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FDA approves self-sanitizing keyboard for healthcare use

By: Anthony Garreffa | Health Technology | Posted: Jan 4, 2012 @ 20:28 CST

If only this was approved to grubby gamers across the world. Well, it's starting with a company called Vioguard, which was started by two Microsoft Hardware veterans and their business partners. Vioguard have received U.S. Food & Drug Administration approval for use of its self-sanitizing computer keyboard in both hospitals and other healthcare settings.

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Where this is different to the old "pick it up and shake it all about", Vioguard's keyboard can be retracted automatically into an enclosure to be bathed in germicidal ultraviolet light from two 25-watt fluorescent lamps. The enclosure also doubles as a monitor stand (how convenient), and the mechanism for retracting and ejecting the keyboard works hands-free via sensors.

Vioguard states that the technique has been proven effective in killing a minimum of 99.99-percent of harmful bacteria and viruses, inclusive of the flu, MRSA and other nasty bugs that can spread through hospitals. The intent of this new keyboard is to provide healthcare facilities an alternative to manually cleaning a keyboard.

The keyboard has been on sale for consumer use, at a cost of $900 on Amazon. Vioguard announced that the FDA approval for medical use this morning and says it's seeking partners to help bring the keyboard to the market.

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Sync Google Docs to your PC, Mac

By: Anthony Garreffa | Software | Posted: Jan 4, 2012 @ 19:26 CST

Something I hate about using Google Docs, is I need to be in the "Documents" section of my account to do anything. I wish there were a program where I could sync my Google Docs to my PC and/or Mac. Oh wait, there is!

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Enter Insync. Insync is a service that syncs your Google Docs with your local machine, so you don't need to open up and use your browser, and prefer to use another word processing application.

An interesting feature within Insync is the ability to manage multiple Google accounts. This is something that can be very useful if you have multiple accounts with multiple documents in each account. Storage costs are cheap, as Google provide 1GB for free and additional space is not too badly priced.

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SOPA update: Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter consider "nuclear option" to protest SOPA

By: Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jan 4, 2012 @ 6:27 CST

Imagine you wake up tomorrow, pull your smartphone or tablet from your bedside table, click the Facebook icon and wait for it to load. It loads, and shows you a simple page of "We have taken Facebook down in support of SOPA, if you're against the act, please call X" and with X is your local representative, or whoever Facebook decide to redirect you to.

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You think, no wait, there's no way this is happening. You Google the issue. Google's page doesn't load and a similar site is up. Your heart sinks and you think Skynet have finally taken over. A T-101 will step through your door and ask if Sarah Connor lives there, before shooting your home up.

Well, that was a great introduction into what could be the biggest arsenal that the Internet has against the crap that is SOPA. According to Markham Erickson, head of the NetCoalition trade association, there has been talk of a so-called "nuclear option", where Google, Amazon, eBay, and Yahoo! would all simultaneously go dark to protest SOPA and to highlight the fundamental danger the legislation poses to the function of the Internet itself.

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Samsung takes another bite at Apple, uses the same actress in advertisement

By: Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jan 4, 2012 @ 5:28 CST

Samsung and Apple have been punching each other for what seems like forever now, and Samsung is now taking the battle somewhere new: your living room. The latest from the Korean-based company is they've hired the same girl from the iPhone 4S commercial for their latest South Korean commercial for the Galaxy Tab 8.9.

Apple has since the beginning claimed that Samsung copied the style and design of their famous iPad/iPhone and iOS in general. Samsung seem to have done exactly what a troll company would do, use a legal method to piss Apple off.

So they hired the same girl to star in their commercial, which is perfectly legal. It not only benefits the girl and her family monetary wise, but it lets Samsung wink at us, the public, against Apple. Samsung have since pulled their commercial off their website, but thanks to the wonderful YouTube, and thanks to fellow competitor, Google for owning them, we can still see it.

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Officeworks now offering free Wi-Fi in-store

By: Anthony Garreffa | Connectivity & Communications | Posted: Jan 4, 2012 @ 4:25 CST

This is kind of out of the norm, but Officeworks are now offering free in-store Wi-Fi Internet access to all of its customers. The new offer has been rolled out to all Officeworks stores across Australia.

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The service does have restrictions, where it blocks illegal content, and has a time limit for all logins to enable multiple customers to get connected without overclogging their network. In order to access the free Wi-Fi, you'll also need to agree to a terms and service in your device's browser every time you connect.

I doubt this will attract customers to their store, but it could be a move like Amazon have used recently. Where they will offer deals in the store if you use their apps for price comparison, etc. Officeworks are definitely thinking outside the square with free Wi-Fi. What next, coffee?

Poll Results - Which company made the best desktop motherboards in 2011?

By: Cameron Wilmot | Motherboards | Posted: Jan 4, 2012 @ 4:19 CST

Our latest poll had almost 3,000 people who answered, Which company made the best desktop motherboards in 2011?.

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Well out in front with almost half the votes, ASUS was voted as the maker of the best desktop motherboards in 2011 by TweakTown readers.

In second place GIGABYTE got 20% of the votes while ASRock came in third with 14% of the votes.

For the actual numbers, go here. In our latest poll, we ask you... Which company made the best video cards in 2011? Let us know! Go here to vote!

Canadian man uses a digital copy of his passport on his iPad to get through US customs

By: Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Posted: Jan 4, 2012 @ 3:29 CST

Montreal resident Martin Reisch was travelling to the U.S. to drop off some Christmas presents when he realised he forgot his passport. Being two hours from home already, he wasn't about to turn back.

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As he approached U.S. customs, he thought he'd attempt to use a digital copy of his passport that he had on his iPad to get through customs. The border official was a bit annoyed, but let him through. A Canadian official also let him through on his way back home.

Reisch wasn't travelling by plane, but was making a land crossing which could be the difference between using the iPad copy at an airport and not being allowed to travel. This may not work again, or for anyone else, but it goes to show a digital copy of your identification can definitely help, at the worst of times.

Gigabyte X79 issue was not a hardware fault, but a BIOS issue

By: Anthony Garreffa | Motherboards | Posted: Jan 4, 2012 @ 2:44 CST

Last week I reported on some news that three Gigabyte motherboards, X79-UD3, X79-UD5 and G1.Assassin 2 had issues with build quality and a bad BIOS. I've received official word from Gigabyte that it was not a board-related, or build-related problem, but a BIOS-related issue.

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I used a specific quote "Gigabyte has said the issue stems from a combination of poor quality PWM components and bad firmware." I should've fact checked before posting, and done some background work before making a statement like that and trusting a single source. For this, I apologise on behalf of TweakTown.

The problems does not stem from the board, but from a BIOS issue and Gigabyte have released a new bios: F7, which fixes the issue. If you have one of the boards and would like to update its BIOS, visit this page.

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Google force Android 4.0 "Holo" theme mandatory on all devices with Android Market

By: Anthony Garreffa | Software | Posted: Jan 4, 2012 @ 2:28 CST

From now on, any Android 4.0-powered device that comes baked in with Android Market, will sport the "Holo" theme. In an effort to provide all users with a consistent interface, Google is making the move.

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Holo does look impressive, and is one of the best UI's I've ever seen (in videos, pictures) and I can't wait to slap it onto my Samsung Galaxy S II. However, manufacturer customizations aren't disappearing. Users of Sense, TouchWiz, etc should still all be A-OK. Google are issuing architectural mandates that will make it quite simple for independent developers to create apps that slide perfectly into the customized environments, complete w ith the proper widgets, and colors.

From now on, app designers can choose between Android 4.0's Holo theme, or the manufacturers default theme when considering the software's interface. I like the decision from Google, as it brings them more in line with Apple and their one-and-only theme (unless jailbroken).

HP teases Spectre ultrabook in a new video

By: Anthony Garreffa | Laptops | Posted: Jan 4, 2012 @ 1:27 CST

A HP employee has sent The Verge a new video showing off a new ultra-think notebook from HP. The video has dramatic music that really, er, sets the mood for the launch of a new MacBook Air competitor.

Is it thinner than the MBA or the upcoming ultrabooks? There's nothing more than a 30-second tease, and then "Spectre" at the end. One thing is for certain, is if HP are showing off (well, at least have a video that an employee can "leak") then the Spectre must be close to release.

CES is next week, so we might actually see some Spectre action in Las Vegas. The Verge reports that it may be the 14-inch HP Envy 14 Spectre, which showed up at the FCC just two weeks ago. Only time will tell, and when that time comes, HP will either hit or miss.

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