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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Microsoft, Symantec, more sued over OS permissions patent

Slashdot It! Microsoft, Symantec, and 20 other companies have been sued by a small Texas firm for patent infringement. The firm was granted patents in the mid-'90s over systems for governing application and data permissions, as well as ensuring application integrity, and is now seeking to bar the companies from making use of the patents. And some monetary damages would be nice, too. The firm, Information Protection and Authentication of Texas (IPAT), owns two patents cited in its complaint, the latest of which is US patent 5,412,717, which was filed in May 1992 and granted on May 2, 1995. This is a continuation of a previous patent, US number 5,311,591, granted in May, 1994. Titled "Computer system security method and apparatus having program authorization information data structures," the former patent essentially describes a system of authorization and permissions when executing applications and processing user data. In IPAT's patent, a system monitor "limits the ability of a program about to be executed to the use of predefined resources (e.g., data files, disk writing capabilities etc.). The system monitor builds a data structure including a set of authorities defining that which a program is permitted to do and/or that which the program is precluded from doing." The "program authorization information (PAI)" database that this system builds is used to limit not only the execution of a program, but also what data a program may have access to. IPAT's invention also takes digital signing into consideration to provide another layer of security and authorization protection. Language in IPAT's 1995 patent distinguishes it by noting that systems in prior art are "typically designed to protect data from computer users." A good example is the permission systems of OSes like Unix that dictate whether one user can access files and folders of another, run a specific application, or modify OS files. Other systems are also designed to protect system files from being modified by an application (say, a virus), but IPAT's patent goes one step beyond that, with a system that can prevent programs from modifying a user's files. IPAT, which apparently purchased these patents from their listed inventor of Addison M. Fischer, filed its complaint in the Eastern District of Texas on December 30, 2008. Other companies like AVG Technologies USA, INC., F-Secure, Inc., Novell, Inc., and PC Tools, Inc. are all accused alongside Microsoft Corp. and Symantec Corp. Barely a week later, however, Judge John Ward recused himself from presiding over the suit and cited Symantec Corp. in his signed order of recusal, presumably because he may own stock in the company. A response from any of the defendants is still forthcoming, and it is unclear whether the authentication and permissions systems that IPAT's patent describes are precluded by prior art. Even if IPAT has a leg to stand on in court, however, it certainly didn't take the easy route to recovering any damages by suing 22 companies. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare


With the Chinese New Year just over, it is time to get a new USB thumbdrive. A bigger and better one. Did you run out of memory when you are about to transfer the picture of the fireworks or when you are try to transfer a song? external hard drive But no worries, because there is always someone to help you. Which is They are a nice bunch of people getting reviews done for different products and telling you their opinion before you can choose to buy it from them or not. What a nice service

Zune sales plummeted during holidays

Slashdot It! There were plenty of weak spots that led to Microsoft's disastrous December quarter, but one that didn't get much attention Thursday was how badly the Zune did. Tucked away in Microsoft's quarterly filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, however, was a startling figure. "Zune platform revenue decreased $100 million, or 54 percent, reflecting a decrease in device sales," Microsoft said. That's quite a drop. Apple, by contrast, saw its iPod unit sales up 3 percent, while revenue dropped by 16 percent. It still racked up $3.3 billion in revenue, as compared with less than $100 million for the Zune. In an interview Friday afternoon, Zune marketing director Adam Sohn said a number of factors were to blame. "It's the category, it's the business, it's the economy," Sohn said, noting that despite a software upgrade, Microsoft entered the holidays with essentially the same hardware it had a year earlier. In November, Microsoft chopped the prices on its flash-based Zune devices amid both competitive and broader economic pressures. That meant that revenue was somewhat lower than Microsoft had projected, although Sohn insisted that unit sales were basically in line with what the company had figured on. "We met our internal plan for (the) holiday," he said, adding that a year ago the company was also boosted by strong sales of a heavily discounted, older 30GB hard drive-based model. With Microsoft announcing a variety of big cost cuts on Thursday, there were plenty of people suggesting Microsoft should just exit the Zune hardware business entirely. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare Reports Theft of User Data

Slashdot It! is advising its users to change their passwords after data including e-mail addresses, names and phone numbers were stolen from its database. The break-in comes just as the swelling ranks of the unemployed are turning to sites like to look for work. The company disclosed on its Web site that it recently learned its database had been illegally accessed. user IDs and passwords were stolen, along with names, e-mail addresses, birth dates, gender, ethnicity, and in some cases, users' states of residence. The information does not include Social Security numbers, which said it doesn't collect, or resumes. posted the warning about the breach on Friday morning and does not plan to send e-mails to users about the issue, said Nikki Richardson, a spokeswoman. The SANS Internet Storm Center also posted a note about the break-in on Friday., the U.S. government Web site for federal jobs, is hosted by and was also subject to the data theft. also posted a warning about the breach. has been checking for misuse of the stolen information but hasn't yet found any, it said. It has made changes since discovering the break-in but won't discuss them because it doesn't discuss security procedures publicly and because it is still investigating the incident, Richardson said. She also would not disclose the volume of data stolen, but said the company decided it would be prudent to alert all of its users via its Web site. The company advised users to change their passwords and reminded them to ignore e-mails they may get that purport to be from the company and that ask for password information or instruct the user to download anything. was also hit by hackers in mid-2007. At that time the hackers obtained log-in credentials for companies seeking employees and used them to access's database of job seekers. An automated Trojan then transmitted the personal information to a rogue server. users were then targeted with scams via the stolen e-mail addresses. In addition, the site was the subject of an attack that same year that inserted malicious code onto certain pages of the site, automatically downloading a virus onto computers that visited the pages Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Cooling Chips with Thermoelectrics

Slashdot It! If you could remove the layers of circuitry in your computer and touch the main processor while it's running a video, you would feel its blistering heat, which can exceed 100 °C. Such heat, a natural by-product of shuttling electrons through transistors, can impede performance and even damage the processor in the long run. Traditionally, engineers have used simple copper plates to pull away the heat, and fans or liquid-based cooling systems. But these systems are bulky and can sap energy. Now researchers at Intel, RTI International of North Carolina, and Arizona State University have shown that it's possible to build an efficient microrefrigerator that can target hot spots on chips, saving power and space, and more effectively cooling the entire system. Their work also demonstrates, for the first time, that it is possible to integrate thermoelectric material into chip packaging, making the technology more practical than ever before. A paper detailing the research was just published in Nature Nanotechnology. The fundamental technology used to chill the chip, a thermoelectric cooler, isn't new, explains Rama Venkatasubramanian, senior research director at the Center for Solid State Energetics at RTI International. In a Nature paper from 2001, he and his team showed that a material called a nanostructured thin-film superlattice has superior thermal properties to other types of thin thermoelectric materials: the superlattice conducts electricity well but impedes the flow of heat. When an electric current zips through the material, its temperature can drop to about 55 °C. "People have been talking about using high-efficiency thermoelectric materials for cooling hot spots on chips for years," says Intel manager Ravi Prasher. He says that part of the reason he and his colleagues were able to succeed is because they used a material that has shown exceptional thermal properties, and they relied on Intel's knowledge of chip packaging to build an integrated thermoelectric system that was engineered to fit within the confines of a chip's housing. To put the microrefrigerator in the chip package, the engineers integrated the cooler onto a square of copper, just like the type that's already used in chip packaging to disperse heat. Usually this piece of copper is in close contact with the chip, but the researchers put the 0.4-millimeter-square cooler in between the chip and the copper. When the microrefrigerator was turned on, it cooled a localized region on the chip by about 15 °C. This is significant, says Venkatasubramanian, because generally speaking, for each five-degree increase in chip temperature, there is a marked decrease in reliability and performance of a chip. In the demonstration, the researchers only used one microrefrigerating unit but foresee using three or four per chip, to cover the hottest areas. Via TR Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Microsoft To Kill Windows 7 Beta On Feb. 10

Slashdot It! Computer enthusiasts who want to get their hands on the trial version of Microsoft's next operating system have just two more weeks to do so. Some of the most influential cloud players discuss the future challenges and opportunities in Cloud Computing on stage at the Web 2.0 Summit. BlueCat execs describe their approach to managing IP addresses. Nat Semi's CIO discusses his aggressive use of virtualization, and why it's good for a CIO to fail. Some of the most influential cloud players discuss the future challenges and opportunities in Cloud Computing on stage at the Web 2.0 Summit. There are a couple of loopholes, however. Users who started to download the OS before that date will have until Feb. 12 to complete the process. Also, Microsoft will continue to distribute product keys beyond Feb. 12 to users who have previously downloaded Windows 7 Beta but have yet to obtain a key. "We are at a point where we have more than enough beta testers and feedback coming in to meet our engineering needs, so we are beginning to plan the end of general availability for Windows 7 Beta," said Brandon LeBlanc, Microsoft's in-house Windows blogger, in a post Friday. Microsoft will post warnings on its Web site that the download program for Windows 7 is about to end starting Tuesday. A final version of Windows 7, Microsoft's follow-up to Windows Vista, is expected to be available in late 2009 or early 2010. Perhaps due to Vista's unpopularity, computer users have been downloading Windows 7 Beta in droves. Microsoft dropped limits on the number of available copies of the software after a crush of download requests for the new operating system brought the company's servers to a halt during the first weekend of availability earlier this month. Windows 7 offers numerous new features, including native support for touch-screen interfaces and more than 20 hotkey combinations designed to simplify use. Microsoft needs Windows 7 to be a hit. Vista has failed to catch on with mainstream computer users and businesses have shunned it outright. Many users have complained about Vista's hardware requirements, intrusive security measures, and lack of compatibility with older applications. Dissatisfaction with Vista has allowed Apple to gain share against Microsoft in the computer operating system market in recent months. Windows' market share in November fell below 90% for the first time in years while Mac OS is now flirting with the 10% mark, according to market watcher Net Applications. It's all taking a toll on Microsoft's bottom line. Last week, the company said second quarter profits tumbled 11%. It also announced a restructuring plan that will see it lay off 5,000 full-time employees and an additional 5,000 contract workers. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

#76 Chinavasion Portable Solar Charger

Slashdot It! This Chinavasion Portable Solar Charger allows you to charge your handphone, PSP and other gadgets using solar power. Editor's Choice Rating|ChewOnTech Buy it here Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

#75 BlueAnt Z9i Bluetooth Headset

Slashdot It! This bluetooth headset allows you to connect up to 5 phones, it allows you to connect 2 phones simultaneously. It also has excellent noise isolation properties. Editor's Choice Rating|ChewOnTech Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Apple Failed To Copyright Mac OS X, Psystar Claims

Slashdot It! Mac clone manufacturer Psystar said that Apple's copyright suit against it should be dismissed because Apple has never filed for copyright protection for its Mac OS X operating system with the U.S. Copyright Office, according to court papers. Apple "is prohibited from bringing action against Psystar for the alleged infringement of one or more of the plaintiff's copyrights for failure to register said copyrights with the copyright office as required" by law, Psystar claims. March Madness 2008 Was Carried In Full On The Internet, On Demand Thanks To The Technology Innovations of CBS Sports and CBS Interactive Interviews with the winner and a runner up of the first annual MIT Sloan CIO Symposium Innovation awards Government agencies must protect private data. The CIO of California's Public Utilities Commission talks about her concerns about privacy in the cloud computing model. March Madness 2008 Was Carried In Full On The Internet, On Demand Thanks To The Technology Innovations of CBS Sports and CBS Interactive The stunning claim, if true, could undermine Apple's ability to restrict third parties, such as Psystar, from selling clones that run the Mac OS on generic PC hardware. InformationWeek was not immediately able to verify the claim. Psystar made the allegation in documents filed last week in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, as part of its response to Apple's latest charges of copyright infringement. Psystar also claimed that Apple's Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" operating system contains undocumented code designed to render inoperable personal computers that aren't running on Apple-approved hardware. Psystar claims Apple uses so-called stealthware to protect what Psystar claims is an illegal monopoly in the Mac computing market. Specifically, Psystar contends that OS X runs a startup routine that checks whether the host computer is running on a particular line of Intel dual-core processors that are included in genuine Macs. Psystar sells unauthorized Mac clones from a nondescript warehouse in a Miami industrial park. Apple sued the company earlier this year for copyright violation. Psystar countersued in response, claiming that Apple's control of the Mac market violates antitrust laws. Last month, a judge rejected Psystar's counterclaim -- leading Psystar to file revised claims. Psystar is now asking the judge overseeing the case to declare Apple's Mac OS copyrights invalid. In court filings, Apple has said it believes Psystar is backed by a silent third party that's presumably seeking to enter the Mac market. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Google Hands Out 'Dogfood' as Christmas Bonus

Slashdot It! Groans are issuing from the Googleplex over this year's holiday bonus. In the past, the search engine paid cash — as much as $20,000 or $30,000 per Googler, we hear. This year? A cell phone. Oh, but not just any cell phone: A version of the G1 currently sold for $179.99 by T-Mobile, which runs Google's Android operating system. Android is the fruit of Google founders' Larry Page and Sergey Brin's strange obsession with the wireless market, launched in a fit of jealousy over the growing number of phones running Microsoft's Windows Mobile. (Imagine that: Google, jealous of Microsoft for a change.) In an email, Google management blames the economic crisis and suggests that this is a great opportunity to "dogfood" the phones — an unappetizing tech-industry euphemism for testing products in-house. This is what has become of the company that was once deemed the best place in the world to work: Cancelled bonuses and unpaid labor. Here's the memo: Googlers, The holiday bonus is a Google tradition - it's a great way to thank everyone for their hard work. In the past, we've done this in cash. This year, we've decided to give Googlers a different kind of present - a Dream phone (this is the same device T-Mobile markets as the G1). We're really excited about getting the phone to more Googlers in more countries, and also seeing all the cool new things you do with it. Shipping these special edition phones in such a short time frame (they were designed especially for Googlers with a 'droid' on the back) and making sure they would work anywhere in the world was no small feat. So a big thank you to the Android and Legal teams for making this happen. While these phones do not have SIM cards, they are unlocked so they can be used with the network provider of your choice. Plus - thanks to more fancy footwork from the Android team - they'll work immediately as WiFi devices! Sadly, despite all our best efforts, there are some countries - India, China, Brazil, Korea, Israel, Russia, Argentina, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mexico, Turkey, Kenya, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Egypt, Chile, and the Ukraine - where even our legal team could not work their magic. Googlers in these countries will receive the cash equivalent of the phone in their December paychecks, which is about $400 USD. Overall though almost 85% of Googlers globally will be able to receive the phone - including the United States, Western and Central Europe, Canada, Australia, Singapore, and Japan. The holiday gift team in your office will be sending out an email with logistical information on distribution shortly. We know that some of you are already on your holidays - don't worry - your phones will be waiting for you when you come back! For more information, check out the FAQ here. Some of you will of course be wondering why we decided to change from a cash bonus to the Dream phone. Here are the reasons. First, we've never developed anything like the Android software before and this represented a unique opportunity to celebrate that achievement. Googlers globally have been asking for the Dream phone and we're looking forward to seeing all the different things that you do with them. This is a chance for us to once again dogfood a product and make it even better! Second, as we discussed in our email this week, the current economic crisis requires us to be more conservative about how we spend our money. We felt that giving the Dream phone would be a great holiday present - something we could all celebrate. Thank you for all that you do to make Google the company that it is. We hope that you will enjoy using your Dream phone in 2009 and have a very happy holiday! One tipster notes: The boxes appear to have magnets to keep them closed, instead of tape — open box discount for Google? Since the phones are customized for Googlers, the suggestion that these are leftover G1s which went unsold at retail is unlikely. Can you get your hands on one? It will take some bravery to put them up for sale on eBay, magnets or not. But hey, times are tough all over. Even at the Googleplex. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

iGo(R) Will Debut Seven Products at CES Including the First Green Laptop Charger Plus New Netbook Chargers

Slashdot It! iGo, Inc. (Nasdaq: IGOI), a leading developer of multi-device chargers for laptop computers and mobile electronic devices (e.g., mobile phones, PDAs, digital cameras, MP3 players, etc.), and creator of the patented iGo(R) intelligent tip technology will debut seven products at CES including the first green laptop charger that virtually eliminates vampire power, as well as a line of new netbook chargers. iGo Power Products with iGo Green(TM) Technology save energy and money by significantly reducing the amount of power used by devices in off or standby modes. iGo power products with Green Technology automatically use 80% less standby power than standard power products. The three Green Technology products debuting are: -- iGo Laptop Charger: Charge your laptop and other devices from any standard wall outlet, including automatic shut-off and recovery to reduce vampire power. -- iGo Surge Protector: An eight outlet surge protector with shut-off and recovery to reduce vampire power. -- iGo Wall Outlet: A wall outlet with automatic shut-off and recovery. "iGo is excited to be a first-time exhibitor at the 2009 International CES," said Walter Thornton, V.P. of Product Management and Supply Chain for iGo. "We're going to unveil more innovative products and technology at CES than we've introduced in the past few years combined. CES has the power to build buzz for the industry's hottest new electronic devices. iGo has chargers to power them all, in the easiest, most energy-efficient way possible." Also debuting are the iGo netbook chargers for travel and home/office which simultaneously power a netbook with an additional device. iGo will also launch their premium accessories line. This includes: -- iGo international travel adapter: Universal design covers more than 150 countries with US/UK/EU/AU plugs. Plus integrated USB outlet allows for charging devices. -- iGo multi card reader: Convenient 39-in-1 design reads and writes virtually any memory card format and includes integrated USB and native microSD slot. -- iGo laptop cleaning kit: Premium cleaning kit with six tools to safely clean your laptop and other devices. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Google, Apple, Microsoft sued over file preview

Slashdot It! A small Indiana company has sued tech heavyweights Microsoft, Apple, and Google, claiming that it holds the patent on a common file preview feature used by browsers and operating systems to show users small snapshots of the files before they are opened. Cygnus Systems sued the three companies on Wednesday saying that they infringed on its patent with products such as Windows Vista, Internet Explorer 8 and Google Chrome, which allow users to view preview images of documents on the computer. Mac OS X, the iPhone and Safari also infringe, the company said in court filings. Apple uses this technology in its Finder and Cover Flow Mac OS X features, the filings state. While Cygnus has sued three very high profile companies, there may not be the only vendors in Cygnus’s sites. “They were a logical starting place for us,” said Matt McAndrews, a partner with the Niro, Scavone, Haller & Niro, law firm, which is representing Cygnus. “We’ve identified many other potentially infringing products that we’re investigating,” he added. Cygnus’s owner and president Gregory Swartz developed the technology laid out in the patent while working on IT consulting projects, McAndrews said. The company is looking for “a reasonable royalty” as well as a court injunction preventing further infringement, he said. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Arizona, where Swartz resides, McAndrews said. Google, Microsoft and Apple did not return messages seeking comment on the lawsuit. Cygnus applied for its patent (# 7346850) in 2001. It covers a “System and method for iconic software environment management” and was granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in March of this year. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Windows XP allowed to live again

Slashdot It! Microsoft has given yet another reprieve to its seasoned Windows XP operating system. The cut off date for PC makers to obtain licenses for the software was 31 January 2009. But now Microsoft has put in place a scheme that will allow the hardware firms to get hold of XP licences until 30 May 2009. Previously Microsoft extended XP's life until 2010 - provided it was installed on netbooks and low-cost laptops. Windows XP was originally due to disappear off shop shelves on 30 January 2008. It was to be removed so as to make way for Windows Vista which went on sale to consumers early in 2007. Despite Microsoft's claims that Vista has sold well, consumers have reacted badly to its release. Microsoft granted the reprieve largely because of customer's preference for XP. Many PC makers also got around the restrictions by exploiting a clause in Microsoft's licensing terms that allowed them to offer a "downgrade" licence. Issued with a new PC running Vista it allowed customers to replace it with XP. The latest reprieve affects PC makers and resellers who were working to a 31 January 2009 deadline to order licences for XP. Many feared they would have to stockpile licences before the cut-off and hope they could sell them in the coming months. Now, Microsoft has changed the terms allowing the resellers to order before 31 January but take delivery at any time up to 30 May. The change in policy is another indication of the general resistance to Windows Vista. Early versions of Windows 7, the replacement for Vista, are due to appear in late 2009. Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

Monday, January 05, 2009

#74 Mimobot Domo 2GB Thumbdrive

Slashdot It! This Domo thumbdrive features the character domo. It is very cute and comes in a red casing. Editor's Choice Rating|ChewOnTech Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

#73 Mimobot 2GB Halo Thumbdrive

Slashdot It! This halo thumbdrive has a read speed of 16MB/s. It also have the halo design which looks very cool. Editor's Choice Rating|ChewOnTech Get Daily Updates via Email Protect your computer with Windows Onecare

#72 Spire HandyBook 3 5' External HDD Docking Station

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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happ New Year

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