allow for external graphics solutions.
The PCI-SIG said last year that they were preparing an electromechanical specification for these types of cards, and in fact, according to a SIG slide presentation released ahead of the meeting, the specification was released at the end of March. Why do we need such a spec? As of now, the 150-watt spec is no longer sufficient, according to the SIG.
Besides the 2x3 connector defined in the 150W Graphics Spec 1.0, a new 2x4 connector is being defined for delivering power to the 225/300W cards, the SIG said.
Yahoo!: Microsoft no longer interested
Yahoo! announced that discussions with Microsoft regarding a potential transaction -- whether for an acquisition of all of Yahoo! or a partial acquisition -- have concluded. The conclusion of discussions follows numerous meetings and conversations with Microsoft regarding a number of transaction alternatives, including a meeting between Yahoo! and Microsoft on June 8th in which Chairman Roy Bostock and other independent Board members from Yahoo! participated. At that meeting, Microsoft representatives stated unequivocally that Microsoft is not interested in pursuing an acquisition of all of Yahoo!, even at the price range it had previously suggested.
With respect to an acquisition of Yahoo!'s search business alone that Microsoft had proposed, Yahoo!'s Board of Directors has determined, after careful evaluation, that such a transaction would not be consistent with the company's view of the converging search and display marketplaces, would leave the company without an independent search business that it views as critical to its strategic future and would not be in the best interests of Yahoo! stockholders.
Yahoo! remains focused on maximizing value for stockholders by continuing to execute on its strategy of being the "starting point" for the most consumers on the Internet and a "must buy" for advertisers. The online advertising industry is projected to grow from $40 billion in 2007 to approximately $75 billion in 2010 and the company believes it has the right assets, strategic plan, Board of Directors and management team to capitalize on this growth opportunity.
Intelligence documents left on a train
A senior civil servant has been suspended for leaving top secret intelligence documents on a Waterloo to Surrey train.
The commuting spook left an orange envelope on a seat when he got off the train. It contained two documents prepared for the Joint Intelligence Committee - one on the capabilities of Iraqi security forces and one on al-Qaeda's vulnerabilities marked "UK Top Secret" and "for US/UK/Canadian and Australian eyes only".
The documents were handed in to the BBC which passed them to the police.
A spokesman for the Cabinet Office told the Beeb: "Two documents which are marked as 'secret' were left on a train and have subsequently been handed to the BBC.
"There has been a security breach, the Metropolitan Police are carrying out an investigation."
The unnamed male civil servant worked for the Cabinet Office. Police were already searching for the documents which he had reported missing.
Keith Vaz, chair of the Home Affairs committee, called for an official inquiry, as did the Tories.
Civil servants can face disciplinary action for leaving such documents on their desks within Whitehall. Strict procedures are supposed to mean these documents are only considered safe when properly locked up.
The government's review of data security did mean civil servants were carrying copies of documents to work on at home because they were no longer allowed to take insecure and unencrypted laptop computers out of the office. But we kind of hoped the security services took this stuff a bit more seriously.
The government last night won the right to intern terrorism suspects for 42 days without charge. Brown won by nine votes provided by the Democratic Unionist Party. The DUP has denied it did any deal with Brown in exchange for votes.
AMD to pair CPUs, GPUs with Intel's physics tech
AMD is partnering with Intel to improve the way its graphics chips can handle physics and other scientific calculations.
Well, sort of. AMD's actually working with Intel subsidiary Havok, which the chip giant acquired last year. Havok operates separately from Intel to develop its Havok FX physics processing API, which allows developers to code up such algorithms to run on GPUs rather than CPUs.
It's main rival was Ageia, developer of a similar API and a dedicated chip, PhysX, to run the calculations. Ageia, however, is now part of Nvidia, which is understandably playing down PhysX while promoting Ageia's software technology as a way of running physics calculations on its own GPUs.
All this stuff is going to run on discrete graphics chips, so it makes more sense for AMD to partner with an Intel company, which isn't competing with it - yet - in the discrete GPU market.
The partnership will ensure that Havok FX can take full advantage of the idiosyncracies of AMD's Radeon GPU architecture and of its x86 processors.
Games, in particular, are increasingly incorporating algorithms that can model complex interactions between players and the worlds they inhabit. Traditionally, these calculations have been handled by the CPU, but they're better suited to the GPU's parallel-processing design, which whizzes through them while the general-purpose CPU would struggle.
GeForce GTX 260 price drop to $399 ?
Here's a little summary of the expected MSRPs:
- AMD Radeon HD 4850: $249
- AMD Radeon HD 4870: $349
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260: $399
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 280: $600-$650 ?
Rumors ... of course, another one is that the new suggested retail price might drop as low as $499 for the GTX 280; but that one is very doubtful.
AMD and Havok to Optimize Physics for Gaming
AMD and Intel owned Havok today announced plans to jointly investigate the optimization of physics effects utilizing AMD