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Hot News of the Week: March 16th to 20th

The Whole Intel/AMD Fiasco

This week saw tons more news regarding the Intel/AMD lawsuit. It all involves a lot of finger pointing that is really difficult to summarize in the 100-150 words I try to squeeze each hot story into. Quick run down:

Intel to AMD: Your x86 license expires in 60 days! Intel this week announced that it would terminate AMD's license to produce x86 processors because of Globalfoundries. Intel's beef is that because Globalfoundaries (AMD's spinoff manufacturing division) is not a subsidiary of AMD, it does not conform to the license agreement the two signed in 2001. In other words, "Hey, we didn't say you could bring your friends!" We spoke to AMD about the ruckus and Michael Silverman had a lot to say on the situation but mainly, "Intel’s action is an attempt to distract the world from the global antitrust scrutiny it faces," and claiming AMD is in full compliance with the agreement. Not one to turn down the chance to force me squeeze even more into 150 words, Intel gave us an exclusive as to why it thinks AMD is in the wrong.

Recharge A Battery in Seconds

Recharging your electronics is such a drag. All that waiting, tethered to the wall gets old. Fortunately a group of MIT engineers have managed to create a battery that charges in just 10-20 seconds. Researchers once thought that lithium ions (and electrons) moved too slowly through the battery material. However, Gerbrand Ceder, the Richard P. Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, also head of the current project, said that the ions themselves should be moving very quickly according to computer calculations.

Further study showed that the lithium ions moved extremely fast into the battery material, but only by way of surface tunnels if set directly in the path of the lithium ions; those that did not enter surface tunnels did not pass into the material. The new surface created by Ceder and Byoungwoo Kang, a graduate student, allows the lithium ions to move across the material as if on the beltway of a major city, getting off at the next exit -a surface tunnel- rather than halting altogether. The result? A full charge in seconds.

MacBook/Safari Hacked in 10 Seconds

This year's annual Pwn2Own content saw Apple fail for the second year running. Not only was the company's hardware the first to be hacked at the ComSecWest security conference's hacking contest but it was hacked by the same dude as last year. Tough break. Last year Charlie Miller cracked a fully patched MacBook Air in about 2 minutes.

This year Miller hacked a fully up to date MacBook in a reported 10 seconds by exploiting a vulnerability in the Safari browser. Another hacker, who refers to himself as Nils, was he second to beak Safari. He also managed to exploit Internet Explore 8 (running on a Windows 7 machine) and later turned his double win into a hat trick by felling Mozilla’s Firefox. Details of the vulnerabilities are being kept quiet until patches are released. But according to Tipping Point, Nils IE8 bug was “brilliant."

Office Depot Lie to Customers About Laptop Stock

According to a recent article published by Laptop Magazine, Office Depot associates routinely lie about their available stock when dealing with customers that are uninterested in extras like Protect Protection Plans (or PPPs for short) and Tech Depot Services (TDS). Due to the competitive nature of computer sales, Office Depot like many other brick and mortar stores rely on service and accessory based sales to make any sort of significant profit.  As such, both management and salesmen seek to move the extras with every purchase.

Windows 7 Build 7057 Leaked, Screenshotted

Making its way through the intertubes as we speak is Windows 7 build 7057. Deciphering the file name of the disc image indicates that this build was compiled on March 5, 2009, reports Neowin. Interestingly, the About Windows screen indicates that this evaluation copy is good for a year, expiring in March 2010. Those who run this unfinished version of Windows 7 would be assured that the final version, perhaps by then on retail shelves, will be available before the evaluation license expires.

A better indication than anything else that the Release Candidate is just around the corner is the EULA that refers to build 7057 as “Release Candidate 1.”At this point we’d expect that development on Windows 7 is more about fine tuning and bug squashing than new features. That said SuperSite picked up as new, such as new desktop themes and user account images.

Internet Explorer 8 Final, Ready for Download

Yesterday marked the release date for Internet Explorer 8. Early feedback from users of the IE8 beta and RC, as well as Windows 7 testers, was positive and give that security is one of the top concerns amongst internet users, Microsoft boasts that a study released this week by NSS Labs indicates that Internet Explorer 8 blocks two to four times as many malicious sites as other browsers on the market today. Hurray!

Flying Car Takes Successful Flight

I think we're all agreed, flying cars is probably the worst idea ever. Think of the amount of road accidents now and then hand every single whacko on the road a pilot's license. No thanks.

That said, developments in technology to make the impossible possible is always cool and this week Massachusetts-based aircraft company, Terrafugia, completed the first flight of its Transition Roadable Aircraft Proof of Concept or, in more straight forward terms, flying car. The Transition is a very ugly two-seat, front wheel drive car that can reach highway speeds. A 30-second change is all that’s needed to go from plane to car. Both the wheels and the propeller are powered by an unleaded gasoline engine with a tank that’ll provide up to a 450 mile range at over 115 miles per hour.

Apple's iPhone OS 3.0 Improvements

On Tuesday, Apple unveiled the next iPhone OS, iPhone 3.0. Surprisingly, it actually answered a few prayers. 3.0 users will reap the benefits of turn by turn navigation, push notifications, CUT, COPY AND PASTE, landscape view, including landscape keyboard, for Mail and SMS, MMS, the ability to delete individual messages as well as forward SMS messages, voice recording, system searching with Spotlight and enhanced Bluetooth features and tethering support. This isn't everything that Apple talked about it is most of our favorite bits.

iPhone 3G Tethering May Cripple AT&T's Network

AT&T's 3G network leaves a little to be desired. There's been tons of lawsuits involving hardworking people trying to sue either Apple or AT&T for false advertising. Basically, any big event and the complaints about AT&T's service come rolling in. Remember that tethering we were talking about before? Yeah. Imagine AT&T's already struggling 3G network with iPhone owner hooking up to their laptops and using the device as a modem. Scary.

Man Solicits Nude Pics From Girl on PSN

Once again raising fears among parents that the internet is just not safe for kids, a 24-year old Kentucky man is facing charges of promotion of child pornography, online solicitation of a minor and sexual performance of a child. What did Anthony Scott O'Shea do to land himself in such a crappy situation? Something pretty crappy, it turns out! O'Shea is accused of convincing an 11-year old girl to send nude pictures of herself to him while the two of them played games online via the PlayStation Network.

The girl is said to have sent the pictures and “performed” over a number of weeks for Anthony Scott O'Shea before feeling embarrassed and notifying her parents. O’Shea admitted to both receiving the images and pressuring the child for more pictures. The authorities say he had also shared the material with other people and in interviews, the girl claimed he had wanted to meet in person in order to engage in sexual activity. Records say the girl informed O'Shea of her age.

iPhone OS 3.0 Hints at New Hardware

Since the iPhone 3.0 preview, we (okay, I) have been getting pretty excited about the prospect of some new hardware at the beginning of the Summer. Shaky signs have pointed to yes so far and while we’re not entirely convinced we’ll see a new iPhone, recent reports have us holding our breaths. Citing the same source that gave them Bluetooth tethering, MMS and copy/paste prior to the March 17 preview, Boy Genius printed reports about new iPhone hardware. According to the BGR it’s not just a new iPhone, it’s new iPhones and new iPod Touches. Plural!

  • can you really recharge a battery in seconds? A quick look at my elderly thinkpad battery shows it is rated at 3.6AH. To recharge this (assuming a perfectly efficient recharge process) would require a current of 3.6 Amps for one hour. To recharge this in say, 10 seconds, would need a current of 3.6*3600/10 or 1290 Amps.
    Just a thought

    Stuart
    Reply
  • Tindytim
    a study released this week by NSS Labs indicates that Internet Explorer 8 blocks two to four times as many malicious sites as other browsers on the market today.
    It's almost as if Microsoft's security problems aren't based on how hard they work on security. Hmmmm
    Reply
  • cheepstuff
    "The result? A full charge in seconds"
    and discharged in a couple more.

    Reply
  • turboflame
    Did I just see pedobear posted in a THG article?

    I lol'd
    Reply