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Google Chrome 17 Stable Available for Download

After going through a month-long beta stage, Chrome 17 has now been promoted and is available as a Stable release for Windows, Mac OS and Linux. Chrome 17 (build 17.0.963.46) features new Extension APIs, updated Omnibox Prerendering, download scanning protection, various tweaks and fixes for about 20 vulnerabilities.

Chrome 17 Stable can be downloaded via this page.

$25 Raspberry Pi Hobby Computer Doubles iPhone 4S GPU Performance And Beats Tegra 2

We have previously reported on the super cheap ARM-based Raspberry Pi hobby computer that's been under development from the Raspberry Pi foundation. However, it's now going into production and is generating a lot of interest, so gamesindustry.biz interviewed its founder, Eben Upton, about it (free registration required).

The computer's primary purpose is as a computer science teaching aid in schools and colleges and also for home brew use by enthusiasts who want to tinker with it and make specialized solutions out of it. However, it seems that enthusiasts will have a nice surprise in that the onboard GPU is surprisingly good. The actual ARM implementation is a Broadcom BCM2835 System on Chip (SoC) containing an ARM 11 CPU and a custom graphics core, which has been designed by the Raspberry Pi team, including Upton. In the interview, Upton claimed that it can double iPhone 4S performance and handily beats NVIDIA's Tegra solution, because of its tile mode architecture.

A Faster Internet, By Google

Boffins at Google are looking at ways of speeding up the internet. Not by making the underlying physical network faster, but by improving the efficiency of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) that underpins the internet. This will have the benefit of making all networks that use the new improved version faster and being more scalable with improvements to the underlying physical network. The new TCP stack will be compatible with the old one by running alongside it and only kicking in when both client and server have it installed. This is currently implemented in the Linux kernel and is in the process of becoming the TCP standard.

There are four basic ways that they're looking at improving TCP: 1) Increase the number of TCP packets sent at the beginning of a TCP connection from three to ten. This reduces latency. 2) Reduce packet loss timeout from three seconds to one ie shorten the time between retries, which is more appropriate for modern high speed networks. 3) Use TCP Fast Open (TFO) a faster way for a web browser to initiate a connection with a website and 4) Use Proportional Rate Reduction for TCP (PRR) which is a more efficient way to deal with traffic congestion.

The research team are also looking at improved transmission recovery (data loss) in noisy mobile environments. Full technical details are available at the Google blog.

Google Delivers Chrome 18.0.1010.0/1 Through the Dev Channel

Search giant Google has once again updated the Chrome Dev Channel and released two new Chrome builds, version 18.0.1010.0 for Mac and Linux, and 18.0.1010.1 for Windows. According to their maker, these builds include the following updates:

All

- The PDF plugin now adds 'Rotate Clockwise' and 'Rotate Counterclockwise' commands to context menus, so users can more easily view documents scanned horizontally.
- Updated the first-run bubble text and added a link to change the current search engine.
- Fixed HTML5 showing download bar in fullscreen mode.

Matrox to License Proprietary Source Code of M-Series Solutions

Matrox Graphics Inc. announced today that the source code of its M-Series drivers will be made available to approved OEM developers seeking to leverage their high level of expertise and development capacity.

Those interested in collaborating with Matrox and developing M-Series driver source code to better meet their specific requirements can contact Matrox. Developers authorized under specific license agreements can then gain access to various tools and resources, including the appropriate Matrox programmer's guide, register specifications, as well as consultation on suggested engineering and related devices to be used during the design process.

OCZ Technology Acquires SANRAD Inc.

OCZ Technology Group, Inc., a leading provider of high-performance solid-state drives (SSDs) for computing devices and systems, today announced it has acquired SANRAD Inc., a privately held provider of flash caching and virtualization software and hardware.

"This transaction is an important step in OCZ's enterprise solid state drive strategy," said Ryan Petersen, CEO of OCZ Technology Group. "It significantly enhances the ability for customers to increase datacenter performance and efficiency by putting more virtual machines (VM) on a server without slowing down the VM's ability to access stored data, thus substantially lowering the overall cost of deployment. SANRAD's VXL has the ability to optimize caching strategies based on the application and support for VMware's vMotion, which sets the solution apart from others in the industry, allowing enterprises to finally realize the benefit of running a single unified virtualized environment," concluded Mr. Petersen.

uTorrent Use Surges To 150M Per Month, Announce New Consumer Electronics Partnerships

BitTorrent, a leading peer-based technology company, today announced that the company's flagship BitTorrent Mainline and µTorrent software clients have grown to over 150 million monthly active users worldwide.

In December 2011, the classic BitTorrent Mainline client boasted over 20 million users, while the legendary tiny-but-mighty µTorrent client grew to over 132 million users. The numbers represent an aggregate count of both software clients running on Windows, Mac, Android and Linux platforms.

The company also announced four new strategic "BitTorrent Certified" device partnerships at CES in Las Vegas including TVs, set-top boxes, media adapters, and Blu-ray players. BitTorrent Certified devices are designed to enable consumers to discover, play, share and move all types of personal media, regardless of size, type or format, so that they can play high-quality content in their living rooms. New certification partners include:

Marvell Showcases 'Classroom 3.0' Technology at CES 2012

Marvell, a worldwide leader in integrated silicon solutions, today announced new education solutions designed to enable "Classroom 3.0," a connected, secure learning environment that simplifies and speeds the deployment of technology to students around the world. Marvell's collaboration with Stanford University has resulted in the Marvell SMILE Plug, the first plug development kit designed to turn a traditional classroom into a highly interactive learning environment. Designed to engage students in critical reasoning and problem solving, the SMILE Plug creates a "micro cloud" within a classroom that is completely controlled by the teacher. Marvell also announced that it has extended its relationship with the One Laptop per Child Association (OPLC) on a number of new products, including the upcoming OLPC X0 3.0, a low cost, low power tablet designed for education.

VIA Announces Latest VB7009 Mini-ITX Embedded Board

VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced the VIA VB7009 embedded Mini-ITX board. Measuring only 17cm x 17cm, the VIA VB7009 Mini-ITX is an extremely flexible embedded board with top class functionality and performance for POS and kiosks.

The VIA VB7009 is a cost effective solution offering a broad range of power efficient VIA CPU choices, including the dual core VIA NanoTM X2 processor, providing superior flexibility to match customers’ embedded computing needs. Paired with the VIA VX900 unified all-in-one media system processor, the VIA VB7009 Mini-ITX embedded board delivers a highly optimized platform that boasts stunning HD video performance of the most demanding video formats at resolutions of up to 1080p.

Christmas Special: The PC Technology of 2011

Welcome to the TechPowerUp 2011 PC technology Christmas special. We hope that you will enjoy reading it while tucking into your turkey, Christmas presents and a little too much wine... In this article, we go through the technology of 2011 that has had the most significance, the most impact and was generally the most talked about. It's not necessarily the best tech of 2011 which is the most significant though, since lemons can be just as significant as the ground-breakers in how they fail to deliver - and the backlash that goes with it.

January: Intel Sandy Bridge i5 & i7

Released on January 9th, the new Intel Core i5 & i7 processors were based on Intel's second generation Core architecture built on a 32 nm production process (HEXUS review). They included an IGP (Integrated Graphics Processor) physically on the same piece of silicon along with HyperThreading. These new dual and quad core processors soundly beat all previous generations of Intel processors in terms of processing performance, heat, power use, features and left AMD in the dust. Therefore, Intel badly needed some competition from AMD and unless you have been living under a rock, you will know how that turned out in October with the launch of Bulldozer. Sandy Bridge was a sound win and is generally considered to be the only architecture worth considering at this point. The i5-2500K is currently at the sweet spot of price/performance. It comes at a stock speed of 3.3 GHz, but typically overclocks to an amazing 4.5 - 5 GHz with a decent air cooler and without too much difficulty in getting there. Models in the budget i3 range were released at various times later. See this Wikipedia article for details.

VMware Expands its View, Brings Windows Virtual Desktop to Kindle Fire, Mac and Linux

VMware, Inc., the global leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure, today announced the availability of new VMware View Clients for Kindle Fire, Mac and Linux, along with updates to its popular VMware View Clients for Android and iPad. Available today as technology previews, the new VMware View Clients for Mac and Linux allow IT organizations to empower more agile, productive and connected workforce or school communities by enabling an easy to access, high fidelity desktop virtualization experience optimized for the device of their choice.

"More and more people want the freedom to choose the device that best fits their computing needs in school and into the workplace," said Pat Lee, director, end user clients, VMware. "With the new VMware View Clients, both IT and end users win with a complete, secure and easily-accessible virtual desktop on the devices that best meet their needs."

VIA Announces Android Support for Embedded x86 Boards

VIA Technologies, Inc, a leading innovator of power efficient x86 processor platforms, today announced Android support for VIA x86 embedded platforms, starting with support for the VIA EITX-3002 Em-ITX board. Running Android on an x86 platform offers increased flexibility, great multimedia support and cost saving advantages for embedded applications such as in-vehicle entertainment and interactive kiosks.

Key advantages for Android on x86 include leverage of Android development resources and existing apps, rich I/O flexibility, greater CPU performance as well as higher display resolutions of up to 1920 x 1080. In addition VIA has released SMART ETK, an Embedded Tool Kit which allows monitoring and control of peripheral devices through the Android OS, allowing for greater environmental control of kiosk and other installed environments.

Raspberry Pi: the Upcoming $25 1080p-Capable ARM-Based Hobby Computer

Yes, you heard that right, when completed, the Raspberry Pi foundation will be selling a credit card sized computer running Linux that can plug into your television and play H.264 1080p30 videos. Raspberry Pi is the somewhat cheekily-named UK registered charity which has been set up to design and build a very low cost computer that is targeted for use in computer science lessons in schools, to "put the fun back into learning computing." Why, was it ever not fun?! However, such a simple and cheap general purpose gadget has the potential for many other uses than the classroom, as the world is full of inventive tech-minded people that can tinker with something like this and build innovative projects with them, perhaps by using several of these together.

The product will come in two configurations, a $25 Model A with 128 MB SDRAM & $35 Model B with 256 MB SDRAM and both will come with the same 700 MHz Broadcom BCM2835 media processor featuring an ARM11 (ARM1176JZF-S) core, Broadcom GPU core, DSP core and support for Package-on-Package (PoP) RAM. We expect that in this day and age, most people will go for the 256 MB model, which is still a very small amount of RAM. For those that want to get the most out if this device, the website - www.raspberrypi.org - has a forum and a wiki with tons of technical details on the device, including benchmarks and links to many other news stories & blogs about the product. There's even a shop, although at the moment, it's only selling keyboard stickers of the foundation's logo.

Windows 8 Secure Boot Feature: Not So Secure?

We have brought you the potential perils of the upcoming UEFI Forum-implemented - www.uefi.org - Windows 8 secure boot feature here, here and here. However, it appears that it may not be so 'secure' after all, since there appears to be a surefire way to circumvent it, at least for the moment, while it's in development.

Softpedia has scored an exclusive interview with security researcher Peter Kleissner, who has created various Windows (XP, Server 2003 etc) "bootkits", which allow OS infection at the highest privilege level, giving unrestricted access to the whole of the PC. His latest one, called Stoned Lite, shows how the Windows 8 secure boot process, still in development, can be subverted, as it stands. He is planning to release details of how the code works at the upcoming International Malware Conference (MalCon) - http://malcon.org - that will take place in India on November 25th. It appears that the real vulnerability exists in the legacy BIOS boot procedure, not in Microsoft's implementation of secure boot, as Kleissner said:
The problem with the legacy startup is that no one verifies the MBR, which makes it the vulnerable point. With UEFI and secure boot, all the boot applications and drivers have to be signed (otherwise they won’t be loaded). You can compare it to TPM, although Arie van der Hoeven from Microsoft announced that the secure boot feature is mandatory for OEMs who want to be UEFI certified. It is a good message that security is not an option.

Commodore 64 Replica: The Ultimate PC Enthusiast Retro PC Gets An Upgrade

The original 8-bit Commodore 64 computer was very popular in the early 1980s, but the original company eventually closed down in the 1990s, having launched their 16-bit Amiga range in the meantime as the C64s successor. For a while now, replica C64 models, packed with the latest PC technology, have been made by Commodore USA, a different company that has purchased the original Commodore brand.

Since last summer, they have been selling a replica for $999 powered by an Intel CPU. This PC, called the C64x Ultimate (model number: C64x-UL) included a dual core Atom D525, NVIDIA Ion 2 graphics, 4 GB RAM and a 1 TB hard drive. A barebones version is available for $349 without a motherboard, just the keyboard and case, allowing the customer to add their own hardware into the retro box. However, Commodore USA has now upgraded their offering with a considerably more powerful CPU. This version is the C64x Extreme (model number: C64x-EX) which includes a 2.2 GHz Intel Core i7-2720QM CPU, mini-ITX motherboard and PSU, 8 GB DDR3 RAM, DVD writer (slot loading) 2 TB 7200 RPM HDD, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The back panel has the following ports: legacy PS/2, USB 2.0 x5 (one eSATA combo) USB 3.0 x2, Ethernet and three audio jacks. Video connectivity is looked after by HDMI, DVI-D and VGA outputs.

Bitcoin & Password Stealer Trojan For Mac Now Available!

Hot on the heels of our previous story of Apple Macs falling prey to a DDoS trojan, we now have another Mac trojan come on the market, as explained by Sophos. Yes, the Apple platform must indeed be becoming more popular to get this one. It's an unfortunate fact of life that the popularity of any computing platform, including smartphones, can be judged by the number of criminals who will attack it. This little nasty, called OSX/Miner-D or 'DevilRobber', hijacks Mac OS X to perform various tricks, which include minting Bitcoins (the virtual and now virtually worthless currency) stealing usernames and passwords (of course) taking screenshots and stealing the victim's Bitcoin wallet while it's at it, if there is one. And for good measure:
it runs a script that copies information to a file called dump.txt regarding truecrypt data, Vidalia (TOR plugin for Firefox), your Safari browsing history, and .bash_history.
So, now the criminals also know about all the sites one has visited, eroding user privacy even more. It looks like this malware has covered all the bases, but wait, there's more.

Secure Apple Macs Fall Prey To Linux DDoS Trojan

For years Apple Mac users have felt smug that their computers didn’t need any security software installed, unlike their poor Windows counterparts which were always coming down with a cold. This they believed is because their beloved operating system is inherently more secure than leaky old Windows (which it used to be). This smug feeling has been especially strong over the last decade, since the release of Mac OS X in 2001, as it's based on Unix which has always had security baked into it. They therefore felt safe from the multitude of viruses, keyloggers, trojans and various other nasties that the bad guys like to infect operating systems with. However, there have been successful attacks in the past on every Apple Mac operating system since the first one in 1984, just nowhere near the number of attacks as on Windows. Of course, what Windows users, Linux users and other OS users have also been saying for years is that Apple's operating systems simply weren't popular enough to bother with and aren't particularly secure. After all, the hackers do this for fun and financial profit, so why aim for a little teeny tiny target, when you can aim for a big, fat one like Windows?

Firefox in Warp Zone, Updated to Version 7.0

A little over a month after releasing Firefox 6.0, and quickly following it up with two minor updates (6.0.1 and 6.0.2), Mozilla released its next "major" version, Firefox 7.0 into the release channel. It is now clear that Mozilla Firefox is playing catch-up with other popular web-browsers in some sort of a version number game. The three year old Google Chrome is already into version 14, with version 16 already in the dev channel.

While Firefox users will not be in for a different user interface (it's bad to drastically change it from time to time), Firefox 7 does seem to come with several under-the-hood changes. To begin with, the Windows version features a brand-new rendering back-end that speeds up Canvas, a tweaked Sync system that instantly syncs changes to bookmarks and saved passwords, support for text-overflow: ellipsis, compliance with the Web Timing specification, WebSocket protocol updated from version 7 to 8, and improved support for MathML. The only UI change is that the protocol of the page loaded is hidden. The full URL will be copied when you copy the address in the bar. Firefox 7 is launched for all platforms it's available in: Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android.
DOWNLOAD: Mozilla Firefox 7

QNAP Debuts New Performance-Minded yet Budget-Friendly Turbo NAS Lineup

QNAP Systems, Inc. today announced three new Turbo NAS models: the TS-419P II (4-drive), TS-219P II (2-drive), and TS-119P II (single-drive), positioned to provide corporate workgroups, SOHO, and home users with budget-friendly network attached storage (NAS) solutions for efficient data backup and convenient file sharing. The new models can be upgraded to the latest, free to download QNAP NAS firmware (version 3.5), with many new features and enhancements, and are backed by a two-year warranty.

The new models of the TS-x19P II series are equipped with a 2.0GHz Marvell processor, 512 MB DDR3 memory and one or two Gigabit LAN ports. The products can be easily integrated into an existing network of workgroups, provide centralized storage with antivirus protection, cross-platform data sharing for Windows, Mac, Linux, and UNIX users, as well as secure connections for users to access data on the server via FTP, a web-based file manager, or WebDAV. With the MyCloudNAS service, the new models can also be converted into private cloud storage systems for remote access from the Internet.

Windows 8 Secure Boot: Designed to Lock Out Linux?

Proposed changes to the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) firmware specifications would mean PCs would only boot from a digitally signed image derived from a keychain rooted in keys built into the PC. Microsoft is pushing hard to make this mandatory, so that users cannot override it. This feature would have the handy benefit of excluding alternative operating systems such as Linux and FreeBSD. This is according to Professor Ross Anderson of Cambridge University and other industry insiders. Also, it's not at all clear that it actually secures against viruses and other malware and appears to be solely designed to appease corporate self interests for unbreakable Digital Restrictions Management (DRM).

UEFI supercedes the 30 year old veteran BIOS found in most PCs today, which is very inefficient and slow for modern PCs, carrying a lot of old, legacy compatibility baggage that's just not needed in today's PC. UEFI, a key component of Windows 8, is designed to work on several CPU architectures, such as ARM and is streamlined and efficient. It also includes a much improved graphical interface that replaces the keyboard-driven menu system of the BIOS.

HighPoint Launches Cost-Effective, Dual-Port USB 3.0 5Gb/s HBA

HighPoint Technologies, Inc., an industry leading HBA and storage solutions manufacturer, launches the first of its Dual-Port 5Gb/s USB 3.0 HBA’s, the RocketU 1022A. These low-cost, PCI-E 2.0 x1 USB 3.0 SuperSpeed HBA’s are ideal upgrades for any desktop PC, and are well-suited for a variety of external storage configurations.

The Introduction of the low-cost Dual Port RocketU USB 3.0 HBA's is in keeping with Highpoint's long standing reputation as the manufacturer of choice for cost-effective, cutting-edge storage HBA's. The RocketU 1022A is a PCI-E 2.0 x1 USB 3.0 SuperSpeed HBA and delivers 5Gb/s of transfer bandwidth. The two type-A ports have been designed to deliver optimal performance for USB 3.0 hard drives and SSD’s, and are suited for a wide-range of applications including portable/removable storage, storage expansion, personal media libraries, and backup solutions.

Verbatim Launches Store 'n' Stay USB Flash Drives

Verbatim, the global leader in data storage technology including portable hard drives, USB flash drives, CDs, Blu-ray discs and memory cards, packs unparalleled power, speed and reliability into its new Store ‘n’ Stay USB Drive. “The low-profile, snag-free design makes it the optimal USB flash drive choice for laptop users who want the ability to transfer, store and share their favorite files on impulse,” said Mark Rogers, Verbatim Product Manager, Flash Memory. “It’s meant to be left in the USB port for always-ready storage, and can be easily removed to share videos, photos, and music whenever the occasion arises!”

Available in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB storage capacities, the Store ‘n’ Stay USB drive is a must-have accessory for any notebook or netbook user. Designed to be left in the USB port, its low-profile design makes sliding laptops or notebooks out of travel bags, sleeves and cases a cinch. It protrudes a mere 5 mm and can be easily removed for quick, convenient file sharing. Compatible with most Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and Windows 7 as well as Mac OS 9 or higher systems, the ultra compact Store ‘n’ Stay USB Drive features a USB 2.0 interface and is backed by Verbatim’s Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Silicon Power Launches USB 3.0 All-In-One Card Reader

In this age of high-definition camcorders, do you find yourself with a high speed memory card to go with your professional standard camera, but lacking an ultra-high speed card reader to complete the package? SP (Silicon Power), leading manufacturer of flash memory, today announces the launch of the all-new USB 3.0 ALL IN ONE card reader. With its universal compatibility and high speed 5 Gb/sec data transmission rate, it is the ultimate link between high-performance memory cards and storage devices for professional-level photographers.

Designed to accommodate all mainstream memory cards, the ALL IN ONE card reader is highly compatible and reliable. Containing five card slots for simultaneous read and write, it is equipped to deal with even the latest high speed SDXC UHS-1 memory card. Whether you are looking to upload every second of a high definition video or a series of high resolution action shots, the ALL IN ONE card reader will have the job done in a matter of seconds. Supporting Ultra DMA mode 7, the ALL IN ONE card reader runs on CF600X high-speed memory cards at their fastest capacity. Using the latest high speed USB 3.0 interface, it takes the stress out of transferring high definition photographs, making file saving faster and easier.

Matrox Introduces Avio Series Dual-DVI Fiber Optic KVM Extender Solution

Matrox Graphics Inc. today unveils Matrox Avio Series, a new line of fiber optic KVM extenders for graphics intensive design and visualization applications within the process control, automotive, oil & gas, and government and military markets. The KVM extender transmitter/receiver pair enables users to secure the host computer in a climate-controlled machine room by capturing the system’s I/O functionality and extending it up to 1000 meters over a single fiber optic cable.

The feature-rich Avio Series supports uncompressed dual single-link DVI or one dual-link DVI video—at full resolution and frame rate—keyboard, mouse, stereo analog audio, and multiple USB HID and USB 2.0 peripherals, while making available a secondary user to access the host computer from the transmitter unit. Avio’s flexible design is compatible with Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux/Unix operating systems, allowing IT departments to standardize on one solution for enterprise-wide deployments. Matrox will be showcasing the Matrox Avio technology at InfoComm 2011 in Booth 4063, from June 15-17, 2011.

Renesas Electronics Introduces New Third Generation USB 3.0 Host Controllers

Renesas Electronics Corporation, a premier provider of advanced semiconductor solutions, today announced the availability of its two new SuperSpeed Universal Serial Bus (USB 3.0) xHCI host controllers (part number, µPD720201 and µPD720202) for electronic devices such as PCs and digital TVs that feature faster effective data transfer speeds and reduced power consumption in low power mode.

The µPD720201 and µPD720202 devices make it easier for system designers to build electronic devices combining high-speed data transfer, compact size, and extended battery life. In addition, Renesas Electronics device drivers for Microsoft Windows with a proven track record, and device drivers with Linux support, are available for the µPD720201 and µPD720202 host controllers at no cost.
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