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Yesterday morning we told you about a rumored bug in an older encryption protocol, SSL 3.0. Today the details of this bug were released and although it looks bad, it might not be as big as first hinted. The bug has been called Poodle (Padding Oracle On Downloaded Legacy Encryption) and has sparked many articles with clever lines about dogs and biting people… For all of that nonsense this is not something that is going to go away and highlights a major issue in how we communicate over the internet.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014 11:11

8k is the Next Golden Age of Gaming

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When I first started covering the computer world the most common resolution was 640x680 with the hard core gamers getting 800x600. The dream of the day, which some called the golden age of gaming, was 1600x1200 with around 30Fps. Now the dream is “photo realistic” resolutions without the need for heavy anti-aliasing and texture filtering. Even in the mobile world this is becoming a bigger issue with retina displays on the Apple side of the world and 3 and 4k screens on the PC side.

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When you are a sysadmin there is nothing like waking up to not one, but two troubling bits of news. The first one centers on a new and fun Zero-Day vulnerability that affects just about every version of windows that Microsoft still supports. Dubbed Sandworm by iSight, the security firm that discovered it this bug exploits yet another flawed internal mechanism in Microsoft’s OS.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014 15:35

Deepcool Steam Castle Case Review Featured

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Anyone who’s been involved with PC building and modding for any length of time has seen their share of oddities when it comes to PC cases.  These are the first thing people see after all, and as such they were some of the fist things to start taking different forms as the industry evolved.  It was and still is a dynamic market, and as the designers and PR people put out products that they think we the consumer will appreciate and spend our money on, there inevitably come along some examples that are… out of the ordinary.

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One of the biggest issues with wireless is that you never really get the speeds you are promised. Right now the maximum theoretical speed you can get in consumer wireless is about 1.3Gbps. This is assuming you are running the right router and wireless adapter which means that both have to support three antenna as well as the full 802.11ac spec. To be perfectly honest with you that is not likely to happen in the real world as most wireless adapters do not support AC1300 (full 1.3Gbps). Instead you end up getting AC800-900 with the rare AC1200 popping up now and then. Even if you have both ends at AC1300 you are still not likely to see the nirvana of 1.3Gbps wireless.

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In any technology based company there is a need for strong leadership. The problem comes in finding the right person to take the role of leader. We have seen how much of an impact the right and wrong choices can make in companies like Apple and AMD. As current CEO Rory Read prepares to step down we are taking a look at AMD and their leadership over the years. With AMD they have fought the battle of leaders ever since the tenure of Hector Ruiz. Ruiz is possibly one of the most universally disliked CEOs that AMD has ever had. Most will put AMD’s current situation squarely in his lap.

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It is the dream of many computer enthusiasts to have a mobile system that is at least as powerful (if not as flexible) as their desktops. I know that I personally have spent a small fortune on finding mobile devices that can run all of the rendering and editing software I have without tearing my shoulders off my body. For their part both Intel and AMD have cut the gap between desktop and mobile performance in the CPU world, but mobile GPUs have traditionally lagged way behind their desktop counterparts.

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In late 2013 Apple made the announcement that it was entering into a deal (some said exclusive) with GT Advanced Technologies. This company was going to revolutionize the next generation(s) of devices from Apple including the iPhone, iPad and more. The tech that was going to enable this revolutionary change was sapphire glass.

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Microsoft had a brief moment in the sun with the release of Windows 10 after the less than stellar market performance of Windows 8.x. However, it seems they are determined to make sure that they screw things up as it was uncovered that the EULA (End User License Agreement) for the Windows 10 Technical Preview allowed them access to a little more than they would usually need for a Beta program.

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The Mac world had an unsettling wakeup call today as it found out what most people have known for years: Macs are no more secure than any other PC. This wakeup call is not the first of its kind and it is certainly not going to be the last, we just wonder if anyone will actually listen or if Apple PR will continue to claim Macs cannot get malware.

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242 Million. This is the number of people that have been affected by the corporate culture of short cuts and fiduciary excuses on security. We have talked at length about the lack of proper security planning in the last 12 months, upgrades and even programing that exist in the corporate world and even with pretty strict regulations on how businesses are required to conduct their operations we are still hearing about breach after breach.

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We have been trying to stay out of the conversation about the strength of the iPhone 6 and all that goes with it. However some recent items in that story have changed our minds. The most recent is the alleged response by Apple to Computer Bild’s coverage of the issue. According to Computer Bild, Apple is revoking their press credentials which will prevent them from attending any future Apple vents.

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Microsoft announced their next version of Windows yesterday and the world focused on one thing: the name. While it is true that the decision to jump from Windows 8 to Windows 10 was an unusual one, it certainly should not be what we all focus on. After all Microsoft is known for rather glaring PR and Marketing errors, so why should a clumsy name really be news worthy?

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As the clock ticks down to today’s “launch” of Microsoft’s next operating system the rumors are ramping up along with the articles about what Microsoft must do to make the next flavor of Windows work. One of the latest rumors to hit the streets is that Windows 9 (or whatever it will be called) will be free if you have Windows 8.x installed legally. These rumors started to circulate a couple of weeks ago, but now there is an alleged confirmation from the president of Microsoft Indonesia, Andreas Diantoro.

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Apple is truly ramping up the PR machine and has even managed to get a few people in government to make some rather outrageous statements on the new phone and iOS 8. One of the new stories going around is about how the new iPhone and iOS8 are suddenly “NSA Proof” because they have added data encryption. The fallacy of this claim is almost beyond belief and shows once again that most in the technical press have absolutely no memory.

Thursday, 25 September 2014 06:46

New Bash bug likely to be worse than Heartbleed.

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A day after we published an article on how deficient most developers are when it comes to properly planning for security we are hearing about a new bug that infects one of the core components of an operating system. Dubbed Bash or Shellshock this new flaw affects the shell in an OS. The shell in an OS is what allows you to interact with systems. When you run an application it will often run code through the shell to give you the desired result.

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EVGA has been taking flak from consumers over an unusual design for the cooler on their GTX 970 ACZ graphics card. The problem arose when someone pointed out that the GPU does not make contact with all three heatpipes. According to EVGA this is the way the card was designed so everyone should calm down and get back to gaming.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 16:08

Apple pulls iOS 8.0.1 an hour after it launches

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Although there is enough news about the new iPhones and iOS8 already we thought we would finally chime in since there are now around six separate stories about the new device from Apple. We are seeing everything from high cellular usage to the phones bending in someone’s pocket. Apple, to their credit actually rushed out a fix for many of these issues… sadly the fix appears to make things worse.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014 16:01

Blizzard Cancels Titian MMO

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Blizzard has decided to drop work on their next-generation MMO game Titian. According to some reports the reason behind the cancellation was that they “didn’t find the fun”. Exactly what that means we are not 100% sure, but according to Blizzard this move will allow them to create something even better.

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A new report from security research firm, Aspect Security confirms what we have been saying for years: developers simply do not know how to secure their applications. In a recent study where a group of developers were asked questions on security Aspect found that about 80% of them did not know how to protect sensitive data. This is something that we have found in our experience in dealing with vendors and other application developers.

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Almost two weeks ago we wrote an editorial about how security issues are more about the corporate culture than just weak passwords. In it we described a problem that exists in far too many companies where executives and/or vendors are the ones that are setting the security policies instead of the IT or IT security teams. This situation can be exceptionally frustrating when you are trying to keep the “bad guys” out, but not everyone really believes that this is how things work. Now, after New York Times article describing how the Home Depot ignored their own security staff, people might be forced to finally get the bigger picture.

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I sometimes think that there should be some sort of intelligence test before we allow people to use certain technologies. I know it is not the most “PC” thought to have, but after reading about how often people are duped with what are obviously scams, hoaxes or other, you really have to wonder about the people that are online. The latest hoax to snare people is aimed at a “hidden” feature in iOS8. This feature is supposed to allow you to wirelessly charge your iPhone using the Microwave and all you need to do it upgrade to iOS8.

Sunday, 21 September 2014 17:48

Kingston SM22080S3 120GB M.2 SATA Drive Review Featured

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As the computer market moves to smaller and smaller form factors the need to decrease the foot print of storage devices is growing. The problem that many manufacturers face is that a reduction in component size has traditionally meant a reduction in performance. This is where technologies like mSATA and M.2 SATA (or M.2 PCIe) come into play. Each of these has a benefit in terms of size and also performance. With mSATA you can maintain close to the same performance that you have with traditional SATA (with the right components), but there are limitations on which motherboards and even mobile devices support this. Now with M.2 (also called M Key) SATA and PCIe devices we are seeing a number of motherboard makers will support for them right out of the box. Because of this interest in these new devices has grown. Today we are taking a look at the first one to hit our lab: the Kingston SM22080S3/120G M.2 SATA drive.

Friday, 19 September 2014 20:29

The MPAA Is Putting Out a Very Bad Message

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There is a subtle art to influencing people’s opinions and the way that a particular topic is viewed. We have seen multiple attempts at this, some good, some bad. For the marketing savvy it seems that nothing they (or their charges) say can ever be negative. For those that are… less competent the message come out all wrong and often changes the intended push into something very negative. The MPAA and others in the anti-piracy community seem to be in the latter group.

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Remember when we told you that BitTorrent was coming out with their very own chat app called Bleep? No well they are and from the information we have so far it is looking like a pretty cool application. The concept is to take basic chat and run it, encrypted, through Torrent swarms. This move, in theory, should prevent the big guys from being able to store or grab your communications in transit.

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