Archive | March, 2011

Samsung Reportedly Installing Keyloggers On Its Laptops

31 Mar

Samsung has said they are looking into this: “Samsung takes Mr. Hassan’s claims very seriously. After learning of the original post this morning on NetworkWorld.com, we launched an internal investigation into this issue. We will provide further information as soon as it is available.” So far Hassan is the only person to report this, so it could be any number of things, including a false alarm or a bad retailer.

This is… potentially disturbing. Mohamed Hassan recently purchased a brand-new Samsung tech gadgets an R525. As part of his normal setup procedure, he ran a complete scan with security software and found a keylogger installed in the Windows directory. Now, Samsung wouldn’t be the first company to accidentally ship infected computers — Asus had such a disaster back in 2008.

Thinking this might be the case, Hassan removed the keylogger (Star Logger in C:\Windows\SL) and went about his business. But after an issue with the display driver a short time later, he returned the laptop and picked up a higher-end R540. Lo and behold, on running his security scan, Star Logger was found yet again!

This isn’t some system failure logging utility, by the way. It’s a full-blown keylogger that records every key press.

I’ll let Hassan tell the story here:

On March 1, 2011, I called and logged incident 2101163379 with Samsung Support (SS). First, as Sony BMG did six years ago, the SS personnel denied the presence of such software on its laptops. After having been informed of the two models where the software was found and the location, SS changed its story by referring the author to Microsoft since “all Samsung did was to manufacture the hardware.” When told that did not make sense, SS personnel relented and escalated the incident to one of the support supervisors.

The supervisor who spoke with me was not sure how this software ended up in the new laptop thus put me on hold. He confirmed that yes, Samsung did knowingly put this software on the laptop to, as he put it, “monitor the performance of the machine and to find out how it is being used.”

So. After denying the software existed, then saying that they just make the these tech gadgets, they finally acknowledge that yes, Samsung installs malicious software on their own laptops in order to record user behavior.

I don’t think I need to go into the specifics of why this is a shocking breach of trust and presumably illegal as well. We’ll keep an eye out for further developments, but in the meantime, if you have a Samsung laptop, look in C:\Windows for a \SL directory. If you see one, contact Samsung and get mad. This is totally unacceptable and hopefully we’ll get some satisfaction from Samsung on this point soon. I just don’t understand how they could think this was even close to okay, and even after justifying it, how it could possibly escape detection.

Mohamed Hassan and his collaborator Mich Kabay at Network World have contacted Samsung several times for comment, but have received no response so far. I look forward to their answer. Let’s hope it’s all just a big mistake.

 

Source from CrunchGear

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The Archos Arnova 10 Trades High Amounts Of Memory For A Lower Price

31 Mar

Archos quietly became the favorite low-cost Android tablet maker of fanboys everywhere thanks to a solid 2010 offering. The company’s Arnova brand builds upon the same formula with even cheaper tablets. The secret sauce? The bare minimum amount of internal memory. But buyers might overlook that little detail especially with the Arnova 10 electronic gadgets shipping for only $180.

Under the Arnova 10′s 1024 x 600 10-inch screen is an ARM-based CPU running Android 2.1, 802.11 b/g, front-facing camera and an SDHC slot. Archos says there’s enough computing juice to handle 720p video . The only downside is the 4GB of internal memory, but the SDHC slot effectively counters that altogether. Liliputing points out that the model carries a $199 MSRP but can be found for $180.

 

Source from CrunchGear

The HTC Flyer Is Now Available In The US… But Through An Expensive Importer

31 Mar

The HTC Flyer tablet debuted at MWC 2011 last month. It’s arguably “just another tablet” a tablet version of HTC Sense running on top of Android 2.2. No matter, the tablet is already on European shelves leaving stateside buyers feeling the regional release shaft. But there’s an option if you simply must own HTC’s first-gen tablet. Just a warning though, owning the European-spec Flyer tech gadgets in the US comes at a price — a high price.

Popular Electronics cuts all the hassle with importing a gadget and they just put the all-aluminum Flyer up for sale with free 3 to 5 day shipping. However, they’re selling it for a whopping $900, which is likely a few extra Benjamins over the unannounced MSRP. But this is the only option right now to buy the 3G version in America. Sprint announced that the Flyer will hit their US network as the EVO View 4G but failed to mention when. So either buy the 3G version that should work on T-Mobile’s US network or wait a few weeks until Sprint launches their 4G version of these tech gadgets. Your call, fanboy.

 

via UberGizmo

Pentax Optio E10 Reviews

31 Mar

Pentax Optio E10 is a digital camera with 6 megapixel camera. It has a 3x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom. The camera is equipped with auto and manual focus functionality. It has an auto exposure which saves JPEG file format. It is registered under ISO 64-200. Pentax Optio E10 tech gadgets have a 2.4 inch LCD screen. It uses 2 AA batteries and offers movie mode with sound. The camera was released with January 12, 2006. The camera will cost you around $75 and has removed all the frustrating flaws that were present in the previous Pentax Optio series. So, this is a camera that must be bought immediately if you are looking for precision.

NoDo Windows Phone 7 update hits the Venue Pro, Dell update to follow

31 Mar

Well, it looks like Venue Pro owners will be getting not one but two software updates in the near future. Dell has just confirmed that the much-anticipated NoDo Windows Phone 7 electronic gadgets update has begun rolling out to devices today, and also announced that a separate update of its own will be “coming later.” NoDo, of course, adds copy and paste functionality among some other updates and tweaks, while the Dell update is only said to have “more fixes.” Feel free to let us know how the update works out for you in comments.

 

Source from Engadget

ECOmove QBEAK EV unveiled, grows a roof but no actual beak

31 Mar

You might expect a car with the word “beak” in its nose to have something of a pronounced proboscis. Not so. It’s the ECOmove QBEAK, a little, orange, all-electric car that’s now been shown in the actual flesh in both coupe and convertible form. The car seats an odd number of people, three or six depending on configuration (something we definitely like), yet is smaller than a Smart Fortwo tech gadgets. It does this thanks to motors that fit in the wheels and composite suspension that’s much more compact than your average strut setup. Range is up to 300km — 186 miles — but at this point we don’t know much more about when this tangerine dream might be rolling into showrooms for real. Video of its unveil below.

Source from Engadget

Samsung Series 9 NP900X3A (13-inch) Reviews

31 Mar

The good: A thin, stylish design, long battery life, excellent screen, and a new second-generation Intel Core i5 CPU make the Samsung Series 9 NP900X3A one of the best ultrathin Windows laptops we’ve ever seen.

The bad: The Series 9’s way-too-high sticker price makes the MacBook Air look downright affordable by comparison; the flexy case design doesn’t feel as good as the MacBook Air’s, either.

The bottom line: The $1,649 Samsung Series 9 NP900X3A certainly won’t be for every wallet, but this light, well-featured, and striking 13-incher is the closest the Windows world will ever come to a MacBook Air. However, its higher-than-the-Air price will be hard to stomach.

If every action has an equal and opposite reaction, then consider the Samsung Series 9 NP900X3A to be a direct response to Apple’s MacBook Air electronic gadgets. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen two laptops so seemingly intertwined–in purpose, design, performance, and even price. For all that you could love about a MacBook Air, nearly the same could be said for the sleek, black Series 9, a 13-inch laptop packed with exceptional design and undeniable geek appeal.

At $1,649, the real question will be whether you’re able to afford it. Weighing 2.9 pounds and packing a 1.4 GHz second-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD drive, it’s got some of the best performance-per-pound that we’ve ever seen. It starts fast and feels great to work on. However, this laptop makes MacBook Air look like a bargain by comparison, and that’s saying something: the 13-inch Air starts at just $1,299 for that same 128GB SSD drive (although with half the RAM). Amazingly, the $1,649 configuration is the low end for the Series 9–there’s also a $1,699 version that adds Windows 7 Professional, which is the configuration we were sent for review. That price is 15-inch MacBook Pro territory–lofty, indeed.

We’ve seen high-end design-heavy Windows laptops before, though not for a while–the Dell Adamo and Adamo XPS come to mind. The Series 9 is a better overall laptop than those–but if this laptop were $1,000, we’d really be far more bullish.

As it is, $1,649 is way above standard laptop pricing landscape (at least it comes standard with a three-year warranty). This is a luxury system, especially with $400-range 11.6-inch AMD Fusion laptops presenting pretty reasonable alternatives.

If you’re a Windows laptop user but have been secretly envying devices like the MacBook Air, clenching your hands uncontrollably at night for a Windows analogue–and price is no object– then your gleaming onyx savior has arrived. Otherwise, you might want to wait for the 11-inch Series 9 coming in about a month, which will cost a little less–or, find a more affordable alternative, provided you can live without supersleek duraluminum. But, if you can stomach the sticker price, this is one of the best, thin, usable ultraportable PCs we’ve ever come across.

The Samsung Series 9 NP900X3A has an instantly eye-catching look: sleek brushed-black metal (duralumin, a material used in aircraft construction), with gracefully curved edges around the back, give the thin laptop the appearance of a blade, or a cross-section of a wing with aerofoil. It’s also extremely light: unlike the surprisingly dense iPad, the Series 9 actually feels lighter in the hand than you’d expect. At 2.9 pounds, it’s nearly identical to the 13-inch MacBook Air.

This laptop is a bit thicker, though: by our measurements, about 0.64 inch at its thickest. While the MacBook Air measured 0.68 inch at its thickest, the front edge of the Air comes to a thinner point. The Series 9 electronic gadgets feel and looks thicker, but these differences are small quibbles. Both laptops are functionality super-thin and pack flat into bags, adding little bulk.

Inside, the Series 9 laptop has more brushed metal, but also some glossy plastic trim around parts of the screen area and keyboard. The top lid feels too flexible when opening and closing, and part of the chassis even exhibited small squeaks when we pressed down on it. That’s not to say the construction isn’t very solid, but it just doesn’t feel as rock solid as Apple’s MacBook Air. It’s miles above similar thin Windows laptops, however, even if we expected more for $1,600-plus.

The tiny AC adapter is more akin to the size of many smartphone chargers, with a removable plug that can be replaced with travel tips. The plug goes into the rear of the Series 9’s left side, jutting out. It’s not the elegant solution that Apple’s flush magnetic power cord is, and the charger’s awkward wall-wart size makes it a challenging fit for some outlets.

Going with an SSD drive has afforded the Series 9 with faster boot-up times: by our stopwatch, the NP900X3A took 24 seconds from a cold boot-up. That’s faster than many Windows laptops, but slower than the relatively lightning-quick MacBook Air. The Series 9 electronic gadgets have another neat trick up its sleeve: closing the lid puts the laptop straight into a no-power hibernation state. The Series 9 woke up from hibernation after lifting the lid in just 6 seconds. For most people, this is how they’ll use the laptop, charging up as needed.

The 13.3-inch screen has a matte finish, which stands against nearly every other consumer laptop. Some will love this–many people gripe that the MacBooks are far too glossy. On the Series 9, the matte finish definitely helps images and text pop in brightly lit areas. The screen has a maximum resolution of 1,366×768 pixels, but its brightness and viewable angles surpass many other laptops we’ve seen. Movies and pictures look excellent, with stellar viewing angles that don’t degrade no matter how far the screen is tilted. (We hate to keep comparing to the MacBook Air, but its resolution in case you’re curious is a higher 1,440×900. Still, we think the Series 9 screen looks even better.)

On to that keyboard and touch pad: simply put, they rock. The keyboard’s so similar in feel and size to the MacBook Air that it looks pressed from the same mold. The keys have less height than raised keyboards on larger laptops, but extended typing felt snappy and responsive. The keyboard is backlit, too, unlike the MacBook Air’s. The large multitouch clickpad uses Synaptics Series 3 technology. While it’s not a “click anywhere” pad (it uses a lever-style clicking mechanism, like Apple’s MacBooks), its image-sensing technology and accuracy rivals most other laptops. The matte glass surface feels great and is amply sized for multifinger gestures. It’s not as big as the epic one on the MacBook Air, but it’s awfully close.

The stereo speakers hide behind tiny grilles at the front side edges, barely visible unless you tilt and check. The volume and sound quality is more than good enough for movies, TV shows and Webchat, even music, though they’re obviously not going to surpass a good pair of headphones. The included 1.3 megapixel Webcam has a maximum resolution of 1,280×1,024 pixels, with pictures and light sensitivity that are better than average; the bundled ArcSoft YouCam software has a number of weird backdrops and effects for you to play with, too.

Ports and connections are always a challenge on ultraslim laptops, and the Series 9 is no exception. The newest MacBook Air only has two USB ports and no Ethernet port (it costs $29 extra as a USB dongle), but has an SD card slot. Comparatively, the Series 9 electronic gadgets have it beat on paper: HDMI, one USB 3.0 port, one USB 2.0 port, and Ethernet connectivity. But, these ports are accessed via two flip-down doors on either side, and some require converter cables. A proprietary port connects to an included dongle that has an Ethernet port; a mini-HDMI-out jack is included, but requires the proper cable to use; and a microSD card slot is included instead of standard SD. If you want to transfer pictures from your camera, you’re back to being stuck with a USB SD card adapter. One of the two USB ports allows sleep-and-charge (powering a plugged-in USB device while the Series 9 is hibernating or shut down).

A small annoyance–or convenience, depending on how you like your ports–is that all of these ports are hidden away behind tiny flip-down doors on either side of the Series 9’s chassis, tucked away under a sloping edge. They’re shades of what used to be on the first-generation MacBook Air. We were concerned the doors were flip shut once we laid the laptop down on a table, but as long as the surface was even and flat, we found no problems. Plugging in lots of cables at once could get messy, though.

The included 4GB of RAM can be expanded up to 8GB; however, you’re stuck with 128GB of SSD storage space. Apple’s Air electronic gadgets offer double the space–256GB–on its $1,599 13-inch configuration. The default 128GB will be enough for some, but it falls short for those who want to put their whole media lives on a single laptop.

Read more: http://reviews.cnet.com/laptops/samsung-series-9-np900x3a/4505-3121_7-34510063.html#ixzz1I8ikexZq

Acer-Windows Phone

31 Mar

Personal computer and laptop manufacturer Acer have announced that they will be delving even further into the mobile telecommunications market this year as they revealed plans to release at least seven Windows 7 Phone run devices this Autumn. The Taiwanese company have for a long time now been a small player in the mobile market, happy to coast along in the sidelines producing decent and well received phones but never threatening to produce a phone that sells as well as models like the Samsung Galaxy S or the Nokia N8 electronic gadgets.

Now though it seems as if they are ready to make serious inroads into the market as the devices, to be launched alongside three tablets as well, are already getting people talking about Acer in a positive light.

It has already been announced that these new Acer mobiles will run on the new upgrade of Windows mobile, known as Mango and also set for an Autumn release. News of the Mango upgrade looks good as it seems Microsoft have focused on improving areas such as the browser and adding features such as copy and paste and multitasking which have been conspicuous only in their absence on previous Windows Phone devices.

This is an ambitious move from both Microsoft and Acer and time will tell whether it will be successful. The guys at Acer feel that it should be though, admitting that they expect to sell “six figures” worth of phones in the UK alone.

Acer have been producing affordable and well-made laptops for a long time now and if they can transfer this talent over to the world of smartphones and tablets electronic gadgets there is no reason why the company should not exceed its target. As we all know though, the mobile phone market is rather more complicated than that and a multitude of factors could affect Acer’s bold move.

Keep checking back to the Dialaphone website for more news as it happens on this, and other newly released mobile phones.

Videotron parent company tries to push iPhones off its TV network in Quebec

30 Mar

What happens when a giant media company owns both a wireless carrier and a television network? Shenanigans — or at least that’s what now seems to be going on in la belle province of Quebec, where the parent company of cable and wireless provider Videotron and television network TVA has seemingly decided to throw its weight around a bit. Apparently, some folks from Quebecor Inc. recently realized that a number of television shows produced for TVA featured iPhones tech gadgets somewhat prominently, which just so happens to be a phone that isn’t offered by its Videotron subsidiary.

Their solution? Ask the shows’ producers to feature phones that are available on Videotron instead, like the Nexus One — provided free of charge, of course. There doesn’t seem to be an outright iPhone ban, however, and at least one show has apparently been given specific permission to let its characters continue using their iPhones tech gadgets — although another show’s producer says he “wouldn’t be surprised” if such a ban was eventually put in place.

 

Source from Engadget

BlackBerry PlayBook FAQ confirms native email, calendar and contacts apps, just not at launch

30 Mar

The native app situation on the BlackBerry PlayBook has been one point of contention since the device was first announced, and there’s still a fair bit of confusion even now, less than a month from launch. We now have a fairly definitive answer for one key question, however, although it may not be the one you were hoping for.

According to an official FAQ provided for a Verizon webinar, the PlayBook electronic gadgets will indeed be getting native email, calendar and contacts apps in a “future software update,” but you’ll have to make do without them initially. That means either relying on the PlayBook’s web browser, or using the “Bridge” mode to access the apps on your BlackBerry smartphone. So, the PlayBook may not technically be “reliant” on a BlackBerry, but it is certainly handy to have one around.

Source from Engadget