Maximum PC readers have no problem opening up PCs and performing self-diagnostics and repairs, but for everyone else, a trip to the local repair shop may be in order when something goes awry. But can they be trusted? Denver's local ABC news affiliate sent their Call7 Investigators team on an undercover mission to answer that question. Armed with a laptop with intentionally dislodged RAM, the undercover team pinged 7 local repair shops, four of which misdiagnosed the ailment and blamed the motherboard, power supply, or power drive. Read the full story here.
New Version of AVG Free Available
Penny pinchers can now download the newest version of Grisoft's widely popular AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition, updated to version 8.0. The latest release introduces a cosmetic makeover while adding anti-spyware protection and Safe Search technology, which scans and rates Google, Yahoo, and MSN search results in real-time.
PC Makers Give XP Life Support
By June 30, PC manufacturers are supposed to stop selling computers with Windows XP, but rather than kick the OS to the curb, Dell and HP will still offer XP. How? By taking advantage of "downgrade rights" offered as part of Vista's license agreement. Technically Vista Business and Ultimate machines, the PCs will have been factory downgraded to XP at the customer's request, providing them with a no-charge Vista upgrade path to boot. Much more here.
Dealing with Defcon
Anti-virus vendors are taking exception to a new contest being introduced at the Defcon hacker conference this August. Called Race-to-Zero, participants are challenged to circumvent anti-virus software, with awards to be given for "Most elegant obfuscation," "Dirtiest hack of an obfuscation," "Comedy value," and "Most deserving of beer." Security vendors fear the contest will only help malware writers learn new tricks, but contest organizers contend it will help highlight that anti-virus protection alone doesn't provide a complete defense.
Getting Your X-Fi Soundcard to Run on Linux
If you're even the slightest bit curious about Linux, consider giving the newly released Ubuntu 8.04 LTS a spin. And if you own a Creative X-Fi soundcard, keep your eyes peeled for an updated beta driver from Creative (the current one supports Ubuntu 7.10, openSUSE 10.3, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1). In the meantime reference this thread for status updates and workarounds.
Duke Nukem Forever Update
Should the game ever ship, one of the longest running jokes in PC gaming will finally come to an end. And according to ShackNews, that's a very good possibility. ShackNews claims to have "witnessed several different DNF gameplay scenarios, mechanics, and environments being demonstrated," concluding that "Duke Nukem Forever is looking great, and will easily stand apart from the crowd in both visual and gameplay styles." More here.