Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The Wii is new console releases from Nintendo.

Nintendo Wii

New console releases from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo will determine the future of video games for the next half decade. Microsoft launched the Xbox 360 late in 2005 to get a head start on the competition--Sony and Nintendo will launch their new consoles this year. The Xbox 360 sports excellent hardware and a robust Xbox Live online platform, plus Microsoft has pockets deeper than the Mariana Trench. The PlayStation 3 will be just as powerful, with advanced Nvidia graphics, a custom-designed IBM Cell processor, and new Blu-ray drive technology. And Nintendo will have a new controller that bares a striking resemblance to a television remote control.

If there's one console manufacturer that marches to the beat of a different drummer, it has to be Nintendo. The originator of the modern console-gaming era has been a traditional player in every single console generation, first with the Nintendo Entertainment System, then with the Super NES, then with the Nintendo 64, and now with the Nintendo GameCube. But Nintendo promises that its next console system, the Wii, will be a major departure from the current console CPU and graphics-hardware arms race.

Instead of putting together an expensive box with impressive hardware specifications like the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, Nintendo decided to set its Wii system apart by offering innovative gameplay with a new motion-sensitive controller. The Wii's gyroscope controller will take users away from the gamepad interface and make game control more intuitive. For instance, we're used to pressing buttons in a certain sequence to cast a line in a fishing game, but on the Wii, expect to pull the controller back and then whip it forward in a real casting motion to get that line out. It's this kind of gameplay that will make the Wii completely different from the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3.


The Wii by gamespot

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Online iTunes backup service goes live

Everyone knows backup is a chore, and keeping your backed-up files on a separate drive in the same home or office as your master won't keep them safe from fire. Bandwagon, a service for 'music geeks' who forget to back up their iTunes looks to solve that problem by automatically backing up your music library to a secure off-site server over your broadband link.

Bandwagon requires Mac OS X 10.4, and iTunes 7, and runs as an item in the menu bar. It allows for full flexibility where selective or full backups are concerned, and because it's been built for forgetful, lazy Mac owners, there's no need to drag and drop your files onto the server. Once you've told it what kind of media you want to back up, the Queue Manager will take care or building your backup set.

The service, a Universal Binary optimised for both PowerPC and Intel processors, costs $69 per year at an introductory rate, with a fully-operational 30-day trial on offer for $1.

iTunes Technology by MacUser

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Nokia E62 Phone Features

Nokia E62 Phone

Nokia E62 Phone Technology

Email and Messaging

  • Support for personal and business email accounts such as POP, IMAP (with idle) and SMTP1
  • Supports third party email clients: Good Mobile Messaging, BlackBerry Connect, Nokia Intellisync Wireless Email, Mail for Exchange (Microsoft ActiveSync) and Xpress Mail 1
  • Attachments viewers and editors support the most common features of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel (Microsoft Office 97, 2000, XP and 2003). Compatible with Zip Manager and Adobe Reader
  • Instant Messaging client (Yahoo, AOL, OMA)1
  • SMS distribution list
  • Email LED indicator, vibrate and tones to alert you of new email
  • Full messaging keyboard for easy text and data input


  • Personal shortcuts
  • Customizable profiles
  • Alarm clock
  • Music Player (MP3/AAC)
  • Notepad for short notes
  • Automatic key guard
  • Calculator

Messaging and Imaging

  • Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS, ver. 1.2) for text, voice clips, video clips and still images receiving, editing and sending1,14
  • Distribution list
  • Video and audio streaming (GPP and RealMedia: Real video and Real Audio)1

Enhanced Voice Features

  • Voice dialing and voice commands for menu short cuts, keypad lock and profiles
  • Enhanced voice commands (SIND)
  • Dedicated voice key for easy use of voice recording, voice dialing3
  • Speed dialing, up to 8 names
  • Automatic redial (max 10 attempts)
  • Call waiting, call hold, call divert, call timer
  • Automatic and manual network selection
  • Caller identification with photo
  • The name of the calling party (spoken caller line identification) is mixed with the ringing tone. The functionality is enabled/disabled through profile settings.
  • Conference call capability (up to 6 participants)1
  • Vibrating alert
  • Integrated handsfree speakerphone

Display and User Interface

  • 320 x 240 pixel active matrix display with up to 16 million colors
  • Adjustable brightness and contrast
  • Ambient light sensor for keypad display lighting control
  • Two soft keys with five-way joystick, power key can be used as profile key
  • Configurable right and left soft keys
  • Input method: full keyboard
  • Active standby enables user to configure 7 shortcuts for fast access
  • Symbian operating system OS 9.1
  • S60, 3rd edition

Memory Functions

  • Up to 80 MB of fixed user data memory†
  • MiniSD hot swap slot available for memory card insertion & removal. Supports miniSD cards up to 2GB. Memory cards sold separately


  • miniUSB port
  • Remote and local (peer-to-peer) synchronization over Bluetooth technology, IR or data cable
  • Bluetooth wireless technology 2.022
  • HTML browsing with Nokia Browser1,2,12
  • WAP 2.0 browser for viewing mobile web content1,2,12
  • EGPRS (Class B, MSC 10)1,15
  • GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) Multislot Class 101,15
  • GSM Circuit-Switched Data up to 14.4 and 43.2 (HSCSD) kbps


  • Nokia Access: Receive world-class support for your Nokia E62 and specified client software. Nokia Access for Business Devices provides support at a predictable annual cost, focusing on issues specific to enterprise businesses
  • Application Management enables the delivery and management of native Symbian and Java™ add-on applications over OMA DM
  • Terminal Management Security includes security model, which enables protecting device data via device wipe and device lock management, protecting service usage by ensuring that right settings are in place


  • Weight: 5 ounces
  • Dimensions: 4.61 x 2.76 x .63 inches


  • GSM 850/900/1800/1900 MHz
  • Speech codecs: AMR, FR and EFR, NB-AMR

Mobile Technology by nokiausa

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Orange to turn mobile into remote control

Mobile operator Orange is said to be developing technology that will allow its customers to user their mobile handsets to control televisions. The Sunday Telegraph reported that Orange is developing a system whereby its customers can use their handsets to program their personal video recorders.

At the moment in the UK, this type of service is available to users of SkyPlus PVRs. Users download Sky's application onto their 3G handsets, allowing users to decide remotely what programs or channels they wish to record.

According to the newspaper, Orange will try and launch its IPTV service in the third quarter of 2007. It intends to allow access to content, whether on the TV, PC, or mobile phone. Orange is said to be developing the technology to do this in-house, rather than relying on third parties, and there is talk that it will provide a search facility to allow users to search for content across all three mediums.

The paper quoted Orange's homes services manager, Eric Abensur, as saying, "When you buy content you should be able to watch that content wherever you want to, whether that is on your TV, on your PC, or on your mobile."

Orange already offers a "free" broadband connection to its contract customers, and its IPTV service would compete with similar offerings from BT Group Plc, Virgin Media, and BSkyB.

Mobile Technology by cbronline

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Nasa's aurora mission blasts off

A US space agency (Nasa) mission to study auroras - the Northern Lights - has blasted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, after it was delayed by wind.

The Themis mission, comprising five identical probes, aims to gain new insights into the colourful displays in high-latitude skies.

In particular, scientists want to understand what triggers a sudden brightening of the lights.

The rocket carrying the probes launched at 1801 EST (2301 GMT).

Power in numbers

Auroras have their origin in the vast clouds of charged particles that billow away from the Sun.

When these are accelerated by the Earth's magnetic field into the upper atmosphere, they will collide with, and excite, gas molecules, which then emit light when they return to a more relaxed state.

From time to time, this green band of light will brighten, then break into many bands that dance rapidly and turn red, purple and white.

These events are called auroral substorms. One of the main aims of the Themis (Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions During Substorms) mission is to determine how these are initiated.

"A substorm starts from a single point in space and progresses past the Moon's orbit within minutes, so a single satellite cannot identify the substorm origin," said Vassilis Angelopoulos, the Themis principal investigator at the University of California, Berkeley.

Above and below

Three events in the tail of the Earth's magnetic field are associated with the onset of substorms: current disruption, auroral eruption and magnetic reconnection.

But scientists are divided about the order in which these occur.

"The first spacecraft will identify the start of the substorm; where the disturbance first occurs in the Earth's magnetic field, and the other spacecraft will be used to determine how fast and how quickly that disturbance spreads towards other locations," Themis project scientist Dr David Sibeck told BBC News.

The mission only needs four spacecraft to complete the task; the fifth probe is essentially a spare that will provide additional data.

The satellites will magnetically map the North American continent every four days for approximately 15 hours each time.

Simultaneously, 20 ground stations in Alaska and Canada with automated, all-sky cameras and magnetometers will document the auroras and space currents from Earth.

Exploration team

The mission, though, is far more than a simple quest to understand pretty lights in the sky.

When the Sun is particularly active, a series of 10 or more substorms can occur in rapid succession.

"During some of these very intense auroras, there could be disruption to power grids on the ground as well as disrupting communication with satellites; so it's important to be able to predict when these things will happen," Dr Tai Phan, a mission scientist, said.

The quintuplets join a fleet of Sun-Earth connection explorers already in orbit - four from the European Space Agency's (Esa) Cluster mission and two from the Chinese space agency (CNSA) Double Star mission, which is run in collaboration with Esa.

All the spacecrafts' efforts are highly complementary, and several European research institutes will take an active part in the Themis venture.

"This is the first time in the history of space physics that such a high number of scientific satellites are in operation simultaneously," observed Esa's Philippe Escoubet, the Double Star and Cluster project scientist.

"It represents an unprecedented opportunity to study the global solar-magnetospheric environment and the physical processes involved."

Technology by BBC News

Deaf to sign via video handsets

Deaf people could soon be using video mobiles to chat with their friends using sign language.

Video compression tools made by US researchers make it possible to send live pictures of people signing across low bandwidth mobile networks.

The system cuts down on the bandwidth needed by only sending data about which parts of each frame have changed.

The researchers are talking to mobile firms about how to get the technology in to the hands of deaf people.

Long look

Many American deaf people prefered to communicate via sign language but this was impossible over current mobile networks, said University of Washington computer scientist Richard Ladner, who is one of the principal investigators on the project.

Chatting via signing across mobile networks was impossible, Prof Ladner explained, because the bandwidth available meant video was of too low a quality to accurately depict the arm, finger and face movements of sign language.

While video compression techniques could ease this problem there were other barriers too, said Prof Ladner.

"To do all this calculation and video compression runs down your battery pretty fast," he added.

Prof Ladner and his co-researchers, Professor Eve Riskin and Professor Sheila Hemami, have overcome these problems by creating compression software that looks for the parts of each video frame important to signers.

To cut down on the amount of data that has to be sent, video compression systems typically only send information about what elements of a scene change from frame to frame.

By contrast, the system developed by Prof Ladner and his co-workers only looks for hand, arm and face movements. In addition, it ensures that the face of a signer, where movements during signing are quite subtle, is presented in more detail.

"The large, slower movements of hands and arms can be picked up at low fidelity," said Prof Ladner. "The face needs higher fidelity because the movements are much smaller."

This approach also made sense, he said, because people interpreting sign language looked at the face of the signer 95% of the time.

This lets the peripheral vision pick up the gross movements of arms and hands while the fovea, the part of the retina capable of picking out detail, concentrates on the smaller facial actions.

The system developed by the team can work across networks that only had 10-20 kilobits per second of bandwidth available, said Prof Ladner. In the UK, most people are on mobile networks that offer them about 40kbps download speed but much less than this to upload.

The research has gone so well that the team is in talks with handset makers and operators to put it on phones.

"We realised that the technology is close enough that we can deploy it," he said.

Technology by BBC News

Sound future for music on mobiles

Mobiles can come equipped to play movies and TV, but that puts a lot of strain on your eyesight, and their data storage capacity.

Music phones are emerging as the quality players in mobile entertainment.

Some of the models on show at Europe's largest mobile phone show, 3GSM, already look slick enough to nudge MP3 players off the shelf.

The secret of their success is that phones can now become mass-storage devices, using tiny, removable memory chips many gigabytes in size that can take thousands of tracks. Some have embedded memory that can hold yet more.

The relentless pace of technology innovation means those storage capacities are only going to grow.

Dan Inbar from computer memory maker SanDisk said: "In the past, the doubling of capacity has been every 18 months. Now it is coming down close to 12 months.

"Of course the other side of that is the applications that go with it. Currently the applications are running very, very fast as well."

Mobile downloads

Music on your mobile is about more than just a phone with room for more than just the top 20. The owners of music phones really want the ability to download songs when they are out and about.

Lots of companies are lining up to offer these sorts of services and while they jockey for position they know there is an elephant waiting in the wings: Apple's iTunes.

Apple's previous foray into phone music, the Motorola-designed Rokr, could not do mobile downloads; the recently announced iPhone, while not yet on the market, should.

UK-based Omnifone is offering a download subscription service which it is promoting as a cheaper and fresher alternative to what it says may come from Apple.

"Apple's business is an Apple-centric solution," said Rob Lewis, head of Omnifone. "Steve Jobs wants to be centre stage of hardware and digital music sales.

"We believe that together with 23 mobile operators and all the other manufacturers - who are already creating a billion devices every year - we can create a really compelling alternative for consumers that gives them the freedom to play and download music wherever they want on whatever device they want to buy."

The figure of a billion phones a year is the reason everyone is so interested in music phones and downloadable tracks, not least because the number of MP3 players knocking around is a fraction of the number of mobiles.

High costs

But there are concerns about cost. Consumers already complain that downloads to mobiles are overpriced and come with some hefty hidden charges.

Andrew Bud of the Mobile Entertainment Forum told us: "We have to give consumers confidence by making the pricing transparent. Customers have to know what they are going to pay when they buy it.

"Today that is not the case, because today they can buy a full track download for £1.50 or a couple of dollars, but in many territories they will be charged an additional amount of money that is not clear and sometimes may be as high as £20 ($39) for the data download charges associated with that. And that's a real problem."

Music phones look all set for take off but, as always, buyers beware.

As you are weigh up the pros and cons of which phone to buy and how much memory to install for downloading on the move, be sure to read the small print of your phone contract first.

Do that and these phones could put a skip into all our of our steps.

Technology by BBC News

Friday, February 16, 2007

GRISOFT’s AVG Anti-Virus is First to Receive Checkmark Certification on Windows Vista Business Edition

Avalanche Technology Group, the Australasian distributor of AVG security software, announced today that AVG Anti-Virus has earned Checkmark certification from West Coast Labs on Windows Vista Business Edition.

This is the first anti-virus program to successfully pass the certification requirements for anti-virus level 1 (detection), anti-virus level 2 (cleaning) and Trojan protection for the business edition of Windows Vista operating system.

“The Checkmark System is a certification service that is at the forefront of technology validation,” said Chris Thomas, operations director at West Coast Labs. “For AVG, this achievement demonstrates their ability to remain at the vanguard with technology trends in the security industry.”

AVG Anti-Virus provides security protection against viruses, worms, Trojans and potentially unwanted programs that infect computers and networks. AVG security programs are light on system resources and include free updates and 24/7 technical support throughout the two- or one-year license duration.

“GRISOFT continues to offer the most comprehensive and proactive security solutions to businesses and home users,” said Larry Bridwell, Global Security Strategist for AVG. “Checkmark certification is another success in our ongoing effort to ensure our products contain the highest threat protection and certification possible. We are very proud to be the first to provide this latest certification for Microsoft’s newest operating system.”

WCL Testing

Level 1: For a product to be certified to Anti-Virus Checkmark, Level One the product must be able to detect all those viruses which are "In the Wild". This gives a clear and independent indication to end users of those anti-virus products that they can be relied on to perforn to Level One functionality.

Level 2: For a product to be certified Anti-Virus Checkmark, Level Two the product must comply with Anti-Virus Checkmark, Level One and, in addition, disinfect all viruses on the "in the wild" list which are capable of disinfection.

Trojan: The product must be able to detect all trojans in the West Coast Labs Trojan test suite, which is regularly updated. The product should not cause any false alarms (based on testing against the West Coast Labs false alarm test suite).

About West Coast Labs www.westcoastlabs.org WCL is an independent technical consultancy, specializing in the independent testing and validation of the functionality and performance of information security products and services.

With a global client base among the world's leading security technology developers, WCL has a reputation for technical expertise, quality of service and independence. Tests are carried out with pre-defined objectives, to agreed criteria and within a structured methodology appropriate to the individual test.

About Checkmark Certification www.check-mark.com Owned by West Coast Labs, Checkmark brings a superior quality testing and certification service to technology developers through independent, industry-accepted standards on product effectiveness and performance for the benefit of corporate end-users and decision-makers. Far more than a static record of functionality tests, The Checkmark system is a proactive process of delivering critical product information, certification and performance data to support decision-makers' information-gathering and decision-making processes in a wide range of security technology sectors.

About GRISOFT www.GRISOFT.com Founded in 1991, with corporate offices in Europe and the USA, GRISOFT is focused on developing software solutions that provide protection from computer viruses. GRISOFT's primary focus is to deliver the most comprehensive and proactive protection available on the market.

Distributed globally through resellers and through the internet, the AVG Anti-Virus product line supports all major operating systems and platforms. More than 40 million users around the world use GRISOFT AVG products to protect their computers and networks.

Employing some of the world's leading experts in antivirus software, specifically in the areas of virus analysis and detection, software development, and antivirus support, GRISOFT is uniquely positioned to continue its leadership in the industry. GRISOFT continues to invest in R&D, teaming with leading universities to maintain its technological edge.

GRISOFT has experienced incredible growth in the last decade, particularly in the last few years, due to its ability to apply technical expertise to the protection of both businesses and home users. GRISOFT is continually expanding to address the needs of the global market.

About Avalanche www.avalanche.com.au Established in 1997 and based in Melbourne, Avalanche Technology Group Pty Ltd is a wholly owned Australian company that distributes a range of innovative business software solutions to the Australian and New Zealand markets. The products, which focus on real business needs, provide outstanding technical solutions and exceptional value for the client.

Avalanche is the Australian and New Zealand distributor of GRISOFT´s AVG security portfolio and FinePrint Software´s pdfFactory and FinePrint products. Avalanche has a 900-strong reseller network across Australia and New Zealand.

For more detailed information please contact: Peter Cameron Avalanche Technology Group 1300 855 005 Shuna Boyd BoydPR 02 9418 8100

Technology by arnnet

Thursday, February 15, 2007

BBC Watchdog reviews Xbox 360 ring-of-death

Xbox 360

LAST NIGHT, BBC television show 'Watchdog' featured consumers disgruntled with their purchase of the Microsoft Xbox 360 console.

Watchdog reported that not only are users plagued with problems faulty units, Microsoft is attempting to charge customers with £80-£85 repair fee, after just a year of use.

Watchdog producers decided to go ahead with the programme, after receiving over 250 complaints from angry consumers.

Highlights have already appeared on video-sharing/tv-stealing service Youtube.

Microsoft has responded to claims by the BBC programme that it is charging excessive amounts for Xbox 360 repairs, and also stating that there is no systemic problem with the console.

In an official statement issued to GamesIndustry.biz, Microsoft said that the vast majority of Xbox 360 owners have had an outstanding experience with the console.

But Microsoft then conceded: "That being said, we have received a few isolated reports of consoles not working as expected. It's important to note that there is no systemic issue with Xbox 360 - each incident is unique and these customer inquiries are being handled on a case-by-case basis."

Microsoft has still not revealed details of how many Xbox 360 units have been found faulty, but did state that the return rate is significantly lower than the CE industry average of between three and five per cent.

Interestingly, we've had confirmation from a reader that the infamous 'towel-wrapping' of a faulty Xbox 360 does indeed work. Its thought that the over-heating caused by the towels resets the problematic lead-free solder around the embedded BGA graphics chip, allowing it to reconnect to the motherboard socket properly - at least temporarily.

Please note, we won't be offering any compensation if you try the towel-fix and things go wrong. We suggest paying the £80 to get Microsoft to fix it for you, instead of possibly burning your house down.

Technology by Dean Pullen

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

AMD goes low power for quad-core

AMD is preparing a new micro-architecture for its quad-core processors codenamed 'Barcelona' that promise to further cut power consumption, the company revealed at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco.

A micro-architecture is the design on a chip that allows software to interact with the chip architecture. It sits one layer below the instruction set architecture such as the IA-32 that is used in today's AMD Opteron and Intel Xeon processors.

AMD is updating its PowerNow energy management technology for the server chip, allowing each processing core to dynamically adjust frequencies for each individual core depending on compute demands.

The chip also is able to maintain power to the memory controller while cutting down the power on the processor, potentially allowing for additional energy savings.

'Clock gating' technology will allow the chip to shut down certain areas of the processor that are not being used.

While the power management improvements allow the chip to run at cooler temperatures, AMD also promised that the processors will provide a performance boost.

The company claimed that the addition of its L3 cache would increase performance for applications such as web hosting, databases and email servers.

The improvements will allow the chip to outpace Intel's quad-core processors by 40 per cent on average, according to AMD.

Intel is currently ahead of AMD in the race for the raw performance of its chips. But AMD is generally expected to take back the lead when it launches its quad-core processors.

Intel's quad-core chip bundles two dual-core dies in a single package, each with its own cache memory.

When data has to travel from the first core to the fourth, or when one core has to pull information from the cache memory on the other chip, the information has to travel a relatively long distance, causing a jump in power consumption and a drop in chip performance.

AMD's chips, by contrast, feature a monolithic design where all cores and cache memory are bundled on one physical chip.

AMD Tecnology by Tom Sanders in California, vnunet.com