Friday, November 10, 2006

Microsoft to patch zero-day XML flaw | Tech News on ZDNet

"Microsoft on Tuesday plans to issue six security bulletins, including at least one with a fix for a security vulnerability that is actively being used in cyberattacks."
Thanks Earl for the update

nVidia Announces Early Christmas for Gamers, Power Users

Go ahead, click on the link to nVidia's home page. You'll see the most stunning graphics ever seen from a consumer PC.

The new 8800 GTX GPU is a whopping 400+ mm, giving gamers 631 million transistors worth of DirectX 10 gaming power. The reviews are all gaga, and well they should. Now, you can play with full AA and still have frame rates to spare.

Also announced are the nForce 680i, as in 'i" for Intel, motherboards. Like the previous generation 590 mobos, nVidia has full support for SLI, elaborate as well as push-button overclocking, and a no-cost turbocharge of 20% when an nVidia graphics card (7900 and up) is married to the nForce mobo.

All of this can be yours at about $2,000 and up (way up).

I expect a (long) line for the 8800. Maybe not as long as the PlayStation 3, but long. Why? Because the 8800 has 128 stream processors that can handle vertices or pixel shading. That's how DirectX 10, out soon with Windows Vista, simplifies GPUs and ensures that massive parallelism will be the norm from here on out. One big reason to queue up for an 8800 is the fact that it's very backwards compatible with DirectX 9 games -- at higher performanc levels.

In short, a tour de (n)Force by nVidia. Buy here.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Particletree | A Guide to Email Roundup

I thought that this had a tip or two for everybody, for dealing with email. How to make it more effective on many levels.

Particletree | A Guide to Email Roundup
[h/t Merlin Mann]


Anti-spyware anesthetises your OS before going to work

This is not the first time this idea has come up. Loads of live CDs, such as the Ultimate Boot CD do their work from an alternate operating system. In the case of the UBCD it is FreeDOS, if that makes any difference.

With rootkits becoming ever more prevalent, this is obviously the way to build a malware scanner. As the article says; booting to the other OS gives the scanner access to some parts of Windows that previously have been held out of scans. I expect this also gets one around the PatchGuard kernel protection in 64 bit Vista. In fact, this may be the only way third party scanners can assure you of the kernel's health in the presence of PatchGuard. I can imagine a halt in the Vista boot cycle for the alternate OS to boot and scan critical portions of Vista, then hand the reins back to Vista to finish booting normally.

At any rate; this is one to watch and I'm quite sure there will be other such implementations of the idea from other vendors.


Download your Blue Screen of Death - from Microsoft

This one was just a bit too cute to ignore.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sun Set To Move On GPL License For Open-Source Java

Sun kept saying "we can't do this very fast", once they accepted the notion of opening the source code for the Java language. Obviously they were bargaining for enough time that when they finally started to take irrevocable actions, they would be perceived as moving very rapidly in relation to their own forecasts.

At any rate; Java as a FOSS product is nearly a done deal and will be official soon. Look for this to re-establish Java as a competitor to Python, .NET and the newcomer, Ruby, in the hearts and minds of developers, or at least their bosses.

In case you are wondering what is accomplished by open-sourcing Java; the move puts the languaage in a place where Sun cannot discontinue or otherwise cripple it in favor of a newer product. That is what happened with Microsoft's Visual Basic. When the .NET version came out, it was incompatible with earlier versions, as were the runtimes, forcing either re-writing code to comply with the new runtimes or sticking with the old and hoping to go on for some time without patches or hotfixes for any issues that might arise. The resentment was palpable at the time and the fact that it happened once has steered several companies I know of away from .NET completely and into the arms of open source platforms.

There are still some licensing issues to be decided, but I think they will all be worked out within a month. Perhaps even less.


Increased spam levels connected with aggressive botnet activities

I had subjectively and objectively, using my spam statistics, noticed an increase in spam here at home. I had mentioned it to other members of the OC crew. Now I think I know what has been happening. At least this explains what it could be.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Every Vista PC to get a domain name

This is kinda neat. It is an access solution for those who are away from their home machines for long periods as well as an expansion of networking capabilities on the local network. MS calls it "Peer to Peer" networking and I was almost refreshed to see them name something descriptively, instead of trying to invent some cool catchword for it.

You won't be seeing this very soon, but you will be seeing it. It is simply too clever to ignore. Existing home and enterprise equipment has only spotty support for IPv6, the next generation Internet Protocol. That will change with time and once the necessary hardware is in place.

Microsoft's detailed outlay of how it works is here.


Microsoft Local Live goes 3D

The link above is to an early (and partial) review at The Inquirer. The real deal is here.

I have downloaded it and the insall went flawlessly. As I write this I have been fooling with it for about an hour and I am impressed with what I see and how it works. There are a few shortcomings, but all in all, this one is worthy of your attention.


Monday, November 06, 2006

New Theme for Windows XP Download

After all these years, MS has given us a new, free theme for Windows XP. It is the Zune theme. It sports a black taskbar and an orange start button. As an unintended consequence of the orange in the color scheme, it looks great on Firefox. It is also pretty cool looking in general. Your less savvy friends may even think you are running Vista if you neglect to tell them. The Zune theme comes with a Zune themed desktop wallpaper; but if you are not a Zunester, you can easily replace it with your own pic. Download and enjoy. Thanks Microsoft.

OnComputers Radio show Podcast 11-05-06

This is the On Computers Radio show podcast for 11-05-06. You can listen live every Sunday from 10AM to 1PM Pacific thats 1PM to 4PM Eastern. If you prefer, you can download the same file here via ftp.