Friday, February 16, 2007
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Bluetooth Remote Control is a true universal remote control. It allows the user to modify the current behaviour as well as add support for new applications. You can add support by writing Java or VB scripts, defining key maps and file actions. With key maps the user can very easy and fast define application actions and link them to any buttons on the mobile phone.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Beware of the Valentine virus
Mon, 12 Feb 2007
Security experts are warning PC users to be on guard against viruses masquerading as Valentine's Day messages, which could damage computers.
"Computer users should keep a wary eye on any romantic messages received by email, as many of them could contain malicious code," said US security firm PandaLabs after detecting an increase in a worm it dubbed Nurech.A.
The worm hides in emails with subjects like: "Together You and I" or "Til the End of Time Heart of Mine".
People who open an attached file such as postcard.exe can end up infecting their computers.
Security firm Symantec said it had detected "large-scale spamming" of emails including a Trojan horse, a program that contains or installs a malicious program.
Symantec said the malware was a new version of Trojan.Peacomm or the "Storm Trojan".
"With Valentine's Day approaching, this time around the authors are attempting to tug on the heartstrings of unsuspecting users with romantic subject lines such as 'My Heart belongs to you,'" said Symantec's Orla Cox.
"The Trojan is much the same as we've seen before, the only difference being that the authors have used a modified packer in an (unsuccessful) effort to evade detection by antivirus vendors."
"As a general rule, don't open any suspicious email, regardless of what is says it contains," said Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs.
"Instead of going on instincts, let a security solution decide whether it's safe to open it or not," he said, urging users to scan any suspicious messages with an antivirus program.
Corrons said events like Valentine's Day and Christmas are often exploited by cyber-criminals to try and spread their creations by disguising infected emails as e-greeting cards.
This use of "social engineering" was used in the LoveLetter virus, which caused one of the biggest epidemics in computer history.
Sunday, February 11, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO: Intel will demonstrate an experimental computer chip Monday with 80 separate processing engines, or cores, that company executives said provided a model for commercial chips that would be used widely in standard desktop, laptop and server computers within five years.
While the chip is not compatible with Intel's current chips, the company said it had already begun design work on a commercial version that would essentially have dozens or even hundreds of Intel-compatible microprocessors laid out in a tiled pattern on a single chip.The chip design is intended to exploit a generation of manufacturing technology that the company introduced last month. Intel said it had changed the basic design of transistors in such a way that it would be able to continue to shrink them — offering lower power and higher speeds — for at least another half decade or more.
Nitan Borkar, one of the chip's designers, showed an air-cooled computer based on the chip running a simple scientific calculation last week at speeds above one trillion mathematical calculations a second. Such computing power matches the speed of the world's fastest supercomputer of just a decade ago. But Intel acknowledged that the experimental chip was missing the peripheral equipment and interfaces necessary to do real computing work.During a demonstration Thursday, Justin Rattner, the chief technology officer at Intel, showed several futuristic computing applications for which he said the new chip design would be appropriate. One of the applications was a sports summarization tool that would allow viewers to create a digital highlights video automatically, featuring their favorite players.
A second demonstration showed motion capture technology — a technique widely used by the video game industry — relying only on digital video cameras and computers. Currently, conventional motion capture technology requires a complex array of sensors pinned to an actor's body and face to capture a digital video that can be used interactively.In the future, Rattner said, it will be possible to blend synthesized and real- time video. "Imagine learning to dance with a virtual instructor," he said.
In leaping beyond the two- and four- engine, or core, microprocessors that are being manufactured by Intel and its chief industry competitor, Advanced Micro Devices, Intel is following a design trend that is sweeping the computing world.Already, computer networking companies and the makers of PC graphics cards are moving to processor designs that have hundreds of computing engines. For example, Cisco Systems now uses a chip called Metro with 192 cores in its high-end network routers. In November, Nvidia introduced its most powerful graphics processor, the GeForce 8800, which has 128 cores.
The shift toward systems with hundreds or even thousands of computing cores is an opportunity as well as a potential crisis, computer scientists said, because no one has shown how to program such chips for many applications."If we can figure out how to program thousands of cores on a chip, the future looks rosy," said David Patterson, a computer scientist at the University of California in Berkeley and the co-author of one of the standard textbooks on microprocessor design.
"If we can't figure it out, then things look dark," he said.In addition to new kinds of computing applications, Rattner said the "network-on-chip" Teraflop processor would be ideal for the kind of heterogeneous computing that is increasingly common in the corporate world.
Large data centers now routinely use a software technique called "virtualization" to run many operating systems on a single processor to gain computing efficiency. Having hundreds or thousands of cores available would vastly increase the power of this style of computing.One of the most impressive technical achievements made by the Intel researchers was the speed with which they are able to move data between the separate processors on the chip, Patterson said.
The Teraflops chip, which consumes just 62 watts at teraflop speeds and is air-cooled, contains an internal data packet router in each processor tile. It can move data between tiles in as little as 1.25 nanoseconds, making it possible to transfer 80 billion bytes a second between the internal cores.The chip also contains an interface capability that would make it possible for Intel to package a memory chip stacked directly on top of the microprocessor in the future. Such a design would make it possible to move data back and forth between memory and processor many times faster than today's chips.
Both Intel and Advanced Micro Devices are to describe new power-saving features that will make it possible for entire sections of future microprocessors to be shut down when they are not being used.The AMD technology will be used in its four-core microprocessor code- named Barcelona, which the company has said will be commercially available in the middle of this year.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
SEOUL, South Korea — Samsung plans to unveil a new mobile phone that features some of the sleek design and functions of Apple's iPhone.
Samsung's Ultra Smart F700 will be exhibited at a Barcelona telecommunications show next week, Samsung spokeswoman Sonia Kim said. Mobile phone makers have been scrambling to match the iPhone, introduced last month by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The device, which will be available starting in June, marks the iPod and Macintosh computer maker's entry into the mobile phone business.
The ultra-thin iPhone is controlled by touching the screen a large touch screen, plays music, surfs the Internet, and runs a version of the Mac OS X operating system, among other functions.
Samsung said its new phone also has a full touch screen as well as a traditional key pad that slides out. The phone can also access the Internet, play music, take pictures, show videos, handle e-mail and share photos, said Samsung officials.
Its processor is faster than the iPhone's and it has a 5-megapixel camera, compared to the iPhone's 2-megapixel camera. "The Ultra Smart F700 is a good example of how [the] mobile phone will evolve in the future," said Choi Gee-sung, president of Samsung's Telecommunications Network.
Friday, February 9, 2007
State Attorney's Office gets astronaut case file
By Tamara Lytle and Mark K. Matthews
The Orlando Sentinel
WASHINGTON - If astronaut Lisa Marie Nowak's life was falling apart, she gave no hint to her colleagues at Johnson Space Center in the days before her arrest in Orlando on a charge of attempted murder.
She finished her workweek as usual Friday before starting her scheduled vacation, according to NASA managers.
That weekend, Nowak drove nonstop to Orlando, where she assaulted Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman with pepper spray in an airport parking lot, police say.
NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale said Wednesday that there was "no indication of concern with Lisa" in the hours before her cross-country odyssey.
That's one reason why NASA is going to reassess its psychological-testing procedures for astronauts, Dale and other managers said in a news conference from agency headquarters in Washington and Johnson Space Center in Houston.
At the direction of NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, they are going back to see whether they missed any red flags with Nowak, 43. They're also going to take a more intense look at NASA's psychological-screening process to see whether it's thorough and frequent enough.
Although managers would not address any of Nowak's criminal troubles, they emphasized there was enough alarm over her meltdown to warrant both an internal review and one that will include outside experts.
Police say she methodically planned the 950-mile trip - complete with disguise, weapons and $600 in cash.
Orlando police forwarded the case file involving Nowak to the State Attorney's Office this afternoon. The file - 07-047314 - is in the intake division where prosecutors will review the evidence to determine the formal charges. The process usually takes about two weeks. State attorney officials would not comment about the case.
NASA officials began questioning astronauts and other employees after Nowak's arrest, Dale said, but no one had recalled anything abnormal about her behavior.
"We were all taken by surprise," she said.
Nowak has been placed on 30-day administrative leave and removed from flight duties. That means during the next scheduled shuttle launch in March, she will not be the astronaut at Mission Control who serves the key role of communicating with the shuttle crew in flight.
NASA also "has frozen computers and e-mails" in case police need them, said Bob Cabana, deputy director of Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Like the astronaut corps, Nowak's family was shocked by the turn of events, apparently sparked by a rivalry for the affections of Navy Cmdr. Bill Oefelein, 41, a shuttle pilot. They say the conduct outlined in the charges against Lisa Nowak, the oldest of three sisters, is totally out of character.
On Wednesday, one of Nowak's sisters, attorney Andrea Rose, e-mailed photos to reporters to show the family during better days. Meanwhile, their parents, Alfredo and Jane Caputo, were flying to Houston to be with Nowak, who recently separated from her husband of 19 years.
"I hope that you find (the photos_ useful in portraying Lisa in a more well-rounded way - as the mother, sister, daughter, wife and friend who her family knows her to be," Andrea Rose said.
Meanwhile, NASA managers are trying to figure out how they missed the other Lisa Nowak.
Astronauts undergo extensive medical and psychological tests to gain admittance to the astronaut corps, Dale said.
Dr. Jeff Davis, director of space-life sciences at Johnson Space Center, said astronaut candidates are questioned during two separate, two-hour interviews. The first is a highly structured evaluation by a psychologist and a psychiatrist.
A psychiatrist carries out the second interview alone, providing an opportunity to explore any issues that may have arisen during the first discussion.
The findings of both interviews are reviewed by the overall board that determines an applicant's medical and psychological suitability for spaceflight. In addition, a panel of psychologists rates each applicant separately for suitability for long- or short-term space missions, Davis said.
No separate psychological tests are done after that for routine missions, but flight surgeons are trained to evaluate the medical and mental health of astronauts during annual checkups, Dale said.
Davis said the doctors are trained to look for "behavioral issues" and can refer the astronaut to a mental-health specialist if needed.
"There is not a structured (psychological) test given on an annual evaluation, but there is this very thorough annual medical evaluation by a trained aerospace-medicine physician who can make referrals to any discipline," Davis said.
Like many other workplaces, NASA also offers an employee-assistance program that provides help with personal problems.
Cabana said the agency's astronauts are comfortable asking for help if they need it.
NASA has begun two reviews of its screening process. Michael Coats, director of Johnson Space Center, home to the astronauts, will look into how and when psychological tests are done and whether anyone should have seen anything amiss with Nowak.
NASA Chief Medical Officer Rich Williams will take a broader sweep, bringing in national experts on stress and other topics to look at the agency's handling of astronauts and their health.
Coats met with astronauts to remind them to stay focused on today's scheduled spacewalk and the March space-shuttle launch.
"Folks were shocked and concerned," Cabana said. "We are a close-knit group, and we try to support one another."
Although they look out for one another, he said, "like any group, sometimes things get missed."
Dale said astronauts' conduct on and off the job is treated the same as other federal workers. Asked whether there were rules against fraternization, she said, "We don't meddle in the private lives of astronauts or other employees of NASA."
Oefelein remained on flight status, Dale said. He took personal leave to fly at his own expense to Orlando and then back this week.
Dale asked the public not to ridicule those involved.
"This is a tragic event impacting many lives along the way. We need to deal with that with empathy and a certain level of compassion," she said. "This is a very unique situation."
If anyone is sympathetic to Dale's plea, it's Frankie Camera, owner of the landmark Frenchie's restaurant just minutes from JSC in Houston.
The decades-old Italian diner features autographed pictures of astronauts and memorials to the fallen crews of Columbia and Challenger.
On Wednesday, Camera talked about NASA as family.
"This community, we all know each other. It's just so sad," he said. "Astronauts are looked to as heroes. Everyone wants to be an astronaut one day."
Thursday, February 8, 2007
Almost three years after its launch, Gmail is now available to all comers. Google continues to refer to the e-mail app as a beta product.
When the Gmail launched on April Fool's Day in 2004 and offered 1GB of storage, a lot of folks thought Google was pulling their leg. After all, Hotmail and Yahoo only offered 2MB.
But Gmail, which now offers almost 3GB of storage, ended up redefining how Web users think of e-mail applications and hinted that Google would be an app-building powerhouse. Hotmail and Yahoo have scrambled to catch up.
Gmail's debut ruffled a lot of feathers, though. Privacy advocates were taken aback by Google's intent to sell ads on e-mails. Those concerns are perhaps even more valid now, given the number of applications Google offers to the public.
Google has had some problems with Gmail lately, most notably in Germany where it lost a trademark case. The app is now called Google Mail in the UK and Germany.
Monday, February 5, 2007
Europe's biggest telecoms groups are aiming to create a mobile phone search engine that could challenge Yahoo! and Google, the US giants.
Vodafone, France Telecom, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Hutchison Whampoa, Telecom Italia and one American network, Cingular, are among the companies that will come together for secret, high-level talks at the mobile industry's biggest annual trade show in Barcelona next week.
Faced with declining revenues as calls become cheaper, network operators are determined to secure a large slice of the lucrative search advertising market.
In the UK alone, more than 20 per cent of subscribers are expected to have access to mobile internet at broadband speeds by the end of 2007, which should prompt a dramatic increase in the use of search engines via mobile phones.
The initiative will come as a surprise to Google and Yahoo!, which have lost no time in striking deals with mobile operators and handset makers. But the mobile industry believes it can retain a greater share of advertising revenues by developing its own service.
A joint approach is essential, because mobile networks will need to offer advertisers a large audience if they are to challenge the US search giants. The four big operators in Britain - Orange, owned by France Telecom, O2, part of Spain's Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile and Vodafone - will all be represented at the meeting next week. The groups involved have a combined customer base of 600m mobile phone users worldwide.
The networks may decide to go with an existing search engine and use their combined might to secure a majority slice of the income. Another idea up for discussion is the creation of a white label service, with a single advertising sales house and technical team, to which mobile networks could then apply their own brand.
A UK executive at one of the companies involved said: "There is a big play in mobile search that we need to be part of, and we are exploring those options at a very high level."
It is not clear what the implications are for existing deals between networks and the big US search companies. Google has already signed up Vodafone and T-Mobile, as well as Hutchison's 3 and China Mobile. Its service also comes pre-loaded on handsets made by companies including Samsung. The Google mobile search engine does not make money because it hasn't started selling sponsored links to advertisers. However, trials are underway and the service should become fully commercial this year.
Yahoo! has so far signed up Vodafone and 3, and is already featuring sponsored links. Mobile search is seen as potentially more valuable to users and advertisers than the service currently provided to desktop computers because results can be made geographically relevant.
On Yahoo!'s service, for example, users can type in their location and receive local information on weather, travel or entertainment.
Mobile internet will be given a further boost at Barcelona when Far Eastern manufacturer LG Electronics is announced as the winner of a competition to produce an affordable, mass-market handset capable of accessing the web.
Twelve of the leading mobile operators spanning six continents and more than 620m subscribers have agreed to sell the 3G (third generation) phone to their customers. This will allow economies of scale sufficient to bring its price in well below existing 3G handsets.
The deal will also be a massive boost for LG, allowing it to challenge the dominance of the four largest handset makers: Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Siemens and Motorola.
By: Juliette Garside