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Hot News: February 23rd-28th

Turn a 3-Core AMD Phenom 2 into a 4-Core

Earlier in the week we received word that a Korean hardware review site had managed to turn a triple-core Phenom II X3 710 into a 4 core CPU. Apparently, the quick switcheroo requires a Biostar motherboard, but customers boards that have the same BIOS options can try the same technique out. The BIOS option to enable the 4th core is called Advanced Clock Calibration, and when set to Auto, turns on the 4th core.

From our experience, when AMD or Intel ships a processor with a core disabled at manufacturing, it's because the disabled core isn't performing up to snuff with the other core(s). We'd be interested in knowing if users experience any bugs with the 4th core enabled. The processor shows up with 4 cores in Windows, and according to benchmarks posted by the site, the 4th core had a real impact on scores. Those with 3-core Phenom II's, try this out! 

Hacker Trashes U.S. Army PCs; Faces 70 Years

The case continues of UK hacker Gary McKinnon. McKinnon allegedly used a dial-up modem to break into American government computer systems. McKinnon is accused of hacking into computers belonging to the Pentagon, NASA, and the U.S. Army and Navy, amounting to USD $700,000 in damages.

Now, after the British Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has decided not to press any charges against McKinnon, he will likely be extradited to the United States to stand trial. McKinnon and his legal team had been campaigning to stand trial in the UK because it could result in a shorter sentence. McKinnon claims he is a computer enthusiast with an interest in extra-terrestrials and his hacking was only an attempt to satisfy that curiosity. 

AMD Unveils 'Istanbul' Six-Shooter Opteron

AMD this week showed off the first working demonstration of its counter punch to Intel, a six-core Opteron processor code-named “Istanbul”. Istanbul is a pretty straight forward socket upgrade over AMDs current Shanghai Opterons. A 45nm processor with 6 MB of L3 cache that fits into a Socket-F style mainboard, only now with six cores rather than Shanghai’s four cores. The end result is that Istanbul will provide a direct drop-in upgrade for existing Socket-F systems without the need to change major components or perform software upgrades/changes. Read the complete story here.

PlayStation Controller Gives Girl Sores

A significant amount of people believe certain games are too violent and not great games for children to be playing. Considerably less think playing video games can cause physical damage. This week reports emerged of a 12 year old girl who had what doctors dubbed “PlayStation palmar hidradenitis.” A form of the skin disorder idiopathic eccrine hidradenitis, which is commonly found on the soles of feet and associated with excessive amounts of sports or jogging. The girl’s parents said she had been playing her PlayStation for several hours a day. Doctors said the sores were caused by intense sweating and gripping the controller too tightly. The sores disappeared after 10 PlayStation free days. Read the full story here.

Microsoft Reveals New Windows 7 Changes

The latest entry on the Engineering Windows 7 blog details some of the changes that the team has made to for the upcoming Release Candidate (RC) since the last public beta. “It should be no surprise but the Release Candidate for Windows 7 will have quite a few changes, many under the hood so to speak but also many visible,” wrote Steven Sinofsky, senior VP of the Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group.

The most immediately appreciable feature of Windows 7 is the new taskbar. Microsoft is changing the way a program will alert you if it requires attention. The RC will have a changed flashing animation with a bolder orange color; and instead of flashing just three times, it will flash seven times as a nod to the Windows version designation. Windows 7 will also better scale the number of large and small icons, resulting in a 24 to 39 percent increase in icon quantity before the taskbar scrolls. Click here for more.

Music Industry Wants BitTorrent Blackout

Will BitTorrent be blocked by ISPs? If the forces representing the music industry have their way, that will be the case. In its latest push against P2P, the music industry is demanding that Internet service providers block all torrent-based file sharing sites. Last month, Irish ISP Eircom announced that it wouldn't block any sites, but it would actively disconnect users it suspected of sharing copyrighted material. This isn't enough, however, as the music reps are demanding that it also block a list of P2P sites.

According to TorrentFreak, Eircom and the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA), the ISP will be 100 percent compliant with any P2P website blockage that IRMA requests. IRMA represents the "Big Four" record labels (EMI, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner), who control 90 percent of the music market on the Emerald Isle. First in the crosshairs for IRMA and the music industry? The Pirate Bay. The popular P2P site is currently fighting the good fight in a Swedish court, and has already been blocked in Denmark. If this agreement between IRMA and Eircom stands, then Ireland will be next.

Dell Says Its New XPS 435 is "Mind Blowing"

Dell is ramping up performance with the Studio XPS 435. The Core i7-based system is the newest offering in the desktop maket from Dell and does have some impressive options. Users can customize the 435 with Core i7 and Core i7 Extreme processors, which come on an X58 motherboard. The 435 can take up to 24 GB of triple channel DDR3 memory as well as up to 4.5 terabytes of hard drive space. For graphics, the XPS 435 does away with the 512MB ATI Radeon 4850 offered in the other Studio XPS solutions and offers a 1 GB 4870 with GDDR5 memory. Unfortunately, the 435 has only one PCI-express x16 slot, but pictures of the case's insides show that there is room for a 4870 X2 if you decide to upgrade after purchase. Click here for more.

Cheaper Blu-ray Coming Your Way

Blu-ray-making companies Panasonic, Philips and Sony are currently working with other patent holders to establish a one-stop-shop license, which will cover essential patents for Blu-ray Disc, DVD and CD. Aiming for an introduction in the middle of this year, the license program will be offered by a new independent licensing company that will be a single point of contact for licensees, greatly reducing the burden on licensed companies that would otherwise have to report to multiple patent pools.

The companies involved estimate that royalty rates for Blu-ray Disc products are expected to be at least 40 percent lower than the current cumulative royalty rates for individual Blu-ray Disc, DVD and CD format licenses. What does that mean for the consumer? Hopefully lower prices. For companies, the new rates for Blu-ray Disc products will be $9.50 for a player and $14.00 for a recorder. The per disc license fees will be $0.11 for a read only disc, $0.12 for a recordable disc and $0.15 for a rewritable disc. 

First Ever GeForce GTX 285 2 GB Card

Palit Microsystems this week unleashed its very first custom designed GeForce GTX 285, available in both 1 GB and 2 GB tasty flavors. According to the company, its GTX 285 2 GB graphics card is the first in the industry to offer such a heavy load of memory, however consumers who don't have that kind of cash to thrash can option to buy the neglected step-child, the Palit GTX 285 1 GB version.

Despite the different memory helpings, both cards offer the usual Nvidia goodness gamers have come to know and love, including Nvidia's PhysX and CUDA technologies. Both also offer core speeds of 648 MHz, and 2.5 GHz on its GDDR3 memory with a 512-bit interface, coughing up nearly 50 percent more performance than prior generation GPUs. And of course, more power means more gaming love. Who doesn't want that?

Mozilla is now actively backing a movement that if successful, would essentially nullify copyright infringement charges against individuals that ‘jailbreak’ their Apple iPhones – a practice that Apple considers illegal. Mozilla said in comments submitted to the U.S. Copyright Office that it supports the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in its request for an exemption to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The EFF wants the Copyright Office to let users ‘jailbreak’ their iPhones without fear of copyright infringement issues. Apple naturally opposes this request claiming that the act of ‘jailbreaking’ an Apple iPhone is in direction violation of copyright laws which protect its software.

  • cheepstuff
    that hacker looks like would be interested in extra-terrestrials
    Reply
  • Darkk
    I thought the 4th defective core is disabled via cutting the trace paths on the die?

    Reply
  • nottheking
    Apparently, the fourth core might not be disabled on an PII X3. Which is a tad surprising, but might be worth potentially checking out. If so, then it'd make something like the 720BE even more alluring; thanks to its astounding overclocking ceiling, it'd be like getting a quad-core i7 worth a lot more for less than $150US, an utter steal.

    As far as the music industry goes, given how the FCC slapped up Comcast over messing with their client's connections, I doubt that any ISP will really give in to the demands of the RIAA in the United States; what worries me is that European countries typically don't have the same free speech/net neutrality policies that are effectively sacrosanct in the USA. (and have been the primary impetus for the US Government's refusal to let up any of their control of the Internet)

    I must say that I grow tired of such organizations, which effectively act as cartels and mob bosses all at once, making the musicians who have real abilities come to rely on them, and swindling the bulk of earnings away, leaving them with just enough to keep pressing on, but not enough for them to dare try to cut loose and work independently. I keep hoping that one day, groups like the RIAA and IRMA, along with the recording labels they fight for, will just be a bad memory, the Internet and digital downloads bringing a virtual flood to bring extinction to the recording label dinosaurs, allowing artists to possibly start making decent money, with the only labels remaining being those run by more successful artists, rather than business suits merely looking to fleece them.

    Lastly, it's rather curious how Apple is trying to bring their foot down here. Such a court case would have to explore exactly what the scope of the DMCA is, which could potentially be a rather slippery slope; after all, since it expands anti-piracy laws to cover acts which aren't actual piracy, but potentially connected to piracy, to treat those who commit such acts as pirates themselves, one must question where an act ceases to potentially be something to defeat copy-protection/DRM, and is actually legit. If Apple wins that sort of case, then technically, I could argue that, in many cases, one simply accessing the Internet is also commiting acts that would be outlawed by the DMCA.
    Reply
  • Lets just talk about the phenon please.
    Reply
  • silicondoc
    Why doesn't the government get a dang clue and hire the guy for Homeland Security. I watched an hour long documentary with him interviewed. It's really amazing what pathetic computer security the USA has. China stole all the nuke info during the Clintoon years, and even today they can't count the number of laptops just gone missing or the memory sticks that breach any form of security out in the wild.
    Last article I read 6 months ago, they issued hundreds of usb memeory sticks in a high security arena, then recalled them, because they were utterly unsecure, and the people came by and tossed them in a box - they lost count and track of the box shortly thereafter.
    I know, it's only people trying as they might to have some sort of security, but what doesn't happen is LISTENING, and the people the USA gov NEEDS to listen to are the hackers and crackers, because they are the ones who can rip right into their systems.
    70 years is INSANE. The guy never destroyed anything, never erased any data... 70 years for EMBARRASSING the idiots at HS and NSA and whom knows where else- certainly every single one of our top 7 secure laboratories - ALL BREACHED constantly because the old eggheads on cap hill haven't got clue one, and think they can prevent things by "sending a message".
    Here's a message " YOU ARE IDIOT THROWBACKS TO DAYS GONE BY - START ACTING LIKE MODERN, CIVILIZED HUMAN BEINGS, instead of control freak, 70 year prison ax nazis".
    Let's face it - the REAL ENEMIES - our government will never "proscute openly on the boob tube and in the national press" - not like this star trek freak hacker was any threat to national security whatsoever...
    So as they spend MILLIONS to pursue and incarcerate some fool X-Files publci citizen Q, the real enemies lay waste and breach security - AND STEAL EVERY SECRET WE EVER HAD.
    That of course, they utterly ignore, because it's REAL DABGEROUS going after someone willing to risk their life or kill for their country, communist or otherwise.
    Yeah, go after the average x-file joe, YOU IDIOTS IN THE USA GOVERNMENT - YOU PATHETIC FREAKS - YOU SICKEN ME.
    Reply
  • silicondoc
    jamisonLets just talk about the phenon please.Sorry buddy. Hey that's great on the phenom - I'll wager the mboard sells out in days.
    Reply
  • silicondoc
    They'ell incarcerate this poor x-file freak for 70 years, and let 2,500 terrorists go of Gitmo - terrorists who shot at and killed our boys, and everyone else's boys on the good side.
    What a bunch of jack - - - - -.
    There, decrypt that - you idiot government Politcally Correct lunatics.
    Reply
  • nerrawg
    Gary McKinnon has asperger syndrome and the UK DPP did not prosecute him because their psychiatric evaluation team determined that he didn't truly understand the gravity of his actions.

    However it makes sense that the US is going to try this guy for a maximum of 70 years, after all we just recently stopped zapping mentally handicapped people in the state of Texas. The federal legal system will also always take any opportunity to make an example out of something it considers criminal, or just in opposition, whether it is logically warranted or not.

    Here we have the illogical case of making an example against anti-social virtual internet, by using someone who is bordering idiot-savant genius and who's social understanding of the world is profoundly restricted, as described by his official medical condition. Well I guess its up to our lawyers now to battle it out and see how low we can stoop.

    http://freegary.org.uk/
    Reply
  • nottheking
    jamisonLets just talk about the phenon please.Um, this article does happen to contain 10 pages, of which only the first is on the Phenom II X3. So really, any of the subjects are perfectly legit things to be brought up.

    silicondocWhy doesn't the government get a dang clue and hire the guy for Homeland Security. I watched an hour long documentary with him interviewed. It's really amazing what pathetic computer security the USA has. Actually, as far as the virtual security goes, it's rather good. However, I'd point out that virtual games of Capture-The-Flag (where two teams attempt to hack into each other's networks) NEVER end in stalemate, (not even at DEF CON) which highlights an important fact many people overlook: it is impossible to have a perfect defense against hackers. Even having the best hackers in the world on your team won't make you invincible. Otherwise the bulk of those CTF games, or even just SOME of them, would wind up in a stalemate.

    The weak parts of US security lie on the physical realm; as you mention, the poor tracking of sensitive data items. In reality, this is how security breaches happen for virtually every entity, be it a person, an organization, a government, military, school, or what have you.

    the people the USA gov NEEDS to listen to are the hackers and crackers, because they are the ones who can rip right into their systems. 70 years is INSANE. The guy never destroyed anything, never erased any data...Actually, given that he outright admited he left a message, and professed that he was "disrupting," then that's effectively a self-admission he was causing some form of damage, otherwise it wouldn't have been a disruption. The military is only claiming damages of $700,000US, which given how widespread his attacks were, seem like a personally reasonable estimate for damage; after all, they had to pay to make sure they'd restored whatever security barriers he'd broken through and deactivated. (which likely required something as drastic as a reformat and reinstall on all compromised systems to be sure)

    Also, the USA *does* listen to the hackers. If I recall correctly, they've had a presence at virtually every DEF CON, and even make attempts to recruit some of them there. This kinda illustrates the proper/improper ways of getting into a field; if you kill a police officer, it'd be kinda silly to expect them to try to hire you since you're good at killing; you'd expect that the cop-killer will be thrown in prison. The same goes for hacking; hacking into a government network merely demonstrates that you are immoral, while partaking in legitimate security activities that in all likelihood are more challenging, (like CTF) is a demonstration of skill.

    Here's a message " YOU ARE IDIOT THROWBACKS TO DAYS GONE BY - START ACTING LIKE MODERN, CIVILIZED HUMAN BEINGS, instead of control freak, 70 year prison ax nazis". Let's face it - the REAL ENEMIES - (snip) - AND STEAL EVERY SECRET WE EVER HAD. Yeah, go after the average x-file joe, YOU IDIOTS IN THE USA GOVERNMENT - YOU PATHETIC FREAKS - YOU SICKEN ME.Caps lock is cruise control for cool. But seriously, he was a threat to security, in that anyone boring into a network is going to leave a hole that others can follow, and follow without even having ANY skill; simple scipt kiddies could invite themselves in after that. It's rather expensive to make absolutely sure that you've reversed all the damage that the guy did; as I said above, it likely entailed a complete wipe and reinstall of all compromised systems, which meant lots of wasted time and money.

    nerrawgGary McKinnon has asperger syndrome and the UK DPP did not prosecute him because their psychiatric evaluation team determined that he didn't truly understand the gravity of his actions.To be honest, unlike with the case of other psychological disorders, such as clinical depression, bipolar disorder, and even autism, I consider the concept of Asperger syndrome to be a dubious disorder. Basically, while it's marked by incredibly social-emotional retardation, I feel that the retardation is not a symptom of the disorder, but the retardation is simply caused by external forces, and actually could be readily overcome without any sort of drugs. Hence, I consider it just a flimsy excuse to justify someone chronically engaging in sociopathic behavior, as a habit that they've been unable to break. But any habit can be broken if given enough effort and time; it just seems like those with Asperger's just don't bother to try. Hence, I don't really feel that being diagnosed as "Asperger's" should serve as protection against being tried for criminal actions.
    Reply
  • nottheking
    Ack, why don't they offer a preview option for replies? It'd help to avoid the retarded stuff like above. Here's a re-posting of the latter half with the formatting fixed, so you can, y'know, actually read it:

    silicondocthe people the USA gov NEEDS to listen to are the hackers and crackers, because they are the ones who can rip right into their systems. 70 years is INSANE. The guy never destroyed anything, never erased any data...Actually, given that he outright admited he left a message, and professed that he was "disrupting," then that's effectively a self-admission he was causing some form of damage, otherwise it wouldn't have been a disruption. The military is only claiming damages of $700,000US, which given how widespread his attacks were, seem like a personally reasonable estimate for damage; after all, they had to pay to make sure they'd restored whatever security barriers he'd broken through and deactivated. (which likely required something as drastic as a reformat and reinstall on all compromised systems to be sure)

    Also, the USA *does* listen to the hackers. If I recall correctly, they've had a presence at virtually every DEF CON, and even make attempts to recruit some of them there. This kinda illustrates the proper/improper ways of getting into a field; if you kill a police officer, it'd be kinda silly to expect them to try to hire you since you're good at killing; you'd expect that the cop-killer will be thrown in prison. The same goes for hacking; hacking into a government network merely demonstrates that you are immoral, while partaking in legitimate security activities that in all likelihood are more challenging, (like CTF) is a demonstration of skill.

    silicondocHere's a message " YOU ARE IDIOT THROWBACKS TO DAYS GONE BY - START ACTING LIKE MODERN, CIVILIZED HUMAN BEINGS, instead of control freak, 70 year prison ax nazis". Let's face it - the REAL ENEMIES - (snip) - AND STEAL EVERY SECRET WE EVER HAD. Yeah, go after the average x-file joe, YOU IDIOTS IN THE USA GOVERNMENT - YOU PATHETIC FREAKS - YOU SICKEN ME.Caps lock is cruise control for cool. But seriously, he was a threat to security, in that anyone boring into a network is going to leave a hole that others can follow, and follow without even having ANY skill; simple scipt kiddies could invite themselves in after that. It's rather expensive to make absolutely sure that you've reversed all the damage that the guy did; as I said above, it likely entailed a complete wipe and reinstall of all compromised systems, which meant lots of wasted time and money.

    nerrawgGary McKinnon has asperger syndrome and the UK DPP did not prosecute him because their psychiatric evaluation team determined that he didn't truly understand the gravity of his actions.To be honest, unlike with the case of other psychological disorders, such as clinical depression, bipolar disorder, and even autism, I consider the concept of Asperger syndrome to be a dubious disorder. Basically, while it's marked by incredibly social-emotional retardation, I feel that the retardation is not a symptom of the disorder, but the retardation is simply caused by external forces, and actually could be readily overcome without any sort of drugs. Hence, I consider it just a flimsy excuse to justify someone chronically engaging in sociopathic behavior, as a habit that they've been unable to break. But any habit can be broken if given enough effort and time; it just seems like those with Asperger's just don't bother to try. Hence, I don't really feel that being diagnosed as "asperger's" should serve as protection against being tried for criminal actions.
    Reply