I know it, you know it, almost everybody that reads Maximum PC knows it - but that doesn't mean that your family, your co-workers, or your bosses know it. What's it? Simply this: Microsoft never - repeat never - sends out security updates via email.
The email, ironically enough, claims that "Since public distribution of this Update through the official website http://www.microsoft.com would have result in efficient creation of a malicious software, we made a decision to issue an experimental private version of an update for all Microsoft Windows OS users." And, it's signed "Steve Lipner, Directory of Security Assurance, Microsoft Corp."
Well, at least the bad guys got Steve's name right. However, he's actually senior director of security engineering strategy in Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing Group, according to a recent interview.
The message (minus the Trojan, of course), is available at the Microsoft Malware Protection Center blog, where you can see for yourself the classic hallmarks of a fake message: a shaky command of the English language, sentence construction that's so stiff it belongs on a Victorian-era calling card, and off-the-wall sentiments that show it was adapted from a different con job document: "We apologize for any inconvenience this back order may be causing you." Back order? Whaat? I didn't order any malware!
Already getting calls from frantic family, friends, or co-workers wondering why their PCs have slowed to a crawl or become infested by popups? Join us after the jump for solutions.
You will have to part with a paltry sum of $20 to own the SlotMusic player. Price alone won’t decide the fate of the SlotMusic player, though. It will hinge, eventually, on the success or failure of SlotMusic cards. The MP3 player comes with batteries and earphones.
There are always some companies that invest their faith in new technologies as soon as they appear, while others adopt a more circumspect approach and wait for results. HP has adopted a very watchful approach as far as the question of embracing WiMax is concerned. As you might have previously read, dearest MPC readers, the world’s leading PC manufacturer hasn’t introduced any notebooks that support WiMax.
The company has once again reiterated that it currently has no plans to integrate WiMax into its notebooks. It is unwilling to commit to WiMax due to the “limited scope of commercially available networks and uncertainties around interoperability, roaming, and quality of service.” It expressed full faith in 3G and WWAN services, which it believes are more mature than WiMax.
Forget about the fight between DVD and Blu-ray, Playboy has decided to leave physical media behind altogether. Instead, the company best known for its articles (you do read Playboy for the articles, right?) will focus solely on digital distribution, according to the company's regulatory filing. The move is expected to save Playboy about $12 million a year in expenses.
Shedding its DVD operation will result in the loss of 80 jobs an $2 million in restructuring charges. Combined with an additional $4 million taken against archival materials and a receivable, Playboy expects to take a total of $6 million in charges against operating income resulting in a net loss for the third quarter.
Despite the initial net loss, Christie Hefner, the company's chairman and chief executive, wrote in a memo to all Playboy employees that the goal is to return the company to profitability in 2009. In addition to migrating to digital distribution, savings will come from cutting overtime, travel, and entertainment.
Almost makes you not want to work at Playboy. Almost.
Back in August there was quite a commotion over the discovery that Apple had included a “kill switch” in the iPhone, functionality that allowed them to remotely remove applications from the device without the user’s consent. Now, in the Android Market terms of service, Google has revealed that Android has its own kill switch.
To Google’s credit, they’re not attempting to hide the kill switch. They say, in the terms of service “Google may discover a product that violates the developer distribution agreement … in such an instance, Google retains the right to remotely remove those applications from your device at its sole discretion.” Apple, on the other hand, didn’t say a word about their remote removal function until a developer called them out on it.
Further, Android’s kill switch only applies to programs downloaded through the Android Market, meaning that if users really want some verboten app, they still have the option of getting it from the developer, or through other channels, unlike the iPhone. Also, Google says that it will try to refund the purchase price of any app bought through the Market that it has to disable.
What do you think of the kill switch? Will it help keep malware off your G1, or should that be left up to the user? Tell us after the jump.
"Do you want to touch (yeah), do you want to touch (yeah), do you want to touch me there-ere, where-ere?" Recognize those lyrics? If so, you've either just dated yourself, or you caught a glimpse of HP's latest commercial featuring its TouchSmart PC. And yes, we want to touch.
But HP isn't stopping at the desktop. According to The Wall Street Journal, HP will come out with a touchscreen notebook by the end of the year, and that's only the beginning. An upcoming line of touch-based cellphones is expected to follow sometime afterward, with even more devices on the horizon. What those devices might be remains to be seen, but an HP spokeswoman did acknowledge the company is "building a whole family of touch" gadgets for future release.
Leading the charge into touchscreen technology is Phil McKinney, CTO of HP's PC division. McKinney has been working on software that works with and on top of Windows. He's also enlisted the help of design company Frog Design to come up with new touch software and hardware. If done right, HP could conceivably do for PCs what Apple has done for cellphones.
Gateway made quite a splash in the mobile gaming community this past summer when it released its P-7811 FX notebook. Packed with gaming goodies usually reserved for high priced boutique OEM offerings, Gateway managed to cram a full blown desktop replacement into a sub-$1500 package (at one point, Best Buy was selling the FX notebook on sale for $1249 plus a free game). Having reintroduced itself back into the enthusiast sector, Gateway this time is focusing on the desktop market with a pair of new models, the FX6710 and LX6200.
The copper color trimmed FX6710-01 ships with an Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400 processor clocked at 2.66GHz with 6MB of L2 cache on a 1333MHz frontside bus. Not often seen on a value priced desktop (if ever), the new FX boasts 6GB of DDR2 memory. A 750GB SATA II hard drive rounds out the non-volatile storage duties, and an ATI HD 4850 videocard with a 512MB frame buffer provides pixel pushing power on the gaming front. Other specs include an 18x DVD burner, 15-in-1 media card reader, 6 USB 2.0 ports, eSATA port, 2 Firewire ports, 7.1 onboard sound, and Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit.
On the AMD side of the fence, Gateway's LX6200-01 comes configured with a Phenom X4 9500 quad core processor clocked at 2.2GHz with 2MB of L3 cache. The LX boasts a little more DDR2 RAM at 8GB, while the videocard gets downgraded an integrated ATI HD 3200 graphics.
Both the FX6710 and LX6200 are available now with an MSRP of $1200 and $780 respectively.
Nvidia scored a much needed win for its mobile graphics with the release of the 9400M GPU, which Apple has chosen to use in its refreshed MacBook line. Apple CEO Steve Jobs gave credit to the 9400M for offering better performance in the new MacBooks, ultimately leading the company to choose Nvidia over Intel.
One could argue that vendor confidence in Nvidia had been more than a little rattled after it came to light that the company's 8M series might have a more serious design flaw than initially thought. What started off as a bad batch of GPUs quickly turned into speculation that the problem could be widespread among Nvidia's silicon, affecting not only mobile parts but desktop solutions as well. But Apple could be just what Nvidia needs to turn this perception around.
In case you haven't been paying attention, the netbook sector is one of the hottest areas in the PC market. Demand has been so high that, despite a weakening global economy, mini-notebooks have played a large role in worldwide PC shipments reaching 80.6 million units in the third quarter of 2008. That's a 15 percent jump from this same time last year. Ironically enough, economic woes might be exactly the reason why sales have been so good.
"In the North America market, the economic crunch created more interest in the sub-$500 segment," noted Mika Kitagawa, principal analyst for Gartner's Client Computing Markets group. "Because the mini-notebook is still a new segment, it is too early to determine if the emerging segment created new market opportunities, or if it cannibalized lower priced systems."
Gartner notes that Asus and Acer have been two of the bigger beneficiaries of the emerging mini-notebook sector, as both companies "had a strong focus and acted quickly." As a result, other vendors are playing catch-up, but it might prove difficult to reach the same level of market expansion that Asus and Acer have been able to reach. Acer especially had a good third quarter, recording a 47 percent growth in worldwide PC unit shipments from Q3 2007.
It seems as though many enthusiasts are biding their time with Vista and have already begun looking forward to Windows 7. In some respects, so has Microsoft, who doesn't need much coaxing to talk about the new OS, whether it be about the refined UAC experience or explaining where the Windows 7 naming scheme comes from. But that doesn't mean Vista's being kicked to the curb.
On the contrary, it looks as though Vista's second Service Pack will make a debut before Windows 7, suggests ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley. According to Foley, select hardware and software partners have already received a beta of SP2, and while the murmurs are unusually quiet regarding what the new Service Pack will bring, Foley's sources have indicated that Microsoft's goal is to deliver SP2 before Windows 7 in an attempt to lessen confusion among users mulling whether to deploy Vista or wait for the new OS. And what does Microsoft have to say on the matter?
"Microsoft is working on a second Windows Vista Service Pack (Windows Vista SP2) and will share more details in the coming months," a Vista spokesperson wrote.
Hit the jump and let us know what you're most looking forward to: Windows 7 or Vista SP2.