According to papers filed in a U.S District Court in Arizona, the patent pertains to "methods and systems for accessing one or more computer files via a graphical icon, wherein the graphical icon includes an image of a selected portion or portions of one or more computer files." The patent was awarded to the company as recently as March, 2008.
If it is able to make its case successfully, a windfall awaits Cygnus as it has two of the leading operating systems, three of the major web browsers and the insanely popular iPhone in its crosshairs.
Since 2002, CastleCops has been among the leading antimalware research websites, offering a Wiki, blog, malware removal and prevention tips, and much more. CastleCops founder Paul Laudanski went to work for Microsoft's Live Consumer Services team in mid-May of this year, and CastleCops, which was volunteer-driven, did not survive the transition. CastleCops' last day on duty was December 23, as the farewell message relates:
You have arrived at the CastleCops website, which is currently offline. It has been our pleasure to investigate online crime and volunteer with our virtual family to assist with your computer needs and make the Internet a safer place. Unfortunately, all things come to an end. Keep up the good fight folks, for the spirit of this community lies within each of us. We are empowered to improve the safety and security of the Internet in our own way. Let us feel blessed for the impact we made and the relationships created.
With respect to the server marathon, by March 17 2009 CastleCops will refund contributions made through PayPal that were specifically designated for servers. Unfortunately, server donations made via check cannot be returned because we do not have the addresses for the donating entity. Unless instructed otherwise, CastleCops will re-allocate these funds as a donation to the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC.org). This organization sponsored our hosting environment for approximately the past 2 years. Please contact us [cc at laudanski dot com] before March 17, 2009, if you would like a return of your server marathon donation. Otherwise, we would like to thank the ISC for their unfettered support.
We thank everyone in creating our unique footprint and memories in time.
Love, Best Wishes and Happy Holidays, CastleCops PST 23 Dec 2008
If you've depended upon CastleCops' databases and forums as a resource for fighting malware, now what? Join us after the jump for new resources, and for your chance to suggest your favorite anti-malware websites and tools.
We've heard of pay-as-you-go cell phones, but can the same concept be applied to PCs? Microsoft thinks it can, who filed a patent application in June 2007 detailing a new PC business model. U.S. patent application 20080319910, published on Christmas Day, outlines how end-users would be charged based on usage time and performance levels in exchange for a free or heavily subsidized PC, in addition to a "one-time charge."
While not a rent-to-own scenario, Microsoft concedes that this business model could result in end users paying more for their PC in the long-run than buying it outright. But that's okay, the Redmond company says, because the result would be a PC with an extended "useful life."
"A computer with scalable performance level components and selectable software and service options has a user interface that allows individual performance levels to be selected," the patent application reads. "The scalable performance level components may include a processor, memory, graphics controller, etc. Software and services may include word processing, email, browsing, database access, etc. To support a pay-per-use business model, each selectable item may have a cost associated with it, allowing a user to pay for the services actually selected and that presumably correspond to the task or tasks being performed."
Microsoft says its proposed business model would allow a more granular approach to both hardware and software sales, rather than forcing PC vendors to try and maximize profits on a one-time sale. To give an example, the company points out a scenario with three bundles of applications and performance, where the Office bundle would cost end users $1 per hour, a Gaming bundle $1.25 per hour, and a browsing bundle $0.80 per hour. Alternately, a specific bundle could incur a one-time charge instead of usage-based billing.
Is Microsoft on to something, or on something with its metered computing vision? Hit the jump and post your thoughts.
As if AMD wasn't already fighting an uphill battle, the market share slope just got a little steeper to climb. At the top sits Intel, who increased its market share of OEM PCs from 80 percent in August 2008 to 82 percent in December 2008, representing a 2 percent hike in just four months, says The Wall Street Journal.
To come up with the market share numbers, J.P. Morgan Securities uses a proprietary model which tracks semiconductor specifications at Dell and HP, the two largest OEMs, for notebooks, desktops, workstations, and servers. Because Lenovo-USA includes only corporate PCs, the OEM is excluded from the analysis. White boxes are also not included, which J.P. Morgan estimates accounts for 40 percent of the overall PC market.
As has typically been the case, Intel continues to dominate the processor landscape at Dell, increasing its market share from 95 percent in August to 97 percent in December of this year. The tug-of-war between Intel and AMD is a little more balanced at HP, with Intel increasing its share from 65 percent to 67 percent in the same time frame.
Intel's Atom processor has been a driving force in the chip wars, and for the first time appears in J.P. Morgan's survey. According to the report, the Atom chip accounts for 3 percent of the offerings from HP and Dell. AMD thus far has not made a push in the netbook/nettop sector.
Now that AMD has split into separate design and manufacturing companies, do you see the chip maker's fortune changing in 2009? Hit the jump and post your prediction.
Terry Childs, who locked down San Francisco's FiberWan system last summer, will get his day in court on January 13, exactly six months since he went into the slammer for allegedly hijacking the network he designed and maintained. $5 million bail stands between Childs and a 'get out of jail' card until trial.
After an eight-day preliminary hearing, Superior Court Judge Paul Alvarado ruled Wednesday that prosecutors had produced enough evidence of Terry Childs' probable guilt to hold him for trial on four felony charges of tampering with a computer network, denying other authorized users access to the network and causing more than $200,000 in losses.
How much more than $200,000? According to prosecutors, the city claims it spent almost $1.5 million in "attempts to regain control of the network and assess its vulnerability to intrusions."
Childs' attorney claims her client was trying to protect the network from other employees:
Mr. Childs had good reason to be protective of the password. His co-workers and supervisors had in the past maliciously damaged the system themselves, hindered his ability to maintain it...and shown complete indifference to maintaining it themselves...He was the only person in that department capable of running that system.
The case made our 250 Most Important Tech Products, Events, and People of 2008list at number 232. Stay tuned to MaximumPC.com for further updates.
News and review site VR-Zone claims to have seen documents outlining Nvidia's plan to move to a 40nm process technology on its entire lineup of upcoming videcards starting in Q9 2009. On the high-end side, that includes the GT212 GPU, expected to debut in Q2 and replace the 55nm GT200, meaning a relatively short lifespan for the not yet released GTX285 and GTX295 videocards.
On the mainstream level, both VR-Zone and DigiTimes are reporting the launch of 40nm-based GT214 and GT216 GPUs in Q3 2009, which will replace the current G94 and G96 chips. Fleshing out the lineup will be four desktop SKUs for the GT216 and six desktop SKUs for the GT218, presumably representing different clockspeed and memory configurations.
Looking at the entry level, Nvidia's 40nm GT218 will supplant the company's G98 GPU, also in Q3 2009. Meanwhile, Nvidia's IGP line will see the launch of the iGT209, which is set to replace the GeForce 9300 and 9400 motherboard GPU series.
Despite a weakened economy, holiday shoppers didn't skip a beat this year, at least not at Amazon.com. The company reported it had never seen a better holiday shopping season in its 14-year history, which included 6.3 million items ordered on December 15th, or nearly 73 items every second. Between November 15 and December 10, Amazon sold a copy of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007 about every 2.5 minutes. And in a particularly oddball statistic, Amazon.com says that the weight of all GPS devices sold from Black Friday through December was equal to that of 151 Mini Coopers. We don't know how many GPS units that breaks down to, but it sounds like an awful lot.
Nintendo's Wii console remained a hot seller, as did the Wii remote and Wii nunchuk controller. In consumer electronics, Samsung's 52" 120Hz LCD HDTV, the Apple iPod touch 8GB, and the Acer Aspire One 8.9" netbook with 160GB hard drive led the pack.
According to Comscore, heavy snowfall benefited online stores as shoppers chose to stay in rather than battle the weather and crowds.
"Online spending over the most recent weekend was clearly substantially heavier than the corresponding weekend nearest Christmas last year, which suggests that many consumers opted for the cozier confines of online shopping rather than having to brave the severe cold and snowstorms affecting much of the northern half of the country,” said ComScore chairman Gian Fulgoni.
But even though this was Amazon's best holiday shopping season ever, ComScore estimates that through December 21, online shoppers spent $24.71 billion on the internet, down 1 percent versus the same period in 2007.
Didn't get that iPod, Zune, or other portable music player you had written down on your holiday wish list? Perhaps you need to work on your pitch. When making your plea to your parents, significant other, or whoever it is you're hoping will buy you an MP3 player next year, be sure to let them know it could be a matter of life and death. Let us explain.
Things were looking pretty grim for a skier and a snowboarder, both from France, who managed to get lost late Friday near the resort of Savognin in southeast Switzerland. Being lost in the cold and and snowy Swiss mountains is reason enough for panic, and though the two were able to call for help on a cell phone, the battery died soon after, leaving the two tourists in a chilly predicament. Lucky for them, their MP3 player gave their location away.
"The two winter sports enthusiasts were found by the crew of the Rega helicopter shortly after midnight -- thanks to the faint light of their MP3 player," said Gery Baumann, spokesman for mountain rescue service Rega.
Reuters reports the two men escaped with only mild hypothermia.
If you've purchased a digital photo frame from Amazon recently, it's in your best interest to pay attention to any emails originating from Amazon Customer Service. That's because the online e-tailer has been warning its customers that one of Samsung's digital frames, specifically its SPF-85H 8-inch unit, ships with a little something extra.
"We have recently learned that Samsung has issued an alert affecting its SPF-85H 8-Inch Digital Photo Frame," Amazon writes. "The alert concerns discovery of the W32.Sality.AE worm on the installation disc SAMSUNG FRAME MANAGER XP VERSION 1.08, which is needed for using the SPF-85H as a USB monitor."
Vista owners and those running a different Frame Manager version aren't affected by the worm, Samsung says. For those that are affected, Samsung advises removing the worm using Norton Internet Security 2009, uninstalling Frame Manager 1.08, and then updating to Frame Manager XP 1.082.
Thsi isn't the first time malware has made its way onto digital picture frames. Earlier in the year, some Insignia units sold at Best Buy were found to contain a Trojan Horse payload, with reports claiming several other vendors, such as Sam's Club, Target, and Costco, were also selling infected digital frames.