2010 - NEWS ARCHIVE
fourth generation web browser Firefox 4 has been in
development for around 6 months now and is already in it's
9th Beta release. Firefox 4 is not due for full release
until early next year, but this latest beta version is said
to be stable enough for use. Saying this, when you download
and install any Beta software you do so at your own risk.
Firefox 4 promises many improvements over it previous
versions including faster browsing, more security, HTML 5
support, 64-bit Support and a simplified user interface.
To download the latest beta version visit the following link:
has retracted an update for Outlook 2007 due to
reported issues after installation. The Outlook 2007 patch
(KB2412171) was being listed as a 'Stability and
Performance' update, but in this instance it seemed to have
the opposite effect. The update was made available on the
14th December, but was removed just two days later after
multiple users reported issues with failed connections when
using Secure Password Authentication (SPA), significant
performance problems when switching folders and with the AutoArchive feature not working. If you have installed this
update, and are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it
is recommended that you uninstall it.
For more detailed information visit:
just launched their latest version of their on-line
office suite. 'Office 365' offers 'Office Professional
Plus', 'Exchange Online', 'SharePoint Online' and 'Lync
Online'. The idea being that you will be able to access
email, documents, contacts and calendars anywhere, at any
time on almost any device. The whole package is based
on-line (In the Cloud) in a very secure (128-bit encrypted),
reliable (99.9% scheduled uptime), compliant (ISO 27001
standards) environment. The product is licensed per user and
starts from as little as $2/month for just the basic package
and goes all the way up to $27/month for a fully featured
enterprise environment. 24/7 IT support is provided as
standard. The package hopes to help small and large
organizations a like, reducing software and hardware setup
time and costs, while still giving users the most up-to-date
applications Microsoft can provide. I have to admit I am yet
to be fully convinced that 'The Cloud' is the route to
success, simply because of the very heavy reliance on
connectivity; if your ISP, phone exchange, phone line or
modem is playing up you are not only isolated from your
office applications but all your data as well. Saying this,
I think Microsoft have done a good job with Office 365,
making the office in 'The Cloud' a very real proposition!
For more information visit:
For all those who are unaware, the rate of VAT (currently set at 17.5%) will be increased to 20% in the New Year. This means that if you're currently considering any significant purchases you may save some money by buying them before the end of the year. This is not a big factor for small purchases (although every penny does count these days), but the difference can soon add up with more expensive products. Ultimately your item may end up in the January sales which could negate the difference in VAT, or you may find some suppliers offer special 'post VAT' increase offers to ward off the expected lull in sales, but these things aren't guaranteed, so it's worth bearing in mind the VAT increase!
The Glitch has been running for 6 years now and I hope people are still enjoying the site, and the various improvements I've made over the past 12 months. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have visited the site and a special thank you to those who purchased items via The Glitch, your continued support is very much needed and appreciated. If you haven't posted a message in my Guest Book, then please feel free to do so, all comments are welcome. If you have any feedback or suggestions then please feel free to use my contact page. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all !
'Anonymous' is a group of hackers that have taken it upon themselves to target companies and government bodies that try to suppress freedom of speech/information. This could almost be seen as a noble cause if executed intelligently, but sadly it now seems to be more about idiots trying to flex their cyber-muscles than making a real point. When the main financial institutions closed their systems to 'Wikileaks' (to stop financial aid to the site owners) this was seen by 'Anonymous' as an attack on 'Wikileaks' rights and so they began targeting these payment systems, and in doing so, prevented people from using them. This action is every bit as idiotic as 'Wikileaks' inability to show a little restraint in publishing some of the more sensitive documents that started this whole issue in the first place. Neither of these groups actions are either helpful or even particularly useful, they just irritate and in doing so turn people against them. In fact 'Anonymous' itself is now so unpopular that other sites (Twitter to name one) are beginning to turn their backs on their inappropriate activities. 'Anonymous' go on about rights, well what about my right to make a credit card payment when I want to...
'Wikileaks' original DNS provider (EveryDNS.net) has pulled the plug over concerns that the continued DOS attacks on the site were a threat to their stability, in fact almost no one wants to be associated with 'Wikileaks' right now, with Amazon also dropping them from their servers indicating that 'Wikileaks' had broken their service agreement by hosting information that it does not own or control. A mirror site (IP address will not be given, out of principle) on a server located on the outskirts of Paris, France is still hosting the 'Wikileaks' site, but generally, intelligent people are steering well clear of them. 'Wikileaks' proved to be a useful tool in the past, but their release of sensitive information over critical locations and infrastructure across Europe could potentially put millions even billions of lives at risk. No information, no matter how interesting is worth this type of risk. I can only assume that all those people still supporting 'Wikileaks' have no regard for anyone, lets just hope this information is not eventually used to impact any of their families or loved ones.
Less than 3% of assignable IPv4 addresses now remain unallocated, sparking new fears that the IPv4 address space could become exhausted sooner than previously thought. Many predicted that it would be up to two years before they would become depleted, but latest figures indicate that the IPv4 address space might start to become restricted sometime next year. All computer systems that connect to the internet require an IP address, if they are not able to be assigned an IP address they won't be able to communicate with other systems over the internet. Until IPv6 is fully adopted/embraced (which allows up to 340 trillion, trillion, trillion addresses) the IPv4 system will rely on the release and reallocation of already allocated address blocks to continue to try to provide additional address resources. Although this move is valid (due to previous over-allocation and inefficient use of address space) it is only a short term solution, and is only delaying the inevitable.
2010 could end up being known as the year of malware, with increasing evidence that this Christmas season will not only be leaden with presents, but malware too. Cyber-criminals are homing in on often used search terms such as 'Apple iPad' or 'Xbox Kinect', tempting the unsuspecting shopper into clicking on a deal that is too good to be true, and in doing so, infecting their systems with malware. The advise is the same as always, keep your wits about you, use well known, trusted sites and suppliers and if a price really does seem too good to be true, then you already have your answer!
'Wikileaks' is a media company setup in 2006 to anonymously publish sensitive government, corporate or even religious documents that would not necessarily be brought to the public domain otherwise. Unfortunately, they seem to have taken things a little too far this time, and their latest collection of confidential documents relates to highly sensitive correspondence between the US and it's embassies around the world. Many think that 'Wikileaks' are wrong to publish this information, freedom of speech is one thing, but there are some words, said in confidence, that should not automatically be considered for the public domain, especially if it could potentially push countries closer to war and put people at risk. In fact the site has been severely criticised by nations worldwide; and such is the strength of this feeling that their site has already been silenced by an unidentified DOS (Denial Of Service) attack which effectively removed them from the internet for a significant period of time. If this was not enough warning for the founders of 'Wikileaks' then the fact that they are now personally under investigation to see if they have broken any laws (in any of the counties being effected by these releases), should do the trick.
The Stuxnet worm has been described, by some, as one of the most complex viruses ever written; but the most interesting thing about Stuxnet is its low level and subtle nature, with analysis showing that it only targets the Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) that are used to control the speed of motors and pumps used in industrial plants. This type of very specific attack not only shows how clever the malware writers are becoming, but also the new and particularly worrying industrial espionage aspect of the attack. Thankfully the very fact that Stuxnet has been identified and dissected means it has failed to propagate into a widespread threat, and importantly, with the control network removed and no variants detected, it should have no way of being reused or resurrected!
After many months in development Adobe have finally released a new, more secure, version of their popular PDF reader software; Adobe's new 'Reader X' (Version 10) introduces 'Protected Mode' which utilizes 'Sandboxing' techniques to help safeguard your system from mal-formed PDF documents which, until now, could permit the execution of undesirable code. Even though 'Sandboxing' is more of a 'ring-fencing' approach to security it has been proved to provide an excellent additional line of defense which should help contain malware that tries to exploit any current or future vulnerabilities in Adobe's PDF reader software.
For a link to the latest Adobe PDF Reader download visit my PDF Software page.
It was back in April this year that I wrote an article on corrupt IT support, with rogue companies calling unsuspecting computer users in an attempt to deceive individuals into thinking they had computer issues even though there was nothing wrong. The message back then, is the same as it is now, never accept cold calls from unknown computer support companies. These unscrupulous companies prey on unwary users who are panicked or duped into giving out personal details and paying for a service they did not need in the first place. Stay vigilant and always seek information from recommended sources that can be trusted and give transparent, impartial advice.
I am proud to announce the release of
another new website created by The Glitch. Rhythm Method are
a 6 piece pop & rock covers band specialising in weddings,
celebrations and corporate events. Established in 1997 they
perform a selection of the very best numbers from the last 4
decades right up to the present day, catering for the
broadest tastes in music. Being a 6 piece band they are able
to produce a richer, professional sound that lesser bands
just can't match; why not take a look at their 'Audio Clips'
page for some great samples.
For more information visit their new site:
The idea that a mobile phone could replace your XBOX 360 or PS3 may seem a little far fetched to some people, but the fact that a number of companies are working hard to produce very low powered but extremely powerful graphics processors is a sign that we could see HD quality games on mobile phones sooner rather than later. In fact you could be forgiven for thinking it's already happening with the likes of the Apple's iPhone 4 getting a significant graphics boost, allowing developers to produce some truly amazing games. A great example of this is a demo called 'Citadel' from Epic. But it's not just Apple making progress in this area, ARM (A British Processor Designer) is working on their 'Mali T604' chip which has around 25x more graphics processing power than the iPhone 4, but still only draws 850 milliwatts of power.
Anyone who is over the age of 10 that threatens, commits an assault or harasses someone could be prosecuted under the Harassment Act 1997, with the law only requiring two such incidents for the Police to act; this act applies to your on-line conduct every much as it does to your conduct out in the real world. Late last year (October 2009) a land mark case saw the first ever court injunction being served for an anonymous cyber bully via Twitter, this case has clearly defined cyber bullying as a criminal offence, and UK Police forces are now training detectives to deal with these types of on-line crimes. Schools are also beginning to understand how important it is to act swiftly when they become aware of cyber bullying, with many involving the authorities sooner rather than later. It is a sad fact that students have been know to take their own lives because of sustained cyber bullying and it is for this reason that the Crown Prosecution Service is now making it very clear that bullies will not be allowed to hind behind they computers anymore!
TalkTalk's warning comes after more than 1000 complaints were sent to Ofcom from customers who moved to other providers, only to find they were still being billed by TalkTalk for services which had been cancelled many months previously. Some ex-TalkTalk customers have even been faced with debt collecting agencies. The idea that a company is so incompetent that it tries to claim money for services that have been cancelled, in some cases, years previously is shocking. This is clearly an unacceptable situation and one that Ofcom has taken very seriously; it has given TalkTalk until December 2010 to clean up it's act or face significant financial penalties. Lets hope TalkTalk takes notice and sorts out it's appalling billing system.
A positive sign that Windows 7's first service pack (SP1) is nearing completion is Microsoft's recent publication of a Release Candidate (RC). Release Candidates tend to be mature, stable products which could potentially end up as final production versions, but as with all pre-release software there is always the possibility of issues, and I would not recommend installation on an essential computer system. As indicated previously by Microsoft, no new features are expected in SP1, just all previous updates, bug fixes and any incremental updates/improvements made to Windows 7 since it's first release. This service pack can be applied to both Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2.
For more information visit:
The fight against cybercrime is constant and authorities, worldwide, are finally creating (and sharing) the resources needed to help track and remove internet based criminal activities. It was only last month that the UK's E-Crime unit spearheaded the investigation into the Zeus 2 malware attacks, which saw 19 people arrested and now Dutch law enforcement agencies have crippled the infamous Bredolab botnet which is responsible for transmitting (amongst other things) rouge anti-virus software, spoofed Facebook password reset messages and fake UPS delivery emails. In all more than 140 servers were either seized or disconnected, which has effectively crippled the Bredolab network.
Kaspersky's security software is well regarded, unfortunately you can't say the same of their website security. Kaspersky have suffered a number of server attacks, but this latest incident seems almost identical to an attack that occurred back in February 2009 (an SQL injection attack) which is a little worrying, as it would suggest that little improvement has been made in security over the last 18 months. What makes things worse for Kaspersky is the fact that both customer and product details have again been compromised. Luckily for Kaspersky the group responsible for this latest hack are more interested in making Kaspersky aware of their on-going security issues rather than stealing company information; But this does highlight what can happen when companies become a little too complacent and do not ensure that all aspects of their infrastructure are kept up-to-date and protected!
Anyone who is currently still using a Beta copy of Microsoft's Office 2010 should be aware that it will expire soon. As of the 31st October 2010 all copies of Office 2010 Beta will revert to a read-only mode, effectively preventing anyone using the package to do anything but view documents. The Beta program has been running for several months now, allowing people to use a completely unrestricted version of Office 2010 for free. Unfortunately the time has now come to make a decision to purchase it, or remove it!
For more information and the latest price comparisons visit my Office Applications page.
identity fraud prevention week is all about helping people
become more knowledgeable about the ways identity theft can
occur and the simple measures we can all take to
significantly reduce its likelihood. When people talk about
identity theft they normally associate its occurrence with
computers, but thousands of people fall victim to identity
theft who don't even own a computer. The theft of personal
information can stem from something as simple as improperly
discarded paperwork, or from inadvertently giving aware
superfluous personal details over the phone. Vigilance is
the key, keep all personal documents safe, shred any
unwanted documents with personal information and never give
away security information to any person who cold calls
pertaining to be from a known company (if in doubt ring the
organisation directly and check); these are just some of
measures we can all take to help minimise our exposure to
For more information visit:
It was way back in November 2007 that I posted my first article about IP addresses running out, but it seems that many businesses and even some ISPs are still not ready for IPv6. There's no doubt that the latest news that 'UK based IPv4 addresses will be exhausted in 300 days' is an exaggeration, but it does highlight the fact that available IP addresses on the current IPv4 system will run out over the next couple of years. Most ISPs have updated their systems, but many businesses do not even seem to be aware that IPv6 addresses need to be handled differently to current IP addresses, and that they are not directly compatible with each other. But simple measures such as ensuring that any new equipment is "IPv6 Ready" could make all the difference when it comes to guaranteeing a smooth transition to IPv6 (when it happens), lets hope that more organisations become a little more IPv6 savvy over the coming months!
will release a new version of it's mobile phone
operating system on the 21st of October 2010. Six handsets
are lined up for it's release, with the likes of HTC, Samsung and
Dell being the first to offer devices based on 'Windows
Phone 7'. Microsoft are keen to point out that their new
phone operating system is a significant departure from their
previous offering (Windows Mobile 6.5) with a completely
redesigned user interface that allows people to form unique
phone setups by customizing their phones in numerous ways;
what Microsoft is calling it's 'My Phone' experience. But
it's not just it's flexible interface that Microsoft want to
stress but also the way the system brings many connected
pieces of information together. 'Windows Phone 7' does seems
to offer a fresh perspective to the smart phone market,
which is just as well because they are going to need
something a little different to stand a chance against the
likes of Apple who seem to be dominating the market at the
For more information visit:
has released a new version of their free anti-virus
product 'AVG Anti-virus Free Edition 2011'.
AVG currently provides malware protection for millions of
computers world-wide, and I am pleased to note that their new 2011 product
continues to be free for home use. AVG has always been a
excellent product and their latest version seems to continue that
trend with good protection against viruses,
malware and other web threats. But AVG can't afford to sit
on their laurels with the likes of Microsoft
currently making serious inroads into the free anti-virus market.
The positive news is that AVG's 2011 is a definite
improvement over previous versions but we will have to wait
until Microsoft release their new version of 'Security
Essentials' to gauge just how well it stands up against the
For a link to the latest AVG downloads visit my Anti-Virus section within my software area.
no mean feat to create an all new image format, but the
trick is getting it widely accepted/adopted. This is the
problem Google faces with it's new image format 'WebP'. Pronounced 'weppy', it's a 'lossy' format which has the
ability to heavily compress images while still maintaining
image quality. The formula used by WebP is based on
Google's own open-source VP8 compression algorithm, and the
advantages are clear, smaller file sizes that load faster
with no perceivable drop in image quality; these
characteristics are always going to be of
value to people. Unfortunately for Google WebP has to
compete with well established formats such as JPEG and GIF;
saying this, history has shown that modern formats, if good
enough, can and do get adopted and eventually find their way
into main-stream usage (the comparatively new image format
PNG comes to mind).
For more information and some 'WebP' examples visit:
It was only last month that I reported on the Zeus 2 malware attacks targeted on the UK, but it seems that the UK's E-Crime unit is keen to prove that it's not only crime that does not pay, but E-Crime as well! 19 arrests have now been made over the Zeus attacks, (which successfully siphoned millions of pounds from UK bank accounts). The group arrested could face very stiff penalties under a whole host of acts including the Misuse of computers and Fraud acts, but it doesn't stop there, with the E-Crime unit already closing in on many more perpetrators. The Metropolitan Police stated that they believe they have uncovered a highly organised criminal network which are a considerable threat not only to UK banks but also to the world-wide banking system in general.
Blu-ray's protection systems are a significant irritation to many, with some users not even able to view Blu-ray media due to it's over zealous security, something that I believe has slowed Blu-ray's up take. One of the biggest problems is Blu-ray's HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) a system that only allows authorised devices to playback HD content; if your monitor is not HDCP compliant, you won't get any output. But it seems this might all now change, with the HDCP master key (used to generate product keys) being leaked onto the internet. No one is sure how long before a software HDCP crack will appear on the web, but one things for certain, it's only a matter of time!
For more information and a link to the IE9 Beta download
Most people understand that the internet poses a security risk, but being on-line is not the only hazard your computer system faces. Portable storage devices, such as USB Memory sticks, and hard drives create a whole host of security problems that many people seem blissfully unaware of; the ease with which these types of devices are moved from one computer system to another creates a perfect scenario for malware transmittal. It doesn't matter whether you are a private individual, or a high profile company, dealing with portable storage security is imperative. But few people are aware that some very simple and straight forward precautions, like always scanning USB devices before they are used, and stopping USB devices from auto loading, are all that is needed to have an immediate positive impact on your system's security. Ultimately it is better to be safe than sorry, keep unchecked portable devices away from your system(s)!
Mobile smart phone users are being affected by rogue software, with Microsoft's Windows Mobile platform and Google's Android platform both suffering from malware outbreaks. There are not only reports of malware stealing user information but also rogue dialer software calling international numbers from users mobiles. The issue basically stems from users downloading software with out any thought (or system) to thoroughly validate/check it first. In an interesting twist, this is something that Apple has been berated for over the last few years. People have been moaning about Apple's closed system ever since the iPhone was released, and I, by and large, understand their concerns, but the fact is that Apple has successfully protected it's mobile operating system (iOS) by vetting each and every application that is submitted to their store. This mechanism has basically kept it's users safe and isolated from malware, and even though I don't agree with their approach, it is easy to see the advantages of such a system!
Most of us understand that analogue TV signals are being switched off and that many of us will need to purchase a digital 'Freeview' set-top box to keep using our current TV's; but many people aren't aware that the on-going 'Digital Switch-over' also effects radio. To this end the Government has indicated that analogue radio could well be switched off as early as 2015, with all main radio stations moving to DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting). There are certain prerequisites, such as a 50% take-up of DAB being required before the switchover is announced and there will then be a two year period before the final change over occurs, but I feel the government has not fully thought this through. Don't get me wrong, I am all for moving forward with digital broadcasts, but there still seems to be a way to go with the DAB technology with many DAB users experiencing bad reception and limited station choice. But even if you accept this less than ideal situation, there is much more to consider...what about the millions of cars on the road that have standard analogue radios, does the government expect every car driver to replace their car radio (if they can)...and even if they did, would that not be a colossal waste of perfectly working electronics?
Microsoft's Windows XP operating system was first launched back in December 2001, which means its been around for almost 9 years. But no matter how good Windows XP was, it is now beginning to show its age, especially when you compare it with Microsoft's latest operating system 'Windows 7'. Support for Windows XP Service Pack 2 has already ended (July 2010) and as of 22nd October 2010, you'll no longer be able to buy new PCs with Windows XP installed (XP downgrade rights will also be terminated at the same time). But all is not lost for current users of Windows XP with Service Pack 3 as they should still receive updates via Microsoft until April 2014, so there's a little time yet before Windows XP is finally put to rest. But these are the hallmarks of a dying operating system, and as great as XP was, Users now need to seriously consider whether the risks of using an increasingly out-of-date operating system out way the cost(s) of upgrading!
Toshiba will soon release what is being touted as the worlds fastest SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) media card, with read speeds of 95MB/s and write speeds of 80MB/s. These figures represent a significant (quadrupling) speed improvement over previous generation SD cards. Much of this speed enhancement is due to the fact that they are based on the all new UHS-I (Ultra High Speed 1) specification, which supports a theoretical maximum data transfer speed of 104MB/s. The idea behind these speed improvements is to improve flexibility allowing multiple, simultaneous accesses and high data rate storage capabilities to the format. On an interesting side note, these new UHS-I SDHC cards (or SDHC-I for short) are almost as fast as older generation hard drives, so it would not be totally outrageous to suggest the possibility of the media being used as a main storage device within a Windows PC in the future!
has just released their latest iPod products, with it's
all new iPod Nano, finally living up to it's name measuring just 37.5mm high, 40.9mm wide and
weighing in at a
paltry 21 grams. Due to it's petite size it now incorporates a
smaller 1.5" (240x240 pixel) TFT screen, but this new
display does have 'multi-touch' capability. The Nano also
has an Accelerometer, FM Radio and can be purchase with 8GB or 16GB
of memory. One of the few negative aspects of this new
design is the lack of video capability, something that might
well disappoint some users. On a more positive note, the new
iPod Touch has many of the iPhone 4 features (as predicted by
many), with two cameras, one front facing to allow 'Facetime'
functionality and a rear facing 3.2Megapixel camera. It also
sports a 3.5" (960x640 pixel) 'Retina' display, has HD
Video capability, Three-Axis Gyro, Accelerometer, Powerful
A4 processor and comes with 8GB, 32GB or 64GB of memory.
Both devices are beautifully put together and represent
everything we have come to expect from Apple.
For more information visit:
new on-line film or TV services are launched they are very
often linked with specific countries and (due to broadcast
restrictions) never make it to foreign shores. So when
YouTube announced a new movie streaming service I almost
ignored it assuming that it was going to be a US only based
service, but I was wrong. YouTube's new movie streaming
service is a UK based service, and it's free...OK, the
initial 400 title movie library isn't exactly chock-a-block
with Hollywood block-busters, but there are a few diamonds
in the rough, if you search hard enough...and if your into
'cult' horror or marshal arts movies then there are plenty
of titles to keep you occupied. OK so it might not impress
everyone, but it is nice to see YouTube's UK film services
For more information visit:
Canon have developed a digital camera sensor with a staggering resolution of 120-Megapixels (13,280 by 9,184 pixels). The sensor is based on Canon's APS-H sensor (as used in the professional range of DSLR's), but due to the sheer quantity of image information it can gather, it employs a very different method to read all the information from the sensor's output, this ensures it can still output several frames a second. This is all very clever but any camera utilising this sensor would require lots of very fast memory and an equally fast memory interface to be able to store the vast amounts of data being gathered. Canon's current flag-ship DSLR camera employs a 21-Megapixel sensor and is very expensive, so the idea that a 120MP sensor will find it's way into a consumer product any time soon is highly unlikely. In fact these types of very high resolution sensor are more likely to be used for industrial/medical imaging applications.
Intel is to acquire software security firm McAfee for almost £5 Billion, in what has been seen by many as an unusual move. To make things worse this figure is considered to be a premium price for McAfee, indicating Intel's eagerness to buy. On the face of it, it does seem a little odd, why would a chip manufacturer want a software security firm. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that security is a problem facing all areas of computing, and it's becoming increasing difficult to keep one step ahead of the malware. So perhaps the idea of hardware based or at least processor assisted security is a logical progression. More over the upsurge of mobile communications has created the need to look more seriously at mobile security and this could easily take the form of embedded or 'on-chip' security technologies!
An unsecured Wi-Fi connection can represent a security risk, many people understand this, but it's not just the computers that are connected to it that are at risk, but also your broadband connection too. If your computer becomes compromised, due to someone gaining access using your unsecured Wi-Fi connection, you could lose personal data, but should they use your broadband connection for illegal activity you could be found liable. Your legal rights when you decide to leave your Wi-Fi network unsecured are still untested, but law firms generally believe that you are leaving yourself open to litigation if your connection is abused. But is this ultimately true; some would argue that it is the responsibility of the broadband 'contract holder' to ensure no unauthorised access occurs, while others would liken this situation to your car being stolen and being used for a bank robbery and you being found guilty of the bank robbery! Ultimately I leave it up to you to decide...but while you are making up your mind, make sure you secure your Wi-Fi connection!!
created the PDF format, and have been providing PDF software
for well over 15 years now, thus their software can be found
on millions of computer systems worldwide. Unfortunately
numerous vulnerabilities have been discovered in Adobe's
software over the last few months and although Adobe are
working hard to remove these security problems, the sheer
dominance of their format makes them an easy target for
criminals who know any vulnerability successfully exploited,
potentially means access to a substantial number of PCs. To be
fair to Adobe they fully understand this, and they are working
hard on new versions of their PDF software that use the
latest techniques (Sandboxing) to help isolate their
software from the host system and in doing so significantly
reduce the security risks, but until these software changes
are completed, it is strongly recommended that you ensure
your version of Adobe's PDF Reader is not only the latest
version but that is fully updated/patched.
For a link to the latest Adobe PDF Reader download visit my PDF Software page.
After a landmark ruling by the US Copyright Office found that it was not illegal to Jailbreak (hack) your iPhone, many UK iPhone users think they now have the green light to modify their handsets. Now, even though I completely agree with the US ruling, it is a sad fact that it is still illegal to Jailbreak an iPhone in the UK; as it would be classified as an attempt to 'circumvent a protection system'. It is also worth being aware that if your handset becomes unusable/faulty and is returned to Apple in a Jailbroken state, then any warranty cover you have will more than likely be forfeited. So, even though I am all for loosening the iPhone from Apple's grip (and I know many people Jailbreak anyway), I really can't recommend it especially for a handset that is still under warranty!
A new version of the infamous Zeus virus has been detected (Zeus is famous for sealing personal data). Zeus 2 has already infected more than 100,000 systems creating a significant Botnet, but what makes this particular version so dangerous is it's polymorphic ability, changing and mutating every time it is downloaded making it difficult to detect. Another serious concern is that almost all (98%) of the infections are based in the UK, making this a country specific or regional malware attack. What is even worse is the speed that other cyber-criminals are moving their own malware to the Zeus 2 model. Progress to eradicate all the Botnet's control servers are on-going, but the Met Police eCrime unit reported a significant result just recently as they successfully terminated the primary control server located somewhere in Eastern Europe.
Research In Motion (RIM) are the company that developed the Blackberry, their main business is based around a smartphone designed to make business messaging easier. Unlike other mobile operators the Blackberry uses RIM's own servers to relay messages and this is the heart of the problem, it seems that a number of middle eastern countries have concerns over the fact they are unable to intercept RIM's encrypted messages should they need to, sparking fears for security. The UAE, Saudi Arabia and even India have all warned that unless a way can be found to give them access they will ban/block Blackberry messaging. Even though RIM will not be particularly happy about granting these requests, they will more than likely comply.
Just recently I wrote an article about the predicted increase in solar activity over the next few years, with NASA warning of the real possibility of communication disruption due to solar flares. Solar events are not uncommon, but it seems a more significant solar event did occur on Sunday 1st Aug. It's effects will take time (at least 48 hours) to reach the Earth, and although no one is completely sure of the magnitude of these effects, it has been suggested that satellite communications might be effected to some degree, but whether this will be noticed or not is still unknown. A more pleasant side affect of the increased solar activity is the predicted amplification of the 'Northern Lights' (Aurora Borealis), so you can expect to see some impressive images posted on the web very soon!
BT has announced it will be increasing it's line rental charges by 50p a month from October 2010. This increase is not only the same amount suggested by the Labour government in what was called their 'Broadband Tax' but it coincidentally also begins at the same time too! This move is pretty obvious, and represents a middle finger, not only to the current government, but to every BT customer as well...its like saying, we wanted the investment and we'll going to get it whether you like it or not. If this was not enough they are also increasing their call charges by 10% at the same time. I actually agreed with the 50p increase suggested by the Government, but this is different, BT needs to tread very carefully as people will now expect to see big improvements in their network, and soon, otherwise I predict a mass exodus!
Apple has finally admitted that they have a problem with their iPhone 4 and their solution is simple; all customers will be sent a free 'Apple Bumper' cover. Many people predicted this move, as the idea of a full product recall would have sent Apple's share price tumbling, not that they needed any help at the moment due to the fall out over the issue. But, even with all of this going on there's still no sign of any reduction in the demand for this beautiful handset. Even though this was the minimum Apple could do, it is still good to see them finally take the bull by the horns and appease the masses. At least we won't now be seeing lots of iPhone 4s with small bits of non-conductive tape stuck across the antenna gap, which is one of the solutions being suggested by the iPhone 4 community...crude but effective!
In yet another broken promise the government has now scrapped plans to implement a nationwide minimum broadband speed of 2Mbits/sec by 2012. This means no possibility of any broadband speed improvement for an estimated 2 million UK families that currently have exceptionally poor broadband bandwidth/connections. This turnabout by the government makes no sense, as it will stifle rural businesses and deprives individuals of what is now seen as a basic commodity. But it seems the government has decided to leave 'Digital Britain' in the hands of the ISPs, another very naive and short-sighted move. It was only very recently that BT reiterated that there was no economic case for trying to reach or improve bandwidth in rural locations, thus without any help from the government, BT will obviously concentrate on more profitable parts of their infrastructure, which in turn will only serve to further boost already acceptable broadband connections and in doing so continue to widen the digital divide!
I wrote an article back in July 2009 about 'The Move To 64-bit Computing', and it seems I was not far off the mark with my predictions. 46% of all Windows 7 users have installed 64-bit versions of their operating systems, that's almost half of all Windows 7 systems running a 64-bit environment. This change has no doubt been facilitated by the sheer number of 64-bit compatible system now available, and represents a significant shift away from standard 32-bit systems; this is made all the more remarkable by the fact that Windows Vista 64-bit only managed a 11% adoption rate. More importantly this has to be the clearest indication yet to software companies that they need to ensure their software is fully 64-bit compatible or they run the real risk of isolating what is now a significant number of Windows users.
It is a sad fact that we are still waiting for mobile phone manufactures to finally agree on a single standard for mobile phone changers, so when I heard that Laptop manufactures are now also beginning to talk about adopting a universal standard for laptop power supplies I was more than a little skeptical. Don't get me wrong, like mobile phone chargers, the idea of a universal power supply is great, but the reality is that it will take years for manufactures to come to a decision and even longer for them to roll out changes to their products. Lets hope more manufactures sign up to the idea sooner rather than later.
It was only back in April 2009 that the Bluetooth 3.0 specification was ratified, so it was a surprise to learn that a new revision had now been approved. Where Bluetooth 3.0 seem to be mostly about transfer speed improvements, Bluetooth 4.0 is all about reducing the amount of power devices require. In fact the new specification dramatically reduces power requirements with some implementations able to use just 10% of the power used by traditional Bluetooth products. This could pave the way for a whole host of new Bluetooth communication devices which would be able to be powered, for many years at a time, on something as small as a watch coin cell battery.
It seems that Apple thinks it's iPhone 4 customers will happily accept the idea that poor reception is simply down to a software bug. Well most people would seriously question that software could have a baring on the fact that if you hold the iPhone 4 in a certain way you sometimes suffer loss of signal. Apple could have a design fault, they could have a manufacturing fault, but what Apple needs to do is appease their customers and sort the issue. Very few people will actually give up there beloved iPhone 4 (its just too good), but they can seek compensation. Many more will see this as a test for Apple, as it is often said you can gauge the quality of a company by the way it acts when things go wrong...lets hope Apple does not disappoint!
fourth generation web browser Firefox 4 is not due for full
release until later this year, but a pre-release version is
available to download for those who simply can not wait for
the beta version due later this month. As with all
pre-release and beta software when you download and install
you do so at your own risk. Firefox 4 promises many
improvements including faster browsing, more security, HTML
5 support, 64-bit Support and a simplified user interface. I'm sure there will be many other additions to the browser
but details are still limited at this early stage of
To download the pre-release version visit the following link:
For all those businesses and individuals who are still using Microsoft's Server 2000 software it's worth noting that all support ends very soon. This basically means that no further software updates, security patches or hot fixes will be made available after 13th July 2010. Server 2000 has already been left at risk due to it's limited browser support (Internet Explorer 6 or older), so this news should concern users of this 10 year old server software, as it won't be long before new vulnerabilities surface, which will be left unresolved and thus open to exploitation. Microsoft's Server 2000 has had a very good innings, but it is now time to move on!
Our Sun goes through many solar cycles, the so called 'Sunspot Cycle' lasts for 11 years and it is this cycle that will peak at some point between 2011 and 2013. But the idea that it will cause a catastrophic solar event is far fetched to say the least, thus the end of the world is not nye. Even though there are many, many factors involved in the prediction of solar activity, history has proven that the Earth and it's inhabitants have, time and time again, been able to cope with any increased solar activity. What is more likely, due to the mass adoption of electronic devices, is that there will be large scale disruption to satellite services, computer systems and communications in general, but this is a worst case scenario and even NASA is not completely sure whether this particular cycle with be more or less intense than previous ones.
I am proud to announce the release of another new website created by The Glitch. Rapport is an independent Hairdressers based in Winchester, Hampshire. Owner Simon Ferguson provides a broad range of hair styling services, and is part of 'My New Hair' a pioneering new charity founded by and inspired by Trevor Sorbie MBE. Rapport is now part of a national network of independent salons and professionals who provide a wig styling service for people suffering from cancer and medical hair loss.
For more information visit their site:
has released a new version of it's Flash Player, this is not
normally a particularly noteworthy event, but version
10 has many significant improvements over previous versions
including performance and important security enhancements.
Hardware based H.264 video decoding, touch screen figure
gestures and improved video playback control are just some
of the other features Adobe have added to Flash Player
10. But for the security enhancements alone it's highly
recommended that you update your version of Flash Player to
version 10 when you can.
For a link to the Flash Player download visit my Browser Add-ons page.
O2 has announced that it will no longer offer unlimited data usage for it's iPhone customers, instead it will offer a maximum data usage of between 0.5GB and 1.0GB per month (depending on your monthly plan). Users who reach this new limit will be required to pay for an additional data allowance. One of the few things that made O2's tariff stand out from the competition was the fact that it offered unlimited data, now this has gone, I think O2 may see customers begin to move to other providers, especially when you consider Vodafone offers the same data plan with better overall coverage! Saying this O2 have suggested that up to 97% of it's customers data usage is currently well below these newly set limits.
Back in August 2009 I wrote an article on Google's 'Caffeine' project, and now, almost a year later, Google has updated their search engine using the technology developed from this project. The main reason for the update was to facilitate the introduction of further enhancements to the search engine, and further improve the search engines ability to keep up with the ever changing information that makes up the World Wide Web. So whether you will notice any speed improvement when you use Google is not really the main reason for the update, but you may fine new and often changing information appears in the index much more quickly than before.
Microsoft had previously indicated that Windows 7's first service pack (SP1) would be scheduled for a late 2010 release, but with a public beta of the service pack due for release next month, it seems Microsoft might be on track to issue the final release service pack earlier than previously thought. When finally available SP1 will not bring any big changes to Windows 7 with Microsoft concentrating on delivering all the performance/security enhancements & fixes previously released. With over 100 million licenses of Windows 7 now in circulation and the number of patches beginning to mount up, it only makes sense that Microsoft push forward with SP1 sooner rather than later.
Apple will soon release their eagerly awaited software update for their iPhone, iPad and iTouch ranges of devices. As reported back in April this update will introduce up to 100 new features, but the best news is that it will be free for all, including iTouch owners, who have until now had to pay for updates. There has also been a change in the name, no longer will the software been known as 'iPhone OS', but simply as 'iOS', mostly because the software now covers many more devices that just the iPhone. It is also worth noting that not all of the new features will be available for all device types, so don't be disappointed if your older iPhone 3G doesn't multitask after the update has been applied!
For more information visit:
latest smart phone, the iPhone 4 is due to hit the UK very
soon , it promises many new desirable features including: A
high resolution IPS display (960x640 pixels, that's 326 pixels per inch), 5 Mega-pixel camera with LED flash and
720p HD Video recording, super fast Apple A4 Processor,
extended battery life of up to 40%, duel microphones for noise
canceling, 3-axis gyroscope, digital compass, Accelerometer
and the list goes on. If this wasn't enough it also comes with the
latest Apple iPhone operating system 'iOS4'. Pre orders will
commence on the 15th June with the main product launch on the 24th June. With so many
new and innovative features the iPhone 4 looks to be yet
another massive success for Apple.
For more information visit:
of the things Apple's 'Safari' web browser has going for it
at the moment is the fact that it supports the latest HTML 5
standards. HTML 5 (as the name suggests) is the 5th major
revision of the core language of the world wide web: the
Hypertext Markup Language - HTML. Support for HTML 5 is
promised for Microsoft's Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) but its
release is still a little way off yet. HTML 5 brings a
of new commands, including ways to directly add audio and
video to websites. The beauty of HTML 5 (and a little
into a number of visually clever ways to present photos and images on their
websites without the need to resort to using specialist
developer software or for the end-user to install any
additional browser add-ins. This in turn not only simplifies
access to these types of resources, but should also improve
security and compatibility.
If you have the Safari browser installed on your computer or you have an iPhone/iPad visit:
has finally released their latest office suite 'Office
2010'. It brings a number of improvements over 'Office 2007'
with a more seamless integration and feel to their suite of
applications. One of the more notable changes concerns
Microsoft's ribbon interface, not only has this been updated
and generally improved, but it now features in all of the
office applications. Another feature that many will enjoy is
the integration of Office Web Apps, where documents can be
shared and edited via the internet.
For more information and latest pricing visit my Office Applications page.
Back in November last year I wrote an article about a form of malware that attempted to steal information from on-line gaming accounts. Well, 6 months on Symantec have discovered a huge database containing over 44 Million stolen gaming account details, covering 18 different gaming sites including World of Warcraft, Aion, and PlayNC. The discovery of a specifically written Trojen virus that validates the account details and determines which accounts can be sold on, shows just how organized the criminals are becoming. Most of the stolen accounts are said to come from Chinese servers, limiting UK gamers exposure, but the general advice is to err on the side of caution and change your password if you use any of the affected games or gaming sites.
The BBC hopes to offer a full BBC 1 high-definition channel by the Autumn. The current BBC HD channel only offers a limited number of programs, but this is all due to change with the announcement of BBC 1 HD, a 'simulcast' (simultaneous broadcast) high-definition channel with an identical programme schedule to the standard BBC 1 channel. BBC HD will continue to exist and broadcast BBC HD programmes, but the advent of BBC 1 HD will see many popular BBC series finally become available in HD. The new channel should be available as an free channel to all terrestrial and satellite HD services.
The iPad phenomenon continues unabated, with Apple now hitting sales of over 2 million units in just 2 months of the product going live. In fact the iPad is fast become as popular as Apple's last success story, the iPhone. Having now had a little 'hands on' time with an iPad I can begin to see what all the fuss is about, as there's no doubt the iPad adds something special to the whole internet and media experience. Whether its just the feel of the beautifully put together hardware, the sight of it's stunning HD screen or just it's simple, intuitive, gesture based user interface, I don't know. All I now know is...I want one!
Its not only Microsoft that is ending support for Internet Explorer 6 (IE6), as it seems many other organisations ('YouTube' and 'Google Apps' to name but two) are now, no longer willing to support the aging browser either. For all those still running Windows 2000, this is not good news, as IE6 is the only compatible Microsoft browser available. Users of later versions of Windows are more fortunate as the latest IE8 is fully compatible with Windows XP and beyond. The sad fact is that IE6 was a poor browser, its wasn't very secure, it didn't conform to web standards and it's general performance was dreadful...besides it's over 9 years old, things have changed, it really is time to move on now!
Apple's market value of over $222 Billion has for the first time exceeded that of Microsoft's ($219 Billion). Microsoft's revenue ($14.5 Billion) is still higher than Apple's, but these latest figures show how strong the Apple brand has become. This information is made all the more impressive when you consider how close Apple were to complete failure back in the 1990s, but several years of high quality, innovative and desirable products has earn them a second place ranking in the 'S&P 500' index. (The Standard & Poor's 500 index is widely regarded as the single best gauge of the U.S. equities market). Only energy giant Exxon Mobile is ranked above them, but Apple has finally managed to push age-old rival Microsoft into third place.
The British Library will soon begin to digitise a large percentage of it's vast archive of Newspapers. This mammoth task will take many years to complete as there are around 700,000 volumes spanning well over 200 years to get through. Currently the archive (based at the British Library premises in London) gets around 30,000 visits a year from people researching events and articles, so the idea that these valuable resources could become an always available, fully searchable, online resource is really using technology to its best.
In 2009 Spotify's free music streaming service became an invitation only affair; this was done to slow the ever increasing demand for it's service. But Spotify has now released two new accounts, to compliment it's 'Free' (invitation only) and high quality 'Premium' (£10/month) accounts. The first is called 'Open' and allows people to signup immediately for an account that allows you to play up to 20 hours of streaming music each month (with adverts and at the same quality as their standard 'Free' service). The second, account is called 'Unlimited' it has no usage cap and costs £5/month, but unlike Spotify's 'Premium' service there is no option for off-line or mobile access and the streaming quality is no better than their free accounts.
For more information visit:
BT has announce it will continue with its plans to roll out superfast fibre-optic based broadband. This is good news, as many predicted that BT's broadband plans would be curtailed after they posted a significant lost (£240 Million) in 2009. But it seems BT have weathered the recession well and recently posted a £1 Billion profit for the year ending March 2010. Previously BT had stated that it hoped to roll out fibre broadband to around 40% of households by 2012, but it has recently revised this figure to 66% by 2015. Even though the time span involved is extensive, it does show BT's commitment to faster broadband, with most of it's current profits being reinvested into their network.
new Wi-Fi standard capable of 'Gigabit' transfers has
finally got off the ground thanks to an agreement being reached
between the Wi-Fi and WiGig Alliances. Gigabit Wi-Fi uses a
60GHz frequency, unlike current
Wi-Fi standards which predominately use the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency ranges. Although this new standard will no doubt deliver a much needed speed boost to Wi-Fi connections, it is very unlikely to produce real 'Gigabit' speeds due to a number of inherent factors. Besides, real-world Wi-Fi speeds have always fallen well short of their stated transfer rates. But it seems there maybe other concerns for the new standard due to the usage restrictions being placed on the 60GHz band by Ofcom, which has not even officially released the band for consumer use yet, although it has been suggested that it is only a matter of time before they do.
Back in October 2009 I wrote an article on Intel's Light Peak technology, a new interfacing standard based around a high speed optical link, with the idea that it will replace the myriad of computer interfaces we currently use such as USB, HDMI, Firewire etc. Well Intel have taken an important step in their move to show what Light Peak can offer, by demonstrating a laptop based on the technology which is able to smoothly display two independent HD videos on an external display. The volume of data needed to display two concurrent HD video streams is pretty big, so this demo clearly shows the raw transfer speeds possible with Intel's Light Peak technology. More importantly, the integration into a standard laptop indicates that Light Peak is closer to a full product and may well soon be ready for mainstream adoption.
After Google got into a legal dispute over the rights to the 'Gmail' name back in 2005, it stopped offering UK customers @gmail.com addresses and adopted @googlemail.com addresses instead. The outcome of the legal case is still undefined (previously the company owning the name wanted millions to relinquish it) but it has obviously been resolved to both parties satisfaction. If you have a Google account that uses the @googlemail.com address, you should be able to change it to an @gmail.com address by going to your account settings. Saying this, as one address format seems to be an alias of the other, it doesn't matter whether you change or not, you should still get emails via either address format.
Apple has now sold over 1 million iPads across the US in under a month, that's pretty impressive when you consider it took around 10 weeks for the iPhone to achieve the same volume of sales. iPad downloads are also doing very well, with 'Digital Book' downloads at the 1.5 million mark and applications downloads around 12 million. This is obviously good news for Apple, but unfortunately for the UK, all this success might mean that the iPad's European launch is further delayed, as demand continues to outstrip supply. I would think that these latest sales figures should finally silence all those who doubted Apple's decision to market the iPad in the first place!
A data stealing worm virus (Qakbot) that infected around 1,100 computers has gone unnoticed for weeks by the NHS. The NHS has stated that there is no evidence that any patient data was stolen, but this is not the first time a computer virus has disrupted NHS systems. Back in November 2008 three London hospitals were significantly affected due to an outbreak, and recent figures reveal that more than 8,000 computer viruses disrupted NHS systems in 2009. Some trusts have blamed staff for previous outbreaks, indicated they had turned off anti-virus software and automatic updates, but I don't accept this; a good network administrator knows that client systems should not be given control over these types of applications, it is poor practice.
have issued a formal apology to it's customers after an
anti-virus update caused systems to crash. In an
unprecedented move McAfee's CEO David DeWalt posted a video message on the McAfee site to personally apologise and explain what had happened.
McAfee is obviously very keen to keep hold of it's existing
customers as DeWalt offered a two year license extension to any
customer that had been impacted by the fault. He
also offered to pay any 'Reasonable Expenses' that customers incurred in
order to sort out the faulty update. Business users were not
forgotten either with McAfee offering them a 'Customer
Commitment Package' containing a number of useful products
For more information on the issue visit:
The Floppy disk has been around for almost 40 years now; the first units started to appear back in 1971, and comprised of an 8" disc in a plastic sleeve. This was followed by the 5.25" disc in 1976, and then by the 3.5" disc, in a firm plastic case in 1981. The 3.5" floppy diskette quickly became the standard and has remained so for almost 30 years (with production peaking in 1997 at an incredible 5 Billion). It has taken a very long time for the floppy disk to be phased out, with the likes of Dell and PC World only dropping the format in the last few years (2003 and 2007 respectively), but the end is now nearer than ever for the trusty 3.5" floppy disk with Sony announcing that it will finally cease production of the media in early 2011.
has come to light of a new password-stealing Trojan virus
that now targets Firefox users. The modified Zeus (Zbot)
Trojan, is able to bypass Firefox's security and targets
on-line banking users. Even worse news is the rapid rate at
which this virus is spreading, some are even suggesting that
it could be the fastest spreading malware ever. One of the
most frustrating problems for users is the fact that Zeus
uses advanced polymorphic algorithms to evade anti-virus
detection, making it hard for users to check whether their
systems are infected or not. The Glitch recommends 'Malwarebytes
Anti-Malware' to help detect and remove Zeus.
For a link to 'Malwarebytes Anti-Malware' visit my Anti-spyware page.
US sales of the iPad have been much better than Apple expected with well over halve a million units sold since it's launch. Unfortunately this is having a knock on affect for the iPad's UK launch due to supply shortages. A revised launch date for the UK has now been set for the end of May, with pre-orders being taken from the 10th of May onwards. This delay is obviously frustrating for Apple's UK customers, but I have to side with Apple on this one, as there is nothing worse than a product launched with little or no hope of getting hold of one due to poor stock availability. In better news O2, Vodafone and Orange have all now announced that they will be offering 'dedicated plans' for those customers who choose the 3G versions of the iPad.
It seems that Google is keen that all website owners ensure their websites are performing well, with the inclusion of a 'Page load time' as one of the many factors that determine search result ranking. Google is quick to point out that the 'Page load time' is just one of over 200 different criteria used to determine a website's position in their index, and that 'Load speed' has a much lower classification than more important factors such as content and relevance. Saying this, particularly slow sites that take a very long time to load, say 20 seconds or more, may actually find their Google ranking reduced.
Apple's latest iPhone operating system has just been announced, OS 4.0 promises to be the best iPhone OS yet containing many eagerly awaited updates. In fact this latest version contains no less than 100 new features including multi-tasking, custom home screen wallpapers, 5x digital zoom, tap focus, icon folders, iBook support, Unified inbox view and much more. Apple has been berated for not developing the iPhone operating system quickly enough, with some people moving away from the iPhone simply because of this issue, but I'm sure if Apple continues to churn out significant updates like this, it should keep the majority of people happy. Apple has hinted that OS 4.0 will be available within the next few months.
After many months of controversy the government has decided to scrap the 50p/month broadband tax. I think that this was one of the government's better ideas, as it was an attempt to bring 'Next Generation' broadband to the masses, especially when history has proven that if you leave this type of infrastructure improvement to private firms (BT, Orange to name but two) they will only target the areas where the most money will be made. This has left millions of households with internet connections that can't even stream a single video feed smoothly, let alone support a small family's internet needs. The tax would have obviously irritated all those already benefiting from 8MB+ connections and those who don't want/need broadband, but for the many hundreds of thousands of families that don't live in large towns and cities, this tax could have helped to transform slow and often unusable broadband connection across the UK.
It is a sad fact that there are many unscrupulous computer support companies in existence, it was only last year that PC World was found to be less than truthful when repairing some systems, but it seems that some will stoop much lower than others to make a fast buck. One company named 'The Nerd Support' called a Pensioner and convinced him that his computer was infected by a virus, which was totally untrue. They then proceeded to irradiate non-existent viruses and faults using a remote support client and tried to charge him almost £200. If it wasn't for his son, who happened to pop by just before any payment was made, the scam would have been successful. So be warned, never accept a call from an unknown computer support company, if in doubt, seek advice from a friend or family member, or better still contact The Glitch and I will give you some free advice!
The Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk (the Internet Service Provider (ISP) arm of the company) continue to be successful businesses, but the two companies have little in common operationally and their on-going strategies indicated that they needed to operate independently rather than as one company, so it was inevitable that a demerger was on the cards. Thus the Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk are now listed as two separate companies, effectively splitting their retail and ISP businesses.
Earth hour is in its forth year, and support is growing year on year. To show your support and that you care about climate change, just switch off as many of your electrical devices as you can on Saturday 27 March at 8.30pm, for an hour. This year you can even see how each area of the UK compares by visiting the 'Earth Hour Map', this shows a league based on the percentage of population signed up. Don't forget to peer out of your window, at your neighbors during earth hour, to see who's not showing their support, that way you can berate them, next time you see them!
To sign-up and see how your area is doing visit:
Yet another warning for Facebook users, with a new scam currently doing the rounds. This time an email with the title 'Facebook Password Reset Confirmation! Customer Message.' will try to convince you to open an attachment that supposedly has new password details. It is important to understand that Facebook would never send out password details in this way, as the attachment actually contains a sophisticated malware program that steals your computer's passwords and other information. Never reply to, open an attachment or follow a link from an email purporting to help you with your password, unless you have specifically just requested such a service, and even then proceed with caution; keep vigilant at all times!
Microsoft had previously indicated that Windows 7's first service pack would be scheduled for some time in 2011, but it seems that this has all changed with Microsoft now considering a late 2010 release for Windows 7's Service Pack 1 (SP1). No big changes are planned with Microsoft mostly concentrating on delivering all the performance/security enhancements & fixes previously released. It's a real shame that Microsoft seem to be signifying that service pack 1 will not include additional features, but with an expected late October 2010 release we can only hope Microsoft change their mind and incorporate a few added extras!
seems that the trend for private law firms taking on illegal
file-sharing cases is increasing. Unfortunately for the
illegal file-sharers some of these firms see them as a way
to make a quick buck, and are resorting to bullying tactics
asking for substantial payouts for out of court settlements.
These tactics work, with most people opting to pay the
settlement, to avoid expensive litigation. I'm afraid I have
no sympathy for the illegal file-sharers, (as long as
innocent people are not being targeted) if you get involved
in illegal activity, you should expect to pay a hefty
penalty, even if it's at the hands of less than scrupulous
And just for all you Pirates out there:
Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 (IE8)
web browser has come a long way, but it's not perfect, not everyone is totally
happy with its user interface or it's general performance,
or indeed the many security issues. But it's important to
that all browsers have their security issues, unfortunately
for Microsoft their browser bugs always seem to make headline news.
But Microsoft hopes to change all this, and is hard at work
on a new version of Internet Explorer. IE9 promises full
support for the latest HTML 5 standards, massively improved
assisted graphics, all this along side the inevitable
security improvements and user interface tweaks. But this is
just hearsay, what's far more interesting is Microsoft's
early code previews of IE9, which reveal a fast and powerful
browser code base!
To download an Internet Explorer 9 preview (Windows Vista and 7 only) visit:
There were countless people who could not see the point of Apple's iPad, with many stating that people did not want such a device and it would not sell. How wrong they were...the latest sales figures indicate that more than 100,000 pre-orders have already been placed. This sends a very strong message that people not only understand what the iPad is, but moreover want to buy it. It might not have the full functionality of a tablet PC, but many people don't need another PC, they just need a simple to use, coffee table device for basic internet and media tasks, and as I predicted back in February the iPad is clearly this and more!
Chinese authorities are said to be concerned over the hacking allegations made by Google. The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) have stated that although they have not received a formal complaint from Google, they were currently in consultations with them over the matter. If these concerns are found to be true, and the attacks stemmed from within China, then the Chinese government has stated that it will take swift and decisive action against the perpetrators, making it very clear that this type of activity is unacceptable.
nVidia's first attempt at a low powered graphics processor was a resounding success with it's original 'Ion' GPU proving significantly faster than the competition. But nVidia's new low powered GPU is even faster; in fact there are reports that their new chip is up to ten times faster than Intel's latest GMA 3150 GPU (found inside Intel's new Atom N450 processor). This new 'Ion' GPU represents a significant step forward for Netbook graphics, which until now have struggled to play HD video smoothly, keep pace with more modern gaming titles and run full versions of Windows 7. Don't get me wrong, the 'Ion' graphics processor will not replace full blown discrete graphics any time soon, but nVidia have defiantly closed the gap a little.
The government is committed to reducing illegal file sharing, and is now considering a number of different punishments, including significantly reducing offenders internet bandwidth, imposing hefty download limits and even the possibility of suspending prolific offender's internet connections. No one can defend illegal file-sharing activity, thus it is only right that offenders are brought to account, there is no such thing as 'something for nothing' illegal file sharing is theft. The government hopes that these measures (still currently being finalised) will send a clear message to people, and if it doesn't then a few hundred annoyed households with little or no internet connection should do the trick. Remember if you are an illegal file-sharer and you get caught, it could be the whole household that suffers!
in April 2007 I wrote a news
article about Intel producing their first 80-core processor,
but as impressive as this was, it's inability to run
standard operating system code meant that was never going to
find it's way into a regular computer. But almost 3 years on
and much has changed with Intel
now exhibiting a prototype processor with no less than 48
true microprocessor cores, based on standard Intel
Architecture (IA). This means that this incredibly powerful
chip will be able to run standard operating system code, a
huge step forward from their previous many-core designs. The so called
Single-chip Cloud Computer (SCC) packs a massive 1.3 billion
transistors but still only uses around 125 watts of energy
at maximum performance, a true super computer on a chip!
For additional information visit:
Back in September 2006, four pupils from a school in Turin deemed it OK to film themselves bulling a classmate with Autism and then uploaded their sick escapade on YouTube. This was clearly very wrong, but that fact that YouTube, at the time, acted swiftly to remove the content from their site had no significance for the Milan court which today convicted three Google employees of violating the boy's privacy. This is a bizarre outcome to say the least, none of the employees had any part in the act of taking the images, or uploading said images to YouTube, but were still convicted. It is the four pupils that should have be convicted not YouTube. This sends out a very poor message 'Upload what you like, you won't get into any real trouble; let the site owners take the fall' ... ridiculous, people have to be accountable for the content they post, anything else is just idiotic!
AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) are on the verge of releasing their new 8 and 12 core Opteron processors, (code named Magny-Cours). Little is know about these new processors, other than they will be in direct competition with Intel's latest Xeon chips. Saying this, we do know that up to four of these new CPUs will be able to work together (48 cores in total), each supporting up to four DDR3 memory channels. So the specification on paper at least is impressive, but as always we will have to wait until real world performance can be measured before we get to excited!
Microsoft will soon begin to roll out it's 'Browser Ballot' screen (via Windows Updates); initially to Windows 7 users and then, on the 1st March, to all Windows users. The 'Browser Ballot' screen will present users with a choice of up to a dozen different browsers, with the top 5 most used randomly displayed first. This addition to Windows has come about solely to appease the European Commission over Microsoft's antitrust lawsuit. If Internet Explorer (IE) is your default browser you will be presented with the 'Browser Ballot' screen, whether you want it or not; if IE is not your default browser you will be pleased to know that you will not have to go through the 'Browser Ballot' screen malarkey!
For additional information visit:
Bringing information to people is at the heart of everything Google does, so its no wonder it has a soft spot for Wikipedia. Whether you like Wikipedia or not, it's difficult to ignore the sheer scale of it, with more than 14 million entries made by over 100,000 contributors, it represents one of the largest and most read references on the web. As Wikipedia's revenue is almost entirely generated from donations, Google's generous (£1.3 million) support will be most welcomed I'm sure.
This is just a reminder to anyone who is still using the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC), as of 1st March 2010 any active RC versions of Windows 7 will start to shut down every two hours (any files you have open will not be saved). Further to this initial behaviour, on the 1st June 2010 (when all RC versions finally expire), your wallpaper will also be set to solid black you will get a persistent message and additional pop-ups informing you that your Windows isn't genuine. I will stress again, this only applies to the free RC download (meant as a short term evaluation version of Windows 7 only), no other versions of Windows 7 are affected.
Visit my Operating Systems page for more information on Windows 7 products.
One thing that seems to upset most, if not all, Apple iPhone users, is the lack of Adobe Flash support in it's internet browser. You may not think this is particularly irritating issue, but when you consider that approximately 40% of all websites contain flash, then the problem does not seem so small. The issue stems from Apple's own terms and conditions which state that 'no application is allowed to install or lunch any code by any means'. So full flash support can't happen, but Adobe should take a little of the flak for not issuing a 'Light' version of their Flash player plug-in for the iPhone, something that would, more than likely, be more acceptable to Apple. Saying this I can believe that Apple aren't too worried about having Flash support; no Flash means, the extra graphic content won't slow the iPhone down, or for the same reason drain the battery more quickly and of cause it side steps any possible security issues!
Some users have been claiming that Microsoft's new operating system 'Windows 7' is destroying laptop batteries. The idea that an operating system could be responsible for damaging or destroying a laptop's battery seems a little odd, but the fact that Windows 7 incorporates a new feature that allows it to interrogation batteries and report back it's condition could be the reason why people think this is so. Basically Windows 7 interrogates the battery to glean it's original designed power capacity and it's current power capacity so that it can compare the two values; it then reports back to the user the actual, maximum capacity of the battery. If this value turns out to be less than 40% of the designed capacity (ie. 60% of the battery's capacity has degraded) Windows 7 informs the user that they may want to consider replacing their battery. This seems to me a classic case of don't shoot the messenger!
Microsoft seem to be on track for a June release of the latest version of their Office suite, Office 2010. In fact it has been suggested that Microsoft will soon offer free upgrades to anyone who purchases a qualifying Office product between March and it's June release date, under a scheme called the 'Microsoft Office 2010 Technology Guarantee Program'. As Microsoft is due to change the products in it's Office 2010 packages, your free upgrade path will not necessarily be obvious, but I have no doubt that more details will be released over the coming months!
Apple has just released its latest product, the iPad. Some people have already started to berate Apple for releasing such a device, stating that this is an unnecessary product that will not sell , but I strongly disagree. The iPad is a true coffee table device, a product that the whole family can dabble with, it's a web browser, an e-book reader and digital photo-frame. It has the obligatory iPod features of music and video playback, and the fact that it has a 9.7"LED screen, but still manages to weigh less than 0.7kg makes it a truly lightweight device. And if this was not enough then the fact that all standard Apple 'Appstore' applications should work without modification is another nice touch, and it doesn't end there, email, notes and calendar are all present too. In fact if you think of the iPad as a big version of Apple's iPod touch product you won't go too far wrong! It won't appeal to everyone, some will not be happy unless they have a PC, but for many this will be the next must have device!
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Windows 7 is officially the fastest selling operating system in history. Microsoft has sold 60 million Windows 7 licenses since it's launched back in October last year. This no doubt helped boost Microsoft's revenue in the last quarter of 2009 to almost £12bn, of which £4bn was pure profit; showing that Microsoft has finally got it right with Windows 7. With such interest in Windows 7 be sure to look out for my review (currently work in progress) and don't forget to visit my Software pages for the latest prices with handy price comparisons across a number of well known suppliers.
Yet again we hear reports of Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) coming under attack, but yet again it's the older versions of Internet Explorer that seem to be more susceptible. 'Should I change my browser?'...no, not because of this, all browsers have their vulnerabilities and IE is no worse then Firefox or any other browser for that matter. A change of browser would simply be a knee jerk reaction, especially when this latest vulnerability has been described by many security companies as a limited threat only. A better question to ask would be 'Should I update my browser to the latest version?', and the answer would be a resounding yes, as the latest versions of IE are much more secure than their predecessors.
For a link to the latest Internet Explorer download visit my Browsers page.
Back in 2006 Google setup 'Google.cn in' the hope that it could offer a more open internet for the Chinese people. At the time they were heavily criticised for agreeing to censor their search results so that the Chinese government would allow them to operate. But Google is becoming increasingly uncomfortable, especially now that significant evidence proves phishing and hacking attacks (aimed at western businesses and the GMail accounts of numerous human right campaigners) are originating from the Chinese government. This and the fact that Chinese authorities now wish to setup an internet 'whitelist' are putting Google in a very difficult position. So much so, that Google have decided to only offer an 'unfiltered' Google.cn service, something that will no doubt be unacceptable to the Chinese authorities and could ultimately result in the closure of the 'Google.cn' site and possibly Google's operations in China.
A new scheme called 'Home Access' has been set up by the UK government to help low-income families gain access to a computer and broadband connection. Qualifying families (who meet set eligibility criteria) will be given a grant to buy a computer and/or a year's internet access. They will also be given a year's service and support, plus all necessary security software to keep them safe on-line. The scheme hopes to help an additional 270,000 low-income families gain access to the internet (something that most people take for granted these days), and in doing so help reduce the digital divide and unsure many more families have access to a computer at home.
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Google has finally released it's long awaited mobile phone, the Nexus One. The specifications are impressive: Quad band (GSM/EDGE) 3G mobile phone, 1GHz Processor, High resolution 3.7" (WVGA) 800x400 screen, 5 Megapixel camera with flash (capable of taking video with a resolution of 720x480), removable storage using Micro SD Cards (up to 32GB), Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, Accelerometer, Digital compass, GPS receiver and much more. The phone's software is based on Google's latest 'Android Mobile' operating system, which is able to execute multiple applications simultaneously. The system is icon based (like the iPhone) and support is thriving for its growing library of applications, around 20,000 at the time of writing. Should Apple be worried by the Nexus...yes, Nexus is probably the first real competitor to the iPhone, it currently doesn't handle music and video quite as seamlessly as the iPhone, but this has to be offset by the fact it does most other tasks very well!
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Intel will soon extend it's current range of 'Core' processors, adding to their existing Core i7 and i5 series of CPUs, and introduce a new Core i3 chip. All the new CPUs (codenamed 'Westmere') will be based on a 32nm fabrication process a reduction from the 45nm process currently being used; they will be dual-core based and have intergraded graphics processors (or IGP) as standard. The IGPs will be based on Intel's new HD graphics chip, and although an improvement on previous incarnations, will still not worry the main-stream graphics card manufacturers. Technologies such as Hyper-threading (HT) and Turbo boost have been included, with all the chips being based on the LGA1156 socket. Intel's long term plan is that these new chips will replace their older 'Core 2 Duo' and 'Core 2 Quad' range of processors.
If you're interested in the new 'Core' range of visit my Processors page for more details.
music industry has made some mammoth mistakes; over charging
for CDs and digital downloads, lacing said mediums with
digital rights management and generally frustrating music
lovers all over the world. But things have changed, we no
longer have to to put up with DRM and pay for every music
track we want to listen to...and I am not talking about
piracy, I'm talking about 'Spotify'. Spotify allows you to
stream pretty much any track from just about any artist you
can think of, just type in the name and away you go. The
music industry has made this possible, and has allowed
Spotify to exist in this form, for this we should be
thankful. Spotify also provides a 'Premium Service' which
carries a small monthly tariff, but in return you get access
to mobile versions of Spotify and features such as an
'offline' mode for when you are not connected to the
internet. The average music pirate can't argue with this, it
gives them everything they have been fighting for, it leaves
them with no more excuses and nothing to hide
behind...Piracy is dead, long live Spotify!
For more information visit my 'Audio Tools' section within my Software area.
I hope the Glitch will prove interesting and useful to you during 2010, as I strive to continue to bring you the best products, software, sites and solutions to your problems. As always, your comments and suggestions are always welcome!