Category: Computer District


PirateBay, the extremely popular and controversial BitTorrent site, is also the most targeted for elimination by content owners and film studios worldwide, mainly Hollywood.

On Monday, PirateBay went offline for a full day, presumably because of a ruling won by some Hollywood studio that ordered PB’s bandwidth provider to stop servicing the site; something that’s happened three times in the past, all in which PirateBay won.

Today, as expected, PirateBay re-emerged in a rebellious attitude by posting a picture of a cat and the following statement: “Ims ins yours skynets, lollings aways ats yours futile attempts ats controllings ours Internets”, to those who continue to attempt bringing down the multi-million user website.

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After finally testing out the new Wikipedia user interface beta, i noticed a big difference in both physical interface and behind-the-scenes tweaking. Starting off with the most obvious, both the headers and left panels have a face-lifted design, with a light blue, much cleaner and curvier look than before. The tabs at the top are spaced in different sections, so it’s not as crowded and it has a much more ‘tabbed browsing’ feel to it. The search bar, probably one of the most used functions on Wikipedia, is located at the top right corner, in a much more visible fashion unlike before where it blended in with other links, especially for new users. Overall, the graphical user interface upgrade gets two thumbs up, with no noticeable flaws to the bare eye.

The site seems to run smoother than before, but there was nothing really to improve in that category. Editing, on the other hand, definitely required some adjustments for more basic end contributors. Although Wikipedia’s form of easy coding editing made it much easier to edit the page as a whole, it still seemed like it needed an easier to use, more compatible entry editor. In the new beta, the coding hasn’t changed at all, but the editor has similar updates to the main page, including the light blue look, and has more visible editing buttons. Although the editing upgrade isn’t extensive, this is still a beta and hopefully, the final release will do some finishing tweaks.

Publicized in multiple forums, it looks like Toshiba is gearing up to announce or even release what seems to be the ‘world’s lightest and thinnest’ 13-inch notebook, although there is no confirmation from Toshiba themselves. Thin-and-light laptops were a major trend in 2009, alongside netbooks, but is that still the case for 2010? If so, this new charm needs to keep up with its rivals like the Adamo XPS, the Macbook Air and MSI X340 meaning it also needs high-end performance stats and a ‘high-end’ price tag, but hopefully, will be more affordable to average consumers than its competitors. Judging by the photo(s), the device not only looks thin but amazingly sexy and still manages to carry the infamous design and architecture of other Toshiba notebooks. Rumours also state that Toshiba will be utilizing a regular voltage Intel i3/i5 unit but with a special Supercharged Ion Battery, a new technology, which can charge up to 90% of its capacity in 10 minutes, something no laptop on retail has yet, which might give Toshiba a more advantageous release, but nobody’s quite sure if this battery is going have a long life, or just have a fast charging cycle, either way, all this technical sounding gear is probably going to be delivered with a (high) price. Basically, as an overview, we’re gonna have ANOTHER Macbook Air slaughterer.

The most common question i get asked is simple: “What laptop should I buy?” Being a generally difficult person by nature, I usually respond with my own series of questions: “What size screen do you want? How much do you want to spend?” and so on. But sometimes people just want a simple suggestion, based on what I actually like. So, here is a jargon-free list of the current crop of laptops that I’m digging, either because they give you good bang for your buck, they excel in their specific category, or because they’re just plain awesome.

5. HP Mini 5102

Even though i’m not a big fan of netbooks, this one just stands out and forced its way onto this list. Being a sequel to its powerful predessecor, this little machine defenitely meets today’s standards, even for a notebook. It features the new Intel Atom proccessor with 1.66 GHz and 1GB of DDR2 RAM, more than enough for such a little computer. The build quality is one of best on any netbook on the market today, made of aluminum and magnesium alloy, some material nobody knows but sounds strong and complicated, so it suffices. The graphics are reasonable, a simple Intel GMA integrated chipset does the job fine. The machine overall stands out both performance-wise and construction-wise in today’s selection of netbooks and still manages to keep a steady price of $399.99.

4. Gateway NV7915u

In the past, desktop-replacement notebooks were never any interest to mainstream consumers, considering they were usually bulky, expensive and were never really fast enough to be compared to a desktop. Gateway (or Acer) addressed this ‘issue’ by introducing the NV79 series, more specifically, the 7915u. The 600 dollar notebook features Intel’s new Core i3 processor alongside 2.13 GHZ and 4GBs of RAM, specs that no-doubt compares to average desktops. It has a wide and glossy 17.3′ inch screen, perfect for handling multiple windows or just sitting back and watching a movie. At $599, it’s one of the cheapest laptops you’ll find at retail with Intel’s Core i3 processor. Only minor flaws like poor battery life and an awkward trackpad button give us reason to not favour the Gateway NV7915u.

3. Toshiba Satellite E205

At this year’s CES conference, one of the technologies introduced that captured everyone’s interest was Intel’s Wireless Display Technology, or WiDi. WiDi, however, needs to be compatible on computers to work, and one of the first notebook computers to include WiDi at retail is the $899 Toshiba Satellite E205-S1904, a model that’s exclusive to Best Buy. The E205 defenitely has some changed looks from its predecessor, the E105. Gone is the boxy  look, replaced with a sleek curved blue design. A new Intel Core i5 replaces the old Core 2 Duo, bringing some performance and power-management upgrades along with it. Still featuring a backlit keyboard, for $50 more than the previous E105 for improved CPU and wireless display technology, it’s arguably worth it, placing it third in our top five list.

2. Sony Vaio Z Series VPC-Z116GX/S

Because of the economy, recently, everyone is looking into value and low-priced computers, and has really taken the spotlight off the more high-end machines that are a bit expensive but fully-featured beastly masterpieces. Also due to the economy, many companies have limited their high-end notebook production dramatically, the same way automakers have limited their production of SUVs. Each of the famous corporations like HP and Dell have only one or two of these high-priced monsters, like the Envy 13 from HP and Adamo XPS from Dell, and from Sony, they’ve released a successor to their very much-loved notebook, the Z-series. In the latest refresh, the Vaio Z has a very fast Intel Core i5 processing unit with 2.4 GHZ and 4GBs of DDR3 RAM, an Nvidia GT 330M GPU which can be switched over to Intel GMA 4500MHD integrated graphics for better battery life, a DVD/CD drive and a huge 256GB SSD (SSDs are much more expensive than regular HDs, even for less space) hard drive, which is a big portion of the $2,299 price. Price aside, the new Vaio Z is my 13-inch laptop of choice, as it breezed by many of the other 13-inch notebooks with slower CPUs. The trade-off though, is battery life. The Vaio Z has only a 3-hour batter life, which compared to other 13-inch laptops, like the Macbooks which has up to 10 hour batteries now, is a flaw. Although the price is out-of-range for most consumers, the price is definitely worth the bang on this machine as it powers by most other high-end notebooks with ease, placing it second on our list.

1. Macbook Pro 15-inch (Spring 2010 Model) – Core i7 2.66 GHz/4GB RAM/500GB HDD

Apple’s lineup of high-end notebooks have never been disappointing, especially the recently updated lineup of Pros. Apple’s upgrades to their devices have always been closely watched, falling into two main categories; major evolutions such as the switch to unibody aluminum construction in 2008 or minor spec upgrades like the iPhone 3GS. The Spring 2010 upgrade for the Macbook Pros however, don’t fall into either. The unibody construction remains the same, well actually, the physical attributes of the new MBPs are identical to their predecessors and the internal components are upgraded, but these are no minor spec updates. The Pros have made a switch over to Intel’s new Core lineup, both the mainstream i5 and the high-end i7 CPUs (unfortunately, the 13-inch still uses the Core 2 Duo processor). This requires new chipset construction(according to Intel) which carry onto the next upgrade to a more powerful and efficient GPU, the Nvidia GeForce 9400M and Intel integrated chipset, which switch between the two seamlessly and automatically when needed. The basic model of the 15-inch is priced at $1,799, but i’ve come to realize you get a better bang-for-your-buck with the highest-end model (Core i7 2.66 GHz/4GB RAM/500GB HDD) which values at $2,199. With the 13-inch stuck with a Core 2 Duo, this revamp seems like the 15-inch is their new powerhouse flagship model, deserving its prestigious standing on our Best Notebook list.

Apple’s lineup of high-end notebooks are finally being upgraded, the first update since last June. The long-awaited overhaul announced yesterday, features an almost brand-new line up of notebooks ranging from the 13-inch to the 17-inch. Updated graphics and faster processors, plus longer battery life and upgraded RAM all come with the upgrade.

13-Inch

The MBP 13 inch now ships with 4 GBs of RAM, on both the 2.4 and 2.66 GHZ preset configurations, plus they now feature a  NVIDIA Geforce 320M Graphics card, a larger hard drive capacity and a longer battery life (up to 10 hours). The 13-inch models, still are lower-end, compared to the 15 and 17 inch as they still use the Intel Core 2 Duo processor, but the other models have upgraded  units.

15 and 17-Inch

The 15 and 17 Inch MCPs now feature the brand new Intel processors, the i5 and i7. These processors increase loading speeds dramatically, working together with the standard 4 Gigs of Ram. The batteries on these machines are also upgraded, as they can run for up to 8-9 hours. The graphics on the 15 and 17 inch models are significantly improved, as they all feature the NVIDIA Geforce GT 330M with 256 or 512 MB of dedicated video memory, PLUS Intel HD graphics allowing for automatic switching between graphic modes.

A Taiwanese microchip company is suing Apple over the unauthorized use of their patented technology, multitouch, which is now used on multiple devices including the iPhone, iPod and iPad, arriving in today. Elan Microelectronics filed a complaint with the International Trade Commission asking to permanently ban numerous Apple products in the U.S. If the ITC chooses to continue with the matter, it can be looked into for up to 15 months. What’s ironic is Apple filed a complaint with the ITC against the phonemaker, HTC, for infringing 20 different patents, asking to ban all their phones to be shipped into the U.S. Predictably though, Elan will probably let Apple off the hook with a reasonable amount of money and a carefully thought out settlement.

Since its early days in 2001, Wikipedia has gone through a series of small user experience changes, but nothing big. Announced in a recent blog post, the non-profit online encyclopedia is going to have a large user interface redesign, sometime in the near future. Wikipedia said they are switching over to a new theme, “Vector”, which allows for easier access to the most used features and a more elegant page. Wikipedia also claims they will make a slight change to the logo and make it easier for users to participate in articles. This new facelift has been tested by beta users for a few weeks, and is said to be released to the public by late april. Hopefully, this’ll attract more users and make it easier for readers to contribute to the community.

Ever tried emailing a video or application that’s fairly large? Most email servers don’t allow attatchments exceeding 100, 50 or even 25 MB, so how are you going to send that birthday video to your cousin? Well, there’s many alternatives, some even free.

Dropbox allows you to store up to 20GB os data on their servers for free, plus this can be upgraded to 50 or even 100 GB for 10 to 20 dollars. The uploading service on their website limits each upload to 300MB, but if you use their desktop client, you can take advantage of all your storage. Once you have data uploaded, you can share it with anybody you want.

Not fancy enough? Try Glide, which allows up to 30GB of free storage space, and let’s you upload this data with a fancy virtual operating system, that’s accessible with any internet browser. Again, the online uploader limits you to 200MB per upload, but if you download their utility, this limit is taken off.

Still not big enough? That’s what she said. SendThisFile has no limit on your file size, but some browsers only allow 2GB of upload at once. Also, this is no online storage, as your data gets deleted after three days.

Along lines of temporary online storage, WeTransfer caps you at 2GB but is the easiest way to share your data online. Just select your file, enter an email address, and it’s off. Similarly, FileDropper limits you to 5GB but keeps your files forever at a unique URL, plus it requires no registration.

These are just a few online services that allow you to share larger files online, but there are dozens more. Hopefully though, this’ll help you the next time you need to share that large something ;).

Debatably the best internet browser out there, Mozilla Firefox tops our list because it packs top-notch features and blazing fast speed into a tidy, intuitive and easy-to-use interface that will assist you navigate the web the way you want to. Since it’s so popular, it has the most available customization published by other users, plus it has the most standout features compared to other browsers, that force them to copy Firefox’s trail.

When Google joined the internet browser industry in 2008, they pushed with full force to make an impressive entry, Chrome. Google Chrome uses a unique approach to browsing the web, taking complex features but making them compatible and easy to use. Chrome is an open source project using the WebKit engine allowing innovation to come in future releases of Chrome.

Opera endorses a different “tune” of browsing, allowing for fun and functional surfing. Opera likes to contribute social networking and favourite sites into the most accessible places, always keeping you in touch. This browser shows countless outstanding features including interactive voice command, mouse gestures and thumbnail previews. One of the best features of Opera is its endless possibilities of configuration, fitting your needs and style by arranging panels, toolbars and buttons and choosing from several unique skins and various widgets.

Safari is no longer Apple exclusive, the top-notch, luxurious browser is now available for all platforms as well. Safari provides the Mac look and experience in an internet browser. It is complete with easy to use, functional features and an overall great look. Safari mainly focuses on being lightweight and non-obtrusive rather than customizable, but the interface is still quite sleek and not bulky. Although Safari may lack some of the features other browsers have, it still competes strongly due to its lightweight and simple perspective of internet browsing.

Though the correct order of this listing is STRICTLY OPINION, for us, this is our Top 4.

Opinion: Apple iPad

The Apple iPad, one of the most anticipated products from Apple in the past year, with rumours, leaks and predictions from the most famous sites, paves a clean path of disappointment for the year 2010.  After Apple finally announced the release of the Apple iPad in late January, this upcoming gadget ignited tons of debate and report on its many problems and disappointments including the absence of Flash, a proper operating system and a physical keyboard. Personally, i was genuinely excited for the announcement on January 27th, as i expected a proper tablet computer from Apple, meaning its form factor like a laptop, except the screen would be touch capable. Apple, obviously loving to surprise people, announced a giant iPhone clone served for a different purpose. Personally, I’m a huge fan of Apple as they like to express their ideas advanced but simple, and always seemed to amaze people with revolutionary products. This however, was one of the biggest disappointments since the first Blackberry Storm. The mobile OS restricts the device to function like a regular computer, what a tablet should be able to do. A tablet should also be able to allow typing, with this device, the keyboard is onscreen, which isn’t too bad if it was a phone as you can use your thumbs, but because this device is mid-sized, if you place it flat surface, typing would KILL your wrists.

The Apple iPad is a very debatable device, mainly because it can serve as so many different purposes, but none of them reasonable. All this, obviously is personal opinion.