Saturday, October 31, 2009

10 Essential Windows 7 Downloads

Windows 7 may be brand spanking new, but that doesn't mean you can't find free or cheap tools to tweak its settings, add features, or smooth an upgrade from XP or Vista.We've compiled a list of ten valuable software tools -- many of them free -- that can make your Win7 experience a lot more rewarding.
(Click on each of the images for a closer look at the tool.)

Microsoft Security Essentials

Windows 7, like its predecessors, doesn't provide built-in protection against malware such as viruses and spyware. (It does have a firewall, however.) You could pay McAfee or Symantec for this service, but why bother with their protection racket when Redmond's does the same thing for free? Microsoft Security Essentials provides solid protection for home PCs, and it's gratis. If you prefer third-party security, check out AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition instead.


Brave souls upgrading to Windows 7 from XP must do a clean install, a tedious process that includes, among other things, reinstalling all of your apps. Why not load most of your free and open source programs all at once? Ninite does just that. First, go to the Ninite site and pick the programs you want (e.g., Firefox, iTunes, and Skype). Next, download Ninite, which installs the apps on your PC without additional crapware. Ninite is free for personal use.


Windows Live Photo Gallery

To keep Windows 7 slim and trim -- and avoid the code bloat that slowed Vista -- Microsoft left a few utilities out of its new OS.
One such app, Photo Gallery, is a free, easy to use photo manager/editor that's worth a download, particularly if you're not already using Google Picasa to organize your pics and videos. 

Windows Easy Transfer

Anyone moving to Windows 7 from XP and Vista should check out this free download, which helps you copy files and settings from one PC to another. (Windows 7 comes with Easy Transfer.)
The new version of Easy Transfer adds a file explorer, which simplifies the task of selecting the exact files you want to copy. Easy Transfer won't hang if it comes across a file or setting it can't move. Rather, it'll complete the transfer and provide a report of everything it couldn't copy. The bad news: Easy Transfer won't copy your programs. For a PC-to-PC connection, you'll need an Easy Transfer Cable (about $20). Other transfer options include a USB flash drive, external hard disk, or network connection.


Ultimate Windows Tweaker v2

This free customization tool detects whether you're running Windows 7 or Vista, and offers only those tweaks that are relevant to your OS. "Ultimate" is a fitting description for this mega-tweaker, which provide dozens of configuration options for UI, network, security, and system settings. If you're all about personalizing Windows 7, this app's for you.

WinZip 14 Standard

So you're about to ask: If Windows 7 has zip compression built in, why do I need the latest version of WinZip? Well, if you seldom use zip archives, you probably don't. But zip fans will appreciate the improvements in WinZip 14 Standard, which has simplified the process of zipping and mailing archives in Win 7.
The latest version offers better compression ratios too. WinZip 14 Standard costs $30.


EnhanceMySe7en Free

Windows 7 may be easier to use than Vista or XP, but diagnostic and maintenance chores can still be tricky. EnhanceMySe7en is a handy utility for anyone doing a little system housekeeping.
This free app makes it easier to select which programs will load when Windows starts, monitor your hard drives' performance, "health," and temperature, and fiddle with the Registry -- if you dare.


Image Resizer Powertoy Clone

Need to resize pictures in Windows 7? This free utility makes it easy -- simply right-click one or more image files in Windows Explorer. You can select one of four sizes: small (640 by 480); medium (800 by 600); large (1024 by 768); or handheld PC (240 by 320). You can create your own custom sizes too.


Systerac Tools for Windows 7

This bundle of 16 tools from Systerac has everything you'll need to keep Windows 7 running smoothly. You can tweak Windows' performance and appearance, optimize memory, clean up the hard drive, cover your tracks by shredding files, and so on. The Systerac interface is aesthetically appealing, nicely organized, and easy to learn. The $20 Windows 7 version runs on Vista too.


Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor

Don't upgrade to Windows 7 before running this free utility from Microsoft. Upgrade Advisor scans your PC to see if it's ready for Win 7. If it detects any potential problems, including insufficient memory, incompatible hardware, or outdated software, it'll let you know in a brief summary report.

Free Tune Up Utilities 2010

TuneUp Utilities is a program that can help us to make our windows operating system more quickly, comfortably and safely conduct with only a few clicks only. And all the commands that we give our windows operating system, completely secure. Because, all the changes that we do are always monitored by TuneUp Rescue Center and can be canceled at any time.

The program will also provide more choices to us. Besides can make Windows a more attractive, BY USING theme. TuneUp Utilities to clean up useless data from your hard disk and also Deleting entries from the registry useless. Not only that, TuneUp Utilities able to defragment your hard disk and registry and system settings Optimizing us to make Windows Walk faster. Most of this maintenance can be performed automatically every week by TuneUp 1-Click Maintenance.

You Can Download It HERE

DirectX11 Released For Windows Vista

For those of you sticking with Vista, Microsoft has finally officially released DirectX 11 for Vista, after having spent the last couple of months in beta. This final release looks to be the same as the last beta released earlier this month.

The update is KB971512, which is being released as part of a larger Platform Update for Vista that includes a few other things that are being backported for Vista. Vista SP2 is the prerequisite, so if you aren’t already on SP2 you’ll need to update.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Google Chrome: The Fast Browser With Slow Adoption

The launch of Google's Chrome browser a little over a year ago brought with it a mountain of hype and expectations, with some suggesting it could be as instantly disruptive and beneficial as Gmail was to the webmail market.
After all, here was Google opening another front against Microsoft with a big and bold move, and also turning into a competitor to its close partner Mozilla, maker of Firefox, the darling browser of techies worldwide.
Positioning itself as a reluctant entrant to the market, Google stated dramatically that it had no other choice given its deep dissatisfaction with existing browsers, specifically with their speed and performance running Web applications.

TSMC 40nm yield issues to affect AMD and Nvidia

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world's largest dedicated independent semiconductor foundry, recently confirmed it has run into new issues with their 40nm process technology that have sent yield rates down to 40%. Major customers for TSMC's 40nm processes include AMD, which just released its Radeon HD 5000 series, and Nvidia, who is expected to launch the GT300 series in December.

On first thought the conspiracy theorist in me found this suspiciously untimely for AMD, which for the first time in a long while had a great opportunity to capitalize on its early-to-market status. Their latest 40nm-based cards are not only the first to support DirectX 11, with Nvidia's answer arriving a few months later, but they have also been getting high marks for their performance and feature set in reviews around the web.

Then again TSMC's recent issues will reportedly impact shipping schedules for both AMD and Nvidia -- not to mention the manufacturer's financial performance. Company chairman and CEO Morris Chang pledged to get the problem fixed during the current quarter. The company had previously improved yield rates for its 40nm processes to around 60% from as low as 20-30% in the second quarter of 2009.

By Jose Vilches, 

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Kaspersky tool detects malware in Twitter links

Kaspersky unveiled a new tool on Thursday called "Krab Krawler" that analyzes the millions of tweets posted on Twitter every day and blocks any malware associated with them.
The tool looks at every public post as it appears on Twitter, extracts any URLs in them and analyzes the Web page they lead to, expanding any URLS that have been shortened, Costin Raiu, a senior malware analyst at Kaspersky, said in an interview.
The company is scanning nearly 500,000 new unique URLs that appear in Twitter posts daily, he said. Of those, anywhere between 100 and 1,000 are malware attacks. Twitter has also been targeted by the Koobface virus which posts malicious links from infected users' accounts.
About 26 percent of the total posts contain URLs, and many of those lead to spam sites that are marketing products or services and aren't considered malware, according to Raiu. Tens of thousands of different accounts are posting spam links, most likely from accounts created by bots, he said. The most frequent URLs posted lead to online dating sites, he added.
Twitter has its own filtering system, but some malicious links still manage to get through, Raiu said.
While Kaspersky's regular antivirus software may detect and block 95 percent of the malware Twitter users are threatened with, malware code changes frequently to evade filters and it could take between two and 12 hours for new stuff to be classified as malicious and detected, he said.
While antivirus companies have traditionally focused on protecting e-mail-borne viruses, they are increasingly turning their attention to social-media sites as attackers do.
Trend Micro has technology that monitors Twitter posts for malicious URLs, as well as looks for attack patterns in the posts, such as use of popular terms to indirectly lead people to malicious links, said Morton Swimmer, a senior threat researcher at Trend Micro.
Meanwhile, Finjan offers a free browser plug-in dubbed SecureTwitter that warns users when they encounter a malicious URL in Twitter, as well as Gmail, Blogger, MSN, MySpace, Google search, Yahoo, and other sites.
Social-media sites are popular for attackers not only because people are flocking to them, but also because users seem to trust messages that appear to come from friends on those sites more than they trust e-mails, Raiu said.
"People are worried about unsolicited e-mail, so they are careful not to run the programs they get by e-mail, but they aren't prepared to deal with these kinds of new attacks," he said.

The most common piece of malware associated with Twitter links is Trojan-Clicker.HTMLIFrame, a malicious JavaScript that can get downloaded to a computer when it visits a compromised Web site.
(Credit: Kaspersky)

Source: Cnet 

Intel to update LGA1366 line with 2.88GHz Core i7 930

Even though Intel is facing virtually no competition on the high-end processor market, the arrival of its Lynnfield-based Core i7 860 early last month threatened to cannibalize sales at the lower end of the enthusiast LGA1366 spectrum. The chip carries the same $290 price tag as the "Bloomfield" Core i7 920, yet it comes with higher clock speeds and Turbo Boost capabilities, a tighter power envelope, and fits into a cheaper platform.

Thus is not really surprising to hear Intel will be discontinuing the latter. However, rather than leaving a wide hole in its LGA1366 lineup, the chip maker will apparently be replacing it with a higher clocked Core i7 930 processor next quarter. The quad-core, eight thread part will run at 2.88GHz and should cost the same as its Core i7 920 predecessor.

Although still unconfirmed by Intel at this point, the move sounds plausible enough. We have already witnessed the replacement of the 3.20GHz Core i7 Extreme 965 with the 3.33GHz i7 975, as well as the 2.93GHz Core i7 940 with the 3.06GHz Core i7 950 and once again with the Core i7 960 running at 3.2GHz.

By Jose Vilches, 

Sony Recalls AC Adapters For Shock Hazard

Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

While Sony may have figured out its laptop battery technology, there is now an unfortunate case for the recall of some of the company's AC adapters that pose a shock hazard to its users.
Owners of the AC adapter model VGP-AC19V17, used on the Vaio all-in-one desktop models VGC-LT series and VGC-JS2 series and the Docking Stations VGP-PRBX1 and VGP-PRFE1, are subject to the voluntary recall by Sony. The defect affects around 69,000 units.
Sony has received four reports of adapters short circuiting, but thankfully, no injuries have been reported.
Those who own products that use this AC adapter are advised to turn off their computer, unplug it, and contact Sony to arrange for a free replacement.
Read the full details of the recall here.

Source : Tom's Hardware US

Microsoft puts its 'signature' on PCs

The "Microsoft Signature" PCs that are being sold at Microsoft's retail and online stores contain a bunch of extra Windows Live software, but also feature something rarely found on a PC--a clean desktop.
(Credit: Microsoft)
Although Microsoft isn't making its own PCs, the software maker is taking an active role in customizing just what goes on the computers it sells through its online and retail stores.
In its new role as PC retailer, Microsoft is loading computers with what it's calling its Microsoft Signature experience--a collection of Microsoft products, including the complete Windows Live suite, Security Essentials antivirus product, Zune jukebox, and Bing 3D Maps software, as well as Adobe's Flash and Acrobat Reader products. Internet Explorer 8 is the browser, with Bing as its default search provider.

(Credit: Graphic by Ina Fried/CNET News)
The computers are being sold at Microsoft's two retail stores--the Scottsdale, Ariz., store that opened last week and the Mission Viejo, Calif., outlet that is opening later on Thursday. The software giant is also selling PCs throughout the U.S. via its online Microsoft Store.
The goal of the Signature effort is to give customers what Microsoft feels is the best software experience they can have on a PC.
"Signature gives them a PC that is ready to run," Microsoft retail unit chief technology strategist Kevin Eagan said in an interview. "We think we're really unlocking the potential of Windows 7."
Microsoft isn't completely deciding what goes on the system. Computer makers can also add software that takes advantage of particular hardware features, but it's not allowing any trialware or "crapware."
"Much like other retailers would define (what goes on their PCs), we do the same working closely with our (computer maker) partners," Eagan said.
As part of the in-store experience, Microsoft staffers will also help customers install other software they might want--even competitor's products, such as Apple's iTunes. They can also change their browser or default search provider before they leave the store, Eagan said.
"We want to give customers what they are asking for, so they leave store 100 percent satisfied," Eagan said.
Eagan said Microsoft is just taking advantage of the customization options that other retailers also have available to them and said the company doesn't anticipate any regulatory concerns.
"We're absolutely confident that what we've done is added another choice for customers," he said. "We think expanded choice is good for customers."
Those who already have a PC, but live near one of Microsoft's stores, can bring in their PC and have the Microsoft Security Essentials software added at no charge.

Source: Cnet

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gigabyte intros next-gen USB and SATA-equipped motherboards

Gigabyte has joined Asus in the race to build motherboards equipped with USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s connectivity, introducing an entire P55-based lineup sporting the next-generation I/O technology. The company has brought a host of new motherboards to the table, including the GA-P55A-UD6, GA-P55A-UD5, GA-P55A-UD4P, GA-P55A-UD4,GA-P55A-UD3P, GA-P55A-UD3R, GA-P55A-UD3.

This series of boards can be easily distinguished by the "P55A" branding, as opposed to the company's previous "P55" boards -- they also feature "Gigabyte 333 onboard acceleration." The "333" refers to the onboard third-gen SATA and USB parts, as well as USB 3.0's new voltage profile, which Gigabyte says offers triple the power to external devices.

With seven listed units, Gigabyte likely has most budgets and builds covered. All of the boards support Intel's recent Lynnfield (Core i5 and i7 8xx) LGA 1156 processors. The motherboards rely on NEC's uPD720200 chip for USB 3.0, and Marvell's 88SE9128 controller for 6Gbps SATA, and bring the expected features and in-house technologies.

By Matthew DeCarlo, 

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tilera touts 100-core server processor

Looking to make its way into a market dominated by Intel and AMD, Tilera Corporation, a five-year-old fabless semiconductor startup focusing on scalable multi-core embedded processor design has unveiled the new Tile-GX series of server CPUs. Available with 16, 36, 64, and up to 100 cores, the company claims its chips offer the highest performance of any microprocessor yet announced while operating efficiently at the same time.

They are built on TSMC's 40 nanometer process and can work at up to 1.50GHz with power consumption ranging from 10 to 55 watts. While this may seem like no match for Intel’s Nehalem processors which top out at around 3.3GHz (and burn up to 130 watts), Tilera's view is to increase performance by having many cores running at modest clock speeds rather than just driving up clock frequency.

The new Tile-GX series is based around a two-dimensional iMesh interconnect, which eliminates the need for an on-chip bus, and a Dynamic Distributed Cache system that allows each core's local cache to be shared coherently across the entire chip. According to the firm, this interconnect system is able to feed data into the chip's cores at very high rates of speed so performance can scale almost linearly with the number of cores.

Both Intel and AMD are also working on growing the number of cores on their processors and expanding the reach of their architectures, but Tilera claims to have a clear advantage in performance-per watt. Of course, they'll face an uphill battle competing with established players and the huge codebase behind their x86 architecture, but Tilera claims some top-tier system makers have already shown interest in their products and at least one is running their multi-core chips on test systems.

By Jose Vilches, 

Intel to allow 2GB RAM with future Atom N470 netbooks

If you've been in the market for a netbook at any given moment for the past year, you may have noticed how manufacturers are basically just putting different enclosures around the same hardware -- 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor, 160 or 250GB hard drives, and no more than 1GB of RAM. This is largely the result of restrictions set by Intel and Microsoft, and apparently with the arrival of Intel's Pine Trail platform early next year things won't be too different.

According to Fudzilla, netbooks based on the upcoming 1.66GHz Atom N450 processor, which will debut in January featuring an on-die graphics core and memory controller, will still be tied to the 1GB limit. These systems should also have display sizes ranging from 7" to 10.2", either a 120GB hard drive or up to 20GB of solid-state storage, and a four-cell battery -- but on the flip side should start selling for as low as $250.

Further down the road, around March 2010, the 1.83GHz Atom N470 will reportedly allow running 2GB of RAM and up to 32GB of solid-state storage. The higher limit should provide a decent jump in performance for netbooks, while still targeting the $299 to $349 price points.

These restrictions are aimed at making a clear distinction between netbooks and ultraportables, while protecting the profit margins from more lucrative CULV-based offerings.

By Jose Vilches, 

Clean install Windows 7 using upgrade media

There are two license types for Windows 7: the full package product license and the upgrade license. While Microsoft is giving both XP and Vista users the option to buy the latter, for considerably less money, it also has some restrictions in place that make it difficult to perform a clean install using upgrade media. Specifically, the Windows 7 installer must be ran from either XP or Vista and detect an active, registered version of the OS.

So what happens if you want to install Windows 7 with an upgrade license on an empty hard drive? Technology blogger Paul Thurrott has detailed a method to bypass this restriction -- and save you up to a $100 if you don't actually own a Windows XP or Vista license. The process requires users to clean install but not activate Windows 7. After the installation is completed, users must make a minor change to the Windows registry, use the Windows "rearm" command, then reboot, type in the accompanying product key and Voila!

Thurrott details two additional methods on his SuperSite for Windows blog, the first and least painful of which includes simply installing with the upgrade media as if it were full media, and only activating your copy of Windows 7 after downloading all pending updates. The other method requires users to install the operating system twice, a technique that also worked with Vista when it was launched nearly three years ago.

By Jose Vilches, 

Download the Windows 7 Product Guide

Get informed about Windows 7 here.

Think you know know all there is to know about Windows 7? If you've been following all of our coverage, then you'll have a pretty good idea what's new in Microsoft's latest operating system.
But just in case you're craving for more, Microsoft has posted a new document for download on its website called the Windows 7 Product Guide. Composed of 140 pages, the Windows 7 Product Guide "provides a detailed look at the many new and improved features in Windows 7."
The guide includes sections that explains how "Windows 7 Simplifies Everyday Tasks, Works the Way You Want, and Makes New Things Possible."
Microsoft said that the guide is targeted at both end users and IT professionals to inform how to "Make People Productive Anywhere, Manage Risk Through Enhanced Security and Control, and Reduce Costs by Streamlining PC Management."
Those looking for instructions or support should probably look elsewhere, as this is just an overview of new features and functionality. The Windows 7 Product Guide is available in both XPS and PDF formats, with the Microsoft format being 30.5 MB and the Acrobat format being 62 MB. Download it here.

 Source : Tom's Hardware US

Asus shows USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s-equipped board

I'm sure you've caught wind of the various revamped interfaces slated for debut in the coming year, such as USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s. Naturally, as consumer electronics begin to sport these next-generation parts, motherboard makers will jump to provide the necessary connectivity. In fact, Asus has been working on motherboards with each spec -- though some projects fizzled out. The company didn't give up altogether though, recently unveiling the P7P55D-E Premium, the first motherboard to unite USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s.

If the P7P55D-E Premium sounds familiar it's probably because it shares many parallels with the $280 P7P55D Premium, which only has SATA 6Gb/s. Alongside the third-generation SATA and USB ports, Asus' P7P55D-E Premium will feature support for Intel LGA 1156 processors, up to four DIMMs for a total of 16GB DDR3 2200MHz (OC) RAM, two PCI-E 2.0 x16, x1, and PCI slots with support for SLI as well as CrossFireX. Also integrated are a PATA host adapter, dual Gigabit Ethernet, an IEEE1394a port, and an assortment of USB 2.0 and SATA 3Gb/s connectors.
The board also boasts a slew of other goodies, including onboard power on and reset buttons, and a ton of Asus-specific technologies. The only thing it's missing is Light Peak -- but that will come in due time. There's no official pricing, but it's fair to assume that it will debut at $300 or more.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Report: Intel Delaying Support for USB 3.0

Intel is pushing back support for USB 3.0 until 2011 claims a report.

Last week EE Times reported that Intel Corp. has decided to delay its support for USB 3.0 until 2011. According to a "top tier" PC manufacturer who chose to remain nameless, Intel's hesitation will put mainstream adoption of the new USB standard on hold for at least a year. Intel originally planned to sample chipsets supporting USB 3.0 in early 2010, but now those plans have changed; Intel's PC technology manager even confirmed the report.

EE Times thus contacted a spokesperson from Intel and asked about the delay. The contact said the he didn't know anything about the supposed delay, and declined to comment any further on the subject. Currently Intel is focused on supporting the company's first processor architecture to use an integrated memory controller, Nehalem, and is also working on transitioning to the 5 GHz PCI Express 2.0 spec.

Still, that won't stop some companies from jumping onto the SuperSpeed USB bandwagon, releasing high-end consumer systems and graphic workstations... but not without a high cost. "It's hard to commit to an emerging technology like this when the key silicon enablers (meaning Intel) are not making it a priority," the source said. "You get into a chicken-and-egg situation."

EE Time's source also added that Intel needs to consider the "compelling needs" for USB 3.0 now versus 18 months later.
Source : Tom's Hardware US

Acer's new monitor sports a contrast ratio of 8,000,000:1.

PCLaunches reports that Acer just shipped a super-slim, super-sharp 24-inch display in Japan for around $360. The monitor measures just 0.57-inches thick and offering an eye-piercing dynamic contrast ratio of up to 8,000,000:1 thanks to the white LED (WLED) backlighting. By using white LED technology, Acer's display can reproduce a wider color s-band at the higher saturation level.

In addition to its high contrast (which actually ranges from 1,000:1 to 8M:1), the display is somewhat green in nature, consuming only 17.2W of power, reducing consumption by 63-percent in relation to other 24-inch displays. Outside it 1080p resolution (1920 x 1080), the panel provides 250 cd/m2 brightness, 2 ms response time, a 160/170 degrees viewing angle, a single VGA jack, dual HDMI inputs, and an HDMI-to-DVI adapter.

The display itself is mounted on an L-shaped base with a matte metallic finish. The built-in 2W speaker is mounted into the rack monitor. It also uses an adaptive system for contrast control that ensures dynamic regulation of contrast level; each scene is analyzed and improved in color quality.

Although Acer hasn't revealed a North American release date, the Acer S243HL would certainly be ideal for intense PC gaming a Blu-ray movies in the den.

5 New Technologies That Will Change Everything

While sipping a cup of organically farmed, artisan-brewed tea, I tap on my gigabit-wireless-connected tablet, to pull up a 3D movie on the razor-thin HDTV hanging on the wall. A media server streams the film via a superspeedy USB connection to a wireless HD transmitter, which then beams it to the TV.
That actor--who was he? My augmented-reality contact lenses pick up the unique eye motion I make when I have a query, which I then enter on a virtual keyboard that appears in the space in front of me. Suddenly my field of vision is covered with a Web page showing a list of the actor's movies, along with some embedded video clips.
These technologies will come to life in the distant future, right? Future, yes. Distant, no.
Speed and content (much of it video) will be paired consistently across mobile, laptop, desktop, and home-entertainment systems. New ways of using video--including adding 3D depth or artificial visual overlays--will require more speed, storage, and computational power.
In our preview of technologies that are well on their way to reality, we look at the connective tissue of USB 3.0, 802.11ac, and 802.11ad for moving media--especially video--faster; at HTML5 for displaying video and content of all kinds consistently across all our devices; at augmented reality to see how the digital world will stretch into our physical reality by overlaying what we see with graphics and text; and at 3D TV, which will add image depth and believability to the experience of watching TV.

USB 3.0

USB 3.0
The new USB 3.0 standard preserves backward compatibility by allowing older cables to plug into newer jacks; but newer cables like this one have extra pins that boost the data rate to 4.8 gbps.
Before you leave work, you need to back up your computer. You push a button, and 5 minutes later, while you're still packing up, your system has dumped 150GB of data onto an encrypted 512GB superfast solid-state drive, which you eject to take with you for offsite backup. On your way home, you stop at
 a movie kiosk outside a fast-food restaurant and buy a feature-length 3D video download on sale. You plug in your drive, the kiosk reads your credentials, and while you watch a 90-second preview of coming attractions, the 30GB video transfers onto your SSD. You pull out the drive and head home.

Does Turbo Boost Help Or Hurt Core i5/i7's Power Efficiency?

Intel’s new LGA 1156-based processors, namely the Core i5-700- and Core i7-800-series, arrived with a bang. Our launch article by Chris Angelini provides all the key information. But, in short, the new processor delivers increased performance compared to Core 2 Quad. No surprise there. But Intel also claims that power consumption went down significantly, so we decided to tackle this prospect with a closer look.
The Core i5 Innovation
The new P55 platform and Intel’s Lynnfield processors make a are impressive enough from a performance angle, but I’d like to look at the facts from a different perspective. The platform’s foundation still centers on the Nehalem architecture first seen as Core i7 for LGA 1366 late last year, hence the level of innovation in Lynnfield is less revolutionary and more of an evolution.

Intel is great at tweaking, though. From a technology standpoint, Core i5 incorporates a lot more integration, stepping closer to the inevitable SoC (system-on-chip) future by adding PCI Express onto the die. A more aggressive implementation of Turbo Boost adds extra performance for non-threaded applications. Considering that Intel plans to integrate graphics with Clarkdale in coming months, this step could also be looked at as a necessity. Improved Turbo Boost is another building block for turning dynamic overclocking into a real feature. In reality, though, the large motherboard makers have been offering similar features for a few years already.
I see two main benefits of the new LGA 1156 processors for buyers. First, you have decreased power consumption thanks to the integrated memory controller and PCI Express 2.0 interface. The second benefit is performance. Turbo Boost helps to elevate LGA 1156-based parts to Core i7-900-class performance levels in certain applications. Both benefits became obvious in our article, Intel’s Mainstream Magnum Opus.


OCZ is showing strong commitment to be at the forefront of SSD technology. Over the past year the company has released nearly a dozen different series targeting every possible market, from affordable netbook oriented products to enterprise-grade solid state drives for servers and data warehouses.
They have had a great deal of success with multi-level cell (MLC) drives such as the Vertex we reviewed a few months ago. Priced at $230 for a 60GB unit and $380 for the 120GB version, these drives deliver an excellent balance between performance and capacity at their respective price points.
At the other side of the spectrum, single-level cell (SLC) solid state drives tend to sell for more outrageous prices. For example, those opting for the SLC-based Vertex EX should be prepared to spend well over $1,000 for 120GB of storage. Even the smaller 60GB Vertex EX costs an astronomical $660, meaning that consumers are paying an incredible $11 per gigabyte.
That is a hard figure to swallow considering its MLC counterpart costs a more reasonable $3.80 per gigabyte and today's conventional 1TB HDDs are fetching as little as $0.08 per gigabyte.

However as you may have learned from our previous SSD coverage and comparisons, you cannot simply compare SSDs and traditional HDDs on a cost per gigabyte basis as they are two very different animals.
As far as SLC vs. MLC goes, there are some notable advantages to SLC memory, specifically performance and lifespan advantages that are inherent to the way each type of memory saves data (here's a brief introductory video, but in a nutshell if you want nothing but first-rate transfer speeds and are willing to pay the premium, SLC based drives promise to fit the bill.
OCZ has been working on making this technology a bit kinder on your bank account. Their latest 2.5" consumer drive is known under the Agility EX moniker, and is touted as the most cost-efficient SSD based on single-level cell memory with a cost per gigabyte at around $6.65 -- or 40% less than the Vertex EX.

College Students Use Generic Printer Cartridges

Not all college professors have joined the digital age. Some, tweedy and bearded, actually require you to turn in your essays and critical inquiries printed with real ink on real paper. At the other end of the scale, some college professors actually understand more about the subtleties and intricacies of digital text preparation, they have figured out ingenious cheating and plagiarism techniques you have yet to imagine. The most deceptive post-modern instructors, in jeans and flannel shirts, demand you turn in your papers printed on real paper with real ink, and they scan your text and run it through CopyScape, catching every word you borrowed from Wikipedia and Sparks Notes.
Undergraduate, upper-class man, graduating senior, Ph.D. candidate, all the same: If you work in ivy-covered halls, you depend on your printer. You also live in constant fear your printer will run out of ink in the middle of the night on the exact night before you have The Big Paper due in your 8 a.m. class. You have experienced the shock and panic before: the printer keeps sailing back and forth as if lines of text appeared, but the ink slowly ran out at mid-sentence, mid-page, two pages from the end.
You can cure your panic and satisfy even your most demanding instructors, ordering generic printer cartridges from an online printer cartridge specialist.
Online printer cartridge specialist? Really?
Just Google "printer cartridge" and watch the Top 10 lists appear. These merchants sell nothing but printer cartridges-every brand and practically every machine, including your stone-age ink jet machine you got as a hand-me-down from your brother. More importantly, these ink specialists can hook you up with high-quality, dependable cartridges so inexpensively you will not have to dip into your financial aid. And most importantly, reputable and reliable online printer cartridge specialists sell generic ink tanks. For about 1/10th the price of an original equipment tank, you can get a generic cartridge guaranteed to fit your machine and deliver the same print quality with the same durability you would expect in the "designer" gear. Before your next big writing assignment, order two or three printer cartridges and save big money-not only on ink but also on stress relief medications.

Why Buy Printer Cartridges From an Online Merchant?

Your local office supplies retailer seldom stocks generic or remanufactured printer cartridges. Your retailer certainly has only limited selection of discounted cartridges for printers and copiers, because he wants to sell the name brand merchandise. You can, however, buy high-quality, high-performance printer cartridges at a trustworthy internet ink specialist. Internet ink sellers do not sell mechanical pencils, wastebaskets, lunch boxes, and art supplies. They sell nothing but ink. They guarantee they have your printer cartridge in stock, and they can ship your products today--at no charge. Save time and money with a reliable printer cartridge expert.
Why work with a reliable online ink merchant?
Online printer cartridge vendors do nothing but ink. They specialize in cartridges for old printers, new printers, weird printers, laser printers, ink-jet printers, even a few old reliable dot-matrix printers; they know toner cartridges, too. They also understand how much you depend on your printer, and they make certain their new, remanufactured, and generic printer cartridges will perform to your demanding standards. Their products meet the same specifications and satisfy the same quality standards as original equipment, but they cost far less.
Well-respect online printer cartridge retailers take tremendous pride in their service to customers, making certain they have your ink in-stock and ready to ship. If you feel uncertain about which cartridge fits your printer, they have product knowledge, experience, and resources to guarantee you get precisely what you need. If, for any reason, your cartridge does not work, or if it fails to satisfy you, they willingly will accept your return, exchanging your product or refunding your money without question or argument. Best of all, they ship your products at no cost.
Remanufactured and generic printer cartridges represent by far your best value, and an online ink specialist stands out as by far your best vendor.

Pivottables and Data Modelling For Excel Dashboards

The whole idea of a Dashboard is to provide a graphical interpretation of the most relevant data, such as a balanced scorecard. Moreover, the updating of new data into the dashboard every week or month should be automated as much as possible. This is where the data model becomes crucial if you want to achieve this. If you get the data model correct at the beginning, the more successful any dashboard will be. The easiest way to understand this concept is to ask -how will my performance report be updated with new data?
Pivottables provide an excellent way to dynamically update dashboard charts and tables when new data appears. Pivottables should be your starting point for a data model. New data is added to the source data list for the pivottable. These pivottables are then hidden in staging worksheets. Through the use of excel functions, links and VBA we can update pivottables when new data is added, which will subsequently show in the reports.
For example, When the pivottables are updated using the refresh button, the various pivottables within the staging worksheet are updated, which consequently shows in all the other dashboards components. Links from pivottables to individual cells within a dashboard report can be done using the 'getpivotdata' formula. This needs to be switch on in order for this to work. If it is switched off, then all you get is a direct link to a cell rather than a dynamic link. If i wanted a cell to show quarters 1,2,3 and 4 when the data appears, i would use the getpivotdata to show this. This means if i were to change the layout of the pivot, the cells would still show the value of quarters 1,2,3 and 4, but if i did not use the getpivotdata function, then i would only get the value of the cell - which is now likely to be something different now after the pivottable has been pivotted. It is simple to use. Select the cell and type in the = sign. Then point to the value in the pivottable you want the cell to link to. TIP: If this doesn't work then click on the generate get pivotdata icon to switch the formula back on.

Benefits of Using PDF For Newsletters

In the today's modern world, newsletters are created in various formats. A marketer can create newsletter in Portable Document Format or Hyper Text Markup Language. Newsletters in Portable Document Format provide a user with a number of options and security features. A PDF format renders a professional appearance to a document. The advantageous features of PDF enable a marketer to present the company's information to a client emphatically.
Advantages of a PDF newsletter:
There are a number of advantages of a newsletter being formatted in PDF. A PDF newsletter becomes portable in nature. In other words, you can have access to a newsletter on any computer system with different configuration. In a PDF application a marketer can use any font type. All fonts are embedded in a PDF so that it becomes feasible to view all fonts when a newsletter is accessed on different computer system. The format can be used to exchange abundant information. In other words, one can include graphics, images, charts or other visuals in the format. PDF application has the compression ability feature with which the size of the images and graphics can compress. This compression feature makes a file size smaller. A smaller file size becomes easily transmittable to the recipients in far flung areas. Therefore, one can also use graphics to demonstrate a company message effectively. A newsletter can become visually appealing if you integrate multimedia elements in a PDF file. PDF has a great ability to support multimedia elements like animation, audio or video clips. The document size of a newsletter remains compact. PDF format supports hyperlinks as well. One can provide additional information in a newsletter by giving hyperlinks to a viewer. PDF file also offers security features to keep the content intact. The contents of your newsletter remain unhampered if you integrate the security features. You can protect your newsletter from unauthorized printing, viewing or editing. One can choose the security settings as per the requirement.
There are various tools available that can make the task of creating exquisite newsletters expedient and instant. A person can create a newsletter in Word document and then convert word to PDF. A person can also deploy newsletter publishing tools that create PDF newsletters. These tools make a user more flexible and efficient to deliver the best output.

Computers Have Come a Long Way Baby

Like many of us, there are occasions when I fuss and fume over how slow a web page is loading or how long it's taking to download a file. And, since I'm a programmer by trade, I also mumble to myself at times about how limited the command set is for a particular programming language or how slow a particular PC is at updating a large database file. At times like that however, I can calm myself by closing my eyes and thinking back to when I first started working with computers.
In 1972, fresh out the army (and one semester of grad school) I decided to move to Tulsa. My aunt had an accounting practice and was trying to computerize, and I thought it would be interesting to help her do that while I looked for a job. After a good deal of research I suggested that she should buy a Litton 1241; it seemed reasonably simple to operate and it had a number of software packages that came with it. The local sales rep had sold quite a few of them and his customers included several accountants, so it seemed like a perfect fit.
Unfortunately my aunt had no idea of how to use a computer, so I decided to stay around a little longer and try to get some of her workload transferred to her bright, shiny new computer. And it was a real whiz-bang of a computer for the time. It featured a magnetic drum memory that could hold 64 data items and it had 128 program registers, each of which could hold four instructions. There was no monitor of course -- the printer doubled as the input display. And since the internal memory was volatile (your data disappeared when you shut off the computer), the 1241 also had a paper tape reader/punch. All your data files were punched onto paper tape when you finished a job, and were read back in through the paper tape reader the next time you ran that job. The 1241 also came with a free electric paper tape roller-upper thingy to keep your tapes neatly rolled into reels.
Actually the 1241 was pretty fast once you got your data loaded from tape, assuming you could make do with those 64 data registers. Any sizable application had to be done in stages; for example a job cost package that was available from Litton had to done in a number of steps with pauses in between to punch intermediate data to tape and then read it back in for the next step. All in all, not exactly a speed burner if you were running anything very complicated.
After a while, I managed to teach myself to program the darn thing and eventually wound up being offered a job with the local Litton office. I got plenty of experience there with the venerable 1241, but over the next few years Litton made great strides in modernizing their computers. First came the 1251, which was basically a 1241 with a larger drum. I helped run a demo for the manager of the local Coca-Cola bottling plant and he was so impressed with the speed of the new system (it sorted 2000 items in just over two hours) that he bought one on the spot.
Next came the Litton 1281, which featured magnetic ledger cards. No more messy paper tape rolls; the 1281 stored data on magnetic ledger cards. It seemed like a giant leap forward at the time and we immediately arranged a demo for a big-time prospect. The sales manager and I practiced running through the complete demo the night before our presentation and everything went smoothly. The next morning at the actual demo absolutely nothing worked -- like the frog in the old Warner Brothers cartoon the 1281 just sat there and bleeped occasionally. It turned out that there were a set of "micro routines" on a special ledger card that had to be loaded each time after the initial use of the 1281.
The 1281 was followed a couple of years later by the 1300; a much more modern system. The 1300 had a monitor and cassette tape drives for storage. It was so impressive that we actually got an appointment with Walmart and went to their headquarters to make a presentation to them. When they showed us into their data processing area it seemed like old times -- by golly, they were storing everything on paper tape. There were giant loops of paper tape everywhere and the chad from the paper punches was scattered all over the floor. Walmart didn't buy from us but they did modernize their computer department shortly after that -- which probably had a lot to do with Walmart growing by leaps and bounds over the next several decades.
Once thing I forgot to mention; newer isn't always better. On one occasion we tried to update a construction company in Oklahoma City that had a Litton 1230 (basically a teletype with a mag drum and paper punch attached). The customer turned us down flat. The boss's wife ran their job cost estimating program and worked on the front desk and the only way she could tell when to go start another estimate running was when the 1230 rang it's teletype bell at the end of each job. We could offer all kinds of new features but we couldn't ring that bell for her.
Programming those systems was fun too. It definitely required some ingenuity at times to produce complex programs with only a handful of commands and storage registers available. Do I miss those days? You bet -- right up until I decide to go look through some merchandise on Amazon or check out the latest stuff on YouTube. Maybe the best part of reminiscing about those times is that it reminds me of how far we've come and makes me much more tolerant of that slow-loading web page.

Using Excel Dynamic Named Ranges in Pivottables

On of the best technique to reference data in excel is to use named ranges. This can be extended if you want dynamic named ranges which adjust with new data.
Normally we hard code the source range for a chart or pivottable, especially if the full range is fixed for the year. However, if the final range is not fixed, then we have to manually update the range for the charts or pivottables every time the new data is added to the database or excel list. To update a pivottable manually, you need to select the table and then pivottable wizard, select back and then reselect the range. The source range also needs to be open.
You can use VBA code that opens up the source and updates the relevant pivottables automatically instead of having to do the above. If all the updating was left to the end, you could easily call all macros and update with one click!
However, in excel version 2003. A new data List feature provide dynamic lists. Another benefit is that there is no need to load the source file first as when using the OFFSET formula. The list range is usually given a named range. If you are using an older version then use the offset formula outlined below.
Once the formula or list range has been completed, go into the relevant pivottable and add the name of the dynamic range after the file name e.g. yourworkbook.xls'!yournamedrange
This means that when new data is added to the database, the named ranged should automatically expand to include the new data. When you refresh the pivot tables manually or by using the code, the pivot tables should now show the new data. This is a great way to start the development of an excel dashboard. Dynamic pivottables are a useful data model.
Go to: Insert>Name>Define and in the Names in workbook box type any one word name (I will use MyRange) the only part that will change is the formula we place in the Refers to box depending on if you are using offset or are using the list feature.
For the offset formula only use this:Expand Down as Many Rows as There are Numeric Entries.In the Refers to box type: =OFFSET($A$1,0,0,COUNT($A:$A),1)
If it is the data list you are using, then Go to: Insert>Name>Define and in the Names in workbook box type any one word name. Use this formula in the refers to box. Adjust the sheet name and range accordingly: ='yourworksheet'!$A$5:$G$339

Computer Slow Repairs

The new computer runs fast even with low specification rates. The computer runs slow after a few months when you install some programs or when you save data on the hard drive.
There are three reasons to make the computer or the laptop slow:
1- Hard drive issue: the hard drive is full or more than 80% full, this issue could slow down the computer. The seek time of a hard disk measures the amount of time required for the read/write heads to move between tracks over the surfaces of the platters.
2- Memory issue: one of the most important part to make the computer fast and smooth is to increase the memory. When you have many programs run in the background like the Anti Virus, the Weather, Printer, Messenger...etc, these programs consume the memory. I suggest 1GB of Ram for Windows. If you add more, this will help your PC to run faster.
3- Virus and Spyware: Viruses and Spyware one of the main reasons could slow down the Computer. When you turn on the computer, the viruses and Spyware run in the start-up mode or in the background, they infect Windows files, registry values and the internet connection. Spyware record everything you do online and on the keyboard. It usually sends a report to the hacker with some confidential information about you. Some of them re-direct you to some scam websites.
Now after we knew about the reasons, we need to fix this problem without calling the computer repair technician.
Regular Maintenance: Windows has a special tools to do the Computer maintenance.
• Hard drive error Check : this way makes your hard drive healthy and fast.
• Defragmentation: defragment the hard drive and re arrange the information and Data on the hard drive. The system will tell you if you need the defragmentation or not.
• Uninstall Programs: try to filter your programs and uninstall unnecessary programs. Free up your hard drive as much as you can.
• Temporary Files Clean up: Free tools from Microsoft help you to clean up your Computer from Temporary files.
• Virus and Spyware Scan: Update your Anti Virus always and run full scan to clean up your Computer from Viruses, Trojan, Worms, Ad ware and Pop-ups. If you do not have an Anti Virus, try to download a free Anti virus or Anti Spyware, install it, do the update then scan your Computer.
• Add More Memory: When you have an old computer, the best way to optimize your computer and make it fast.
If you have good experience you could add some memory by your self, or you could hire a Computer repair Company in Toronto.

The Advantages of Surface-Mount Technology For PCBs

PCB (printed circuit board) technology has come a long way since they were first invented in the 1930's! The construction of electrical circuits via through-hole technology was largely the norm until IBM began to seriously improve the practicality of surface-mount PCBs. Today's surface-mount technology allows for the mass production of electronics and has greatly reduced the cost to the consumer. Here are some of the other advantages of surface-mount technology for PCBs.
-- Surface-mount allows for much smaller components to be used which, in turn, allows for smaller, more portable and lightweight electronic device applications.
-- Because the components can be so much smaller, the complexity of the PCB can be increased over the same or a smaller surface area. There can be many more components and many more connections as well than there could ever be using through-hole techniques.
-- The soldering process involved with surface-mount can be done on a large scale via automation. This expedites production and reduces the need for man-power.
-- Placement of components is much more reliable than it would be if it were done via through-hole or even if humans soldered by hand. The reason for this is that the natural surface tension created when the soldering sheet becomes molten in the oven naturally pulls the components into their exact proper positions.
-- Surface-mount PCBs are much stronger and resistant to external stress than their through-hole counterparts. When an electronic device is dropped or shaken, if the components have been surface-mounted the electrical connection is much more likely to remain intact.
Most PCBs today are manufacturer using surface-mount technologies. Although the processes may vary, the concept remains the same: surface-mount is still the best thing going.

The 3 Different Types of Printed Circuit Boards

If you've ever used a computer, pager, cell phone, or any other device requiring electronic components, then underneath all of those layers of metal you will eventually find a printed circuit board. Printed circuit boards (PCBs) have been used for more than 40 years, but today's models are so technologically-improved that they bear only the most basic resemblance to their forebears. Here's a little information about the 3 different types of printed circuit boards.
1. Single-sided board: Adequate for simple games and other non-complex electronics, a single-sided board is compromised of just one substrate with a fairly straight-forward set of components. An extremely thin layer of conducting material is applied to the board and electronic components are soldered to a set of interconnecting circuits. A series of contact fingers along the edges of the board serve to either connect this PCB to another or to a power source.
2. Double-sided board: As its name implies, an increase in application complexity may make it necessary for additional electronic components to be soldered to the other side of the substrate. Now that there are circuits on each side of the board, the components are connected via a series of strategically placed through-holes which allow for an unimpeded electrical connection between the two. The holes must therefore be coated with a conductive material to allow the PCB to work correctly.
3. Multi-layered board: With these printed circuit boards, the substrate is actually compromised of multiple layers of printed circuits. Separated by layers of specialized insulation, these printed circuit sheets are also connected via plated holes and allow for more complex applications.
PCBs have revolutionized our world in so many ways that their influence is mind-boggling. Improvements in manufacture procedure as well as technology are continually evolving; so much so, perhaps, that in another 40 years they just may bear no more than a passing resemblance to today's models.

Benefits of Online Computer Repair Services

In today's high tech world, on line computer repairs are rapidly taking a hold. Getting a computer repaired online is one of the best options because you do not have to drag your computer to a repair shop and then wait for many days to get it back. Another benefit of the computer repair services online is that it is pocket friendly. You do not have to spend a lot of money in getting your system repaired. Most of them charges only 90 dollars to remove a spy ware or virus.
Majority of the online computer repair companies offers a free or fix it policy. It means that you pay only when your damage is fixed. Common types of repairs that online companies provide are system tune-ups, driver issues, spy ware and virus removal, internet issues and registry issues.
Many issues remain unsolved as repair takes place online. For example, if your computer fails to boot, then online computer repairs company cannot help you. If any part of your computer damages, then also they fail to assist you. This is where no pay no fix comes handy. Ensure to ask about any such policy.
Nowadays it is common to do anything on the internet and the computer. From education, research to shopping everything has become possible with the help of these two tools. Now, a large percentage of people across the world have access to the internet. With an increase in the computer usage, there is also a rise in computer problems. Even the most careful computer user experiences some or the other kind of non- technical or technical problem. The usual way to get your problem solved is to take your computer to the computer repair shop. However, this an effective way to get a computer repair yet it brings with it inconvenience that very few people are able to accept. With onsite computer repairs, you get an opportunity to look at computer repair services from different and new angles. Here are the few reasons explaining why online services are better:
  • Online tutorials for computer processes and repair services are available. Although an expert fixes your problem, you also follow the guidelines on how and what to do to fix the problem. It provides an education approach to any computer user.
  • Online technicians aim to offer exceptional customer care. Every problem, big or small receives same amount of expertise and attention.
  • Getting your computer repaired on line saves your time that you have to spend waiting for your chance in a long line.
  • Online repair services offer remote tech support seven days a week. You can avail these technical services anytime, without worrying about weekend breaks.
  • Experts and qualified technicians are at your service. This means that the experts who assist you in fixing your problem have wide experience and professionals credentials.
Therefore, online computer repair services offers lots of benefits and solves your computer problems instantly without any wastage of money and time.