Update: Last chance to enter! We're drawing the winner this afternoon!
Spring is in the air, and you know what that means. Flowers blooming? Birds singing? Romance in the air? No way. This is Maximum PC, and we celebrate the vernal equinox the same way the ancient druids did: by giving away one bad-ass gaming PC. That's right, we're going to give one lucky reader a $3000 gaming rig from iBUYPOWER, sporting Intel's blistering-fast 6-core Gulftown i7 CPU.
To get your name into the random drawing, you'll need to follow us on Twitter and retweet this message. We'll pick a winner with a random drawing on Monday, April 5, 2010.
A handful of hackers will leave CanSecWest's security show a little richer than when they arrived after participating in the annual Pwn2Own contest. Charlie Miller, for example, won $10,000 for hacking Safari on a MacBook Pro without having physical access to the rig. You may recall that Miller, a principal security analyst at Independent Security Evaluators, walked away with $5,000 last year for exploiting a hole in Safari, and $10,000 for hacking a MacBook Air in 2008.
Safari wasn't the only software to fall. Peter Vreugdenhil won $10,000 for hacking Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 browser, while Nils, head of research at UK-based MWR InfoSecurity, collected the same amount for exploiting Firefox on Windows 7-64 bit (Nils declined to provide his last name).
Both Ralf Philip Weinmann and Vincenzo Iozzo will share a $15,000 prize for hacking Apple's iPhone. They did so with an exploit written two weeks ago designed to steal the contents of the SMS database.
"The payload executes and uploads the local SMS database of the phone to the server we control," Weinmann said.
Besides the money Netflix offered up its subscriber data, which included their viewing recommendations and choices, but didn’t include names. Netflix believed it had protected the identities of its subscribers this way. With no names it would be impossible to identify any single person in a crowd the size of Netflix’s subscriber base.
That was the theory anyway. Two computer scientists at the University of Texas at Austin, Arvind Narayanan and Vitaly Shmatikov, rolled out a paper in early 2008 that showed you could in fact identify individual subscribers from Netflix’s data. With privacy compromised the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stepped in, and as Netflix refused to back down on its contest, the FTC sued to protect subscriber privacy.
Netflix blinked, and has announced that to settle the lawsuit it would withdraw its contest. Netflix says it will continue to refine how it handles recommendations, in cooperation with the research community, and will be more attentive to the privacy of its subscribers in the process.
There’s a bigger lesson to be learned here. We tend to be blasé about the data trail we leave while on the Internet. After all, our identities, we are told, are removed prior to any data sharing or mining. Turns out, no matter how big the crowd we are in, our individual identities aren’t necessarily protected. Something to think about.
Holy moly, talk about a kick ass giveaway. 2K Sports this week announced it would give away an unprecedented cash prize to the tune of $1 million to whoever is the first person to pitch a verified perfect game in Major League Baseball 2K10.
"To compete, gamers must play in MLB Today mode, select from any of the available matchups, and then choose the option to participate in the ‘Major League Baseball 2K10 contest’ that will automatically default to the proper gameplay settings according to the official gameplay rules," 2K Sports states. "Entries must be recorded via camera or digital video recorder in compliance with guidelines provided by 2K in the Official Rules, and all eligible entrants must submit a copy of their recording in its entirety for verification. Submissions will only be accepted on DVD."
There are a handful of other rules you must follow, such as not being allowed to make any pitching substitutions, pause the game, or wait 60 seconds or more in between pitches. But should you be the first to get through nine innings with no walks, no hits, and no runs, you could end up a millionaire, at least until the tax man takes his cut.
Note that this contest only applies to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions.
Vitaminwater’s newest flavor, dubbed “Connect” is black cherry-lime. How is this at all relevant to the casual MaxPC reader? Well, its flavor, and package design were all the result of a Facebook contest.
Vitaminwater’s “flavorcreator” contest on their Facebook page came to a close and they picked a winner (Sarah from Illinois, evidently). From the Facebook page, Vitaminwater fans voted on various flavors and designs to create Vitaminwater Connect. The new flavor is made with caffeine and eight key nutrients and they slapped a quipping paragraph poking fun at Facebook users right on the label.
Vitaminwater Connect will be available in stores beginning in March. It’s nice marketing for Vitaminwater, but a Facebook contest for drink flavors? Really? Social networking may have reached a new low. What do you think?
A few months ago Intel launched the Intel Core i7 Custom Challenge, in which modders were encouraged to submit their best case mods to a panel of judges at Intel in hopes of winning up to $10k in prizes.
Well, the results are in. You can check out pictures of the winning mods at the contest site. One particular standout was the Best for Mod Creativity winner that modded a boombox to house his i7 Extreme PC.
Intel launched the contest to generate more hype around the i5 and i7 processors and the flexibility of their components.
Which ones do you like best, and which ones could have been done better?
DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, part of the Department of Defense, is hosting a contest to find red balloons. The balloons, numbering ten, will be scattered across the continental United States on one day: December 5. And the contest, which pays $40,000 to the person or team that finds all ten, is intended to study the Internet is used for social cooperation.
This contest is the fourth sponsored by DARPA; the first three intended to advance the technology for autonomous vehicles. Dr. Peter Lee, a computer scientist for DARPA, says he’s not quite sure how people will respond to the hunt for the balloons, which will be visible from public roadways. He anticipates both cooperation among teammates, as well as subterfuge among competitors to gain advantage.
The question here is not so much why DARPA is hosting a contest to see how teams use the web for social cooperation, but what they plan to do with the data they collect from the venture. It could be a means of sharpening data mining techniques introduced post-September 11 to ferret out potential terrorists. Or, possibly, to identify models of optimal social interaction that can be used to better prepare U.S. defensive capability.
Whatever the purpose, the choice of red for the balloons seems a bit awkward, dredging up memories of the Cold War and Nena’s “99 Luftballons.”
To kick off it's tenth anniversary, boutique system build iBuyPower has launched its second-gen Chimera 2 gaming system. Like the original, the follow-up act sizzles on stage with a fiery exterior, but with a "completely redesigned signature Chimera Inferno II Chassis."
The color scheme now wraps around the entire chassis, with the chimera flame design covering 4 exterior surfaces (front, right, left, and top panels). Underneath it all sits either a Phenom II X3/X4 or Core i5/i7 foundation, depending on which base configuration you start out with. The Core i5 base comes standard with a Core i5 750 processor, Asus P7P55D LE motherboard, 4GB of DDR3-1333 memory, an ATI HD 5750 videocard, 750GB hard drive, 700W PSU, 22X DVD burner, and Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit. Surprising affordable, pricing starts at $1,100 (or $999 if building around AMD).
Don't feel like buying one? To celebrate its 10th birthday, iBuyPower said it's giving away a Chimera 2 system with a Killer Xeno Pro Gaming card.
"We are excited to be celebrating our tenth anniversary and wanted to thank all our customers that helped make it happen with a giveaway and hot new system," said Darren Su, VP of iBuyPower. "The Chimera 2 gaming systems are fully loaded and feature a new aggressive design sure to impress."
To enter, follow iBuyPower on Twitter and/or Facebook became a Fan of iBuyPower on Facebook or follow them on Twitter, and then fill out the contest entry form here. Good luck!
Bill "Overkill Bill" Owen from Mnpctech walked away a winner in Nvidia's Ion case mod contest announced a few months back. The contest tasked 5 professional case modders with building a "revolutionary Ion-based PC" out of an Zotac Ion ITX 330 motherboard containing an Nvidia Ion GPU and an Intel Atom dual-core CPU, along with $500 for any additional PC parts.
Owen's winning entry came in the form of a wild looking green cube consisting of hundreds of hours of labor and a whole lot of CNC milled sheets of aluminum and laser-cut acrylic.
Full system specs can be found here, but it's the worklog and plethora of pictures that are the real treat, and you can view it all right here.