Category Archives: Information

What is Intel’s Core i7?

Geek!This is Kyle Allen’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Core i7 brings us Intel’s first true quad core processors, all four cores are now on a single die. Previously Intel’s Quad Core’s were essentially two dual core processors in one package. The current Core i7 line includes three Quad Core Processors, the 920 (2.66GHz), 940 (2.93GHz), and 965 Extreme Edition (3.2GHz). Currently priced at $294.99, $569.99, and $1029.99 respectively (Prices from Newegg).

The only Chipset that currently supports the Core i7 architecture is Intel’s own X58 express, offered by many manufacturers such as Intel, Asus, Gigabyte, Foxconn, EVGA, MSI, and Biostar. The X58 chipset supports ATI CrossFireX technology, Nvidia has even opened up SLI support for the X58 express chipset, although motherboard manufacturers must submit their motherboards to Nvidia for review. Core i7 brings many new technologies and even brings back some old. Intel has brought back Hyper Threading technology which allows each core to process two threads of information simultaneously, so each of the Core i7 processors have 8 threads and are seen as 8 Virtual Cores by the systems OS.

Core i7 isn’t just Intel’s new line of Processors it’s an entirely new, much improved architecture. Intel has replaced the Front Side Bus (FSB) with its new Quick Path Interconnect (QPI) which can achieve data transfer speeds as high as 25.6 GB/sec. Intel says QPI performance is 6.4 Gigatransfers/second on the 965 Extreme Edition and 4.8 Gigatransfers/second on the 940 or 920 CPUs, the resulting bandwidth is either 16 or 12GB/s respectively. Intel’s Core i7 bring us an integrated memory controller which offers improved performance due to increased bandwidth and lower latency. Core i7 processors now feature L1, L2, and Shared L3 Cache, 64K per core, 256K per core, and 8MB shared respectively. Core i7 only supports DDR3 and bring us fast triple channel memory, it is also recommended that memory is operated below 1.65V.

Core i7 also features advanced Power Management features, Power Gate allows individual cores to enter a sleep state while other cores are under load, the processors include integrated power controllers and a power control unit that actively monitor each cores power consumption, and voltages. Having integrated power controllers and a power control unit is important to the Core i7 architecture because it allows the CPU to transfer power from cores in sleep mode to cores under load in what Intel calls “Turbo Mode.” If one of the cores is being used heavily, it can use some of the power that would ordinarily be used for one of the other cores if it is not currently in use to essentially overclock individual cores. Lastly Core i7 introduces a new CPU socket the LGA 1366, a 1366 pin socket that functions similarly to the current LGA 775, but is slightly larger and the CPU cooler mounting holes are further apart.

What is The FCC’s Free Internet Plan?

Geek!This is Matt Bebich’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

The FCC wants to give “free Internet” to everyone, so you can connect from anywhere. It would be transmitted just like cell phone companies transmit their Internet service. The download speeds would go up to 700kbs, which is considered high-speed Internet. There will be no porn or illegal torrents and software like Limewire. Cell phone companies do not want this to happen because they would rather have people pay for their way over priced slow Internet. Places like Starbucks will also suffer from this, you see all the people at Starbucks using their Internet, which is overpriced [opinion].

Internet should be a free service – a lot of good comes from the Internet. People wouldn’t have to go all the way to the local bookstore to get a book. A lot of people don’t have Internet service. If they want Internet, they get dial-up (which no one could do anything with dial-up). You can’t even load a webpage with dial-up without waiting 50 minutes. Don’t even try to watch a video – you will have to pause it and wait ’til it finishes 20 minutes later… then watch it. That’s why I think the majority of people don’t have Internet, and why it should be free. Why should a hand full of companies control the Internet the companies don’t make the Internet the Internet – we do. We deserve to have a option for free Internet. I would really like to see this happen with two conditions:

  1. They need to have good security for it. They need to encrypt the data. If they don’t have really good encryption for it, I would be very scared to use it.
  2. I don’t want the government seeing everything we are looking at on the Internet. Not saying I’m doing anything illegal, I just don’t think it would be right for them to intrude on my privacy.

It might happen, but major companies will hate this. They want to overcharge for their Internet service – and they don’t even give what they promise. They say you have unlimited service, then right when your downloading something: “Oh, Dang – throttled!” Even if the free Internet isn’t as fast, at least you can connect to it from anywhere – we all want that. At least it will be better then dial-up and a lot other paid services that just rip you off.

This plan would get Internet to rural areas, so everybody could be on the Internet. It would benefit schools that can’t get wireless Internet access. People wouldn’t have to pay for the cell phone companies’ Internet service (that gets “okay” service and okay speeds). For the price that we pay for it, we should get great speeds and great service. Free Internet is the way of the future and it is going to happen sooner then later. It’s just the matter of time and money.

Five Ways to Be a Better Friend

Geek!This is Finlay Craig’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

  1. Consideration. Putting the feelings of your friends before your own is something which many people find difficulty doing. But if you can, makes you feel better about who you are and will make you better friends. No matter how big or small, people greatly appreciate when they are considered. It makes people feel more important and can bring a smile to a friends face.
  2. Loyalty. Remaining loyal to your friends can easily be forgotten when you have many friends. You may find yourself in the situation where one friend does not like one of your other friends. If they express there dislike and you disagree, what should you do? Standing up for a friend who is not there could make a situation awkward, but being disloyal to your friend, just to be with the consensus at the time, just means you’re lying to both your friends, but most of all yourself. Time should not be a test of loyalty either. There may be many different reasons why you don’t see someone for a long time, but this shouldn’t mean these people don’t matter to you anymore. If your still thinking of them, then they are probably still thinking of you. A day, a month or even a year, you are still friends, and thats what counts.
  3. Dependability. It’s a great feeling when you know you can always rely on a friend. Being able to give that dependability back to your friend is something you should enjoy. Giving your friend the security of knowing they have someone they can rely on, is a gift which few truly receive. If your friend knows that you are there for them, then your friendship will be always be strong. Dependability is especially important in times of great hurt and sadness. Losing someone close to you can make you act erratically and irrationally. Knowing you always have a friend there, no matter how low you get, is the rock that will help you over come these situations and help you come out stronger on the other side.
  4. Generosity. Being generous is not about giving people expensive gifts. Generosity is about giving thought to a friend and expressing that you are thinking about them. An easy way to show generosity may even be just to make time to see your friends and family. Helping those less fortunate than you is also very generous. Be it giving to a charity, lending a hand in your community, or simply teaching someone a skill you know.
  5. Acceptance. Life is all about decisions. Inevitably, people close to you will not always agree with you. However, if you can accept your friends for who they, who they want to be, and what they want to do, you can give them the freedom to be happy with their life. Worrying about what people think can often stop someone doing what they really want, leaving them feeling as if they are not leading the life they wish they were. If however you can be happy for them, whatever they choose, then your friend will enjoy their life more, and you will be even better friends.

Internet Karate – Defending Your PC Against Malware

This is Matt Wilkinson’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Several years ago, I thought it might be a fun project to develop a presentation that could be delivered to non-technical PC users about the basics of PC security. I’m not talking about a simple “Dumbing-Down” of a very complicated topic, but rather an approach that would allow the average PC user to gain a better understanding of the everyday threats their PC faces. In other words, give them a fighting chance at keeping malware at bay.

The catch phrase “Internet Karate” quickly came to mind, combining the famous Martial Art with using the Internet. Karate is a means to defend yourself in the physical world — Internet Karate is a way to defend your PC from the never ending parade of bad guys that would otherwise attack and overwhelm it.

So I set out to develop a presentation that met these criteria:

  • It can be delivered in less than two hours, which leaves plenty of time for Q and A.
  • Keep it as non-technical as possible, while still keeping it as informative and engaging as possible to the target audience.
  • Make it as interactive and fun as possible; get people interested in a topic that would normally bore them to tears.
  • Not to push any specific security products or brands; warn people about the many fake security products out there.

Like most people, speaking in front of an audience is a personal phobia, and I freely admit that I am using this project as a means to overcome that phobia. But more importantly, I am doing this as my little contribution to combating malware. My philosophy is that the more educated people are about PC security, the more likely they are to stay on top of it. I have personally profited from malware — though not in the way that malware developers themselves do — but rather by earning cash from rebuilding PCs that have been gutted by malware. I like to think of it as my own little way of giving back (I don’t charge anything to present the material, but I don’t turn down lunch if offered).

I’ve delivered the Internet Karate Presentation to several groups since I first developed the material, and it’s been very well received. Keep in mind, if you are a registered user on geeks.pirillo.com, the material is anything but earth shattering. Nor is it particularly hard for anybody with web access to find out on their own (remember one of my goals is to get people interested in it) . I am not claiming to present anything revolutionary with Internet Karate, just to package a complex (and dry) topic in a way normal people can understand. If I could, I’d cultivate a small army of like-minded IT professionals that would offer similar presentations to small audiences in their particular neck of the woods (think “Dojo”).

If you’ve been in the IT game anywhere near as long as I have, I’m willing to bet that people often turn to you for advice on all things technology and computer related. This is your audience calling you. As far as groups go, there are PTA’s, professional organizations, church groups, community colleges, public library programs, the possibilities are endless.

Now, without further adieu, I bring you Internet Karate. (Requires Google Account)

The Top Ten Ways to Win a Writing Contest

Geek!This would have been swordofdestiny’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway, but he’s a chat room moderator and ineligible. However, since I’ve received hundreds of poorly written and plagiarized articles today, I felt the need to share his list with you. If you’d like to submit your own ORIGINAL how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are very close to my own:

  1. Choose a completely overdone topic. Don’t go out on a limb and try something new. Stick with what everyone else writes about. It works! Don’t contribute anything new to your overdone topic.
  2. Rant about your topic. Everyone enjoys a good soapbox rant! So do it! Make it a long and boring rant that regurgitates everything you’ve ever heard about the topic. If anything is contrary to your belief, dismiss it as bias. No one can possibly oppose you! You know it all! They know nothing!
  3. Be vulgar! Be very vulgar! Vulgarity is like the salt and pepper of a good manuscript. Your writing is useless unless it contains at least one occurrence of each word in George Carlin’s “Seven Deadly Words.”
  4. Make references to all of your favorite movies, tv shows, and books! Who cares if the adjudicator has never seen an episode of Star Trek? If they haven’t your paper is obviously too good for them to read. They should rinse their eyeballs in vinegar for such a blasphemy!
  5. Misuse the words “your” and “you’re.” Remember, those two words are interchangeable. Forget that one is the possessive form of you and the other a contraction of the two words “you” and “are.” Misuse “its” and “it’s” for bonus points!
  6. Use LeetSpeak. Obviously, if the adjudicators can’t read your manuscript they are intellectually inferior to your “pwn4g1ng 0f t3h n00bz0rz.”
  7. Don’t indent! Indentation is for people who like too many spaces! When you indent you lose precious space that you could be filling with your intellectual greatness!
  8. Forget using the enter key! The enter key is cruise control for failing! Make your manuscript one long super paragraph. When you do, the adjudicators can smell the amazing palette of words that you are sending towards them.
  9. Forget grammar, spelling and punctuation. Don’t let the mechanics of writing properly in English perturb you from emptying your soul onto the paper. Proper grammar, spelling and punctuation is for unintellectual baboons who should be banished back into the jungle from whence they came.
  10. Plagiarize. Who cares if it’s illegal? At least one person, somewhere on the World Wide Web, has written about your topic before. Why put forth the effort to make something original? Why do it yourself when someone else has done it for you?

How to Fix Your iTunes Library

Geek!This is Filip Cederberg’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

Most people today have really unorganized music collections. Either the artist names, song titles or albums are misspelled or they’re wrong or missing altogether. Most people would probably say “Oh that’s easy to fix just use this tool and it should go smoothly”, although most of the times, these “tools” cost money and I for one don’t want to spend cash just for my music to look good.

What most people don’t realize is that iTunes itself is quite a powerful tool for editing ID3-tags. Just right-click on the song you want to edit and press “view info”. A window comes up where you can edit song title, artist, album artist, album, album art and so on. This is just for editing ID3-tags though. For looking up missing artists, albums and song titles I use the most powerful thing known to man, the Internet. If there are lyrics in the song, listen to the lyrics and google them. Usually, you will find your missing info but sometimes, there are multiple choices. For this, I use YouTube. Search for one of the songs and see if it is the same as the one you have, if it is then just put in the info in the song info in iTunes and go on to the next song. If not, just keep searching youtube for the other alternatives.

Sometimes you have a purely instrumental song with no lyrics. These are tricky to figure out but there are methods. Try Midomi.com, this is a website that lets you search songs by humming them. Sometimes it doesn’t work out that well but just try again a couple of times and you should get results. If not, your only chance is asking your friends.

If you have multiple songs that need the same info changed you just highlight all the songs and do the same as you did with the individual songs. This method is great for speed but remember: when you change artist name or song title, all the songs’ info change. So don’t mess up.

For album art (iTunes has both cover flow and the grid view to encourage adding artwork to your songs, these alternate viewing methods can be quite nice), just use Google or another search engine with image searching. If you have a famous CD you want to add artwork to, it will be easy to find big enough pictures (try to aim for 300×300 at least), smaller pictures will not look good in iTunes so unless you have the CD and a scanner, just leave the artwork alone; a grey note I nicer than a distorted mash of pixels. When you are done with all these steps you should have a nice look on your library and browsing for music will be much easier.

This process is very time consuming, especially if you have a large collection, so do this at regular intervals and don’t do so much at once. As previously stated, there are tools to fix your music library faster, but these often cost money and are not very accurate. Using iTunes inbuilt ID3-tag editor is a great way to ensure that all the songs have correct information and you will get to know your music more during the process. Try to have as much fun as possible as it can easily become tedious after only a little while. Maybe you can turn it into a game or something like that.

If anybody knows of a good, free tool for fixing your library, please tell me about it. This is just the most effective way to do it I know of so far.

How To Set Up Email On iPod Touch or iPhone

Geek!This is Kyle submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

I looked around for a while in lots of different places and couldn’t find any tutorials that told you how to set up a mail account that is privately hosted, with your iPod Touch or iPhone. This gave me a perfect opportunity to be the first one to teach everyone that doesn’t know. So if you have been wondering how to do this, keep reading, because I think I can help.

For this tutorial you don’t need to have it be jailbroken. First get out your iPhone or iPod Touch and make sure you have the mail application already installed. Then go to settings and mail. Choose add account and pick other. Now you need to open up your mail client with your privately hosted mail account in it.

For me this program is Outlook Express so if you’re running anything else you will just have to try and follow along.

If you are using Outlook Express, then go to Tools, then Accounts. Find your account you want for your iPod Touch and select it. Once this is done, just click on the properties button. Click on the servers tab and at teh top it should say, “My incoming mail server is”. Whatever it says after that is the tab you are going to click on your iPhone / iPod Touch.

Now, back on your iPod Touch, fill in the name and address blanks. To find your host name go back to your computer and under the servers tab again take whats in the incoming mail spot and put that in the host name blank on your iPod Touch.

Now for the username and password, to find these look under the servers tab again and in the middle there should be a spot that says account and password. Take those and put those in the user name and password blanks on your iPod Touch.

Now last, but not least the host name that is under outgoing mail server (SMTP). For this just look right under where you got the other host name that was for the incoming mail server. Just take that and fill it in on the iPod Touch. Leave the last username and password blank and click save in the top right corner. This may take a while and might come up with some kind of error. If it does, be sure to check for misspellings. If it says cannot connect using SMTP click try without and when its done just send a test email to that address and check it on your iPod Touch / iPhone. If it shows up then your good to go. If it doesn’t just let me know and I’ll try to walk you through it.

If you can’t figure out how to make a mail account for an email that is hosted by Yahoo or Google or something else, leave a comment and let me know if I should make another post on how to do that. I didn’t originally make one on that because there are already plenty out there, but I would be happy to make one anyway!

Top 5 Windows Vista Security Tips

Geek!This is Dragon’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

  1. Check your spyware protection through the Windows Security Center. If you’ve used Windows XP, then you already know about Windows Security Center, the all-in-one monitoring tool that helps you keep track of your firewall, automatic updates, and antivirus software. Windows Security Center for Windows Vista has more security categories. It now warns you if your antispyware software is not up and running like it should be.
  2. Keep Windows Vista up-to-date. Every platform always has things that doesn’t work the way it should, that errors are called bugs, and the only secure way to fix those bugs is keeping your operating system up to date. It is inevitable that additional bugs and security holes will be discovered over time. Once a security exploit has been made public, you can bet that hackers will be all over it. That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of the patch management process. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because Windows Vista was designed to be secure that it doesn’t need to be frequently patched.
  3. Use the network profiles. Prior to the release of Windows Vista, Windows treated all network connections equally. In Vista, however, you can use the Network and Sharing Center to designate a network as public, private or a domain network. Networks are designated as domain networks automatically when the machine uses the network to log on to a domain. It is important to select an appropriate network profile because Windows implements various security features based on the type of network you’re connected to. For example, Vista disables the network mapping feature if you are connected to a public network. The Windows Firewall also contains network profile-specific settings.
  4. Use the 64-bit version of Windows Vista. The 64-bit version of Vista is far more secure than the 32-bit version. Why? Because the 64-bit version contains a security feature called “Address Space Layout Randomizer”, which causes a random offset to be applied when system files are loaded. This means that unlike the 32-bit version of Vista, system files are rarely located in the same memory location twice in a row. This randomization foils many of the exploits that are commonly used against Windows XP. Another security feature found only in the 64-bit version is “Data Execution Prevention”. This feature keeps executable code from running in certain areas of the system’s memory. The 32-bit version of Vista includes a less sophisticated version of this feature that is implemented through software, but the 64-bit version enforces Data Execution Prevention at the hardware level.
  5. Use AlertCon or another Gadget related to security on your Sidebar. Do you like to know what the general security posture of the Internet is? Internet Security Systems (ISS) provides an overall “barometer” of Internet-wide security issues. Like the DHS terror alert levels, ISS has a four-level Internet threat level meter called AlertCon that immediately alerts users when there is some type of large-scale worm or virus infestation or other such network-disrupting activity. This gadget displays the current AlertCon status from the ISS web site (www.iss.net). The status will auto-refresh every sixty minutes.My Top Picks for Vista Sidebar Gadgets related to security and helping you to monitor your computer security are: Terror Alert Level, AlertCon, Wireless Network Controller, Memory Meter and Network Activity.

Let me know what do you think about my Top 5 Windows Vista Security Tips. If you disagree with my top five or something is missing in my post, please feel free to express your ideas in the comments below, everybody will appreciate it.