Friday, August 31, 2007

AppGet 0.6.8

Appget is a version-control-program. Appget will show you a list of your installed Applications. When an update is available for one of them, it will be shown in Appget. There you can update the specific applications in seconds.

How does it work?
When Appget starts, it will create a list all your installed applications and their corresponding version numbers. The collected data will (anonymously) be submitted and compared to the online Appget database. After this information has been processed, you will automatically be notified of updates of your installed applications.

What's new:
* changed default search engine from google.nl to google.com
* improved version recognition algorithm

Home Page

Swedes Invalidate OOXML Vote Over Fraud Allegations

The Swedish Standards Institute (SIS) has invalidated this week's ballot on the proposed Office Open XML (OOXML) standard, eliminating one vote in favour of the standard before the International Standards Organization (ISO). The body said that it had received information that one of its members had cast more than one vote, invalidating the entire election. As a result, the group won't be able to weigh in on the ISO procedure that seeks to establish OOXML as an open standard, as the deadline for votes to be registered passes on 2 September. The Swedish election sparked widespread controversy earlier this week when the SIS approved OOXML. The standard competes with the Open Document Format that is backed by IBM, Sun Microsystems as well as most open source advocates.

Doubts about the vote were raised after 20 companies suddenly joined one week before the SIS meeting and an email emerged in which Microsoft offered its partners "marketing contributions" if they would join the organisation and vote on the OOXML issue. However, although Microsoft's director of corporate standards Jason Matusow admitted that two messages were sent, he stressed that the company immediately flagged them as a violation of company policy. The company called the two recipients asking them to ignore the message, and informed the Swedish Standards Institute. Matusow also pointed out that IBM too had lobbied Swedish business partners to vote against the standard and he argued that companies joining SIS at the last minute was within the rules of the standards body, as both proponents and opponents, such as Google, had joined.

vnunet.com

MSN Messenger vulnerable to ‘highly critical’ webcam flaw

Exploit code for a “highly critical” vulnerability in MSN Messenger has been posted to a Chinese-language forum, prompting Microsoft to urge all users to immediately migrate to Windows Live Messenger 8.1.

The exploit, available here, is caused by an error in the handling of video conversations and can be exploited to cause a heap-based buffer overflow via specially crafted data sent to a user.

Secunia warns that successful exploitation may allow execution of arbitrary code, but requires that the victim accepts the incoming Webcam invitation.

“This is under investigation,” a Microsoft spokesman said.

“Our investigation so far shows that the latest version, Windows Live Messenger 8.1, is not vulnerable to this issue,” he added, urging Windows Live Messenger 8.0 users to upgrade to Messenger 8.1.

More @ ZDNet

Monster says millions of users' data may be stolen

The theft of contact information for job seekers in the database of Monster was greater than the 1.3 million individuals the company reported last week, Chief Executive Sal Iannuzzi said on Wednesday.

While investigating the recent theft, the company learned that its Web site had previously been hacked.

"We're assuming it is a large number. It could easily be in the millions," Iannuzzi said in an interview with Reuters.

The hackers didn't get the kind of information it takes to pull money out of a bank account, according to Monster.com, but the contact data is valuable to criminals who use social engineering techniques to conduct scams.

Contact data provide criminals just enough information to convince some recipients to let their guard down because the use of personal information and other social engineering techniques make the e-mails seem legitimate.

More @ Reuters

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Decrypting and re-encoding DVD-Audio

DVD-Audio is a standard for storing high quality stereo or multi-channel audio content on a standard DVD disk. Supported sample rates range from 44.1KHz up to 192KHz, with bit depths of 16, 20 or 24 bits. A DVD-Audio contains both DVD-Audio content (in the AUDIO_TS folder) and DVD-Video content (in the VIDEO_TS folder) and has the DVD-Audio logo. The audio in the AUDIO_TS folder can be either Linear Pulse Compression Modification (abbreviated LPCM, which is uncompressed) or Meridian Lossless Packing (abbreviated MLP, which is losslessly compressed). Usually, a DVD-Audio contains 5.1ch MLP / 2.0ch MLP or 5.1ch MLP / 2.0ch LPCM. There is also audio present in the VIDEO_TS folder, but of lower quality (that is with a lower sample rate and a lower bit depth). More information can be found here.

A DVD-Audio can be encrypted. The encryption is called Content Protection for Prerecorded Media (CPPM), which uses a media key block (MKB) to authenticate DVD-Audio players. In order to decrypt the audio, players must obtain a media key from the MKB, which also is encrypted. The player must use its own unique key to decrypt the MKB. If a DVD-Audio player's decryption key is compromised, that key can be rendered useless for decrypting future DVD-Audio discs. DVD-Audio discs can also contain digital watermarking technology, typically embedded into the audio once every thirty seconds. If a DVD-Audio player encounters a watermark on a disc without a valid MKB, it will halt playback. quoted from wikipedia As of today, the encryption is broken, but it is not possible to remove the watermarks yet.

The purpose of this guide is the following:

  • It explains how to decrypt and re-encode the audio of your DVD-Audio to FLAC (which is an open source lossless audio codec). This enables you to play your re-encondings on your PC without any hassle (using open source tools).
  • The above will be done retaining higher quality than the audio counterpart that is located on the video section of the disc.

As of today, it is not possible to decode the MLP tracks of your DVD-Audio using open source (or even free) tools. So you need to get one of the following two tools:

  • The Sonic filters "Sonic HD Demuxer" and "Sonic Cinemaster@Audio Decoder 4.3.0". They are directshow filters contained in the package "Sonic.CinePlayer.HD.DVD.Decoder.v4.3.rar".
  • Surcode MLP.

If you want to use AviSynth (without creating intermediate WAV files) then you need to get the Sonic filters somewhere. As of today, 192kHz 24bit MLP tracks are not supported by the Sonic filters, so you are forced to use Surcode MLP in that case. The Sonic filters which support MLP decoding are the following:

  1. CinemasterAudio.dll v4.2.0.840, SonicHDDemuxer.dll v4.2.0.59
  2. CinemasterAudio.dll v4.3.0.151, SonicHDDemuxer.dll v4.3.0.73
  3. CinemasterAudio.dll v4.3.0.169, SonicHDDemuxer.dll v4.3.0.89

MG-ac97 True 5.1 Surround Sound Headset


The first thing about this headset that really caught my eye was the fact that it supports 5.1 surround. I was a bit skeptical on how well they'd work in this area but I've been very happy with them so far.

To achieve the surround effect, each ear cup has three speakers, front audio and subwoofer, center, and rear. It's not as clear to distinguish as a traditional surround setup with speakers around the room, but you can still tell the difference of things in front and behind you. This headset also comes equipped with a microphone so they really are excellent for gaming.

To achieve the true 5.1 of course you need a sound card that supports this. But if your soundcard is only a 2.0 there's still no need to worry because these can work both ways. I remember taking the headset out of the packaging and thinking, "wow that’s a lot of wires" and I'll be honest, it still feels like a lot. But you need them for the 5.1 surround. This headset also uses enough power then it needs to be powered with the USB.

Full Review...

ASUS P5K3 Premium/WiFi AP

Intel's newest P35 Express chipset brought along support for both DDR2 and DDR3 memory modules. As DDR3 modules are still not widely interesting because of their high price, ASUS decided to celebrate its 18th birthday in a specific manner. We have in front of us an ASUS P5K3 Premium/WiFi AP motherboard which has 2 GB of DDR3 memory - integrated!!!

The Black Pearl, as this motherboard model is suffixed, is supposed to be associated with the limited number of produced models. The bundle is very rich, so, alongside necessary cables, one can also find a WiFi antenna in the package as well. Still, let's start with the board layout. What comes to attention first is the heatpipe system. The quality of this kind of cooling is unquestionable.

Full Review...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Kingston 266X 4GB Compact Flash Card

Kingston are one of the worlds largest manufacturers of memory and flash memory with a huge annual turnover of $2.2 billion. it's the turn of the trusty Compact Flash Card (CF). Those of you with DSLR's will know having a fast CF card in your camera is an essential if you want to take a lot of photo's fast. Let's see how it gets on pitted against one of the best on the market - the Sandisk Extreme II CF Card.

Kingston have opted to go with a blister-style package on the 266X CF Card. This is good as it protects the card and also shows off what you are getting.Limited information is available on the back of the packaging but the basics are there. Kingston have chosen to keep it a little low-key but it looks nice and certainly the card itself is coloured to stand out.

There isn't a whole lot to the package in with the Kingston 266X CF card. You get:

* Kingston 266X Compact Flash Card
* Short Instruction Manual
* Plastic CF Card holder

And that's it. In all fairness you don't get a whole lot in other card packages although Sandisk do give you a bag with their Extreme II card.

Features/benefits

* Capacities1 — 2GB, 4GB, 8GB
* Dimensions — 1.43" x 1.68" x 0.13" (36.4 mm x 42.8 mm x 3.3 mm) – CF Type I
* Speed Rating 2 — 45MB/sec read, 40MB/sec write
* Recovery Utility — data recovery software download from MediaRECOVER. Windows/Mac compatible
* Operating Temperature — 32° F to 140° F (0° C to 60° C)
* Storage Temperature — -4° F to 185° F (-20° C to 85° C)
* Standardized — complies with CompactFlash Association specification standards
* Easy — plug-and-play
* Economical — autosleep mode preserves system battery life
* Guaranteed — lifetime warranty †

HomePage

AutoIt - automation tool

AutoIt is a simple tool that can simulate key presses, mouse movements and window commands (maximize, minimize, wait for, etc.) in order to automate any windows based task (or even windowed DOS tasks). It was primarily designed to assist in automatically installing software that cannot be automatically installed by other means. This is most useful during a PC rollout where hundreds or thousands of client machines need to be automatically installed. However, AutoIt is not limited to software installation and can be used to automate many simple or complex windows tasks like executing programs,sending keystrokes and mouse clicks, text clipboard functions, registry functions and more.

AutoIt HomePage

MoveIt2 - automatically move or upload files

MoveIt2 is a utility to automatically move files that are added to a specific folder. You can set filters based on the file name, rename files using regular expressions when moving them to the new destination, create directories based on the file name or date and check if the file already exists. The program can move files from/to local folders as well as FTP directories. MoveIt2 offers quite a few features that make the program very flexible and useful for a variety of file management tasks as well as file backups. It runs in the system tray and automatically monitors the selected folders for any additions that match your file moving rules. You can set up to 5 working threads, each with individual settings. Other features include detailed logging, support for subdirectory scanning, command-line options and more. This free Lite version is restricted to 5 MoveIt2 threads (moving rules), which should be sufficient for most users.

HomePage

Monday, August 27, 2007

DOSBox 0.72

DOSBox is a DOS-emulator that uses the SDL-library which makes DOSBox very easy to port to different platforms. DOSBox has already been ported to many different platforms, such as Windows, BeOS, Linux, MacOS X... DOSBox also emulates CPU:286/386 realmode/protected mode, Directory FileSystem/XMS/EMS, Tandy/Hercules/CGA/EGA/VGA/VESA graphics, a SoundBlaster/Gravis Ultra Sound card for excellent sound compatibility with older games... You can "re-live" the good old days with the help of DOSBox, it can run plenty of the old classics that don't run on your new computer! DOSBox is totally free of charge and OpenSource.

Changes:

- Fixed unitialized variable in joystick. (Fixes crashes on Vista and Mac OS X)
- Some bugfixes and speedups to the 64 bit recompiling core.
- Fixed sign flag on soundblaster dma transfers (Space Quest 6 intro)
- Fixed a bug in keyboard layout processing code and fixed certain layouts.
- Fixed Dreamweb.
- Improved speed unlocking when running cycles=max.
- Fixed a crash related to the tab completion in the shell.
- Improved aspect correction code. Should now be like how a real monitor handles it.
- Fixed a bug in the xms status report code. (Blake Stone 1.0 shareware)
- Added a lot more keyboard layouts.
- Fixed crash related to changing the scaler before a screen was created.
- Hopefully fixed compilation on *bsd.
- Enabled auto cpu core selection for recompiling core as well.
- Made the used joystick selectable when 4axis is specified.
- Added some hints for inexperienced DOS users to the shell.

Home Page

Firefox Campus Edition 2.0.0.6

Firefox Campus Edition combines the Firefox web browser with special extras that give you streamlined access to music, cool sites and useful research tools. It's a way to get the most out of the web that's been created just for students. And it's free!
What extras are included?

- FoxyTunes lets you control almost any media player and find lyrics, covers, videos, bios and much more with a click right from your browser.
- StumbleUpon lets you channel surf the Internet to find great websites, videos, photos and more based on your interests.
- Zotero helps you collect, manage, and cite your research sources. It lives right where you do your work - in the web browser itself.

Firefox Campus Edition 2.0.0.6

DivX 6.7 Beta 1

The DivX Codec takes the power of advanced digital video compression to the next level, encoding video at resolutions up to high-definition 1920 x 1080. That's right, you heard it straight: 1080i and 1080p, at a fraction of the file size. What more can we say? Wait, we almost forgot, there is more. Read on, dear friend, for a list of DivX Codec features.

Features

* Compress digital video 5 to 10 times more than MPEG-2/DVD format and hundreds of times over raw digital video
* Encode high-definition (HD) video at resolutions up to 1080p
* Maximized performance for all HyperThreaded, dual core and dual CPU (SMP) systems
* Improved support for interlaced video
* Six carefully optimized encoding modes for balancing visual quality and performance
* Automated noise reduction reduces grain and low-light noise (common with DV cameras) without significantly degrading the video

DivX 6.7 Beta 1

Friday, August 24, 2007

WolfKing Timberwolf FPS Gaming Keyboard

When you hear about someone that put together a killer gaming computer to play all the latest games on, you think about components like the CPU, memory, and the video card. As important as they are, to make it all worthwhile, you need to have the right input devices to give you that gaming edge. Response time is crucial when you are head-to-head with your enemy and that millisecond can make the difference between you or him taking the fall. A great keyboard gives you quick access to the things you need and nothing makes that happen like the WolfKing Timberwolf FPS Gaming Keyboard. For those of you who don't know what a FPS game is, it stands for First Person Shooter, which include games such as Counter Strike, F.E.A.R, and the Battlefield series.

The Wolf King Keyboard was designed to make FPS games easier to play by arranging keys for faster access that traditional keyboards do not offer. According to WolfKing Inc, its products are "Engineered to give you the ultimate experience, its one palm size fits all keys concept makes your movement even more professional and precise as opposed to a standard keyboard. Experts can now play more professionally and beginners will be able to adapt to FPS games much faster and easier."

The Timberwolf takes WolfKing's original product, the WolfKing Warrior (a circular type keyboard to have beside your regular keyboard), and merges it with a compact version of a full QWERTY keyboard to give you the best of both worlds in one complete package.

SOYO ST-SYLA04 FreeStyler 600 BlueTooth Mono Headset

Most people have retired their wires and now just talk on their phones or use Bluetooth headsets. Introducing the FreeStyler 600 Bluetooth V2.0 headset, SOYO has made a product that is easy to use and is compatible with any Bluetooth enabled cell phone. Currently, the majority of newer cell phones are equipped to handle Bluetooth devices, making Bluetooth hands-free headsets an option for most. In this review, SOYO’s Freestyle 600 headset is examined.

The SOYO Bluetooth headset with the latest technology 2.0 is designed for a more secure single link and crystal clear phone conversations. The headset is a compact design with a light weight ear piece for comfort. Adjustable ear loop designed to fit precisely over your ears on the left or right side.

Features

  • Up to 8 hours of talk time, 200 hours of standby time.
  • Ergonomic & super lightweight design at 9g (0.32oz)
  • The flexible ear loop fits either ear comfortably.
  • Compatible with multiple Bluetooth devices-cell phones, laptops or PDAs

New Galatctic Civilizations II Expansion - Nov 2007

Galatcitc Civilizations II is getting a new expansion, set for Nov 2007.

The galaxy is being consumed by the fires of war as we enter the final act of the Dread Lord saga. Galactic Civilizations II: Twilight of the Arnor is the second expansion pack to the award-winning PC strategy game, Galactic Civilizations II.

With a November 2007 release date, Galactic Civilizations II: Twilight of the Arnor expands the gameplay of Galactic Civilizations in all new ways. Below is a partial list of some of the new features in the new expansion pack.

  • New campaign detailing the final chapter in the Dread Lord wars
  • The star destroying new unit, the Terror Star arrives
  • Unique technology trees for all 12 civilizations
  • Unique planetary improvements for each civilization
  • New 3D engine powered map editor
  • New Scenario Editor for creating highly detailed custom games
  • New Campaign Editor for players who want to create their own custom epic campaigns for themselves or to share with others
  • New Metaverse Tournaments: Specific Map & Scenarios recorded to the Metaverse with prizes for top players
  • New Ship Component: Atlas. Makes ships in a fleet more lethal
  • New Ship Component: Fortitude. Gives ships in a fleet have more hit points
  • New Ship Component: Driver. Makes ships in a fleet move faster
  • Unique weapons per civilization
  • Updated Planetary Invasions
  • New Enhanced textures and graphics for planets and ships
  • New Galaxy Size: Immense (vastly bigger than current galaxy sizes)
  • Extra alien portraits and logos
  • Legacy of the Telenanth: Detailed back story of Galactic Civilizations
  • And more!
Galatctic Civilizations II: Twilight of the Arnor Home Page

Foxit PDF Reader 2.1 Build 2023

Foxit Reader is a free PDF document viewer and printer, with incredible small size (only 2.1 M download size), breezing-fast launch speed and amazingly rich feature set. Foxit Reader supports Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/2003/Vista. Its core function is compatible with PDF Standard 1.7. In the past, you have to download a huge PDF reader from another software company, go through a lengthy installation process and wait for an annoying splash window to disappear just to open a PDF document.

What's new in Version 2.1

The following is a list of exciting improvements introduced in Foxit Reader 2.1.

--Design interactive forms
--Measure distances
--Insert images and add links into the PDF
--Add loupe tool
--Attach files to the PDF
--Select multiple annotations and specify annotation transparency
--Reading history recalls the place you were when you closed the PDF
--E-mail the PDF
--Check spelling in typewriter and form filler functions

Enhanced features:
--Enhanced zoom tools
--Renovated IE plug-in with almost all the capabilities of the main program
--Print only the annotations
--Enhanced permission control
--Built-in and improved JavaScript engine
--Better support for multi-language input
--Enhanced typewriter function
--Improved full screen view
--Many bug fixes [full changelog]

Foxit Software Home Page

Toshiba Unveils First 32GB High-Density Flash Card

Toshiba revealed Aug. 22 that it will soon add three new high-density flash memory cards to its product lineup—including one it touts as the world's first 32GB flash card. The Tokyo-based company, which partners with SanDisk to produce SanDisk High Capacity cards, also announced a 16GB SDHC card and an 8GB microSDHC card.

All the new cards meet the Class 4 specification in the SD Speed Class (a minimum of 4GB per second of throughput), which enable them to deliver enough power to run new-generation mobile phones and other handheld products. "The speed class is important to maximize performance for demanding applications and help the consumer choose the right card for their camera or camcorder," said Brian Kumagai, business development manager for NAND Flash with Irvine, Calif.-based Toshiba America Electronic Components.

eWeek

Engineers construct 220 million pixel computer display

Engineers at the University of California, San Diego have constructed the highest-resolution computer display in the world – with a screen resolution up to 220 million pixels. The system located at the UCSD division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) is also linked via optical fiber to Calit2’s building at UC Irvine, which boasts the previous record holder. The combination – known as the Highly Interactive Parallelized Display Space (HIPerSpace) – can deliver real-time rendered graphics simultaneously across 420 million pixels to audiences in Irvine and San Diego.

“We don’t intend to stop there,” said Falko Kuester, Calit2 professor for visualization and virtual reality and associate professor of structural engineering in UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering. “HIPerSpace provides a unique environment for visual analytics and cyberinfrastructure research and we are now seeking funding to double the size of the system at UC San Diego alone to reach half a billion pixels with a one gigapixel distributed display in sight.”

Physorg

Toshiba: 320GB Notebook Drive

Toshiba Corporation has announced two new lineups (MK-GSX and MK-GSY) of hard disk drives for mobile or portable applications that offer either increased capacities or leading performance. Both families of HDDs support an optional Free Fall Sensor function, which detects falling HDD and parks the head before it crashes. Toshiba did not reveal when the new drives are planned to be commercially available.

The flagship Toshiba MK3252GSX model has two 160GB platters, for a total capacity of 320GB. The new hard drive features Serial ATA-300 interface, 5400rpm motor, 8MB buffer and 12ms average seek time. Other members of Toshiba MK-GSX family sport similar technical characteristics, but feature capacities of 250GB, 160GB, 120GB or 80GB. The Toshiba MK2049GSY uses two 100GB platters for a capacity of 200GB. The two main advantages of the HDD are 7200rpm motor and a 16MB buffer. Toshiba declares that the new drive increases the maximum transfer rate by approximately 46% and the average random access time by approximately 8% when compared to the current MK1637GSX model. Other new members of the family feature capacities of 160GB, 120GB or 80GB.

Xbit Laboratories

Sony's 'Bio Battery' Generates Electricity from Sugar

Sony today announced the development of a bio battery that generates electricity from carbohydrates (sugar) utilizing enzymes as its catalyst, through the application of power generation principles found in living organisms. Test cells of this bio battery have achieved power output of 50 mW, currently the world's highest level for passive-type bio batteries. The output of these test cells is sufficient to power music play back on a memory-type Walkman. In order to realize the world's highest power output, Sony developed a system of breaking down sugar to generate electricity that involves efficiently immobilizing enzymes and the mediator (electronic conduction materials) while retaining the activity of the enzymes at the anode.

Sony also developed a new cathode structure which efficiently supplies oxygen to the electrode while ensuring that the appropriate water content is maintained. Optimizing the electrolyte for these two technologies has enabled these power output levels to be reached. Sugar is a naturally occurring energy source produced by plants through photosynthesis. It is therefore regenerative, and can be found in most areas of the earth, underlining the potential for sugar-based bio batteries as an ecologically-friendly energy device of the future. Sony is going to continue its development of immobilization systems, electrode composition and other technologies in order to further enhance power output and durability, with the aim of realizing practical applications for these bio batteries in the future.

Physorg

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Vista Battery Saver

Vista Battery Saver can help you save up to 70% of your battery life by disabling the Aero effects and the Windows Sidebar whenever your laptop runs on batteries, or is reaching a certain battery capacity. The features are automatically re-enabled when you plug your notebook into a power source.

HomePage

Microsoft Zune, $149.99 + $5 Shipping

Woot.com, the online clearing house known for its "One Day, One Deal" specials, has managed to get their hands on a quantity of Microsoft Zune media players (white only) and is offering them up for $149.99 plus their standard $5.00 shipping. At this price one would expect that they're offering refurbished units, but according to the Woot web site the units are new. While it's not "news" and we don't usually post online finds like this, I thought that it was a significant enough price difference to warrant bringing it to the attention of our masses.

source: Woot.com

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Weather Alarm Clock 2.2

Weather Alarm Clock is now Free!

Get things done and don't forget your umbrella using this customizable clock with the exact time, alarms, calendar, current weather conditions, forecasts and different skins.

Weather Alarm Clock is a replacement for the standard Windows system clock that offers the following:
- an integrated weather information (current and 5 day forecast), no ads, always at hand
- custom alarm functions to get organized with
- a time synchronization function to observe the time
- an easy to read clock display with a variety of different skins to choose from
- a time zone function to co-ordinate your time with friends or colleagues around the world
- a skinnable calendar with alarms integration to track appointments and events easily
- a function to shut down your computer to go to bed in time
- a hourly bell to keep track of time more easily

Home Page

StarBurn 9 'Evolution' (0x20070820)

StarBurn is a powerful tool for grabbing, burning and mastering CD, DVD, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD media. StarBurn supports all types of optical storage media (including CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, BD-R/RE, HD-DVD-R/RW and DVD-RAM) as well as a wide variety of burning hardware. With StarBurn you can perform grabbing, copying and burning operations as well as advanced DVD authoring and mastering. These advanced features enable you to create DVD-Video content from custom video files, or compilations from other DVDs. Additionally with the DVD Splitting Wizard you can split DVD-Video discs into smaller parts and burn them to DVD writable discs or share them with the StarPort DVD-ROM emulator and watch DVD video directly on your PC. This enables you to create copies of 8.5 GB dual layer DVDs with just a few mouse clicks. StarBurn is easy to learn and to use. In addition to advanced DVD authoring and mastering features StarBurn offers a number of step-by-step wizards for novice users. StarBurn has a Quick Start Wizard that provides to simplify frequently used operations such as disc copying, grabbing and splitting DVDs.

Key Features:

- All MMC (Multi-Media Command Set) compatible CD/DVD/Blu-Ray/HD-DVD burning hardware is supported. StarBurn deals with devices in a "generic" mode meaning you don't need to get an updated version of our software to support a brand new burner.
- CD-R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R/RW, BD-R/RE, HD-DVD-R/RW and DVD-RAM media supported. Including modern high-capacity double layer DVD+R and dual layer DVD-R.
- UDF (Universal Disc Format) file system mastering (UDF 1.02, 1.50 and 2.01). Files larger then 2 GB and with names up to 2048 characters long can now be stored on optical media. You don't need to use third-party tools to split your huge database backups or rename long file names before burning them.
- ISO9660 file system mastering (including Joliet Unicode extensions). The most compatible file system virtually any machine can read.
- Bridge file system (ISO9660/UDF for DVD-Video creation) mastering. StarBurn creates bridge file system which is DVD-Video compatible. This media can be read with both stand-alone DVD players and ancient Windows 95 and DOS machines.
- Session import (appending already created CD/DVD/Blu-Ray/HD-DVD media). In this mode you can use the same media for sequential recording daily. New data will perfectly co-exist with previously recorded data. The only limitation is the physical media capacity.
- DVD-Video main sequence (movie) extraction. StarBurn can re-master the DVD and extract only the movie. This allows you to include just the movie content and without the trailers and advertising from the original DVD. Unwanted video won't be copied, the main movie sequence will be extracted and stored on your hard disk or directly recorded to optical media on-the-fly [view full list of features]

Supported Platforms:
StarBurn is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/2003 and Vista.

Home Page

XdN Tweaker 0.8.7.6

XdN Tweaker is a free tweaking program for Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Windows Vista. It sets itself apart from the other tweak programs though by not being filled with options, settings, and "tweaks" that are actually normal options and menu settings of other programs. It tries to fill the gaps that other tweak programs overlook. Instead of just being another way of doing something you could do yourself just by clicking on "options" or "settings" in Windows, it offers features that Windows normally wouldn't allow you to do without digging into the system registry. Depending on if you run the program under Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Vista, different options will be available to you (works with 32-bit and 64-bit Windows).

Features:

* Changes the number of Folder views Windows saves.
* Resets the folder views Windows has saved.
* Add/Remove classic Windows 2000 user control panel icon.
* Disable/Enable ATI Catalyst Control Center right click on Desktop (only for use if you have an ATI video card and have the Catalyst Control Center installed).
* Disable/Enable ‘SendTo’ right-click menu.
* Allows you to adjust and tweak TCP/IP settings.
* Disable/Enable ZipFolders.
* Disable/Enable the Outlook Express/Windows Mail splash screen.
* Put the File menu above the Back/Forward buttons in IE7.
* Remove or Replace the Search box in IE7.
* Disable/Enable User Account Control prompts under Vista.
* Disable/Enable the “- Shortcut” text under Vista.
* Attempt to force Vista to better save folder views.
* Disable/Enable Windows Media Player Explorer context menus.
* Add/Remove “Take Ownership” to right-click menus under Vista.
* Disable/Enable the Documents item on the Classic Start Menu.
* Changes “Delete” to “Search…” on Recycle Bin.
* Turn off the annoying full screen “black” UAC prompt.
* Enable Classic Search in Explorer and Internet Explorer.
* Disable/Enable Shutdown Reason dialog under Server 2003.
* Disable/Enable Windows scanning AVI files for thumbnails.
* Remove/Restore hidden ASPNET user that prevents auto login.
* Add “Tweak UI” icon to Control Panel (if installed).

What's new:
- added option for "Copy To" and "Move To" right click extension
- added the Right Click II page to Vista
- removed Sound control tool in XP/2k3
- misc gui updates, text changes and corrections


For Windows XP and 2003, the .NET 2 Framework is required!

XdN Tweaker Page

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Microsoft cuts Xbox 360 prices in Europe

Microsoft is cutting the European price for its Xbox 360 games console by 50 euros to 349.99 euros ($470), following a similar cut in the United States.

The company said in a statement on Monday that the lower price would be effective from August 24. It also plans to launch a new model, Xbox 360 Elite, that will ship with a 120 gigabyte hard disk and cost 449.99 euros.

The price of the entry-level model Xbox 360 Core will be cut by 20 euros to 279.99 euros, Microsoft said.

Source: Yahoo!

AutoPatcher August 2007

AutoPatcher is a comprehensive collection of patches, addons and registry tweaks that give you peace of mind in the knowledge that your Windows system is up to date, even before you connect it to the Internet. It's designed to quickly patch a system with the most current updates and tweaks available, and requires no user interaction once you have selected what to install.

Two surprises this month:
1) Releases for Microsoft Office XP/2003/2007 are now complete and available.
2) AutoPatcher 5.6 now supports slipstreaming updates into installation media. The x86 releases have slipstream installation instructions added to most general windows patches.

AutoPatcher August 2007
Home page

Google offers local language support in India

Google has introduced technologies that will allow people in India to use local languages in search queries and that will generate content in local languages. Internet growth in India is expected to come from outside of cities, where many people are more at ease using Indian languages, Roli Agarwal, a spokeswoman for Google India, said Monday.

Google has set up a version for India of Google Labs, which it styles as a "technology playground" for products that are in development and require market feedback to improve. The Indian version of Google Labs will focus on products for that market, though these may not be developed only by Google's research and development (R&D) centers in India, Agarwal said. Google has put up two technologies for testing by users on the Google Labs Web site: an Indic On-Screen Keyboard iGoogle Gadget and Google Indic Transliteration.

InfoWorld

New Web site lets techies trade beta-test invites

With the July launch of InviteShare, users can sign up for free and trade invites to online beta testing programs. Once one submits their e-mail address to lists kept at the site for particular start-ups, they await for those with spare invites to respond directly to them. Those with invites are encouraged to give priority to users listed higher (those who have shared invites in the past). The site tries to thwart spam by posting the address lists as image files, something more difficult for spamming software to grab for their marketing annoyances. Created by Jeff Broderick, a computer programer and Web designer in Denton, Texas, the site was sold to tech news blog TechCrunch recently for $25,000. As of Monday, InviteShare corralled more than 28,000 users, who collectively sent more than 34,000 invitations for nearly 50 different startups.

InviteShare

Monday, August 20, 2007

Flash drive offers keypad PIN security

Corsair Memory Incorporated has launched its new Flash Padlock drive: a USB flash drive secured with a five-button PIN-based "padlock" built into the drive itself. The PIN interface forces the user to hit the unlock button and the chosen code (up to 10 digits) before accessing the drive. The drive requires no special software to operate. Flash Padlock drives also don’t need a separate partition for the security driver, as password-based drives do. To avoid the code being forgotten, users are invited to register their PIN code on Corsair's Web site. If the PIN is forgotten, the code can then be retrieved by supplying a valid e-mail address and password.

Beyond describing the PIN system, Corsair's description of the drives inner security workings, and any use of encryption, is vague. Presumably, the PIN is stored on a physically separate memory location within the drive. Flash padlock costs $29.95 and $39.95 for the 1GB and 2GB capacities on offer, and can be used on Windows 2000, XP, Vista and Apple OS X.

Product Details

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Loading multiple drivers via USB in Vista Install

Windows Vista brings one very welcomed change in the install process of this highly troublesome OS. With Vista, you have the option of pre-loading third-party drivers from a removable storage device such as a CD or even your trusty flash drive. Yes, this is a somewhat decent attempt at finally making the floppy drive a thing of the past. However, this feature is not without its share of flaws. After quite a number of Vista installs, some of which involved loading more than one RAID driver, I have come across a number of very annoying issues that most would want to be aware of.

Whether or not it is needed to actually install the OS itself, it is always best to load all your third-party controller drivers during the install process. This will eliminate a number of issues you may encounter when attempting to load them after the installation is complete. With Vista, this is highly recommended right now as I have encountered quite a number of RAID driver issues when attempting to install a device after the Operating System is already running.

Full Tutorial...

Cirago 10GB External HDD

There are a variety of ways to carry data with you. You could buy a notebook computer and schlep it with you everywhere. That can be helpful if you need processing power or internet access on the move. Not everyone, however, has the extra cash for another computer, or the shoulder muscle to tote around a heavy laptop. On the other end of the spectrum are USB keys. Small enough to fit on your key chain, these little gadgets can be the perfect addition to your mobile office. Flash drives cater to almost every need, from storage capacity of up to 16GB to bullet-proof encasement (I wish I were kidding). Nevertheless, 16GB runs you on the expensive side and isn't really all that big considering the price, not to mention their limited lifetimes.

If notebooks and flash drives aren't your style, never fear, there's an alternative: the classic external hard-drive. External HDDs come in a variety of forms, but today we're looking at the 2.5” laptop form-factor drives that are slim and mobile. You can find laptop drives of up to 250GB now, which is far larger than any flash drive, while still keeping the lightweight, small-sized mobility of a solitary hard-drive. Cirago has sent us the 10GB version of their mobile storage line for today's review, which offers drives of up to 120GB in size.

Specifications and features, from the Cirago website, are below:

External Interface: USB 2.0/1.1
Hard Drive Interface: IDE/ATA
Form Factor: 2.5”
Dimension: 10” x 3” x 0.8”
Power: USB bus power
Warranty: 1 year

Full Review...

Asus 2600XT and 2600Pro - ATI mid range performance

ATI released their HD 2900 XT to an awaiting enthusiast audience who were (it has to be said), a little disappointed. Apart from the price and awesome bundle the card offered little new to the market.

Now the mid-range cards are upon us and once again ATI trail behind nVidia on release schedule. Having said that, Asus have given us a couple of nice looking cards with some 3rd party coolers so it will be interesting to see how these go down.

R600 becomes R630

In the spirit of making the lower chips have higher numbers than the top end, ATI have named their mid-range R630. With a scaled down version of the R600 architecture and boasting a nice 194 GFLOPS of power, the 2600 series looks pretty sweet on paper.

Full Review...

Blue-Ray / HD-DVD / TS / DVD / AVI -> TO H.246...

Using MEGui to convert any DirectShow compatible video source to H246 (MPEG-4). With this guide you will be able to convert AVI, DVD, Blue-Ray, HD-DVD, Real Media, or any other video source that can be played via the DirectShow interface (the file plays in Windows Media Player). All of the tools listed here are open source or freeware.

Tools Needed:
MEGui ( http://sourceforge.net/projects/megui )
Note: there are many sub tools that are loaded under MEGui. Those tools are downloaded automatically the first time you launch MEGui.

Suggested Tools:
FFDShow
Haali Media Splitter
Media Player Classic
VirtualDubMod (for AVI Sources)

Full Article...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Sony Launches Expanded Recycling Program

Starting on September 15, Sony Corporation will accept its products at 75 recycling stations around the USA, thanks to a partnership with Waste Management Incorporated. The recycling drop-off centers will accept any Sony or Sony Ericsson-branded gadgets for free, and other brands for a fee. The 75 stations are spread unevenly over the country, with 17 stations in California and 19 in Minnesota but none in 32 states. Eight states, including New York, have only one station each. Sony and Waste Management plan to double the number of drop-off centers within a year, with the aim of having at least one in every state and the ultimate goal of having a center within 20 miles of 95% of the U.S. population. In the meantime, the only option is to pay for shipment of used Sony products to some of the recycling locations.

Physorg

Notepad++ 4.2.2

Notepad++ is a free source code editor (and Notepad replacement), which supports several programming languages, running under the MS Windows environment. This project, based on the Scintilla edit component (a very powerful editor component), written in C++ with pure win32 api and STL (that ensures the higher execution speed and smaller size of the program), is under the GPL Licence.

Features Include:
Syntax Highlighting and Syntax Folding
WYSIWYG
User Defined Syntax Highlighting
Auto-completion
Multi-Document
Multi-View
Regular Expression Search/Replace supported
Full Drag 'N' Drop supported
Dynamic position of Views
File Status Auto-detection
Zoom in and zoom out
Multi-Language environment supported
Bookmark
Brace and Indent guideline Highlighting
Macro recording and playback

Notepad++ Website

ATI Catalyst Display Driver 7.8 WHQL For WinXP/Vista

AMD have released version 7.8 of their ATI video card driver package.

The Catalyst™ software suite 7.8 contains the following:
- Radeon™ display driver 8.401
- Multimedia Center™ 9.16
- HydraVision™
- HydraVision™ Basic Edition
- Remote Wonder 3.04
- WDM Driver Install Bundle
- Southbridge/IXP Driver
- Catalyst™ Control Center Version 7.8

Release Notes

Opera 9.23 Build 8808

Opera is a free Web browser with a pop-up blocker, multiple-window navigation, mouse gestures, keyboard shortcuts, an e-mail client with a spam filter, and integrated search for user security and speed. The cross-platform browser includes IRC-compatible chat, support for RSS newsfeeds, a password manager, and one-click customization and privacy-protection settings.

Features:

* New in version 9: Fraud protection, BitTorrent, Add your favorite search engines, Content blocker, Site preferences, Widgets, Improved rich text editing, Thumbnail preview
* Efficient surfing: Transfer manager, Tabbed browsing, Password manager, Integrated search, Pop-up blocking, Mouse gestures, Fast Forward, Sessions, Quick preferences, Notes, Voice, Keyboard Shortcuts, Trash can
* Security and privacy: Security bar, Encryption, Delete private data, Cookie control
* Mail and Chat: Opera mail, IRC chat
* Customization: Drag and drop, Skins, Language
* Accessibility: Zoom, Text size and colors, User style sheets,
* Web development: Standards support, Small-screen mode, Validate code, Toggle graphics and style sheets, Info panel, Reload from cache,
* Special: Full-screen mode, Kiosk mode aand more...

Home Page

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

WinPenPack 2.9

WinPenPack is a collection of free and open source portable programs optimized for use with a USB pen drive and also directly from a folder of your Hard Disk. You can choose between some standardized configurations, all small enough to fit on your USB Pen Drive.

Standard configurations include:

- WinPenPack FLASH 128
- WinPenPack FLASH 256
- WinPenPack FLASH 512

containing the best open source and freeware software found on the Internet, made portable and divided by categories:

- Graphics
- Internet
- Multimedia
- Security
- System

Home Page

Microsoft Announces DirectX 10.1 Preview

Microsoft is making a tech-demo version of its upcoming DirectX 10.1 available via download, including a version of XAudio2, the company's cross-platform replacement for DirectSound.

Users can try out both via the 468-Mbyte version of the August 2007 DirectX SDK. There's a catch, though: the August 2007 Direct3D 10.1 Tech Preview requires the Windows Vista SP1 Beta which will be available to MSDN subscribers once it is publicly released, according to Microsoft.

According to Microsoft, "Direct3D 10.1 is an incremental, side-by-side update to Direct3D 10.0 that provides a series of new rendering features that will be available in an upcoming generation of graphics hardware." The XAudio2 technology is also used in the Xbox 360, and will eventually replace DirectSound as the PC's main audio driver, according to Microsoft.

Full @ ExtremeTech

Wikia Details Plans for Search Rival to Google

The ever expanding, and potentially lucrative, market of search engines may soon be welcoming another player into the fray. Last Friday, at OSCON in Portland, Oregon, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced that his commercial startup, Wikia, had just acquired the distributed-computing web crawler Grub from LookSmart Ltd, and that he is currently putting the building blocks in place to create a community-developed search engine rivaling those of Yahoo and Google. The new search engine, thus far unnamed, will reportedly combine computer-driven algorithms with human-assisted editing, allowing for better results; for example, in the case of the word "palm," humans would be able to distinguish whether or not the word referred to the tree, the handheld computer, or the human body part, much better than any current algorithm. After indexing sites with Grub, search results from the new engine would be generated by the open source project Lucerne.

Wikia Search Labs