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December 2008
Australian Broadband Survey 2008 (0 Comments) (link)
 Wednesday, 31-December-2008  20:20:54 (GMT +10) - by matthudson



*The survey closes on the 31st of January 2009, after which the results will be analysed in detail.

Whirlpool's Australian Broadband Survey 2008 is here, and they are once again asking consumers to have their say about the state of broadband in Australia.

Last year, they managed almost 18,000 responses, and they hope to match that level this year. As always, the survey is not about advertisers or company research — they just want to share your opinion on important issues like internet filtering, download limits, pricing, customer service and reliability of service.

Similar to last year, they expect the results to be available within 30 days of the survey closing.

Click here to start (Only takes about 5-10 minutes!!)

See The 2007 Survey Results here

Discussion here in our forums.



Wednesday Evening (1 Comments) (link)
 Wednesday, 31-December-2008  20:04:06 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

A quick reminder that the Christmas Iron Musician is open of voting. Check out the three finalists and vote for your favourite.

Dan has more letters. Slim graphics cards, Ethernet to phone line conversions, digital sound issues and Blu-ray HTPCs.

Dan also talks about GPGPUs. It Is Written that when a new, much-ballyhooed feature shows up in cutting edge expensive graphics cards, you shouldn't expect that feature to actually amount to anything for at least another couple of hardware generations. This Law of New Features applies to everything. Remember hardware transform and lighting? How about full-scene antialiasing, and anisotropic filtering? Every feature is introduced with great fanfare and gold-embossed text on the box, but it's not actually good for anything until a few years later.

There are a few surprises in the Windows 7 EULA. Over the weekend, I had a chance to spend some quality time with the leaked Windows 7 build that’s zipping around the Internet. No one at Microsoft will confirm whether this code is the same as the beta due to be officially released in early January, but it bears every earmark of being the real thing. One of the first things I did before installing the software was to read the end user license agreement (EULA), carefully. Most of it was boilerplate, but I found a few surprises hidden within the legalese.

World of Warcraft has reached 11.5 million subscribers. The record was set shortly after the release of the latest expansion pack: Wrath of the Lich King, which sold over 2.8 million copies within its first 24 hours of availability. The game series has set records (even beating its own at times) with each expansion pack, and its popularity continues to grow at an astounding rate. The game currently holds the world record for the most popular MMORPG, not surprising when you consider that the Wrath of the Lich King expansion pack sold over 4 million copies in the month after it hit the shelves.

Fantasy author Terry Pratchett has been knighted. Pratchett, 60, best known for his satirical Discworld fantasy series, becomes a knight, one of the queen's most important honours, and will now be addressed as a 'Sir'. "There are times when phrases such as 'totally astonished' just don't do the job," he said. "I am of course delighted and honoured and needless to say, flabbergasted." In December 2007 Pratchett announced he had a rare form of early onset Alzheimer's disease, and earlier this year he donated $725,000 to research into the disorder.

With 2008 rapidly dissappearing, lets look back over the most forgettable moments of this year. Optimism drives the IT industry and - in particular - Silicon Valley, a place where people look to the future and try to forget the painful past. Here, then, is The Register's list of the worst, most cringe-worthy and jaw-dropping moments from the last 12 months that people would probably prefer to forget about. Nine wags of the finger plus - because it wasn't all bad this year - one tip of the hat, for balance.

Finally, a little brainteaser to close out the year. If You Dropped a Corn Kernel From Space, Would it Pop During Reentry? There’s a little bit of water inside each kernel of popcorn, and if you can heat the kernel above 212°F, that water should boil, turn into high-pressure steam, and pop the kernel. But in orbit, things aren’t so simple.

Have a great 2008 (what's left of it) and a happy new year to all!



Wednesday Afternoon (0 Comments) (link)
 Wednesday, 31-December-2008  16:52:15 (GMT +10) - by BlaYde

Intel has successfully lured Alan Cox away from Red Hat in a move which might see Intel become a serious player in the OS market. This may sound like a silly statement, but Intel has been very quietly developing itself into a Linux powerhouse. They have effective control over one of the most used distros on the planet, Moblin, and are not all that hot on The Broken OS. In the background they have been hiring open sourcers like mad, and putting out one of the best set of drivers there are for their products.

It looks like LG is going to be very busy at next month's CES 2009 with yet another new release. Yesterday, LG announced that it has developed a 480-Hz LCD TV panel which will be showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show on 8th of January. The "Trumotion 480Hz" is a first for the industry, which has begun selling 120-Hz LCD TVs in volume. LG said that its 480-Hz panel would begin shipping as a product in the second half of 2009. On the face of it, the technology should display video four times as smoothly as today's 120-Hz LCD TVs.

InsideHW wants to see which platform, Corei7 or Core2Quad, will deliver the better gaming performance using single graphics card setup. We have used Intel DX58SO motherboard in combination with Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe (HD 4870 X2) and Palit GeForce GTX 280. Other configuration was based on ASUS Rampage Formula motherboard as representative of older X48 chipset. We used Windows XP SP3 with all the latest updates because Vista is still not dominant in gaming configurations. ATI was tested in 1920x1200 4xAA 16xAF and nVIDIA in 1680x1050 2xAA 8xAF. These settings were used because they provide decent framerate (fps) for each graphics card in most games.

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has posted a letter to all the readers with a personal plea for donations to help the organization cover the increasing cost of bandwidth and help improve the site's software. "Like a national park or a school, we don't believe advertising should have a place in Wikipedia. We want to keep it free and strong, but we need the support of thousands of people like you," reads the letter.

Apparently VIA is developing a dual-core version of its Nano CPU, scheduled for 2H 2009. VIA's Nano is designed to compete with Intel's Atom, or the other way around, depending on who you ask, and the outfit seems keen on clipping Intel's wings when it decides to let vendors use dual-core Atoms in netbooks.

Symantec has released Norton 360 all-in-one security suite version 3 for public beta testing. The product has been completely re-engineered to be "the fastest, lightest, most comprehensive and most usable all-in-one suite in the market," according to Tom Powledge, vice president of product management for Symantec's consumer products division. In addition to working faster with less impact on system performance, the updated product includes a variety of new features requested by users.

Have a fun and safe New Years :)



New Years Eve Midday (0 Comments) (link)
 Wednesday, 31-December-2008  14:23:30 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Microsoft is claiming a Windows Media Player vulnerability poses no risk at all. He said the flaw, which affects Versions 9, 10, and 11 could allow malicious users to malformed .wav, .snd, or .mid audio files to compromise a PC running Windows XP or Windows Vista. The claims evoked a quick and emphatic response from Microsoft. Microsoft claims that there is no "critical vulnerability" at all, and that the bug the research found could not be exploited. Microsoft stated that the problem is a "reliability issue with no security risk to customers."

Czech teachers are cracking down on cyber bullying. The Czech education ministry has drawn up guidelines for teachers to halt the spread of cyber bullying in schools. Some Czech children have attempted to blackmail teachers or classmates by posting video clips of them on the internet, a ministry spokesman said. Tomas Bouska told BBC News that the guidelines offered schools more options than simply confiscating mobile phones or banning their use during classes.

John Lennon is telling everyone to support the OLPC program. Imagine, John Lennon makes a television commercial for charity - 28 years after his death. Through the use of digital technology, the former Beatle urges people across the United States to support a campaign by "One Laptop per Child" to deliver tough, solar-powered XO laptop computers to the world's poorest children.

Internet security certificates are apparently able to be forged. They demonstrated how to forge security certificates used by secure Web sites, a process that would allow a sufficiently sophisticated criminal to fool the built-in verification methods used by all modern Web browsers--without the user being alerted that anything was amiss. The problem is unlikely to affect most Internet users in the near future because taking advantage of the vulnerability requires discovering some techniques that are not expected to be made public as well as overcoming engineering hurdles: performing the initial digital forgery consumed approximately two weeks of computing time on a cluster of 200 PlayStation 3 consoles.

With 2008 drawing to a close, lets check out the greatest ever Linux gadgets. Linux has a strong following among those who manage corporate servers, a loyal corps of desktop users and a small but growing base of laptop users. But it's also been a big -- if stealthy -- success as a platform for gadgets. In fact, there ought to be a Linux Gadget Hall of Fame. I'll get it started with the first group of inductees: 10 of the most important gadgets of all time, each one based on Linux.

Germany have pioneered the hotel of the future. At the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering and Organisation, they have developed a "hotel room of the future". The idea is to show hotels how new technology can help guests relax. To be honest, it looks more like a flying saucer than a hotel room - it is round, white and filled with glass and gadgets. "There are no straight lines here, everything is curvy," says my guide, scientist Nikolay Dreharov, pointing at the chairs, tables and walls.

If you are having a party tonight, why not take along a few trivia questions? Throughout 2008, only one Geek Trivia post earned the distinction of garnering at least 20 thumbs up and generating 50 associated comments, Geek Trivia: The Altered States of America. This little gem sparked 192 responses and 21 positive votes, which is ironic, since it’s a trivia question about the closest U.S. Presidential elections in history. Check it out, if you haven’t already, to see what the fuss is about.

Finally, a few gems from #overclockers: a crazy elephant flash game, real life Far Side re-enactments and these photos. Each image is a composite of numerous photos, and each one has a theme.



Photography Gallery (0 Comments) (link)
 Wednesday, 31-December-2008  03:50:31 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Some recent photos from our Photography Gallery forum:

















Hope you have a great and safe New Years. :)



Wednesday Morning (0 Comments) (link)
 Wednesday, 31-December-2008  00:43:03 (GMT +10) - by BlaYde

On Tuesday we learned that Microsoft's next OS, Windows 7 has appeared on several bit-torrent sites without any word from Microsoft themselves. Today we learn why we haven't heard anything about the release officially. Apparently someone leaked the build and put it on several bit-torrent sites thus infuriating Microsoft. You'd think they'd be used to this sort of thing by now. Microsoft is incandescent with rage over the recent leak of the Windows 7 Beta. Redmond planned to release this build to a select number of beta testers, as well as to MSDN and TechNet subscribers. However someone leaked the build and stuck it on several bit-torrent sites where everyone plus dog can have a look at it.

Windows 7 beta 1 Reviews on: TechReviewSource and ZDNet plus there is a huge Windows 7 thread in our software forum.

On 8th of January, 2009 Las Vegas will host the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) at which we will see Nvidia officially steal the performance crown from ATI HD4870x2 by introducing the dual headed 55nm Geforce GTX 295. We already made a preview of the card here and it is clear that it wins over ATI's dual headed Radeon HD 4870 X2.

Another company looking at unveiling new tech at next month's CES 2009 is none other than the networking giant Cisco Systems. According to Cnet, for the past few years Cisco has been planning on getting in to the consumer electronics market with new products and a new division geared toward home entertainment. As a result, next month Cisco will be launching amongst other things, a wireless digital stereo system. That is the first small move in a long-term strategy to take on Apple, Sony and the other giants of consumer electronics. Cisco is working on other gadgets that will let people watch Internet video on their televisions more easily. And its biggest bet is that people will want to use a version of its corporate videoconferencing system called Telepresence to chat with their friends over their high-definition televisions

You really have to wonder what goes on in people’s heads at times. Reports coming out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin claim that two brothers, both in their 30's are facing assault charges for allegedly choking and stabbing each other, all over; wait for this...............whose turn it was to play a PlayStation 2 game. The Waukesha Police said that the argument quickly turned from an argument into an all-out brawl. One brother thus began to choke the other until the offended brother whipped out a knife and began to cut the assailant brother's hands. Enraged even more, the assailant grabbed the knife and stabbed his brother in the chest. His hands bloodied, the assailant brother fled the scene. He later turned up at the hospital with severely frostbitten fingers.

Fudzilla seems to think that Apple is either looking very closely at the home server market space or revising their current Time Capsule platform. With the recent buzz about a variety of home server and the expanded usability of NAS solutions, Apple could be thinking that the time has come for them to get into this market space with a product that could offer file sharing, picture archiving, and, of course, a centralized iTunes music database and storage.

SlySoft, the company behind products such as AnyDVD (Windows-based driver that works automatically in the background to unprotect encrypted movie DVDs, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray), have again managed to crack the BD+ encryption so that now you can make "backup copies of your HD Blu-ray disks. For those of you not following this one-sided fight, Blu-Ray movies do a lot of very unfortunate things, like stripping your fair use rights, preventing backups (no one has kids or pets that maul disks), being incompatible with boatloads of hardware, and transmitting every viewing, every click, and everything you do back to who-knows-where to be used against you.

Here's a story that is sure to put a smile on everyone’s faces. A professor and a graduate student at Clarkson University might have found a way to make your teeth decay resistant by polishing teeth with nano-sized particles. Advanced Materials Processing Professor Igor Sokolov and his graduate student Ravi M. Gaikwad discovered recently that polishing a human tooth with nano-sized particles could prevent the adhesion of the “bad” bacteria associated with tooth decay and other dental diseases.

MSI has a new netbook coming, an MSI U115 Hybrid. The very first notebook computer in the world that is capable of operating both SSD and HDD hard drives simultaneously, combining all the features of SSD and HDD in the U115 Hybrid for your enjoyment. With MSI Exclusive Hybrid Storage Technology, in the "ECO on" mode, the battery life of U115 Hybrid is super long *. This amazing battery life can escalate the mobility and the productiveness of the U115 Hybrid, which can also make your daily lives much more convenient.



Wednesday Morning Reviews (0 Comments) (link)
 Wednesday, 31-December-2008  00:02:23 (GMT +10) - by BlaYde

Case:
Antec Sonata Elite on Pro-Clockers
NZXT Zero 2 on Overclockers Club
Thermaltake Spedo Advantage Full Tower on HI-Tech
Silverstone Sugo SG04 on Ninja Lane
In Win GD on techPowerUp

Cooling:
Thermaltake SpinQ CPU Cooler on RBMODS
Gelid Silent Spirit heatsink on FrostyTech
Xirex Liquid Cooling on Madshrimps
COOLIT DOMINO LIQUID COOLING SYSTEM on TweakNews
Antec VERIS A/V Cooler on LegitReviews

Motherboard/CPU/RAM:
Corsair Dominator TC DDR3 1866 on Bjorn3D
Intel Pentium Dual-Core E5200 on Techgage
Kingston HyperX T1 Series DDR2-8500 2 x 2GB on Overclockers Club
Zotac 790i Ultra SLI Supreme on Virtual Hideout
Intel X58 Extreme DX58SO on Motherboards
AMD Athlon X2 7750 Black Edition InsideHW

Power Supply:
Cooler Master Silent Pro M 600W on OCIA
E- Power Tiger 1000W on Overclockers Online
FSP Epsilon 600W on DriverHeaven
Silverstone Nightjar 450W Fanless on SilentPCReview

Mixed Bag:
Razer Lycosa Mirror Special Edition on Bjorn3D
Boogie Bug Besace Wii Bag on ThinkComputers
Microsoft Wireless Laser Desktop 6000 on Benchmark Review
Lenovo IdeaPad U110 on Hardware Zone
Belkin Powerline Networking Kit on bit-tech



Tuesday Night (0 Comments) (link)
 Tuesday, 30-December-2008  21:45:29 (GMT +10) - by BlaYde

LG is set to release a new dual sim KS660 mobile phone sometime in Q1 2009. Most obviously, those sharing home and work mobiles will likely be chuffed to see the large 3in WQVGA (240 x 400) display and positively giddy to hear it is backed up by a 5MP camera with autofocus, flash and 720 x 480 video recording. An accelerometer should also help make navigation rather intuitive and the microSDHC expansion slot means the somewhat piffling 50MB of native memory won't prove a problem.

January's 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is going to see Samsung, Toshiba, and other companies showing off their new TVs running Intel's new media processor CE 3100 and Yahoo's Widget Channel software. Yahoo and Intel are trying to bring a new way to provide information and ads to TV. The Yahoo Widget Channel will be the first piece of software to take advantage of a new processor that Intel hopes to see integrated into the vast majority of TV sets being called the Intel Media Processor CE 3100.

New information has come to light regarding a patent taken out by Microsoft back in July 2007 relating to "a type of pay-to-play computing". We've seen pay-as-you-go systems before, particularly from certain big iron vendors, but Microsoft's would-be nickel-and-dime system may run into many of the same snags that affected the "free PC" business. Skip back ten years, and the idea of handing over a no-cost PC system was an idea that drew considerable interest from press and consumers alike.

Intel has launched a new low cost mobile quad core processor as well as added more mobile Core 2 Duo processors to their line up. The Q9000 processor is listed at US$348, significantly less than the existing QX9300 mobile quad-core processor, which is listed at US$1,038; and the Q9100, listed at US$851. Both processors have 12MB of cache memory — twice the amount of the cheaper Q9000, which integrates 6MB of cache.

RIM, the company behind the well known Blackberry smart phones apparently has filed with the US Patent office a design for a fold out keyboard that will feature on their smart phone(s). As you can see from the image above it looks as if the keyboard pops out from the existing keypad on the handset. It appears to be activated by pressing a button on the phone itself, all very James 007 Bond. Although we’re sure this is only a preliminary design at the moment, as things do tend to change a lot from a R&D concept to fruition.



Tuesday Morning (1 Comments) (link)
 Tuesday, 30-December-2008  00:42:06 (GMT +10) - by BlaYde

Australia's largest telephone company, Telstra, could be heading for the chopping block should it refuse to willingly provide access to its network to the company who will be given the rights to build the multibillion dollar national broadband network. Analysts say uncertainty over the ability of Telstra's rivals to build a network spanning Australia's vast distances and inhospitable terrain and reaching the government target of 98 percent of the population means units of Telstra must be involved. "This requires parts of Telstra's network, and if they're not prepared to provide it willingly, then it will have to be legislated," said Luke Sinclair, an investment manager at Karara Capital.

Despite Microsoft saying nothing about the release, it seems that Windows 7 beta 1 has popped up on torrent trackers as an ISO file. ZDNet's Adrian Kingsley-Hughes also reports that Windows 7, calling it "solid and fast." He said that the new revamped taskbar is visually interesting and a lot easier to use at higher screen resolutions that the Vista or XP taskbar.

VR-Zone has compiled a table of Nvidia's GPU lineup for 2009. According to some documents VR-Zone has seen, Nvidia is preparing move to 40nm process technology for their top to bottom GPU line-up by Q2 next year. This transition to 40nm will first take place with their high end GT212 GPU in Q2 follows by the mainstream GT214 and GT216 as well as value GT218 in Q3. GT212 will be replacing the 55nm GT200 so you can expect pretty short lifespan for the upcoming GTX295 and GTX285 cards.

Linux kernel 2.6.28 has been officially released and Ars Technica takes a look at what this new release has to offer. Lead kernel developer Linus Torvalds announced the official release of Linux 2.6.28 on Wednesday. The new version introduces some noteworthy changes that will put the kernel in a strong position for growth and advancement in the coming year.

RIAA has won a default judgment against a 19-year-old girl who suffers from pancreatitis and severe depression. Ciara Sauro who was unable to make it in to court to defend herself will have to pay $8000 for allegedly sharing 10 songs over the internet. Unlike most Americans, Sauro actually adamantly denies that she was the perpetrator of the file-sharing crime, and is (obviously) outraged that she may have to pay such a hefty fine for something she didn’t do. We agree, of course, but we also wonder why the RIAA hasn’t managed to track down the perfectly healthy, financially well-off, 20-something hackers who download and share tens of thousands of files every week and asked them to pay up.

Sony's new virtual world for the PlayStation 3 is apparently a very quiet and boring place according to some of the users. This hasn't been a good year for virtual worlds, which have been in the same amount of turmoil as the real world. Google, for example, is pulling the plug on Lively, a virtual environment it launched earlier this year. And news service Reuters is shuttering a virtual bureau it had opened in the once-buzzworthy Second Life. In a farewell note posted last month, reporter Eric Krangel confessed that he found using the service "about as fun as watching paint dry."

While everyone is still getting their heads around the massive financial crisis that has destroyed economies around the world, the same can't be said about the underground economy which apparently is flourishing. Statistics gathered by firms combating the rising tide of computer crime reveal just how busy professional cyber thieves have been over the last twelve months. Sophos said it was now seeing more than 20,000 new malicious programs every day. 2008 was also the year in which Symantec revealed that its anti-virus software now protected against more than one million viruses.

Despite having some major issues with the well known fatal hardware faults plaguing some Xbox360 units, 2008 in general has been a pretty good year for the Xbox360 and in particular the Xbox Live Arcade service. And 2009 is set to be just as good as this year was. 2009 is already shaping up to be another successful year on Xbox Live Arcade with the news that new titles are in the pipeline to be released this year, including: Lode Runner, The Dishwasher: Dead Samurai, South Park, Puzzle Quest: Galactrix, and R-Type Dimensions. These titles will be some of the first out of the gate in 2009, but no specific release information is available yet.

Looks like Apple have a big problem on their hands with iPhone clones apparently hitting several retail shops in Southeast Asia. Don’t look for these iPhone clones to make their way out of Asia, as we suspect that Apple is already in the process of clamping down on these clones and looking to put the cloners out of business; but with the relative lack of recognition and enforcement of patents and copyrights in some parts of the world, Apple could have its work cut out for it to stem the tide of the cloned iPhones

As is common practice come the end of the year, many websites around the net post their top 10 lists, be it movies, video games, gadgets or whatever......Today Ars Technica takes a look at Science magazine's top 10 breakthroughs of 2008. As always, as the year comes to a close, there is an inevitable rush to produce top 10 lists. Top 10 movies, top 10 books, top 10 music albums. Not content to let Hollywood and the entertainment industry have all the fun, the news staff at Science magazine have compiled their year-end top 10 list of the scientific breakthroughs that broke through with the potential for lasting impact. These range in scale from protons to planets and include nearly everything in between.



Misc Pics (19 Comments) (link)
 Monday, 29-December-2008  14:17:05 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Missed out on Friday, so here's some misc pics! Thanks to Gerald and others for these:

         

         



Monday Reviews (3 Comments) (link)
 Monday, 29-December-2008  00:05:30 (GMT +10) - by BlaYde

Cooling:
Thermalright AXP-140 heatsink on VR Zone
Cooler Master V8 CPU Cooler on Overclockers Online
GELID Solutions Silent-Spirit on BurnOutPC
EK Water Blocks Chipsets on PureOverclock

Case:
In Win Matrix on Bjorn3d
Cooler Master Storm Sniper on Hardware Zone
AeroCool AeroRacer on TweakPC
NZXT TEMPEST Black Midsize Tower on ThinkComputers

Mobo/Ram/CPU:
Athlon X2 7750 vs. Intel E5200 on bit-tech
OCZ Technology SLI-Ready 2GB DDR3-2000 on Bigbruin
MSI R4670 2D512 on Motherboards
ECS X58B-A Black Series Motherboard on Motherboards
ASRock K10N780SLIX3-WiFi on CPU3D
ASRock AOD790GX & A780GXE on Virtual-Hideout

Video:
HIS 4870 IceQ 4+ Turbo 1GB on Overclock3D
Sapphire 4850x2 2GB on Overclock3D

Software:
Top 10 Games of 2008 on Trusted Reviews
X-oom Podcast Studio on OCModShop
Skyfire Mobile Web Browser on Trusted Reviews
Prince of Persia on YouGamers
NBA 2K9 - XBOX 360 on Gamepyre

Mixed Bag:
Dell XPS 730x H2C on HotHardware
HP Photosmart D5360 on TechReviewSource
Orbita Mouse on Hardware Zone
Antec Veris Multimedia Station Premium on OCModShop
Logisys Two-Color Illuminated Keyboard on Rbmods
Zotac Nitro on tbreak
Logitech diNovo Keyboard for Notebooks on OCIA
Sumo Chief Rocker Bean Bag Chair on ThinkComputers
Qpad QH 1339 Headset on Rbmods
Samsung HT-X715T Home Cinema on Trusted Reviews
Patriot Xporter Magnum 64GB on Bjorn3D
HP iPAQ 914c Business Messenger on InsideHW
Bose QuietComfort 3 on TechReviewSource
ASUS Eee Top ET1602 on Hardware Zone
HTC Touch 3G on tbreak



Interesting Forum Threads (0 Comments) (link)
 Sunday, 28-December-2008  13:58:20 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Here's some interesting forum threads, as we coast towards 2009:

Folding@home Alzheimer's Simulation work published in Team OCAU.
Seagate 1.5TB HDD Speed + Size (+firmware update) in Storage.
Running a distro off a USB drive in Other Operating Systems.
Fire Extinguisher Sound System in Modding.
The risk of modding a PSU fan in Modding.
Steam holiday sale in Games.
Toshie M500 Cardbus + Sil3112 Benchmarks in Portable & Small Form Factor.
Nvidia MCP79 Based Atom Nettop First Look in Portable & Small Form Factor.
Sil 3114 vs 3124 in Storage and Backup.
Mercedes Benz SLR McLaren 'Stirling Moss' in Motoring.
How to avoid ANY speeding fine! Your 6 step guide in Motoring.
Russian Supercar in Motoring.
How-To: Quicktime HDV in Premiere in Photography.
My first gardening experience in Lifestyle.
LG Prada II + Prada Link Bluetooth Watch in Mobile Phones.
Found: Moustache Parakeet in Pets & Animals.
Sharpening Globals in Geek Food.
US Teens use speed cameras to punk peers and archenemies in Current Events.
Hydrogen Boron Fusion - Another Fusion Alternative in Science.
Being forced to take holidays over Christmas in Career, Education and Finance.
$30M lotto draw, what would you spend it on? in The Pub.



Sunday Morning (3 Comments) (link)
 Sunday, 28-December-2008  02:34:54 (GMT +10) - by BlaYde

I hope everyone has had a very pleasant Christmas day, filed with joy and happiness, and as we await the end of 2008 lets catch up on some news.

Microsoft, Apple, and Google are been sued by a small Indiana company which claims to hold the rights to a patent for the "common file preview feature" used in various applications and operating systems. Cygnus Systems claim the feature, which shows users small snapshots of the files before they are opened, was invented by them but has shown up on products such as Windows Vista, Internet Explorer 8 and Google Chrome. Mac OS X, the Iphone and Safari also infringe, with its Finder and Cover Flow Mac OS X features, the company claims.

A 9 year old Indian girl has become the youngest person to pass the Microsoft Certified Professional examination. Clearly destined to run the company one day M Lavinashree, from the rural town state of Tamil Nadu, was the little genius to pass with flying colours and has been presented with a special plaque by the bigwigs at Redmond. The previous record holder? Arfa Karim, a ten year old girl from Pakistan (I sense the political fallout already!)

According to ZDNet Australia, 2008 has been one helluva year for Australia's telco industry, in particular the three major events which have dominated the headlines. 2008 was a cracker year for Australia's telco industry but three dates stand out: 26 November (no points for guessing what happened then), 11 July (clue is it starts with an "i"), and 28 April.

Nvidia has found a solution to their defective mobile GPU's which have plagued some notebooks; Buy Our New Chips. Nvidia apparently have a solution to the problems faced by many in their notebooks powered by GeForce 8M series, that is, to encourage the OEM/ODMs to buy their new problem free chips. Of course, this doesn't solve the issues faced by current users and there won't be any replacement for them.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has praised the outgoing president Bush for endowing incoming President-elect Barack Obama with "some momentum" on the cyber security front. The U.S., amid an unprecedented foreign cyber attack threat level, has been exposed as not having a cohesive plan for cyber defense. Recent studies warned that massive and expensive overhaul was needed, and a recent war game showed key government and industry players to be lost when it came to a major cyber attack.

Rumours of an iPhone Nano are heating up following one iPhone case manufacturer, XSKN, who apparently has created an "iPhone nano" case section on their site. Some believe that XSKN may be on to something, as it accurately leaked case designs for the iPhone 3G and fourth-generation iPod nano, before either product was announced by Apple. However, many remain sceptical that the long term rumour of an iPhone nano is close to coming true.

Ever wonder what are the world’s oldest dot-com domains? PC World has put together a list of top 100 oldest dot-com domains. As we finish out the tech-centric year of 2008, we thought we'd take a look back at the Internet's oldest commercial Web sites -- the ones registered back when chatting about "the Net" was as socially acceptable as wearing Jedi garb into a crowded nightclub. So grab your light sabers, dear friends -- we're boarding the Millennium Falcon and heading back to a virtual galaxy far, far away.

For a number of years now we have heard from many individuals that PC gaming is doomed, however, we have also heard that 2008 has been the year in which the PC gaming put those claims to bed. Now it seems that one such individual, Rahul Sood, the creator of one of the world's most successful custom PC brands, the Voodoo PC thinks that "gaming PC as we know it is doomed". One of the main reasons for his claim is the fact that the global economic downturn is slowly changing the face of the market, as various hardware component makers are expected to face a series of issues in the near future.

Mozilla Fennec reaches alpha 2. Determined to improve our mobile browsing experiences as fast as possible, the Firefox creator has announced the release of 'Fennec alpha 2'. "For alpha 2, we focused mainly on performance, improving the responsiveness of panning and zooming, both while pages are loading and when they have completed loading," said Mozilla in a slightly vague launch statement. "There are still many improvements we intend to make, including enabling TraceMonkey by default."

Another week and another manufacturer is joining the netbook revolution, this time Sony announcing their P-series netbook. The CPU will be clocked at 1.33GHz, but we're not sure if this will be an Atom Z-series CPU or something completely different such as a Core Solo or even a Core Duo processor. What's disappointing is that the P-series seems to be using a 1.8in hard drive which means that Sony will only offer a 60GB drive or alternatively an SSD drive up to 128GB at what we expect to be a hefty price premium.



Boxing Day Reviews #2 (0 Comments) (link)
 Friday, 26-December-2008  22:34:32 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Power Supply:
In Win Commander 1200W on DriverHeaven.
In Win Commander 850W on OCClub.
In Win Commander 1200W on PureOC.
Seasonic M12D 850W on JonnyGuru.

Motherboards:
Intel DX58SO Smackover X58 LGA1366 board on BenchmarkReviews.
MSI X58 Platinum LGA1366 board on Bjorn3D.
MSI Eclipse SLI LGA1366 board on OCClub.
ASUS Rampage II Extreme LGA1366 board on InsideHW.
DFI LanParty DK P45-T3RSB Plus LGA775 board on CPU3D.
ECS A780GM-A Ultra AMD 780G+SB750 AM2+ board on OCIA.
Asrock AOD790GX/128M AM2+ board on Pro-Clockers.
MSI X58 Platinum LGA1366 board on TrustedReviews.

Video Cards:
HIS Radeon HD 4870 ICEQ 4+ Turbo (1GB) on CPU3D.
HIS Radeon HD 4850 IceQ4 TurboX 512MB In Crossfire on Tweaktown.
Gainward Rampage700 Golden Sample - HD 4870 X2 On Steroids on Tweaktown.

Storage:
G.Skill SSD Solid State Disk 64 GB on Guru3D.
G.SKILL FM-25S2S-64GB MLC SSD on OCOnline.
Samsung S2 Portable 160GB Hard Disk on VR-Zone.
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA Hard Drive on ThinkComputers.
Ineo NA301Ue Hard Drive Enclosure on TechWareLabs.



Boxing Day Reviews (0 Comments) (link)
 Friday, 26-December-2008  19:52:08 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Mmm.. garlic prawn pizza..

Cooling:
Thermolab Baram CPU cooler on OCClub.
Zalman CNPS9900 LED Cooler on XbitLabs.
Scythe Kama Angle CPU cooler on LegionHW.
Vizo Propeller Dual Fan Card System Cooler on OCOnline.
CoolIT Systems Domino Liquid CPU Cooler on Modders-Inc.
Spire Thermax II Exposed Heatpipe Heatsink on Frostytech.
CoolIT Domino CPU liquid cooler on Driverheaven.

Audio Visual:
Dell 2408WFP Monitor on XbitLabs.
WeSC Bongo Art Marok Headphones on TrustedReviews.
August DTV350C Portable TV and Multimedia Player on TrustedReviews.
Compro VideoMate E650 TV tuner on XSReviews.
TerraTec Noxon iRadio Cube on MadShrimps.
Iiyama ProLite E2208HDS - 22in Full HD LCD on Bit-Tech.

Cases:
Jeantech Unicorn on XSReviews.
Rosewill Wind Ryder Mid Tower on ExtremeOC.
NZXT Whisper Full-Tower on BenchmarkReviews.



Merry Christmas & Happy New Year (35 Comments) (link)
 Wednesday, 24-December-2008  13:17:56 (GMT +10) - by Agg

As usual, things will probably get a bit quiet on the news page for the next few days. I hope you all have a great Christmas, enjoy your time off and have a happy New Year. If you're travelling, please take it easy, drive safe and enjoy the trip.

It's certainly been an interesting year here, with our second child arriving in June. OCAU has continued to grow, particularly through opening the forums to guests this year, but we also passed some interesting milestones like the 100,000 forum member mark. So, thanks to everyone for another great year, and here's to another one, and many more!



Wednesday Morning (8 Comments) (link)
 Wednesday, 24-December-2008  00:13:58 (GMT +10) - by BlaYde

After learning about Minister Stephen Conroy's intentions of including P2P and Bit Torrent traffic in the internet filtering trials (as reported last night), it has come to our attention the existence of a secret high-level report submitted to the Rudd Government which highlights same major flaws in the internet filtering technology. The report says the filters would slow the internet - as much as 87 per cent by some measures - be easily bypassed and would not come close to capturing all of the nasty content available online. They would also struggle to distinguish between wanted and unwanted content, leading to legitimate sites being blocked. Entire user-generated content sites, such as YouTube and Wikipedia, could be censored over a single suspect posting.

According to some sources, AMD will soon release the RV740 chip which apparently will be a 40nm version of the RV770LE. RV740 is essentially a 40nm version of RV770LE core with 640 stream processors but has the goodness of the GDDR5 memories used currently by the HD 4870 card. Certainly, AMD reckons that 128-bit memory interface is sufficient for RV740 by using the GDDR5 memories. You will also be seeing RV740 cards with GDDR2, GDDR3 and even GDDR4 memories to give you more choices.

A Japanese developer has created a Blu-ray hybrid disc that will work with SD DVD players. CDRinfo reports the hybrid disc is able to share information between the different formats due to a semi-reflective layer that will block the blue laser used by Blu-ray players from penetrating the interior layers of the disc where the DVD information is stored.

Nvidia has announced plans to release unified drivers for notebooks with Geforce or Quadro based GPU's. We can only imagine that, if turning on PhysX on a desktop will be murder on your frame rate, doing so on a notebook will be twice as much. But we can see where GPGPU/CUDA will bring some comfort to the crowds (video encoding, etc), if they so wish. The unified driver will also lend a helping with Adobe CS4 and some well known distributed computing apps.

With the hottest electronics show in Vegas, CES 2009, only a few weeks away, Sony is set to unveil a "revolutionary new VAIO" notebook. Regardless of the economic gloom, all the big names are preparing themselves for the year's hottest electronics show in Vegas next month. CES 2009 is just 17 days away, and the usual suspects are beginning to tease products that - to quote Apple - will "change everything". One of the first up is Sony, and via a solitary page on its New Zealand website, it tells us to expect a "revolutionary new VAIO" that will "change the way you look at laptops. forever".

At the same event LG is going to unveil a new liquid crystal display it says will look as good outdoors in sunlight as it does indoors. The new LG Display panel can be switched between backlight mode, when indoors, to reflective mode, when outdoors, at the touch of a button allowing the best of both technologies without any compromise, the company said in a statement. An added benefit of this is that when the screen is switched to reflective mode the backlight turns off and battery life can be extended.

Red Digital Cinema apparently have developed a new Red 617 Mysterium Monstro camera that will feature a CMOS sensor that has 261 Mega Pixels (261,352,000 Pixels). With the popularization of digital cameras, we witnessed numerous discussions about the precision of human eye e.g. how many “megapixels” a human eye has? There are several answers on-line, but general consensus is that a single human eye has between 105 and 126 million rods and cones, e.g. “126 MPixels”. This number was extremely impressive at the time when most digital cameras had 1.3 MPixels, and still is impressive, with the world’s consumer cameras passing the 10 million barrier.

More Headlines:
EA not connecting with gamers
Fraps gets updated to 2.9.7
PC Graphics: The Year Behind, The Year Ahead
AMD cancels debt deal with Lehman Brothers
Nvidia confirms GTX 285
Is this the new Mac mini?
PS3’s graphics will streak ahead of 360’s in ‘09?
Microsoft facing significant job losses?



ISP Filtering Update (7 Comments) (link)
 Tuesday, 23-December-2008  21:59:02 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy has released an update on the ISP filtering proposal. "The Government is aware of technical concerns raised in the report, and that is why we are conducting a pilot to put these claims to the test," Senator Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, said today. Apparently peer to peer and bittorrent traffic is in their sights now also.

You can provide them with feedback on their blog, but you only have until 3pm tomorrow to do so, because they are shutting down their blog after that.

You can see what OCAU members think of this proposal in this poll. There's also general discussion here and a huge amount of info in our Wiki page here.



Forum Projects (0 Comments) (link)
 Tuesday, 23-December-2008  15:23:03 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Not much news out there, so here's some more projects from the forums:


A glovebox car PC
by NiSlo

matthudson is playing with
Lego Mindstorms robots

A simple case panel mod
from 192.168.0.1


A slick Antec 300
by mnpctech

A powdercoated Lian Li
from Aborted

i7 and Tri-Sli in Vantage
from dalien



Tuesday Morning (7 Comments) (link)
 Tuesday, 23-December-2008  00:14:40 (GMT +10) - by BlaYde

It has been a pretty bleak year for many companies, with some going completely out of business and others undergoing some major restructuring in order to avoid bankruptcy. For Polaroid, the inventor of the instant photo camera the news is all bad with the company filing for bankruptcy. "(Polaroid) has filed voluntary petition for reorganisation under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code in order to facilitate the company's ongoing financial restructuring process," the company said in a statement. "The financial structuring process and the bankruptcy filing are the result of events at Petters Group Worldwide, the company that has owned Polaroid since 2005," Polaroid said.

Google Australia employees received Android phones as their Christmas present. Apart from spreading Christmas cheer, having all the employees using the phone would help make Android better, the spokesperson continued. "Giving the Dream phone to Googlers also allows us to once again dog food a product and make it even better."

Samsung is set to release another netbook, the NC20 which will be based on the 1.3GHz VIA Nano U225 processor. Samsung has also decided to go with a 12.1in display and as such the NC20 would be a direct competitor with the Dell Mini 12. The NC20 is also set to get a 160GB hard drive, 1GB of RAM 802.11b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR, a 3-in-1 memory card reader and a 1.3Megapixel webcam.

Lenovo is set to release a new notebook early next year, the ThinkPad W700ds with the "ds" meaning Dual Screen. The primary display is a 17in unit with 1,920x1,200 resolution while the secondary 10.6in display offers 768x1,280 resolution as it's mounted vertically. The CPU will be a Core 2 Quad Q9100 clocked at 2.26GHz and it will be paired up with up to 8GB of DDR3 memory. The W700ds also has a pair of hard drive bays that can be configured for RAID and there will be SSD options as well. It also has a built in optical drive and a wide range of ports that includes what looks to be five USB 2.0 ports, dual-link DVI and DisplayPort.

EA has just announced that it plans to cut a further 4% of its workforce. More bad news from the additional restructuring plans at EA comes in the form of an additional four percent of employees to be on the chopping block over the next three-month period, as the company continues to refocus its efforts and narrow its product offerings. The additional headcount reductions will be spread out over the company globally and will not be focused on any specific studio or business unit. The cuts will take place over the next three months and are targeted to be completed before the company begins its next fiscal year on April 1st 2009.

It seems that the battle between Intel and Nvidia is intensifying with the rapid rise in popularity of Netbook computers. Though the Santa Clara, Calif. neighbours (only a couple of miles from each other) have never really been on speaking terms, the rivalry is intensifying with the emergence of the Netbook--small, lightweight laptops priced below $500. The competitive backdrop is still the same--Intel's longstanding (and very successful) vision of a CPU-centric universe versus Nvidia's creed that graphics processing matters more and more in a multimedia-intensive world.

Google's Street View service has come under fire in Japan from a group of people who are demanding the Silicon Valley giant to shut down Street View in Japan. The group, consisting of Japanese journalists, lawyers and professors, has drafted a petition that demands that Google shut down Street View in Japan. According to the petition Street View "constitutes violent infringement on citizens' privacy by photographing residential areas, including community roads, and publishing their images without the consent of communities and citizens." The group also feels that the service invades privacy "more easily, widely, massively and permanently than ordinary cameras and surveillance cameras do."



Monday Evening Reviews (0 Comments) (link)
 Monday, 22-December-2008  18:16:48 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Audio Visual:
Earphones Roundup on TrustedReviews.
Denon AH-NC732 Noise Cancelling Headphones on TrustedReviews.
Sanyo PLV-Z700 LCD Projector on TrustedReviews.

Storage & Memory:
Silicon Power 2.5inch Solid State Disk 64GB on InsideHW, our review here.
Super Talent Pico C & Pico E flash drives on ExtremeMHz.
OCZ Special Ops PC3-10666 2x2GB memory on APHNetworks.

Video Cards:
ASUS EAH4870 DK TOP 512MB on BenchmarkReviews.
Sapphire’s Watercooled Radeon HD 4870 X2 ATOMIC Edition on Tweaktown.
MSI R4830-T2D512 OC Radeon HD 4830 512MB on ThinkComputers.

Misc:
Aten CS661 USB Laptop KVM Switch on Virtual-Hideout.
ATEN Laptop USB KVM CS661 on OCOnline.
eStarling Impact7 WiFi Digital Frame on OCOnline.
Sunbeam Acrylic UFO Cube Case on Phoronix.
Booq Boa Slimcase M Laptop Bag on ThinkComputers.
ASUS P6T Deluxe LGA1366 motherboard on PureOC.
Noctua NH-U12P CPU cooler on BurnOutPC.
Cyberpower Gamer Infinity i7 Poseidon prebuilt PC on DriverHeaven.



Forum Reviews (0 Comments) (link)
 Sunday, 21-December-2008  18:07:39 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Here's 3 more impressively detailed reviews by forum-goers:


Sony BDP-S350 Blu-ray Player
by DiGiTaL MoNkEY

ASUS T3-M3N8200 HTPC
by ghettro

Samsung NC10 Netbook
by zfind



Photography Gallery (0 Comments) (link)
 Sunday, 21-December-2008  04:19:24 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Some recent photos from our Photography Gallery forum:



















Saturday Night Reviews (0 Comments) (link)
 Saturday, 20-December-2008  21:38:10 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

5 sleeps to go! Maybe the ideal gift is reviewed below :)

CPU
AMD Athlon X2 7750 Black Edition on Trusted Reviews
AMD Phenom X4 9850BE on Red & Blankness

Motherboard
DFI Lanparty DK P45-T2RS Plus on Overclock3D
Foxconn A79A-S on iXBT Labs
EVGA X58 3X SLI Core i7 on Hot Hardware
DFI LANParty JR P45-T2RS on Hardware Zone
Gigabyte EX58-DS4 on CPU3D
Jetway NC92 Series Mini-ITX on Modders Inc.
ECS GF9300T-A Black Series on Virtual Hideout

Graphics Card
Budget & Mid-Range Graphics Card round-up on Tech Spot
Sapphire Atomic HD4870 X2 2GB Watercooled on Tweaknews
Sapphire HD 4870 X2 Atomic Watercooled on TechPowerUp
Diamond HD 4870 1GB CrossFire on Legit Reviews
Sapphire HD4870x2 Atomic on Overclockers Club
PaLiT Revolution 700 HD 4870 X2 on Legit Reviews
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 295 on Hardware Zone
Sapphire HD4850 X2 on Hi-Tech Reviews
Jetway NC92 Atom IPC on Phoronix

PSU
Huntkey Green Star 350W on Hardware Secrets
E- Power Xscale 1000W on Overclockers Online
Zalman ZM460B-APS 460W on Hardware Secrets
Corsair TX850 on JonnyGuru

Storage
Kingston DTMS 4GB USB Drive on ASE Labs
ASUS BC-1205PT-BD Blu-Ray Dual Layer SATA DVD Burner on PCStats
Seagate FreeAgent XTreme 1TB External HDD on Think Computers
Verbatim 3.5” External 500GB HDD eSATA & USB on InsideHW

Cooling
LGA1366 CPU Coolers on VR-Zone
GELID Silent Spirit Cooler & PWM Fans on Driver Heaven
Silverstone NT07-775 (translation) on EPIACenter.de
CoolIT Domino A.L.C. CPU Cooler on FutureLooks

Portables
MSI GX720 & MSI GT735 on InsideHW
Sony Reader Digital Book PRS-700 on TechReviewSource
Toshiba Portégé R600-108 12.1" on Trusted Reviews
MSI PR200 Ultra Mobile Notebook on CPU3D
Alienware M17 17" Gaming Notebook on Trusted Reviews
Samsung U800 Smartphone on Tweaktown
MSI Wind NB U120H on Hardware Zone

Chassis
NZXT Avatar on XSReviews
AeroCool AeroRacer Pro on Techware Labs

Sound
Teknmotion PulseWave Headphones on OCModShop
Logic 3 i-Station25 Speaker Dock on ITReviewed
Teufel Motiv 3 Speaker System on Trusted Reviews

Mice
Razer Mouse and Mat (video) on tkArena
Razer Salmosa on BurnOutPC

Mystery Gift Bag
Kingston HyperX Triple Channel DDR3-2000 3Gb Kit on CPU3D
x264 HD on Tech ARP
Java performance on Ubuntu and Vista on Phoronix
Zotac Nitro VGA Overclocking Controller on Future Looks
Samsung SPF-105P 10" Digital Photo Frame on Everything USB
Sony alpha DSLR-A900 on Digital Trends
Quantum of Solace (Xbox 360) on Gaming Nexus
Zotac Nitro Overclocking Tool on Trusted Reviews



Asus EeePC 901 (0 Comments) (link)
 Saturday, 20-December-2008  16:21:06 (GMT +10) - by Agg

I just spotted this detailed review from anlashok, of the Asus EeePC 901. Tonnes of photos and info! Welcome to my pictorial review of the Asus EeePc 901. There are many reviews around for the EeePC so some areas I won't go into, however what some people may find of interest is exactly what is on the drives of this Netbook and preinstaled for your use. Lastly a spread of benchmarks we all love them :)


Click for the review!



Gaming News (1 Comments) (link)
 Saturday, 20-December-2008  15:37:46 (GMT +10) - by BlaYde

If you're a fan of Star Craft then this is for you. Activision Blizzard has released a 21min video of actual Star Craft 2 game play between Terran and Protoss.

I know how much you all love the trusty rumour mill, so today let me refresh an old rumour by telling you all that the PlayStation Portable 2 will be out in 2009. Rumours of the PSP2 are nothing new. Curious investigators can perform searches online and discover many unconfirmed details such as a 4GB flash, a live streaming digital camera, touch-screen support, faster load times and more. Interestingly enough, a few online sources confirm developer support for the PSP2 dating back almost two years. Whether recent rumour flare-ups derive from new information of rehashing of old news is yet unknown.

But wait....there's more! Want to know when the Wii 2, Xbox 720 and PlayStation 4 will come out?. Any predictions made are of course going to be speculation, but each of these gaming companies now have somewhat predictable console release patterns, not to mention the fact that so many ‘experts’ are ready to jump on every leak and ostensible rumour. Indeed, now more than ever the industry has become very heavily monitored.

Nintendo has released a list of 100 games that it plans to release in the first quarter of 2009. Earlier this week, Nintendo sent out a huge list of early 09 release dates for the U.K. Now it's North America's turn. Below are over 100 titles Nintendo plans to release across the Wii and Nintendo DS in the first quarter of 09, and interestingly, our list has a few more intriguing stand-outs.

Here's an interesting article on why Microsoft thinks that Blu-Ray is a format that is not needed for gaming and therefore will not be seen in the next Xbox. I would say from what I have seen from Microsoft and how they do business I do not even see Microsoft thinking about using the Blu-Ray format for their next console. The reason I say this is because Microsoft is a company that does not handle defeat very well and if they are defeated they will do anything in their power to defeat their competitor next go round. They will not just go into the next console generation settling with the format that defeated them. Obviously, the HD-DVD format lost to Blu-Ray this generation but do not be surprised if Microsoft goes at it again.

So whilst Microsoft is not keen on the blu-ray format, the same can't be said about consumers who have spent nearly $500M on Blu-ray titles in 2008. According to Home Media Magazine, consumers spent over $60M on Blu-ray titles last week, representing 14% of the home media market. The 167% spike is due in large part to the Blu-ray release of 'The Dark Knight', which is breaking Blu-ray sales records around the world.

The most heart-rending gaming disappointments of 2008 by ArsTechnica. We tend to remember the games we fall in love with every year, but the things that drive us crazy tend to fade away with time. That's a shame; you can learn just as much from failure as you can from success.

Metal Gear Solid meets Little Big Planet. LBP and MGS fans alike are in for a treat! If you checked out the PS Blog today you will see all the details on the new Premium Metal Gear Solid® Level and Costume Packs that are hitting the PS Store on December 23rd. And for your viewing pleasure, here's the MGS4 in LBP trailer.

PlayStation 3 owners will soon be able to watch blu-ray and play games in stereoscopic 3D. I have received confirmation from Blitz Games Studios that Sony “fully intends” to support stereoscopic 3D gaming and Blu-ray 3D on the Sony Playstation 3 (PS3) in 2009.

And here are 5 reasons why the PS3 will kick butt in 2009. what does the future have in store for us? Well to be honest the future looks to be jam packed with all new content, and titles that are sure to set new bars in the development of games throughout 2009.

Call of Duty flops on Nintendo platforms. Call of Duty: World at War performed fairly well in terms of critical reviews on both the Wii and DS, yet both versions have pretty much sold a dismal amount compared to the 360 and PS3.

Last week we mentioned that there was a strong possibility that EA would close one of their studios who developed games such as NFS, Mirrors Edge and Dead Space and today we have confirmation that Black Box Studio is officially no more. “Shutting down the studio is part of EA’s restructuring plan that hopes to save them US$ 120 million in annual costs. Part of the plan is to reduce their overall workforce by 10%, or 1,000 people.” said the press release. There was no word given on if the studios upcoming game Skate 2 has been affected.



Saturday Morning #2 (3 Comments) (link)
 Saturday, 20-December-2008  04:12:09 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Matthudson has been working on a new version of the PCDB, and has opened it to beta testing. So, give him feedback in this thread.

There's a new gaming online TV show GameDamage. It seems to be an Australian production, including Yahtzee of ZeroPunctuation fame. GameDamage is a TV Pilot produced to promote a new half hour TV series and a shortform web series to an international audience. Discussion here.

Apparently the RIAA is going to stop suing lots of individuals and focus on other ways of combatting online piracy. The decision represents an abrupt shift of strategy for the industry, which has opened legal proceedings against about 35,000 people since 2003. Critics say the legal offensive ultimately did little to stem the tide of illegally downloaded music. And it created a public-relations disaster for the industry, whose lawsuits targeted, among others, several single mothers, a dead person and a 13-year-old girl.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government recently held a competition and made a website to educate kiddies about the evils of pirating music. It might not seem like a big deal to share your favourite tracks with millions of people on the net. But remember that every one of those tracks is protected by copyright. Indeed. Except for the ones that aren't.

Top Gear Australia will have a new presenter for the next season, with Charlie Cox being replaced by James Morrison. Cox, who presented the first series with Steve Pizzati and Warren Brown, said he couldn't give enough time to the show due to business commitments.



Saturday Morning (2 Comments) (link)
 Saturday, 20-December-2008  00:39:27 (GMT +10) - by BlaYde

We live in a world where legal action against copyright infringements are about as common as the common cold and soon we might see a legal team from Activision Blizzard heading to a Chinese restaurant in Beijing with the aim of explaining the finer points of "copyright" laws. The restaurant’s décor is filled with characters and images from World of Warcraft, including a recreation of the Dark Portal for the main entrance. The main dining hall is named the “Hall of Snow Storms” and serves up dishes named after creatures found in the game’s virtual world.

Sun Microsystems have released VirtualBox 2.1. Sun's desktop VM turns any PC into a virtualisation platform that can run several different operating systems simultaneously on one hardware system. That can avoid the need to buy and support multiple hardware systems and speed development and testing work versus running multiple operating systems with a multi-boot environment.

It would seem that the release of Mac OS X 10.5.6 earlier in the week has apparently caused havoc for its users with reports that the update has completely killed their machines. "Since I (and many other users) installed the update our machines have completely died," Pedro Paiva, who owns a 17-inch MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo, wrote in an e-mail. When Paiva turns on his MacBook, it makes a spinning sound, the LED light turns on, but then nothing happens, he said.

I don't think many will argue with the fact that 2008 has seen an explosion of SSD technology. It seems like almost every week some manufacturer is announcing the release of yet another SSD drive and this week is no exception with Toshiba claiming to have developed what it claims is the world’s first 512GB 2.5in SSD. Toshiba’s drive has a 3Gb/s SATA interface and a maximum sequential read speed of 240Mb/s. Its maximum sequential write speed is 200Mb/s, Toshiba claimed. It’s worth noting that the drive’s read speed blitzes the reading swiftness of Samsung’s 256GB SSD by 20Mb/s, although both drives still share the same sequential write speed.

German newspaper, Frankfurter Rundschau, apparently received a package from an unknown sender containing information on tens of thousands of German credit card holders, including sheets of microfilm with names, addresses, card numbers, and payment information. Information in the box reportedly belongs to Landesbank Berlin, and dates to last August. Police speculate that the box went missing during transport between backoffice provider Atos Worldline and Landesbank.

It seems that there are more than 28 game based movies in production. Yesterday saw the announcement that Gore Verbinski was not only making a film based on BioShock, but also a film based on the online non-game Second Life. The announcement must have sparked interest in some it seem as Examiner.com today released a list of all the known game-based films currently in production.

OCZ Technology today has launched new Blade series of DDR3 memory modules. These Blade series modules are rated for 2000MHz speeds with tightened latencies of just 7-8-7-20 and stay within the 1.65v Core i7 safe zone. The exclusive Blade heatspreader is an enhanced design to better dissipate heat whilst keeping to a sleek, low profile.



Friday Night (5 Comments) (link)
 Friday, 19-December-2008  20:44:18 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Only 6 sleeps left until Christmas! Are your Christmas lights as awesome as these? I always thought that the Christmas lights around our suburb were pretty awesome, but after seeing this, I know that Brisbane is the place to go for a really awesome light show. Michael Sallaway used over 70,000 lights, which are completely computer controlled on over 300 individual channels. Micahel designed and built the controller boards himself, and then did all the synchronisation to the music by hand using the free Vixen Lights software, taking about 30 hours to code the entire song.

Dan has more letters. Rare earth magnets, meteor hunting, transformers, surge protectors and Crookes radiometers.

Westpac customers are set to get free security software. The new deal covers what is claimed to be an ‘all-in-one security suite featuring anti-spyware, anti-virus, firewall and spam protection’ as well as customer support. It is now available to Westpac customers that register online. It extends a previous agreement where PC Tools’ software was offered to customers in its bespoke pieces rather than as a complete security suite, according Rafal Potega, VP of Asia Pacific sales in the business unit at PC Tools.

Record companies are seeing returns on Youtube videos. For the first time, there are signs that YouTube is driving significant revenue for itself and some of the video site's partners. In an interview with CNET News this week, Rio Caraeff, executive vice president of Universal Music Group's eLabs, said the largest of the top recording companies is bringing in "tens of millions of dollars" from YouTube. "(YouTube) is not like radio, where it's just promotional," said Caraeff, who heads up Universal's digital group. "It's a revenue stream, a commercial business. It's growing tremendously. It's up almost 80 percent for us year-over-year in the U.S. in terms of our revenue from this category."

Youtube is also being used to aid convictions. Patrick Pogan, 23, was arraigned on two felony and three misdemeanor charges in state Supreme Court. He was released without bail and told to return to court February 4. Pogan is accused of knocking Christopher Long off his bicycle without justification on June 25 during a bike ride organised by a group that promotes alternative transportation. The incident was recorded by an onlooker and that the video posted on YouTube showed "Pogan singling out Long and purposely body-checking Long off the bike."

Second Life is getting ready to debut on the big screen. Pirates of the Caribbean helmsman Gore Verbinski has reportedly acquired the rights to make a film about a Second Life obsessive who "cheats" on his wife. Sadville: The Movie! will be based on a zeitgeist-surfing trend yarn from The Wall Street Journal in 2007, Variety reports. As Variety puts it: "The article by Alexandra Alter focuses on a married man who spends as many as 20 hours a day on a computer, existing through an avatar who is a thriving, musclebound entrepreneur. In reality, he is a diabetic, chain-smoking 53-year-old."

Sony has joined the war against clamshells. Had we known that eliminating those frustrating, potentially dangerous hard clamshell packages would simply take a nudge, we would've picketed for action years ago. Shortly after Amazon took and stand and announced its own initiative to cut back on wasteful, hard-to-open packaging, Sony has confirmed earlier reports that it will indeed be working towards something better. On a recent post to the outfit's blog, the company noted that it should "have a new alternative to announce soon." No need to reinvent the wheel, Sony -- the hard work has already been done.

Google has introduced virtual cities into Google Earth. The Google Earth Blog estimates that the new New York City (captured here with Google Earth Pro) has seen an update with hundreds, if not thousands of new buildings. Sure, this is just one city, but it's a sign of where Google Earth can go. Scratch that, it's a sign of where Google Earth is going. Really, really, really neat stuff (that will be a gloriously mundane commonplace in a few more years).



Misc Pics (15 Comments) (link)
 Friday, 19-December-2008  16:35:18 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Last one before Xmas! Thanks to soulblade64 and others for these:

         

         



Friday Afternoon #2 (0 Comments) (link)
 Friday, 19-December-2008  16:13:35 (GMT +10) - by Agg

From drayzen: I just borrowed a set top box from a friend to try out digital TV 'cause my anologue reception seems to be degrading for some reason (yeah, I know way behind the times, but I don't own a mobile either so... meh) :P It looks like the dba.org.au site has vanished (I'd guess it probably had this stuff) so I spent a while hunting for official broadcast data and found it on the ACMA site. I've put the info in the wiki here. Anyway, just thought some people might find it useful for manual tuning etc.

NASA will be giving away Space Shuttles soon, thanks Andy. The proud new owners will need to stump up an estimated $42m in decommissioning and delivery charges for a shuttle and $400-$800k for a main engine, exclusive of shipping.

Bit-Tech consider NVIDIA's Ion platform. he GeForce 9400 MCP is a good part and we can't wait to test the actual product to check how viable the Ion platform is and how well it works with an Atom CPU.

They also have a graphics performance roundup. Finally, the 4870 X2 is the fastest card you can stick in a single PCI-Express slot, but it relies on CrossFire technology which means some games may not scale particularly well.

Clinton spotted this Xmas tree made of SCSI drives. He took those drives from RAID arrays destined for the scrap heap and, rather than perform the DoD wipe that would have otherwise been required, chose to build this lovely -- if somewhat askew (see below) -- "tree" from the bevy of mirrored platters within.

HotHardware and Intel got involved with a Need A Tech Makeover project, giving equipment to some people who need it. Recently, we announced our three lucky winners, a small town Performing Arts group called Steps Off Broadway, a stage 4 cancer survivor, Christine from South Carolina, and Susan from Martha's Vineyard Fiber Farm.

Tech-Report have a PSU roundup. In its latest outing, our beastly power supply tester takes on seven PSUs between 350 and 500W, including a lowly generic unit. Read on to see how these affordable models fare and why you should always stick with reputable brands.

Iain sent in a topical timewaster.. sock and awe, where you of course try to hit President Bush with a shoe.



Friday Afternoon (0 Comments) (link)
 Friday, 19-December-2008  15:23:19 (GMT +10) - by Agg

So, someone out there reckons they were discriminated against in a job interview because they play World of Warcraft. He replied that employers specifically instruct him not to send them World of Warcraft players. He said there is a belief that WoW players cannot give 100% because their focus is elsewhere, their sleeping patterns are often not great, etc.

Speaking of which, Quan-Time sent word that the Video Game Awards were held recently. More photos here.

Bit-Tech have a some mod worklogs posted: Eco-Intel and Chiaroscuro.

Bjorn3D consider GTX-280 SLI vs 4870 1GB Crossfire performance in Left4Dead. Left 4 Dead, a revival of the FPS Horror Genre, was released on November 18th 2008, published by Valve and much to our surprise, was a DX9 game.

Phoronix meanwhile checked out Intel Atom performance on Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuSE and Mandriva. Back in September we looked at the Intel Atom performance on a few Linux distributions using the ASUS Eee PC 901, but now with new stable releases of some of the most popular distributions out in the wild, we've decided to re-conduct these tests.

A silent Atom is of interest to SilentPCReview, who reviewed the mCubed HFX Micro Business S13. Intel's embedded Atom 330 mini-ITX board finds a silent home in mCubed's HFX Micro Business S13, a tiny, stylish system integrating fanless cooling of all its components.

InsideHW looked at the Intel Core i7 920, Core i7 965 EE processors and Intel DX58SO motherboard. Long awaited Nehalem architecture got its official name: Core i7. We have tested two CPUs based on this architecture along with one motherboard based on X58 chipset also signed by Intel.

LegitReviews looked at Cryostasis, which can be used for physics benchmarking. Cryostasis is the first PC game to use the graphics card to calculate fluid simulation using smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) and the game is loaded with tons of other physics that will blow you away.

From captainpotato: A bit of news close to my heart - Splash Damage, creators of "Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory" and "Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars" is celebrating the festive season with a tapirthon. For the first thirty websites that mention the occasion, Splash Damage will donate UKP 50 to the Baird's Tapir Project of Costa Rica, so up to UKP 1500. For more about it (including evidence as to why they write games and not poetry), go here.



RIP Kiba (3 Comments) (link)
 Friday, 19-December-2008  13:54:23 (GMT +10) - by Agg

I'm sorry to report that the Australian soldier recently killed fighting with the British in Afghanistan was OCAU member Kiba. AUSTRALIAN Stuart Nash, who died while serving with the British in Afghanistan, was wounded as he tried to cover his mates from a rooftop while under heavy enemy fire. He was well known on OCAU, having been to quite a few meets in Sydney. People are commemorating him in this thread. RIP.


Friday Morning Reviews (0 Comments) (link)
 Friday, 19-December-2008  04:29:43 (GMT +10) - by Agg

First up, there's a few previews of NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 295 video card: PCPerspective, Guru3D, Bit-Tech, OCClub and Bjorn3D.

Video Cards:
Sapphire Atomic Radeon HD4870 X2 2048MB on BigBruin.
Sapphire 4870X2 Atomic L/C & Gainward Rampage 700 on DriverHeaven.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 X2 Atomic ST-6026 on BenchmarkReviews.
MSI R4830-T2D512-OC Radeon HD 4830 on PCStats.

Cases:
Aerocool Hi-Tech 7 Pro on Pro-Clockers.
Ikonik Zaria A20 on TechWareLabs.
Boogie Bug Dub Style M Custom ThinkComputers.

Cooling:
CoolIT Domino Advanced Liquid Cooling on Tweaktown.
Thermolab BARAM Heatsink on Frostytech.
Thermaltake Xpressar Phase Change Unit on Tweaktown.

Audio Visual:
Creative Gigaworks T3 speakers on VR-Zone.
Samsung HT-X810R Home Cinema System on TrustedReview.

Storage:
Western Digital VelociRaptor Raid 0 on Bjorn3D.
Kingwin EZ-Dock on OCIA.

Motherboards:
ASUS P5Q Deluxe LGA775 board on IXBTLabs.
Foxconn Blood Rage LGA1366 board on VR-Zone.



Friday Morning (1 Comments) (link)
 Friday, 19-December-2008  00:03:01 (GMT +10) - by BlaYde

Every man and his dog knows about the X360's famous “Red Ring of Death” error which has crippled many units since its debut in 2005. Another common fault that has plagued the system over the years is the disc scratching issue and it now appears that Microsoft apparently was aware of this problem before the systems actually went for sale in November 2005. A Microsoft program manager was quoted in the declaration saying, "This is ... information that we as a team, optical disc drive team, knew about. When we first discovered the problem in September or October (2005), when we got a first report of disc movement, we knew this is what’s causing the problem."

Apparently a Chinese tech website has conducted preliminary benchmarks of the upcoming GeForce GTX 295 graphics card and techPowerUp managed to grab some screen shots of the results. A Chinese technology portal, IT168 has conducted a preliminary performance evaluation of the upcoming GeForce GTX 295 graphics card. The card will be a flagship offering by NVIDIA. It will feature two G200b graphics processors. Also provided are the first pictures of the finished product, along with a burst-shot of the card and its cooling assembly. Across several game tests, the evaluation showed the GTX 295 to outperform the HD 4870 X2 by up to 80%, while providing superior power characteristics.

Matthew Strahan, a "white hat hacker" says that Australia's upcoming net filtering plan poses serious security risks. The main worry expressed by Strahan is that hackers could take over the filter box to carry out Man in the Middle attacks whereby they could intercept private information and emails without anyone being any the wiser. Another serious concern is denial of service (DOS) attacks, which could allow a talented hacker to bring down the entire ISP by bombarding the filter with hundreds of thousands of HTTP packets in a very short space of time, overwhelming it and stopping it from letting any legitimate requests through.

iiNet has linked up with 3 mobile to provide mobile broadband from the carrier to customers. "This strategic relationship complements our existing suite of products, while also paving the way for collaboration on a broader range of future service offerings," iiNet managing director Michael Malone said.

Semiconductor industry is expecting a 16% drop in sales in 2009 following the economic slowdown that we are currently experiencing. Gartner Inc. released a statement today that shows global semiconductor sales will decline by 16% in 2009 thanks to the economic slowdown, which has led to decreased consumer spending and decrease in orders from manufacturers. Preliminary numbers from the research firm show that 2008 revenue has declines 4.4% compared to the $261.9 billion the global semiconductor market generated in 2007.

Windows boxes on Ethernet LANs are now in control of the UK's nuclear-propelled and nuclear-armed warship fleet. The programme is called Submarine Command System Next Generation (SMCS NG), and uses varying numbers of standard multifunction consoles with two LCD screens, hooked up on an internal Ethernet network installed on each sub. Initial reports as the programme developed suggested that the OS in question would be Windows 2000, but those who have worked on it have since informed the Reg that in fact it is mostly based on XP.



Thursday Afternoon (10 Comments) (link)
 Thursday, 18-December-2008  18:07:49 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Only seven sleeps until Christmas day. Have you bought everything already, or are you waiting for the boxing day sales?

Windows users will want to run their updates today. Microsoft has issued a security patch to fix a critical vulnerability in its Internet Explorer browser it said has attacked over 2m Windows users. The flaw is believed to have already infected as many as 10,000 websites. The "zero day" exploit let criminals take over victims' computers by steering them to infected websites. Microsoft's Christopher Budd said the software giant "encourages all IE customers to test and deploy this update as soon as possible".

Google maps are now officially allowing Youtube movies to be embedded. Now that Google has had a few months to work out any potential kinks in the system, Google Maps is now officially offering YouTube integration. Once you choose to add the video layer from the “more” menu (the same one that’ll get you to Wikipedia), you can check out any videos that have been geotagged! For those that used the previous add-on version, you’ll find little different.

Another Apple expo has been cancelled. Organizers for the Apple Expo in Paris confirmed Wednesday that the annual trade show has been canceled indefinitely, with this year's show likely having been its last. Word of the show's demise came just hours after Apple's surprising announcement that it will no longer participate in the stateside Macworld Expo, which has traditionally seen chief executive Steve Jobs unveil the company's latest product innovations during an inaugural keynote address.

IGN have posted the final part in their console showdown. Welcome to the final installment of IGN Australia's 2008 Console Showdown. So far we've pitted each console's system exclusives head-to-head, we've gone through each platform's 2008 games slate genre by genre and we've checked out which system had the best games for download. In this, the fourth and final showdown, we've crunched the numbers to look at how each system's games performed statistically this year. Wait! Wait! Don't go. Seriously, this is interesting stuff, we promise.

EzyDVD has gone into receivership. Australia's biggest online entertainment retailer, EzyDVD, has been put into receivership. Receiver Ferrier Hodgson says the Adelaide-based company has 70 full-time staff in South Australia and about 150 casual employees nationally. David Kidman from Ferrier Hodgson says EzyDVD's financial problems have been caused by several factors.

Cnet have posted their highlights from 2008. The year 2008 provided a cornucopia of cool new technologies and discoveries. CNET News staffers culled this bountiful harvest, chronicling everything from Mars insights to the Android launch. Gadget and computer-related galleries were pleasing eye candy. Google garnered plenty of attention as well.

Forum member Tesla Downunder has made the homepage of the Sydney Morning Herald. By day he's a doctor but, when the sun goes down, Australian amateur scientist Peter Terren spends his spare time tinkering with 500,000 volts of electricity, practising the art he's dubbed "electrickery". Some middle-aged fathers with the urge to build things spend their weekends holed up in a shed making spice racks and cubby houses, but Terren, from Bunbury in Western Australia, is happiest conducting ambitious experiments with his giant lightning machine known as a Tesla coil.

Mini have come up with an interesting new ad campaign. The folks at Mini have been printing a brand new advertisement that looks like a black and white page with simple instructions in German automotive magazines. But the ad, as it turns out, will provide anyone with a webcam the ability to check out their own 3D model of a new Mini Cabrio right on their computer screen.



Thursday Afternoon Reviews (0 Comments) (link)
 Thursday, 18-December-2008  15:19:51 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Audio / Visual:
LG 42LG6100 42in LCD TV on TrustedReviews.
PCI Express Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Professional Series sound card on HardCoreWare.
Mitsubishi HC6500 LCD Projector on TrustedReviews.
Sharp Aquos LC-52D65U TV on TechReviewSource.

Cooling:
Vantec Aeroflow FX120 Heatpipe CPU Cooler on Tweaknews.
Titan Cool Idol CPU Cooler on OCClub.
Thermalright HR-03 GTX VGA cooler on OCIA.
Swiftech MCW-NBMAX watercooling block on PureOC.
Noctua NH-C12P INTEL/AMD Heatpipe CPU Cooler on Tweaknews.
ASUS Lion Square and Arctic Cooling Freezer Xtreme CPU coolers on XbitLabs.
Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme Copper CPU cooler on Bjorn3D.
ThermoLab Baram CPU cooler on LegionHW.

Cases:
NZXT Sentry LX on TechPowerUp.
Tagan El Diablo Advance on Bjorn3D.
Sigma WindStorm Mid Tower on Modders-Inc.
Tagan Diablo Advance on TechWareLabs.
Cooler Master HAF 932 Full Tower on Techspot.
NZXT Whisper on XSReviews.

Storage & Memory:
Seagate 1.5TB & WD 1.0TB Drives on TBreak.
Super Talent 8GBs Flash Drive on Bjorn3D.
G.Skill DDR3 Gold 6GB Triple Channel memory kit on Guru3D.
Intel X25-E 32GB SSD on Bit-Tech.

Input Etc:
Hiper Alloy keyboards on Bit-Tech.
Logitech Alto Cordless Notebook Stand and Keyboard on ThinkComputers.

Portable & Prebuilt:
ASUS Eee PC 1000HA Netbook on Techgage.
CyberPower Gamer Xtreme XT System on HWLogic.
ASUS EEE PC 4G 701 Netbook on BigBruin.
Toshiba Portege R600 laptop on HWZone.
Navman S100 Sat-Nav on TrustedReviews.

Power Supply:
Lian Li EPS Silent Force 750W on Driverheaven.
Ikonik Vulcan 1200W on HWZone.

Software:
EverQuest II: The Shadow Odyssey PC game on GamingHeaven.
Grand Theft Auto IV PC game on YouGamers.
Outcry PC game on GamingHeaven.

Misc:
Spire Edge laptop sleeve on DVHardware.
M-Rock Zion 525 Camera Backpack on Futurelooks.



TheOverclocker #3 (0 Comments) (link)
 Thursday, 18-December-2008  12:45:17 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Issue #3 of TheOverclocker is now available. 40 pages this time around. Quite a bit of Nehalem coverage and I helped them out with a bit of news for this issue. Discussion here.


Wednesday Afternoon (4 Comments) (link)
 Wednesday, 17-December-2008  17:29:43 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

There'd only 8 sleeps until the last Christmas ever, since Apple has cancelled all future Christmases. Apple® today announced that this is the last year for Christmas. Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, spoke at a joint press conference held with Santa Claus at the North Pole this morning. He announced: "Apple has been honored to work with the North Pole the last several years to make Christmas possible, however, we have decided together that this is the last year for Christmas."

Apple has also decided to abandon Macworld. In a surprise move, Apple said it is to abandon its annual tech gathering Macworld after this January's event. Meanwhile news that the keynote address will not be given by ceo Steve Jobs has reignited speculation about his health following cancer four years ago. Concern was raised earlier in the year when Mr Jobs appeared at the firm's developer conference looking gaunt. Apple spokesman Steve Dowling refused to discuss the issue and said shows like Macworld were no longer relevant.

Dan has more letters! Midnight photography, new light bulbs, toxic microwaves and funky auction websites.

XFX and AMD have officially announced their partnership. AMD today announced that XFX, a world leader in graphics cards, motherboards and computer accessories, is now an official AMD technology partner, joining the elite group of successful AMD add-in-board (AIB) partners. XFX plans to provide new products based on the award-winning ATI Radeon™ HD 4000 series GPUs to consumers, beginning in early 2009. “In the world of PC gaming, XFX is synonymous with the extreme performance that enthusiasts crave,” said Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager, Graphics Products Group, AMD.

Valve has release the details from their latest hardware survey. Each month, Steam collects data about what kinds of computer hardware our customers are using. The survey is incredibly helpful for us as game developers in that it ensures that we're making good decisions about what kinds of technology investments to make. Making these survey results public also allows people to compare their own current hardware setup to that of the community as a whole.

Asus have ushered in a new era in laptops. We're not ones to just abruptly stick our nostrils in someone's business, but we couldn't help but drift over when waltzing by PC Authority's most recent unboxing. The smell we caught was of pine, and given that it's a pine-scented ASUS F6V that's being unwrapped, we suppose that all adds up. On the real, testers took note of an "unmistakable wafting scent of a pine forest, floating on the summer breeze and carrying away their troubles" as they cracked the seal on the carefree machine.

It turns out nearly half of all women choose internet over sex. Almost half of women questioned by Harris Interactive said that they would choose to abandon sex for two weeks, over sacrificing their internet access, according to a study released Monday by Intel, which delegated the survey.The survey results, comprised of 2,119 adult respondents surveyed last month in the U.S., make up part of Intel's broader commissioned study on Americans' reliance on the internet in today's economy. I suppose the good news is half of all women would rather have sex than use the internet :)

If you got this far without realising, the first news story was fake. But to make up for your disappointment, here are three gift guides: Tweaktown's Blu-ray buyers guide, Anandtech's Holiday Case and Power Supply Buyers Guide and Anandtech's Holiday Memory Guide.



Sponsor Specials (0 Comments) (link)
 Wednesday, 17-December-2008  14:24:01 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Not long to Xmas now, but there should still be time to pick up something for that special someone, or indeed, yourself! Check out the Sponsor Specials Forum for discounts and specials on office chairs, flatscreen TV's, Logitech input devices, mini-notebooks, custom PC airbrushing, data recovery, web hosting and a huge range of general PC components. There's info on university scholarships and you can even win yourself an LCD TV!


Wednesday Morning (5 Comments) (link)
 Wednesday, 17-December-2008  00:08:22 (GMT +10) - by BlaYde

Only a matter of days since revealing to the world a new addition to Logitech's "G" series of input devices, the G13 gameboard, Logitech seems to be gearing up for another release, this time a brand new G18 gaming keyboard. We spied the Logitech G13 Gamepad when it was announced earlier today, and now Engadget Chinese has caught wind of something else that may be in store for us. The keyboard pictured above is apparently the G18, and we while we have almost no solid info on it, we can glean a few things, such as the apparent groupings of fast function keys on the left side of the board (some which seem to be numbered G11-G15), not to mention that tiny display at the center. We don't know when we can expect this beast to arrive, but the G13 Gamepad is expected in January so fingers crossed.

Sapphire has designed and built the fastest card in its Atomic range, the Sapphire Atomic HD 4870 X2. The card will be equipped with an integrated water cooling system that will be able to cool not only the GPU but also the CPU. Due to water-cooling, the new Atomic HD 4870 X2 will be factory overclocked to 800MHz for the cores and 1000MHz for 2GB of GDDR5 memory, 1GB for each GPU. The cooling system looks like, and probably is, Asetek's LCLC water-cooling solution and it cools the graphics card as well as the CPU. The radiator includes a 120mm, 7-blade, blue LED fan that gives up to 60CFM of airflow at full speed. As all Atomic cards, this one will also be packed in an aluminium suitcase and will be bundled with a lot of accessories, including an HDMI adapter, HDMI cable, CCL UV lamp and Sapphire USB memory sticks.

It seems that Google is in talks with some major cable and phone companies that carry internet traffic with a proposal to create a fast lane for its own content. One major cable operator in talks with Google says it has been reluctant so far to strike a deal because of concern it might violate Federal Communications Commission guidelines on network neutrality. "If we did this, Washington would be on fire," says one executive at the cable company who is familiar with the talks, referring to the likely reaction of regulators and lawmakers.

There are calls for the Federal Government to step in and do something about cyber-racism in Australia. Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tom Calma, said there was insufficient monitoring of cyber-racism and the law did not provide adequate protection for victims. His call follows the news that Facebook had done little to eradicate scores of Aussie racist groups on Facebook. Apparently it is getting so bad that anti-racism groups have begun using the inaction to their advantage, mining social networking sites for valuable intelligence on the opposition.

Researchers at MIT have successfully used nanotubes as tiny sensors wrapped in special segments of DNA to detect whether chemical agents pertinent to the study of cancer were present and whether they were active. Michael Strano, associate professor of chemical engineering and one of the study's leaders describes, "We've made a sensor that can be placed in living cells, healthy or malignant, and actually detect several different classes of molecules that damage DNA."

Apple has released a major update to its OSX operating system in the form of Leopard 10.5.6. The 190MB download is available through System Update or here. The update is recommended for all users of OSX Leopard and contains a whole raft of application and system fixes as well as the usual security updates.

Anandtech have posted 2 holiday guides for Memory and Motherboards. It's not unusual for many users to start getting a little antsy around the holidays as they contemplate various upgrades they might want to make. They say it's better to give than to receive, so we at AnandTech thought it might be nice to give you some good advice for holiday purchases, and if you're lucky you might receive a few choice upgrades.

Here is a case of taking things way too far, not to mention a total lack of respect for the parents. According to this story, Daniel Petric from OHIO was so angry that his father would not allow him to play the violent video game Halo 3, that he killed his mother and shot his father, then tried to make it appear to be a murder-suicide. Petric, now 17, had sneaked out of his house to buy the game. But his parents caught him as he came in with the game and took it from him.

IGN Australia is reporting that Australian Classification Review Board has overturned the decision to ban F.E.A.R. 2 by awarding the game MA15+ rating. Australia, December 15, 2008 - Aussie gamers today received an early Christmas present with news that Warner Bros. has had F.E.A.R. 2 successfully classified MA15+, overturning last month's ban and putting the title back on track for its February 2009 release.



Tuesday Evening (7 Comments) (link)
 Tuesday, 16-December-2008  20:35:25 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Only 9 sleeps until Christmas! Have you got your tree up yet?

Do you know why Telstra was told to GTFO of the NBN? There were only a handful of non-negotiable legal requirements in the Rudd Government's request for tenders to build the nation's new broadband fibre network. The first was that the proposal be written in English. The second was that measurements used in the proposal conform with Australian standards - be metric, in essence. The third was that the proposal be signed by the proposer. A fourth was that any offer to build the network in more than one state should be an offer to build the network nationally.

A stolen Xbox has been found using its wireless controller. Gamers put lots of time into their favorite games gaining new abilities, levels, and other benefits as the game goes along. A couple of the worst things that could happen to a gamer is to have his game console stolen or lose the game data stored on the console. The Standard Online reports that a student named Ryan Ketsenburg from Missouri State was able to recover his stolen Xbox 360 console using a bit of technological knowhow.

HardwareZone have highlights from SIGGRAPH Asia 2008. SIGGRAPH stands for Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques and this computer graphics conference attracts creative professionals from production houses such as graphics artists, animators, illustrators and even students. Previously only held in USA, the Asian extension of SIGGRAPH is a boon to the growing development in this region and to showcase and interact with matters closer to home.

What will Will Wright write next? So Spore didn’t change the way we looked at games forever, but that doesn’t mean the next link in Will Wright’s evolutionary chain will pop out of the primordial ooze half-baked. Especially not if Wright’s right, and his next project spends the next three years getting dolled-up for its big day.

2009 will be a good year for Apple. The number of businesses planning to add Apple Inc.'s Macintosh desktops and laptops to their corporate mix has doubled since earlier this year -- part of what an analyst calls the "consumerization" of IT. In a just-published survey, 68% of some 700 companies polled said they will allow their end users to deploy Macs as their work systems in the next 12 months. That's exactly double the percentage of businesses that answered the same question eight months ago, said Laura DiDio, an analyst at Information Technology Intelligence Corp. (ITIC).

Does your current keyboard disappoint you? This over-the-top keyboard from Japan gets its tough-ass looks from its form-fitting black leather hide. Each key of the ritsy Gokukawa keyboard (¥49,800 / $548 USD) is meticulously hand-wrapped in rich black leather. The result is a completely monochromatic glossy black-on black design. The base model features is covered smoothly, making it impossible to see the letters on any of the keys, but if you’re investing in a $500+ keyboard, you probably know your QWERTY’s by now.

Lets go back...way back. This internet archive of overclockers.com.au was sent in by Matthew Wilmont, and covers the OCAU homepage since February 2000. Thanks Matt!

Finally, here's a group of scientists explaining complex ideas...with interpretive dance. At this year’s AAAS meetings, scientists will be given the opportunity to express their research through interpretive dance. The idea is to "shatter a few stereotypes about stuffy, lab-bound researchers." If past years’ scientist/media parties have taught me anything, it’s that these scientists are as uninhibited as they are uncoordinated on the dance floor. If ever there was a reason for us to take a video camera to AAAS, this would be it.



AMD Athlon X2 7000 Series (0 Comments) (link)
 Tuesday, 16-December-2008  15:39:45 (GMT +10) - by Agg

AMD has announced some new dual-core desktop processors. AMD (NYSE: AMD) today announced the AMD Athlon™ X2 7000 series processors, energy efficient dual-core CPUs designed for a growing segment of value-conscious PC consumers seeking a full-featured product with best-in-class performance for the changing face of everyday computing. Based on the “Stars” AMD processor architecture, the new series features AMD Balanced Smart Cache, designed to make traditional PC activities and media software work simultaneously resulting in advanced multi-tasking capabilities and exceptional multimedia performance.

Coverage on LegitReviews, ExtremeOC, Guru3D, OCClub, XbitLabs, Tweaktown, Bit-Tech and DriverHeaven.

Discussion here.



Tuesday Afternoon Reviews (0 Comments) (link)
 Tuesday, 16-December-2008  14:17:53 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Motherboards:
Biostar TF8200 A2+ GeForce 8200 AM2+ board on PCStats.
ASRock A770CrossFire AM2 board on iXBTLabs.
ECS G45T-M2 AM2 board on Virtual-Hideout.
ASROCK AOD790GX/128M AMD 790GX+SB750 on OCWorkbench.
ASUS P6T Deluxe LGA1366 board on Motherboards.org.
Gigabyte GA-EX58-EXTREME LGA1366 on BenchMarkReviews.
ASUS P5N7A-VM LGA775 board on TBreak.

Cases:
Lian-Li PC-7F on HWSecrets.
GMC X-7 'X-Station' gaming case on DriverHeaven.
NZXT Whisper - Full Steel Silent Tower on ExtremeMHz.

Storage:
Asus 20x20 SATA Light Scribe DVD Burner on OCClub.
Kingwin EZ-Dock Hard Drive Dock on Virtual-Hideout.

Video Cards:
NVIDIA Quadro FX 4800 1.5 GB Workstation Graphics Card on HotHardware.
Sapphire HD4830 on Pro-Clockers.
ECS 9800GTX+ SLI HYDRA EDITION on VR-Zone.
GeForce GTX 260 (216SP) on XbitLabs.

Input Etc:
Razer Goliathus mousepad on BurnOutPC.
Verbatim TuneBoard Speaker Keyboard on OCModShop.

Misc:
Lenovo ThinkPad X200 12.1-inch Tablet Notebook on ThinkComputers.
Linksys WRT350N: Wireless-N Gigabit Router with Storage Link on XbitLabs.
Future Sonics Atrio Series Professional Earphones on Futurelooks.



Early Tuesday Morning (0 Comments) (link)
 Tuesday, 16-December-2008  04:06:02 (GMT +10) - by Rezin

TweakTown believes home theater enthusiasts will be excited about the changes being made to the Asus Xonar HDAV1.3 Deluxe audio card. Sometime in September this year, the cards finally went on sale, but audio enthusiasts were left disappointed, as the card could send out a LPCM signal, but not via bitstream. The ASUS AV team heard the cries, loud and clear. They got to work and continually developed the product with a series of driver updates, which eventually led to the Xonar HDAV1.3 Deluxe audio card being able to bitstream TrueHD and DTS-HD / DTS-HD MA on the PC.

Phoronix look at whether it's possible to play high definition videos in Linux using a $20 CPU and a $30 GPU. For the testing on this low-end hardware we had looked at the MPEG, H.264, and WMV3 formats. … With each test we had monitored the CPU usage during video playback without specifying any video output or video codec options and then again when using VDPAU for the codec and output module. … After running all of these tests to see how well the video playback was offloaded to the GPU, we took the testing one-step further.

Apparently a "massive" exploit found in EVE Online has caused a huge ruckus among its playerbase. In summary, a number of individuals used the exploit to effectively scoop up a good portion of the whole "GDP" of the in-game economic system by selling materials they manufactured out of thin air. All that was naturally then used to fund further operations.

HotHardware looks at the various benefits that OS virtualisation offers. Using virtualization we remove the ties that bind us (to specific hardware). Imagine if you can, that the operating system and its applications are not bound to the hardware. Instead there is a basic software layer installed on the hardware that you can then put your choice of operating system on, to include multiple instances whose numbers are only limited by the amount of processing power, memory, and disk (or storage) space you have available.

The Tech Report compare the performance results of a genuine Core i7-940 to their earlier tests on a "simulated" i7-940. We first tested a "simulated" Core i7-940 by underclocking a Core i7-965 Extreme, but we missed a couple of the "uncore" clocks, including the one that governs the L3 cache. Just how much do those clocks affect performance, and how does a real Core i7 940 perform?

Users of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser may want to review this updated security advisory. At this time, we are aware only of limited attacks that attempt to use this vulnerability against Windows Internet Explorer 7. Our investigation of these attacks so far has verified that they are not successful against customers who have applied the workarounds listed in this advisory. Additionally, there are mitigations that increase the difficulty of exploiting this vulnerability.



National Broadband Network (0 Comments) (link)
 Tuesday, 16-December-2008  00:01:58 (GMT +10) - by BlaYde

As reported earlier, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has confirmed that Telstra had been kicked out of the National Broadband Network bidding process earlier this morning, after it failed to submit "a small to medium enterprise participation plan". "There was nothing to stop Telstra from submitting a complete proposal and competing vigorously with other proponents in this process," Conroy said, claiming the RFP was a level playing field. "However, the Telstra board sought special treatment by proposing its own process."

This decision hasn't gone down well with the opposition communications spokesman, Senator Nick Minchin, who has labelled Government's decision to cut Telstra out of the NBN process as "beyond a joke". "From the beginning this process has been based on the flimsiest of foundations. The tender documents are so vague and open to multiple interpretations, they are not worth the paper they are written on," Senator Minchin said. "This has been compounded by the manifest failure of the minister responsible, Stephen Conroy, to provide proponents with even a hint of clarity regarding regulatory non-negotiables. This is just the latest instalment in an extraordinary saga of ineptitude, delay and confusion in the government's management of a $4.7 billion project."

However, according to some industry onlookers the Federal Government is likely to be forced into a legal battle with Telstra. "The senior management continues to believe that being, to quote a trading phrase, 'big swinging dicks', is going to get them what they want." "I hope that the Federal Court tells Telstra to pull their heads in when the inevitable case comes before the full bench," says Stephen Collins, a web strategist and founder of the acidlabs consultancy.

David Braue of ZDNet Australia posted an interesting blog article titled; Dear Telstra: pack up your toys, go home. If you've ever played a board game with a young child, you've probably dealt with the internal struggles one faces in trying to establish a fair contest. Do you just let them win to boost their confidence; do you whip them outright to build their constitution; or, perhaps, do you agree to their requests for one-sided rule changes that favour their particular capabilities?

Meanwhile, Greens are saying that if the private sector was incapable of building the NBN then the Federal Government should look at rolling out the National Broadband Network itself. Greens leader Bob Brown says the previous Howard government's decision to privatise Telstra was a "colossal blunder" and Labor should be prepared to build the network itself. "The government's got to be looking at providing broadband to Australia if the private sector can't do it," he told reporters. "We are now left with Telstra having its own interests, not the national interests, at the forefront.

As always, you can keep up to date on this subject HERE.



Monday Evening (4 Comments) (link)
 Monday, 15-December-2008  19:32:22 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Only 10 sleeps to go until Christmas!

Telstra has been told to get on its bike over its NBN bid. Telstra has been excluded from the national broadband network tender process after being informed its bid fails to meet some of the project's stated requirements. The telco says it was excluded because its proposal did not include a plan on how to involve small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the building of the network. The move to exclude Telstra leaves just five bidders for the multi-billion dollar project.

Meanwhile, even Telstra is refusing to participate in the internet filter trails. Australian newspaper The Age reports that both Telstra and Internode have declared they will not participate in the trials. iiNet said it wanted to take part to show that the filters do not work and Optus would only work with a scaled back plan. The plan to set up mandatory filters followed research by the Australian Communications and Media Authority which found that existing filters did a poor job of blocking illegal content.

Microsoft has released their first iPhone application. Engineers in the company's Live Labs have released the company's first application for Apple's popular smartphone--even before making it available on Microsoft's own mobile platform. Seadragon Mobile, which was added to Apple's App Store on Saturday, is a free image-browsing app that allows users to quickly "deep zoom" images while online and is intended to demonstrate what is possible with a mobile platform.

OCZ is launching an eSATA capable flash drive. eSATA ports are starting to become more mainstream in mid to low end motherboards, and OCZ thinks the time is right to start adding on non hard drive based peripherals. Its new lineup of memory sticks will do just that and come in 8, 16, and 32GB capacities. The new drives will both communicate and receive their power from the eSATA port. To ensure backwards compatibility they have also included a rear mounted mini USB connection which will allow users to plug the device into laptops or other USB only machines.

The Government is set to help out the poor and elderly with digital TV. Come December 31st, 2013, people like you and me can expect quite a few tech support calls from family and friends. Because that's when the last analog TV transmission will be switched off, moving us into a glorious age of digital-only TV entertainment. But what about all the people out there who don't know a tech-savvy young person to make their TV work? How will they cope with plugging in a digital set-top box to their old analog CRT TV? Apparently, only 42 per cent of households have a digital-ready TV in the house.

ZDnet have pictures showing the damage to the LHC. On Friday, the European Center for Nuclear Research (Cern) released photos of damage to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), Cern's flagship particle accelerator. The particle accelerator was damaged by a liquid helium leak in September, nine days into an experiment to test fundamental theories of physics by colliding beams of protons inside a 27km ring.

What was around before Pong? The holiday spirit is still strong with This Old Box — or rather, the nog we're drinking this evening has some pretty strong spirits in it. Just semantics really. But as the shopping days until C-day dwindle, there's computer games on many-a-reader's mind. And with Atari's latest resurrection in swing, we can't help but dedicate this edition to a little gaming history. Without further ado, we dive into the first video game system ever to get a job

Today's timewaster is Light People On Fire. Go between a twig and a flaming person. The goal is to light as many people on fire as possible.



Interesting Forum Threads (2 Comments) (link)
 Monday, 15-December-2008  14:07:23 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Bah.. I was just starting to enjoy my weekend and it's over! Here's some interesting threads to get you through to hometime.. :)

Nvidia's GeForce GTX 295 & GTX 285 To Launch @ CES 2009 in Video Cards.
AMD Sets RV775 to Chase Down G200b? in Video Cards.
Seagate To Cut Bare Drive Warranties To Three Years in Storage & Backup.
PC game piracy examined in Games.
My first Flash game! in Games.
Final Fantasy XIII, Versus and Agito in Game Consoles.
Linux - stop holding our kids back in Other Operating Systems.
elvis' big fat Free Software / Linux 101 thread in Other Operating Systems.
Cisco (Linksys): Non-compliant with GPL. FSF files suit in Other Operating Systems.
Australia makes world first 21Mbps eHSPA/HSPA+ data call in Networking, Telephony and Internet.
Failed Forumula 1 teams from the past (MANY pics) in Motoring.
A tale of two Lotuses (or Lotii?) in Motoring.
Guitar shopping in Japan in Musicians.
Help me choose a guitar in Musicians.
Terminator 4 (Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins) in Entertainment.
Advice to young photographers in Photography.
Australia's Carbon Scheme in Current Events.
Has Australia become CP crazy? in Current Events.
ATM Fee Reforms in Career, Education and Finance.
A weird fish from Africa in Pets & Animals.
Movie: Gran Torino (2008) Clint Eastwood in Entertainment.



Monday Midday Reviews (0 Comments) (link)
 Monday, 15-December-2008  12:58:32 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Power Supply:
Antec TruePower Quattro TPQ 850W on Tech-Reviews.
In-Win Commander 850W on RBMods.

Cases:
Cooler Master ATCS 840 fulltower on HWSecrets.
Antec Skeleton on Bjorn3D.
Tagan A+ Diablo Advance & BZ700 PSU on TechPowerUp.
Cooler Master Cosmos Black Label on BenchMarkReviews.

Cooling:
Scythe Kaze-Maru 140mm Case Fans on PCShopTalk.
Enzotech Copper Heatsinks on OCrCafe.
Vizo Armada II RAM Cooler on RBMods.
Thermaltake v14Pro CPU cooler on LegionHW.

Portable & Prebuilt:
Deus Ex OC PC in Atomic Mag (scan on vendor site).
Gigbayte M192 Net Tablet on TechReport.
Samsung X460 14.1in Notebook on TrustedReviews.
Gateway M-7818u notebook on TechGage.

Input Etc:
World of Warcraft Steelseries MMO Mouse on DriverHeaven.
Microsoft Wireless Desktop 6000 on HWPacers.



Gaming Special - Year in Review 2008 (0 Comments) (link)
 Monday, 15-December-2008  00:00:33 (GMT +10) - by BlaYde

With 2008 nearly behind us, IGN has posted a series of "Year in Review" articles for the 4 main gaming platforms (PC, PS3, Xbox360 and Wii) as well as the 2 main handheld gaming platforms in PSP and Nintendo DS. So sit back, relax and check out the highs and lows, the news and reviews that made 2008 and see what 2009 might hold in store for your gaming platform.

Despite the frequent assertions that PC gaming is dead, or at least terminally ill, it has been a very good year for fans of the most versatile and egalitarian gaming platform around. We had a number of amazing PC exclusives that sold incredibly well, from Maxis' artful Spore to Mythic's Warhammer Online, which firmly and proudly emphasized the "multiplayer" in "massively multiplayer online game." Even CD Projekt's 2007 The Witcher managed to move lots of units thanks to the numerous improvements it made to the Enhanced version. - PC Year in Review 2008

2008 was quite the interesting year for all things PlayStation. The PS3 has just wrapped up its second full year of existence, and what a year it was, with an incredible amount of fantastic releases. The PSP had its share of stellar titles, though the amount of games we saw released for the system each month could be counted on your fingers, sometimes just one hand. The aging PS2 just saw the release of Persona 4, which will probably go down as the last great game for the system, all but signaling its unofficial death. - PlayStation 3 (inc. PSP) Year in Review 2008

Microsoft has an arsenal of ways to define its success in the videogame space. When the NPD Group releases its monthly report on the state of the videogame industry, Redmond is quick to respond with its own facts and figures, citing attach rates, Xbox Live subscriber numbers, and even peripheral sales to bolster its claims of living room supremacy. That's all well and good, but without great games none of that matters. And fortunately, 2008 was a blockbuster year for games on the 360. - Xbox 360 Year in Review 2008

As 2008 draws to an end, many Wii fans have mixed feelings about the console's library. Nintendo started the year off strong with the hugely-anticipated fighter, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, a game that scored an "incredible" 9.5 from IGN.com. It followed up in April with Mario Kart Wii, a speedy racer that -- with its seamless connection process and leader-board ranking system -- truly heralded the arrival of the system's online service. And then in May it delivered audiences the ultimate bridge title in Wii Fit, an exercise program that is positioned to keep its shelf life at least through 2009, if not longer. The aforementioned releases represented a three-punch combo for the publisher's first quarter, but while the Big N may have come out swinging, it ultimately didn't have the stamina to go the full 12 rounds. - Nintendo Wii Year in Review 2008

It sounds like a broken record at this point, but once again the Nintendo DS handheld has had its most successful year on the market. 2008 was an unbelievably auspicious 12 months for Nintendo on both the console and handheld side of things, but the company's dual-screen and touch-screen handheld continues to dominate as the most fortuitous videogame platform of this generation. Worldwide the system surpassed 85 million units as of September 2008, so don't be surprised to hear that the hundred million mark was nailed at the end of this year. - Nintendo DS Year in Review 2008

As always, you can keep up to date in OCAU's Games and Game Consoles forums.



Sunday Night Reviews (1 Comments) (link)
 Sunday, 14-December-2008  19:37:32 (GMT +10) - by BlaYde

Motherboard/CPU/RAM:
Corsair Dominator TC DDR3 1600 on Bjorn3d
Asus P5N-VM WS on Trusted Reviews

Cooling:
Thermaltake RamOrb on Bjorn3D
Vizo Orbiter Hard Drive Cooler on Overclockers Online
Xigmatek BattleAxe VGA Cooler VD964 on Hardware Zone

Power Supply:
FSP Power Mod 700W Power Supply on Overclockers Online
IKONIK Vulcan 1200W on techPowerUp

Case:
Aerocool AeroRacer Pro on ProClockers
Lian Li PC-9 on Bit-tech
Antec Skeleton on Legit Reviews
Lian Li V1010 Aluminium on Overclock3D
Lian-Li PC-9 Aluminum Chassis on CPU3D
In Win Matrix on PureOC

Mixed Bag:
Hiper Alloy Keyboards on Bit-tech
Choiix Ergonomic Metal Sleeve on InsideHW
JVC NX-F7 SOPHISTI 2.1 on Trusted Reviews
ASUS Lamborghini VX3 on DriverHeaven
Samsung Syncmaster XL30 on DriverHeaven
Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/W on Trusted Reviews
ASUS N10J on InsideHW
Sunbeamtech SATA HDD Docking Station on OCIA



Sunday Morning #2 (6 Comments) (link)
 Sunday, 14-December-2008  07:37:00 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Dan has more letters. Clicking hard drives, fancy clocks, soldering, Thermaltake products, monitors, air conditioner additives and Hiclones.

EFi-X has cancelled plans to sell a Mac clone. The Mac cloning soap opera just keeps taking crazy twists and turns -- Art Studios Entertainment, makers of the EFi-X dongle, have shut down EFi-X USA's plans to sell "Millennium" machines capable of running OS X just hours after they were announced. ASE CEO Davide Rutigliano sent us a statement saying that EFi-X USA was misinterpreting ASE's EFi-X certification program, that ASE will "NEVER sell machines or condone the sale of machines that compete with any brand," and that he personally ordered the project abandoned.

Ubisoft has removed DRM (torrent site link) from Prince of Persia. Ubisoft haven’t had much luck with DRM (Digital Rights Management) in 2008. First off it was criticized for the copy protection it embedded in its title Assassins Creed. Apparently the game tried to ‘phone home’, continually trying to access a Ubisoft server while the host PC was connected to the Internet. But the red faces didn’t stop there.

XP may just be too good to kill off. Phasing out an old operating system is nothing new for Microsoft, but Windows XP is unique in that it may be too good to die. The deadline for Windows XP downgrades has been pushed back twice now, remaining in effect until July 31, 2009-a strong indication that enough users want to stay with the aging XP rather than give Vista a chance. Though market share for Windows XP dropped nearly 10 percent in 2008 as Vista slowly made gains, XP still has a market share of 66 percent, according to Web metrics company Net Applications.

Apple may soon be using a 3D OS interface. A series of Apple patent filings published this week reveal Apple’s new possible multi-dimensional interface for Mac OS X that could make “better use of screen real estate by increasing the number of virtual surfaces capable of housing application and interface elements,” according to AppleInsider. The most extensive of the filings, titled “Multi-Dimensional Desktop,” was submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office back in June of last year. The interface enhancements could be candidates for inclusion in future versions of Mac OS X.

Seagate is cutting its 5 year warranty to just 3 years. Well, that was good while it lasted. After four and a half years of offering five-year warranties as standard for its "bare" consumer hard drives, Seagate has backpedaled and decided to cut coverage back to three years. According to the company's new product warranty matrix, the change will take place on January 3, 2009, and it will affect Barracuda 7200 desktop drives and Momentus mobile drives. Barracuda and Momentus drives sold in boxed retail kits will continue to have five-year coverage, although those packages typically cost more than bare, so-called "OEM" drives.

Judgements may soon be served via Facebook. Today in what appears to be a first in Australia and perhaps the world, Master Harper of the ACT Supreme Court ordered that a default judgement could be served on defendants by notification on Facebook. A default judgement is given by the court where the defendant does not appear in court to defend the case. Once the plaintiff has been awarded the default judgement by the court, the plaintiff must then locate the defendant and serve the judgement on them. Usually this is done by way of personal service or the mailing of the judgement to the defendant's home. However, service can be difficult where the defendant is not easily located.

HP has had another moment of stupidity. While there is no official HP policy on erasing the hard drive for minor hardware defects, its something that might want to be kept in mind when you send your laptop in. One of Consumerist's readers, Marjan, decided to send his computer in for repair when one of the keys egregiously decided to pop off. The laptop came back with a spanking new "P" but all of Marjan's data had been wiped clean.

Many of us lie about the what we read to impress. Nearly half of all men and one-third of women have lied about what they have read to try to impress friends or potential partners, a survey suggests. Men were most likely to do this to appear intellectual or romantic, found the poll of 1,500 people by Populus for the National Year of Reading campaign. About four in 10 of the 1,500 said they had lied about what they had read to impress friends or potential partners - 46% of men and 33% of women. Among teenagers, the figure rose to 74%, with most saying they would pretend to have read social networking pages or song lyrics.



Sunday Morning Reviews (0 Comments) (link)
 Sunday, 14-December-2008  02:23:21 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Video Cards:
GeForce GTX 295 Card Exposed on VR-Zone.
NVIDIA Quadro CX Review and Adobe CS4 GPU Acceleration on PCPerspective.
Asus EN9800GT Matrix GeForce 9800GT on HotHardware.
HIS HD 4670 512MB IceQ Turbo on TrustedReviews.
Sapphire HD 4650 512MB Overclock Edition on OCClub.
MSI R4830 on NeoSeeker.
XFX GTX260 XXX SLI on OCClub.
Palit Geforce 9600GSO Sonic (768Mb DDR3) on CPU3D.

Audio / Visual:
Kworld Tonino Lamborghini UB385-T DVB-T tuner on HWZone.
SIM2 Domino D60 DLP Projector on TrustedReviews.
Toshiba SD-580E DVD Player on TrustedReviews.
Samsung MediaLive Media Streamer on DigitalTrends.
Western Digital WD TV HD Media Player on TechARP.
Toshiba Regza 32RV530U 32" LCD HDTV on Phoronix.

Motherboard and CPU:
X58 Motherboards Round-up December 08 on DriverHeaven.
Asus P5N-VM WS LGA775 with Nvidia Quadro FX 470 on TrustedReviews.
MSI X58 Eclipse SLI LGA1366 board on Motherboards.org.
Zotac nForce 630i LGA775 Mini-ITX board on Tweaktown.
Intel i7-920 Nehalem Processor on Tweaknews, our review here.
DFI LanParty Jr 790GX MicroATX AM2+ board on NinjaLane.
Gigabyte EP45T-Extreme LGA775 board on Bjorn3D.

Input Etc:
NZXT Avatar Gaming Mouse on BigBruin.
GIGABYTE GM-M7700 Wireless Laser Laptop Mouse on Tweaktown.
OCZ Neural Impulse Activator on Guru3D.
NZXT Avatar Gaming Mouse on ThinkComputers.
Thermaltake Soprano Aluminum Keyboard on Tweaknews.
Genius PenSketch 9×12 Graphics Tablet on Futurelooks.



Sunday Morning (4 Comments) (link)
 Sunday, 14-December-2008  01:14:30 (GMT +10) - by BlaYde

G5, G9, G11 and G15 are Logitech's well known input devices aimed at gamers and recently Logitech has introduced yet another "G" product known as...wait for it.................. G13 - Logitech advanced keypad. Logitech took the wraps off a new PC game accessory Wednesday morning, the $80 G13 Advanced Game board. Similar to products from Saitek and Belkin, the idea of the secondary keypads is to provide gamers with more fully featured controls with a better layout than you'd find on a traditional keyboard.

And while we're on the subject of gaming input devices, here's a Christmas gift idea for that hardcore World of Warcraft gamer; a WoW Gaming Mouse from Steel Series. With 15 programmable buttons, 3200 dpi, 16 million different colors this officially Blizzard-licensed product will shine brighter than your Christmas tree!

Staying with the gaming theme, it seems that global financial crisis have done little to dent the sales of games and gaming related hardware in the US, with reports that the Americans have spent $3 billion dollars on games in November. The availability of a broad range of games is one reason for the industry's ongoing solid performance, said NPD analyst Anita Frazier. Games also provide a relatively cheap form of stay-at-home entertainment. The industry, Frazier said, is still on track to rack up $22 billion in U.S. sales this year.

According to a story on Fudzilla, Wall Street Journal is reporting that Walt Disney might be taking a hard look at making a bid to purchase Electronic Arts. While Disney isn’t saying anything, they did leave the door open to the possibility that it might be possible to acquire EA for around $4 billion given their current situation. Still, it is too early to say if the mouse really thinks that a bid for EA would be in the long term best interest for Disney.

Meanwhile the word on the street is that EA might be finally putting an end to the Need for Speed series with some reports suggesting that future NFS developments have been cancelled. EA is largely blaming the declining economy for poor sales of NFS; however, I have a feeling that NFS poor sales are more to do with the quality of the game itself rather than the economy. Like many gaming corporations, EA has been hit with the reality of a declining economy, and is bit-by-bit cutting back on their expenses. News has emerged across the net, claiming that EA’s Black Box division will be eventually shut down, meaning that future Need For Speed titles may soon see no light of day.

Force Feedback technology has been around for a long time now in products such as joysticks, steering wheels and many other gaming peripherals, however, this new product from TN Games called; Force Feedback Helmet, is sure to be a hit with FPS gamers. The HTX helmet is designed to deliver “blows to the head when you are fired upon.” TN Games promises players a level of immersion in their games never before felt. The ability to feel bullets whiz by your head or the feeling of a “headshot” would certainly bring a new level of fear to your games.

Ericsson and Telstra have unveiled their latest mobile broadband service, an HSPA Network offering peak network speeds up to 21 Mbps. With an imminent battle for dominance between the bodies backing a number of mobile broadband standards increasingly likely for 2009, especially between LTE and WiMAX, Ericsson and Telstra have upped the stakes with the worldwide debut of a commercial HSPA network offering up to 21 Mbps.

US National Research Council (NRC) says that Nanotechnology could pose a risk. At present there are many products on the market that include nanomaterials and, although not a lot is known about them, this has not yet caused enough concern for anything to be done about it. Yet the worry that the NRC has is that during the next decade or so, nanotechnology is going to creep its way into our food and our medicines. If these materials are dangerous, this poses a huge risk.

ExtremeTech is wondering whether Microsoft is finally getting Vista OS right. Is Microsoft finally getting Vista right? The recent release of the Service Pack 2 beta is a step in the right direction. This update not only installs cumulative security and compatibility fixes, but also adds a few goodies like simplified wireless network setup, Bluetooth 2.1 support, and the ability to burn Blu-ray discs.

If you're an ATI fanboi then you might be interested in the latest from the rumour mill which talks about the ATI HD 49xx and 58xx series of cards. WITH NVIDIA'S GTX 295 announcement just around the corner, the satanic rumour mill - as Nick fondly puts it - is in overdrive once again, fuelled by leaked specs and a vivid imagination, it seems. What are we talking about? Well, several Chinese forums were a-buzz today with talk of a RV775XT and RV775Pro, alleged derivatives of the current RV770 micro architecture...



Saturday Morning (2 Comments) (link)
 Saturday, 13-December-2008  09:08:15 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

A study has shown that RTS gaming is good for seniors. Senior gamers who underwent a training session were found to be "significantly better -- and faster -- at switching between tasks as compared to the comparison group" with no training. Working memory, short-term memory of visual cues, reasoning abilities, and the ability to identify rotated objects was also improved after playing Rise of Nations.

There is a new Mac clone out in the market. A company named EFi-X USA plans to offer a desktop PC that could allow customers to create their own Mac systems with the help of an internal adapter that allows many generic PCs to run Mac OS X. The EFi-X USA Millennium 4, as the machine is called, is expected to appeal to gamers and power users thanks to a Core 2 Quad processor overclocked to at least 3.8GHz, 4GB of RAM, a GeForce 8800 GTS video card and both a 150GB, 10,000RPM boot drive and a 1TB, 7,200RPM secondary drive that holds the bulk of the computer’s storage

Google Chrome is coming out of beta. Yesterday at the Le Web 08 conference in Paris, Google VP Marissa Mayer told TechCrunch's Mike Arrington that the move would be happening, but she did not say when. Google representatives have confirmed the Thursday change of status for Chrome. The first people to get the non-beta version will be new users who download the browser directly from Google. Also Thursday, a small proportion of existing Chrome users will automatically get the update. On Friday, all the remaining Chrome users will get the download.

Firefox is apparently a security risk for businesses. Firefox has its plate full when it comes to security. It has grown a substantial enough market share to place it in a strong second after Microsoft. This gives it a high profile and leaves it a desirable target to be exploited by hackers and malware writers. Worse yet, it has less money to fund security efforts that Microsoft, and according to some experts, less focus as well.

What were the most pirated movies of 2008? As 2008 moves toward its end, we have been taking a a look at the most pirated titles in various categories. Following our Top 10 games post where ‘Spore’ headlined, we now take a look at movies. Unsurprisingly, The Dark Knight comes out on top, with the rest of the chart featuring a few surprising entries, and some unexpected absentees.

Google is modifying its search algorithm. Google this week admitted that its staff will pick and choose what appears in its search results. It's a historic statement - and nobody has yet grasped its significance. A few years ago, Google's apparently unimpeachable objectivity got some people excited, and technology utopians began to herald Google as the conduit for a new form of democracy. That Google was impartial was one of the articles of faith. For if Google was applying subjective human judgment directly on the process, it would be akin to the voting machines being rigged.

Should you build computers for family members? We've all been there at one time or another: fixing a family member's computer. It's not a situation I particularly mind, since my family has done countless favors for me over the years. Taking an hour or so every once in a while to sort out their computer issues is the least I can do. When it comes to recommending a new computer, however, I've found myself wondering not only about the price/performance ratio of the machine, but also about what choices could be made to prevent possible issues down the line.

Science is one step closer to displaying thoughts. Researchers at the ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories succeeded in processing and displaying images directly from the human brain, they said in a study unveiled ahead of publication in the US magazine Neuron. While the team for now has managed to reproduce only simple images from the brain, they said the technology could eventually be used to figure out dreams and other secrets inside people's minds.

Today's timewaster is Hands Of War RPG. Choose your allies and slay your enemies on your quest to find the broken pieces of the Heartstone in this Classic Flash RPG



GIGABYTE Core i7 920 Overclocking Guide (0 Comments) (link)
 Friday, 12-December-2008  20:51:58 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Gigabyte just sent over an interesting PDF about overclocking Intel's i7 920 CPU to 4GHz. We just finished a how to piece on overclocking the Core i7 on our X58 boards. It explains (rather simply) the difference between overclocking the Core 2 CPUs and the new Core i7 – ala Hicookie. Obviously it's centred around the use of their products but there's quite a lot of general overclocking and testing info and it's interesting regardless.


click for 2MB PDF


Discussion here in our Intel Hardware forum.



Friday Night (0 Comments) (link)
 Friday, 12-December-2008  20:29:57 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Google is adding magazines to its online book database. The internet search giant, in a posting on the company blog, said it had begun digitising millions of pages from New York Magazine, Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Men's Health, Ebony and other publications. It said the magazines are being scanned in full-colour and made available through Google Book Search, the vast online library created by the company.

Microsoft is joining the fight against AIDS with Windows Vista. Starting later this month, customers will be able to purchase Windows Vista Ultimate in a version that offers some proceeds to Product Red, a charity that works to fight AIDS in Africa. The Windows version is not entirely new, having been sold on several models of Dell PCs since early this year. In addition to providing some cash to the AIDS charity, the Red version of Vista also includes some specially themed wallpaper and sidebar gadgets.

Adobe has developed a new online TARDIS. Adobe's come up with a new tool that could ultimately change the way you look at web browsing. As it stands now, glimpsing back in time means honing your Google-fu, with no real efficient way of looking at a particular page or subject by date. Adobe's Zoetrope tool changes all that. With Zoetrope, a user can look back hours, days, or months by pulling on a scrollbar at the bottom of any given webpage.

A Russian businessman has trademarked an emoticon. Oleg Teterin, president of the mobile ad company Superfone, said Thursday he doesn't plan on tracking down individual users following the decision by the federal patent agency. "Legal use will be possible after buying an annual license from us," he was quoted by Kommersant as saying. "It won't cost that much — tens of thousands of dollars."

SMS abbreviations take twice as long to read as normal writing. Research by an Australian psychology lecturer found that common abbreviations used in mobile phone text messages could sometimes not be understood and were often misinterpreted. Results from the 55 students tested by Nenagh Kemp of the University of Tasmania showed that text-speak saved time for the writer, but the recipient took nearly twice as long - 26 seconds - to read the message out loud. It took 14 seconds to read messages sent in conventional English.

Google has revealed what we have been searching for. The most searched term for Google users in the UK was Facebook while the BBC came second and its iPlayer service was the fastest rising query. The list also reveals what global preoccupations are and this year the US election candidates and the Beijing Olympics figure high. The things people around the globe have in common are a strong interest in socialising and politics, according to Marissa Mayer, vice-president of search at Google.

TweakGuides have examined PC game piracy. If there's a single topic that's guaranteed to cause heated debate among PC gamers today, it's piracy and the impact it's having on the PC gaming industry. Almost every gamer you speak to has a strong opinion on this topic, ranging from full support for piracy to total condemnation of it.

Finally, don't forget the anti-censorship protests tomorrow. If this is your first rally, never fear; it’s a good place to start. The most important thing is your comfort, if you’re worn out, overheated and dehydrated you can’t really get a message home to the public about what you’re protesting for. It’s a good idea to dress to the weather, bring water, comfortable shoes, eat before attending and bring a sign! A cheap piece of board plus a stencil kit can yield a pretty nifty message delivery system. Thread here



Misc Pics (21 Comments) (link)
 Friday, 12-December-2008  12:53:23 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Friday again! Thanks to Wayne, Tim and others for these:

         

         



Thursday Night (10 Comments) (link)
 Thursday, 11-December-2008  21:52:09 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Intel is on track to shrink chips using 32nm technology. Intel said Wednesday that it has completed the development phase of its next manufacturing process that will shrink chip circuits to 32 nanometers. The milestone means that Intel will be able to push faster, more efficient chips starting in the fourth quarter. In a statement, Intel said it will provide more technical details at the International Electron Devices Meeting next week in San Francisco.

What are the most influential games of all time? In just a few decades, interactive games have progressed from abstract tests of eye-hand co-ordination to sprawling and sophisticated virtual worlds that can be simultaneously explored by millions of worldwide players.

It is 40 years since the mother of all demos. The demo that birthed the modern computer mouse - and so much more - was funded by Bob Taylor, a NASA program manager who would one day take his own place among the titans of modern computing. "It's hard to believe now," he explains, "but at the time, even we [Engelbart's fellow researchers] had trouble understanding what he was doing. Think of everyone else out there."

Microsoft has fixed 28 vulnerabilities in its latest patch Tuesday release. Of the 28 bugs quashed today, Microsoft ranked 23 of them critical, the top rating in its four-step scoring system. Of the five others, three were judged to be "important," the next step down, and two were pegged as "moderate." The patches were issued in eight updates for Windows, Internet Explorer, Office, SharePoint, Windows Media, and the company's most popular development tools, Visual Basic and Visual Studio.

Now, from the ridiculous corner is the police action against the baby swinging video. Queensland Police say it is a crime for anyone to even watch a viral video of a man swinging a baby around a room. Chris Illingworth, 60, a father of four from Maroochydore, was charged after he posted the video, which he stumbled across on YouTube, on an internet site. Illingworth's home was raided after he posted the clip on Liveleak. He was charged with using the internet to access and publish child-abuse material. The charge has proven controversial because the baby - reportedly part of a Russian circus family - is shown laughing and smiling at the end of the clip.

Lets look back to Christmas IT ads of old. Every year on TV there are the classic holiday shows. You have A Charlie Brown Christmas. Rudolf the Rednose Reindeer. Frosty the Snowman. Miracle on 34th Street. Interspersed amongst all of these shows are the traditional holiday commercials. It’s always an opportunity for computer companies to goose sales a little bit as well. Here are some classic computer commercials to enjoy with your traditional TV shows.

Today's timewaster is Gravitex. Fire your way through 25 unique levels in this mind bending physics-based game!



Thursday Midday (7 Comments) (link)
 Thursday, 11-December-2008  12:43:58 (GMT +10) - by Agg

If you've been enjoying 2008 so far, you'll be happy to know it's going to be one second longer than last year, thanks Callan. A single leap second will be added at the end of the year to accommodate a subtle slow-down in the Earth's rotation.

I meant to link this a while ago but it got lost.. anyway, a home in Sydney has been turned into one of the largest private computer museums in the world. His collection is vast, from a 1920s Julius Totalisator, the first UNIX PDP-7, a classic DEC PDP-8, the original IBM PC, Apple’s Lisa, MITS Altair 8800, numerous punch cards and over 6000 computer reference books. And more. He happily opened his doors for CIO to take a look.

The UK's Internet Watch Foundation has lifted the ban on Wikipedia. The IWF also acknowledged has its initial ban had the reverse effect that it wished — and spread the image further around the net instead of removing it. Wow, censorship doesn't work on the internet, who woulda thunk it.

I'm having deja-vu about this, but Sun are apparently prepping flash-based servers for next year, thanks Iroquois. This would build upon Sun's earlier embrace of flash in its ZFS storage platform. Sun officials have argued that Flash pushes down the total operational cost of storage, particularly when it comes to data or performance intensive applications.

A stolen laptop has been emailing photos of people using it. The suspects were clearly unaware that the high school uses anti-theft software on their computers, which tracks the stolen computers and takes pictures of its users. Authorities have released pictures of a person who has been using the stolen computer.

Frostytech compared 141 LGA775 heatsinks in their continuing roundup. Intel heatsinks are ranked according to their performance on a 150W heat load, ranging from -50°C to 50°C over ambient! The warmer heatsinks in the chart account for many of the low-noise coolers, sound level data can be found in each of the full 132 detailed reviews.

Phoronix checked out HDMI audio/video on Linux. The last time we looked in-depth at HDMI support on Linux was last December when talking about HDMI with the ATI Catalyst Linux driver. Since then there has been improvements in a number of drivers for different hardware. In this article we have a brief overview on the status of HDMI support in the Intel, NVIDIA, and ATI Linux drivers.

IGN have some insane DIY game mods listed. Gaming is absolutely an obsession for many of us, but this feature is all about saluting those people - the guys and gals who take it to the next level. The freaks (and we mean that in the nicest possible way) with the talent, creativity and - importantly - time, to create truly mind-blowing gaming projects that become part of gamer culture.

Techspot have an Intel Core i7 Memory Performance Guide. Today we are going to look at how various memory frequencies, timings, and configurations influence the memory bandwidth and the real-world performance of Core i7 processors. This is particularly important to not only help you get the most out of your Core i7 CPU, but to potentially save you a lot of money.

From Jessica: All over the world, fans of internet cult sensation Pure Pwnage are in mourning following the announcement that Troy Dixon, who played Halo champion 'T-Bag' died over the weekend in a car accident. He was 27. Info here and here.



Thursday Morning Reviews (0 Comments) (link)
 Thursday, 11-December-2008  07:26:33 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Motherboard
Foxconn DigitaLife ELA on Overclock3D
Foxconn A7DA-S on PC Stats
EVGA nForce 790i SLI FTW Digital PWM on Hot Hardware
Gigabyte MA790GP-DS4H on iXBT Labs
MSI KA790GX-F on CPU3D

RAM
Crucial DDR3 1333 Memory on Bjorn3D
G.Skill DDR3 PC3-12800 CL9 (6GB) on Legion Hardware

PSU
Hiper Type R Mk-II 680W on TechPowerUp
Lian Li Silent Force 850W on Overclockers Club
OCZ ModXStream-Pro 600W on Bjorn3D

Graphics Card
PALIT Radeon HD 4870 512MB on The Tech Lounge
MSI Radeon HD 4830 512MB OC on Legit Reviews
Monthly drivers report and graphics card comparison on iXBT Labs

Cooling
Noctua NH-C12P on Modders-Inc.com
Noctua NH-U12P on OC Mod Shop

Case
Antec Mini P180 on Driver Heaven
NZXT Khaos Classic Series Full Tower on Think Computers
Coolermaster HAF 932 on XSReviews
Lian Li PC-A7010 on Future Looks

Portable
Asus N10Jc-A1 on The Tech Report
Asus Eee 1002HA on I4U News
Mio DigiWalker C520 Portable GPS on Techware Labs

Storage
Samsung SpinPoint F1 1TB on bit-tech.net
LaCie 5big Network on ITReviewed

Lucky Dip
Lowepro CompuPrimus AW Camera Backpack on Future Looks
NZXT Avatar on Techgage
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-G1 on Digital Trends
Razer Moray In-Ear Headphones on Overclock Intelligence Agency
Samsung Pixon M8800 on OC Workbench
Sacred 2: Fallen Angel on Gaming Nexus
HandshoeMouse on Driver Heaven
Lamptron FC-2 Rheobus Fan Controller on Overclock3D
Gothic 3: Forsaken Gods on Gaming Heaven



Photography Gallery (0 Comments) (link)
 Wednesday, 10-December-2008  21:57:29 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Some recent photos from our Photography Gallery forum:



















Wednesday Night Reviews (0 Comments) (link)
 Wednesday, 10-December-2008  21:38:57 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Motherboard
Asus P5N7A-VM on Silent PC Review
Foxconn ELA on X-bit Labs

PSU
Huntkey V-Power 550W on Hardware Secrets
Tuniq Potency 750W on Overclock Intelligence Agency

Case
In Win Matrix on TechPowerUp
Bgears b-Envi mATX on Think Computers
Mainstream Cases on X-bit Labs
CoolerMaster ATCS 840 on Hi-Tech Reviews

GFX Card
Palit Geforce 9800GTX+ on CPU3D
MSI R4670 512MB on Overclockers Club

Portable
18.4" Laptops on Hardware Zone
Axioo PICO DJM 616 Netbook on Hardware Zone

Cooling
Thermaltake V14Pro CPU Cooler on X-bit Labs
Thermaltake Duorb Heatpipe CPU Cooler on Tweaknews
Scythe Ninja 2 on Silent PC Review

Prebuilt
HP TouchSmart IQ506 on Digital Trends
Anitec SilenT3 PC on Silent PC Review
Dell Studio Hybrid on Silent PC Review

Assorted
Crucial 2x2GB Ballistix on Overclockers Online
Nikon Coolpix S610c on TechReviewSource
Logitech ClearChat PC Wireless Headset on Hardware Secrets
Samsung SyncMaster 2343NW on InsideHW
Fusion-io ioDrive on Tweaktown
Legend Of Spyro: Dawn Of The Dragon on Gaming Heaven
Windows Vista SP2 on bit-tech.net



Sponsor Specials (0 Comments) (link)
 Wednesday, 10-December-2008  12:41:05 (GMT +10) - by Agg

It's quite busy in our Sponsor Specials Forum at the moment. In there our many sponsors have discounts and specials on office chairs, hard drives, notebooks, web hosting, cpus+motherboards and lots of other goodies. There's info on university scholarships and you can even win yourself an LCD TV!


Tuesday Afternoon (0 Comments) (link)
 Tuesday, 9-December-2008  15:28:53 (GMT +10) - by Agg

We've seen American, Russian, Chinese and Indian astronauts.. and now the nation of Teddy Bears is represented also. But the mission, led by aerodynamics student Henry Hallam, 21, had a more serious purpose than giving the teddies the ride of their lives.

ArsTechnica wonder if more than 16 cores might be pointless. Frankly I think most people struggle to find a use for more than 2 cores.

DigitalTrends compare 10 home projectors. Throw in a projection screen and you're talking high-quality video viewing at a fraction of the price of a similarly-sized flat-panel set. Following are ten of our favorite home cinema projectors that offer excellent picture on a very large scale.

A NSW Supreme Court judge has ruled erotic simpsons cartoons to be child pornography, upholding a conviction against a man who had them on his PC. The main issue of the case was whether a fictional cartoon character could "depict" a "person" under law. Discussion here.

On a similar note, a Queensland man has been charged for sharing a video (that he did not create) on LiveLeak of someone swinging a baby around. The controversial three-minute video had already been published widely across the internet and shown on American TV news shows. The clip can still be found online today. Discussion here.

InsideHW have a roundup of affordable video cards. All that confusion is worsened thanks to strange nVIDIA product markings and ATi’s stubbornness when it comes to removing of older models, that are replaced with new ones, from the market.

If you grew up in the 80's like me, you might like the upcoming Ghostbusters video game.

Bit-Tech report that EA and 2K Games have licensed nVIDIA's PhysX technology. Tweaktown have an early look at GPU PhysX with Mirror's Edge. Today we get an early look one of the next biggest games to take advantage of GPU PhysX and we even have a video to show you which demonstrates the difference with the physics technology enabled and disabled, side by side.

LostCircuits look into i7's power draw. We have gone through Intel data sheets, and asked their engineers a few direct questions - to which we got direct answers. And then we put 2 and 2 together to show that 240W power draw under nominal conditions can still fit into a 130W TDP.



Tuesday Midday Reviews (0 Comments) (link)
 Tuesday, 9-December-2008  12:36:16 (GMT +10) - by Agg

This big pile of reviews is from Matt:

Video Cards:
Leadtek Graphics Cards on iXBT Labs
Palit Revolution 700 Radeon HD 4870 X2 on Benchmark Reviews
Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe Radeon HD 4870 X2 on Motherboards.org
ATI HD 4870 1GB vs. NVIDIA GTX 260/216 896MB on Techgage
Palit Revolution R700 Deluxe HD4870X2 on Overclockers Club
Zotac Nitro OC video overclocking thingy on bit-tech.net

Cases:
CoolerMaster HAF 932 on Overclock3D
Cooler Master ATCS 840 on Phoronix
NZXT Tempest on Extreme Overclocking

Audio / Visual:
Head-Direct RE0 Earphones on TechPowerUp
Envision G218a1 22" Monitor on OVerclock Intelligence Agency

Portable:
ASUS P320 Mini GPS PDA Phone on Hardware Zone
Lenovo ThinkPad X301 laptop on ITReviewed
HTC Touch Pro smartphone on Digital Trends
ATP PhotoFinder Mini photo geotagger on Metku Mods

Storage:
Kingston DataTraveler 150 32GB on Techware Labs
Seagate FreeAgent Go 320GB on Think Computers
Icy Dock USB/Firewire HDD Enclosure on Tweak News

Motherboards:
ZOTAC nForce 630i-ITX WiFi on Tweaktown
MSI Eclipse SLI on tBreak
MSI Eclipse SLI on bit-tech.net
MSI X58 Platinum on CPU3D
Asus P6T Deluxe X58 on Overclock3D
DFI Lanparty LT X48 T3RS on Bjorn3D

Power Supply:
Lian Li Maxima 750W on Overclockers Online
NorthQ Giant Reactor 1000W on JonnyGURU
Akasa Power 80+ 500w on Driver Heaven

Cooling:
Thermaltake Bigwater 780e ESA on Bjorn3D
Thermaltake Max ORB EX on Bjorn3D
Vantec's AeroFlow FX 120 on Techware Labs
Silverstone Noble Breeze Notebook Cooler on Hardware Logic
CoolerMaster Aquagate MAX on Guru3D
Cooler Master V8 CPU Cooler on PC Perspective
LapLogic G800/W800 Aerogel Extreme laptop cooler on GideonTech

PC Games:
Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm Of Zehir on Gaming Heaven
Gears Of War 2 on Gaming Nexus
A Vampyre Story on bit-tech.net.

Misc:
Epson B-300 Business Inkjet on InsideHW
Cables Unlimited Wireless USB Adapter Kit on Everything USB
Gigabyte GM-M8000 Ghost Gaming Mouse on Tweaktown
G.Skill 2x2GB PC2 6400 on Overclockers Online



YouTube HD (0 Comments) (link)
 Monday, 8-December-2008  13:04:30 (GMT +10) - by Agg

DiGiTaL MoNkEY noticed that YouTube HD has launched, following their quiet move to a widescreen player a week or so ago. Some examples: HotForWords, Fighter Jets, Dolphins, Duck and Coral Reef.

Discussion here.



Monday Morning (12 Comments) (link)
 Monday, 8-December-2008  06:57:16 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

British ISPs are blocking Wikipedia, and vice versa. Six British ISPs are filtering access to Wikipedia after the site was added to an Internet Watch Foundation child-pornography blacklist, according to Wikipedia administrators. As of Sunday morning UK time, certain British web surfers were unable to view at least one Wikipedia article tagged with ostensible child porn. And, in a roundabout way, the filtering has resulted in Wikipedia admins banning large swaths of the United Kingdom from editing the "free encyclopedia anyone can edit."

Should you go out of your way to buy a Core 2 engineering sample? Everyone loves Intel ES (Engineering Sample) processors, don't they? They used to be very limited units used within Intel and sent to select (lucky) reviewers. For years, everyone has been chasing for these processors since they used to have their multipliers unlocked. Now, that's an overclocker's wet dream come true!

Bit-tech have posted the finalists for their mod of the month competition. It feels like the last few months have flown by at bit-tech HQ and November was no exception. There are a lot of things I'm working on behind the scenes at the moment with our new overlords. A large portion of what I have been working on revolves around solidifying the great modding community we have here at bit-tech. I can't say much more than that right now because details are still being finalised, but I hope to be able to talk more about what I've been working on soon.

The International Space Station is 10 years old. But starting more than a decade ago, the space race gave way to cooperation between the onetime Cold War foes, along with partners from other nations, in what has become an endurance event: the construction, maintenance, occupation, and operation of the International Space Station. The first piece of what would become the space station--the Russian-built FGB, also called Zarya--lifted off from Earth on November 20, 1998.

Neoseeker is the next victim in our gift guide series. Well it's that time a year again: snow might be falling, Halloween has been forgotten, and our televisions are about to be tortured with endless sappy holiday specials -- that's right, Christmas is almost upon us! We tried to include a price range of items on our list. From free to $600, there should be something within everyone's budget here.

Now here's something you don't see every day. My current project is a 1/6th scale Chevrolet 327 cu in V8. Based on a 1964 365 hp Corvette motor, measurements have been taken from an actual engine as to be most accurate. The head and block began as billet aluminum that have been painstakingly machined on a Bridgeport-style mill. The 5-main crank has real babbit bearings, while the cam is a scale 30-30 Duntov.

Its the time for another epic lego creation. Do you remember the gigantic terraforming spaceship arriving to the Aliens' planet to drop the entire colony? You know, the one carrying the whole thing? Yeah, me neither. But this Lego Explorien Colony Ship is exactly how I imagine it.

Today's timewaster is Transform Homelessness. All you have to do is create a pair of butterfly wings—Mission Australia’s symbol of positive transformation—of your own. Because for every butterfly created, Bayer will donate $1 to help Mission Australia transform the lives of the most disadvantaged people in our communities. We’re aiming for a $60,000 donation—and that means we need 60,000 people to create 60,000 butterflies. Discussion here.



Interesting Forum Threads (2 Comments) (link)
 Sunday, 7-December-2008  21:25:57 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Hope your weekend turned out ok. :)

Charity Wireless Network for Royal Adelaide Hospital in Networking, Telephony and Internet.
Corsair Power Supply Survey in Overclocking & Hardware.
New WoW mouse with 15 buttons in Overclocking & Hardware.
ASUS, MSI and GIGABYTE List AM3 supportive AM2 and AM2+ Mobos in AMD Hardware.
Opera 10.0 Alpha released in General Software.
BSOD debugging basics guide in Troubleshooting Help.
Vista SP2 Public Beta is out in Windows Operating Systems.
Windows market share drops below 90% in Windows Operating Systems.
What's your distro like? I need a new one in Other Operating Systems.
GTA4 coming to PC in Games.
Real Time RayTracer in Graphics and Programming.
First Look At Nvidia's 55nm GeForce GTX 260 in Video Cards.
ASUS adds Radeon HD3400 series to Eee Box (nettop) in Portable and Small Form Factor.
New Xbox Arcade Units To Pack 256MB Internal Storage in Game Consoles.
Your top 5 albums of 2008 in Entertainment.
Decent comedy movies of late? in Entertainment.
Post the music you make in Musicians.
something different... mosaic bird bath worklog in Other Toys.
James Squire - Sundown Lager in Geek Grog.
40y/o bottle of vodka in Geek Grog.
NSW passes laws to phase out unleaded, replace with ethanol blends in Current Events.
Pair helped download 14M movies: police in Current Events.
Transform Homelessness - help raise $60k with a few clicks in The Pub.



MSI Eclipse SLI (0 Comments) (link)
 Sunday, 7-December-2008  12:44:11 (GMT +10) - by Agg

The latest on windwithme's testbed is MSI's Eclipse SLI LGA1366 board with i7 965 Extreme CPU:


click for the thread!



Sunday Morning (0 Comments) (link)
 Sunday, 7-December-2008  08:47:34 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Google is continuing cutting costs to survive the economic crisis. Like it or not, Google is widely considered to be a leader within the technology industry. Flagship companies such as themselves, Apple, and Microsoft are important companies to watch during a market downturn. Downsizing at these multibillion dollar corporations are viewed as a devastating reminder that even the strongest companies aren’t immune to the decline.

An British doctor has performed an amputation using SMS. The operation was very complex and required the boy’s collarbone and shoulder blade to be removed. Nott needed guidance on how to perform the task and so sent an SMS to Meirion Thomas a London-based surgeon who the conducts most of the UK's forequarter amputations. Thomas replied with a 10-step guide for the operation and signed off with “Easy! Good luck!”

The Tech Report have posted a guide on how to have a successful LAN party. LAN parties have become the great American nerd pastime, at least among my group of friends. D&D is out and L4D is in. (Sorry, d20 fans.) If you haven't gotten together with a bunch of chums, connected your PCs together, and proceeded to frag each other in a caffeine and pizza-fueled stupor until the sun comes up... well, then you just haven't lived. And yes, if just reading that sentence embarrasses you, it is as nerdy as it sounds.

TorrentFreak have compiled a list of the top 10 pirated games of 2008. As 2008 is slowly moving toward its end, we start taking a look at the most pirated titles in various categories. First up are games. As expected, Spore is by far the most downloaded game on BitTorrent, in part thanks to the DRM that came with the game. Traditionally, games can’t compete with the most pirated movies and TV-shows in actual download numbers, but Spore came very close this year.

Are there any better input methods for laptops out there? The subject for this week is input devices. How small can the keys be? Can the keys be virtual? Trackpad? Mouse? Rolling ball? Touch screen? Voice? If you are reading all articles I am writing here you already know that I am a big fan of the traditional mouse and the traditional keyboard. I’ve tried all sorts of devices and in my personal experience the traditional mouse is the fastest one. But there are some things that could be done on notebooks to enhance mouse usage.

You can now make calls on an iPod Touch. A freeware application for the iPod Touch can turn the music player into a virtual mobile phone. Truphone uses wi-fi technology in an iPod Touch to allow users to make calls to other iPod Touch owners and Google Talk's messaging service users. The software is a spin-off from technology Truphone developed for smartphones and iPhones.

If you don't want an iPhone, check out these 10 alternatives. High-priced plans, dropped calls and bumpy 3G connections? Now that the glimmer has faded, the iPhone is starting to fall short of its miracle status. Good thing for us there are plenty of other mobile handsets eager to step up and feed our desire for smartphone bliss.

mr.daneo sends word that the iPod can now act as a breathalyser. Not only can this cool gizmo save you from career-ending embarrassment, it can potentially save you thousands of dollars in legal fees and jail time. And if keeping you safe and out of the jail isn't enough, this clever & innovative breathalyzer doubles as an iPod FM transmitter that transmits your iPod tunes to any FM tuner.

Tech ARP have updated their desktop graphics card comparison guide. These days, there are so many graphics card models that it has become quite impossible to keep up with the different configurations. Therefore, we decided to compile this guide to provide an easy reference for those who are interested in comparing the specifications of the various desktop GPUs in the market as well as those already obsolescent or obsolete.



Saturday Morning Reviews (0 Comments) (link)
 Saturday, 6-December-2008  09:25:59 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Motherboard
Intel X58 Motherboard Roundup on Anandtech
Gigabyte EG45M-DS2H on Techgage
Albatron KI780G mini-ITX on Tweaktown
AMD IGP Chipset and Motherboard Showdown on Hardware Zone

RAM
Triple Channel Memory on Legit Reviews
Elixir DDR3-1600 4Gb Kit on CPU3D
A-DATA Vitesta DDR3-1333MHz 3x1GB Kit on Tweaktown

PSU
Dark Power Pro 850w on Overclock3D
OCZ ModXStream Pro 600W on PC Perspective
Hiper Type M 780W on TechPowerUp
MSI Turbostream 600W on Hardware Secrets
OCZ ModXtream PRO 600W on Guru3D
Antec Signature 850W on bit-tech.net
Lian Li 750W Maxima Force Series on Big Bruin
FSP Power Mod 700W on Red & Blackness

Storage
1TB Hard Drive Roundup on The Tech Lounge
Eagle iNeo I-NA205UE Docking Station with Enclosure on Bjorn3D

GFX Card
EVGA GTX-280 SLI on Bjorn3D
Palit GeForce 9800 GTX+ on X-bit Labs
Palit Revolution R700 Deluxe on VR Zone
HIS HD 4650 iSilence 4 512MB on Bjorn3D
GeForce 180 driver trio on TechConnect Magazine
ATI FirePro V8700 on Hot Hardware

Games
City Of Heroes on Gaming Nexus
Grand Theft Auto IV (PC) on bit-tech.net
World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King on YouGamers
Killzone 2 Multiplayer Beta on Gaming Nexus
The Legend of Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon on Gaming Nexus

Case
CoolerMaster HAF 932 on Overclock3D
AeroCool AeroRacer Pro on Legit Reviews
Thermaltake Spedo on bit-tech.net
Thermaltake's Spedo Advance Package on The Tech Report
Coolermaster Sileo 500 on CPU3D

Cooling
Danamics LM10 on Nordic Hardware
Antec USB Notebook Cooler 200 on Everything USB
Thermalright TRUE Copper Ultra-120 eXtreme on X-bit Labs
GELID Wing 12 120mm Gamer Fan on Overclockers Online
Thermaltake SpinQ on Overclockers Club

Miscellanious
Samsung T260HD HDTV Monitor on ITReviewed
Nero 9 on TechReviewSource
Ergotron Neo-Flex Notebook Stand on Future Looks
All-in-One Printers on Digital Trends
Gateway FX6800-01e on Digital Trends
Toshiba Qosmio F50 on InsideHW
AeroCool CoolPanel 3 Color LCD Multi-Function Panel on Think Computers
Gigiabyte GK-K8000 Ghost Gaming Keyboard on Tweaktown
OpenSolaris 2008.05 vs. OpenSolaris 2008.11 on Phoronix
Samsung Propel on Digital Trends
Nova Overslide on XSReviews
ATI Avivo Converter and NVIDIA Badaboom on PC Perspective
QNAP TS-509 Pro on TechPowerUp
Gaming Mouse Roundup (translation) on TweakPC.de



Saturday Morning (2 Comments) (link)
 Saturday, 6-December-2008  07:45:44 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

The Tech Lounge have a toys for tots raffle. Today we are launching a raffle benefiting the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program. The objectives of Toys for Tots are to help needy children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas; to play an active role in the development of one of our nation's most valuable natural resources - our children. For every $5 you donate, you will receive one chance to win one of over 80 prizes, including the Grand Prize: a custom-made, hand-painted SmoothCreations PC gaming system, equipped with some of the latest high performance gear on the market.

Opposition to the government's internet filter is growing with GetUp raising over $30,000 in less than a day. The money will be put towards an advertising blitz designed to inform the public of the consequences of the plan, which experts say include slower internet speeds, significant false positives, failure to stop people from subverting the filters and the risk that the blacklist will be expanded to include the blocking of regular pornography, political views, gambling and pro-abortion sites. Meanwhile, the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy continued to dodge questions regarding the scheme in Senate question time.

Red & Blackness have another silent PC guide. These days everyone wants a quiet computer, it doesnt matter if its a stationary, laptop or HTPC they are all supposed to perform at all times with the smallest amount cooling possible. That equation does not really go together that well, todays computer parts put out a amazing amount of heat so there will be noise until we figure out another way to keep the parts cool. Today I am going to try to build a HTPC that is as quiet as possible but still performs quite well.

Digital Trends are rounding up ways to stream video and audio in your house. Who could’ve guessed even a few years ago that our beloved PCs – machines once reserved strictly for productivity, web surfing and email – would one day be a hub for all things entertainment-related, including music, TV shows, feature films, home movies, video games, radio, audiobooks, digital photos and more? Then again, perhaps it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise, considering that a hard drive can store large amounts of media, and broadband Internet connectivity serves as a fast and convenient distribution method for beaming content from cyberspace to your space.

The BitTorrent tracker MovieX has been taken down by Australian Police. The site, thought to have as many as 400,000 users, is being blamed for the ‘transfer’ of 14 million movies and TV shows. So far, two people have been arrested. Moviex Leeches From The BitTorrent CommunityLast year, semi-private BitTorrent site MovieX hit the headlines after it was accused of diverting upload bandwidth from users of The Pirate Bay, to its own tracker.

NASA has stopped attempts to contact the Phoenix Lander. NASA will try in the Martian Spring to contact Phoenix. NASA missions on Mars have been used to conduct a wide variety of scientific experiments. Much of the scientific scrutiny from NASA and other space agencies centers on Mars. NASA launched Mars Phoenix lander in August of 2007 and sent it speeding towards Mars.

NASA has also delayed the next Rover mission to the red planet. MSL was scheduled to fly next year, but the mission has been dogged by testing and hardware problems. The rover's launch would now be postponed until late 2011, agency officials said. The mission is using innovative technologies to explore whether microbial life could ever have existed on the Red Planet.

Only 20 days left until Christmas, so time for another gift guide. Even if you can’t manipulate time and space like Hiro Nakamura, the holidays present an excellent opportunity for you to travel and visit with relatives. During this festive time of the year, you may be inundated with cranberry sauce and awkward hugs from your old aunt Ruth, but this does not mean that you have to leave your love for technology behind. Come on. You know that it’s simply not possible for you to disconnect from the Internet for the entire holiday season.



Misc Pics (21 Comments) (link)
 Friday, 5-December-2008  13:55:11 (GMT +10) - by Agg

And so begins the slow descent into madness.. well, Christmas.

         

         



Friday Morning (11 Comments) (link)
 Friday, 5-December-2008  06:58:08 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Dan has more letters! RAID, cleaning LCDs, noisy SSDs, missing RAM and modular PSUs

There are protests planned to stop the clean feed on Saturday, the 13th of December. National protests are being planned to increase awareness of the filtering plan and let the politicians know what we think of it. Check the Posters And Flyers page for ways to help spread the word about the protests.

Logitech has produced over a billion computer mice. Logitech's description comes at a time when analysts claim the days of the mouse are numbered. "It's rare in human history that a billionth of anything has been shipped by one company," said Logitech's general manager Rory Dooley. "Look at any other industry and it has never happened. This is a significant milestone," he told the BBC.

Do you know what a computer virus is? A serious side-effect of the information super-highway is misinformation. An example: Hollywood would have us believe that a computer virus is something supernatural that can be seen under an electron microscope as either a bunch of complex, DNA-like geometric shapes, or something that looks like the offspring of a dust-mite and one of those enzymes on the Persil ads.

Valve's president has joined the bolstering ranks of the anti-DRM crowd. "As far as DRM goes, most DRM strategies are just dumb. The goal should be to create greater value for customers through service value (make it easy for me to play my games whenever and wherever I want to), not by decreasing the value of a product (maybe I'll be able to play my game and maybe I won't)," Newell said in an email to a fan named Paul Reisinger

Microsoft is claiming the Xbox outsold the PS3 on black Friday. The console wars are still raging even though all three of the top-tier consoles are getting older now. Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo are battling for the gamers dollars and Microsoft has claimed a victory over Sony for the all-important Black Friday shopping dollars. Microsoft announced that the Xbox 360 had record-breaking sales over the Black Friday/Thanksgiving weekend.

Scientists have discovered a new way to assemble nanotechnology. When it comes to nanodevices, scientists have no problem cooking up interesting designs. However, when it comes to actually assembling such machines on a nanoscale, it can be a daunting task. The new method uses lasers and holograms to position multiple nanoparticles within seconds, much faster than previously possible.

It is officially the crazy synchronised lights season. This Xmas light display, which is in its second year running by a couple named Willy and Deb, has a rotating array of music that's synced to their flashing lights; a technique pioneered by this family back in 2005ish. Watch and enjoy. It runs from 5:30 PM to 12:30 AM Eastern from now to Xmas.



Thursday Afternoon Reviews (0 Comments) (link)
 Thursday, 4-December-2008  18:28:01 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Motherboard
MSI IM-945GSE-A on Tweaktown
MSI DKA790GX Platinum on Viper Lair

RAM
G.Skill Pi Black PC2-6400 4GB Kit on DriverHeaven.

GFX Card
Sapphire Radeon HD4830 on Big Bruin
Custom Sparkle 9800 GTX+ on Madshrimps
Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe HD 4870 X2 2GB on Tweaktown
Sapphire HD 4830 512MB on Overclockers Club

PSU
E- Power Thunder 650W on Overclockers Online
Hiper M 1000W on Driver Heaven
AXP Supernova 1000W & 800W on XSReviews
BFG MX-550W on Hardware Secrets

Storage
G.Skill, Intel & Patriot SSD on Bit-Tech.net
Patriot Xporter Magnum 64GB Pen Drive on Tweaktown
Promise SuperTrak EX8650 SAS RAID Controller on Xbit Labs
EXT4 File-System on Phoronix

Games
Left 4 Dead (PC) on OCModShop.
Grand Theft Auto IV (PC) on Gaming Heaven

Case
Philips amBX Premium Kit on I4U.
Tagan A+ El Diablo on Overclockers Club
NZXT Tempest on Techware Labs
Tagan A+ El Diablo Advance Case on Hardware Secrets
Lian-Li PC-60FW on Virtual Hideout
Antec Micro Fusion Remote 350 on ASE Labs

Mystery Reviews
Sennheiser HD 595 Headphones on The Tech Lounge
Vizo mini Ninja II Notebook Cooler on TechPowerUp.
Xilence Duo Dual Heatpipe Passive Memory Cooler on Think Computers
Zotac Nitro VGA Overclocking Controller on TechPowerUp
Altec Lansing SoundBar FX3020 on Techware Labs
Ace KUC500 Slick Touch Keyboard on Red & Blackness
Dell XPS 730 on Hardware Zone
Canon Powershot G10 on Digital Trends
Asus My Cinema-U3100Mini TV Tuner on Overclockers Club



Thursday Afternoon (2 Comments) (link)
 Thursday, 4-December-2008  17:23:49 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Google is scaling back the number of experimental projects. Schmidt told the Journal that Google is "not going to give" an engineer 20 people to work with on certain experimental projects anymore. "When the cycle comes back," he said, "we will be able to fund his brilliant vision." The newspaper report came as Trip Chowdhry, an analyst for Global Equities Research, said he expects Google to post revenue of $US15.71 billion ($A24.36 billion) this year, $US15.23 billion next year and $US14.57 billion in 2010.

Apple's laptops are set to get liquid cooling. On November 27, the United States Patent and Trademark Office published patent application number 20080291629, originally filed by Apple on May 22 of last year and entitled "Liquid-cooled portable computer." The application's abstract describes a "computer system" that "includes a power source that is coupled to a heat pipe, where the power source includes an integrated circuit" and in which a "pump...coupled to the heat pipe is configured to circulate the liquid coolant through the heat pipe."

London is becoming the next piracy battle zone. The Motion Picture Association, U.K. Film Council, UK Intellectual Property Office, Federation Against Copyright Theft, London Councils, Trading Standards and the Police are teaming up to eliminate DVD piracy in London before the 2012 Olympics. Intellectual Property Minister David Lammy endorsed the launch of the ambitious ‘Fake Free London’ project, noting that the police will be required to enforce already-existing laws.

Does you web browser disappoint you? We asked three of our writers to take some lesser-known browsers out for a spin and see how they do. They chose six candidates: Camino (for the Mac), Maxthon (for the PC), OmniWeb (for the Mac), Opera (both the Mac and the PC versions) and Shiira (for the Mac). Which is the best? It all depends on what you need from a browser.

Britney Spears is more popular than Obama. Of the billions of searches carried out on the portal, Yahoo.com, over the last year, Mr Obama was third behind Spears and World Wrestling Entertainment. Mr Obama was, however, the most searched-for politician during 2008. The subjects of the most sought-after news stories were hurricanes, Caylee and Casey Anthony, and election 2008.

Cnet show us the way the Vietnamese unlock iPhones. Every obstacle presents an opportunity. I saw this firsthand in Hanoi. The obstacle in question: the iPhone 3G. Since its launch, it has proven a much tougher nut to crack than the original iPhone. Without a viable software-based unlock solution, the only way to make the phone work with any GSM carrier has been the use of a proxy SIM. Put this piece of very thin circuitboard in the iPhone 3G atop the carrier's SIM, and you can make calls and text on a new network.

uTorrent is switching to UDP. In a new alpha version of the popular BitTorrent client µTorrent, uTP has been made the default instead of TCP. uTP sends the actual downloads over the UDP protocol rather than TCP. The existing version 1.8.1 also supports uTP, but it's not enabled by default. This simple swapping of the transport protocol that sits between the IP layer and the application has gotten our friends over at The Register all worked up.

Businesses are turning to old computers to get cheap XP licenses. In recent times, there have been quite a few reports about some enterprises having professed their liking for Windows XP. The consumers and enterprises that have vowed to abstain from Windows Vista, or plan on running old software owned by them, are scampering for used XP-toting PCs.



PC Authority 2008 Reliability and Service Awards (5 Comments) (link)
 Thursday, 4-December-2008  14:44:32 (GMT +10) - by Rezin

The results for PC Authority's 2008 Reliability and Service Awards survey have been published.

More than 20,000 people filled out the survey, covering 130 brands and over 16 categories, to determine the best & worst technology of 2008.

The survey gives the tech buying public the opportunity to have their say about which brands they love, and which they don't. Voters rated the brands they own according to customer support, reliability, value for money, and importantly, whether they would buy the same brand again.


Congratulations to the award winners, and to OCAU sponsor IT Estate for winning the Best Online Retailer award!



Thursday Morning Reviews (2 Comments) (link)
 Thursday, 4-December-2008  04:30:26 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Audio / Visual:
Sennheiser HD 595 Headphones on TheTechLounge.
SouthWing SF605 Bluetooth Car Kit on LegitReviews.

Motherboards:
ECS A780GM-A Ultra AMD 780G+SB750 AM2+ board on OCWorkbench.
Intel X58 Smackover LGA1366 board on Bjorn3D.
Asus P6T Deluxe LGA1366 board on Bit-Tech.

Cases:
Thermaltake Spedo Advance Package on OCClub.
Antec Veris Fusion Remote Max Premium Home Theater on Tweaknews.
SilverStone Fortress FT01 on Phoronix.
NZXT Whisper on Modders-Inc.

Video Cards:
Palit Revolution 700 Deluxe Radeon HD 4870 X2 2GB on ThinkComputers.
Zotac Nitro OC Controller VGA overclocking tool on HWZone.
NVIDIA Quadro FX 5800 & 4800 professional cards on TechARP.
XFX GTX260 Black Edition on InsideHW.
Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 Toxic on OCModShop.

Portable:
HTC Touch Diamond smartphone on DigitalTrends.
ASUS Lamborghini VX3 on TBreak.
ASUS G71V Gaming Laptop on ITReviewed.

Storage:
In-Win 'NA USB Hard Drive Enclosure on CPU3D.
USB Super Kid Flash Drive on Pro-Clockers.
Thecus N4100PRO Networked Area Storage on Bjorn3D.



Wednesday Night (14 Comments) (link)
 Wednesday, 3-December-2008  21:31:23 (GMT +10) - by Agg

From Dan: Thought you might want to get behind this cause: Desert Bus for Hope. This Youtube video gives a good idea of what it is like. More info: Every year, (well, every year since last year,) we put on this gaming marathon for Child's Play, that requires us to play the world's most boring video game "Desert Bus" for as long as you, the viewers, keep donating to buy hours. Each hour costs a little bit more than the last, though. Last year's drive went 108 hours long, and raised $22,805.

Tech-Report explored memory speed on i7. The Core i7's triple-channel DDR3 memory controller offers mind-boggling peak theoretical bandwidth, but does the CPU need fancy DIMMs to excel? Join us as we explore the performance impact of memory bus speed, latencies, and even the number of channels on a couple of Core i7 processors.

NVIDIA has released a "power pack" for GeForce owners, about 1GB of software showing off PhysX and CUDA etc. Details here, discussion here.

From David: I thought TrueCrypt might be useful as some people in the forums are having problems with the microsft version of 'secure my files' if they have lost the encryption key.

PayPal Australia are copping some flack for using modified currency images in their advertising. PayPal super-imposed police and military helmets on each of the individuals pictured on the notes to imply enhanced safety and fraud protection for its users.

Rockstar Games reckon the PC version of GTA4 sold in Australia will be unmodified, even though the console versions had to be modified for classification here. GamesOnNet have more info from the Classifications Board about this.

Tweaktown have been overclocking an i7 920 CPU. Being the optimist I am, I thought I would go straight to 4.2GHz (hey, it’s worth a try) and while it got into Windows without too much drama, firing up prime found us quickly greeted with a BSOD. Dropping to 4GHz increased stability, but since the system must be 100% stable, a further drop to 3.8GHz was the perfect point.

LegionHW compared GeForce GTX 260 (216SP) and Radeon HD4870 video cards. The GeForce GTX 260 (216SP) is now matching the price of the Radeon HD 4870 (1GB), and we have even found examples online that are much cheaper, so price is no longer a concern. There is also no longer any concern with the performance of the GeForce GTX 260 (216SP), particularly when focusing on the more recently released titles.

iXbit meanwhile compared flash drives. Today we are going to review seven interesting USB drives from different manufacturers. The products differ in capacity, performance and functionality. Some of them are well-known, some are less known, and one drive is a newcomer.

GoN also have a video report from eGames 2008 in Melbourne. The event's now in its third year, and this time, we took the video camera and have prepared for you the Games On Net Video Report - showing you everything that you missed out on!

knowsfords pointed out this cool timewaster, where you use the arrows to make the stream fill the box things.. you'll work it out.



Ingraham by slipperyskip (0 Comments) (link)
 Wednesday, 3-December-2008  15:02:22 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Looks like slipperyskip has finished his most recent project:


Click for the PCDB entry!

There's a detailed worklog in the forums. Some of my favourite previous mods from slipperyskip are here, here and here.



Interesting Forum Threads (0 Comments) (link)
 Tuesday, 2-December-2008  16:44:24 (GMT +10) - by Agg

A quick snapshot from the forums:

Getting into microcontrollers in Electronics.
Black Mesa: Source - A Half-Life 2 Modification in Games.
Do you have a gamer wife? in Games.
Whats with driver sizes these days? in Video Cards.
Triple Screen (3x24"s) - Best way to do it? in Video Cards.
Project: DrawPC in Modding.
Silverstone TJ09, Ferrari "Rosso Corsa" Red Paint in Modding.
Hennels' Tech Bench Build in Modding.
Scratch Built MDF Torrent Box in Modding.
Seagate New Firmware for Freezing 1.5TB HDDs in Storage & Backup.
Hold On, This Console Generation Will Be Long in Game Consoles.
How to set up a guitar: All types, Stringings, and Electronics in Musicians.
Post Your Moon Jupiter and Venus Shots in Photography.
Lightbox from materials around the house! in Photography.
The Use of Nuclear Explosives To Disrupt or Divert Asteroids in Science.
'Boris' 1954 Morris Minor Ute Project in Motoring.
NSW students to get netbooks in 2009 in Current Events.
Skaife Bankrupt in Current Events.
Russian hackers infiltrated into Pentagon in Current Events.
Late-night IT food. I'm sick of it in Geek Food.



Tuesday Afternoon Reviews (0 Comments) (link)
 Tuesday, 2-December-2008  15:06:40 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Motherboard
Gigabyte X48-DQ6 on Viper Lair
ASUS Rampage II Extreme on Techgage
ASUS P6T X58 Deluxe on Benchmark Reviews
ASUS P6T X58 Deluxe on Neoseeker
MSI P6NGM on Viper Lair

RAM
OCZ Platinum Edition PC3-16000 2x1GB on Hardware Logic
OCZ PC3-10666 Gold 2x1GB on Sharky Extreme

GFX Card
PowerColor HD 4830 on Overclockers Club
Sapphire Radeon HD 4650 512MB OC on Phoronix
Asus 9800 GTX+ Dark Knight on Bjorn3D

Storage
Intel X25-M SSD on InsideHW
Seagate FreeAgent XTreme 1.5TB External HDD on Everything USB
Patriot 128GB Warp SSD on Bjorn3D
Western Digital My Passport Studio 320GB Portable HDD on Future Looks
Patriot Warp v2 SSD on Benchmark Reviews

Case
Xclio 1000 Full Tower on Hi-Tech Reviews
Antec Skeleton on Virtual Hideout
Antec Veris Fusion Black HTPC Case on Legit Reviews
NZXT Guardian 921 on XSReviews
Thermaltake MD9 on Legion Hardware

Games
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia on bit-tech.net
Left 4 Dead on Guru3D
WOW: Wrath Of The Lich King on Gaming Heaven
SAS Secure Tomorrow on Gaming Nexus
Dokapon Kingdom on Gaming Nexus
Need for Speed Undercover on I4U
Call of Duty: World at War, Dead Space, Fallout 3, Far Cry 2 and Left 4 Dead on PC Perspective
Guitar Hero: World Tour on Trusted Reviews

Pick 'n' Mix
Generic PSU on JonnyGuru
AMD's 'Shanghai' 45nm Opterons on The Tech Report
Zotac Nitro on Tweaktown
Sony Ericsson C902 on Digital Trends
Sitecom WL-308 Wireless Gigabit Router on bit-tech.net
Samsung L210 Digital Camera on Techware Labs
Keysonic ACK-612 RF Wireless Multimedia Keyboard on Overclock3D
Nintendo DS Lite Ice Blue Pack on Hardware Secrets
LG 26LG3000 26in LCD TV on Trusted Reviews
EK Water Blocks 4870 X2 on PureOC
Brando Wireless Tiny Multimedia Keyboard on Extreme Mhz
Terminator 2 HD on Tweaktown
The New Xbox Experience on Hot Hardware
Razer Boomslang Collector's Edition 2007 Gaming Mouse on Techware Labs
Thermaltake RamORB on Techware Labs



Forum Articles (0 Comments) (link)
 Tuesday, 2-December-2008  14:30:03 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Some interesting projects from the forums:


windwithme checked out the
GIGABYTE GA-EP45-UD3P

dinos_22 thrashed GB's X58-UD5
Corsair 1866 and Intel i7 920

while Salad_Fingers has a
few watercooling bits..



Tuesday Morning (1 Comments) (link)
 Tuesday, 2-December-2008  07:57:56 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

The internet filter is being slammed by child welfare groups. Holly Doel-Mackaway, adviser with Save the Children, the largest independent children's rights agency in the world, said educating kids and parents was the way to empower young people to be safe internet users. She said the filter scheme was "fundamentally flawed" because it failed to tackle the problem at the source and would inadvertently block legitimate resources. Furthermore there was no evidence to suggest that children were stumbling across child pornography when browsing the web. Doel-Mackaway believes the millions of dollars earmarked to implement the filters would be far better spent on teaching children how to use the internet safely and on law enforcement.

Firefox and Vista have both broken 20% market share. NetApplications has released data for November so it’s time once again to dig through the trends: Note: I know that many of you distrust NetApplications data, but remember that we are only using them to look at trends. Also, let’s remember that as far as Mozilla is concerned, NetApplications data is good enough.

Are you obsessed with audio quality, but still want to move your music to computer? If you're one of those people in search of the holy grail of audio fidelity, there's no doubt that using a PC as a complete front-end solution has probably crossed your mind at one time or another. Saving your entire music library to a hard drive and having all your favorite tracks just a few clicks away is certainly appealing, but what about the sound playback quality? Can it compete with dedicated disc transports costing thousands of dollars?

The internet is breeding a new generation of hypochondriacs. A team at Microsoft studied health-related Web searches on popular search engines and surveyed 515 employees about their health-related searching. Web searches had the potential to escalate fears - like a headache was caused by a brain tumour, for example. Experts said people concerned about their health should see a doctor.

Greenpeace is attacking Apple's green image. Perhaps Steve Jobs and company were tempting fate when Apple announced in a recent series of ads that the MacBooks were "the world's greenest family of notebooks", referencing their power saving use of Intel processors and their halogen and plastic free construction. Unsurprisingly, Greenpeace was there to punch a hole in Apple's dreams

Is high school actually worth it? Is the child father to the man? Or is the woman a reaction to the child she was? Maybe each of us is the result of a combination of straight lines and U-turns on our life's journey. We asked nine IT leaders to reflect on their high school selves and how their younger personas affected the adults they've become and the careers they've forged. Their insights are surprising, funny, tender and wise.

Google Street View is debuting in New Zealand. Google is expected to launch the New Zealand version of its Street View mapping application tomorrow. Street View has encountered opposition in Europe and North America, because pedestrians and vehicles can be made out in some pictures.

Microsoft is allowing DX10 to be run off the CPU. If your graphics card doesn't support DirectX 10 or 10.1, don't worry about it, Microsoft has your back. The resourceful programmers at Redmond are working on a new component called WARP10 (Windows Advanced Rasterization Platform) to be included in Windows 7, which essentially ports DX10 duties to the CPU.

The nuclear shield's laser has been fired at full power. "This test demonstrated that the Airborne Laser missile defense program has successfully integrated the entire weapon system aboard the ABL aircraft," said Scott Fancher, jumbo-blaster veep at Boeing. "The team has now completed the two major milestones it hoped to accomplish in 2008, keeping ABL on track to conduct the missile shootdown demonstration planned for next year."



Go Outside, Look Up (4 Comments) (link)
 Monday, 1-December-2008  20:18:39 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Between 8 and 10pm tonight there's a big smiley face in the sky. No, really. :) Discussion here.


OCAU Mandatory Internet Filtering Poll (5 Comments) (link)
 Monday, 1-December-2008  16:18:31 (GMT +10) - by Agg

I've made a simple poll to get the general feeling of our members about the proposed mandatory internet filtering in Australia. The poll is in this thread. For some background info on the issue, see our Wiki page.


Monday Afternoon Reviews (5 Comments) (link)
 Monday, 1-December-2008  15:51:11 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Motherboard
ECS A790GXM-A ‘Black Series’ on Tbreak
Intel X58 Motherboards on Hardware Zone

GFX card
ASUS EN9800GT HybridPower on motherboards.org
Sapphire HD 4830 on Bjorn3D

Storage
Intel 80GB SSD on Bjorn3D
G.Skill 64GB SSD on Bjorn3D
ATP EarthDrive 4GB on Darkvision Hardware

Case
Antec Three Hundred on Techware Labs
NZXT Rogue Computer Case on Red & Blackness
GIGABYTE Poseidon 310 (translation) on Tweak PC

Game
Left 4 Dead on Gamepyre
Star Wars Force Unleashed PSP on Gamepyre

Mix & Match
Fujitsu-Siemens Esprimo Mobile U9210 on Trusted Reviews
Nerf N-Strike Vulcan EBF-25 Machine Gun on I4U
Thermaltake MaxOrb EX CPU Cooler on Think Computers
Denon DHT-FS5 X-Space Soundbar on Trusted Reviews
Canon PowerShot A590 IS on Tech Review Source
Logitech V550 Nano on InsideHW
Microsoft LifeCam Show on Hardware Pacers
Foldable Multi Notebook Stand on Think Computers
HTC Touch HD on Hardware Zone
TomTom GO 540 LIVE Sat-Nav on Trusted Reviews
Optoma GameTime GT3000 Projector on Trusted Reviews



Doug's Boxes (0 Comments) (link)
 Monday, 1-December-2008  12:16:35 (GMT +10) - by Agg

Doug75 posted details of a few custom PC's he's been working on, including this one which I quite liked the look of. I have destroyed about 4 PC cases, a laser printer and an old washing machine for bits to build this with.


click for the thread!



Monday Morning (0 Comments) (link)
 Monday, 1-December-2008  07:44:48 (GMT +10) - by matthudson

Adobe is set to include video-object manipulation in After Effects. An After Effects demonstration shows an editor selecting the outside of a cab and typing "taxi" -- once the text is imprinted on the vehicle, it stays on the car as it moves up and down the street. We know, you're totally scratching your head trying to envision what we just said, so why not just head past the break and give it a look?

What effect do more cores have on modern games? So, while I was there pondering around with the options, I wondered what would happen if we started disabling cores. How would that affect 3D performance? What I really wanted to know is how many cores we really need; one, two, three or four? – Sure, there have been articles that compare a dual core based Core 2 processor to a quad core one, but what happens if the only difference between every CPU configuration is the amount of cores while FSB, speed and memory settings are all the same?

Tech ARP have benchmarked and compared all Core 2 processors. In this article, we compare the performance of 18 Intel Core 2 processors in five benchmarks - two game-based benchmarks and three application benchmarks. We hope to add on more and more results as we get hold of additional Core 2 processors over time. Let's take a look at the Core 2 processors we have rounded up for this comparison.

LCDs could allow for over 40 hours of battery life in laptops. The key to the work behind Pixel Qi's proposals is energy-efficient LCD screens that draw less power than current models and allow laptops to run much longer on existing batteries. Pixel Qi, which is run by former Intel and OLPC executive Mary Lou Jepson, says its screens can be made in conventional LCD factories and that they'll be appearing in new products some time next year.

CPU3D had an interview with Corsair. Corsair's UK Manager spent a day at our CPU3D labs. We took the opportunity to ask a few questions about their up-and-coming products and what they've got in store for 2009.

Elpida has developed DDR3 RAM using a 50nm process. One of the concerns in the transition to Core i7-based platforms was how Intel's new chips would fare with DDR3 memory exceeding 1.65V. Early reports warned that the higher voltage kits might potentially pose a risk to the processor, prompting memory makers to focus on triple-channel kits with lower voltage than their dual-channel counterparts. But voltage restrictions could become even less of a concern now that Elpida has completed its development of a 50nm process DDR3 SDRAM.

The computer mouse is nearly 40 years old. The name was never meant to stick. When Doug Engelbart and his team at the Stanford Research Institute in California designed a computer controller encased in a carved-out wooden block, with wheels mounted on the underbelly, one researcher nicknamed it a 'mouse'. 'We thought that when it had escaped out to the world it would have a more dignified name,' Engelbart recalled later. 'But it didn't.'

If your in the market for a secret lair, then look no further. It seems only fair that we jump across the pond this Sunday and write about a mile-long super secret tunnel lair below London that's currently for sale, don't you think? Asking price: A cool $7.4 million. It sounds a bit much for an empty stretch of nothingness deep below the British streets, but wait until you hear about the history. Oh, the history!

Here are 18 amazing images from under the microscope. The annual Nikon Small World photomicrography competition recently announced the winning images. The award-winning images ranged from microscopic organisms to cancer-fighting drugs, carbon nanotubes, and even soap.



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