Making counterfeit Apple parts does not pay

Word of advice to tech companies, don't try to make knockoff Apple computers. Or power adapters.

Why? Because they'll go after you.

Apple is taking another company to court, once again over knock-off hardware. Media Solutions Holdings will face Cupertino in court over making power adapters for laptops, at least one model of which allegedly violates an Apple patent.

The company being sued peddles more than just Apple knock-offs, they sell adapters for numerous brand-name laptops, including HP, Acer, Sony, Toshiba and Lenovo. It's a quite common business, as most brand-name power adapters can be expensive.

Apple is often synonymous with pricey, which makes them a common target for manufacturers of clone hardware like Psystar, but the term "counterfeit" better describes this case. It seems that Media Solutions Holdings was attempting to pass its adapters off as genuine Apple hardware.

Do you think consumers were tipped off when they found an orange on the power adapter instead of  an apple?


Macs definitely aren't perfect

First that little OS snafu where all user files were deleted, and now Apple is shipping defective or broken machines. What the heck is happening at the World Wide Leader of Cute Computers?

Scattered reports around the Web indicate that there may be one or more design flaws with Apple's 27" Core i7-powered iMac. Many users claim that their high-end iMac systems have cracked screens out of the box, and some units are completely dead on arrival. Among the affected are editors at Engadget, who recently received a new i7 model that refused to boot -- though, a different i7 iMac was fine.

Customers have piled into the Apple Support forum to complain about their busted machines, but Apple has yet to determine the root of the problem. It would seem most likely that the cracked displays are a result of insufficient packaging, poor handling -- or both. The DOA machines could also stem from improper shipping practices, though it is less probable.

Is the guy shipping all these Macs Ace Ventura? I mean a few cracked screens is one thing, but widespread cases of that along with dead machines is not a good sign for quality control at Apple.


PC shipments increase, revenues decrease

We've been hearing a lot of good news lately from the tech sector in terms of dollars and cents, however it seems that the PC industry market value will shrink this year.

According to a report released by Gartner today, worldwide PC shipments will grow 2.8% this year -- though, revenue will fall 11%. The firm's preliminary fourth-quarter forecast indicates that global PC shipments will total 298.9 million units in 2009, and may reach 336.6 million units in 2010, a 12.6% increase from this year.

This news comes after less optimistic research in September, which claimed there would be a 2% decline in shipments for 2009. Gartner said the growth is due to higher-than-anticipated sales in the third quarter, but despite that boost, the market value is still expected to decline. The outfit predicts that the market value of global PC shipments will total $217 billion in 2009, 10.7% less than 2008. That figure may increase by 2.6% to $222.9 billion in 2010.

With all things considered, an 11 percent drop seems about on par with the way everything is going. Growth in 2010 looks promising as everyone starts to pull themselves out of this recession.


Microsoft and Fox News in bed with one another

Well this whole Bing-Google search engine war just took an interesting twist. Look for the cannonballs to start flying after Microsoft is in discussions with News Corp to stop indexing their content with Google News. That's the same News Corp that owns Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and The Sun. Uh-oh.

Microsoft has had discussions with News Corp over a plan that would involve the media company being paid to “de-index” its news websites from Google, setting the scene for a search engine battle that could offer a ray of light to the newspaper industry.

The impetus for the discussions came from News Corp, owner of newspapers ranging from the Wall Street Journal of the US to The Sun of the UK, said a person familiar with the situation, who warned that talks were at an early stage.

However, the Financial Times has learnt that Microsoft has also approached other big online publishers to persuade them to remove their sites from Google’s search engine.

News Corp and Microsoft, which owns the rival Bing search engine, declined to comment.

One website publisher approached by Microsoft said that the plan “puts enormous value on content if search engines are prepared to pay us to index with them”.

Things just got really, really ugly. We're about to see an all-out brawl. And I think newspapers are really kidding themselves if they think that selling the rights to their stories is going to save the industry. That's like saying a sports league could survive on TV rights sales alone. Not gonna work.


What you need to know about the Google Chrome OS

Google unveiled its plan for its new operating system yesterday and while I'm sure nobody is still sure what to expect but here's the basics about the Chrome OS...

1. Google Chrome OS is essentially a web browser on 'roids -
This is something hard to get my brain wrapped around but essentially the Chome OS will be based largely on web applications (meaning no desktop apps) and a tabular navigation system much like the Google Chrome browser already in existence. This may seem weird but considering how much work people already do online and how many applications are online these days, this is just another way to be speedy on the computer (a webpage opens up quicker than a program). However, despite it's browser roots, it still will be able to handle multiple tasks at once, you'll just have to get use to the navigation.

2. It will update and fix itself constantly - Tired of those "Patch Tuesdays" that Microsoft always rolls out? Chrome OS will always be updating itself to the latest version for security and convenience reasons meaning that everybody will have the most up-to-date versions. If it does find some malware or other problem in the operating system, it will basically just re-download the latest version of itself, bug-free.

3. All your data is online -
Everything will be stored online, not locally on a hard drive. While this seems scary at first, if your computer is stolen or broken you can just get a new computer and access all your old files. However, if you're not connected online, that's a different story. This is how they'll be able to pull of the constantly updating and re-imaging of the operating system since your files will not be on a hard drive, hence they wont be swept away when you OS refreshes itself.

4. Chrome OS will only work on Google-approved PCs - Google is looking for very specific types of machines for their OS. They're also going to do away with traditional hard drives and move on to "flash" or solid state hard media, meaning no moving parts. This would mean a boot-up time of around seven seconds on the machine.

5. It should work offline, but I'm not sure how well - You might be able to play games, but if you're not connected and can't access files, I could see this being a serious issue.

Mozilla makes some money

Mozilla Firefox, better known as the browser you download with IE after you buy your computer because it runs quicker than that slug Microsoft saddles you with, reported some interesting financial numbers for the year 2008. They are another tech company that has seemed to be able to ride out these economic times and grow in profit.

Our revenue and expenses are consistent with 2007, showing steady growth. Mozilla’s consolidated reported revenues (Mozilla Foundation and all subsidiaries) for 2008 were $78.6 million, up approximately 5% from 2007 reported revenues of $75.1 million. The majority of this revenue is generated from the search functionality in Mozilla Firefox from organizations such as Google, Yahoo, Amazon, eBay, and others.

2008 revenues include a reported loss of $7.8 million in investments in the Foundation’s long-term portfolio (approximately 25%) as a result of economic conditions and investment values at the end of 2008. Excluding investment gains and losses, revenues from operational activity were $86.4 million compared to $73.3 million in 2007, an annual increase of 18%.

With Google Chrome, the latest version of IE grumbling in the background, Opera and Safari - there is a lot of competition out there for Mozilla. Although don't count out the devoted fanbase of Firefox, which seems to be growing all the time.


Modern Warfare 2 is the best selling piece of media ever

Fighting terrorists and other countries apparently ranks high in the minds of people as Modern Warfare 2 has raked in truckloads of cash. In fact, its raked in more cash in a five day period than any game or movie. Ever.


Despite a bit of controversy in Russia, Infinity Ward's Modern Warfare 2 has taken the video game world by storm, and now it is breaking sales records across the entire entertainment industry. The title reportedly generated $550 million in sales during the first five days available, beating all other video game launches and raking in more cash than any movie in the same timeframe.

By comparison, the current worldwide box-office record-holder is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which earned $394 million in its first five days. The Dark Knight holds the US box-office record with $203.8 million. The title has even successfully trounced Grand Theft Auto IV, which pulled in $500 million over the first five days of sales. 

Hear me know, there will be no studying on college campuses for the next three months. 


Internet Explorer to rise again

Even though I use Firefox religiously, Microsoft gearing up for another version of Internet Explorer is big news because I'll have to eventually get a new computer and use this browser to download FF and Chrome.

Microsoft will talk about its plan for upcoming builds of Internet Explorer this week at the Professional Developers Conference
-- though, it will not offer a preview of its next browser, according to CNET. It is also reported that the company is not planning to announce a move to the WebKit engine, despite speculation.

During a presentation today at the conference, chief software architect Ray Ozzie said Microsoft would make Internet Explorer the best Windows

browser, but did not elaborate. Redmond is expected to offer more details during tomorrow's keynote speech, however, which will touch on some "focus areas" for the next version of IE.

One thing that keeps getting me about IE is how darn slow the thing is. While more tests have shown that it's actually a fairly safe browser in terms of viruses and spyware items, it still takes forever to boot up and load pages. So Microsoft... speed things up a bit.


The Russians don't like Modern Warfare

This makes me wonder what they thought of Goldeneye. According to some content in the latest COD game, there's been a big snafu and the game has been pulled off the shelves in Russia. An apparently ban on it is rumored.

Activision is celebrating many successes with Modern Warfare 2 in general. The game opened up to amazing sales and helped contribute to a record-breaking number of Xbox Live connections. It's not gravy worldwide, however, following some recent trouble the game is dealing with in Russia. Despite an initial passing grade, MW2 is now facing an outright ban in Russia due to controversial content.

In particular the scene in which a player is put into an airport in Moscow has caused an upset, though for what specific reasons hasn't been clarified yet. Neither Activision nor the Russian government has released an official statement on what the situation is, but for now the game has been pulled from shelves in Russian stores. There's also rumors (though nothing official yet) that the game may face an outright ban.

So we don't know what it is yet? Can you say lame? Apparently they have a different idea of freedom over there in Russia, or some weird tastes when it comes to video games. After all, they did make Tetris.


Gamers up in arms about Modern Warfare 2's multi-player system

Gamers tend to like Call of Duty's awesome multi-player feature, which can basically suck up your entire day due to it's extreme enjoyability. Trust me in college, there was a week where we didn't have school due to snow and guess what I was doing that entire week? With the release of COD:MW2, it seems some gamers are up in arms about a few things.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was released worldwide this week to an overwhelming success, selling 4.7 million copies on a single day and raking in an estimated $310 million in North America and the United Kingdom alone. Reviews have been mostly favorable too, at least as far as gameplay is concerned. But there is one group who feels slighted by a series of changes made in this latest addition to the Call of Duty franchise.

Ever since the word was out, PC gamers have been up in arms with Infinity Ward's decision to replace dedicated servers to host multiplayer matches with a proprietary infrastructure called IWNet. This has translated into less control in the hands of gamers, with no way to choose who is hosting matches (one player is assigned automatically), and no ability to kick or ban players from your game.

GASP! That's the end of the world.

Okay, so that does sound kind of annoying and I don't know why IW just couldn't stick with the old system unless there was some sort of concern that we're not aware of. Sometimes you don't want to give gamers too much control but the automated IWNet sounds a bit lame, kind of like Mario Kart Wii's automated and completely random multi-player system.

Makes me was to go use a rocket launcher.


Water found on the moon

Remember that big NASA impact on the moon a while back? Well apparently the data is back and they've found quite a substantial amount of water of the moon. Looks like we might be going back...

Substantial water reserves have been found beneath the Moon’s surface, Nasa announced yesterday, paving the way for a permanent lunar base.

The discovery came from Nasa’s “moon bombing” mission, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) probe, which was deliberately crashed into the lunar South Pole last month. An analysis of the dust thrown up from the impact revealed the presence of about 80 litres of water, or enough for a shallow bath. The results suggest that much larger, more accessible reserves are available at the poles.

“We can announce that we’ve found water — not just a little bit, a significant amount,” said Tony Colaprete, principal investigator for the mission at Nasa’s Ames Research Centre in California.

The exact form of the water is not yet clear, but it is likely to be spread out in small ice crystals. The rocket hit the Moon at an area where the surface temperature is around -230C. This region has not been in direct sunlight for at least two billion years. 

And it's still probably cleaner than the tap water in LA. Wonderful.

The 50 Best Innovations of 2009

Time Magazine has released a list of the 50 best innovations of 2009. Some of them high-tech, some of them life changing and some of them are just plain weird. The No. 1 on the list was NASA's Ares Rocket which could potentially launch men to the moon and beyond.

The new rockets could take astronauts to some thrilling places. The biggest costs — and risks — associated with visiting other celestial bodies are from landing and taking off again. But suppose you don't land? An independent commission appointed by the White House to make recommendations for NASA's future recently returned its 154-page report and made strong arguments for bypassing the familiar boots-in-the-soil scenario in favor of a flexible path of flybys and orbits.

Under the new thinking, astronauts could barnstorm or circle the moon, Mars and Mars' twin moons, deploying probes to do their rock-collecting and experiments for them. They could similarly sample near-Earth objects like asteroids. They could also travel to what is known as the Lagrange points — a scattering of spots between Earth and the moon and Earth and the sun where the gravitational forces on the bodies are precisely balanced and spacecraft simply ... hang where they are. These would serve as ideal spots for deploying probes and conducting cosmic observations.

Ladies and gentlemen, the 21st Century!


Windows 7 continues to take over the world

It's official, Windows 7 is way better than Vista and it's selling a whole lot better than Vista. In just three weeks, the new operating system has captured an astounding four percent market share, something that took Vista six months to do. Miracles or miracles if you release something stable and people actually want to use it.

Windows 7 continues to blaze trails, both in new sales and in upgrades of existing machines. As of the second week in November, less than three weeks since the official release, Windows 7 has reportedly snagged over 4% of the global OS market. At that speed, Windows 7 is outpacing its predecessor at an alarming rate. It took Vista roughly six months after release to reach 4% share.

This momentum may continue through the end of the year, when PC sales are traditionally high. If it does, it will be interesting to see where most of the users are coming from -- be it upgrades from XP, Vista, or new machines. Regardless, the message is clear: Windows 7 is growing at an astounding rate.

Apple people might have overestimated the whole "Windows 7 will cause people to switch to Mac" because they were dead wrong. Windows 7 is gaining momentum and I think we may have found a suitable replacement for Windows XP.


Macs apparently aren't perfect either

Wait, I though Macs were supposed to be perfect in every sense of the word. No viruses, bugs and gremlins slowly tearing apart your computer (Actually PC's don't have gremlins either). However, Apple just came out with a massive patch that fixes 58 vulnerabilities in its operating systems. Wow.

Today's security update was the sixth from Apple this year, and the second that included patches for Snow Leopard, launched in late August.

"Seems a little large, but really, it's par for the course for Apple," said Andrew Storms, director of security operations at nCircle Network Security, referring to the number of individual bugs quashed in today's 2009-006 update. In May, Apple patched a record 67 vulnerabilities; it addressed 55 in February, 33 in September, and 19 in two separate August updates.

"Thank goodness Apple didn't release it tomorrow," Storms said. Microsoft, which unlike Apple sets a regular schedule for its security updates, is slated to deliver six updates Tuesday that will patch 15 vulnerabilities.

Why does it always feel like I'm getting talked down to when reading a Mac story? I mean these guys seriously think they're error free yet they do the same stuff Microsoft does.

Ready for Google Caffeine?

Remember when Google rolled out it's test Google Caffeine build that was much quicker in terms of search speed. Well the next generation of Google search is about to go live and while it's not much of a graphical change it will be a big tweak to the infastructure of the search engine giant.

Here's the statement from Google. This comes from the Google Caffeine beta page which has now been shut down.

We appreciate all the feedback from people who searched on our Caffeine sandbox.Based on the success we’ve seen, we believe Caffeine is ready for a larger audience. Soon we will activate Caffeine more widely, beginning with one data center. This sandbox is no longer necessary and has been retired, but we appreciate the testing and positive input that webmasters and publishers have given.

It will be interesting to see how this changes some of the rankings and who gets dinged and who doesn't. This might hurt Bing a little as more people will want to test drive the new "Google" if they don't already use it all the time. 


Big Brother... I mean Google... is watching you

In a rare move in big company history, Google is actually letting everyone know how much information they have on you. Now if only the CIA would do the same...

"Over the past 11 years, Google has focused on building innovative products for our users. Today, with hundreds of millions of people using those products around the world, we are very aware of the trust that you have placed in us, and our responsibility to protect your privacy and data," said Google in a blog post today. "In an effort to provide you with greater transparency and control over their own data, we've built the Google Dashboard."

The company said the Dashboard is set up so that users can control the personal settings in each Google product that they use. Google said the Dashboard tool supports more than 20 products and services, including Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Web History, YouTube, Picasa, Talk, Reader, Alerts and Google Latitude.

I took a peek at my Dashboard and basically Google knows everything about me, which is kind of creepy. It's like a spouse but without all the arguments about who left the toilet seat up.


The Wii doesn't do so well with Mature games

There's no denying that the Nintendo Wii has been wildly successful and while it may not be the prized console for hardcore gamers, it's reached a wide audience as people are drawn to its social gaming concept. Let me tell you, it's wonderful to have around for parties since the games are easy to pick up and very entertaining. The motion sensor remotes feel new and it's just more fun.

However if there's a downfall to the Wii, it's the console's slant towards family/kid games. I'm guessing that since the GPU isn't as powerful as the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3, game makers have to make their 3D models more cartoonish, and due to the controllers - which are more likely to appeal to kids than Joe the Gamer sitting in his mom's basement (who wants 18 different button configurations).

There has been ventures into Mature-rated games but they have largely failed.

...according to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board database. Some, such as Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, haven't even been released yet. Compare that to 168 Mature-rated games listed for Xbox 360, or 126 mature-rated games for PlayStation 3, and it's clear where the majority of the industry's grown-up releases end up. But publishers remain intent to trying to make it work on Wii.

Earlier this year, a substantial amount of pre-release hype and critical acclaim followed the most hopeful attempt: Platinum Games and Sega's hyper-violent action game MadWorld. Japanese developer Platinum Games was founded by former Capcom designers Shinji Mikami, Atsushi Inaba and Hideki Kamiya. The theory went like this: with that kind of gaming pedigree, hardcore gamers would flock to MadWorld, and its over-the-top violence and Sin City-esque art style would attract Wii owners looking for something different. That theory didn't hold, and MadWorld failed to make a splash.

Even Sega doesn't know exactly what went wrong.

"It’s difficult because it was a critically acclaimed title; it was extreme but good," said Sega of America president Mike Hayes in an interview with Wired. "The thing that we’re saying is, Sega would be extremely arrogant to have a title that didn’t do as well as we thought on a platform and then say, 'Those kinds of games don’t sell on that platform.' I think if you take our slew of more mature games -- House of the Dead Overkill did really well in Europe, and for some reason even though it’s a big (intellectual property) it did less well in North America. So that’s kind of like a win and a miss that’s kind of come out neutral. MadWorld sales were very disappointing, but was that to do with the platform? Was it that people didn’t like the art style? Or that people didn’t like the way the game played through? It could be many things, which we’re obviously researching."

I think for the most part, hardcore games - the ones who buy these Mature titles - go for the powerful machines like the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Hence, you're marketing to a smaller market of your core consumers on the Wii. It's just set up to fail from the beginning.


Windows 7 saves the economy!

Hooray! Microsoft's new operating system is jumpstarting PC sales and causing the market to blow up by 40 percent. That means the economy will probably rebound right? Nothing to worry about we can start charging our credit cards again?

As many predicted, the debut of Windows 7 has prompted a surge in PC sales -- for now, at least. During the first week of general availability, Windows 7 boosted computer sales by some 40% year-over-year, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Katheryn Huberty.

The figure is based on NPD sales data, and is partially skewed by consumers holding off purchases. During the two weeks leading up to Windows 7's launch, sales fell 29% and 2% compared to 2008. While computer sales have rebounded (and then some) from that stint, many people -- including Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer -- don't expect Windows 7 to have a long term impact on PC sales.

Oh so this is just a bubble? Really? Who's ever built their financial stability on a bubble and failed? Oh wait that would be the economy in the early 2000s.


Windows 7 makes large leap in market share

After it's initial release to the general public, Windows 7 is already making some inrows into the operating system market - someone Windows Vista could really never do against XP.

Windows 7's market share climbed almost 40% in the week following its release, according to research outfit Net Applications. During the week after October 22, market share of Microsoft's latest operating system jumped more than 39% from 1.91% to an average of 2.66%. That growth doesn’t appear to be slowing either, rising another 82% to a peak share of 3.48% on October 31. For the entire month, Windows 7 finished with a market share of 2.15%, a 41% increase over the 1.52% for September.

Overall, Windows' share fell by .23% globally to 92.52%, while Apple's Mac OS X consumed the majority of that loss, gaining .15% and finishing the month at 5.27% -- its highest share ever. Windows XP experienced a .92% loss during October, falling to 70.6%. Meanwhile, Vista rebounded from September, when its share dropped for the first time in over two years, ending the month with 18.77% -- still less than its August record of 18.8%.

Keep in mind that many people wont make the leap until the coming months, or maybe they're waiting to upgrade to a new machine for Christmas. Sometimes people will also wait for the new Microsoft OS to be out for a while so they can work out all the kinks. One thing is for sure though, all initial responses have been positive and it looks like Windows 7 won't have the same negative connotation as Vista.

Apparently Google owes a lot of money

Turkey is not happy with Google, saying that they owe $47 million in back taxes. Look for that country to be eradicated from the face of the planet by Googlebots.

TechCrunch reports Turkey is claiming Google owes them 71 million Turkish Lira or 47 million US dollars in back taxes.

In fact, the Turkish government is fining Google for the money. Google claims all the funds are through their Ireland branch and Google does not owe Turkey any taxes. Google technically has a company in Turkey named Google Reklamcılık ve Pazarlama Ltd. Şti. but the company is technically set up as a ‘liaison’ branch. If set up properly, TechCrunch reports Google would owe little to no taxes to the Turkish government.

I know what you're thinking... Turkey has taxes? Yeah they do, they have a government and everything. It's quite fancy. This also isn't the first time Google has been accused of evading taxes. Should be interesting to see how this thing pans out.


The Internet will eventually run out of spam sites promising $1250 a month by working at home

Just when you thought that the internet would never run out of space - we've got some serious web address issues. It seems that at our current rate, we will run out of internet address within the next two years. Does that mean we just have to start using geocities and blogspot domains?

A survey, conducted by the European Commission, found that few companies are prepared for the switch from the current naming protocol, IPv4, to the new regime, IPv6. Web experts have warned that we could run out of internet addresses within the next two years unless more companies migrate to the new platform.

The IPv4 and IPv6 protocols refer to the way in which web addresses are created and assigned. Each website has a unique IP address, represented by a string of numbers, such as, which are then given a user-friendly web address, such as telegraph.co.uk, to make them easier to remember.

Credit card details freely available on webThe IPv4 protocol uses 32-bit addresses, which enables the web to support around 4.3 billion unique addresses. By contrast, IPv6 uses 128-bit web addresses, creating billions of possible new web addresses – experts estimate it could assign a unique address for every blade of grass on the planet.

Ahhhhh! This is worst that Y2K. Everyone run for the hills.

Windows 7 upgrade causes widespread pain and suffering

Usually when you upgrade an operating system you would expect things to either work or just reboot and go to the old operating system if the upgrade failed. However, Windows 7 has a fantastic little feature where it actually just keeps rebooting if your upgrade is unsuccessful. And rebooting. And rebooting.

Users remained stymied today by endless reboots after trying to upgrade their PCs to Windows 7, according to messages posted on Microsoft's support forum.

An answer has yet to be found for all users, who began reporting the problem last Friday after watching the upgrade stall two-thirds of the way through the process. Most users said that their PCs had displayed an error that claimed the upgrade had been unsuccessful and that Vista would be restored. Instead, their PCs again booted to the Windows 7 setup process, failed, then restarted the vicious cycle.

Several Microsoft engineers, including the company's senior group manager for Windows supportability, have offered advice, but on Monday users continued to publish complaints on a growing forum thread.

"I think I've gotten to the point where trying to install Windows 7 is simply not worth it," said "Chimaera717" around 1 p.m. ET today. Chimaera717 was one of the first users to gripe about reboot hell. "I'm more content with actually having a working computer. Anyone know if we can get our money back?"

Obviously this isn't everybody but there is a growing number of people - something Microsoft is going to have to take a look at unless they want another repeat of the Windows Vista hellstorm of user discontent.