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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

AMD Launches Two-Chip Graphics Card For Gamers

The ATI Radeon HD 3870 X2 combines two graphics processors on a single board, giving it nearly double the performance of the single chip Radeon HD 3870 introduced in November 2007. The latest graphics card tops a Teraflop, or 1 trillion floating point operations per second, which is the equivalent of a trillion mathematical calculations per second.

High end graphics cards target hardcore gamers looking for realism in 3D effects used in many video games today. To get peak performance, game enthusiasts will use multiple graphics cards and use software tools to boost the clock speed of CPUs.

AMD's latest product would compete with Nvidia's GeForce 8800 Ultra that starts at $630. The Radeon HD 3870 X2 has a suggested retail price of $449. With the card comparable in performance to Nvidia's highest end product, but selling for substantially less, the new card places AMD ahead of its rival, Peddie said. Nvidia, however, is likely to respond quickly to the competition.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Best Buy Sold Infected Digital Picture Frames

Best Buy sold digital picture frames during the holidays that contained malicious code able to spread to any connected Windows PC. They are not recalling the frames, however.

What Best Buy called a limited number of the 10.4 inch digital frames sold under its Insignia brand were contaminated with a computer virus during the manufacturing process. The malware packed with the frame is an older virus that Best Buy claimed would be easily detected by any up to date antivirus software.

Best Buy recommended users running a current antivirus program plug the frame into the PC so that the security software can scan the frame and delete the malware. Other customers should call a special toll-free number for help.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

AT&T offers free Wi-Fi and superfast broadband

AT&T says that it will soon offer its broadband subscribers unlimited free Wi-Fi access in its hot spots, as well as 10Mbps tier of service. Free Wi-Fi will be offered only to AT&T broadband subscribers who subscribe to services with 1.5Mbps downloads or higher. Subscribers who only have the company's wireless service will not be offered free Wi-Fi.

AT&T has more than 10,000 Wi-Fi hot spots in the U.S. and has been offering free Wi-Fi access to its higher-speed broadband customers since last year.

AT&T's move could be seen as a way to entice subscribers to bundle cell phone service with their broadband service.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

FCC to Test 'White Spaces' Broadband Devices

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) next week will begin testing devices that will allow Internet service providers to utilize unused spectrum for wireless broadband service.

The field tests will be conducted at a variety of locations to provide information on the performance of the devices under real world conditions. In an effort to free up spectrum for public safety use, Congress has ordered TV broadcasters to shift their signals from analog to digital by February 2009. When this happens, there will be open, unregulated spectrum between the digital channels, or white spaces, that companies like Google and Microsoft want to use for wireless broadband service.

Accessing that spectrum, however, is easier said than done. A coalition of Internet companies known as the White Spaces Coalition has been working on equipment that will provide white space broadband access via spectrum sensing.

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Excel Vulnerability Affects Windows And Mac Users

Microsoft posted a security advisory warning of a vulnerability in several versions of Microsoft Office Excel that affects both Windows and Mac OS users.

The affected versions include Microsoft Office Excel 2003 Service Pack 2, Excel Viewer 2003, Excel 2002, Excel 2000, and Excel 2004 for Mac.

The attack relies on a maliciously crafted Excel file that contains malformed header information. Attempting to open the file, either through a Web browser or as an e-mail attachment, can corrupt system memory, which could give an attacker the opportunity to execute remote code on the victim's system or to obtain elevated user privileges.

Microsoft said it is working on a fix that will be released either as part of its regular patch schedule or in an out-of-band release.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Another QuickTime bug revealed

The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team has discovered a new buffer overflow vulnerability with Apple's QuickTime media software.

The vulnerability affects both Mac and Windows operating systems. Because QuickTime is part of Apple's popular iTunes software, it is also affected.

The vulnerability is found in the way QuickTime handles RTSP response messages. When attempting to display a specially crafted Reason-Phrase, QuickTime crashes at a memory location that can be controlled by an attacker.

US-CERT offers several solutions to the problem including uninstalling QuickTime, Blocking the RTSP protocol and disabling the QuickTime plug-ins in your Web browser.

Attackers targeted QuickTime in December in a separate RTSP vulnerability that Apple later fixed with a software update.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Microsoft Patches Flaw That Could Trigger Worm Attack

Microsoft has fixed a critical flaw in the Windows operating system that could be used by criminals to create a self-copying computer worm attack.Microsoft also released a second update for a less-serious Windows flaw that would allow attackers to steal passwords or run Windows software with elevated privileges.

Microsoft says that an attacker could send specially crafted packets to a victim's machine, which could then allow the attacker to run unauthorized code on a system. Microsoft does not believe that hackers will have an easy time developing attack code that will work reliably.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Intel Quits Effort to Get Computers to Children

A frail partnership between Intel and the One Laptop Per Child educational computing group was undone last month in part by an Intel saleswoman: She tried to persuade a Peruvian official to drop the country’s commitment to buy a quarter-million of the organization’s laptops in favor of Intel PCs.

As a result, One Laptop’s XO computer comes with a processor built by Intel’s rival Advanced Micro Devices and open-source software, rather than Microsoft’s Windows and Office software.

Although Intel made an initial $6 million payment to One Laptop, the partnership was troubled from the outset as Intel sales representatives in the field competed actively against the $200 One Laptop machine by trying to sell a rival computer, a more costly Classmate PC.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Researcher Accuses Sears of Spreading Spyware

Sears and Kmart customers who sign up for a new marketing program may be giving up more private information than they'd bargained for, a prominent anti-spyware researcher claims.

According to Harvard Business School Assistant Professor Ben Edelman, Sears Holdings' My SHC Community program falls short of U.S. Federal Trade Commission standards by failing to notify users exactly what happens when they download the company's marketing software."It tracks every site you go to, every search you make, every product you buy, and every product you look at but don't buy" Edelman said.

Sears says members can join the community with or without the tracking software and that less than 10 percent of the members have signed up for the tracking program.

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