It's that time of year again when scorching hot deals start to scatter the web in anticipation of Black Friday, one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. Despite still being almost two weeks away, several retailers have already posted Black Friday ads, giving bargain hunters a head start. But lest the hunter becomes the hunted, buyers should take caution not to fall prey to identity thieves.
According to the FTC, consumers were stung for more than $1.2 billion in losses last year as a result of identity theft and fraud. Consumers, who are already stretched thin amid a struggling economy, should be extra cautious this shopping season.
"While the holiday season is surely a time for cheer and celebration, it is also a time when identity thieves are waiting for the perfect opportunity to pounce on unsuspecting consumers," said LifeLock CEO Todd Davis. "Whether it takes place at shopping malls or online, identity theft can increase over the holidays."
Most, if not all of LifeLock's recommended safety precautions will rank as obvious to seasoned shoppers and the tech savvy alike, but they're worth brushing up on before going on that holiday spending spree.
Well that didn't take long. With Intel's Core i7's launch now official, OEM system builders are falling in line with new systems using the new processors. Such is the case with Gateway, who today announced two new FX Series PCs, the FX6800-01e and the FX6800-05.
Taking up the value end, the FX6800-01e comes equipped with Intel's Core i7-920 processor (2.66GHz quad-core), which Gateway ensures will "provide gamers with the critical horsepower to pwn even the most worthy opponents." And helping to "pwn" Photoshop and other memory intensive programs, the FX6800-01e comes with 3GB of DDR3-1066 memory. Gaming duties are tackled with a Radeon HD 4850 videocard, and you get 700GB of hard drive space to store those games. A 500W power supply, 18X DVD burner, onboard audio, 15-in-1 media card reader, ten USB 2.0 ports, four 1394a ports, two eSATA ports, and and HDMI connector (via DVI-HDMI dongle) round out the feature-set.
Settling in at the higher end, the FX6800-05 beefs up processing chores with Intel's Core i7-940 processor (2.93GHz quad-core) and doubles up the RAM to 6GB. And speaking of double, ATI's dual-GPU Radeon 4870 X2 finds its way into the FX6800-05. Storage chores are tag-teamed with an Intel High Performance 80GB SSD and a 1TB hard drive. Gateway also doubles up on the power supply, trading in the value model's 500W for a beefier 1000W.
The FX6800-01e and FX6800-5 are available now from Best Buy for $1250 and $3000 respectively.
Linux has typically been at the front of the pack when it comes to 64-bit processor support, which made the lack of a compatible 64-bit Flash Player a glaring omission for the open-source platform. The no-show by Adobe has been particularly frustrating for Firefox fans, who by being limited to using the 32-bit Flash plug-in meant also being limited to the 32-bit version of Firefox. That all changes today. From Adobe Labs:
"Furthering Adobe's commitment to the Linux community and as part of ongoing efforts to ensure the cross-platform compatibility of Flash Player, an alpha version of 64-bit Adobe Flash Player 10 for Linux operating systems was released on 11/17/2008 and is available for download. This offers easier, native installation on 64-bit Linux distributions and removes the need for 32-bit emulation."
Windows and Mac users need not feel too bitter, as Adobe says native 64-support across all platforms is forthcoming, although no specific time frame has yet been announced, only that it will arrive "in an upcoming major release of Flash Player."
If you're anticipating Valve's upcoming zombie shooter Left 4 Dead (and if you're a gamer, then you probably are), then Valve has an offer it hopes you can't refuse. The publisher has released its Valve Complete Pack on Steam, a collection of titles which, if purchased separately, would run $235. Valve's asking price checks in at less than half that at $100.
In addition to Left 4 Dead, the Benjamin buys you Counter Strike, Counter Strike: Condition Zero, Counter Strike: Source, Day of Defeat, Day of Defeat: Source, Deathmatch Classic, Half Life, Half Life 2, Half Life 2: Deathmatch, Half Life 2: Episode One, Half Life 2: Episode Two, Half Life 2: Lost Coast, Half Life Deathmatch: Source, Half Life: Blue Shift, Half Life: Opposing Force, Half Life: Source, Peggle Extreme, Portal, Richochet, Team Fortress 2, and Team Fortress Classic. In other words, enough titles to give your broadband connection a good workout.
Word on the web is that you can gift duplicate titles you already own, but if that's you're intention, you may want to confirm this with Steam before plunking down the cash (we'll post an update if we receive confirmation).
Update November 21, 2008
Four days after sending in our support inquiry, Steam Support has informed us that gifting duplicate titles only applies to a handful of specific situations, none of which appear to include the Complete Pack. More information here.
When it comes to AMD, the tech world is currently focused on the chip maker's Shanghai processors, which have started showing up at online resellers. Initially planned for a January 2009 release, AMD bumped up the launch of its first 45nm CPUs. But AMD isn't ahead of schedule across the board and the company's 45nm Fusion chip finds itself pushed back once again.
Initially planned for a 2009 release, AMD previously moved the tentative launch date to sometime in 2010 but has now canceled it altogether in its 45nm form. Instead, AMD's senior VP Randy Allen said the CPU/GPU combo won't materialize until 2011 in a 32nm version with the company's Llano core. Llano will sport four cores, 4MB of cache, DDR3 memory support, and an integrated GPU.
On a related note, AMD will actually start producing 32nm chips in 2010, but products won't start to hit the market in any quantity until 2011 starting with the Orochi core, another four-core chip but with 8MB of cache and aimed at the enthusiast desktop sector.
Concerned about the delay? Hit the jump and let us know.
Given the widespread availability of free solutions, we know how power users hate to pay for security software. If you fall into this category, your options will become slightly more robust this Tuesday, November 18.
According to a spattering of reports, a company spokeswoman for Check Point said the company plans to celebrate its 15th anniversary by giving away a 1-year subscription to its ZoneAlarm Pro software security suite. For those not familiar with the program, ZoneAlarm Pro expands on the company's popular firewall solution by throwing in a spyware remover, protection against rootkits, ID theft protection, and other security odds and ends. The full program typically sells for $40/year.
If the reports hold true, you can download your copy from this link beginning at 6:00 AM PDT Tuesday morning. Procrastinators be warned, the link will only stay active for 24 hours.
The slowdown in the economy continues to trickle down into the technology sector and new warnings have been issued for both AMD and Intel.According to the marketing research firm IDC; "The supply chain is telling us that there is strong concern for demand decline." As a result IDC, and many other firms are cutting their processor growth forecast to around 2-5 percent for fiscal 2009.
This negative outlook on the global PC market had a crushing effect on the earnings forecasts of both companies. Investment bank Friedman Billings Ramsey has slashed its fourth-quarter earnings expectations for Intel to a meager 30 cents per share, down from a previous estimate of 36 cents. AMD also takes a hit jumping from a 19 cent per share loss to as much as 24 cents.Obviously the situation is much worse for AMD who continues to struggle to find its way out of the red, but both companies are facing challenges.
Wall Street analyst firm ThinkEquity predicts much of the weakness will come from softer corporate notebook demand. According to Avon Securities; "PC OEMs...are worried about having too much inventories if end-market demand comes in materially weaker than expectations this holiday season."
Are you holding back on your PC purchases amidst the economic uncertainty? Hit the jump and help us conduct our own informal survey.
Microsoft lobbed another artillery shell towards brick and mortar retailers on Thursday with the debut of its new U.S. online marketplace. Microsoft has been slowly expanding its direct to consumer sales channel over the past several months and launched its first pilot program in the UK and Germany back in July. Currently the online marketplace offers everything from Mice and Keyboards to Xbox games and consoles. Landmark PC software products such as Windows and Office will also naturally be made available.
A disproportionately large percentage of our readers have been shopping on Newegg and Tiger Direct for years. And the idea of buying items online isn’t all that unique to most of us. Perhaps the most interesting new feature of the online marketplace however, is the option to download software and install it without the need for the physical media. Downloaded software can be burned by the customer to a DVD, but this process is optional. Microsoft will also allow repeat downloads of its software, and offer remote access to product keys. According to Microsoft’s Trevin Chow; "There is no longer any need to pay for shipping costs and waiting for the big brown truck to drive across the country."
We all know that online software distribution is hardly a novel concept, and people have been downloading productivity software and OS’s such as Open Office and Linux for years. Despite these facts however, this is still a huge step for the Redmond based software giant and a further reminder that internet distribution is here to stay. Let’s just hope they find new ways to compress this stuff. I’m not sure how much more of this my bandwidth cap will take!
It may have been little more than a cruel mistake, but Newegg certainly got our hopes up by showing Core i7 CPU’s for sale a whole three days before the official launch. The offending links and advertisements were quickly pulled from the site and now, little more than a handful of screenshots exist as evidence.
Core i7 is currently slated for launch on November 17thand it appears as though we’ll have to wait until then to place our orders. Normally, this incident wouldn’t classify as news, but the Newegg slip up does give us a pretty good idea of what the retail pricing will be on the three new SKU’s. The site was offering the 2.66GHz entry level part for $319.99, while the 2.93GHz and 3.2GHz models were priced at $599.99 and $1069.99 respectively. UK customers are seeing similar pricing and power users the world over are waiting with egger anticipation to embrace the new architecture.This isn’t surprising given that early benchmarks have the entry level Core i7’s mopping the floor with pricier, and higher clocked Core 2’s.
At long last, the Dell Mini 12 is availableto order for those of us that inhabit North America.
While Dell won’t be shipping out the $549 netbook until December, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get your order in now if you want to be among the first to get one. Packing a 1.33GHz Atom processor, 1GB of memory and a 40GB hard drive, the Mini is looking to be a solid productivity machine, all factors taken into consideration.
The Mini 12 can upgrade to a 1.6GHz Atom processor and an 80GB hard drive, but you’ll end up spending a notably steep $758 for it.