Author Archive

We’ve Moved to

February 11, 2010

Hey folks,

Well it’s day four of the new blog and hopefully we’ve gotten most of you to migrate over towards for that is our new home. After a good bit of work since returning from the Christmas break, we launched on Monday and have had a great reaction thus far.

We’ve got a cool new top stories box that, along with the new layout, will help you catch up with all the day’s best stories straight away.

There are also new sections for our various regular pieces like the Review of the Reviews and our How To articles, while over the coming weeks and months we’ll be getting in as much home-grown Irish content as possible, starting in fact with a piece later today on a very nifty touchscreen project at the National Library on Kildare St.

Which reminds me, I best get cracking on that.

Again, thanks for all who visited us here on our old WordPress home but the future’s bright, the future’s … and if you can get over how cheesy that sounds I’ll see you over there soon.

Cheers, JJ


Chinese Hacker Training Site Shuts Down

February 8, 2010

A site under the moniker of Black Hawk Safety Net may sound reasonably innocent, but this morning three of its operators are waking up in a Chinese prison as authorities there shut down its operations. Far from being concerned with safety, BHSN is instead reported to be in the business of training hackers and providing them with malicious software, in fact it’s believed to be the biggest online training camp for potential hackers in China.

According to a BBC post this morning which referenced reports in the China Daily and the Wuhan Evening News, the hacker training operation openly recruited thousands of members online and provided them with cyber attack lessons and Trojan software. BHSN was said to have recruited more than 12,000 paying subscribers and collected more than 7 million yuan (€730,000) in membership fees, while another 170,000 people had signed up for free membership.


Release the Beast!

February 5, 2010

Any gaming gizmo that can bring you back to the sheer innocent joy of heading to an arcade as a kid is alright by me (though maybe that’s due to my personal peak of gameplay being at around six years old, ever since it’s been one giant collection of uncoordinated losses) and with that in mind, the Hori Real Arcade Pro Premium VLX arcade stick looks like the absolute business.

Essentially it’s like you’ve tried to nick an arcade unit but only managed to get away with the control panel. Okay, it’s a bit of beast, we’ll give you that – and it should clock in at around €240 when it reaches here – but the impracticality of it is part of its charm. The dead leg will be worth it!


Huge Windows Patch Next Tuesday

February 5, 2010

Microsoft has said it will deliver a record-equalling 13 security updates next Tuesday to patch more than two dozen vulnerabilities in Windows and Office. The company will ship a total of 13 updates next week; five of them pegged “critical,” the highest threat ranking in its four-step scoring system.

The 13 updates will, according to ComputerWorld, tie the record from October 2009, when Microsoft issued the same number of bulletins, but fixed a total of 34 vulnerabilities. According to Jerry Bryant, a senior manager with the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRC), next week’s updates will patch 26 flaws.


The R2 Has Landed

February 5, 2010

Cylons won’t be quaking in their boots (do they have boots) just yet, but today sees the announcement that, after three years of work, a link up between NASA and General Motors (GM) has produced a humanoid robot named Robonaut 2.

Some R2s, possibly discussing which one looks more like they’re in Daft Punk.

While GM would like to eliminate some of the duller, more repetitive jobs that its workers face (Ed: or possibly the workers altogether) by using the Robonaut 2, NASA is interested in the idea of developing humanoid robots that can work side by side with astronauts in space.


Gigabyte Unleashes Extras-laden P55 Motherboard

February 5, 2010

Gigabyte has released a statement on the launch of a new flagship motherboard for the Intel P55 chipset platform, the GA-P55A-UD7.  A DigiTimes report on the releases says the GA-P55A-UD7 will continue the tradition of the company’s UD7-series of “packing as many extra features on the board as it can find space for”.

Extra Extra!

In the case on the GA-P55A-UD7 value-added extras not seen on common P55-based boards include support for Nvidia 3-Way SLI. USB 3.0 with Power Boost, and SATA 6Gbpss, as well as a 24-phase power design to increase overclocking potential. Before we get into more of the details, DigiTimes asked the quite pertinent question of whether there really is logic behind adding so many extra features, which increase the selling price of the board, to what is essentially a mid-range platform (Intel has its X58 chipset for the high-end segment).


Symbian Goes Open Source

February 5, 2010

The Symbian Foundation – who always sound like a charity front for a James Bond villain to our ears – has announced that the code behind the world’s most popular smartphone operating system has finally become open source.

It was said way back in 2008 that such a move was afoot but the Foundation has now confirmed that all the necessary work is complete and it’s all, according to a BBC report, in aid of attracting new developers to work on the system – which has shipped in more than 330 million mobile phones – to help speed up the pace of improvements.


iPhone Privacy Not All That it Claims?

February 5, 2010

According to research from security expert and software engineer Nicolas Seriot – a man you can read about here – iPhone privacy may not be all that it’s cracked up to be. Speaking at the Black Hat Conference, which focuses on technical security, in Washington DC this week, Seriot made a number of claims.

Nicolas Seriot's findings will interest many iPhone users and Apple execs.

According to reports this morning, the Lausanne-based engineer, said that Apple’s sandboxing technology restricts iPhone applications to operating system resources with a list of deny/allow rules at the kernel level, but these and other permissions are “way too loose,” and “Apple should not claim that an application cannot access data from another application,” said Seriot, who also works as an iPhone programming trainer at a company called Sen:te.


Notebook and Netbook Users – Windows 7 or XP?

February 4, 2010

Battery running low. On a rickety Irish Rail train with no outlet in sight. Notebook or netbook about to die. Little you can do about it but tap away at the keyboard until you’re left with a black screen and an over-priced chicken and stuffing sandwich to distract you when it does so. It’s moments like this that have led to articles like this.

We decided it was time to look at some expert views to help guide both notebook and netbook owners on what’s the best bet for getting the most out of their battery between Windows XP and Windows 7. The men who work in the bowels of Komplett Towers are usually the best to ask these kinds of questions and thankfully Shelton and Ryan – our two RMA guys to the uninitiated – gave some answers and didn’t complain about me distracting them from more important things.

The Canuck Buck Shelton (as absolutely nobody around here calls him) said that “from a ‘keeping current’ standpoint” he’d prefer, if getting a newer notebook, to go with Windows 7. Asked to explain, he said, “It’s a hell of a lot better than Vista was and I generally enjoy it as an alternative to XP. I think though, as Marc (fellow Komplett blogger) recently pointed out to me, XP was never truly written with notebooks in mind, so even though it has less features and is less demanding on the hardware, it’s not as efficient and may end up sucking up a bit more power over time.”

For his part, Ryan – mentioning that you have to remember that battery performance will of course vary from netbook to netbook and notebook to notebook – said that “Windows 7 has more power saving features, if the hardware supports”, but added that’s “pretty much the only thing it offers over XP,” when it comes to trying to save your battery, at least.


Google Gets Tooled Up with the NSA

February 4, 2010

There’s been a mixed reaction to the news that Google is set to team up with the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US to ward off cyber-attacks. Google, still reeling from recent hacking controversies in China, has decided to pull out the big guns and enlist the NSA, whom the Washington Post refer to as “the world’s most powerful electronic surveillance organisation”.

The Post report that broke the story tells how, while an agreement is yet to finalised, the nuts and bolts of the deal would see the NSA help Google analyse the “major corporate espionage attack that the firm said originated in China and targeted its computer networks, according to cyber-security experts familiar with the matter”. The overall aim is to better defend Google – and its users – from future attack.