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Archive for September 2007

Check out Silverlight video streaming!!!

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Anyone who cares about web technology out there have got to check out this Silverlight video streaming site.

It’s a Microsoft developer focused site, Channel 9 and just look at the details, smoothness and rich video streaming from the site (not sure if there’s Akamai / Cachefly type of performance acceleration  services giving it the extra bandwidth, but it’s gorgeous)

Written by gooddealz

September 29, 2007 at 1:57 pm

Posted in Great Stuff

iPhone has landed in Singapore… this time, cheaper!

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A colleague of mind just spotted a brand new iPhone at Sim Lim Square, Singapore selling for SGD$1,188 and on top of that, there are threads in hardwarezone asking for bulk order of the iPhone for only $880 plus…

The fever is definitely catching up pretty soon here and I am pretty sure we will all be seeing some young kids flashing their iPhone in MRT and bus stops! Yes, I meant what I said… young kids! That is the state in Singapore… where the next generation gets pretty much most of the stuff they want due to more affluent status of the people in their 40s…

Anyway, back to the iPhone… if I got the $$$ I would probably jump all over it too! It’s a want, not a need (Samsung i600 satisfy me…), it’s a good to have, not a must have… Anyway, one of my colleague will be getting his iPod Touch this coming Monday and we sure to check it out and do a short review on it.

Software hacks to unlock the phone are all over the place… as posted here but we just gotten news that the latest firmware from Apple did affected those nasty people! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is a short article on the disabled iPhones:

Apple last night released the iPhone 1.1.1 update, fixing security issues, adding features, and making previously unlocked iPhones unusable.

The update disables phones that have been hacked to work with providers other than AT&T, the only US provider Apple has allowed to carry its mobiles.

In recent months, a number of software tools have been developed which allow iPhone users to break free of Apple’s AT&T-only restriction, but Apple has said that it will fight attempts to unlock the iPhone. Earlier this week the company released a warning that unlocked iPhones “will likely result in the modified iPhone becoming permanently inoperable when a future Apple-supplied iPhone software update is installed”.

Shortly after the update was released, users of unlocked iPhones began reporting problems.

Security researcher Tom Ferris said the new software disabled phones that had been unlocked using the open-source anySIM software in order to work on T-Mobile USA’s wireless network. After the update, the iPhone was stuck with an error message and apparently unusable. “It kept saying ‘unsupported SIM card,’ even with the AT&T SIM card in it,” he said. “You can turn the phone off or on, but we just can’t figure out how to get past this ‘SIM card not supported’,” he said.

SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) cards contain account information and are used to authenticate devices on certain types of mobile networks. Unlocked iPhones can use SIM cards from non-AT&T networks.

Others were reporting similar problems on Thursday.

The update also appears to disable the ‘Jailbreak’ hack which allows users to install unsupported software on the iPhone, Ferris said. After the 1.1.1 patch was installed it wiped out all of the third-party applications he had installed on a second iPhone, he said.

The new software is Apple’s biggest iPhone update to date, and it fixes a number of security flaws in the mobile phone’s browser, mail client and Bluetooth networking server.

The majority of the flaws do not appear to be critical, but the update fixes a larger number of bugs than the first iPhone update, released on 31 July.

Hackers have said that the iPhone’s browser and mail clients are the most likely sources of software flaws, and this release bears that out. Apple fixed seven flaws in the Safari browser, two in the iPhone’s mail client and one Bluetooth bug with the release.

The Bluetooth flaw could be the most serious – Apple said that it could allow an attacker to run unauthorized code on the iPhone – but because Bluetooth works over a range of just a few feet, the attacker would have to be standing near the victim for any exploit to work, said Andrew Storms, director of security operations with nCircle Network Security.

Noted hacker HD Moore agreed that the Bluetooth flaw was serious. “The only bad issue here is the Bluetooth flaw,” he said via email. “I will start working on this tonight.”

Though there may be some technical limitations to what an attacker could do by exploiting this bug, it “could be a nasty remote exploit,” he added.

Earlier this week, Moore added iPhone hacking capabilities to the Metasploit hacking tool that he develops.

The patch also fixes some cross-site scripting and JavaScript flaws in the browser that could also be serious, Storms said via instant message. These flaws could be exploited to make the browser run unauthorized JavaScript code, he said.

Click on the above link for the rest of the article.

Written by gooddealz

September 29, 2007 at 1:37 pm

Posted in News Only

Detect Spyware or Rootkit on your system…

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We sometimes think that with some antivirus application and spyware removal tools, we are totally invincible from all the threats that comes from outside.

But every once in a while, by our own negligence, we let them through and worst still, when they are in, they are undetectable by your very own anti virus programs and spy ware removal tools.

Well, check out Autorun from Microsoft (formerly from Sysinternals which got acquired by Microsoft last year) which is a powerful tool to list / display / filter out everything that start when Windows starts.

If you detect some funny names or publisher which you have not heard of before… take note and check it out online… Take a look at the program path… and you will be able to take action against the threats.

Here are the descriptions found on Microsoft site:

This utility, which has the most comprehensive knowledge of auto-starting locations of any startup monitor, shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login, and shows you the entries in the order Windows processes them. These programs include ones in your startup folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys. You can configure Autoruns to show other locations, including Explorer shell extensions, toolbars, browser helper objects, Winlogon notifications, auto-start services, and much more. Autoruns goes way beyond the MSConfig utility bundled with Windows Me and XP.

AutorunsHide Signed Microsoft Entries option helps you to zoom in on third-party auto-starting images that have been added to your system and it has support for looking at the auto-starting images configured for other accounts configured on a system. Also included in the download package is a command-line equivalent that can output in CSV format, Autorunsc.

You’ll probably be surprised at how many executables are launched automatically!

Autoruns works on all versions of Windows including 64-bit versions.

Really great stuff… for Windows user. ๐Ÿ™‚ 

Written by gooddealz

September 27, 2007 at 3:45 pm

Posted in Great Stuff

More iPhone hacks…

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According to this article from Computer World:

iPhone hackers have some new tools now, thanks to HD Moore, one of the developers of the Metasploit hacking software.

On Tuesday, Moore announced that he was supporting the iPhone within his Metasploit framework and released software that would allow hackers to run “shellcode” command prompts on Apple‘s mobile device.

By integrating the iPhone into Metasploit, it will now be a little easier for hackers to gain access to someone else’s iPhone, but they will also need a few other tools to succeed. First, they will need to create working exploit code, which takes advantage of bugs in Apple’s software, to trick the device into running the shellcode. They will also need to create more sophisticated “payload” applications that can do things like remotely connect with the hacker. “It’s a first step,” Moore said of his hack.

With iPhone prices dropping and noticeable improvements in the quality of iPhone hacking tools, Apple’s phone has become a more interesting target of late, Moore said.

And the iPhone has obviously hit a nerve in the security community. Moore said that about a quarter of the attendees at the recent Black Hat conference in Las Vegas had the devices. “It’s trendy,” he said. “It kind of creeped me out when I saw how many people had iPhones when I went to Vegas.”

In fact, hackers have already developed a number of exploits that they claim could be used on the iPhone’s Safari browser.

And security researchers have even demonstrated how the iPhone can be compromised. In July, a Baltimore, Maryland, company called Independent Security Evaluators showed how it could run unauthorized software on an iPhone by taking advantage of a Safari bug.

Moore believes that the iPhone’s browser and mail client will be the best sources of bugs and he said that because of the components and information stored on the phone, it may end up being a more attractive target than the PC.

For example, the phone could be used to track someone’s location based on information from cell phone towers. Throw in the iPhone’s microphone, camera and an Internet connection, and you suddenly have a device that could be used to secretly keep tabs on people, Moore said. “If you look at what you get by exploiting someone’s iPhone, you actually get a lot more than you do from someone’s PC a lot of the time,” he said.

Written by gooddealz

September 27, 2007 at 3:30 pm

Posted in News Only

ATunes coming your way… from Amazon

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Considered a public beta, Amazon MP3 marks a departure from both Apple’s store and Amazon’s own Unbox video service in only selling songs that are available in the unguarded MP3 format — allowing virtually every music phone or portable media player to support its content without limits to CD burning or file copying.

While the concept of an MP3-only download store is far from new, the online retailer was keen to stress that its service was designed to lure users accustomed to the ease of use of stores built into music software, particularly iTunes. A custom program known as the MP3 Downloader runs in the background for both Mac and Windows users and seamlessly transfers songs bought from Amazon MP3 into either iTunes or Windows Media Player if they are present on the system, the company said.

But the real attractions may be the price and the catalog. Although every song is encoded at higher quality as an MP3 at 256 kilobits per second — as high as Amazon’s rival Wal-Mart and slightly behind the 256Kbps AAC files of iTunes Plus — songs are no more expensive than at most stores, selling for 99 cents each. More than half of the music in the collection sells for 89 cents per song, according to Amazon. In contrast, an iTunes Plus song costs $1.29 when bought outside of an album, or more than 40 percent higher.

Read here for more information on this announcement.

Written by gooddealz

September 27, 2007 at 12:50 am

Posted in News Only

Jailbreaking your iPhone

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This is old news by now… but for those we cannot wait any longer for the iPhone to reach your destination, you can simply order one from Apple Store and have it delivered to you and apply this jailbreaking procedures and you are off to your choice of operator…

Until the next firmware updates from Apple!

About the iPhone jailbreaker:

iNdependence is a Cocoa-based application for Mac OS X which provides an easy-to-use interface for jailbreak, activation, SSH installation, and ringtone/wallpaper/application installation on your iPhone. It’s open source under the GNU v2 license.

The source code for interacting with the iPhone has been broken out into a library (libPhoneInteraction) so that it can be easily reused by other applications.

A solution to the possible iPhone firmware lock from Apple is on the way… according to this guys.

Written by gooddealz

September 27, 2007 at 12:45 am

Posted in Great Stuff

iPhone killer… possibly

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Just the other day as I was writing about the up and coming Samsung i780, a simple thought came to my mind on how I would have done it differently from the design that Samsung showed… given the excitement surrounding the iPhone touch interface and how it can make life without a stylus, simply easier.

I will be coming up with my own renditions of an Samsung – iPhone combo phone with the best of both world… That’s right! It’s coming… and I do not think it is that hard.

More on this topic soon.

Written by gooddealz

September 26, 2007 at 11:39 pm

Posted in Tech Ideas

Adobe AIR Rocks!

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By now, if you are much of a internet news digger, you probably have heard of Adobe AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime), formerly code-named Apollo, is a cross-operating system runtime that allows developers to use their existing web development skills to build and deploy rich Internet applications to the desktop.

Check out some demos and information here but if you are like me… someone who have not done programming for a long long time… this AIR is certainly to get your blood boiling again!!!

The kind of interface, design that one can come up with is just amazing! The similar competing platform will be Microsoft Silverlight which is currently limited to mostly video streaming but version 1.1 will add a lot of the .NET stuff into it and allow for literally, very cool looking application / integration using existing programming skill and run your application in most browser (currently support Windows, Mac and soon, Linux) as well as offline.

The world of application programming is just getting more fun.

I just tried out this demo of a Google Analytics AIR runtime and man, it just rocks!!! This give you a glimpse of what the possibilities are…

Whichever platform may dominates eventually, it does not matter to general user and we probably just need to install two runtime on the system and run them ALL!!! But to developers… the war on the next generation programming platform has just begun…

Written by gooddealz

September 25, 2007 at 12:30 am

Posted in Great Stuff

iPhone killer… where are you

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Samsung has begun showing off the SGH-i780, an upcoming Windows Mobile Smartphone that will offer a number of innovative features.

With its tablet shape and built-in keyboard, this model will start out looking like the Samsung Blackjack/i600, but there will be a number of significant differences.

For one, the i780 will run Windows Mobile 6 Professional and therefore include a touch screen, something its predecessor does not have.

In addition, this device will have an on-screen pointer controlled by what appears to be a touch pad built into the D-pad.

If that weren’t enough, this Samsung model will be the first Windows Mobile device with a 320 by 320 pixel display.

Personal thoughts:

It looks great as a business phone… but I just wonder the need for the pointer if it is touch screen… Yeah! I know, Samsung probably design it for people with one hand operations… but still… it is just weird for a small screen and I wonder how well the pointer will fit in with the thumb on the D-pad.

I currently have a Samsung i600 and it is serving me well. Solid stable phone, keypad is good to type fast, screen is sharp and bright, form factor is nice (slightly larger than the iPhone). My only complaint is the lack of touch screen on the i600… and now this i780 looks like a worthy successor.

Samsung should be better off with a custom shell like what HTC did with the TouchFLO interface, even though they are all inspired by Apple iPhone, and allow user to navigate the phone with touch. Some guy from Malaysia was able to come out with the iPhone shell just days after the Jan 07 announcement from Apple… with animation!!! Thus I don’t think it is that difficult to come out with some interface that is designed more for touch than D-pad.

Written by gooddealz

September 22, 2007 at 3:50 pm

Posted in Great Stuff

2010… the year of Linux

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An article worth some reading by EETimes on 7 reasons why Linux won’t succeed on the desktop:

It is inarguably accurate to note that, while Linux is a success on the server side–Apache on Linux runs more Web sites than Microsoft’s ISS, though the latter is gaining–the open-source operating system has been a dismal failure on the desktop. There are at least seven solid reasons, which I’ll detail below, why Linux hasn’t moved the needle beyond a single-digit desktop market share since it hit the scene in 1991, and never will.

Desktop Linux’s failure to launch is all the more mystifying when you consider that it’s hard to think of any technology which has been backed by such an enthusiastic and committed group of supporters. Unfortunately, that boost has largely backfired.

Average PC users haven’t been swayed by vehement protestations from Linux supporters that it’s so clearly superior to anything and everything from Microsoft. It seems clear that more users have been turned away by the outright disdain hurled at them from many open-source initiates, than have been moved to overwrite their Windows installs.

While Ubuntu, the newest and friendliest distro, has done much to reduce the alienation of common folks, desktop Linux remains mired at a market-share of less than 2%. It’s likely to remain so, notwithstanding Dell’s move to offer pre-installed Ubuntu on a bunch of PCs and laptops. That’s the biggest boost desktop Linux has ever received, but it’s too little, too late.

One caveat: While I believe all the arguments I lay out below are valid, I don’t assert them with the faith-based certainty I see from many Linux supporters about their claims. This article is presented as an entrรฉe to a healthy debate. If you don’t agree with me, please leave a comment below, or e-mail me directly at awolfe@cmp.com.

Before I dive into the seven reasons Linux on the desktop will remain an also-ran, let’s frame the debate with a quick analysis of the current market share of the open-source operating system.

Closing Thoughts

Is it possible that I’m wrong, and the Linux will move the desktop needle beyond the single-digit market share in which it’s been mired for so long?

The biggest hope for desktop Linux came earlier this year from Dell, which is now offering Linux preinstalled on several desktops and notebooks. Preinstallation is important, because the vast majority of PC users will never load their own systems software onto a bare machine.

A personal story: Dell never came through on their promise to send me a review unit of their Ubuntu laptop. Whether it’s because they prefer to publicize the machine on Linux sites, view me as anti-Linux (I’m not), or don’t want to shunt attention away from their Windows machines on mainstream IT sites such as this one, I can’t say. What I can say is that Dell’s Linux desktops will remain a sideline, and a drop in the bucket for the direct-PC powerhouse as compared to Windows.

While Dell’s Linux machines are likely to remain on the market for a while, the other big Linux retail hope hasn’t caught on either. That was the positioning of Linux as a low-end retail option, which reached its apex in 2004, when Wal-Mart took a stab at selling cheap Linux PCs.

Currently, most of the low-end Linux activity involves Linspire, the distro marketed by Net billionaire Michael Robertson. Linspire comes preinstalled on this $378 Microtel PC at Wal-Mart; other Linspire partners have similar offerings. It’s not realistic though, to say that Linspire will be the savior of Linux on the desktop.

What now? Perhaps 2010 will finally be the year of desktop Linux. Unfortunately, I believe that that the seven arguments I’ve set forth in this piece make an airtight case that this isn’t going to happen.

Personal thoughts:

The inroads made by Linux will continue to grow… slowly perhaps as usability and all other possible home user kinks are worked out over time. It just won’t be anytime as claims by the Linux community.

Written by gooddealz

September 22, 2007 at 3:33 pm

Posted in News Only

iPhone has landed… in Singapore

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Parallel importers… they really are fast to import the iPhone and are selling hot in Funan.

Saw a guy buying one for SGD$1,788!!! Saw it with my own eyes and man, it’s a beauty, it really is.

Held it in my hand man, it just feeel sooo goood!!! The build quality, feels sturdy, the interface… and touch… the flipping… iPod Touch or iPhone… Both are going to be very hot!!!

Written by gooddealz

September 21, 2007 at 2:23 pm

Posted in Watch Out

Microsoft Office in danger… not yet

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CIO Today has an interesting article written on the potential of Google Apps… It is a good initial attempt to change the business model for Microsoft but it is far from competing with Office Suite.

Below are the excerpts:

Google Docs, a Web-based platform for creating, sharing, storing, and publishing documents, has offered capabilities for word processing and creating spreadsheets, but has been missing a major piece of the Microsoft Office puzzle — until now. On Monday, Google added business presentation software, the element that many analysts said was preventing the Web-based office suite from contending with Office on a larger scale.

Google’s business presentation software attempts to answer Microsoft’s PowerPoint with a Web-based twist. The application lets users create simple Web-based presentations that coworkers can update and view from their own computers.

“From student groups to sales teams, people are turning to the Web for help improving both personal and group productivity,” Sam Schillace, director of engineering for Google Docs, said in a statement. “Putting documents in the cloud surrounded by easy-to-use features for collaboration and sharing can save people hours of inefficiency and frustration and even enable new ways of working together.”

Natural Addition to Docs

The way Google sees it, presentations are a natural addition for Google Docs because they are usually created with the intention of being shared. Web-based, collaborative presentations eliminate the need for users to manage and compile group members’ input in separate attachments, and make it possible for multiple users to view a set of slides while a moderator controls the presentation.

“Most people don’t make presentations for themselves. So it wouldn’t be like a document you would use as a record or a spreadsheet. Presentations are inherently documents intended to be shared,” said Paul DeGroot, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft. “If Microsoft is correct that collaboration is a key driver, then solutions like Google Docs may be a better fit for many organizations.”

A demo Google posted on YouTube illustrates the new application in action. The business presentation features are still in simple, early stages, the company admitted, but the Google Docs team is making them available now. Google said updates and improvements will continue to roll out over the coming months.

Microsoft Office Killer?

Along with going head-to-head with other Web-based applications, Google Docs is competing with Microsoft’s SharePoint, a collaborative Web portal that is a free component of Windows Server.

DeGroot said that Microsoft’s solution is expensive and doesn’t lend itself to interorganization sharing. “Companies developing Web-based applications are, to some extent, limiting the effectiveness of Microsoft’s most important Office strategy, which says Office tools are a great way to collaborate and communicate,” DeGroot said.

“The difficulty there is that Microsoft’s strategy really lacks a Web element,” he concluded. “Google’s solutions are inherently collaborative inside and outside of an organization.”

Personal thoughts:

A threat to Microsoft Office suite… not yet! It never will be at version one. Perhaps version 3 or 5 onwards. ๐Ÿ™‚ And you know what my thoughts are… I think there’s nothing stopping Microsoft from extending what they have set forth to do and that is software plus services. Microsoft should extend free add on plug-ins to the Office suite and allow the extra collaborative features and storage onto their SkyDrive or other cloud services. That way, the Web element will be solved, in a way. Just spend some time and think about it… and I think you might agree with me on the solution from Microsoft might already be in works…

I think it is coming from Microsoft… to stop all this free Office suite from IBM or Sun or Google, as I have written earlier, all Microsoft need to do is to provide add ons or plug ins that allow Office Suite to be extended over the web. Services will push and pull contents / changes over the network and allow people to collaborate documents as they are stored online in Microsoft SkyDrive and be updated, just like how Google Apps does it. Except Microsoft solution will be a lot easier to implement since the client side is already there and it just makes more sense. It is more productive too as the client side are more powerful. To solve the other piece of the puzzle which is the ZERO cost needed for Google Apps, Microsoft just need to provide a free trimmed down version of the Office Suite online for every purchase of the box set version and perhaps set a limit on how many user can be assigned to share the document at one time. Then you have the competitors struggling to rethink the strategy again.

Price of the Office Suite should be lowered like that they did recently to capture the students market and with that kind of affordable price point, coupled with the cloud services, competitions will have to really try harder! Which is only good for the industry. At least they will realized that it is not just about throwing FREE STUFF around… Then again, perhaps Google, IBM and Sun or others got a much longer term strategy to topple Microsoft dominance in the Office Suite realm… and I am for that. Let the battle begins.

Click here for another review on the Google Presentations

Written by gooddealz

September 19, 2007 at 3:55 pm

Posted in Opinions