6:27 PM

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Tons of released drugs taint US water

U.S. manufacturers, including major drugmakers, have legally released at least 271 million pounds of pharmaceuticals into waterways that often provide drinking water — contamination the federal government has consistently overlooked, according to an Associated Press investigation.

Hundreds of active pharmaceutical ingredients are used in a variety of manufacturing, including drugmaking: For example, lithium is used to make ceramics and treat bipolar disorder; nitroglycerin is a heart drug and also used in explosives; copper shows up in everything from pipes to contraceptives.

Federal and industry officials say they don't know the extent to which pharmaceuticals are released by U.S. manufacturers because no one tracks them — as drugs. But a close analysis of 20 years of federal records found that, in fact, the government unintentionally keeps data on a few, allowing a glimpse of the pharmaceuticals coming from factories.

As part of its ongoing PharmaWater investigation about trace concentrations of pharmaceuticals in drinking water, AP identified 22 compounds that show up on two lists: the EPA monitors them as industrial chemicals that are released into rivers, lakes and other bodies of water under federal pollution laws, while the Food and Drug Administration classifies them as active pharmaceutical ingredients.

The data don't show precisely how much of the 271 million pounds comes from drugmakers versus other manufacturers; also, the figure is a massive undercount because of the limited federal government tracking.

To date, drugmakers have dismissed the suggestion that their manufacturing contributes significantly to what's being found in water. Federal drug and water regulators agree.

But some researchers say the lack of required testing amounts to a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy about whether drugmakers are contributing to water pollution.

"It doesn't pass the straight-face test to say pharmaceutical manufacturers are not emitting any of the compounds they're creating," said Kyla Bennett, who spent 10 years as an EPA enforcement officer before becoming an ecologist and environmental attorney.

Pilot studies in the U.S. and abroad are now confirming those doubts.

Last year, the AP reported that trace amounts of a wide range of pharmaceuticals — including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones — have been found in American drinking water supplies. Including recent findings in Dallas, Cleveland and Maryland's Prince George's and Montgomery counties, pharmaceuticals have been detected in the drinking water of at least 51 million Americans.

Most cities and water providers still do not test. Some scientists say that wherever researchers look, they will find pharma-tainted water.

Consumers are considered the biggest contributors to the contamination. We consume drugs, then excrete what our bodies don't absorb. Other times, we flush unused drugs down toilets. The AP also found that an estimated 250 million pounds of pharmaceuticals and contaminated packaging are thrown away each year by hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Researchers have found that even extremely diluted concentrations of drugs harm fish, frogs and other aquatic species. Also, researchers report that human cells fail to grow normally in the laboratory when exposed to trace concentrations of certain drugs. Some scientists say they are increasingly concerned that the consumption of combinations of many drugs, even in small amounts, could harm humans over decades.

Utilities say the water is safe. Scientists, doctors and the EPA say there are no confirmed human risks associated with consuming minute concentrations of drugs. But those experts also agree that dangers cannot be ruled out, especially given the emerging research.

___

Two common industrial chemicals that are also pharmaceuticals — the antiseptics phenol and hydrogen peroxide — account for 92 percent of the 271 million pounds identified as coming from drugmakers and other manufacturers. Both can be toxic and both are considered to be ubiquitous in the environment.

However, the list of 22 includes other troubling releases of chemicals that can be used to make drugs and other products: 8 million pounds of the skin bleaching cream hydroquinone, 3 million pounds of nicotine compounds that can be used in quit-smoking patches, 10,000 pounds of the antibiotic tetracycline hydrochloride. Others include treatments for head lice and worms.

Residues are often released into the environment when manufacturing equipment is cleaned.

A small fraction of pharmaceuticals also leach out of landfills where they are dumped. Pharmaceuticals released onto land include the chemo agent fluorouracil, the epilepsy medicine phenytoin and the sedative pentobarbital sodium. The overall amount may be considerable, given the volume of what has been buried — 572 million pounds of the 22 monitored drugs since 1988.

In one case, government data shows that in Columbus, Ohio, pharmaceutical maker Boehringer Ingelheim Roxane Inc. discharged an estimated 2,285 pounds of lithium carbonate — which is considered slightly toxic to aquatic invertebrates and freshwater fish — to a local wastewater treatment plant between 1995 and 2006. Company spokeswoman Marybeth C. McGuire said the pharmaceutical plant, which uses lithium to make drugs for bipolar disorder, has violated no laws or regulations. McGuire said all the lithium discharged, an annual average of 190 pounds, was lost when residues stuck to mixing equipment were washed down the drain.

___

Pharmaceutical company officials point out that active ingredients represent profits, so there's a huge incentive not to let any escape. They also say extremely strict manufacturing regulations — albeit aimed at other chemicals — help prevent leakage, and that whatever traces may get away are handled by onsite wastewater treatment.

"Manufacturers have to be in compliance with all relevant environmental laws," said Alan Goldhammer, a scientist and vice president at the industry trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America.

Goldhammer conceded some drug residues could be released in wastewater, but stressed "it would not cause any environmental issues because it was not a toxic substance at the level that it was being released at."

Several big drugmakers were asked this simple question: Have you tested wastewater from your plants to find out whether any active pharmaceuticals are escaping, and if so what have you found?

No drugmaker answered directly.

"Based on research that we have reviewed from the past 20 years, pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities are not a significant source of pharmaceuticals that contribute to environmental risk," GlaxoSmithKline said in a statement.

AstraZeneca spokeswoman Kate Klemas said the company's manufacturing processes "are designed to avoid, or otherwise minimize the loss of product to the environment" and thus "ensure that any residual losses of pharmaceuticals to the environment that do occur are at levels that would be unlikely to pose a threat to human health or the environment."

One major manufacturer, Pfizer Inc., acknowledged that it tested some of its wastewater — but outside the United States.

The company's director of hazard communication and environmental toxicology, Frank Mastrocco, said Pfizer has sampled effluent from some of its foreign drug factories. Without disclosing details, he said the results left Pfizer "confident that the current controls and processes in place at these facilities are adequately protective of human health and the environment."

It's not just the industry that isn't testing.

FDA spokesman Christopher Kelly noted that his agency is not responsible for what comes out on the waste end of drug factories. At the EPA, acting assistant administrator for water Mike Shapiro — whose agency's Web site says pharmaceutical releases from manufacturing are "well defined and controlled" — did not mention factories as a source of pharmaceutical pollution when asked by the AP how drugs get into drinking water.

"Pharmaceuticals get into water in many ways," he said in a written statement. "It's commonly believed the majority come from human and animal excretion. A portion also comes from flushing unused drugs down the toilet or drain; a practice EPA generally discourages."

His position echoes that of a line of federal drug and water regulators as well as drugmakers, who concluded in the 1990s — before highly sensitive tests now used had been developed — that manufacturing is not a meaningful source of pharmaceuticals in the environment.

Pharmaceutical makers typically are excused from having to submit an environmental review for new products, and the FDA has never rejected a drug application based on potential environmental impact. Also at play are pressures not to delay potentially lifesaving drugs. What's more, because the EPA hasn't concluded at what level, if any, pharmaceuticals are bad for the environment or harmful to people, drugmakers almost never have to report the release of pharmaceuticals they produce.

"The government could get a national snapshot of the water if they chose to," said Jennifer Sass, a senior scientist for the Natural Resources Defense Council, "and it seems logical that we would want to find out what's coming out of these plants."

Ajit Ghorpade, an environmental engineer who worked for several major pharmaceutical companies before his current job helping run a wastewater treatment plant, said drugmakers have no impetus to take measurements that the government doesn't require.

"Obviously nobody wants to spend the time or their dime to prove this," he said. "It's like asking me why I don't drive a hybrid car? Why should I? It's not required."

___

After contacting the nation's leading drugmakers and filing public records requests, the AP found two federal agencies that have tested.

Both the EPA and the U.S. Geological Survey have studies under way comparing sewage at treatment plants that receive wastewater from drugmaking factories against sewage at treatment plants that do not.

Preliminary USGS results, slated for publication later this year, show that treated wastewater from sewage plants serving drug factories had significantly more medicine residues. Data from the EPA study show a disproportionate concentration in wastewater of an antibiotic that a major Michigan factory was producing at the time the samples were taken.

Meanwhile, other researchers recorded concentrations of codeine in the southern reaches of the Delaware River that were at least 10 times higher than the rest of the river.

The scientists from the Delaware River Basin Commission won't have to look far when they try to track down potential sources later this year. One mile from the sampling site, just off shore of Pennsville, N.J., there's a pipe that spits out treated wastewater from a municipal plant. The plant accepts sewage from a pharmaceutical factory owned by Siegfried Ltd. The factory makes codeine.

"We have implemented programs to not only reduce the volume of waste materials generated but to minimize the amount of pharmaceutical ingredients in the water," said Siegfried spokeswoman Rita van Eck.

Another codeine plant, run by Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Noramco Inc., is about seven miles away. A Noramco spokesman acknowledged that the Wilmington, Del., factory had voluntarily tested its wastewater and found codeine in trace concentrations thousands of times greater than what was found in the Delaware River. "The amounts of codeine we measured in the wastewater, prior to releasing it to the City of Wilmington, are not considered to be hazardous to the environment," said a company spokesman.

In another instance, equipment-cleaning water sent down the drain of an Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc. factory in Denver consistently contains traces of warfarin, a blood thinner, according to results obtained under a public records act request. Officials at the company and the Denver Metro Wastewater Reclamation District said they believe the concentrations are safe.

Warfarin, which also is a common rat poison and pesticide, is so effective at inhibiting growth of aquatic plants and animals it's actually deliberately introduced to clean plants and tiny aquatic animals from ballast water of ships.

"With regard to wastewater management we are subject to a variety of federal, state and local regulation and oversight," said Joel Green, Upsher-Smith's vice president and general counsel. "And we work hard to maintain systems to promote compliance."

Baylor University professor Bryan Brooks, who has published more than a dozen studies related to pharmaceuticals in the environment, said assurances that drugmakers run clean shops are not enough.

"I have no reason to believe them or not believe them," he said. "We don't have peer-reviewed studies to support or not support their claims."

taken from yahoo health
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12:15 AM

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13 Twitter's Don't doing

You want to keep your Twitter followers happy? Avoid these okay.

he number of new Twitter users has soared over the past few months, as the microblogging service has taken the media by storm. If you're one of those new users, you may be baffled by Twitter's peculiar culture, or nervous that you'll commit some kind of microblogging faux pas.

Don't worry, we're here to help. While there aren't specific rules for how to use Twitter, avoiding these 13 Don'ts will help you fit right in—and may even gain you some adoring new followers.

1. Don't live-tweet TV shows. @CorinneIOZO warns that lots of people use DVRs or watch shows on Hulu these days, so spoiling big moments ("OMG, the smoke monster was actually from outer space! No way!") is a major no-no. As an alternative, tweet an inside joke that the show's viewers will get, but that doesn't give away any important details.

2. Don't say anything that could get you fired or prevent you from getting a job. @JoelSD points out that if your tweets are public, they really are open to everyone, as has been demonstrated time and time again.




3. Don't
be boring. A simple rule that @kmonson follows is "Never tweet about food or the weather." If your friends see one more "Good morning Twitterverse!" or "I had some awesome corn flakes for breakfast," you're getting un-followed.

4. Don't forget the Twitter lingo: RT is retweet, and @name is how you respond or give props to someone. Feel free to be generous with both your RTs and your @s.

5. Don't tweet more than ten times a day, or more than five times an hour, says @JasonCross00. It gets annoying and takes space and attention away from other Twitterers' links and observations. If you have that much to say, maybe it belongs on a blog.

6. Don't reply to every single tweet. As @seanludwig points out, it gets old fast.

7. Don't tweet drunk, cautions @whitneyarner. Just like in real life, your followers might get a kick out of your drunk tweets, but you'll probably regret them in the morning.

8. Don't tell us about something cool or life-changing without a link or picture (use a service like TwitPic for your photos, and a URL shortener like TinyURL or is.gd for your links).

9. Don't retweet something and leave off the original Twitter poster. Always give credit to those who wrote it first.

10. Don't ignore people who send you a direct message or a reply, says @LanceUlanoff. Part of the Twitter experience involves conversing with your followers when possible.

11. Don't #hashtag every topic. After a while, your topics will be ignored.

12. Don't whine about people not following you, pleads @SaschaSegan. If you're good at providing interesting stuff and you're patient, you'll get the followers you crave so badly.

13. Don't tweet your bathroom habits. Seriously. Just don't do it.

taken from pcmag.com

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12:50 AM

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Intel Begins Applying 'Stars' Ratings to Microprocessors


Will you choose a PC's processor like you choose a hotel? Intel has already bet that you will.

Years after microprocessor vendors launched "model numbers" to try and provide buyers with a simpler way of evaluating microprocessor performance, on April 1 Intel began placing point-of-sale placards and other promotional materials in stores displaying between one to five stars. The company has also jazzed up its chip logos, adding a bit of color to the almost-uniform Intel blue.

The problem is threefold: on one hand, it's almost impossible for even experienced enthusiasts to try and distinguish between two nearly identical processors, which now use a dizzying array of features to differentiate themselves: the number of cores, their clock speed, the amount of level-2 and level-3 cache, the speed of the interconnect, the memory interface and speed, as well as other features such as hyperthreading and "turbo boost". Differences can be ascertained by benchmarking both simulated and real-world applications, which sites like ExtremeTech run in spades.

At a retailer like Best Buy, however, such benchmarks are rarely, if ever, provided to the user; OEMs like Hewlett-Packard and Acer are more interested in presenting the advantages of their own hardware and software bundles.

The third issue: the number of processor options companies like Intel and its rival AMD offer; Intel offers a total of 30 desktop processors, and 57 notebook processors, not including the three Atom processors which can appear in either a "nettop" or netbook.

When asked, Intel spokesman Bill Calder agreed that "there were too many models; too many brands." Intel's desktop brands include the Pentium, Celeron, Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Quad, Core i7, and Core i7 Extreme Edition. Most are centered around what Calder called a "hero" brand: the Core series. But, he added, it was too soon to say whether older brands, such as the Celeron, would be discarded.

"It's important for people to understand that we've got all these different brands, but we have a challenge when people come to retail," he said. "How do I distinguish between the Pentium and Celeron and Core and Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Quad?"

Over the last few months, Intel has been re-evaluating its brands and embarking on a fairly broad band simplification effort, he said. Both the revised logo and the "stars" classifications are "small but important elements" of that, Calder said. "And there will be more," he added.

The "stars" rating," Calder said, is an "easy, intuitive way" to see the processors in connection with one another, in a way that he said communicates "relative performance, not a price-performance type of thing," he said. They will be applied to both desktop and notebook product lines, but not the Atom, he said.

Five-star desktop processors include the Intel Core i7 and Core i7 Extreme; four-star processors include the Q9300+ and E8000 series. Three-star processors include the Q8000 series and E7000 series. Intel has drawn a more distinct line between the three- and two-star designations, placing the Pentium line in its own two-star category. At the bottom of the heap is the Celeron, a one-star chip.

(Some of the distinctions can appear arbitrary; the three-star Q8300 is a four-core, 2.5-GHz processor that uses a 1,333-MHz front-side bus with 4 Mbytes of cache; the four-star Q9300 is identical, but includes 6 Mbytes of cache.)

Calder emphasized that the star ratings were not based entirely on performance, but on features, such as the "turbo boost" capability that allows the Core i7 architecture to overclock a single core running one single-threaded application. They won't be directly affixed to a PC, but have been accompanying sales circulars since the first of the month. Additional point-of-sale training will be required, Calder said.

The revised logos remain largely unchanged from Intel's traditional "Intel Inside" logo, except with the Core brand prominently displayed, and color coding applied to help differentiate the brands. The logo also includes a "peeled-away" portion, revealing a die-like graphic. The orientation is now horizontal, although the logo will take up the same "footprint," or space.

The new logos are more colorful and ornamental, Calder said.

taken from pcmag.com

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12:09 AM

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Beware Conficker Awakens, Mutates, Hustles

Reports are all over that a new and interesting version of the Conficker worm is around, and that it is pushing rogue anti-malware to its users. Thus a purpose to the whole endeavor begins to emerge: Money. But the vendor analyses of this new variant are not yet in synch; they disagree on some points and are confused on others.

ESET calls this new variant Win32/Conficker.AQ; the names are really beginning to diverge among the vendors. The new variant is split into client and server components. The server, a Windows device driver, attempts to perform the infections of other systems through the MS08-067 vulnerability in Windows that made Conficker famous, but which had actually been removed from the previous variant. It also sets up an HTTP server on a random TCP port. Curiously, after May 3 the server part of the program will remove itself from the system as of the next reboot.

The client program is a newly-obfuscated version of the old, familiar Conficker program. ESET says the new version dumps the domain name distribution scheme; this seemed clever, but was too susceptible to organized resistance by the industry and authorities. The new version attempts only to communicate through the already established peer network. They also suspect that the Autoun propagation system has been removed from it too, but haven't completed analysis on that point.

ESET has a removal tool for this variant.

Symantec is reporting that the driver patches tcpip.sys in order to increase the number of concurrent connections on the system. They call this variant W32.Downadup.E. Symantec describes the DLL portion as the C variant and that the purpose of the infection is to install that C variant. This isn't exactly what ESET says. Symantec also doesn't say that the Autorun propagation has been removed and they still recommend in their technical description disabling Autorun, but the description of E variant doesn't mention Autorun anymore.

The Microsoft description has more details than most others:


* Before it spreads itself it appends a stream of randomly generated garbage to itself to confuse file identifiers, but this won't be too hard to defeat.

* It establishes the server by using SSDP to find an Internet gateway device and then issues a SOAP command to set up port forwarding to itself. This is UPnP, and router configuration program often do similar things.

Kaspersky's Threatpost then follows through on the business model of Conficker: pushing rogue anti-malware. They report that infected systems are getting popups with warnings that push a $49.95 scam product, SpywareProtect2009. Kaspersky has their own disinfection tool.

More on Conficker:

A New Old Worm Follows in Conficker's Footsteps

Where Are the Infected Conficker Systems?

Conficker Post-Mortem...It Is Dead, Isn't It?

Infected with Conficker? Here's What to Do

Conficker--a Bullet-Proof Botnet?

The 7 Most Important Things to Know About Conficker

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1:03 AM

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Disable Write Access to USB Hard Disk and Flash Key Drives

There is a registry hack that able to disable the USB drive access to USB mass storage device such as flash drive, USB key, thumb drive, pendrive and portable hard disk while keeping the USB hardware device such as webcam, mouse, keyboard, printer and scanner connected to USB ports working as usual. However, the hack disable the USB access to disk drive completely. User cannot copy data to the USB disk storage, nor able to read any files and documents from the USB drive.

For user who just want to disable write access to the external removable USB mass storage disk drive, there is another registry hack of WriteProtect in StorageDevicePolicies registry key that able to restrict Windows system from writing to the USB disk drive, and hence effectively user to copy any sensitive or private data from the PC to USB key stick. The trick works in a similar way to write-protect feature used in floppy disk and backup tape which make the disk read-only, only that in this case, it’s system wide implementation that block any writing and recording of data to USB mass storage device.

To disable writing access to USB drives and make all USB drives has only read-only access, follow these steps:

1. Run Registry Editor (regedit).
2. Navigate to the following registry key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control
3. Create a New Key named as StorageDevicePolicies.
4. Highlight StorageDevicePolicies, and then create a New DWORD (32-bit) Value named as WriteProtect.
5. Double click on WriteProtect, and set its value data to 1. Read mOre Guys...

11:41 PM

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Best Security Tools

These eight free downloads and services will help you beat back the bad guys with antivirus and antispyware programs, personal firewalls, and even a program that can detect whether your Web site is under attack.

BEST BET
Avast Home Edition: The big names in security software charge you big bucks for big suites full of big, bloated software. It scans your system for malware and kills what it finds, and gives you seven different types of "shields" to keep you safe from harm, such as one for protecting you from dangers that might be lurking on Web sites (such as drive-by downloads), one for guarding against peer-to-peer attacks, another that stops instant messaging threats, and so on. And it does all that, amazingly enough, without taking up much RAM or system resources.

a-Squared HiJackFree: Spyware is notorious for evading even the most rigorous cleaners, which is why you need more than one antispyware utility on your PC. HiJackFree is a great download to use in concert with your main antispyware program for extra protection. Rather than offering a live shield, it checks your system for spyware and then eradicates it. For the geeky, it offers a lot more as well, such as tools for viewing what programs are using your TCP ports, and for examining programs that run on startup.

Attack Trace: Worried that the bad guys are targeting your Web site? This free service checks to see if your site is under attack.

Comodo EasyVPN Home: This download allows you to create secure peer-to-peer networks over the Internet for sharing information, chatting, and so on. Everything is encrypted, so no one else will be able to snoop on what you're doing.

EULAlyzer: Hidden in some end-user license agreements (EULAs) are indicators that the software may be spyware, or that it might invade your privacy in other ways. This downloadable analyzer examines EULAs and warns you about dangers.

Online Armor Personal Firewall
: This is the best personal firewall you've never heard of. It provides solid protection, but unobtrusively. Lots of firewalls bug you constantly when you first install them, asking about any program that wants to access the Internet. This software starts out by allowing known safe applications to access the Web and bothers you only about the programs it's unsure about. It also has a clever "Safer mode" that will allow certain apps to run with stripped-down privileges.

SpywareBlaster: With this downloadable antispyware utility, you can make sure you don't get infected in the first place rather than scanning for and killing spyware after it hits your machine. It works differently from most competitors by restricting the actions that potentially dangerous Web sites can perform when you visit them. It also protects against dangerous ActiveX controls, and keeps tracking cookies off your PC.

SuperAntiSpyware: Here's an excellent antispyware tool thjavascript:void(0)
Publish Postat does a thorough job of scanning your system for dangers, and then whacks any it finds. This download scans not just your files and memory, but also your Registry. It doesn't offer real-time protection, though.

taken from pcmag.com
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8:50 PM

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Digital Photography Review : Pentax K2000


For those looking for an entry into digital SLR (D-SLR) photography, the $599.95 (direct) Pentax K2000 is a great choice at a great price. This 10.2-megapixel camera performs quite well in well-lit outdoor shots, where its captures are just as sharp as those produced by the 12.1MP Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1 or the killer 12.3MP Nikon D90. The only area in which the Editors' Choice Canon EOS Rebel XSi outperforms the K2000 is shooting without a flash in low-light conditions. In these situations, the K2000's pictures tend to be grainy. This Pentax, though, has plenty of entry-level appeal thanks to its Help button, which acts as an onboard users' manual.

The K2000 is comfortable to hold and has a traditional SLR look-and-feel. Its 3.6-by-4.8-by-2.7-inch (HWD) body is available in either black or white (the latter is a camera-color rarity). With the included lens attached, the camera weighs 1.7 pounds. The controls are straightforward and are consolidated on the right-hand side of the camera. Most buttons are labeled with large, bold, uppercase text like MENU and INFO. Inside, the camera uses a CCD sensor and shoots through a 3X optical zoom wide-angle 18mm to 50mm lens (35mm equivalent: 27mm to 82.5mm) with corresponding f-stops at f/3.5 to f/5.6. When later analyzed through the Imatest (www.imatest.com) testing suite, the lens produced just a hair of pincushion distortion at its widest and telephoto position; no matter what the subject, though, my real-world photos never appeared warped.

Near the power switch on top of the camera is the K2000's Help button, which is labeled with a question mark. This feature is a real boon for those new to D-SLRs. Simply tap Help and then any other button or dial on the camera, and a short description of that function (and often a one-line tip) is displayed. For example, tap Help and then the ISO button, and the K2000's 2.7-inch LCD displays, "Access the ISO sensitivity settings and auto ISO range. Higher ISO settings allow faster shutter speeds but may add image noise." Once you've outgrown the button, you can reprogram it as a shortcut to one of four other functions: Custom Preview, Digital Preview, Digital Filter, or RAW image format.

The K2000 does not let you use its LCD as a viewfinder, as most entry-level D-SLRs do. The exclusion of this so-called "Live View" feature is not a huge ding, as you'll frame most of your shots through the viewfinder, but it's always a nice bonus. Live View is convenient for photographers more familiar with LCDs from compact point-and-shooters, but it also comes in handy when you aren't able to look through the viewfinder (as when you're holding the camera above your head).

In the lab I use Imatest to objectively rate the image quality of photos produced by point-and-shooters, D-SLRs, and even cell-phone cameras. In terms of sharpness, the K2000 performed quite well. At its sharpest f-stop, the K2000 averaged 1,776 lines per picture height throughout the image at ISO 100. This rivaled the 1,700 averaged by the Panasonic G1 and the 1,710 averaged by the Nikon D90 (at ISO 200; the D90 doesn't offer ISO 100). The Canon EOS Rebel XSi, though, shut them all down, averaging 2,013 lines.

The K2000 did a good job of retaining sharpness at higher ISO sensitivities. You're safe to expect a crisp picture from ISO 100 to 400: Sharpness at these ISOs averaged between 1,700 and 1,800 lines per picture height. We obtained similar results at ISO 800, but with higher noise levels. Sharpness dropped to the 1,500s at ISO 1600 (which is on a par with that of the Rebel XSi) and to the 1,200s at ISO 3200—but there was also a lot of noise. The K2000, though, smokes the Panasonic G1, which has about 32 percent more noise than the K2000 at ISO 1600 and almost double the noise at ISO 3200. The Rebel XSi shows the least noise overall: about 28 percent less than the K2000 at ISO 800 and about 15 percent less than the K2000 at ISO 1600. Since the Rebel XSi has less noise at those ISO sensitivities, it will produce less grainy shots when shooting in low light without a flash (which typically requires you to increase your ISO sensitivity).

Testing the camera outdoors in Manhattan, I found that the K2000's shots came out beautifully. Photos of my sister and her boyfriend near Grand Central Terminal all had vivid colors and looked sharp. When shooting skylines, however, I noticed that a few of the shots captured the sky as white instead of blue. This is a common issue; I solved it by flipping the white balance to the Outdoors setting.

The K2000 also worked well indoors. In order to capture the inside of Grand Central, I had to increase the ISO sensitivity to 800 and 1600. ISO 800 looked good and was just at the threshold of reasonable noise, but the lack of light made it difficult to get the fast shutter speeds needed for very sharp pictures. When I kicked up the ISO sensitivity to 1600, images were just a bit too noisy. According to Imatest, the K2000's noise levels at ISO 800 are roughly equivalent to the Canon Rebel XSi's noise levels at 1,600, so the Canon would probably have fared better in Grand Central.

The K2000 may be an entry-level D-SLR, but for the most part it doesn't compromise on speed. I was able to turn it on and pull off a shot in a blazing-fast average of 0.58 second. Using Shooting-Digital.com's shutter lag test with pre-focus enabled, the K2000 averaged a practically unnoticeable 0.1 second of shutter lag. Without pre-focus, the K2000D hit closer to 0.2 second—still extremely fast. The K2000 can snap off 3.5 frames per second in continuous shooting, but that can slow down under stress: The camera averaged 0.43 second between shots when I was manually snapping as fast as I could, but after a few seconds it intermittently slowed to a full second.

Pentax bundles the K2000 with a large flash, the AF200FG, which attaches to the camera's topside hot-shoe accessory port. Sold separately, the flash runs $149.95 (direct), but doesn't add much to the K2000 bundle. Although it's stronger than the pop-up flash that's built into the camera, it doesn't swivel like the more expensive AF540FGZ ($335.95 direct). Swiveling allows you to pull off a flash technique called "bounce flash," to create more evenly lit photos without blown-out spots on faces or red eyes.

Similar to the higher-end Olympus E-30 the K2000 has onboard effects Pentax calls filters, which include Retro, Color Extract, Soft Focus, and a few others. Some effects can be applied only after the photo is shot; others can be applied before and after. For the most part, the end results are pretty terrific. My favorite of the bunch is Illustration, which lets you convert pictures into its versions of pastel and watercolor paintings. (Check out the slideshow for some sample shots.)

The Pentax K2000 is a solid choice if you're looking for basics like speed and sharp images in good light, and its Help button can be a valuable guide for those new to D-SLR photography. For a little more money, the $800 (list) Canon EOS Rebel XSi offers less noise at higher ISOs—helping it produce better shots in more situations—and extras like Live View. But this Pentax is still a quality product at a "recession special" price.
taken from pcmag.com
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8:25 PM

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Nokia E71 review

hei i think u better buy this stuff than blackberry.. this review i take from pcmag.com
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Call it the Lingonberry. Nokia's new E71 is one of the most beautiful, luxurious-feeling phones I've ever used, and it's a direct attack on RIM's upcoming BlackBerry Bold 9000. This excellent handset is sure to take European executive suites by storm, but for it to triumph here in the U.S., Nokia needs to Americanize its software a bit more

Slim but solid at 4.49 by 2.24 by 0.4 inches and 4.4 ounces, the E71 features a grooved stainless-steel back and small, domed white keys. You'll need precise fingers to enjoy this keypad, but it's as sharp as a handmade Italian suit. Overall, this is one seriously elegant-looking device.

There are plenty of action and command buttons, including volume and quick-access controls that take you to the home screen, calendar, contacts list, and e-mail program. The number keys are overlaid on the QWERTY keyboard, which is small but has very good tactile response. Nokia did make one irksome misstep here: Rather than being below the rest of the number keys, as it is on every other phone keypad, the "0" is next to the "9." This will likely cause some misdialing while you become accustomed to the layout.

The 2.36-inch 320-by-240-pixel display isn't huge, but it's bright enough for everyday work and can be easily read in sunlight.

The E71, a quad-band EDGE, dual-band HSDPA device, will come in two versions. The U.S. handset will work on AT&T's high-speed network here and on slower EDGE networks abroad. The European version, meanwhile, will work on high-speed networks in Europe, but on AT&T and T-Mobile's EDGE networks here. T-Mobile users should buy the European version, if they can; for them, the U.S. version will work only on EDGE, and with the European version they'll have access to high-speed networks at least when they're in Europe. The phone also supports Wi-Fi; I connected it to WPA2-secured networks without a problem.

The E71 excels as a voice phone: Reception is solid, and the earpiece sounds just plain beautiful. The speakerphone's speaker is in the top of the phone pointing upward, which is a little odd, and it could be a bit louder. Transmissions through the microphone and speakerphone mic sounded a bit hollow, with some background noise getting through. The handset supports wired and Bluetooth headsets and has Nokia's usual mediocre voice dialing, which mostly-sorta-works. I got 4 hours 43 minutes of 3G talk time out of the huge 1,500-mAh battery, which is a decent result for a 3G phone.

Running the Symbian Series 60 Version 3 Feature Pack 1 OS, the E71 is the fastest, smoothest Symbian device I've ever used, likely because of its beefy 381-MHz ARM11 processor. There's about 115MB of free space to install programs and save data, or you can tuck a microSD card into a slot in the side. Our 8GB SanDisk card worked well. To connect the phone to a PC, you can use a microSD cable or a surprisingly speedy Bluetooth 2.0+EDR connection.

There's a lot going on with this high-end PDA phone, and that's not even counting the thousands of third-party Symbian programs out there. Google Maps, Gmail, Go, and Yahoo! all run on Symbian, for instance. You get support for text and picture messaging out of the box. For instant messaging, you can download the free Gizmo application, which integrates AIM, MSN, and Yahoo! IM. In testing, it worked fine. The e-mail program works automatically with POP3/IMAP accounts, and syncs e-mail, contacts, and calendars over the air with Exchange 2003 SP2 or newer servers. The IMAP client is smooth, although it doesn't feature push e-mail, as BlackBerry does. The E71 has a strange way of handling HTML e-mail. Messages are delivered in plain text, with an HTML version attached, which you can open in the Web browser.

About the browser: Nokia's WebKit based app (which uses the same core as Apple's Safari) is even better at formatting pages than the iPhone's, because it incorporates Flash. The implementation isn't perfect, but it's certainly better than no Flash at all. It worked fine with the simple games at Orisinal.com, but CNET TV's Flash videos crashed the browser.

Ultimately, though, I prefer the mobile Safari browser because the iPhone's screen features more pixels. The E71's features the same resolution (320 by 240 pixels) as most Windows Mobile devices and the BlackBerry Curve The iPhone's 320-by-480 display offers double the real estate.

Exceptionally good at viewing and editing documents, the E71 comes with QuickOffice 4.1, which opens and edits even complex Microsoft Office 2003 documents easily. To get support for Office 2007, though, you'll need to spring for a $70 upgrade to QuickOffice 5.0. The included Adobe Reader LE is the best mobile PDF viewer available. In fact, the phone's office apps do better at displaying complex documents than Microsoft's own Windows Mobile apps.

The music and video players aren't particularly noteworthy, but the E71 has intriguing podcast and FM radio clients. Both the podcast and FM radio programs have built-in connections to online podcast and radio station directories, unlike some other clients, which force you to dig up and type in URLs or frequency numbers. The handset supports Bluetooth stereo and features a 2.5mm headphone jack, so you'll need an adapter to use standard music headphones. You get support for AAC, MP3, and WMA audio files, and you can sync with either Nokia's own PC Suite software or Windows Media Player. Video support consists of MP4 and 3GP files at up to 320-by-240-pixel resolution.

Simulated outdoor and daylight shots from the 3.2-megapixel camera were red enough to worry me, and bright areas were blown out. In low light pictures looked noisy, and in very low light they were blurry. I'm hoping Nokia improves the camera before launch. The video mode, though, takes sharp 320-by-240 videos at 15 frames per second. And a built-in sharing client lets you quickly post your pictures to Flickr or Nokia's own Ovi service, right from the camera menu, which is a nice addition. There are plenty of other innovative features here, too, such as wireless keyboard and printing drivers, two different notepad programs, and a text-to-speech program that reads your messages out to you.

The E71 syncs with PCs (but not Macs) using Nokia's PC Suite software, letting you link up your contacts, calendars, and tasks with Outlook, Lotus Notes, or the built-in Windows programs. It also lets you use the E71 as a modem for your PC.

In Europe, Nokia's E-series devices are considered business-friendly when paired with solutions from Visto, Seven, or Nokia's own Intellisync unit. But since most U.S. businesses prefer Microsoft's or RIM's back-end solutions, E-series devices have more of a counterculture appeal with those who like Nokia's energetic embracing of open-source principles and community development efforts.

Nokia's one-size-fits-the-globe approach makes the E71 feel a little awkward at times. The phone is stuffed with icons for programs that simply don't work in the U.S., including push-to-talk, Internet telephony, video calling, a music store, and an app for Intranet access. Also, my E71 wasn't tuned for AT&T's network, so I got slow 3G speeds, but Nokia claims that this should be remedied with the final firmware.

The integrated GPS also felt a little unpolished. The E71 runs Nokia Maps 2.0, which has an impressive feature set. The maps are gorgeous, including outlines of individual buildings on city streets. The system provides driving and walking directions to thousands of points of interest, including restaurants, banks, and forms of transportation. But the GPS took a long time to lock onto my location. For the first half-hour, the system thought I was in Sweden, and I couldn't get it to recognize a New York City address I searched for. What's more, directions aren't free. For walking directions, you pay $7.79 per month or $39.01 a year. For driving directions (which adds voice prompts), it'll cost you $14.03/month or $109.25/year. Live traffic data is available only in Europe.

It's difficult to compare the E71 directly with the yet-to-be-released BlackBerry Bold, but this phone is far sleeker than its existing rivals, the BlackBerry Curve and Motorola Q9h and at around $500, it'll be around half the price of the Nokia E90 Communicator. The E71 is speedier and simpler to use than the Q9h, though the Q9h has a better keyboard. The Curve is less expensive, and is easier for e-mail, so it's a more mainstream choice here in the U.S, but, with its excellent looks, copious features, and maverick appeal, the E71 could easily become a viable competitor.

The Nokia E71 will go on sale later this summer direct from NokiaUSA.com for approximately $500.

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7:58 PM

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RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900 (T-Mobile)

After its last release, the buggy BlackBerry Storm 9530, RIM's got its groove back. The new BlackBerry Curve 8900 juices up the already-excellent Curve form factor with a sharper screen, faster processor, and better camera, letting it jump through new multimedia hoops while still helping you get your work done. If you need to stay connected, this Curve is the simplest and most stylish way to do it on T-Mobile.

The Curve 8900 looks like a cross between the BlackBerry Curve 8320 and the BlackBerry Bold 9000. Like the Bold, it's mostly black and has an insanely high-res screen: 360 by 480 pixels on a 2.4-inch panel, which basically makes the pixels invisible. The screen is even higher-res than the iPhone's 320-by-480 touch screen. Since the iPhone's screen is much larger, though, it can fit more information than the 8900. Like the original Curve, the 8900 features a full QWERTY keyboard of slightly separated keys that are a breeze to use. The handset features Mute and Lock buttons on its top, Voice Dialing, Camera, and Volume controls on the side, and its 3.2-megapixel camera on the back.


Despite its just-average signal strength, the 8900 is an excellent voice phone, with calls sounding especially loud and clear on T-Mobile's 2G EDGE network You can even fiddle with the bass and treble controls to find the most appealing sound. Call delivery sounds terrific on the other end; in my test calls, no background noise made it through—even on the speakerphone. The phone paired with two different Bluetooth headsets without a hitch (the mono Motorola H15 and the stereo Altec Lansing Backbeat); it also works with wired headsets. Voice dialing works well. The 8900 clocked almost 9 hours of talk time—not the best we've seen on T-Mobile, but still quite good. Ringtones are loud enough, but the vibrating alert is a bit too subtle.

A major benefit: The phone works with T-Mobile's $10-per-month unlimited Wi-Fi calling plan, which lets you make calls from any Wi-Fi network you can connect to. The 8900 connected easily to wireless networks via Linksys and Apple routers. Calls were smooth, and the phone switched back and forth between the Wi-Fi and EDGE networks without a hitch.

Like most BlackBerrys, the 8900 excels at messaging. It uses BlackBerry e-mail, which can support eight accounts of almost any variety and display them with attachments, formatting, and graphics intact. You can view photos, videos and, Microsoft Office attachments with its built-in viewers. You also get clients for AIM, Google Talk, ICQ, Microsoft Live Messenger, and Yahoo. The 8900 delivers e-mail, text, and picture messages all into one inbox. I was also able to quickly load and use Twibble, a third-party Twitter client. Several other third-party BlackBerry apps I tried also worked fine.

The beefy 512-MHz processor lets the phone multitask comfortably and perform some heavy lifting in the audio and video departments. The music player handles MP3, AAC, and WMA files, and the phone comes with an app to sync your playlists with iTunes (non-DRM files only). Music sounded great on both wired and Bluetooth headphones. MPEG-4 video files look gorgeous in 480-by-360-pixel, 30-frame-per-second quality, but Roxio Media Manager, which comes with the BlackBerry, is slow and crashes occasionally. I had an easier time reformatting videos with a free program called Avidemux, and there are other free options available on the Web.

Since the 8900 doesn't hit T-Mobile's 3G network, you can't really stream video successfully without Wi-Fi coverage. But within Wi-Fi range, streaming worked well: SlingPlayer ran especially smoothly while playing video in full-screen mode; FlyCast streaming music played without interruption. The phone also incorporates GPS, which works with the built-in BlackBerry Maps and Google Maps. The GPS doesn't appear to be enhanced with cell-tower triangulation—at least in BlackBerry Maps—so it works best in open areas.

The 3.2-megapixel camera takes admirably sharp photos, even in low light. But you'll need to be patient: I experienced delays of up to 2 seconds while the camera focused, and I couldn't find any way to disable autofocus. The video recorder takes smooth but slightly over-sharp-looking videos at 240 by 180 pixels and 15 frames per second. The phone has only about 120MB of available onboard memory for pictures, music, and data, but you can store your data on a microSD card, which slips into a slot under the back cover (the phone ships with a 256MB card). Fortunately, you don't have to turn the phone off or remove the battery to swap out cards.

There's only one big problem here: the Web browser.

RIM really needs to work out its Web-browsing issues. The basic principle of the 8900's browser is fine: It serves up desktop-style pages at various levels of zoom, with JavaScript but without Flash. As long as JavaScript is enabled, though, the browser is prone to stalling on scripts. This isn't just a problem with EDGE's relatively poky Internet speeds; even over Wi-Fi, pages would stall for several seconds at a time as the browser choked on a JavaScript. If you turn off JavaScript, you risk large blank chunks of pages. Opera Mini loads pages more quickly than the 8900's default browser, but, in our tests, its menus stuttered a bit. Both browsers are usable; they're just not nearly as good as the WebKit-based ones on Apple or Nokia handsets, or on HTC's G1 Android phone.

But don't let our quibble with the Web browser deter you from picking up this excellent smartphone. For a little bit more money than the Sidekick LX or the T-Mobile G1, you get a much smoother experience. The G1 has a better Web browser, but it's a clunkier piece of hardware, and the 8900 is far superior in terms of media and messaging.

With the addition of the RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900 to its lineup, T-Mobile now has a messaging phone for every age group: The Sidekick is the youngster; the Android-powered T-Mobile G1 is a bit of an ungainly adolescent; and the 8900 is all grown up. I'll bet it's the kind of BlackBerry President Obama wouldn't mind having. And with a recommendation like that, it's only fitting that the 8900 earn our Editors' Choice as the best smartphone in T-Mobile's lineup, ousting the aging Curve 8320. T-Mobile subscribers may also want to check out the unlocked Nokia E71, our Editors' Choice for unlocked smartphone. While the E71 is slimmer, with a better browser and more robust direct Microsoft Exchange support, the 8900 has a better camera and better media players, and can make calls over Wi-Fi.

by pcmag.com
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7:24 PM

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The Top Smartphones by OS

james

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There are the smartphone enthusiasts, and then there are the true fans. While members of the former group surely have a preference, in most cases they'd be open to switching camps if a cooler phone came along on another operating system. (Millions of folks jumped on the iPhone bandwagon without so much as a glance back.) True fans, however, stick with their OSs through thick and thin, either for practical reasons—like a large investment in third-party apps—or simply for the bragging rights.

Whether or not you subscribe to any particular allegiance, it's important to know your options. After all, there could be a much better device you've never even considered. To help you out, we've rounded up the highest-rated phones in each OS category.

Note: There are no Windows Mobile 6.5 handsets listed here, since these devices won't hit stores until this summer at the earliest. And right now, Apple and Android fans both have only one hardware choice—the Apple iPhone 3G (AT&T) and the T-Mobile G1, respectively.

For the rest, however, these smartphones are your best bets:

BlackBerry OS

Winner:
RIM BlackBerry Curve 8900 (T-Mobile) : FrontBlackBerry Curve 8900 (T-Mobile)
Editors' Choice Logo
With its BlackBerry Bold, RIM showed us the way forward, while the touch-screen Storm changed the BlackBerry game entirely. But T-Mobile's BlackBerry Curve 8900 is the best of both worlds. The 8900 packs a higher-resolution screen, an updated user interface, a faster processor, and integrated document editing. It also features the svelte form factor that's a dead ringer for the small, sleek, and wildly popular Curve 8300 series. Our only complaint: No 3G radio. But free calls over Wi-Fi help soften the blow.

Honorable Mention:
BlackBerry Bold (AT&T)

Symbian Series 60


Winner:
Nokia E71Nokia E71 (Unlocked)
Editors' Choice Logo
Lack of subsidized stateside carrier support has caused Symbian fans in the U.S. to lose out. But at least Nokia offers plenty of sleek, capable unlocked handsets to choose from. The Nokia E71 is the best of the lot—by far. It looks and feels expensive, has a very comfortable QWERTY keyboard, and offers comprehensive enterprise e-mail and document editing. Oh, and did I mention that it's drop-dead gorgeous?

Honorable Mention:
Nokia N95 8GB (Unlocked)

Windows Mobile

Winners:
HTC Touch Pro HTC Touch Pro (Sprint)

Palm Treo Pro (Unlocked)
You get two top choices here: Windows Mobile runs on so many handsets that it wouldn't be fair or accurate to pick just one. Palm Treo ProFirst up is the HTC Touch Pro, a powerful, high-end slider with a five-row keyboard, full VGA (640-by-480-pixel) resolution, a touch screen, and a full complement of radios—though all these features are offset by an unintuitive interface. Palm scores big with its unlocked Treo Pro, a shrewdly specified enterprise Windows Mobile-based smartphone, even if the lack of a subsidized, carrier-backed version keeps mainstream users away.

Honorable Mention:
Samsung Omnia SCH-i910 (Verizon Wireless)

Palm OS


No Winner:
Alas, the Palm OS has been relegated to the history books. Consequently, there's no reason to buy a Palm OS–powered handset today unless you're looking for a real deal, in which case the entry-level Centro is a solid option. Fortunately, there's plenty to look forward to on the Palm front: The forthcoming Palm Pre (Sprint), the company's WebKit-browser–based handset, features a vertical sliding keyboard and an entirely new way to synchronize your contacts. From what we've seen so far, we think the Pre will be a master multitasker.

Honorable Mention:
Palm Centro (multiple carriers)

by pcmag.com

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9:27 PM

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Why Google Should Buy Twitter

james

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Say good-bye to the Fail Whale. If Google buys Twitter, that blue scourge of our tweeting lives will surely disappear for good after Google applies the power of its massive server farm to the popular micro-blogging communication service. Other than that, don't expect Twitter to change much, at least in the near future.

Hang on a sec, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Google has not bought Twitter. In fact, it's not even clear that Twitter is for sale—though it probably is. Founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams have a history of building and selling properties. They sold Blogger to—yup—Google a few years back. So it's likely that Twitter is for sale, and I think Google is an obvious suitor.

The funny thing is that a mere 12 hours ago, there were reports that Rupert Murdoch was going to buy Twitter. That fizzled quickly, and perhaps people are happy it did. Everyone seems to think that Google's approach to its acquisitions is somewhat different from Murdoch's. I'm not so sure. Murdoch bought The Wall Street Journal back in 2007, and I have yet to see any major changes. He bought MySpace before that, and aside from some interface changes and an integrated music service, MySpace is still the same rather cluttered, messy, urgent (in a very teen way) service (and one that's rapidly losing mindshare).



Certainly, in the short term, a purchase of Twitter by Google is a good thing. Beyond the demise of the Fail Whale, it's unlikely anyone will notice a difference at Twoogle or Gwitter. (Neither one of those really work, do they?) When Google bought YouTube, it took months for even the smallest changes to show up. Ad integration was the most obvious. More recently, I've noticed integrated or single sign-on for YouTube and Google's services.

When I visited Google and YouTube last month, there was, obviously, no mention of acquiring Twitter, though we did talk about the service, as I was tweeting much of my day at Google . In fact, I found a few Googlers were actually following me via Twitter. What I learned at Google is that everything is connected. So, if this deal does indeed happen, don't expect big changes at Twitter initially. Rest assured, it will fit into the big Google picture. Again, I see this as a good thing.

Here are just a few of the core benefits (for Tweeters, Twitter itself, and anyone using one of Google's myriad services) of a Google acquisition of Twitter, as I see them:

  1. API expansion. Twitter has a wonderfully easy-to-use API that has driven the development of countless third-party apps, but it's also a bit of a mess. It helps my favorite Twitter interface, TweetDeck, to run, but it's also responsible for TweetDeck choking up a few times a day as it runs out of API calls. Google could throw some development resources at it and clean up that API in no time. Soon after, we'll see the API plugging Twitter into virtually every Google app and service. Think ubiquity and you get the idea.
  2. No need for a business plan. Twitter would no longer be on its own and have to come up with a way to make money. It would be nice if Twitter did, but once Google owns Twitter, the cash burn won't seem so intense. Twitter can continue to grow while Google looks for a painless way to introduce AdSense to the service.
  3. Live tweets with YouTube video. Video consumption could become a communal experience. You get a tweet that I'm watching the latest dancing-man video , follow the link, and then we can live tweet together about just how stupid the video really is.

There is a downside to Google's owning Twitter, and it's actually related to one of the upsides. Google's need to put AdSense in every one of its properties means that Twitter will follow suit. But since so many people tweet outside the Twitter homepage, or standard interface, Google will add the code to the Twitter API. Now TweetDeck, Twhirl, and other third-party apps will have to have some sort of ad integration if they want to keep using the API.

I know some people think that the prospect of Google buying Twitter would be a disaster for Microsoft. Is it yet another missed opportunity? Yes. Would this be a disaster? No. I don't think Microsoft cares or worries very much about Twitter. Microsoft doesn't even own its own Twitter handle. The company is more interested in the richer environment found at Facebook (where it's already invested a chunk of money). What's more, Microsoft has too much invested in its Windows Live environment to waste resources on someone else's community code. I think Microsoft is willing, for better or worse, to let Google have Twitter.

I'm almost willing to bet on Google buying Twitter (and I'm not really a betting man). It's no longer 2002, or even 2006, where cool albeit unprofitable Web businesses could run indefinitely. We live on the razor's edge, and virtually all of us can slip off at any time, or die trying to stay on. Biz Stone and Evan Williams know they've built something beautiful, and they don't want it to fall or die a painful death. They'll sell—if not to Google, then to someone, soon.

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11:27 PM

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Turn off video acceleration in WMP 10

james

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I'll give you tips and trick for turn off video acceleration in windows media player 10. i hope it's use for u

While
you playing video files with WMP10, your machine may not be able to display thee video using the all possible video acceleration techniques. Turning off video acceleration may allow your machint to display video correctly. To do this, go through the following steps.

  • Press “CTRL+1″ to switch to full mode if
    you are in the skin mode.
  • Press “CTRL+M” to turn on the menu bar.
  • Click on “Tools” and then “Options”.
  • When the “Options” multi-tabbed dialog box will open, select “Performance”.
  • Underneath “Video acceleration”, move the slider from “Full” to “None”.
  • Click on “OK” to close the dialog box.


taken from iamashish.com Read mOre Guys...

11:13 PM

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Conficker D-Day Arrives; Worm Phones Home

The Conficker worm today has begun to phone home for instructions but has done little else. Conficker was programmed to today begin actively visiting 500 out of 50,000 randomly generated web addresses to receive new instructions on how to behave. Conficker has begun to do this, according to security company F-Secure, but so far no doomsday scenarios have emerged.

Among security experts, the consensus seems to be that very little will happen today. This may be in part because of the high amount of publicity Conficker has received, but then again April 1 is not the first time Conficker has been programmed to change the way it operates. Similar trigger dates have already passed with little change, including January 1, according to according to Phil Porras, a program director with SRI International. Security experts at Symantec, the maker of Norton Antivirus, also believe the threat is overblown and says Conficker today will "start taking more steps to protect itself" and "use a communications system that is more difficult for security researchers to interrupt."

Technology companies and experts across the globe have been working together to halt the spread of Conficker, disrupt its communications and uncover who created the worm. Microsoft has even issued a $250,000 bounty for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Conficker's authors. Despite the security sector's best efforts, very little is known about the origins of Conficker or its purpose. Nevertheless, some breakthroughs have been achieved. On March 30, Security experts with the Honeynet Project discovered a flaw in Conficker that makes it much easier to detect infection. IBM researcher Mark Yayson also believes he has discovered a way to "detect and interrupt the program's activities," according to The New York Times.

Since the Conficker worm was discovered in October 2008, the malware has only received programming updates from its author and worked to infect other computers. Conficker is believed to have infected 10 million computers worldwide mostly in Asia, Europe and South America. According to IBM, only 6 percent of North American computers have been infected.

While today may be a non-event, Conficker could be used to create harm in the future. Possiblities include a massive botnet, which would give Conficker's authors control over millions of computers worldwide. The botnet could then be used to attack corporate or government networks, commit identity theft, or deliver massive amounts of spam. Security experts warn that all Windows users must make sure their operating system and antivirus programs are up to date with the latest patches and virus protections. So far, Windows is the only operating system known to be vulnerable to Conficker.

taken from pcworld.com
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8:54 PM

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HP TouchSmart IQ800

james

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Boring with your old desktop? change it now to inspire you more in doing your work posting on your blogs and doing your usual online stuffs. Here is one I suggest to you. maybe it is a little bit expensive but i thing it's worth it.

HP TouchSmart IQ800 series was introduced in September 2008. Currently, it has two model: IQ816 and IQ804.

Both models are bundled with 25.5 ” high definition and wall-mountable touch screen display with 1920 x 1200 screen resolutions. It has Tv tuners with remote control and extras such as Bluetooth, 5 in 1 memory card reader, Integrated VGA webcam with built-in microphone, a media card reader, High Performance 2.0 speakers, High Definition Audio 5.1 (via digital output), Wireless keyboard with hide-away bay and numeric keypad, Wireless optical mouse, ambient light to illuminate the wireless keyboard the desktop or set the mood. And both of the models support Wi-Fi over 802.11n.

IQ804 has the following specs:

* 2.16GHz T5850 Core 2 Duo on a 667MHz bus with 2MB of cache
* 4GB DDR2-SDRAM
* 500GB of Hard Disk
* DVD burner
* GeForce 9300M GC Video Card.

IQ816 has a higher specification:

* 2.10GHz T8100 Core 2 Duo on a 800MHz bus with a 3MB cache
* 4GB DDR2-SDRAM
* 750 GB of Hard Disk
* GeForce 9600M GS Video Card
* Blu-ray Combo Drive
* Pocket Media Read mOre Guys...