Fallacy of the anonymous Internet vanishing
The Internet is a very powerful tool and this has not escaped the notice of people who wish to subvert the law. Some countries around the world have very strict controls, with massive Internet firewalls to ensure the public only sees what the government wants them to see. There is a common feeling that the UK is moving to a surveillance society, and with laws coming that will require communications providers to retain telephone and internet records and allow local councils and public bodies access to these the parallels with the old East Germany will be obvious to many.
A consultation period is running on the final phase of the Transposition of Directive 2006/24/EC which ends on 31st October 2008. The consultation period covers the areas of internet access, internet telephone service, and internet mail. At some 300 plus pages, the document is not easy going, but it is keen to point out that while the law would require retention of the fact an email went from Fred to John on 14th August 2008, the content of the email would not be recorded.
The report confirms that a number of communications providers already retain the necessary records as part of their normal business or under previous voluntary schemes. The concern of many will centre around areas like how RIPA has been used by local councils. The family in Dorset that was under surveillance for three weeks could with the new law expect the council to be trawling their email records for any communication with a school outside their catchment area.
The consultation paper talks about retention of internet connection info, e.g. where and when, internet telephony and e-mail, but does not mention other areas such as instant messaging. It is possible that due to the voice and video aspect of most instant messaging applications these will count as internet telephony. The successes under current retention policies are highlighted in the paper, but there is little talk of how false positives will be handled, and what abuse safe guards are in place. The aim of the regulations are "to ensure that this data is available for a minimum of 12 months to assist in the investigation, detection and prosecution of serious crime".
There will be concerns about those with access to these powers abusing them. One could see a local councillor perhaps abusing the powers to spy on political opponents. Most people will accept that investigations into serious crimes such as child abuse and kidnaps will benefit from the obligation to retain internet communications data but public confidence in such measures for local authorities is unlikely to be strong.
Intel Atom sells much better than expected
Intel's Atom processors have been off to a great start, beating initial expectations. According to Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith in an interview posted on InformationWeek, the processors are used in small electronic gadgets or small PC's. The success of the processor is welcomed news for a company that has been affected by the slowing market of personal computers. "It's the perfect recession product to have in the marketplace" Smith said Tuesday.
Atom processors are designed for low-cost devices Intel calls "Mobile Internet Devices." Consumers' tendency to tighten budgets recently may factor in the strong sales for lower cost computing devices. Many companies are releasing mini-notebooks this year, some of them fitted with Atom processors. Manufacturers have pushed these devices with new marketing campaigns, anticipating the possibility of strong sales.
The success of Intel's target segment remains to be seen, many of these products being new and the market itself just emerging. Intel is aware of the uncertainty, Smith adding "we'll know kind of in six months how much of this demand (for Atom) is real and how much is customers thinking they're going to win in the market place and double-ordering."
Smith claimed they can produce roughly 2500 Atom chips from a single silicon wafer. Atom chips will not be as profitable as their Core or Xeon chip, but they claim the profit is still healthy. Smith does not anticipate the Atom chips cannibalizing the market for their other chips except for a part of their low-cost Celeron processor market. Intel has not changed their third quarter revenue forecast from the original estimate of 10.0 billion to 10.6 billion. Smith indicated confidence that Intel has positioned itself well for the current economic situation, adding "Even in the downturn, we're seeing investments in technology continue."
Have you ever heard a pig sound this good?
The iPig's eyes are actually speakers, while its ears act as touch-sensitive volume controls. The iPig's mouth lights up whenever the iPig is powered on, and will confirm instructions sent from the remote control with a flash. An amplifier is built into the iPig, as is a dynamic airflow design to cool the device.
The iPig is available now in yellow, pink or white on Speakal's website, priced at nearly $140.
Cooler Masterchassis HAF 932 with High Air Flow structure
The new Cooler Master full-tower chassis HAF 932 presents its sturdy sentinel housing and revolutionary High Air Flow structure to enhance and protect any hardware component that is worthy of the highest performance. Cooler Master HAF 932 can be modified to fit an internal radiator while the pre-drilled retaining holes by the rear makes for easy routing of any liquid cooling kit of choice.
To boost and sustain all around system performance, Cooler Master included steel meshed vents vertically stretched over the whole front panel, and then further strengthened the flow of heat dissipation by including three massive 230mm fans on the top, the side and the front of the chassis.
Microsoft Security Updates for August 2008
Microsoft has issued a hefty 11 bulletins addressing 26 vulnerabilities in its August security release. The monthly security update includes six bulletins that address issues rated 'critical', the highest of Microsoft's security alert levels. Four of the critical bulletins addressed vulnerabilities in Office. Those patches included fixes for an ActiveX control in Office 2003 and older, flaws in Office filters, Powerpoint and Excel.
All four could be used by an attacker to remotely execute code. The company also fixed remote code vulnerabilities in the Image Color Management software for Windows 2000, XP and Server 2003. The remaining critical bulletin was an update to a previous patch for Internet Explorer 6 and 7. The five remaining vulnerabilities were all rated 'important'. Those included fixes for remote code flaws in Word and information disclosure risks in Outlook and Windows Messenger. Also fixed was an information disclosure flaw in the IPSec software for Windows Vista and Server, as well as a remote code execution vulnerability in the Windows Event System component for all versions of the operating system.
DRAM module makers start dumping inventory
With DRAM contract prices bidding farewell to a upward pricing trend that had been maintained since April, DRAM module makers have started dumping their inventory, which they have been building from the second quarter, according to industry sources.
According to InSpectrum, DRAM contract prices enjoyed a steady rise from April to the second half of May. Prices later remained flat through July. But in the first half of August, price of the benchmark 1Gb DDR2-800 posted a drop for the first time since the second half of March at a decline of 0.9%.
The research firm projected that DRAM contract prices should weaken in the first half of August because PC OEMs still house relatively high inventory levels and weak demand has discouraged their re-stocking incentive. The industry sources remarked that the inventory issue is spreading to DRAM module houses as well.
Some DRAM module houses started piling up their inventory late in the second quarter under an anticipation that an upward-trend in contract prices would help spur spot prices to trend upward later. Yet, given that the upward DRAM contract price has started weakening, worries of an aggravated price trend has thus surfaced and stimulated the inventory dump, the sources explained.
Forum login issues - Please read
Yesterday we had a small problem with the forum user accounts. After being logged off people where not able to login despite the fact that their password was correct. This issue was dealt with within the hour. We noticed however a lot of user reports by email.
Guys you have not been banned :) This was an issue on our end. Please login again and all should be fine. Should you still have an issue then please use this form and contact us with your forum username + email.
Intel finally released USB 3.0 controller spec
After a lot of criticism from the industry Intel today released a draft version of the controller interface spec for USB 3.0, the next generation of its peripheral format. The information provides a guide for hardware makers to relay information from the USB controller hardware to the software that manages it and helps settle a dispute triggered by AMD and NVIDIA, which accused Intel of knowingly withholding information about the interface to give systems based on Intel hardware an advantage over those using rival copmonents.
The specification is under license but doesn't include a royalty, allowing AMD and other companies wanting to promote USB 3.0 to use the technology without having to pay Intel a recurring fee for support. AMD mentions in the announcement that it supports the publication as part of an open standard.
Publishing the information lets computer part builders start sooner on integrating USB 3.0 into finished hardware, which is most likely to appear sometime in 2009. The connection standard is also known as SuperSpeed USB and is planned to deliver over ten times more bandwidth than USB 2.0, peaking at up to 5Gbps and potentially eclipsing the rival FireWire 3200 spec in practical output.
Bionic Commando video game to use GPU-accelerated NVIDIA PhysX
Capcom, GRIN Entertainment, and NVIDIA jointly announced that Capcom
NVIDIA - Team green goes in the Red
NVIDIA, team green went into the red this quarter. In the three month period ending on July 27 Nvidia has seen its revenue reach $892.7 million, some 5% lower than the $935.3 million of Q2 of FY 2008 with the worst thing reported being the net loss of $120.9 million or $0.22 per share.
In Q2 of FY 2009 Nvidia not only faced a stronger opposition in the GPU market, but it also had to deal with a $196 million write-off to fix and handle the problems brought on by an issue with its G84 and G86-powered mobile chips.
"Our Q2 financial performance was disappointing. The desktop PC market around the world weakened during the quarter. And our miscalculation of competitive price position further pressured our desktop GPU business. We have a great product line-up and, having taken the necessary pricing actions, we are strongly positioned again. Our focus now is to drive cost improvements and to further enhance our competitiveness through the many exciting initiatives we have planned for the rest of the year," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of NVIDIA. "In contrast, the rest of our businesses did not exhibit the same dynamics as our desktop business. The notebook GPU, MCP, and Professional Solutions groups grew a combined 27 percent year-over year."
AMD cuts prices of Three Phenom Processors
AMD dropped in to say they announced a couple of price cuts, to make its processor lineup more competitive.
These are the new prices, which are slightly above the cost to distribution and are ex VAT to represent the cost to retailers and system builders:
- X4 9850 BE - was $205 - now $194 - down 5.4 percent
- X4 9550 - was $175 - now $154 - down 12 percent
- X3 8450 - was $125 - now $104 - down 16.8 percent
AMD preparing to split in two - only weeks away?
It is speculated that AMD might split into a chip development firm led by new CEO Dirk Meyer and a manufacturing arm were Hector Ruiz might find a new job as CEO.
"Officially, there is virtually no clear information on the announcement and the direction of Asset Light/Smart provided by AMD. In the company
Download: GPU-Z 0.2.7 released
GPU-Z is a lightweight utility designed to give you all information about your video card and GPU.
GPU-Z 0.2.7 is out and it supports catalyst 8.7 beta & latest forceware drivers.
Here is the list of changes :
- Added display for GPU release date.
- Added display for transistor count
- Added mouseover readings for sensors graph
- Correctly named the three on-die sensors of RV770 and RV730
- Added support for voltage regulator monitoring on HD 4870 and HD 4870 X2
- RV770 GPU on HD 4870 X2 now called R700
- Added support for reading HD 4870 X2 3D clocks
- Added display of CrossFire Sideport status on HD 4870 X2
- Added more RV730 device IDs
- Added support for GeForce 9800 GT, 9800M GT, 9600M GT, 9700M GS/GT, 9500M G
- Added detection for RS780D
- Fixed incorrectly read ATI OD5 clocks
- Fix for memory clock reading on RV730
- Fixed ROM reading on RV730
- Fixed crash when no supported card detected
- Sensor graph width adjusted when scrollbars visible
Download - click here.
Meet the new Lara Croft - And Observe
It will not be long now befire the new Tomb Raider game is to be released. And as a tradition, what's new ? .. well at the very least a new Lara Croft model. The new model will take over the humble job of well .. posting sexy from Karima Adebibe and her name is .. drumroll .. Alison Carroll. At the perky age of 23 she is a professional gymnast from Croydon. Eidos traditionally seeks a new model for each major Tomb Raider, with the exception of Chronicles and Anniversary as it seems.
Previous models where Nell McAndrew and Rhona Mitra. Now then, let's talk meat. Personally I like the new model much better. What do you think ? To the left the all new Alison Carroll and the the right Karima Adebibe. oh that's definitely Cup D ... ehm. Yeah hum. Serious journalism -- coughs.
Vista security - rendered useless
Alarmed about Vista security? Black Hat researcher Alexander Sotirov speaks out.
"Earlier today I published a lengthy blog post questioning some of the sensationalist conclusions raised in press coverage of a paper presented by Alexander Sotirov and Mark Dowd at last week
NVIDIA PhysX Drivers and Software mayhem
And when I say mayhem .. it's the good kind. NVIDIA just released their PhysX packs and compatible drivers. NVIDIA on Tuesday gave its existing customers a bonus through the GeForce Power Pack, a new set of drivers that expose new features to certain GeForce cards.
The upgrade takes advantage of the more universal nature of the effects processing cores in GeForce 8-, 9- and GTX-series cards to drive tasks that would normally depend on the main CPU. All these cards can now speed up physics in games and other apps that support PhysX; in specially enabled game maps with the new physics turned on, a mid-range GeForce 9800 GTX+ is nearly three times faster than the ATI Radeon HD 4850 that NVIDIA hopes to beat.
Let's walk through some of the stuff. In case you missed it, please read our article on these packs right here.
GeForce ForceWare 177.83 with included PhysX driver:
This driver supports NVIDIA GeForce 8-series, 9-series, and 200-series desktop GPUs, including the newly released GeForce 9800 GTX+, 9800 GT, and 9500 GT GPUs. The driver adds support for NVIDIA PhysX
NVIDIA upgrades Quadro FX notebook and Plex
NVIDIA this morning made official upgrades to its Quadro FX notebook line that carry over lessons learned from the desktop GTX and mobile 9800M lines to pro-level graphics. Each chip is now capable of not only accelerating video but performing general computing at the same time using NVIDIA's CUDA language. The change lets the graphics processors work alongside the main system processor to speed up digital media editing, scientific calculations, and other more universal tasks.
The range is headlined by the Quadro FX 3700M and 2700M, both of which are aimed at 17-inch desktop replacements such as the ThinkPad W700. They include 128 and 48 graphics effects cores each, all of which support general computing, and both have a faster 256-bit memory path. The 3700M also holds up to 1GB of video memory while the less demanding 2700M can use 512MB.
Multiple chips are also available for 15.4-inch and smaller notebooks, NVIDIA says: the 1700M drops to 32 cores and a 128-bit interface to lower its power needs, while the 770M has similar features for lower-power environments. The 370M is designed for the smallest systems the Quadro FX can support and uses just eight cores and a 64-bit interface.
All the graphics options are being built into new notebooks as of today, though ship dates for these systems vary. Dell, Fujitsu, HP, and Lenovo are all launch partners. Other operating systems aren't mentioned, though CUDA is also supported in Mac OS X.
High-end workstation users also receive an upgrade to the Quadro Plex external line; the 2200 D2 and 2100 D4 each use NVIDIA's newest Quadro FX desktop cards in groups to help process 3D modeling and other high-end tasks. The 2200 D2 uses two newer FX 5800 cards with a combined 480 cores, while the 2100 D4 uses slower FX 4700 cards but uses four of them to improve performance with multiple displays. NVIDIA sells the Quadro Plex line itself and starts them at $10,750 when they go on sale this fall.
PhysX FluidMark v1.0.0
PhysX FluidMark is a physics benchmark based on NVIDIA PhysX engine. This benchmark performs a fluid simulation by imitating the renderering of lava. Real physics parameters such as viscosity are used. SPH (Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics) algorithm is enabled to increase the realism of the simulation.
PhysX FluidMark can run in pure software mode (all calculations are done on the CPU), or in hardware mode. Hardware mode includes 2 kinds of hardware:
- Ageia PhysX PPU
- GeForce PhysX - GeForce 8/9/GTX200 graphics cards only
This benchmark exploits OpenGL for graphic acceleration and requires an OpenGL 2.0 compliant graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce 5/6/7/8/9/GTX200 (and higher), AMD/ATI Radeon 9600+, 1k/2k/3k/4k (and higher) or a S3 Graphics Chrome 400 series with the latest graphics drivers.
PhysX FluidMark requires NVDIA PhysX drivers 8.08.01 or higher and the CUDA DLL (this DLL has to be copied in the benchmark folder if your Forceware drivers are < 177.79 or if you don't have a GeForce (Radeon, etc.)).
Download - Click here.