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Monday, May 26, 2008

Samsung develops 256GB solid state drive

Samsung announced the development of a 2.5-inch, 256GB solid state drive (SSD). Typical solid state drives shipping in notebook PCs today have a storage capacity of 64GB.

With a sequential read speed of 200 megabytes per second and sequential write speed of 160MBps, Samsung is claiming some of the fastest SSD data transfer rates to date. Samsung is slated to begin commercial production of the SSD by year's end.

SSDs have no moving parts, which means they avoid both the risk of mechanical failure and the mechanical delays of hard disk drives.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Member of Online Piracy Group Faces Prison Term

A member of an online piracy group has been convicted of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement and faces up to five years in prison.

Barry Gitarts, 25, from New York, was convicted Thursday in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. In addition to up to five years in prison, Gitarts could face a fine of US$250,000 and three years of probation.

Gitarts was a key member of the Internet music piracy group Apocalypse Production Crew (APC) from at least June 2003 through April 2004. Gitarts paid for and administered a computer server located in Texas that APC group members used to upload and download hundreds of thousands of copies of pirated music, movies, software and video games.

The Gitarts case is part of an ongoing federal investigation into the organized piracy groups responsible for the distribution of movies, software, games and music on the Internet.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Google Health Goes Live

After months of speculation, the search engine giant on Monday unveiled its health-related Web site, Google Health.

Users can now log in to the service at to import their medical records, fill prescriptions, and get lab results, set up text-based pill alerts, keep track of immunizations, and get pertinent news alerts.

Google stressed that the information entered into Google Health will remain completely private. When asked whether that information might be aggregated, Google said that any information that is shared will be done so in a way that is not identifiable.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Google starts to blur faces in Street View photos

After privacy complaints, Google Inc. is beginning to automatically blur faces of people captured in the street photos taken for its Internet map program.

As specially equipped Google vehicles cruised city streets snapping panoramic images of homes and businesses, the resulting photos revealed people falling off bikes, exiting strip joints, crossing the street, sunbathing — everyday, in-public things but nonetheless, things they might not have wanted preserved for posterity.

This week, Google revealed it had indeed begun deploying a facial-recognition algorithm that scans photos for mugs to blur. The changes are happening first in scenes in New York, before slowly expanding to the other 40 cities in Street View.

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Microsoft Releases Windows XP Service Pack 3

Microsoft has released Service Pack 3 for Windows XP users. The update should now be offered via both Windows Update or Automatic Updates. The company was expected to release it earlier, but pulled the plug at the last minute due to a compatibility problem with an obscure product they offer.

Microsoft says it is not adding any significant Windows Vista technology into XP with Service Pack 3. No surprise there, given that Microsoft has said Service Pack 3 will be XP's swan song: The company currently plans to stop issuing new licenses for the operating system this summer.

In addition to all the previously released security updates and hotfixes (some of which users may not have, even if they have been keeping up with security patches), SP3 includes "a small number of enhancements, which do not significantly change customers' experience with the operating system," Microsoft said.

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Users Fuming Over Vista Audio Driver Glitch

Several users running Windows Vista with SP1 installed who recently downloaded an audio driver for through Windows Update say the update disables their machines' audio functionality.

The update for IDT (Formerly Sigmatel)'s high definition sound and is called "IDT High Def Codec," according to several users on a Dell customer forum, who claim that installing the update results in a "Code 10" Error after rebooting, as well as the loss of audio.

Sigmatel drivers were on the list of problematic device drivers that caused Microsoft in February to delay the public release of Vista SP1. When Microsoft did release Vista SP1 through Windows Update in March, the vendor blocked users with these drivers on their PCs from downloading the update.

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