24 November, 2009

On Windows 7

I’ve put my hand on Windows 7, and I was fortunate to be able to install the 32-bit version in my old desktop machine, purchased last 2003. Then, with my newer (1 1/2 yr or so) laptop, I was able to test the 64-bit version. These are both Windows 7 Ultimate OSes.

So with those 2 versions come problems that are uniquely their own, specific to the 64-bit OS: though basically breaking the 3GB RAM barrier, I immediately faced the problem of Zonealarm firewall not being able to install, so I searched, and sure enough, we have PC Tools Firewall Plus free edition to take its place. AVG 9 has a free version for Win 7.

The rest, they work. The main precaution when thinking of installing 64b Win7 is antivirus and firewall softwares. The rest of the softwares, they usually work – I was able to install back my old softwares (Harmony Assistant, Noteworthy Composer, CCleaner, Defraggler, etc) without a single issue being encountered.

So I’m now on Windows 7.

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02 November, 2009

Gamers, rejoice! Intel releases Core i7 mobile processors

Original Pentium Extreme Edition logoImage via Wikipedia

by Trevor Tan

Mobile professionals or gamers who lust for the most powerful laptops now have their wish granted - Intel has unveiled the fastest laptop chips ever, the Core i7 mobile processors.

Ported from its powerful desktop cousins, the new Intel Core i7 Mobile Processor, Intel Core i7 Mobile Processor Extreme Edition as well as Intel PM55 Express Chipset allow a speed boost of up to 75%, thanks to Intel Turbo Boost and better utilisation of multi-threaded applications with the power of Intel Hyper-Threading technology.

The quad-core processors in these chips and the support of up to 8MB smart cache make running of multiple applications a breeze, saving you time and increasing productivity.

The new chips offer two-channel DDR3 1333MHz memory support and full 1 x16 or 2 x 8 PCI Express 2.0 graphics support, giving gamers faster frame rates and smoother performance.

Hardcore gamers can use Intel Extreme Memory Profiles and Intel Extreme Tuning Utility to finetune and overclock their laptops blessed with the Core i7 Mobile Processor Extreme Edition.

According to Intel, top computer manufacturers like Dell, Toshiba and HP will begin shipping laptops based on the Intel Core i7 mobile processors today. Other manufacturers are expected to follow suit soon.

We hope the Core i7 mobile processors will find their way into all-in-one desktop systems as well, like Apple's iMac or Lenovo IdeaCentre, so that more users can enjoy the speed and benefits they bring.

From TODAY, Tech – Thursday, 24-Sep-2009

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01 October, 2009

Wireless@SG gets speed boost

THE speed for the free Wireless@SG service has been doubled to 1 Mbps across all hotspots on the island. The speed upgrade took place seamlessly as of yesterday across all three Wireless@SG operators' networks.

Existing Wireless@SG users do not need to re-register or re-configure their devices or computers.

New Wireless@SG subscribers will also get to enjoy the new speeds, as the free service continues until March 31, 2013.

It means users can "better access media-rich and interactive websites as well as make use of bandwidth-intensive services such as video streaming, video conferencing and multimedia applications," said the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore in a statement.

Wireless@SG will also see other enhancements by next January. For instance, operators will introduce Seamless and Secure Access to enable secure automated logon to the network, a boon to those using Wi-Fi capable mobile phones.

A Wireless@SG Dashboard mobile portal will let users instantly download a host of services such as a hotspot finder.

By the end of the year, Wireless@SG operators will also roll out consumer and enterprise services like location-based services and cashless payments.

Since the launch of the service in 2006, the number of hotspots has gone from 600 to 7,500. There are now 1.3 million Wireless@SG subscribers, exceeding the original target of 250,000. Channel NewsAsia


Log on to www.infocomm123.com.sg to find out more on the Wireless@SG service.

From TODAY, News – Wednesday, 02-Sep-2009

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25 September, 2009

A smoother experience

Apple Inc.Image via Wikipedia

A late post, but the moral of the technological advancement is timeless, or perhaps, ancient. Not that it is from the olden days, but the honesty and the integrity of what is done dates back from the olden days…


David Pogue

Apple Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard

BUYING software is not like buying a vase or a comb or a lawnmower, where you pay, take it home, and the transaction is complete.

No, buying software is more like joining a club with annual dues. Every year, there's a new version, and if you don't upgrade, you feel like a behind-the-curve loser.

There's a time bomb ticking in that business model, however. To keep you from upgrading, the software company has to pile on more features each time. Pretty soon, you wind up with a huge, incoherent mess of a programme; a pile of spaghetti code that doesn't run well and makes nobody happy. You're in even worse shape if that bloatware is your operating system (OS) - the software you run all day. Just ask anyone with Windows Vista.

This year, though, Apple and Microsoft realised that the pile-on-features model is unsustainable. Both are releasing new versions of their OS that are unapologetically billed as cleaned-up, slimmed-down versions of what came before.

Microsoft's, called Windows 7, will come out this October. Apple's, called Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, arrives today, a month earlier than announced. (Apple to Microsoft: "Surprise!")

Apple's release strategy is highly unorthodox: "Leopard, aka Mac OS X 10.5, was already a great OS-virus-free, nag-free and not copy-protected. So instead of adding features for their own sake, let's just make what we've got smaller, faster and more refined."

What? No new features? That's not how the industry works! Doesn't Apple know anything?

And then there's the price of Snow Leopard: US$30 ($42.70).

Have they lost their minds? OS upgrades always cost a hundred-something dollars! (US$30 is the price if you already have Leopard. Otherwise, it'll cost you US$170 for a Mac Box Set that includes two suites of Apple software: iLife and iWork.)

In any case, Snow Leopard truly is an optimised version of Leopard. It starts up faster (72 seconds on a MacBook Air, versus 100 seconds in Leopard). It opens programmes faster (Web browser: 3 seconds; calendar: 5 seconds; iTunes: 7 seconds), and the second time you open the same programme, the time is halved.

"Optimised" also means smaller. Incredibly, Snow Leopard is only half the size of its predecessor; following the speedy installation (15 minutes), you wind up with 7 gigabytes more free space on your hard drive. That, ladies and gents, is a first.

Unfortunately, Snow Leopard runs only on Macs with Intel chips - that is, Macs sold since 2006. If you have an older Mac, you're stuck with Leopard forever.

(Techie note: Popular conception has it that the space savings comes from removing all the code required by those earlier chips. That's not true, according to Apple. Yes, that code is gone, but new 64-bit code, described below, easily replaces it. Apple says the savings comes from "tightening up the screws", compressing chunks of the system software and eliminating a huge stash of printer drivers. Now the system downloads printer drivers as needed, on demand.)

The Mac now adjusts its own clock when you travel, just like a cellphone. The menu bar can now show the date, not just the day of the week. The menu of nearby wireless hotspots now shows the signal strength for each. When you're running Windows on your Mac, you can now open the files on the Macintosh "side" without having to restart. Icons can now be 512 pixels square, turning any desktop window into a light table for photos.

There's now also a Put Back command in the Trash, just as in Windows' Recycle Bin. You can page through a PDF document or watch a movie right on a file's icon. When you click a folder icon on the Dock, you can scroll through the pop-up window of its contents, turning a worthless feature into a useful one.

Buggy plug-ins (Flash and so on) no longer crash the Safari web browser; you just get an empty rectangle where they would have appeared.

There's an impressive trove of tools for blind Mac users, including one that turns a Mac laptop's trackpad into a touchable map of the screen; the Mac speaks each onscreen element as you touch it.

There are some bigger-ticket items as well. Movies open up into a gorgeous, frameless playback window with built-in trim handles and a "Send to YouTube" command. You can now record your screen activity as a movie - fantastic for tutorials. The old Services feature is now reborn as powerful commands that appear only when relevant - and you can modify, make up or assign keystrokes to them.

Once a system administrator provides setup details, your company's Microsoft Exchange address book, email and calendar can show up in the Mac's own address book, email and calendar programmes, alongside your own personal information. That's irony for you: The Mac now has Exchange compatibility built in, but Windows itself does not.

There are hundreds of more little tweaks. In all, Apple says that more than 90 per cent of Leopard's 1,000 software chunks were revised or polished.

Despite all of this, online haters deride Snow Leopard as a "service pack" - nothing more than a bug-fix/security-patch update like the ones Microsoft periodically releases for Windows. That's a pretty uninformed wisecrack. Especially because the biggest changes in Snow Leopard are under the hood, completely invisible, but responsible for some big speed and stability advances.

For instance: Mac OS X and most of its included programmes (the desktop, Web browser, calendar and so on) are 64-bit software, a geeky term that, for now, means "faster". Other new underlying technologies, called OpenCL and Grand Central Dispatch, are features that software companies can exploit for even greater speed in their new or rewritten programmes.

That Snow Leopard's looks haven't changed at all, in other words, betrays the enormous changes under its pretty skin. Unfortunately, that also explains the number of non-Apple programmes that "break" after the installation.

I experienced frustrating glitches in various programmes, including Microsoft Word, Flip4Mac, Photoshop CS3, CyberDuck and TextExpander, an abbreviation expander. Most of these hiccups will go away when software companies update their wares. Hopefully, Apple hurries up with its inevitable update, to address the occasional Safari crash and cosmetic glitch I experienced, too.

Otherwise, if you're already running Leopard, paying the US$30 for Snow Leopard is a no-brainer. You'll feel the leap forward in speed polish and keep experiencing those "oh, that's nice" moments for weeks to come.

The big story here isn't really Snow Leopard. It's the radical concept of a software update that's smaller, faster and better - instead of bigger, slower and more bloated.

May the rest of the industry take the hint. THE NEW YORK TIMES


From TODAY, Tech – Friday, 28-Aug-2009

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14 August, 2009

China: Filtering software will not be required

google china home page 2008Image by Gen Kanai via Flickr

And after so much hoo-hah about filtering and screening software put upon PC manufacturers and also Google, China relents, or relaxes.

Whatever the term that you find appropriate to call it, they are no longer mandating the filtering software.

Read that news here.

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The Megawoosh

Audio/Visual album coverImage via Wikipedia

The Megawoosh: One of the web's great fakes?

Have you seen this video? Do you believe it as real? Or a fake one? The decision is yours.

See it here.

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China mobile users face jail for sexy texts

Dragon boat racing, a popular traditional Chin...Image via Wikipedia

The phone being an easy way of doing things, right or wrong, now will have some "limiting clause" on its usage. So if you are one of those who find it an easy way with an easy escape route on its use of flirting or the likes, beware. Especially in China.

Read this news here.

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07 August, 2009

An ultra easy way to store and restore

USB Flash DrivesImage via Wikipedia

Aside from thumb drives, flash drives now have a new application: back-up flash drives.

Will it be trustworthy? Or, just like the thinning of chips resulting to thinning of gadgets and devices, will it ever be the ever-emerging trend to have smaller size but larger capacity gadgets?

Ultra Backup USB Flash Drive; read it here.

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Pennsylvania gym killer blogged his own massacre

BRIDGEVILLE, PA - AUGUST 5: Flowers are placed...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

I was quite taken by this news; seems like there are more and more people resorting to guns when they have problems to unload off their head and chest…


Posted: 06 August 2009 1047 hrs

Police investigate an automobile in the parking lot outside a LA Fitness following a shooting inside the health club in Bridgeville, Pennsylvania

NEW YORK: A sexually frustrated man who killed three women in a Pennsylvania health club, then himself, blogged his preparations - with the final chilling entry announcing the "big day," police said Wednesday.

The killer, who late Tuesday burst into the LA Fitness Gym in Bridgeville, near Pittsburgh, and sprayed 36 bullets, apparently wrote the blog on a personal web page starting last November.

On the eve of the killings, he wrote: "Took off today, Monday, and tomorrow to practice my routine and make sure it is well polished... Tomorrow is the big day."

Local police superintendent Charles Moffatt said the killer, George Sodini, prepared meticulously.

After twice visiting the gym earlier in the day, Sodini entered the Latin dance class, turned off the lights and opened fire, Moffatt said in a nationally televised press conference.

Sodini carried four handguns, three of which were fired: two 9mm semi-automatics and a .45 caliber revolver he turned on himself. A total of 12 people were shot.

"He shot at least 36 times. He had clips of ammunition that held 30 rounds," Moffatt said, noting that the military-style ammunition had been legal since 2004, when a ban expired.

According to Moffatt, "there's nobody that was in that club that could have done anything to prevent Mr Sodini" from carrying out the murders.

The blog, which Moffatt said was being treated as genuine, and which was quickly pulled off the Internet, reveals a sinister, often banal mind of a man crippled by sexual frustration, anger at women and depression.

A picture of Sodini, 48, attached to the blog shows a lean, white male with slightly graying hair and wearing a smart blue shirt.

Moffatt said the blog clearly showed "the hatred in him" and that computer sleuths were looking into whether anyone saw the blog - and if so, why they didn't report it.

In the blog, Sodini wrote as far back as November 5, 2008, that he "planned to do this in the summer" but decided to see the result of the presidential election won by President Barack Obama.

In December, he again wrote that he had "planned to do this already" and sets January 6 as the new date.

"I wish life could be better for all and the crazy world can somehow run smoother. I wish I had answers. Bye," he apparently wrote less than two hours before the appointed time on that day.

But the next entry described him pulling out at the last minute: "It is 8:45 pm: I chickened out! Shit! I brought the loaded guns, everything. Hell!"

Throughout nine months of rambling entries, Sodini revealed his fixation on rejections from women and extreme sexual frustration.

"Who knows why. I am not ugly or too weird. No sex since July 1990 either (I was 29)," he wrote.

"Last time I slept all night with a girlfriend, it was 1982. Proof I am a total malfunction. Girls and women don't even give me a second look ANYWHERE. There is something BLATANTLY wrong with me."

He was angry at a brother whom he described as a bully and what he described as a distant relationship with his father. In April, he also blogged about his worries over being fired from his job, where the recession was having an impact.

Similar complaints were recorded by Sodini in a message found on him after the carnage, Moffatt said.

Ironically, the blogger wrote that going to the gym helped him relieve his psychological problems.

"My anger and rage is largely gone since I began lifting weights," he wrote in December last year.

But those positive feelings were fleeting and the blogger appeared set on preparing his destructive end.

"What is it like to be dead? I always think I am forgetting something, that's one reason I postponed," he wrote. "In this case, I cannot make a return trip!"

In the last entry, dated August 3, he showed alarm at meeting a happy neighbour, who he worried would distract him from the murders.

"I need to remain focused and absorbed COMPLETELY."

His last words on the blog: "Death lives!"

- AFP/yb

From ChannelNewsAsia.com; see the source story here.

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'Virtual' computers span the digital divide

One-on-one PC is now becoming a multi-user PC, which is 10 users to 1 PC, sharing the same machine.

Cost of computing now becomes 1/10, and PC's computing capability is utilized to the max.

Will this be a business threat?

See the news story here.

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05 August, 2009

Seagate Technology to lay off 2,000 employees in Singapore

Seagate TechnologyImage via Wikipedia

I'm taking the full test of this news story…


By Ng Baoying, Channel NewsAsia

Posted: 04 August 2009 1547 hrs

A worker at Seagate Technology inspects a disc drive at the company's facility in Singapore. (file pic)

SINGAPORE: Seagate Technology announced on Tuesday it would relocate its hard disk drive manufacturing operations from Ang Mo Kio to other existing Seagate facilities by end-2010, laying off some 2,000 employees in the process.

The company said in a statement that this consolidation is necessary in order for it to further increase efficiency and reduce costs by leveraging investments across fewer manufacturing sites.

The statement also said that Singapore would remain a key strategic partner for Seagate, with a focus on high-value activities, and the company would continue to make strategic investments in the country.

Seagate has two other facilities in Singapore – located at Science Park and Woodlands.

Singapore is home to the company's only hard drive design centre and first volume manufacturing site outside of the United States, and the first Recording Media Operations facilities outside of North America.

Seagate said its Woodlands media operation, Seagate's Asia International Headquarters (IHQ), and the Science Park product development and design centre will remain in Singapore.

It said the company is giving every consideration to relocating some Ang Mo Kio employees to other Singapore operations. Employees ending their employment with Seagate will be offered retrenchment packages in line with industry standards, which include a month's pay for every year of service.

Singapore's labour movement said the move is a last resort for Seagate, which has been in talks with the employees' union over the past few weeks.

The company will work with the union and Singapore's Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) to help affected employees.

Halimah Yacob, deputy secretary-general, National Trades Union Congress (NTUC), said: "What is most important is not to focus on the retrenchment or the fact that 2,000 people are going to be unemployed.

"What's most critical for us is what kind of support and assistance can we provide to the workers who are going to be retrenched? This is where we work closely with the company and e2i in order to put the workers through training programmes, job placement."

She noted that retrenchments in the electronics sector occur for two reasons – fall in demand due to global economic downturn and internal restructuring for cost efficiency.

"Retrenchments in the electronics sector are typically due to two reasons... one is because of poor demand, weak orders that companies are facing. To some extent, this is temporary because you can resort to shorter work week, temporary plant shutdown and wait for the orders to come," said Mdm Halimah.

"But there's the other type – ongoing review and restructuring of operations. For global companies, they have plants all over the world, so they will look for the most efficient, effective, productive way to produce this particular kind of product."

Economists said such retrenchment exercises are not surprising.

Song Seng Wun, CEO & regional economist, CIMB-GK Research, said: "Disk drive operators have been moving out of Singapore over the last few years and it is a wonder that Seagate is still around in Singapore after so long. When we look at the data itself, disk drive value added to the overall manufacturing has declined steadily."

Disk drive manufacturing is labour intensive and analysts said it makes sense for firms to shift operations to countries like Thailand, Malaysia and China where costs are lower.

- CNA/so


From ChannelNewsAsia.com; see the source article here.

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Microsoft to ship IE with Windows 7 in Europe

Windows Internet ExplorerImage via Wikipedia

Microsoft has changed its mind about Internet Explorer; initially Europe's Windows is browserless.

Well, things change, minds change.

Read that story here.

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02 August, 2009

Chinese hackers crash Australian festival website

Southbank, a new icon of MelbourneImage via Wikipedia

A series of internet attacks, back when US was apparently hit by some hackers, now it is Australia’s turn.

Their festival website was attacked by Chinese hackers.

Did the prank message or code appeared in Chinese character? How was their code understood by an English operating system?

That would be quite interesting!

Chinese hackers crash Australian festival website

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How To Hijack 'Every iPhone In The World'

:Image:IPhone_Release_-_Seattle_(keyboard) cro...Image via Wikipedia

Is this a prank, or is it really true?

Could it be some flaw in the design, or has someone really found a way to do it?

I wouldn’t want my iPhone to be hijacked! (but I don’t own one now).

If you do, read this one.

How To Hijack 'Every iPhone In The World'

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30 July, 2009

Cyber-criminals targeting social networks, experts warn

F-Secure CorporationImage via Wikipedia

And this issue of cyber security, as ever before, is more prone to attack, with more people/users now engaging in online networks and forums.

Read that news article here: Cyber-criminals targeting social networks, experts warn

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Twitter, Microsoft, Yahoo and Google

Windows Internet ExplorerImage via Wikipedia

What's new from Twitter? See this news:
Twitter unveils new frontpage

And if you feel secure using Internet Explorer, see this news:
Microsoft releases security patch for Web browser

Internet Rags to Riches

The giants battling each other, or should I say, three giants battling each other, and two decide to team up, against one:
Yahoo, Microsoft in Web search partnership

Did people react to that merger? You bet!
Microsoft-Yahoo! deal draws mixed reviews

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21 July, 2009

Apple shuts down Palm Pre's iPod functionality

LAS VEGAS - JANUARY 08:  A photo is displayed ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

More on the technology side, and maybe to cut short the competition, nothing of its own functionality should be found in other phone models; that could be the reason why the act was done.

Are you into iPhone?

Or are you eyeing Palm's Pre?

I am neither. I'm looking at Samsung. This is my honest talk. It would be either the Samsung i8910 HD, or the Samsung Omnia II.

For the removal of the iPod functionality from Palm Pre phone, read it here.

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