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Don't buy Nvidia's GTX 200 cards now! Price cut on the way! in Gaming
Mountain House (CA) – It appears that AMD’s ATI Radeon 4800 GPU has turned out to be a much better chip than initially expected and AMD’s aggressive pricing puts enough pressure on Nvidia to prompt price adjustments. If you are planning on purchasing a GTX 260 or 280 card, you may want to delay until next Monday. Price cuts are on the way.

Over the past several days we have spent some time with several Nvidia’s partners in the Silicon Valley and in Taiwan, which made it obvious that there are tensions between GPU manufacturers and add-in board companies. A raging price war put five companies on the verge of bankruptcy. We cannot disclose who almost kicked the bucket, but we were told that three vendors are still walking on very thin ice.  

With the debut of GeForce GTX 200 series, made some adjustments protecting its partners with greater margins, but the ATI Radeon 4800 series is changing that scenario again. AMD has received praise from the press for its ATI Radeon 4800 series, causing Nvidia partners to demand price adjustments. We were told that Nvidia finally stepped down from its pedestal and agreed to offer limited price protection for some products - as well as price cuts.

We contacted Nvidia to get more details on this information and were provided with the following statement by Bryan Del Rizzo and Ken Brown, spokespeople for Nvidia:

"We’re working with our partners on adjusting the prices for the GTX 280 and 260. The changes are being implemented over the next few days and will take effect sometime next week. Please obtain final retail pricing from the partners, because they set them for their products."

The third sentence has to be taken with a grain of salt, a most partners complained to us about Nvidia’s Unilateral Minimum Advertised Price Policy, short UMAP, and the way it affects them. For the consumer, however, we have yet another example how well competition works. The race between the Radeon 4800 series and GTX 200 will ultimately drag prices down.

According to our sources, Nvidia cut the price of the GTX 280 by $90 and $30 for the GTX 260. Of course, that is a price cut Nvidia is handing down to its partners and does not reflect retail prices.

GeForce GTX 260 cards currently sell for $379.99 on Newegg ($399.99 minus $20 instant rebate on XFX, BFG and PNY cards), while GTX 280 cards sell for $619.99 ($649.99 minus $30 for the XFX board).

After Nvidia’s adjustment, we should see Monday prices going down to $359.99 for GTX 260 cards and to $559.99 for GTX 280 cards. Please note that we are not including the possibility for additional rebates that may be offered. For example, if you purchase PNY's GTX 280 from Newegg.com, you currently pay 569.99. After price cut, this might dip down to $479-499, lowering the price below $500 mark.

It appears that we might end up with permanent price brackets at $199, $299, $399 and $499. This would greatly simplify the search for the best possible graphics card at a certain point. Also, this opens the battlefield between single and multi-GPU setups: Could two boards for $199 provide more value than a single $399 or $499 card?

We are sure, hardware review websites are going to find out.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jul 08, 2008 7:48 am
10 Best Hacking and Security Software Tools for Linux in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
Linuxis a hacker’s dream computer operating system. It supports tons oftools and utilities for cracking passwords, scanning networkvulnerabilities, and detecting possible intrusions. I have here acollection of 10 of the best hacking and security software tools forLinux. Please always keep in mind that these tools are not meant toharm, but to protect.

1. John the Ripper




John the Ripperis a free password cracking software tool initially developed for theUNIX operating system. It is one of the most popular passwordtesting/breaking programs as it combines a number of password crackersinto one package, autodetects password hash types, and includes acustomizable cracker. It can be run against various encrypted passwordformats including several crypt password hash types most commonly foundon various Unix flavors (based on DES, MD5, or Blowfish), Kerberos AFS,and Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 LM hash. Additional modules have extendedits ability to include MD4-based password hashes and passwords storedin LDAP, MySQL and others.


2. Nmap

Nmapis my favorite network security scanner. It is used to discovercomputers and services on a computer network, thus creating a "map" ofthe network. Just like many simple port scanners, Nmap is capable ofdiscovering passive services on a network despite the fact that suchservices aren't advertising themselves with a service discoveryprotocol. In addition Nmap may be able to determine various detailsabout the remote computers. These include operating system, devicetype, uptime, software product used to run a service, exact versionnumber of that product, presence of some firewall techniques and, on alocal area network, even vendor of the remote network card.

Nmapruns on Linux, Microsoft Windows, Solaris, and BSD (including Mac OSX), and also on AmigaOS. Linux is the most popular nmap platform andWindows the second most popular.


3. Nessus

Nessusis a comprehensive vulnerability scanning software. Its goal is todetect potential vulnerabilities on the tested systems such as:

-Vulnerabilities that allow a remote cracker to control or access sensitive data on a system.
-Misconfiguration (e.g. open mail relay, missing patches, etc).
-Defaultpasswords, a few common passwords, and blank/absent passwords on somesystem accounts. Nessus can also call Hydra (an external tool) tolaunch a dictionary attack.
-Denials of service against the TCP/IP stack by using mangled packets

Nessusis the world's most popular vulnerability scanner, estimated to be usedby over 75,000 organizations worldwide. It took first place in the2000, 2003, and 2006 security tools survey from SecTools.Org.


4. chkrootkit

chkrootkit(Check Rootkit) is a common Unix-based program intended to help systemadministrators check their system for known rootkits. It is a shellscript using common UNIX/Linux tools like the strings and grep commandsto search core system programs for signatures and for comparing atraversal of the /proc filesystem with the output of the ps (processstatus) command to look for discrepancies.

It can be used from a"rescue disc" (typically a Live CD) or it can optionally use analternative directory from which to run all of its own commands. Thesetechniques allow chkrootkit to trust the commands upon which it dependa bit more.

There are inherent limitations to the reliability ofany program that attempts to detect compromises (such as rootkits andcomputer viruses). Newer rootkits may specifically attempt to detectand compromise copies of the chkrootkit programs or take other measuresto evade detection by them.


5. Wireshark

Wiresharkis a free packet sniffer computer application used for networktroubleshooting, analysis, software and communications protocoldevelopment, and education. In June 2006, the project was renamed fromEthereal due to trademark issues.

The functionality Wiresharkprovides is very similar to tcpdump, but it has a GUI front-end, andmany more information sorting and filtering options. It allows the userto see all traffic being passed over the network (usually an Ethernetnetwork but support is being added for others) by putting the networkinterface into promiscuous mode.

Wireshark uses thecross-platform GTK+ widget toolkit, and is cross-platform, running onvarious computer operating systems including Linux, Mac OS X, andMicrosoft Windows. Released under the terms of the GNU General PublicLicense, Wireshark is free software.


6. netcat

netcat is a computer networking utility for reading from and writing to network connections on either TCP or UDP.

Netcatwas voted the second most useful network security tool in a 2000 pollconducted by insecure.org on the nmap users mailing list. In 2003, itgained fourth place, a position it also held in the 2006 poll.

The original version of netcat is a UNIX program. Its author is known as *Hobbit*. He released version 1.1 in March of 1996.

Netcat is fully POSIX compatible and there exist several implementations, including a rewrite from scratch known as GNU netcat.


7. Kismet

Kismetis a network detector, packet sniffer, and intrusion detection systemfor 802.11 wireless LANs. Kismet will work with any wireless card whichsupports raw monitoring mode, and can sniff 802.11a, 802.11b and802.11g traffic.

Kismet is unlike most other wireless networkdetectors in that it works passively. This means that without sendingany loggable packets, it is able to detect the presence of bothwireless access points and wireless clients, and associate them witheach other.

Kismet also includes basic wireless IDS featuressuch as detecting active wireless sniffing programs includingNetStumbler, as well as a number of wireless network attacks.


8. hping

hpingis a free packet generator and analyzer for the TCP/IP protocol. Hpingis one of the de facto tools for security auditing and testing offirewalls and networks, and was used to exploit the idle scan scanningtechnique (also invented by the hping author), and now implemented inthe Nmap Security Scanner. The new version of hping, hping3, isscriptable using the Tcl language and implements an engine for stringbased, human readable description of TCP/IP packets, so that theprogrammer can write scripts related to low level TCP/IP packetmanipulation and analysis in very short time.

Like most tools used in computer security, hping is useful to both system administrators and crackers (or script kiddies).


9. Snort

Snortis a free and open source Network Intrusion prevention system (NIPS)and network intrusion detection (NIDS) capable of performing packetlogging and real-time traffic analysis on IP networks.

Snortperforms protocol analysis, content searching/matching, and is commonlyused to actively block or passively detect a variety of attacks andprobes, such as buffer overflows, stealth port scans, web applicationattacks, SMB probes, and OS fingerprinting attempts, amongst otherfeatures. The software is mostly used for intrusion preventionpurposes, by dropping attacks as they are taking place. Snort can becombined with other software such as SnortSnarf, sguil, OSSIM, and theBasic Analysis and Security Engine (BASE) to provide a visualrepresentation of intrusion data. With patches for the Snort sourcefrom Bleeding Edge Threats, support for packet stream antivirusscanning with ClamAV and network abnormality with SPADE in networklayers 3 and 4 is possible with historical observation.


10. tcpdump

tcpdumpis a common computer network debugging tool that runs under the commandline. It allows the user to intercept and display TCP/IP and otherpackets being transmitted or received over a network to which thecomputer is attached.

In some Unix-like operating systems, auser must have superuser privileges to use tcpdump because the packetcapturing mechanisms on those systems require elevated privileges.However, the -Z option may be used to drop privileges to a specificunprivileged user after capturing has been set up. In other Unix-likeoperating systems, the packet capturing mechanism can be configured toallow non-privileged users to use it; if that is done, superuserprivileges are not required.

The user may optionally apply aBPF-based filter to limit the number of packets seen by tcpdump; thisrenders the output more usable on networks with a high volume oftraffic.


Do you have a favorite security software tool for Linux? Feel free to comment and tell us about it.
Posted by Editorial Team Fri Jul 04, 2008 6:06 am
RSS - who profits? in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
Of course your content is your copyright and others should not copyit without your permission. But a feed can be repurposed in many ways,and we need to look at what parts of the feed are being copied and whoprofits.
Copyright lawyers will have to fill me in on the latest case law onall of this, but I think in practice we have despatched the question whether links are legal (is the web legal?) with a resounding yes.
Shouldn’t You Have To Ask Permission If You Want To Take A Blog’s Feed For Your Profit? which has attracted considerable comment.
As Sir Tim father-of-the-web-but-not-a-lawyer Berners-Lee has said:

There are some fundamental principles about links onwhich the Web is based. These principles allow the world of distributedhypertext to work. Lawyers, users and technology and content providersmust all agree to respect these principles.

What of link+title? In principle there is copyright in a title, butit’s hard to see anyone any longer seeking to enforce copyright here.
But an RSS feed is an aggregation, so what of a bunch oflinks+titles? Here there is a stronger case for saying that thisaggregation is protected by copyright, and if we’re talking about anaggregation of links+titles+descriptions or even +excerpts, that isclearly protected. So let’s talk about permission, express or implied.
I don’t believe there’s any implied permission for others to republish feeds.But in practice, why publish a feed if you don’t want it to berepublished? It will be, and there’s little you can do to stop it. Youcan frame some stern T & Cs or apply a more friendly CC licence,but most, whether intentionally or by default, will take little notice.
Susan makes much of others taking your (blog) feed “for profit”. Weare all miffed if we see others profiting from our work at our expense.But, with feed repurposing, in most cases we profit too, sufficientlythat we do not see it as being at our expense.

  • Google indexes, caches and republishes parts of my website, myblog, my feeds without my permission. Google profits handsomely, but Iprofit too.
  • Other specialist search engines and directories - like Tehcnorati,Blawg Search - also index and repurpose my content. If I’ve submittedmy site to them, I’ve probably given them permission to do this, but inmost cases my signing up only legitimates what they have been doing /would do anyway. (Susan, Technorati indexes your blog whether you’veclaimed it or not.) They profit, but I profit too.
  • Smaller fish might also republish my feeds, but in all cases shortof their republishing my full text, I profit as much as or more thanthey do. All items link back to me. And I really am not going to losesleep if they choose to wrap Google ads around it or seek to profit inother ways. (I do view sploggers etc as the scum of the earth, but I blame Google Adsense.)

So in practice, what we are all most concerned about is othersclaiming our real work - our full posts or articles - as their own; andthere is a simple answer: if you want to protect your content, includeonly excerpts rather than full text in your feeds. Syndicate yourmetadata, not your data.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 30, 2008 6:44 am
WWDC 08: 3G iPhone with GPS - £99 half price and apps in Apple
Design
Though the iPhone 3G is thinner at the edges than its predecessor, the phone measures a hair thicker (0.48 inches versus 0.46 inches) in the gut. The other measurementsare the same except that it weighs just the slightest bit less (4.7ounces versus 4.8 ounces). Otherwise, the iPhone 3G shows few cosmeticchanges from the front--same display size and resolution, and thesingle Home button sits just below the screen. We're very pleased tosee that Apple has done away with the irritating recessed headphonejack, which now is flush so that you'll be able to use any 3.5mmheadphones you like.
But turn over the iPhone 3G, and you'll see more significantchanges. A black, plastic skin replaces the current silver-aluminumback. The swap may cut the cost, but we worry about its long-termdurability. The 8GB model will come in black only, while Apple promisesthe 16GB version in back and white. The white model is a bit random--wewere expecting something in red--butcolor is a personal choice. The camera lens, volume rocker, chargerport, speaker, microphone, power button, and display locking switchshow no changes. Our News.com colleaguegot a hands-on with the new device and reports that it feels similar inthe hand to the current model, with the exception of the tapered edges.
3G
With support for three 3G bands (850, 1900, 2100) and bothUMTS and HSDPA networks, the iPhone 3G is well positioned for usinghigh-speed networks all around the world. Considering that Apple ispromising to bring the device to 70 countries, it had better be. Duringhis WWDC keynote, Jobs compared Web download speeds between the twoiPhones. On the original model, which runs on a 2.5G EDGE network, aphoto-heavy Web site loaded in 59 seconds, while the same site loadedin 21 seconds on the new device--impressive, but we take it with agrain of salt for now. After all, the demo iPhone in today's keynotewas the only iPhone in the room using AT&T's 3G network. Once amultitude of devices flood the same network, load times may change.
GPS
This is one feature that was on our original iPhone wish list.While the current iPhone location services find your position vianearby cell phone towers and satellites, the iPhone 3G uses Assisted GPS supplemented by satellites. It also offers live tacking so you canmonitor your progress as you drive (or walk) along. We're excited tosee this feature as well, as it fills in another gaping hole on theoriginal handset. You'll also find photo geotagging, but we're not sureyet whether the iPhone 3G or any third-party applications will supportturn-by-turn directions.
Third-party apps
Speaking of which, the iPhone 3G will indeed support the collection of appsavailable through the iPhone SDK--no surprise here. Apple promises toopen apps store in early July (Apple didn't release an exact date);we're guessing by July 11. Gaming apps should feature prominently; many will integrate with the phone's accelerometer.
Enterprise support
Worker bees will be pleased to know that the iPhone 3G will offer support for Microsoft Exchange Server.That will bring push e-mail, contacts and calendar, remote wipe, globalcontacts access, and auto-discovery. That's another welcome change asit puts the iPhone in the hands of a whole new class of corporate userswho now will be able to get their work e-mail on the iPhone.
Battery life
Last year Jobs said that Apple had not included3G in the first iPhone because it would have made too many compromiseswith the handset's battery life. But now it appears that Apple hassolved that problem. The iPhone 3G promises a solid 5 hours of 3G talktime, 10 hours of 2G talk time, 5 hours of 3G Internet time, 6 hours ofWi-Fi Internet time, 7 hours of video playback, 24 hours of audioplayback, and 12.5 days standby time. The audio and video times areunchanged from the original iPhone.
What else?
Since the latest iPhone will support the 2.0 software,additional new features will show up at launch and beyond, includingcontacts search, iWork document support, the capability to viewPowerPoint attachments, bulk move and delete, a scientific calculatorin landscape mode, parental controls, and support for 16 languages.You'll also be able to use a graffiti-style application for enteringcharacters in Asian languages.
What's missing?
Unfortunately, we hoped for an even largerbundle of features in this round. Apple still leaves multimediamessaging out of the mix along with voice dialing and video recording.We still don't understand why Apple can't include these basic features,many found in even the cheapest and simplest cell phones. We were alsohoping for a landscape keyboard, the capability to cut and paste, Flashsupport for the Safari Web browser, expanded memory, and additionalBluetooth profiles. Apple, you left us hanging in a big way. It's alsodisappointing to hear that the dock is now sold separately for $49, butwe suppose that helped cut the price. No, you don't needthe dock, but it's nice to have. Even the power adapter and the SIMcard removal tool that now come in the box won't make up for its loss.
Should you buy it?
If you're an iPhone fence-sitter, now'sthe time. The addition of 3G and GPS, the affordable price tag, andextra features from the iPhone 2.0 software update make the iPhone 3G aworthy prospect. Unlike the previous iPhone, which we liked andrecommended with reservations, we're much happier with what this newhandset has to offer. iPhone 3G isn't perfect, but there's a lot tolike here and we approach the device with much anticipation. We'llupdate this page with a full, rated review once we get our hands on thehardware.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue Jun 10, 2008 3:41 am
WWDC 08: Developer Demos Roundup in Apple
11:02 a.m.: Forstall's back. He thanks all the developers whodemonstrated their applications. He mentions one feature request fromdevelopers: instant-messaging developers want to deliver notificationseven when the application isn't running. This is the background-runningissue that arrived after the March event. Forstall says backgroundprocesses are bad for a number of reasons, such as battery life andperformance. He uses the opportunity to ding Windows Mobile's taskmanager for handling background processes the way desktop Windows does,to widespread laughter and applause.
11:00 a.m.: Forstall promises that Digital LegendsEntertainment is the last demo for this morning. These guys built agame in two weeks, and Xavier Carrillo Costa shows off his game. Theirgame is called Krull, and it's another caveman adventure gamewhere you battle enemies, swing across rope bridges, and solveproblems. They expect to have the game ready by September.
10:57 a.m.: Mimvista has another medical application thatbuilds on their niche, medical imaging software. Mark Cain isrepresenting Mimvista, and he says developing one of their types ofapplications before the iPhone wasn't going to work. The idea is toconnect doctors with their workstations, so they can evaluate medicalimaging from the golf course. The application, like Modality's, canshow extremely detailed pictures of the human system, as well as movingimages. "The iPhone has created a new direction for our company."

MLB on the iPhone
(Credit: James Martin/CNET News.com)
10:53 a.m.: Modality is the next company that Apple isshowing off. These folks, represented by Dr. S Mark Williams, havedeveloped an application that helps medical students ditch their flashcards and use an iPhone to view anatomical images of the body that arevery detailed, down to the arteries and veins, and can quiz students onthe various parts of the heart, for example. Within weeks of the AppStore launching, they will have about a dozen applications availablefor various health-care needs.
10:50 a.m.: MLB.com is getting in on the action, so we canwatch the tortured season of the New York Mets on our iPhones. JeremySchoenherr shows off At-Bat, as we check out the Royals-Yankees game.You can see who's at bat, who's pitching, the count, and the score: Mussina'soff to a decent start this morning. You can get real-time videohighlights of the Yankees turning a double play. They aren't really"real-time" since the highlights arrive after the fact, but still.
10:48 a.m.: It's a parade of developers. An app called Bandwas made by a solo developer named Mark Terry, whereas all the otherapps so far have been corporate-developed. Band lets you create musicon the iPhone, with a touch-screen piano, and the demo guy cranks out apassable version of John Lennon's "Imagine." There are also drums and a12-bar blues creation app, which lays down a bass line while you playguitar over the track, and a bass guitar, which is used to play theslinky bass line from Pink Floyd's "Money." There's other stuff, buttime is limited. Terry says Band will appear on the App Store in a fewweeks' time.

Developer shows off music application on the iPhone.
(Credit: James Martin/CNET News.com)
10:45 a.m.: More applications! Brian Greenstone of Pangea Software comes up to show off two games they ported from Mac OS X to the iPhone, Enigmo, a 3D puzzle game, is very CPU intensive, says Greenstone, and it doesn't miss a beat in the demo. Cromag Rally,which is apparently a caveman racing game, is the other game shown off.Driving looks hard, but he is racing on snow, and people fromCalifornia don't know how to drive in the snow. Both games will cost$9.99.
10:41 a.m.: Our good friends at the Associated Press alsohave an application to show off. Benjamin Mosse of the AP is showingoff their application, which is essentially a reader-style applicationthat focuses on local news. This is another location-aware applicationthat sends you local news based on where you are. You can customize thefeeds for your favorite sports teams, and browse AP photos and video.Those stores can be shared via text or e-mail, and civilians can uploadtheir own stories and pictures to the AP from the iPhone, andcontinuing with the trend, it will be free.
10:39 a.m.: TypePad is next up, for the mobile bloggers inthe audience. Michael Sippey of TypePad shows off what they've puttogether, with a simple interface that lets you create a post, take aphoto, or add a photo. You can take photos with the iPhone's camera andadd them to a post, as well as add photos from your library on youriPhone. This will be yet another free application.

eBay application on iPhone.
(Credit: James Martin/CNET News.com)
10:36 a.m.: Looptis the third company to demo, and they're talking about alocation-based application. Again, no distinction is made whether thisis an application using GPS or the current location-based service onthe iPhone. Loopt blends your social networks with the Mapsapplication, so you can see where your friends are. You can also go totheir journal to see what they've been doing today, what picturesthey've added, and so on. This app will also be free.
10:33 a.m.: eBay is the next developer to show off anapplication, and Ken Sun of eBay comes onstage to show off Auctions onthe iPhone. The iPhone is already the primary mobile device used oneBay's Web site, he says. The app has a basic front door with optionsto track auctions you've bid on, see whether you've been outbid, and toplace new bids. You can also pick up the photos from the auctionlistings, and blow them up to full screen. eBay is making this appavailable for free.
10:30 a.m.: This demo is showing off the capabilities of theaccelerometer, where the iPhone can be tilted back and forth toaccelerate or brake. The tester gets a nice hand from the audience forhurling Baby Monkey through the goal. Super Monkey Ball will be available at the launch of the App Store for $9.99.
10:29 a.m.: Forstall is bringing third-party developersonstage to talk about their application, and Sega revisits the stage.They demoed a game called Super Monkey Ball in March, andthey've refined it. Ethan Einhorn of Sega comes up onstage to talkabout the app. The initial game had four stages developed in two weeks,now they've got 110 stages, with all four classic monkeys.

Showing tilt control on Sega games.
(Credit: James Martin/CNET News.com)
10:26 a.m.: The application finds your friends within acertain radius, but Forstall says nothing about whether the applicationwas designed for the current iPhone, which uses a Wi-Fi/cell tower typeof location-aware application, or the new iPhone, which is expected tohave GPS. Forstall reads off a few quotes from corporate developerpartners like Disney--once again--and Fox Interactive.
10:23 a.m.: His mock application is going to merge thecontacts databases and location-aware services. He's taking us throughthe actual development experience, dragging and dropping icons thatrepresent things like the iPhone's search bar around the developmentenvironment. Once the application is done, the developer can test itright on a Mac for bugs or to make different aesthetic choices, such aswhether to put things in the toolbar or within the regular fields.
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:09 pm
WWDC 08: iVirtua Official Topic, Analysis, Live Coverage in Apple
WWDC 2008 is currently taking place from June 9 to June 13 at Moscone West, San Francisco.

Applereported that, for the first time, this conference is sold out. Thereare three tracks for developers, iPhone, Mac, and IT.

Announcementsat the keynote included the App Store for iPhone and iPod Touch, thestable version of the iPhone SDK, a subsidized 3G version of the iPhonefor Worldwide markets, version 2.0 of the iPhone OS, Mac OS X v10.6,and the replacement/rebranding of .Mac as MobileMe.
Mac OS X version 10.6 "Snow Leopard" is the presumptive designation of Apple's next major version of Mac OS X. It was announced by Apple  CEO Steve Jobs at  WWDC on June 9, 2008. It is scheduled to ship "about a year" from the announcement.
Mac OS X v10.6 will not introduce any major new features, ratherfocusing on improving performance, stability and reducing the footprintof Mac OS X. However, full support for Microsoft Exchange will be included.
Snow Leopard

MobileMe
Difference between .Mac and MobileMe
While mostly replacing .Mac (which was primarily centered aroundInternet services for Apple's desktop and notebook computers), MobileMeprovides Internet services for both Mac OS X and the iPhone OS as well as the iPod touch device and Microsoft Windowsusers. This means that now you are not restricted to a Mac runningsoftware like Mail and iCal, but can access your personal data from anycomputer connected to the internet.

Features
Storage
20GB of online storage featuring 200GB of monthly transfer. Thefamily pack includes this for the main user as well as 5GB of storageand 50GB of transfer for each sub user (up to four additional users)

Mail
Free Push Mail. Includes a @me.com email address. When a message is received it is sent directly to all the user's devices.

Address Book
Address Book (Push). When a contacted is added or amended it is updated immediately on all the user's devices.

Calendar
Calendar (Push). When a calendar appointment is added or amended it is updated immediately on all the user's devices.

Gallery
Public photo gallery. Photos can be uploaded in the web browser or synced by iPhoto on a mac

iDisk
iDisk, which is accessible via a web browser, the Finder on a Mac, or as a remote disk in Microsoft Windows.The iDisk can also share files by emailing a link to the intendedrecipient. Another feature is to set an expiration on the link. Thismeans access to file will stop after a set number of downloads or aftercertain time period.

Web 2.0
MobileMe uses web 2.0 technologies to provide the look and feel of desktop-class applications in the user's web browser.

Pricing
An Individual purchase of a MobileMe account for one-year is $99 USD (£59), while a Family Packsubscription (which includes one individual account and four familyaccounts with a specific email address for each one) is $149 USD (£89)for one year. The Individual account will have 20GB of combined emailand file storage and 200GB of monthly data transfer, while the FamilyPack will have, for each account in the Pack, 5GB of combined email andfile storage, and 50GB of monthly data transfer.

Competitors
MobileMe is supposed to comprise Microsoft Exchange-like features for consumers.

Browser Support
MobileMe's online services can be accessed in Desktop Applications.MobileMe also allows access to the user's data in desktop-likeenvironment in a web browser. Featured browsers are:

  • Safari 3 or later (Mac + PC)
  • Firefox 2 or later (Mac + PC)
  • Internet Explorer 7 (PC)
iPhone 2.0


  • Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support
  • Push email
  • Push contacts
  • Push calendar
  • Global Address List
  • Certificates and Identities
  • WPA2/802.1x
  • Enforced security policies
  • Extra keyboard languages including Chinese and Korean
  • Cisco IPsec VPN support
  • Device configuration
  • Remote wipe
  • Ability to view PowerPoint attachments
  • Mass email delete
  • Mass email move
  • Bonjour service discovery protocol
  • Support for SVG
  • Parental controls
  • Ability to search contacts
  • App Store (To manage third-party applications)
  • New "Calendar" menu in "Settings"
  • Updated calculator with extra features in portrait mode, a scientific calculator in landscape mode and an updated icon.
  • Updated iTunes with a new icon and reordered category icons within iTunes application.
  • Ability to save or open images from websites in Safari
  • Support for Traditional and Simplified Chinese handwriting recognition
  • Geotagging
  • Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Polish, Korean and Brazilian Portuguese language interface in iPhone, previously these languages were only in the iPod Touch since 1.1.1



Workers hang Apple's logo outside Moscone Center, where the Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off Monday.
(Credit: James Martin/CNET News.com)
Expect to hear new details about the future of Apple's Mac OS X andWeb business next week at the Worldwide Developers Conference--and wethink there might be a new iPhone, too.
On Monday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs will take the stage at the Moscone WestConvention Center in San Francisco to address a gathering of Apple'sdevelopers and the media. This year's WWDCis sold out to the development community, who will be hearing formalpresentations by Apple on both Mac and iPhone development during theweek's sessions and meetings.
Anyone with even a passing interest in consumer electronics is probably aware that Apple is expected to unveil the next generation of the iPhone in the near future. The older version has been sold out for weeks as we approach the anniversary of the first model's debut, and anticipation of a model that can connect to 3G cellular networks has been building almost since that date last year.
One of the primary drawbacks of the first iteration of the iPhone hasbeen its reliance on the slower EDGE network outside of Wi-Fi hotspots, which can make downloading a Web page an exercise in patience.Upgrading to a faster connection should encourage people to do more Webbrowsing outside of Wi-Fi connections and could open up a whole newclass of applications that need a faster pipe to work effectively.
Apple is also expected to include GPS technologyinside the latest version, another development that could pique thesoftware development community's interest in the iPhone. Location-awareservices are available on several phones that use GPS technology, andthe iPhone developers could soon be ready to join the party.
Will the new iPhone be available immediately following Jobs' keynote?It's not clear. There have been conflicting reports, but Brian Tong ofCNET TV is hearing from his sources that Apple Retail employees havenot yet been told whether they'll need to report early on Monday for aspecial training session, which the company has done in the past beforemajor announcements.

Next Monday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs could announce a new iPhone and a new operating system.
(Credit: Apple)
While the iPhone gets all the attention as the new kid on the block,WWDC is always, in large part, about the Mac. Apple chose a picture oftwo Golden Gate bridges branching off in different directions toillustrate its WWDC invitation, and while the iPhone branch mightaccount for the sold-out conference, the Mac branch is the bread andbutter of this conference.
The Unofficial Apple Weblogreported on Wednesday that Apple would be providing developers with anearly version of Mac OS X 10.6 during the conference. It's unclearwhether that means Apple is ready to start demonstrating features fromthat release, but the report said the new version is expected to focuson "stability and security."
Apple released Leopard, Mac OS X 10.5, last October after a delay needed to make sure the iPhone arrived on time. At the time, Jobs told The New York Times that he wants Apple to stick to an operating-system deployment cycle of 12 to 18 months.
TUAW's report says Apple could be eyeing a Macworld 2009 release forMac OS X 10.6, which would certainly nestle within that time frame.Microsoft recently said it wants to get the next version of Windows out by the end of 2009.
Another interesting part of that report is the notion that 10.6 will bean Intel-only release. Users of older Macs running PowerPC chips wereable to upgrade to Leopard, but the report suggests that Apple willdrop PowerPC support with the next release.
Apple will likely spend a healthy portion of Jobs' keynote discussingMac OS X, but it remains to be seen how much of a peek we'll get at thenext version. One question on the minds of many Apple users: afterwhich big cat will Apple choose to name the next release?
Ars Technica's Infinite Loopreported Wednesday that "Snow Leopard" was the name slated for the nextversion, which sounds like it could be somewhat confusing, given thefact that the current version is called Leopard. In a poll on TUAW'ssite, "Cougar" was in the lead, trailed by "Lynx" and "LOLcat," the last of which we can probably eliminate.
The third leg of the WWDC presentation could involve Apple's .Macservice. There have been a number of recent signs that Apple isrethinking its presence on the Internet, with new domain names beingsnapped up by the company and code strings in the iPhone SDK suggesting that a new name is on tap.
One interesting thing to watch for concerning any new version of .Macis how much of the service Apple keeps in-house, as opposed to bringinga Web-savvy partner like Google into the mix. The .Mac service is a good idea, but it isn't widely used among Mac users due to issues with its stability, feature list, and price tag.
Any or all of those objections could change, if Apple transfers theback end of the service to a huge Internet services provider likeGoogle, and uses the service to bring Macs and iPhones together ininteresting ways.
As usual, Apple is very tight-lipped about what may or may not bearriving during this year's WWDC. The latest iPhone may or may not beready for an actual release on the first day of the show, but expectthe topic to be the highlight of the day's announcements.

WWDC 2007 Keynote Live Coverage here at iVirtua Community
Posted by Editorial Team Mon Jun 09, 2008 1:23 pm
Facebook, Apple and Amazon word association: FUNNY YET TRUE! in General Discussion, including Off Topic, Current Affairs
Brandtags.net shows a brand's logo and simply asks you to type the first wordthat pops into your head, these are collated and the top 25 words are generated.



Facebook: friends, social, college, annoying, people, facebook, fun, boring,kids, lame, community, social networking, myspace, waste of time, addictive,social network, network, networking, stupid, young, useless, crap, internet,stalker and, um, shit



Amazon gets a better ride with words like books, book, everything, shopping,convenient, easy, buy, cheap, awesome, fast, online, smile, great, shop, amazon,useful, internet, good, online shopping, shipping, amazing, store, reliable,cool, and huge.

Apple gets the words Jobs, smug, git, crap, toy, fruit, pastel, expensive,polo-neck, irritating, stupid, evil, iphone, ipod, sickening, genocide, herpes,Coldplay, hippy, con-trick, waste, bubonic plague, and overpriced. Actually wemade some of those up.



And Google's:
search, google, internet, search engine, awesome, god, evil, smart, useful, everything, cool, find, fun, fast, good, big brother, information, everywhere, simple, great, innovative, ubiquitous, helpful, amazing, love

The experiment, via a site called brandtags.net,is anything but scientific. But it is simple: The site shows a brand'slogo and simply asks you to type the first word that pops into yourhead.
Posted by Editorial Team Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:46 am
Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 and Silverlight beta 2 in Software
Bill Gates has announced the next betas of Internet Explorer 8 andSilverlight 2 while outlining plans from Microsoft on development,services. He also took the opportunity in his valedictory keynote atTechEd in Orlando, Florida today to unveil a Steve Ballmer 'bot.
The second beta of Microsoft Silverlight cross-browser media playerand development platform will be released by the end of this week undera Go Live license. A Go Live license lets developers use pre-releasecode in real-world applications, but without the safety net ofMicrosoft support. The second beta had been promised for the secondhalf of 2008, so it's... early!
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The second beta for IE8 is released in August in 20 languages, sohitting the summer launch, that Microsoft had previously promised.

To promote Microsoft's work on robotics Gates demoed aWindows-powered robot with a monitor showing the Steve Ballmer's face.On cue, the Robot Steve waved his arms up and down and began shouting "Developers! Developers! Developers!", after throwing an egg across the stage.


Billg ponders Microsoft under Robot Steve
Gates today hosted his last TechEd before stepping down from day-to-day activities next month after 38 years with Microsoft.

It was a stoic affair, during which Gate's sole concession toemotion came when he credited Microsoft's success to its relationshipwith developers. Gates said next-month's transition to the newtechnology leadership at Microsoft was going very well.

Microsoft has tried the patience of developers many times. There wasthe transition from Visual Basic 6.0 to Visual Basic.NET. Then theill-advised decision to stop serious work on IE, and fold it back intoWindows. That was reversed once Firefox began nibbling away at IE'smarket share.

Gates noted his company had "a renewed effort to invest in Internet Explorer".

"We are hard at work on a new version of that: IE 8 - a very creative name we came up with," he said.

He also talked up Microsoft's plans for Oslo,which will feature a new modeling language, repository, storagemechanism and way to manipulate models. A Community Technology Preview(CTP) is due this fall. The next edition of Visual Studio, meanwhile,will support the Object Management Group's Unified Modeling Language (UML).

After years of industry talk on models and re-use, neither has quitefulfilled their potential. According to Gates, Oslo will get thingsright, and take the "richness" of distributed, online services andbring them together into "one rich framework".

According to Gates, Oslo will enable ambitious forms of development.This will coincide with the rollout of more services from Microsoft,similar to SQL Server Data Services and BizTalk Server Services. Gates promised Microsoft would run these on millions of servers in its data centers, up from just hundreds of thousands today.

He said Microsoft's SharePoint Server would become the firstMicrosoft product to use enterprise search from its Fast Search andTransfer acquisition. The delayed SQL Server will be next. "Think of it as SQL Server, but it's really Fast," he said.
For all the talk of data services, there was still no date on thenext edition of SQL Server. Demonstrating SQL Server 2008, DaveCampbell, from Microsoft's data storage platform division said SQLServer 2008 would be available in the "next month or two"
Posted by Editorial Team Wed Jun 04, 2008 5:31 am
Google Favicon: Small 'g' is the new brand? Previews [image] in General Discussion, including Off Topic, Current Affairs
Many people noticed a small change: Google has a new favicon.

Google changed their “Favicon.ico”, the 16x16 image file thatusually shows in the browser address bar or in bookmarks. The old icon used a square with red, green and blue edges, wrapping an upper-case“G”. The new logo is a bit more open, showing just the lower-case blue“g” from the Google logo, without borders, and a bit of shadow. To see this, visit Google.com (or images.google.com, Google Product Search and so on), empty your browser cache and reload the page.


Is Google undergoing a rebranding exercise...?

Maybe they’re going to be known as ’the little g’ rather than ’The BigG’ from now on...



Google's favicon is hosted at google.com/favicon.icoand it's a 16x16 pixels image, a standard size for favicons. Googlereplaced the upper-case "G" in blue border, green and red borders witha lower-case purple "g" in a rounded corner rectangle.

I could get used to this:




Reception has been mixed, commenting on the new grey background, usability and recognisability when multiple tabs are open, lack of transparency and differing brands. Some bloggers note the new favicon 'totally fails on white background and in the urlbar [sic] on FF3RC1'. It is also noted that the 'googol' by which Google is named after, is spelt with a lower-case 'g'.

A before and after can be seen here, thanks to our tech team.



Google code still sports the old logo as of today.

Effects and debate
. I spent a good couple of minutes trying to find the right tab–I couldn’t find it because of a change to a very small image from a section of the browser I hardly every look at. You never realize how much these small things really incorporate into your overall web image. I’m amazed that such a small detail can prove to be so important to such a huge audience.

So why the change? What’s the point? Is there something coming? I can’t imagine such a departure from the branding just being nothing. What do you think?
Posted by Editorial Team Fri May 30, 2008 3:44 pm
Aurora threatens US power grid in General Discussion, including Off Topic, Current Affairs
HACKERS could shut down US power stations from the comfort of their own homes, says the Department of Homeland Security.

Almost a year ago, the Department released a video showing how cyber criminals could hack into power plants and blow up generators remotely using a technique known as the Aurora Vulnerability.

Government researchers launched an experimental cyber attack causing a generator in Idaho to self-destruct in a cloud of smoke.

Setting aside the fact that the release of the information was an extremely dumb thing to do, apparently little has been done in the intervening months to prevent such a thing happening for real. Members of the House Committee on Homeland Security are now warning that regulatory bodies aren't moving fast enough.

"I think we could search far and wide and not find a more disorganised response to a national security issue of this import," said the chairman of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity and Science and Technology, James Langevin. "Everything about the way this vulnerability was handled … leaves me with little confidence that we're ready or willing to deal with the cyber security threat," he told Forbes.

Langevin blamed the Department of Homeland Security for not providing enough detail on exactly how the attack was made, hampering efforts by the the power industry to take preventative measures. He also pointed the finger at the power companies for working too slowly and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), for not doing its job as the regulatory body tasked with providing the nation's power.

NERC gave evidence to the US House of Representatives last October claiming that 75 per cent of the nation's power plants had made some progress in securing systems against cyber attack. But when the subcommittee checked the NERC survey, it discovered that it had only been thrown together a couple of days before the hearing.

"You are not going to sit there and waste my time telling us you're doing the job you're supposed to do," Bill Pascrell, another member of the House subcommittee, said. "Who do you think we are - a bunch of jerks?"

A number of serious security vulnerabilities at the USA's largest power company, Tennessee Valley Authority, were noted including a failure to implement simple security measures such as updating firewall and antivirus software. Much of the company's network had no password protection and provided links to TVA's power generation systems.

Joseph Kelliher, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee, said that the industry's emergency response procedures were designed to protect the grid from the threat of tree branches falling on power lines, rather than cyber attacks.

"A process designed to guard against poor vegetation management is not well suited to guard against national security threats," he said.

New legislation is coming into force in 2010 which threatens power companies with fines of up to a million dollars a day for failing to meet security standards.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue May 27, 2008 6:07 pm
MICROSOFT / YAHOO: Microsoft will consider fresh Yahoo bid in Business and Industry in Gaming, Media, Web, IT and Computing
Microsoft has confirmed it is stilllooking to acquire Yahoo, following the battle against Carl Icahn’splan to replace the entire board.



Microsoft’s decision to walk away from a bid for Yahoo prompted huge controversy and Icahn’s decision to try to oust the board– and it appears that, in what appears to be a study of big-businessbrinkmanship, both companies are now ready to return to the table.
Developments
Microsoft’s statement, released "in light of developments"read:"[Microsoft] is not proposing to make a new bid to acquire all ofYahoo at this time, but reserves the right to reconsider thatalternative".
Although this is ostensibly a tentative statement, the intent isclear, and it appears Yahoo’s opposition to the takeover has beenslapped down by the financial necessities that it faces.  
Overtures
Overtures to other companies – believed to include both Google and Rupert Murdoch’sNews Corp. - have not come to fruition and Microsoft may not get themerger that it believes will make it more competitive on the internet.
Currently Google dominates both search and online advertising, butMicrosoft hopes that a huge merger with one of its other rivals inYahoo will change the game in its favour.
Posted by Editorial Team Wed May 21, 2008 9:59 am
Guardian: Hiding data from US customs "use a memory car in General Discussion, including Off Topic, Current Affairs
Is the Guardian encouraging us to smuggle things through UScustoms? Well, an article by security expert Bruce Schneier certainlyis – urging readers to ‘hide all their data’ rather than let them rootaround in your hard-drive.
In an article entitled ‘Taking your laptop into the US? Be sure to hide all your data first’ Schneier, who writes a popular blog  advises people to take extreme measures to hide their data with encryption or even utilising memory cards.
Over-sensitive data?
“Whilecustoms agents might poke around on your laptop, they're unlikely tofind the encrypted partition. (You can make the icon invisible, forsome added protection.) And if they download the contents of your harddrive to examine later, you won't care,” advises Schneier.
“Ifyou can't [encrypt], consider putting your sensitive data on a USBdrive or even a camera memory card: even 16GB cards are reasonablypriced these days. Encrypt it, of course, because it's easy to losesomething that small.
"Slip it in your pocket..."
Quote:
“Slipit in your pocket, and it's likely to remain unnoticed even if thecustoms agent pokes through your laptop. If someone does discover it,you can try saying: "I don't know what's on there. My boss told me togive it to the head of the New York office." If you've chosen a strongencryption password, you won't care if he confiscates it.”

Whetheryou agree or not with Schneier’s point about the US (and the UK forthat matter) allowing this search, surely hiding data on a memory cardto smuggle it through customs either makes it look like you havesomething to hide, or means you actually do…
Posted by Editorial Team Wed May 21, 2008 9:54 am
Buying the best Power Supply (PSU) in Hardware, Internet, Networking, Comms and Security
Introduction


Today we are going to look at a slightly different class of power supplies than we have typically reviewed in that both products we are looking at today are house brands of one retail chain. The concept of house brands is a familiar one to most of the purchasing public and at times can represent a solid value when the product is of comparable quality to that of the "name brands" but at a lower price point. On the flip side, however, house brands can also be overpriced inferior products that simply exist to pad the profit margin of the retail chain while not providing users with a solid value. So today, we are going to look at two house brands, Dynex and Rocketfish.

The names Dynex and Rocketfish may not be household names to everyone but if you have ever strolled down the aisles of your local Best Buy or had products serviced by the Geek Squad you more than likely have seen these two brands hanging around Best Buy shelves. A quick search on those brand names at the HardForum finds a couple hundred results in the last 10 months. While Best Buy stocks a number of power supply brands Rocketfish and Dynex appear to be related companies owned by Best Buy that solely distribute through Best Buy retail channels and Best Buy’s website. Both brands maintain very similar product profiles that include a huge range of PC components, home electronic components, and accessories; but today we are going to look at two power supplies that greet users when they walk down the PC component aisle of their local big box retail giant. These two power supplies are the Dynex 400w (DX-400WPS) and the Rocketfish 700w power supply (RF-700WPS). Both of these units are provided by the same division of OEM Shenzhen Chi Yuan Industrial CO LTD, Huntkey Enterprise Group.

Huntkey Enterprise Group is not a name familiar to the majority of US users but Huntkey was founded in 1995 and claims to be the largest producer of power supplies in mainland China. Huntkey is a completely vertically integrated SMPS manufacturer that produces everything from wiring to transformers to telecom power supplies to open frame power supplies and finally PC power supplies. The majority of their products seen in the US to date have been integrated products or sold under the Huntkey, Dynex, and Rocketfish brands. As such today is the first of a number of Huntkey products we will be looking at with both a Dynex branded unit and a Rocketfish branded unit.




Best Buys?


We have had a fair amount of mail from [H] readers asking about these Best Buy power supplies, hence the article here today. So we moseyed down to our local Best Buy and bought the power supplies we needed for our review.

Given that both the Dynex DX-400WPS and the Rocketfish RF-700WPS are house brands and seen only through Best Buy these two products are hardly going to have huge marketing campaigns behind them. However, since both Dynex and Rocketfish do have web pages let’s see how both companies are positioning these products for when customers grace the hallowed halls of Best Buy.

Dynex DX-400WPS



Keep your important computer components running with this 400-watt ATX power supply that features a 6-pin PCI Express connector.



Rocketfish RF-700WPS



Keep your computer components going with this 700-watt power supply that accommodates high-end graphics cards.



Well neither Dynex nor Rocketfish has much to say about these two units, although we do learn the Dynex unit is intended to “keep your important computer components running” where as the Rocketfish just keeps “your components going.” Given these are not truly targeted at the absolute top tier of the power supply market we can understand there not being a lot of marketing behind these units. These two products are, more or less, aimed at the “Hey it works now!” drop-in replacement crowd.
So, let’s see what we have to look forward to when we purchase the Dynex 400w and Rocketfish 700w power supplies in terms of documentation, accessories, cable count, rail layout, output characteristics, and general build quality before moving on to the actual testing beyond works/doesn't works most people will put these through. First, we will look at the Dynex 400w.

Full article here
Posted by Editorial Team Wed May 14, 2008 5:51 am
How to fight splogs in Programming, Web and Software Design/Development
At first glance, it seems like a regular blog. But look closer andyou'll see there's something very odd about the blog's content: It'svery familiar. Too familiar.
That's because you wrote it -- six months ago on your own blog.The rest of the content doesn't make sense: The same word repeated overand over again. There are ads all over the sidebar for products likeViagra and mortgage loans.
This, you realize, is a splog, and you're the victim.
"Splogs," or spam blogs, are one of the methods spammers haveadopted to manipulate the blogosphere for profit. The phenomenonstarted getting really bad in 2005, when Google's blog-hosting service,Blogger, was inundated with more than 13,000 fake blogs spawned by a script.
Splog topics are often so nonsensical and wide-ranging they can be hard to pinpoint. Scott Beale of Laughing Squid said some really strange splogs have shown up on his watch list, everything from "Phish Rocks, Dude" to "Geeks Meet Greeks."
But why do sploggers do it? How do you know if you've been splogged? And what can you do to stop it? Here are a few tips.
This page is a wiki. If you have any extra advice to offer, go ahead and add it.

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Find Out If You're Being Splogged
Splogs lift content from real blogs to increase the splog's PageRankat Google and generate ad revenue. The problem for bloggers is theirblog's PageRank may drop, and they may be associated with spam,damaging their reputation.
To find out if your blog is being ripped off, subscribe to newsfeeds at search engines like Technorati, Google Blog Search andIceRocket. Use search terms like your name, your site's name or itsURL. Most bloggers use these services to track what other blogs sayabout them, but it will also detect splogs lifting your content. You'llrecognize a splog by the unusual number of buzzwords in the maincontent area. And splogs often redirect visitors to an entirelydifferent site.
Tip: Analyze a blog's URL for suspicious keywords andthings like hyphens -- for some reason, most splogs' titles arehyphenated. Although some sites like Why Dogs Eat Poop are completely legitimate, despite the hyphens in the URL.
Tip: Use Google Alerts to track how your content, name, and web sites are being used on the web -- it's amazing what Google can find for you.


Report Splogs
While splogs may seem like a minor annoyance to the individualblogger, the overall effect of splogs is far-reaching. So, for thecommunity's sake, when you notice a splog -- report it. If the splog ison Blogger,you can easily report it by clicking the Flag button on the top rightcorner of the page. This will notify Blogger admins about objectionablecontent, and the splog should be removed. If the splog is on anotherblogging platform, you may have to contact the host directly.
Tip: If the splog has Google ads on it, the site can bereported to Google's AdSense program, and the account could be revoked.Look for the link that says "Ads by Google" at the bottom of thesplog's AdSense array. You'll see a form on the next page. Leave ashort note describing why you think the site is violating the terms ofservice for AdSense. Be sure to include the term "spamreport" beforeyou click Submit.
Tip: On the flip side of things, many blogs are easy to spot as being legitimate. For example, author of the PLR Model Blogdisplays his full name in his postings, which is quite rare. Othersigns of legitimacy include valid email addresses, lack ofadvertisements, non-spam comments which have been moderated, and soforth.


Remove Comment and Trackback Spam
While comment and trackback spam are not technically splogs, theyare related. Spammers who deal in comment and trackback spam sometimeslink to splogs in the hope of gaming the site's PageRank. Having a goodcomment-moderation system helps.

  • Movable Type has an upgraded Junk folder system to combat spam.
  • TypePad also has a Spam option for each comment.
  • WordPress also comes with built-in comment moderation that can help put spam on ice.

Trackback spam is harder to fight, and a lot of bloggers have resorted to turning off trackbacks entirely.


What to Do Next
One of the best ways to fight splogs is to be vocal about them.Demand accountability and diligence from hosting providers, and demandadditional barriers in the blog-creation process.
High-profile bloggers like Mark Cuban are demanding higherstandards from Google and Blogger. So far, Google seems to belistening. Blogger added a CAPTCHA human verification system to theblog-creation process so it can't be easily automated, and the companyhas published a list of deleted URLs so other search engines can removeknown splogs from their indexes.
Posted by Editorial Team Tue May 06, 2008 10:16 am
101 Five-Minute Fixes to Incrementally Improve Your Web Site in Programming, Web and Software Design/Development
A webmaster's work is never done. What may have worked a few years ago when could be outdated today, so it's important to constantly improve your Web site. However, a massive overhaul is just too much work to undertake at one time. Instead, tackle these quick fixes over time, and you'll be able to improve your Web site with minimal pain.

Copywriting  

Content, specifically text, is perhaps your site's most important asset. Make sure that it's up to snuff by following these improvements.  

  1. Tell readers why they should perform a task. If your site is full of passive suggestions, toughen it up. People are trained to follow a request, as long as you give them a good reason to do it.  
  2. Make the most highly trafficked pages easier to scan. If your current site consists of large blocks of text, break it up so that it's easier for the average Internet user to read.  
  3. Convey a sense of trust. If you're experiencing skepticism, offer social proof like testimonials or risk-mitigating offers like a free trial.  
  4. Stress benefits. Ensure that your copy always shows users exactly how your site will benefit them.  
  5. Make headlines meaningful. Be sure to change any vague or cutesy headlines to something more up-front and meaningful.  
  6. Repeat yourself. Check over your copy to make sure that you're really driving the point home by making it in a number of ways.  
  7. Tell visitors what to do. Revise your site to ensure that people know exactly what the next step is. If you want a visitor to click a link, tell them
      
  8. Keep the reader engaged. Make sure that your current content gives visitors a reason to keep reading throughout the entire piece; otherwise, you need to spice things up a bit.  
  9. Stay consistent. Check your copy for consistency, or else your site may be seen as unstable or flighty.  
  10. Stay simple. Simplify your message simply to avoid confusing visitors, while at the same time improving conversion rates.  
  11. Structure content persuasively. Restructure your content so that it's more focused, specific and credible.  
  12. Offer social proof. Seek out testimonials and case studies to show just how effective your services are.  
  13. Keep offers simple. If you're offering lots of different options, pare them down.  
  14. Make an offer that visitors can't refuse. Check out your site to make sure that you're giving your visitors a reason to pick your company out of an overcrowded field.  
  15. Avoid making hollow promises. Check out your guarantee, and ensure that you're backing it up with something of substance, like a money-back guarantee.  
  16. Keep each block of text to a single topic. Make sure that your text isn't too overwhelming with many different thoughts in one place.  
  17. Offer comparisons. Make it easier for your reader to understand and relate to your business by offering metaphors, similes and analogies.  
  18. Be concise. Make sure that your copy is only as long as it needs to be to get your point across reasonably.  
  19. Go with what works. Study other copywriters to adopt the words and methods that have worked for them. Customize these words and phrases until they become your own.
  

Usability  

If your site isn't usable, visitors will not stick around. Take these small steps, and you'll have a more user-friendly site that's ripe for conversions.  

  1. Add a short "about" page. Put a real person behind your site by allowing your visitors to learn a bit about you.  
  2. Make navigation consistent. Make sure that your site's navigation is on the same place on each page so that visitors don't get confused.  
  3. Make text links clear. Be sure that your links are descriptive enough so that visitors know exactly where they're going.  
  4. Use underlined link text. Get rid of your fancy link navigation. Visitors expect to click underlined links. If you dislike underlines, use CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to employ a different method of highlighting, like a different text color or font.  
  5. Never ask for more information than you need. If you're currently asking for excessive information, rethink your data-mining tendencies. When you get greedy for data, you'll turn off some visitors.  
  6. Always have text links. Although your JavaScript menu might look great, some browsers and users have JavaScript disabled.  
  7. Have a text-based site map. With a text-based site map, lost visitors can find their way, and you'll make it easy for search engine spiders to find your pages.  
  8. Link the site logo to the home page. Visitors will expect your logo to link to the home page, so make it easy for them to find it.  
  9. Add a search box. Are your current visitors lost? Make it easy for them to find exactly what they're looking for with an internal search box.  
  10. Use plenty of contrast. If text seems to melt into the background, change things up and make your text easy to read by using colors that highly contrast one another.
      
  11. Customize the error page. If you have a standard set of error pages, you need to step things up. The error page should not only reflect your site's design but also provide useful links that will get your visitor back on track.  
  12. Ask for feedback. Create a contact form that makes it easy for customers to speak with you about your site.  
  13. Test the site on real users. Ask regular people to navigate your site to find usability problems.  
  14. Create specific landing pages. If you want to sell, make sure that you have landing pages for specific campaigns and that each of those pages has a purpose.  
  15. Add more internal links. If you'd like to get more traffic to your income-producing pages, add some internal links to your most highly trafficked pages.
  

Search Engine Optimization  

Follow these tips if you'd like to see an improvement on your search-engine rankings.  

  1. Replace underscores with hyphens. In search-engine results, words separated by underscores will run together, while hypens will create a space between each word.  
  2. Implement 301s to consolidate page rank. If your site lives on both non-"www" and "www" domains, redirect one to the other in order to consolidate.  
  3. Add a dynamic meta description. Make sure that your meta description makes sense so that your excerpt in search-engine results is more appealing.  
  4. Use heading tags. Let search engines know what's important by highlighting titles and more in header tags.  
  5. Update content often. Give search engines a reason to keep coming back with fresh content.  
  6. Ensure that your host is up to snuff. Make sure that your host is providing maximum uptime so that your site is visible at all times.  
  7. Create a robots text file. Make life easy for crawlers by creating a file just for them.  
  8. Make sure that your domain is brandable. If your name isn't easy to say or remember, you need to find something that is.  
  9. Build link popularity. Actively seek out relevant, inbound links to your site to build trust and profile with search engines.  
  10. Turn off music. No one wants music to greet them every time they click a link, so turn off the music — or at least offer an easy option for disabling it.
      
  11. Give pages real names. For example, if your page is about red widgets, its filename should be, or at least include, the words "red" and "widgets."  
  12. Take off the black hat. If you've used tactics like keyword stuffing, remove them from your site. They may be working now, but in the long run, they'll only hurt.  
  13. Open up the drop-down menus. Let your user see all of the navigation options available, or you'll confuse them.  
  14. Ditch registration. Don't turn off users by forcing them to register to access content.  
  15. Ditch frames. Frames are horrible for search-engine optimization and design in general. Just stay away from them.  
  16. Fix broken links. Don't send search engines and users down dead ends. Clean up links for better search-engine optimization and usability.  
  17. Avoid resizing the user's window. Let the user be in control of their browser, or your site will lose credibility.
  

Accessibility  

If your site isn't accessible, you could be making things frustrating or even impossible for visitors with disabilities. Take these steps to make your site more inclusive.  

  1. Create accessible forms. Make sure that your forms can be filled out by all visitors.
      
  2. Specify spacer images as empty. Make sure that nonvisual browsers know to ignore your spacer images by noting them as empty.  
  3. Set captions on tables. This will ensure that your captions render correctly even in visual browsers.  
  4. Modify color. Ensure that pages are readable by using appropriate colors.  
  5. Summarize tables. Add a summary of tables so that visitors with screen readers  will understand what they're all about.  
  6. Provide real lists. Use list tags to ensure that lists render correctly for disabled browsers.  
  7. Remove text from images. Using image text will make it difficult for those using screen readers to read text.  
  8. Offer an alternative to JavaScript links. Many browsers for the disabled don't support JavaScript, so make it easy for them to have access to "real" links.  
  9. Identify the language. Screen readers need to know how to pronounce words, so let them know what language your site's content is in.  
  10. Add titles to links. Ensure that links are descriptive enough for visitors by adding link titles.  
  11. Create accessible tables. Make sure that tables are accessible to all by using scope, header and ID attributes.  
  12. Allow text resizing. Make it easy for readers to resize text if necessary.  
  13. Supplement navigational aids. Offer additional navigational aids to help visitors who use text-only browsers.  
  14. Define keyboard shortcuts. Set up keyboard shortcuts so that disabled users can navigate your site with ease.  
  15. Provide alternate text for images. Alternate text will let disabled visitors know what images represent.  
  16. Set a document type. Let readers know what sort of programming language your site uses so that content can be displayed correctly.  
  17. Present content first. Make sure that text-only browswers aren't being presented with your navigation before main content.  
  18. Set horizontal rules. Instead of just using an image to break up your pages, use horizontal-rule tags and CSS to display them properly for disabled users.  
  19. Accessible pop-up windows. If your site uses pop-up windows, make sure that they're accessible.  
  20. Create meaningful page titles. Make sure that your site's page names make sense for their content.
  

Design  

Spruce up your site's appearance using these design fixes.  

  1. Place important information "above the fold." Move your most important content high on the page so you can be sure that visitors will see it.  
  2. Keep background colors and images at a minimum. Backgrounds are often less than visually appealing and can make your site load slowly.  
  3. Reduce choices. Avoid overwhelming your visitor with lots of different options.  
  4. Design small. Cut your Web pages down to 50KB or less so that they load quickly for anyone.  
  5. Nix banners. Abandon banners for a more effective design element, or they'll be ignored.  
  6. Stay consistent. Check to make sure that colors and design are in the same general scheme so that visitors know they're still on your site.  
  7. Validate design in alternative browsers. See how your design renders in browsers like Safari, Opera and Firefox to make sure that it looks right no matter who is viewing it.  
  8. Minimize columns. Reduce columns to avoid distracting the reader with excessive visual choices.  
  9. Lose the splash page. No one wants to sit through a fancy Flash introduction. Replace it with a helpful home page instead.  
  10. Create a tagline. Stand out with a striking tagline that will draw visitors in.  
  11. Ditch frames. If your site uses frames, you need to move on to another method, like CSS or SSI (Server-Side Includes).  
  12. Make sure that text outnumbers HTML. Provide good content with text rather than HTML.  
  13. Slow down the technology. Although you may have state-of-the-art computers, many of your visitors don't. Get rid of memory-hogging technologies like JavaScript.  
  14. Remove link cloaks. Make sure that your visitor knows exactly where they're going, or you'll lose credibility.  
  15. Limit each page to one topic. Give each page a singular purpose to avoid confusing visitors.  
  16. Ditch crazy fonts. If you're using a ransom-note font, it's time to switch to something simpler. Chances are, your visitors' browsers are rendering it as Times New Roman anyway.  
  17. Reduce your graphics. Graphics not only slow pages down, but they also steal attention away from what's important: content.  
  18. Add functional links to the footer. Make it easy for visitors to find contact information or your privacy policy just by scrolling down.  
  19. Standardize link colors. Make sure that users know which links they've visited and which they haven't.  
  20. Update information. Put on a fresh coat of paint with a new header, logo or other design element.  
  21. Convert PDF files to HTML. Make browsing flow a little smoother by converting PDF files to a format that's more easily readable in a browser.
  

Legal  

Keep your site safe and protect your content using these improvements.  
  1. Update the privacy policy. Ensure that your site's privacy policy fully discloses everything it should.  
  2. Revise "deep" links. Update links so that they point to the home page of a site rather than a specific page, or make sure that you're attributing them correctly.  
  3. Legitimize images. If you're using images that you don't legally own, it's time to update them with your own images or those that you've purchased.  
  4. Pay taxes. If you're making money from your site, it's a business and is taxed as such. Take care of your taxes or you could end up in hot water with Uncle Sam.  
  5. Protect content. Keep your content safe from thieves by copyrighting it and taking steps to shield it from unscrupulous eyes.  
  6. Form a legal entity. Get liability protection by forming an LLC (limited liability company) or other formal legal entity.  
  7. Register a trademark. If you own your domain name but not a related trademark, a trademarked entity with the same name could take it from you, so be sure to register it before someone else does.  
  8. Store a Web site cache. Keep a copy of your site handy in case of copyright disputes or loss.  
  9. Revise the email campaign. Make sure that your email campaign complies with the CAN-SPAM Act.
Posted by William Tildesley Mon May 05, 2008 6:48 pm
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