October 2007 Archives
By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net DEALING with computer problems, viruses included, could turn out to be a nightm are that would haunt you day and night. Instead of spending more time with my kids during one weekend, I was literally stuck in front of my computer figuring out what to do. OK, let me brief you about what happened last weekend (sounds like the movie, e h?) My PC has turned into a zombie. It was so slow that I can literally eat din ner and still have time to lounge around and have dessert before it finally fin ishes loading Windows XP. At first, there were symptoms. There was the slow browsing experience. Then my Yahoo! Messenger started rejecting me, barring me forever from using it. So I r an several virus/spyware scans and found one major culprit. I deleted it. But t hen my problems got worse. It took eons to load a program. I sent a call for he lp via e-mail and Facebook. I chatted with my friend who works abroad for a sec urity firm. He didn't find any problems with my PC. But he offered me a caveat: once a PCs is hit by virus, then headaches would never end. At this point, I w as losing my mind. (Just a note: this isn't the first time that this happened [ Do you mean this isn't the first time a virus hit your PC, or this isn't th e first time you lost your mind, hehe. Just kidding.--Ed.). So I decided to reformat my PC. This means reinstalling everything, including t he operating system, the programs, and all the wells and whistles. Good thing I 've partitioned my PC. So I transferred what I thought were important files to drive D. The C drive was toast. OK, fast forward to the weekend wherein I started the process of reviving my PC . I believe I started doing it early morning of Saturday. I finished everything by Sunday noon. So that's a whole weekend lost to fixing this darn PC. But the story doesn't end there. I had to activate my Windows XP, my Office 2003 softw are and my antivirus software. The Office software went without a hitch. The other two software had some probl ems. With my regular bouts with computer viruses, Microsoft informed me during activation that I had used up the "quota" for reactivating its software. So I h ad to call a Microsoft hotline, which was provided. After several tries, I gave up only to find out two days later that there was another number available for local customers. I suspect that this reactivation requirement is part of the a nti-piracy strategy of Microsoft. They had to make sure I was a legit user, whi ch I have been for the past few years. Thanks to Mae Rivera-Moreno of Microsoft Philippines, I was able to call the Microsoft hotline, and finally got the rea ctivation code. Oh, about the antivirus software, well, I downloaded a 30-day trial but I hope to update my older version soon. Add to these headaches the sadder news that my 5th generation iPod's hard disk crashed. I don't know how. But that's another story. I was lucky that it is sti ll covered by the warranty but I have to wait a week from now to get it replace d. More on that too, later. The moral of the story is: keep your techie friends close, and always, yes, alw ays, ask questions. One thing that I found useful recently is Facebook. I poste d my technical concern one time, and I got at least two to three good answers, which helped me solve my problem. So while you guys were busy going "trick or t reat," I was out killing viruses and, er, zombies (when viruses hostage your PC , they call your system a zombie). Happy Halloween!
By Agence France-Presse SYDNEY, Australia--Footage apparently showing the man tipped to become Australi a's next prime minister eating his own ear wax has proved a hit on Internet vid eo sharing website YouTube. The clip a> of opposition Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd has been posted three times on t he YouTube website and attracted more than 200,000 web browsers. While Rudd enjoys a massive opinion poll lead heading into the November 24 elec tion, the news website news.com.au suggested the footage "could do more damage to [his] election chances than any policy blitz." It shows Rudd sitting on the backbenches in the Australian parliament while a c olleague delivers a speech in the foreground, meaning it must date from before 2003, when he was elevated to the opposition front bench. As his colleague speaks, Rudd appears to gaze around in a bored manner before i nserting his left index finger into his ear, twisting it a number of times then placing it into his mouth and chewing. Washington Post blogger Emil Steiner picked up o n the footage this week, describing it as "stomach churning." "Whether Rudd is a habitual ear wax user or merely a recreational one should be irrelevant," Steiner wrote. "The question is whether a man with so little savvy for the cameras surrounding him is fit to hold his nation's highest office. And that is a question Austral ians will have to answer for themselves." One YouTube poster said Prime Minister John Howard's government should use the footage in an election advertisement, while others claimed Howard supporters ha d posted it in an attempt to dent Rudd's popularity. "This happened eight years ago, funny how it only came back up within one month from an election," user 26Samuel26 said. Another user ck867 said Rudd's apparent gaffe would not affect how people voted . "Though I do think its bloody disgusting and I don't know who I'm going to vote for yet, my vote isn't going to be swung one way or another because one candid ate has a bad habit"
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net UPDATE: Editor's note: Corrected price figures for the Cor e 2 Quad Q6600 and Core 2 Quad Q6700. The Q6600 was originally release d in January at $851 and the price was reduced to $530 in April and $266 on Jul y 22, the same day the new Q6700 was launched at a price of $530. We regret the mix-up in price figures and thank the readers who pointed out the dis crepancy. IT'S among the fastest processors yet and one of the most expensive. The Intel Core 2 Quad is the latest incarnation of the Core series of processors from Intel, which boasts of having t he fastest multi-core processors in the market. Intel Philippines recently introduced to the media the Intel Core 2 Quad proces sor, which, as the name implies, has four cores, each running like a separate p rocessor. It is created using a 65 nanometer, dual-die manufacturing process. It was launched in January and the new Core 2 Quad Q6700 was unleashed in July. Codenamed âKentsfield,â it is based on the Core architecture. Due to the presen ce of four cores the Core 2 Quad also uses up twice the power of the original C ore 2 processor. Nevertheless, the Core 2 Quad also provides nearly four times the power of the first Core processor. Intel Philippines country manager Ricky Banaag said their latest processor was created with the multimedia powerhouse in mind. âIt can be used for processor-intensive applications such as multimedia editing and gaming. It can run 3D graphics at 79 percent better than even the Core 2 D uo processor. It also runs 53 percent better in gaming as well,â Banaag said. Banaag also said that multi-core processors would drive the development of bett er applications as there would be lesser limits in processing power. âThis means weâll be seeing more applications that will run better, faster and smarter in multi-core processing,â he said. The Intel Core 2 Quad comes in two models: the Core 2 Quad Q6600, with a speed of 2.40 Gigahertz per core; and Core 2 Quad Q6700 with a speed of 2.66 GHz per core. The Q6600 costs approximately
$800 $266 (Editor's no
te: The Q6600 was originally released in January at $851 and the price was redu
ced to $530 in April and $266 on July 22, the same day the new Q6700 was launch
ed at a price of $530.) while the Q6700 costs $530.
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net PREVIOUSLY, we reviewed the Acer 5920G. Now we play around with a nother Taiwanese contender and the latest iteration of their gaming laptop, the Asus G1S and among the Taiwan-made notebooks, this one truly is a heavyweight. It seems to be a trend among notebook makers now to push the bar further in int roducing models that cater to the more demanding market of hardcore gamers, not to mention putting price tags that are still within the P100, 000 price range. While putting up a gaming rig is half as expensive as getting a notebook with the same specifications, having a souped-up computer that can be lugged around during frag fests can be a treat. Besides, notebooks that have been dressed up with stickers look way more cool than even modified PCs. Anyway, the Asus G1S is an upgrade to Asusâ original gaming notebook, the G1. T he G1S has new features commonly found in most gaming desktops: It uses the Int el core 2 Duo T7500 2.2 Gigahertz processor, 2 Gb memory (upgradeable to 4Gb), NVidia GeForce 8600M GT 256MB video card, 160Gb SATA hard disk and an 8-speed D VD super multi-drive with Lightscribe and 15.4â LCD panel. Incidentally, the Asus G1S runs as smoothly as the Acer 5920G since both share nearly the same specifications. The G1S can play all of the most demanding vide o games available, including the extremely resource-intensive Supreme Comma nder and Medieval II. It can also do audio and video editing (if installed with proper multimedia editing tools) and can also be used for watchi ng DVDs (too bad it still doesnât come with either HD-DVD or Blu-Ray playback c apabilities). But what sets the Asus G1S from the few other gaming notebooks out there is its seemingly longer battery life. While the Acer 5920G lasts about a full 1 and a half hour at maximum battery consumption, the Asus G1S lasts nearly 2 hours at full capacity. That means most of the battery consuming parts. The battery dep letes faster if other capabilities are activated, particularly the Bluetooth an d WiFi antennas. Likewise, this unit is extremely quiet. Even at full processor capacity, the in ternal fans donât whir as loud as most notebooks. One has to come nearer to the exhaust fan to hear the fans. Occasionally, the rotating DVD drive makes some sounds but these are quite tolerable. When running graphic intensive applications i.e. video games, the Asus G1S grap hics can be set according to the need. If the G1S is running on Windows XP, an NVidia software controller can be downloaded from their site. Windows Vista wil l already feature a graphics control that is almost effective as the NVidia sof tware. While the Nvidia 8600M GT can be technically overclocked it may not be a dvisable especially with only the basic fan and heatsink protecting it from ove rheating. On the outside, the Asus G1S is aptly designed for its capabilities. It almost shares the same design as its fashionable cousin, the Asus Lamborghini VX1 but the G1S is all black and has a carbon-fiber like design. The casing is made of tough plastic with some solid aluminum plating in certain areas, which work for physical protection and heat dissipation. Even the keyboard is color coded for the gamer. The keys ASWD, commonly used for first person shooters, have been l abeled for easier reference. Even the touchpad has been designed with the carbo n-fiber mesh. Of course, a real gaming mouse is best use for such a device. Luc kily, Asus has thrown in an optical mouse to really complete the gaming experie nce. Because itâs a gaming notebook, the 1.3 megapixel embedded camera will allow th e user to do fragfests and show off his game face. The LCD monitor is also one of the brightest and has a response time of 8 milliseconds, which is as fast as most of todayâs LCD TVs. In fact, the Asus G1S has 1 HDMI port so it can be co nnected to an LCD TV. One drawback for the Asus G1S is its sound, which is not as good as the Acer 59 20G, which has a powerful down-firing subwoofer. It is not as bad as most lapto ps but a real gaming rig should also come with a more efficient sound system so that the user can do away with an otherwise clunky headset. Despite that drawback the Asus G1S is still the best solidly made gaming laptop around, just slightly better than Acerâs 5920G. Its major advantage is its lon ger battery life, which will entice the user to play games or watch videos long er without having to worry about plugging the battery to an external power outl et.
By Lawrence Casiraya INQUIRER.net HERE'S one of those someone-must-have-thought-about-it bright ideas: a browser- based video chat service. As described in this NYT story, TokBox has some good vibes about it: the people behind YouTube (including the unheralded "third" founder Jawed Karim) are also funding it. It reminds me of Meebo -- no need to install YM, MSN or Skype (a blessing for u sers whose office networks are firewall-protected and thus, IM-proof). Just log on and chat away; both you and your friend should have a webcam, of course. I've yet to try it myself to see how it compares with either YM or Skype (and s ee whether it runs properly on "broadband" in this country). But while reading about it, the first thing I thought about was how something like this makes it easier to teach Internet calls to the uninitiated. All you need is a good enoug h Internet connection and a few clicks should put you on VoIP mode.
WE'RE getting closer and closer to making the stuff of science fiction a realit y. How soon before we see robots in our homes, helping out with chores and stuf f? Maybe sooner than we think. Here are two videos from Reuters featuring two different approaches to building a robot. Here's a clip featuring Honda's famous ASIMO. And here's a robot from an Indian inventor, who used parts from o ld cars and other junk to create what he hopes will be a robo-servant that will be affordable to more people.
By Joey Alarilla INQUIRER.net UPDATE: As you can see, the widget works! Just edited this to add a screen grab of the Joost program I was watching -- it's from the IMF channel -- and the widget. ONE of my favorite apps, Joost a>, which I've been using since its by-invitation beta stage, is finally open t o the public. Joost, which is a peer-to-peer-based, broadcast-quality IPTV service, is free, but it does require a broadband connection. I'm blogging this using the Joost " Blog This" widget while watching this program. Let's see if the widget works fo r our blog :)
More Information about the program.Title :Hot New Hip Hop - Ep 101 Description : Hot New Hip Hop brings you brand new videos and artist interviews by your fa vorite hip hop artists. Featuring 50 Cent-Ayo Technology, Mims, Ja Rule-Uh Ohh hh, Shop Boyz, Chamillion...
THERE'S thin... and there's thin, as you can see from this photo. No, I'm not talking about the pretty model, but the TV :) Check out this Reuters video of the world's first OLED (organic light emitting diode) TV from Sony. The screen has a thickness of a mere three millimeters. Read this Agence France-Press story for mor e info. Photo courtesy of Agence France-Presse
By Lawrence Casiraya INQUIRER.net TAIWAN'S HTC i ntroduced another touch-screen device called TyTN II, which runs on the Windows Mobile 6.0 operating system. The TyTN II follows the previous HTC Touch, the first touch-screen device launc hed locally by distributor SiS Technologies in July. The TyTN II descends from the previous Dopod line of smart phones. Dopod was ac quired by HTC in May. Unlike the Touch, the TyTN II is 3G-ready and can also connect to faster HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) networks, capable of data speeds of up to 3 Mbps. The TyTN II can also connect to the Web via Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g) and comes with a built-in GPS application called MapKing and an optional business card scanner. Like the previous Dopod smart phones, it has a QWERTY keyboard although the TyT N II's screen can be tilted designed for easier browsing and video calls. It a lso features a three-megapixel camera. The TyTN II retails for P45, 500 and will be available mid-October. According to SiS Technologies< /a>, the newest HTC device has already been type-approved and service providers Globe and Smart are expected to carry the TyTN II.
By Erwin Oliva INQUIRER.net WHO says business notebook PCs can't look sleek and cool? Computer maker HP has unveiled a new line of notebook PCs this week, designed primarily for tel ecommuting business users. HP unveiled at least three 2000 series notebooks that are ultra-light, weighing less than two kilograms. "There's a lot of demand for mobility. But why can't we make these notebooks st ylish and personal," said Christian Reyes, market development manager under the Personal Systems Group of HP Philippines, during the launch of the notebooks a mid a display of new Volvo cars. HP Philippines officials said the launch of the new notebooks was done in a Vol vo showroom to project the theme of mobility and style, which is consistent wit h their new line of notebooks. With notebook sales growing at about 20 percent in the Philippines, Reyes said its new line of smaller and lighter notebooks are not lightweights. They also come with powerful features, such as hard drive guard that protects t he notebook's hard disk from damage in case it falls. HP Philippines unveiled at least three models: the HP 2710p, 2510, and the 221 0. The 2710p also doubles as a tablet PC. The new notebooks all run on Windows Vista.
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net
DUTCH electronics giant Phili
ps showcased its latest line of LCD TVs in an effort to appeal to budget-co
nscious video enthusiasts and Philippines.
Three LCD models that range from 32 inches, 42 inches and 47 inches were unveil
ed. These use the new Pixel Perfect HD Engine processing module, an upgrade fro
m Philips' renowned Pixel Plus Engine. As the name implies, the Pixel Perfect H
D (for High Definition) Engine increases the clarity, color definition, refresh
rate and contrast of images rendered on the screen.
An advanced feature in the Philips LCD TV line is the Horizontal and Vertical L
uminance Transient Improvement which increases the lines and pixels per line to
match the resolution of the display. This application increases the luminance
for each pixel while matching the luminance and gradient of the nearby pixels.
By far, the new TV lines have 6.2 million pixels, able to produce up to 4 trill
ion colors, depending on the image or video source.
A new feature in the Pixel Perfect HD LCD TVs is the standard 100 Hertz refresh
rate, which allows moving objects per frame to be rendered faster for smoother
flow. Most LCD TVs can process only up to 60Hz and others are forced to proces
s up to 100Hz. This feature is almost standard in all cathode ray tubes but LCD
panels in the past had difficulty processing as fast. In most cases, CRT TVs d
o not induce eyestrain due to the faster rendering process of moving images. Ol
der LCD panels do not render images as quickly and the eyes take time to proces
s together these separate frames, thus causing eyestrain.
Philips has also improved its Ambilight technology, a TV backlighting system th
at uses colored LEDs at the back of the TV to imitate the colors coming out of
the display panel. It attempts to immerse the viewer in the screen by expanding
the luminance of the TV to a much larger area. For the new LCD TVs, the Ambili
ght technology has been expanded to different settings depending on the userâs
preference. For example, the LED can produce fewer colors for a relaxed mood, a
nd high or dynamic settings for action movies or animated movies.
Philips Philippines CEO Rico Gonzales (shown in photo) said the new TVs are aim
ed at the discerning video enthusiasts who want to get more out of their tradit
These models also belong to Philips' mid-priced LCD TV line in an effort to cat
er to a general market.
By Lawrence Casiraya INQUIRER.net WHICH would you rather buy: an SUV or this 70-inch LCD TV by Sony? Sony's famous for making things small but this newly launched Bravia X-series i s touted to be the largest full-screen HDTV in the local market to date. The screen size is as whopping as its price -- around P2 million (ka-ching!). I just asked the Japanese execs and they said they have yet to decide on the ex act price. So if you're "seriously" buying one, leave room for possibly a few h undred thousand pesos. Seriously.
By Alex Villafania INQUIRER.net TAIWANESE computer maker Ace r isnât exactly known among gamers as a good option for the kind of activit y they do, largely because of its low graphics capabilities even in its high-en d models. Even the companyâs high-end Ferrari series was not as well received b y gamers because of its exorbitant pricing. Only the more discriminating busine ss and budget-conscious segments of the market were more familiar with Acerâs l aptop models. In the last few years, however, Acer has been slowly enticing the gamer market with a few models. One of its latest iterations is the Gemstone series, a total ly redesigned scheme that makes Acer notebooks look more like toys than noteboo ks. The design does work well for Acer as it gives a fresh look to an otherwise gray-and-black laptop. As such, the Gemstone 5920G (the G might mean gamer) is one of the most powerfu l models from Acer and is targeted at the gamer market. This model features Cor e 2 Duo T7300 2.0 Ghz processor, a 2Gb memory, a DVD writer capable of HD-DVD, a 160 Gb hard drive and an Nvidia Geforce 8600M GT 256MB graphics card. The las t specification is probably the more enticing feature of the 5920G since it is in GDDR2 (for the non-techie, it means it functions two times better than curre nt generation PC graphics cards) and is already capable of high-definition gami ng and video. In fact, the 5920G already has HDMI (high-definition multimedia i nterface), a video output that will allow a user to connect the 5920G to an HDM I-capable LCD monitor. Again, this last feature would be particularly useful wh en using the 5920G for either DVD/HD-DVD movie playing and playing video games. Luckily, most video games can be pushed for 720p or 1080i viewing. Nevertheless, the 5920Gâs 15-inch LCD monitor is more than enough to view games. It is also one of the best looking LCDs among laptops. It uses Acerâs Cr ystalBrite anti-glare screen, which reduces both the glare from the LCD as well as ambient light that bounces off the screen. One noticeable aspect of the 592 0Gâs LCD is the high contrast ratio when viewing images with both dark colors ( black/gray) and bright colors (red/yellow). However, Acerâs LCDs still couldnât refresh fast enough; at 8 milliseconds, itâs still as slow as LCD monitors two years ago. Most computer LCDs now can refresh between 4 and 5 milliseconds. Ag ain, to some non-techies, the difference may not be obvious but videophiles wil l notice more âjaggiesâ when the camera pans from one side to another. Still, i tâs only a small thing to notice. In addition to the LCD Monitor is the integrated webcam, which surprisingly ren ders more than the usual 640x480 pixels. In most laptops the screen is usually about the size of a business card but the 5920Gâs LCD can render a screen three times as large and is a welcome treat especially when doing video conferencing . Performance-wise, the 5920G excels in both the gaming and DVD aspect. Supre me Commander, a resource-intensive game, actually runs fairly smoothly in the 5920G, even better than a desktop computer using a Pentium-powered PC with 2Gb memory and 256MB video card. When running at full resource, the 5920Gâs bat tery can last up to one hour before a battery low warning pops up. For most lap top users, one hour is not enough, especially when watching videos through the DVD drive. But Acer included a widget application called Acer Empowering Techno logy, which controls all notebook the resources (itâs actually present in new A cer notebooks). It can manage the battery consumption of the 5920G by switching on and off some internal devices that consume power, such as the connections ( 802.11 a/b/g, Bluetooth, wired local area network and PCMCIA), as well as manag e the brightness of the LCD, hard disk hibernation and even the CPU speed. Whil e all of these can be managed through either Windows XP or Windows Vista, havin g it all in a clutter-free widget is much better and idiot-proof. The 5920Gâs speaker system is one of the best among laptops in its class. While it is neither 4.1 or 5.1, it has Altec Lansing stereo speakers and a down-firi ng subwoofer that produces descent bass. Itâs even more intense when watching a ction movies and playing video games that have high bass sound effects. Too bad the manufactuers should have allowed the Gemstone to have front-firing speaker s so that a user can just close down the LCD and play music. But, having it ope n and watching the visualizations either in Windows Media Player or WinAmp is s till a treat. Overall, the Acer Gemstone 5920G is a great gamerâs PC, especially for the addi ct who plays in LAN parties to show off his skills in Counter-Strike, Warcraft DOTA or Unreal. It does come with a cost though: at P89, 000, it is still in the âexpensiveâ gamerâs category. Nonetheless, a full gaming PC would cost between P40,000 to P50,000, so an additional P40,000 for a mobile gamerâs laptop may be a good option, especially if there is enough mone y to burn.