AdEngage is Shutting Down

AdEngage Ad Network is Shutting down

AdEngage (one of the better known ad networks and a Google Adsense alternative)  sent a stunning letter yesterday to all its affiliates and advertisers that as of Feb 8,2011 it will be closing the site.  Visitors to their website receive the same message that was sent by email to all existing account holders.

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Laptop Security. How to Protect & Get Your Stolen Laptop Notebook Computer Back

I consider myself to be a lucky one.  I’ve traveled all over the world for two decades with my laptop pc in tow.  Fortunately for me, I’ve never had it stolen.   However, the statistics are starting to get stacked in favor of you having your laptop snatched at least at one point.

The FBI reported that over 1.5 million laptops were stolen in the USA alone last year.  That’s 2.85 laptops stolen in the USA every second of the day.  And, the numbers are on the rise.

If you are one of the unlucky ones, there are now technologies that assist you in retrieving your laptop and prevent misuse of your personal data  (Provided that you have the tracking software installed on your laptop).

The most ‘popular’ places for laptop thieves to do their work and how you can prevent the crime.

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Is the iPad Really Just an iPod for Giants? Analysis and Review.

As we’ve already reported, Apple’s official announcement of the iPad to be released in a couple months, has sent shockwaves through the technology world. Steve Jobs and Apple have a history of being at the forefront of innovation in the technology industry.

A New Era – The iPad Era?
Could this new iPad foreshadow the shift in consumer migration and mix with telephony and media? Has Apple hit this one out of the park with a new concept for a new era? The reviews thus far have been mixed. Most industry pundits are cautious not to outright pan the device for fear of the boomerang should Apple prove again that it knows better.

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iPod vs. iPad vs. iPhone Features Comparison

Apple’s announcement of the new iPad gives the consumer a new challenge to decide which device to purchase. TechExposures set out to make the decision process a bit easier. Here’s a side by side comparison of the features and specs of the three Apple popular devices.

Side By Side Comparison

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iPad is an Oversized iPod

Is the new Apple iPad A Product Without a Market?
With a 9 inch plus screen size and at only 1/2 inch thick, the iPad looks like an oversized iPod.
The prices look great too, and much less than what the analysts had thought $499 – $699 for 16GB up to   64GB models. This just proves that corporate secrets can still be kept, even in the day of the Internet’s “run of the mouth”.

Steve Jobs does a great job of selling his products. The man was surely a snakeoil huckster in a previous life. He sat there on stage showing all the nice tricks and things that this new device can do. The question is, has Apple created a product for a need that does not yet exist, or have they essentially extrapolated on the iPod to a bigger size to capture all consumers. e.g. from iPod, to iPhone, to iPad, to MacBook, to… you get the idea.

What is the iPad niche?
As I watched the news conference, I tried to imagine shlepping an iPad around on the train, or on a plane. Like the iPhone/iPod, there’s no cover to protect it (unless you consider a plastic film a ‘cover’). I think it would be in that awkward size – too big for the pocket, and too small to really get work done. If you’re traveling to work, you want to listen to a podcast, maybe a song or two, or catch last night’s episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. Are you really going to take the iPad with you for that? The iPhone/iPod size is just right for media on the train.
If you are traveling by plane, and you expect to get some work done at the airport gate or on the flight, what do you really want to have with you, your Dell Studio, or the iPad?

I guess the iPad is looking for the niche of home users who want easy access to online media, such as online books, videos, and music. Essentially, the iPad will give the iTunes store a bigger footprint to work with. Is that a game-changer? I don’t think so…

The Kindle is not such a whopping success in terms of units sold. So, iPad can’t have its crosshairs on the online book market. Likewise, the home media experience is still much better in surround sound stereo on your huge LCD HD Plasma screen.  Does the iPad have a niche of its own that has not yet been created?  Apple sure does have experience in convincing consumers that they _must_ have products that weren’t even invented a decade before.

What market niche is left for the iPad? Giving your kids a video player for their bedroom?  I guess we’ll soon find out.

Are you reading books on your iPhone & iPod?

Technology usually comes in waves.  Remember when CB Radio was the best (and coolest) way to communicate when outside your house?  Then came the big bag phones.  We loved the feeling of freedom, untethered from our home.  Cellular Phones have evolved into everything since.

Book readers have been around for a long time.  Over a decade ago, companies like VeriSoft, and the Guttenberg Project were creating alternatives to tactile books.

Amazon threw its marketing muscle into the Kindle last year, and since, there’s been a flurry of trying to provide potential digital book readers with many ways of accessing (and purchasing) books online.  The key to the Kindle, and everything that’s come since, is in the distribution method.  Wi-Fi has enabled Amazon to seamlessly deliver thousands of online books to readers. Barnes & Noble, and others have followed with their own devices.

Lately, Amazon, B&N, and Stanza, have made reading an online book on your iPhone or iPod as simple as downloading a song on iTunes.  This new reality has book publishers and distributors scrambling to capture a piece of this growing segment.  Can you actually read a 300 page book on a 3″ screen?  Thousands of downloads from the iPhone apps store seems to suggest that many are willing to try.

Just like the yearning for communication led us down the path from CB Radio to our modern cellular devices, it’s clear to me that we are still in the infancy of online book reading.  With so many choices entering the fray, along with improved delivery services and ever-improving technology, online book-reading may be the real growth segment for 2010 and years to come.

Google Chrome OS + Monta Vista = Windows Killer?

Instant-On – 1 second boot

As we reported last week, Monta Vista has devised a way to boot Linux in 1 second.  Dell and others are working on a joint-project “Instant-On” which will boot their laptops in one second using Linux OS.   Dell Latitude ON is already available with Instant-On to bypass Windows and give users instant access to Email and other important apps.

Google has stated on its blog that it aims to give users easy and quick access to the tools they need – e.g. internet browsing and email, from its new Chrome OS.  Could Instant-On developers, such as DeviceXM and Phoenix Technologies be working with Google now to include their technologies in the new OS?

Windows Killer?

Clearly Google has a great opportunity here to catapult the Linux OS into the forefront as a real contender for favorite OS.  Microsoft’s advantage as the default OS shipped with laptops and netbooks can be challenged if Dell, HP, and others continue to give more attention to Instant-On technology coupled with the Linux OS.  If the Google marketing muscle can wrestle away a portion of the laptop segment to their new Chrome OS, 2010 could be a watershed year for PC users.

Linux Kernel Is Compromised – Fixed within hours

NULL pointer dereference bug

Published reports say that the fully updated Linux Kernel can be attacked.  The attack can occur on patches to the Linux kernel that has not been implemented yet in most distros.

Linux Kernel 2.6.30 and 2.6.31 Affected Only

The null reference bug vulnerability is located in several parts of Linux, including one that implements functions known as “tun”. The bug causes the tun variable to not be able to point to a NULL value.   If that occurs,  the variable points instead to zero, and then the kernel tries to access parts of memory that are forbidden, which can then lead to a compromise on the pc running that OS.

Exploit code written by a Linux developer, Brian Spengler demonstrated the bug and the potential for attack.  Within hours, a fix was available in the community.  Linus Torvalds, the creator of Linux, was apparently aware of the vulnerability but did not see it as posing a major threat.

Risk going forward?

The bigger issue and question on the minds of Linux users is who new when and what did they know?  The axiom of open source has always been full disclosure.  Was the bug known to the kernel developers before the potential risk was published?  What if any is the obligation of Open Source developers to divulge to their users on potential threats?  Fortunately this time, the risk was minimal, and the fix was quickly forthcoming.

Further reading on this topic:

Clever attack exploits fully-patched Linux kernel

Root exploit for Linux kernel published

MontaVista – Boot Linux in 1 Second!

Embedded Linux vendor, MontaVista demonstrated booting Linux in one second.

This 1 second feat is for the kernel only, e.g. without drivers and peripherals.  Most linux desktop distros take between 20-25 seconds to fully load with all peripheral systems.  Still, this is a nice achievement, and shows that faster boot times are ahead.

Related articles:

Linux Achieves One Second Boot