Ballmer: PC Is Our Primary Focus

Posted by Harshad

Ballmer: PC Is Our Primary Focus

Ballmer: PC Is Our Primary Focus

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 03:10 PM PDT

Ballmer: PC Is Our Primary FocusMicrosoft CEO Steve Ballmer said that the PC is the #1 smart device on the planet today.

This posting includes an audio/video/photo media file: Download Now

U.S. Senator: Cyber security bill unlikely to pass this year

Posted by Harshad

U.S. Senator: Cyber security bill unlikely to pass this year

U.S. Senator: Cyber security bill unlikely to pass this year

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 08:39 PM PDT

U.S. Senator: Cyber security bill unlikely to pass this yearUnited States Senators have said it is unlikely that Cyber security legislation will pass this year as the 111th Congress comes to an end.

Recognizing that critical infrastructure of the United States depends on computer and network systems, legislators are debating what powers should be given to the U.S. President to respond to, and handle situations such as cyber attacks.

Countries like the United Kingdom and the United States have expressed concerns that some critical systems (health, transport, defense etc.) could be affected by cyber attacks launched by cyber criminals or rogue states. Lawmakers in the U.S. are looking to pass new legislation that would give the President powers to handle attacks from the Internet or threats of attacks, but say that any legislation is unlikely to pass this year.

"I'm not optimistic of major cyber security legislation passing at this late time." Republican staff director on the Senate Intelligence Committee Louis Tucker said. "Considering the objections to some of the cyber bills out there, comprehensive legislation will probably have to wait until next year."

A piece of legislation backed by Sens. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Tom Carper, D-Del has some privacy activists concerned. ACLU legislative counsel Michelle Richardson said the problem is the legislation fails to specify the powers it wants to grant to the President.

Defense News reports that the bill states: "The president would be granted emergency measures to protect the nation's most critical infrastructure if a cyber vulnerability is being exploited or is about to be exploited." Aides to the sponsoring Senators have said the bill does not authorize the government to take over critical infrastructure.

"The Obama Administration must disclose what authority it thinks it already has before the new legislation can be considered," Richardson said.

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Facebook hosting mobile event next week

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 08:39 PM PDT

Facebook hosting mobile event next weekFacebook has sent out invites to members of the press to attend an event that will focus on Facebook's mobile offerings.

The event is sure to re-spark the immediately-denied rumors that there is a Facebook-branded handset (or handsets) on the horizon. The media event will be held at Facebook's Palo Alto headquarters next Wednesday.

The social networking giant recently revealed that of its 500 million members, approximately 150 million use the website from their mobile phones. It offers native software applications for handsets as well as hosting a mobile-friendly version of its site.

That is likely to be the main focus of the event. A Facebook spokesperson denied rumors back in December that the company was working with device manufacturers on Facebook-branded handsets, saying that building phones is just not what Facebook does.

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NCSA director says GPUs are future of high performance computing

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 08:39 PM PDT

NCSA director says GPUs are future of high performance computingThom Dunning, director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, has said that GPUs are the future of supercomputing.

Dunning said high-performance computing solutions will continue to move toward graphics processing units for more power. China has just recently claimed to have the fastest supercomputer on the planet, the Tianhe-1A, which uses 7,168 Nvidia Tesla M2050 GPUs and 14,336 Intel Xeon CPUs.

This GPU-CPU hybrid system is what Dunning expects to be the future in the area.

"What we're really seeing in the efforts in China as well as the ones we have in the U.S. is that GPUs are what the future will look like," Dunning said. "What we're seeing is the beginning of something that's going to be happening all over the world."

He said that the migration to such systems will accelerate when chipmakers can provide combined high-performance CPU and GPU functions on the same chip. "If they start to solve some of these other problems like putting [the GPU and CPU] together on a chip, that's when you'll start to see a lot software rewritten," according to Dunning.

"That combination will address a number of the more significant shortcomings that we currently see in these CPU-GPU combinations. Basically, the way they're implemented presently is a very small pipe between [the CPU and GPU] and that really restricts the effectiveness with which you can use the GPU," Dunning added, reports CNET.

"What we'll find is that the AMDs, the Intels, the IBMs, they will start incorporating some of those features into the chips that they manufacture. AMD has an architecture called Fusion. It's going to be [available] fairly soon."

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Roku bans PlayOn channels

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 08:39 PM PDT

Roku bans PlayOn channelsRoku Developer Program Manager, "Patrick", has announced on the company's official forum that PlayOn-compatible channels have been removed and can no longer be added.

Anybody already subscribed to a channel will be able to keep it for now, although it is unclear for how long. Roku has said that neither Roku, or the developer of the channel are affiliated in any way with PlayOn.
Hi everyone,

While we understand that many of you are excited about a PlayOn-compatible Channel and may be using it, it unfortunately presents the possibility of legal exposure for us. As a result, the current PlayOn channels have been removed and are no longer available to add to your Roku player.

Roku remains a streaming option at the PlayOn website for now. PlayOn offers streaming content from Hulu, Comedy Central, Spike, PBS, ESPN, CBS, ESPN3, Nickelodeon, TBS and BET to a variety of different devices.

Forum Thread: http://forums.roku.com/

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Apple counter-sues Motorola for patent infringement

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 07:55 PM PDT

Apple counter-sues Motorola for patent infringementApple has responded to a lawsuit brought against it by Motorola earlier this month with its own patent infringement lawsuits.

The Cupertino-based iPhone-maker sued Motorola alleging the company's smartphone line-up and the operating system used by its handsets violate the company's intellectual property. Apple filed the two lawsuits on Friday in the U.S. district court in Wisconsin.

Earlier this month, Motorola filed a complaint with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) claiming that Apple's "i" devices infringe on their patents, as well as some Mac computers in its line-up. The three complaints include 18 patents, all of which relate to "early-stage innovations developed by Motorola in key technology areas found on many of Apple's core products and associated services, including MobileMe and the App Store."

The patents are related to "wireless communication technologies, such as WCDMA (3G), GPRS, 802.11 and antenna design, and key smartphone technologies including wireless email, proximity sensing, software application management, location-based services and multi-device synchronization."

Apple's complaint covers most of Motorola's currently shipping Android-based devices, including the Droid, Droid 2, Droid X, Backflip, Charm, Cliq, Cliq XT, Devour and i1. It claims to have over 200 patents related to multi-touch and has argued that others, such as HTC, are also copying its technology.

Motorola has contended that Apple is really waging a proxy war against Google by targeting its hardware partners that use the Android operating system, a rival to iPhone and iOS.

Apple is accusing Motorola of violating six of its patents and is seeking a permanent injunction and an unspecified amount in damages.

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YouTube users have over 1 billion subscriptions

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 07:55 PM PDT

YouTube users have over 1 billion subscriptionsYouTube announced this week on its blog that users of the service have clicked the little yellow "subscribe" button over 1 billion times since it was added.

YouTube gave users the option to subscribe to videos from other users by clicking the now-familiar yellow button back in 2006. This week it was revealed that YouTube users have amassed over one billion subscriptions to videos from other YouTube user, with the billionth subscription being to the MachinimaSports channel.

Over 1 billion subscription updates that sent to YouTube users' homepages every week. Fifteen YouTube channels have managed to cross the 1 million subscribers landmark; fred, nigahiga, kassemg, shanedawsonTV, shanedawsonTV2, smosh, universalmusicgroup, machinima, sxephil, mysteryguitarman, davedays, kevjumba, realannoyingorange, raywilliamjohnson, collegehumor and failblog.

YouTube has also now offered a widget you can embed into your own websites or blogs that allows users to subscribe to your channel without having to visit YouTube.com.

You can see more details at: http://youtube-global.blogspot.com/

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Senator: ESRB game ratings 'biased'

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 07:55 PM PDT

Senator: ESRB game ratings 'biased' The California State Senator behind a controversial piece of legislation concerning the sale of violent video games to minors has claimed that ESRB guideline ratings are "biased".

San Francisco democrat Leland Yee said that his new piece of legislation was needed because the ESRB age-rating scheme is "rather biased." He told GameSpot that since the games industry itself funds the ESRB, it is natural to assume that the ratings titles receive are biased.

"Clearly, they're not going to legitimately and appropriately place any markings on any video games, because it's in the interest of the video [game] industry to sell as many video games as possible," he said. "You never heard of an AO rating whatsoever, because that would limit your market share." (Have a look here, Senator)

Lee claims that his bill is only targeted at a small section of ultraviolent video games, and evoked memories of the overblown "hot coffee" controversy which saw gamers using downloadable patches to unlock a mini-game featuring clothed sex scenes in the "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" title.

Yee believes that video games should be more scrutinized in this way than movies because you are unable to look at all the content in one sitting.

"For parents, it's hard to really know what the content is as opposed to a movie. Parents can sit and watch a movie. Within a game, you have to be pretty sophisticated to get to a level to see some of the more atrocious behaviour."

He said that his bill does not mean minors will be unable to get ultraviolent video games, they will instead just need to convince their parents to get them instead.

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Google exec says Android was company's best deal

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 07:55 PM PDT

Google exec says Android was company's best dealA Google executive has said that Google's quiet acquisition of Android Inc. several years ago was the best deal the company has ever struck since its beginning.

The comments were made by David Lawee, vice president of corporate development at Google, at the 16th annual Stanford Accel Symposium. He said that when the search giant buys up a company, it is up to the entrepreneurs to make it a success under the Google umbrella.

Google bought Android for an estimated $50 million back in 2005. Android Inc. was a wireless software start-up that was founded by Andy Rubin.

"I saw this guy in my building for two years, walking his dog, and I was like, I hope this guy does something," said Lawee. "It's obvious when the deal doesn't work out, because the people leave. That's the key metric: Is the technology being used? A lot of it depends on the perseverance of the team coming in."

Rubin did stick around with Google to champion the development of the open source Android operating system for mobile handsets. It now is one of the most used operating systems in handsets.

Google profits from mobile ads displayed on Android handsets. It recently revealed that mobile ads are now a $1 billion annual business for the web giant.

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Google wanted Steve Jobs as CEO?

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 06:10 PM PDT

Google wanted Steve Jobs as CEO?A new documentary has revealed that founders of search giant Google tried to lure Steve Jobs away from Apple to head the "then" emerging company.

Bloomberg's new documentary, Game Changers, reveals that Google's co-founders Larry Paige and Sergey Brin traveled to Apple's Cupertino campus for a meeting with Steve Jobs. The pair tried to lure Jobs to Google to act as chief executive officer but were unable to get him on board.

After interviewing about 13 different candidates, Paige and Brin eventually settled on Eric Schmidt. Whilst Schmidt touts a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the fact that he attended a hippy art festival, Burning Man, in Black Rock Desert, Nevada, apparently gave some weight to his candidacy.

Game Changers is a new documentary that tells the story of Larry Paige and Sergey Brin as they met at Sranford and all to the way to their status in the industry today.

The 48 minute documentary is available here.

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Redbox plans to stream movies in 2011

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 06:10 PM PDT

Redbox plans to stream movies in 2011After sparking speculation by asking customers whether they would be willing to pay a monthly fee for unlimited streaming last spring, Redbox' owner has now confirmed it is planning a movie streaming service.

During a conference call yesterday, Coinstar CEO Paul Davis confirmed that Redbox does have its own plans in the space. He said that Redbox will be working with a partner to deliver a movie streaming service but did not elaborate on who the company is in negotiations with or what kind of a payment structure would be in mind.

The company will launch the Redbox-branded service in 2011 if all goes well. It will either be an unlimited service for a fee like that offered by Netflix, or it could go the iTunes and Amazon route with a Video on Demand service instead.

Last spring, customers were asked if they would be winning to pay a monthly fee of $4 for unlimited streaming and up to 4 DVD rentals per month.

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China claims to have fastest supercomputer

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 06:09 PM PDT

China claims to have fastest supercomputerChina claims to have built the world's faster supercomputer, surpassing the Cray XT5 Jaguar supercomputer in the United States.

The Tianhe-1A was unveiled on Thursday and claims a performance record of 2.507 petaflops (flops == floating point operations per second; petaflops == 1015), beating the Cray XT5 Jaguar's 1.75 petaflops record. The Chinese system will have to wait to be crowned the world's fastest supercomputer until the International Supercomputing Conference in Germany in a couple of weeks, which will compile a list of the top 500 supercomputers in the world.

It is powered by 7,168 Nvidia Tesla M2050 GPUs and 14,336 Intel Xeon CPUs. The system still requires U.S.-made processors, but the very high-speed interconnect technology and software that runs the system was developed in China. It was designed at the National University of Defense Technology in China and comprises 103 computer racks, consumes 4.04 megawatts of electricity and covers 17,000 square feet.

"Certainly there's some nationalistic pride in having the fastest computer, but it's also a signal that the U.S. is not the dominant force when it comes to supercomputing," said Jack Dongarra, a computing expert at the University of Tennessee.

Dongarra recalled Japan's holding of the crown for supercomputer speed in 2002, which he said spurred the United States on to regain the record. While he hopes the same thing happens again, he said the United States needs to invest in the development of the software, algorithms, models and other technologies instead of just splashing out on shiny new hardware when it is produced by chipmakers.

Supercomputers are used when phenomenal amounts of computational power is required. They are important for scientific research, biomedicine, weather analysis and other tasks.

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Asus tool provides solution for 2.2TB+ HDDs

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 06:09 PM PDT

Asus tool provides solution for 2.2TB+ HDDsAsus has released a new software tool that is aimed at legacy systems to make it possible to fully access hard drives with more than 2.2TB of storage space.

Disk Unlocker is a free utility for Asus motherboards that are limited by BIOS as 3TB internal HDDs roll onto the market. The tool cannot create a bootable partition based on the GUID partition table (GPT). Instead, it simply allows users running Windows XP x64, Windows Vista and Windows 7 access the extra space beyond the 2.2GB limit.

To boot from a GPT partitioned drive you would need an Extensive Firmware Interface-capable motherboard. Disk Unlocker, when run, provides a drop-down list of HDDs with more than 2.2TB capacity (but does not list any that already use the GPT format). When a user makes a selection, the tool creates a new virtual drive that gives the user control over the extra storage space.

"This is the first software solution to overcome current operating system limitations that prevent a hard disk drive from utilizing more than 2048 GB (also known as 2.2TB)," the company said. "With just a few clicks, Disk Unlocker taps into hidden storage space beyond the nominal 2048 GB range, helping you use large hard drives to their maximum potential."

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Boxee announces addition of VUDU client in November

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 03:33 PM PDT

Boxee announces addition of VUDU client in NovemberStarting in November, Boxee users will be adding an application for the VUDU on demand service. In addition, VUDU is offering a free movie rental to anyone who signs up for their service through Boxee.

Boxee is a media center platform for Windows & OS X, which is primarily designed to aceess web based content. A set-top box, simply called the Boxee Box, will also be launching next month.

VUDU clients are already available on a number of Blu-ray players & HDTVs, as well as VUDU's own set-top box.

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Bloomberg: IBM mulling Fortinet takeover

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 03:31 PM PDT

Bloomberg: IBM mulling Fortinet takeoverBloomberg cites sources close to Fortinent Inc. in a report claiming that International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) has approached the network security firm about a possible takeover.

The world's largest provider of computer services approached Fortinet between six and eight weeks ago, according to the sources, and talks now may be at an advanced stage. Fortinent is reportedly working with Morgan Stanley on its strategic options.

The firm provides systems for network security, catering to companies that range from small businesses to large phone carriers. IBM CEO Sam Palmisano had previously said he plans to spend about $20 billion on acquisitions over the next five years.

"IBM's move is part of a bigger trend where technology companies are trying to fill the gaps in their portfolios," said Rajesh Ghai, an analyst at ThinkEquity LLC in San Francisco.

"Fortinet is growing very fast, and IBM is looking at high-growth companies also because the return on cash on a balance sheet is very low."

Fortinent, which has a market value of $2.14 billion, has seen its stock price surge over the past year due to speculation that it could become an acquisition target.

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Bredolab botnet still shows signs of life

Posted: 30 Oct 2010 03:30 PM PDT

Bredolab botnet still shows signs of lifeDespite an Dutch-led operating that disconnected 143 command and control servers from the Internet, the Bredolab botnet appears to still be receiving instructions from remaining servers.

Dutch authorities have said that the Bredolab investigation is still on-going, after already taking 143 servers offline and capturing of what authorities described as a computer virus "mastermind" in Armenia. At least two botnet command nodes appear to still be active.

The servers are located in Russia and Romania, and they will deliver FakeAV (Antivirusplus) and spam to infected machines that look them up. A third command node located in Russia was also showing signs of life earlier in the week, but appears to have gone offline permanently.

Security firm FireEye reckons that a second group of bot herders are issuing new instructions to the remaining zombie drones either attempting to make their own botnet or are continuing to use portions of the botnet they had previously rented.

At its most active, Bredolab was capable of causing 3 million infections in a month and is responsible for billions of spam e-mail messages.

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