It's time to update the entries in your browser's links toolbar. But with recent estimates putting the size of the internet at well more than 100 million distinct websites, it's getting harder and harder to get a handle on all the great stuff that's out there. That's why we've compiled this list. And unlike some lists you may have seen, which try to name the very "best" websites, but end up just telling you a lot of stuff you already know, we've chosen instead to highlight 50 of our favorite sites that fly under most people's radar. Think of it as the Maximum PC blog roll (remember those?). These sites represent great alternatives to popular web destinations like YouTube and Hulu, and include useful references, powerful web apps, and the unknown blogs you must absolutely bookmark.
You might have heard of some of these sites, but we'll bet you haven't heard of all them. Read on and find out. You won't be disappointed.
IBM is hoping its latest war cry can somehow pierce the din that Windows 7 seems to be generating. In September, the company struck a partnership with Canonical, the UK-based sponsor of Ubuntu, which resulted in the launch of an Ubuntu-based desktop bundle in Africa.
The IBM Client for Smart Work will only arrive in the U.S. in 2010 despite IBM positioning it to rival Windows 7 – on the brink of launch - in the enterprise market. It will be available both as a run-of-the-mill desktop and as a virtualized desktop.
"If a company is a 'Windows shop,' at some point it will need to evaluate the significant costs of migrating its base to Microsoft's next desktop," said Bob Picciano, General Manager, IBM Lotus Software. IBM and chums are clearly targeting those businesses that are not too keen on Windows 7.
The price of a fake security software program usually hovers between $30 and $100. But the hidden costs seem to be greater. Installing rogue security software can not only wreck the system but it also makes the owner vulnerable to identity theft. Deceptive ads linking to rogue software appear on both malicious and legit sites. Cybercriminals are also using search engine optimization (SEO) and social media tricks to ensnare even more people.
Jumping on the fast emerging 3D bandwagon, Acer today announced its new Aspire 5738DG notebook, the first from Acer to sport 3D viewing technology.
"This holiday season, we are seeing 3D content become more prevalent in popular films and games," said Ray Sawall, senior product manager for Acer America. "The new Acer Aspire 5738DG notebook enables consumers to enjoy exciting new 3D entertainment on a mobile PC that can also replicate a 3D experience from standard 2D content."
The new notebook achieves its 3D effect using TriDel 3D technology, which in addition to a 3D screen and special software, also means you'll need to don a pair of 3D polarizer glasses. When you do, you'll be able to filter 2D content into 3D, while also being able to toggle between the two types of displays with the click of the mouse, Acer says.
While the 3D capability steals the show, other specs include an Intel Core 2 Duo T6600 processor (2.2GHz, 2MB L2 cache, 800MHz frontside bus), 4GB of DDR2-1066 memory, ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4570 with 512MB of dedicated video memory, a 320GB hard drive, multi-card reader, 8X DVD burner, four USB 2.0 ports, 6-cell battery, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit.
Acer says the Aspire AS5738DG-6165 will be available later this week starting at $780.
Yikes - it was discovered that a vulnerability in a Time Warner cable modem and WiFi router being used by 65,000 customers makes it possible for a hacker to remotely access the device's administrative menu and wreak havoc, To deal with the problem, Time Warner said it hopes to have updated firmware from the router manufacture to push out to customers soon.
"We were aware of the problem last week and have been working on it since," said Time Warner spokesman Alex Dudley.
"From within your own network, an intruder can eavesdrop on sensitive data being sent over the Internet and even worse, they can manipulate the DNS address to point trusted sites to malicious servers to perform man-in-the-middle attacks," Chen wrote on his blog. "Someone skilled enough can possibly even modify and install a new firmware onto the router, which can then automatically scan and infect other routers automatically."
Time Warner said it is working to find out if the same or a similar vulnerability also affects other models.
You and I might call it spam, but small businesses who promote their products on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter call it smart advertising. No matter what you call it, don't expect those product plugs to go away any time soon. In an online survey, Internet2Go found that 45 percent of some 2,400 small business respondents with fewer than 100 employees said they use social networking tools to push their services or wares.
"For these guys, costs was a big factor," said Greg Sterling, an analyst for Internet2Go. "They either need to hire a dedicated person or need more resources and don't have it.
We're talking really small businesses here, as most of the respondents -- 8 out of 10 -- had four or fewer employees and annual marketing budgets less than $5,000. Nearly half of all respondents said they spend less than $1,000 on advertising and marketing, so it makes sense they would flock to Facebook and other essentially free venues.
"We are going to see more and more of this behavior from other small businesses because it's free and you don't have to have expertise to set up these pages," Sterling said.
Forget about all the negative attention Comcast has received this past year, the Cable operator insists it's not "a dead duck," as Web 2.0 Summit conference organizer John Battelle described cable companies in general. Not only is the company not a dead duck, but Comcast seems to think it's the reason the Web is where it's at today.
"We're going to keep investing, because we believe there are great ideas in this room and in this country and in the world," said Brian Roberts, Comcast CEO. "In the same way, it's unthinkable that a Google or a Yahoo or a Facebook or a Twitter would be happening it we hadn't made those investments (in broadband infrastructure) 15 years ago."
When pinged on what he reckons is the reason the U.S. trails some other countries in broadband technology advancements, Roberts said he didn't think that was true at all.
"We have the same equipment (as other countries), the same wires, the same infrastructure, why is the adoption different is a different question," Roberts explained.
Roberts also talked about Comcast's role in the Net neutrality debate, particularly the scrutiny his company has received over imposing bandwidth caps, saying he welcomes the criticism because "we're going to be an active participant."
It all started with a phone call from my mom. While she’s not a regular Maximum PC reader, she read my Windows 7 review online, and called me because she was worried about the, umm, “colorful” comments. I told her not to sweat that feedback—that those folks are fanboys, people who suffer an excess of product-focused enthusiasm.
The conversation got me thinking, though. When I posted my positive review of Win7, I expected a strong response from the fanboy contingent. I expected people to accuse me of being a fanboy (that happened, check), and I expected my critics to attack my opinions (checkerino), expertise (Chekov), and moral turpitude (ditto).
I wasn’t surprised by the Windows XP fanboys, who let me know that their intractable world lacks a place for any new versions of Windows. Also not shocking? That the Apple fanboys are convinced that Snow Leopard is faster, better, and cheaper than Windows 7. And I would have been disappointed if the Linux fanboys didn’t tell me that I’m a dumbass for paying for an inferior, closed-source OS. What I didn’t expect? Well, what I couldn’t prepare myself for was the Windows Vista fanboy.
We’ve all experienced that feeling of dread when a gadget is dropped. The more unlucky among us are also familiar with the horror felt after realizing that our once beloved thingamajig is now junk. Paul Gowder must have felt that after dropping his Kindle 2 recently, leading to a damaged screen. He, however, moved past that and decided to get Amazon to replace his Kindle.
Paul felt that it was pretty unreasonable for the Kindle’s screen to break, seeing as it was in a messenger bag at the time. His story fell on deaf ears at Amazon, where he was offered a replacement unit for $200, provided he returned the broken one. He agreed, but Paul wasn’t through with these Amazon folk.
It turns out that Paul went to law school, and he set about crafting a seriously frightening letter to Amazon. Among other things, he cited Amazon’s drop test video for the Kindle 2. Since his Kindle broke after a much less severe drop, Paul claimed that Amazon was misrepresenting the product. All he asked was that Amazon pay him $400. Shockingly, they did. Net gain to Paul: $200 and a new Kindle. Well played, sir… well played.
You can check out Paul’s letter, as well as Amazon’s response at the read link.
Acer has already been working with Far EasTone Telecommunications in Taiwan. Agreements have also been reached with Bouygues of France, Wind of Italy, and CSL of Hong Kong. Acer expects to begin working with North American telecoms in 2010. Could this mean that the Acer A1, with its Snapdragon CPU, will grace American shores in 2010? By then, it might be just another Android phone.