Rapid breathing, sweaty palms, and a tightening of the chest; those physical effects used to be associated with prom night or horror movies, but thanks to all the high-profile hacking antics hitting the headlines these days, you might experience the same jitters whenever a website asks you for some personal information. Even worse, companies don’t always own up to when they’ve been pwned and put your data in danger. It’s getting better, though. California just passed a law that requires companies that have been OMG h@x3d to directly inform their customers of the breach.
Everyone, from your dad to your boss to Mama Microsoft, tells you “back up your files.” But what’s the best way to protect your collection of digital music, photos, videos, downloads – and your operating system? To answer that question, we ventured out on a long, test-heavy trail to find the “Ultimate Backup.” Here’s what we found.
A week after it introduced a 96GB model of its enterprise-oriented V+ 100 SSD, Kingston has announced another addition to the SSDNow V Series. Available in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB capacities, the SSDNow v100 is targeted at both consumers and small businesses looking for an affordable “upgrade path for desktops and notebooks, short of a total system replacement.”
As you'd expect, the new SSDNow v100 drives feature Windows 7 TRIM support. A major difference between the enterprise-centric V+100 drives and the V100 series is the former's support for “always on” garbage collection across both TRIM and non-TRIM supported operating systems. But as Kingston clearly places a premium on that OS-independent garbage collection feature, the V100 is much more affordable. In fact, at $489.99 (stand-alone unit), the 256GB V100 is by far Kingston's most affordable 256GB SSD till date. The drive is capable of sequential read and write speeds of up to 250MB/sec and 230MB/sec, respectively.
“The SSDNow V100 drives ship as either a stand-alone unit or as an upgrade bundle kit. The desktop bundle kit includes the SSD, cloning software, cables (SATA data and power), and 3.5″ hard-drive mounting brackets and hardware. The notebook bundle includes the SSD, cloning software and a 2.5″ external enclosure allowing the replaced hard drive to be used as extra storage” Kingston said in a release.
Iomega is bringing a SSD-based portable storage solution to market in early November. The Iomega External USB 3.0 SSD Flash Drive is designed to be both secure and rugged. It features built-in 256-bit hardware encryption for data security and a metal chassis to guarantee toughness. According to Iomega, the drive can withstand falls from up to 10 feet. The SSD Flash drive will be available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities, priced at $229, $399, and $749, respectively. Iomega will be bundling its suite of backup and anti-virus software with the 1.8-inch portable SSD.
3D is everywhere these days. From new TVs to Hollywood blockbusters to gaming consoles, the technology, which has been around for ages, is now poised to give consumers a more immersive, in-your-face form of entertainment in the home. And the PC is no exception. In fact, it’s a natural fit. The PC games we’ve been playing for years are already rendered with a 3D engine—stereoscopic technology and a suitable set of glasses just bring them to life. Newer games will only optimize that potential. Add to this a spate of Blu-ray 3D movies coming down the pike and you can see why the PC is well within the clutches of this latest trend.
Sure enough, a cadre of new 3D laptops and monitors make it possible for you to enjoy stereoscopic content both on your desktop and on the go. The vast majority of these offerings rely on Nvidia’s 3D Vision kit—a set of powered shutter glasses, a USB-connected IR emitter, and the appropriate drivers—which, when paired with the right GPU (a GeForce 8 series or newer) and a 120Hz screen, provide an “active” 3D experience. In other words, as a rapid succession of alternating screens presents slightly different views to each eye, the shutter glasses ensure that the correct view is seen by the correct eye by shuttering the opposite lens accordingly.
The 2010 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) introduced a bunch of new SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.0) peripherals with more to come. With USB 3.0 promising performance as much as ten times faster than USB 2.0, you'll want to add USB 3.0's digital goodness to your system as soon as you can. So, what do you need to know to make it work? Whether you have a desktop or mobile PC, we survey your options and help you zero in on your best choices.
ArsTechnicapasses along a rumor that the next release of Microsoft's Windows Live, Wave 4, may reach beta status this week. Details are scarce, but Softpediapoints out that Windows Live Hotmail Wave 4 Milestone 1, which offers a number of new features, has been live since mid-September.
When will Windows Live Wave 4 Beta shed the beta tag? ArsTechnica has run a Japanese blog entry about Wave 4 through a couple of online translators, with the rather fractured results pointing to a spring to summer 2010 target. Stay clicked to MaximumPC.com for more information.
With Windows 7 coming down the pike in less than a month, it's time for Microsoft to update its Windows Home Server product to support new features in Windows 7, such as Libraries and image-based backup. Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 (announced in July and now available in beta via Microsoft Connect) provides the Windows 7 support Windows Home Server needs, but that's not all that's new.
Windows 7 and Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 are designed to play nicely together, thanks to updates that support Windows 7 libraries and WHS backup that's Action Center aware (so Action Center will no longer nag a Windows 7 user that backups aren't happening when WHS does its backup thing). To find out what else is new in Windows Home Server, and for the latest on when "beta" comes off the title, join us after the break.
Mail-in-rebates are a gamble no matter how you approach the situation. You can push the odds of getting a check in your favor by both following directions exactly as they're laid out and keeping a record of the entire process with photocopies of everything you send in, but no matter how careful you are, the promised check might never be in the mail. Depending on the amount, it could be worthwhile to stay persistent.
Now it appears that standard precautions may not be enough. According to HardOCP, Continental Promotions Group (CPG), one of the largest and oldest rebate entities in the business, is finding itself in dire straits and potentially unable to pay its obligations. When a manufacturer puts a rebate on a product, it anticipates a set of amount will be turned in. To cover the costs, said manufacturer will cut a check to CPG to cover the payouts, but according to HardOCP, those funds have gone inexplicably missing.
"We have it from good sources currently that CPG owes consumers somewhere in the neighborhood of $9M to $12M worth of rebates," HardOCP writes. "The problem here is that CPG currently only has about $3M in cash to cover that $9M-$12M in rebates owed to the consumer. Where that money has gone to is anyone’s guess and we will leave speculation up the law enforcement authorities and the courts."
HardOCP says CPG has been contacting its customers asking them to deposit more money into CPG accounts to cover the rebates or else it might not be able to honor consumer rebate checks. That can't sit well with manufacturers who already funded the rebates, nor will it sit well with consumers if they end up being the ones to get screwed.
What's your experience with mail-in-rebates been like? Hit the jump and let us know, good or bad.