We're not so naive to think that male enhancement, weight-loss, and prescription medication solicitations will stop infiltrating our inbox and filling up our spam queue, but perhaps after the Federal Trade Commission's latest bust they'll be a little less frequent. The FTC said on Tuesday it had shut down one of the largest global spam networks allegedly responsible for sending billions of unsolicited emails.
The FTC received some 3 million complaints in connection with spam tied to the HerbalKing operation, which is said to have operated in the United States, China, New Zealand, and other nations. According to the FTC, HerbalKing received $400,000 in Visa credit car charges in a single month, leading a U.S. District Court to freeze the various defendants' assets.
As is typical of spam rings, HerbalKing utilized botnets to mass-mail recipients. Mega-D, believed to be the group's largest botnet, was responsible for 35,000 zombie PCs capable of sending out a whopping 10 billion email solicitations per day. But the list of infractions goes well beyond violating the Can-Spam Act of 2003. The FTC accuses HerbalKing of unlawful operation of a pharmacy, making false claims regarding the safety of herbal products containing potentially harmful ingredients, selling medication without proof of a prescription, and more.
The open source productivity suite Open Office 3.0 moved from beta form into a final release on Monday but was ill prepared for the demand that would follow. Enough users flocked to OpenOffice.org to crash the website, and two days later the site still remains semi-operational. The main page - the only one that's functioning - is adorned with several download links and the following message:
"Apologies - our website is struggling to cope with the unprecedented demand for the new release 3.0 of OpenOffice.org. The technical teams are trying to come up with a solution. Thank you for your patience."
The free alternative (retail version runs $70 and includes technical support and intellectual property indemnification) to Microsoft's Office suite is now more compatible with Office, including letting users immediately read documents saved in the .docx, .xlsx, or .pptx formats.
Have you kicked the tires on Open Office 3.0 yet? Hit the jump and give us your impression.
Samsung this week announced plans to re-enter the U.S. computer market with a lineup ranging from ultraportable to desktop replacements aimed at business professionals. On the lighter side, Samsung's X-Series looks to position itself as a strong competitor to Apple's MacBook Air, and the company isn't shy about letting this be known.
"These products really go after Apple and Sony," said Bret Berg, senior product manager for Samsung's U.S. computer division. "This is the MacBook Air killer."
Samsung will look to back that statement with its X360, a 2.8-pound notebook measuring 1.2 inches at its thickest point and sporting a 13.3-inch display. For $1,900, the X360 comes with a 1.2GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U9300 processor, a 120GB hard drive, and 4GB of DDR3 1066MHz RAM, whereas the $2,500 model steps up to a 1.4GHz U9400 chip and a 128GB solid-state drive, or twice the storage space of the Apple Air selling for $2,600.
For those who need a little more screen real estate, the X460 bumps up to a 14.1-inch display while adding in discrete graphics (GeForce 9200M GS 256MB) and a DVD burner. Like its slightly smaller sibling, the X460 will come in two flavors. The $1,700 version buys a 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo P3750 processor and 250GB hard drive space, or pony up $100 more for a 2.26GHz P8400 chip and a 320GB hard drive.
E-tailers will start carrying the new lineup in mid-November.
Researchers around the globe are trying to make solar panels more efficient and inexpensive. Now, a semiconductor material discovered in the 1990’s might come to their aid.
SIOnyx, a startup stationed in Massachusetts, is leading efforts to commercialize black silicon, which is being tipped to supplant silicon in future solar panels as it’s 100 to 500 times more photosensitive than silicon.
Black silicon is being incorporated into sensor-based chips that will in turn be used in night vision equipment. It will inevitably be integrated in future digital cameras and video cameras.
The notebook is available in various configurations with the base version featuring a 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB DDR2 memory, 6-cell battery, a DVD drive and 160 GB 5400 RPM hard drive. The Nox A14 includes a Nvidia Geforce 9600M GT graphics card with 512 MB of GDDR3 memory, which can be easily upgraded later as it utilizes the Nvidia MXM platform.
The top-end variant of the Nox A14 is outfitted with a 2.8 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 8 GB of DDR2 memory, 128 GB SSD, Blu-ray and 9-cell battery. The “fastest 14-inch notebook in the world” is only available in Europe at the moment with prices beginning at $1450.
The first beta of Firefox 3.1 has arrived after being delayed by about a month. This beta release introduces the ability to switch between tabs using the Ctrl-Tab combination (3d tab switching). The tab-switching feature has been available in form of an extension till now.
Users can also drag and drop tabs between different Firefox windows. The beta release also has geolocation capability – currently available as an add-on - built into it. Geolocation allows users to interact with the web based on their geographic location.
The inbuilt geolocation feature in Firefox 3.1 and Geode – the geolocation extension - are slightly dissimilar. The difference lies in the fact that the former offers users a choice between GPS-based tracking and WiFi-based tracking, whereas Geode only counts on WiFi for tracking the location of a user.
"Where Do You Want to Go Today?" Maybe that old Microsoft slogan was inspired by the codenames for Windows versions past. You could travel the Midwest with a trip to "Chicago" (Windows 95), "Detroit" (Windows 95 OSR2) and "Memphis" (Windows 98) [corrected 10-15-2008, hat tip to reader damicatz]. Is "Cairo" in Egypt or Southern Illinois? Either way, it's the codename for Windows NT 4.0. More recently, Microsoft's been hitting the slopes in British Columbia, with "Whistler" (Windows XP) and hitting an apres-ski bar in Whistler called "Longhorn" (Windows Vista) for a little liquid refreshment.
Well, you can put away your roadmaps: the Windows version codenamed "Windows 7" is officially called....(wait for it....) Windows 7! Ironically, the official Windows Vista blog confirmed the name for Vista's successor in a post on Columbus Day. Thus, Windows 7 will be the first version of in many years Windows not to have a codename or at least a nickname (Windows 2000 was informally known as "NT5" before it was released).
Wondering why Microsoft went for simplicity in the name of the new OS? Wondering about Microsoft counts Windows generations? Join us after the jump to learn more - and get your chance to sound off.
The chips will not only prevent WiFi signals from loosing their strength while traversing walls but also reign in on any interference from other devices operating in the 2.4 or 5GHz bands. The chipsets are expected to cost between $20 and $40 each. These chips are expected to make their maiden commercial appearance sometime in 2009.
Good news for anyone who doesn’t want to talk on their cellphone in the car, but lacks the actual resolve to not pick up the phone while driving: Canadian software company Aegis Mobile has announced new software that will hold your calls for you while you drive.
The software, called DriveAssistT, will be able to detect when a cell phone is moving at automobile speeds and block incoming calls. Callers are redirected to a message saying that the person being called is driving, and can opt to leave a voice mail if it’s an emergency. Whether car passengers using the software will be able to recieve calls isn't known. Some states have laws requiring drivers to use a hands-free set in the car, but studies have shown that the greatest risk comes from the very act of talking, not from holding the phone, lending credence to the idea behind DriveAssistT.
The software is launching in partnership with auto insurance provider Nationwide. The insurance company plans to offer a discount of 3 to 10 percent for drivers who use DriveAssistT.
Would you use DriveAssistT if it were offered on your phone? Tell us after the jump.
Yahoo just can’t seem to catch a break. The search site’s prospects are looking dimmer and dimmer as Yahoo and Google negotiate with the Justice department to try and head off a potential antitrust lawsuit stemming from their proposed advertising partnership. Several compromises are being discussed which would lessen the strategic value of the partnership for Yahoo.
The currently proposed concessions, according to the Wall Street Journal, “include capping the volume of Google ads Yahoo would use, assurances that Yahoo would continue to compete in search ads, and a reporting mechanism to ensure compliance… U.S. officials hope to impose measures that will ensure the prices advertisers must pay don’t rise significantly after the deal.”
According to Silicon Valley Insider, these compromises would leave the already down-in-the-mouth Yahoo in an even weaker position, cutting out much of the benefit they had hoped to gain from the ad partnership. They also suggest that Microsoft’s lobbyists are responsible for the Justice Department’s scrutiny of the deal, writing that “even if [Microsoft] doesn’t buy Yahoo, it gets the quiet pleasure of poking another stick at the carcass of a company that spurned it’s now extraordinarily generous buyout offer.”