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Nice PC you just bought there, skippy.  I’m sure that you won’t mind paying for “protection” right?  Oh - you mean you don’t want to pay?  That’s until Gweedo and Uncle Bill come knocking on your door and carrying a baseball bat while demanding that $50 to “protect” your PC from the “bad guys” on the Internet.  That’s pretty much Microshaft’s stance on protecting your PC.  You see, apparently it isn’t enough that you bought Windows, you also have to PAY for the priviledge of securing what Microsoft should have done to begin with.  It’s the good ol’ Microsoft way of securing their bottom line you see.

Starting this June, Microsoft will begin to offer it’s paid security services.  They will now be competing against the likes of companies like Symantec and McAfeee, you know, those little software companies.  Hey, if MSFT can take their money, why not right?  Who needs 3rd party developers anyway?

Read More | Silicon Valley

Gallery: Microsoft To Charge For Security Services


Bill Gates IRSApparently Bill Gates has so much money, the standard IRS computers can’t handle crunching his numbers.  Get this, the IRS has a specially dedicated computer that exists for the sole purpose of dealing with the massive fortune of Billy Gates.

“My tax return in the United States has to be kept on a special computer because their normal computers can’t deal with the numbers,” he said at a Microsoft conference held in Lisbon.

“So I am constantly getting these notices telling me I haven’t paid something when really it is just on the wrong computer,” he added in comments broadcast on television.

“Then they will send me another notice telling me how bad they feel they that they sent me a notice that was a mistake,” he said

Now doesn’t your heart just bleed for Bill?  If we only had his problems.

Read More | News.com

Gallery: Bill Gates: Too Much Money To Tax?

IE7 Beta 2With Firefox running rampant over what used to be Microsoft’s hallowed ground - the Internet browser, the boys (and girls) at Redmond are trying to play catch-up.  Today they released the newest public beta of Internet Explorer 7.0, dubbed “beta 2” (imagine that).  Internet Explorer 7 promises to deliver increased security through protection against phishing and malware, tabbed browsing for easier navigation, RSS capability, improved CSS (cascading style sheets) support, and tools for deploying/managing IE7 in enterprise environments.  Microsoft had taken a hiatus with the release of IE6, and had stated that there would be no new releases of Internet Explorer until Vista shipped.  With Firefox rapidly eating away at their market share, Microsoft had little choice but to accelerate their browser development time frame.  So, if you’re a loyal IE user, or just curious, get your groove on by downloading the latest beta, but keep in mind that it’s only compatible with Windows XP running SP2.

Read More | Microsoft via IEBlog (MSDN)

Gallery: Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 Released to Public

Ok, so this post highlight part of the problem in corporate America - obessive, dilusional, stupidity by lawyers.  Apparently this video was deemed too objectionable by Microsoft attorneys and was pulled.  Give me a break, I was laughing so hard I almost lost control of some bodily functions.  It’s a shame this didn’t air…but you can see it right here.

Gallery: Xbox 360 Banned Ad: Video

Challenger ExplosionTo divert from our normal gadget news, where were you twenty years ago?  For those of you too young to remember, tomorrow, January 28th, 2006 marks the 20th anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster.  I distinctly remember being in school when the news broke, and watching with the rest of the class, the news on TV as we tried to absorb it all.  My classmates and I were too young to have first-hand knowledge of the Apollo 1 event, and the tragedy unfolding before us was a shock of the highest magnitude.  James Oberg, a columnist at MSNBC who spent 22 years at NASA, has an article describing 7 myths of the disaster, and what the facts really are. 

Read More | MSNBC

Gallery: 7 Myths About the Challenger Disaster

CES 2006 CoolIT Liquid Cooled Xbox 360At CES, we spent some time with CoolIT Systems. These are the guys that were touting their liquid-cooled Xbox 360. In fact, CoolIT seems to be headed to the forefront of the PC cooling market, and we will have a look at their main products shortly. For now, check out this video of the liquid-cooled Xbox 360. We took some time to talk with Geoff Lyon, CoolIT’s CEO, to get the scoop on how they got their Xbox 360 to stay chilled. Here’s how to get the video:

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Be sure to check out some images of the liquid-cooled 360 after the jump.

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Click to continue reading CES 2006 Video: Liquid-Cooled Xbox 360 From CoolIT Systems

Gallery: CES 2006 Video: Liquid-Cooled Xbox 360 From CoolIT Systems

Xbox 360 tracker

Still don’t have a 360?  If it’s because the stores around you keep running out, you’re in luck.  This application will tell you when your local retailers will get their next shipment of Xbox 360s.

This app automatically checks your local BestBuy, Circuit City, and FutureShop’s website for the XBOX 360 Premiums at a time interval you specify and alerts you via Text-Message and/or Email. This is intended for those who really don’t have the time to frequently check on those online-store trackers, and would prefer to be seamlessly alerted when an XBOX 360 premium is in-stock at a near-by store.

We eagerly await a beta version for the Playstation 3.

(Thanks, munkyxtc!)

Read More | Untitlednet

Gallery: Xbox 360 Inventory Tracker

Hybrid hard drives are similar enough to the drives we all use today, but with the addition of NV (non-volatile) memory on board.  The memory acts similarly to the cache on the current crop of drives, but since it’s non-volatile, a system crash won’t cause you to lose everything that hasn’t been written to the disk.  Microsoft is encouraging manufacturers to release hybrid drives in preparation of it’s Vista operating system, which is due for release later this year.  The hybrid drives would increase performance and allow the system to boot faster (if configured to boot off the NV RAM).

However, the aforementioned type of hybrid isn’t what Microsoft and Samsung were showing off with the current prototype.  Instead of persuing performance gains alone, they’re also looking to save power in mobile applications.  The drive utilizes 1GB of Samsung’s OneNAND flash memory, and uses it to store any data destined to be written to the drive.  The drive doesn’t actually start spinning until the cache is completely full, and then does a quick dump to the disk.  By operating in this fashion, the drive only spins 30 to 45 seconds during a 30-minute window of time.  Since a hard drive normally consumes up to 15% of a laptop’s battery charge, the hybrid drive could significantly extend runtime as well as reduce overall noise.  The drive is expected to start shipping in quantity in late 2006.

Read More | CNet News

Gallery: Samsung Hybrid Hard Drive

Major Nelson Hard Drive

While hanging out with Major Nelson a few weeks ago, he broke out his metal briefcase that was full of his custom Xbox 360 goodies. Above, you can see his custom hard drive that he had etched with his GamerTag. As it turns out, the Xbox team got to get their drives engraved with their choice of lettering, but when Major requested his to say “Vista Emulator” or “Halo 3 Beta” they wouldn’t go for it. Still, nice try Major. You can check out his custom controller after the jump.

Click to continue reading Major Nelson’s Custom Xbox 360 Hard Drive And Controller

Gallery: Major Nelson’s Custom Xbox 360 Hard Drive And Controller

Gear Live Bleeding Edge Windows Vista InterviewWe were able to spend a few minutes chatting it up with a Microsoft employee going over some of the more interesting changes we can expect when Windows Vista ships. We recorded a video of the demonstration that we got while going hands on with Vista at CES. In it, we talk about:

  • Animation effects
  • Legacy metadata for 2000 legacy games built-in to the OS
  • The new PC performance rating replacing “system requirements”
  • Vista desktop search
  • Vista’s way of alerting you of potential system problems
  • The new Windows Defender Antivirus and Antispyware program
  • The three official Windows Vista SKUs
  • The new Breadcrumb Bar

Here’s how to get the video:

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|Download| - MPEG-4

Here's how to get the show:
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|Download| - MPEG-4

Gallery: CES 2006 Video: Microsoft Gives Us A Windows Vista Preview