T-Mobile's G2 has microchip that makes rooting efforts "vanish"

Don Lynn | Mobile Devices | Oct 6, 2010 6:55 PM CDT

It looks like the hardware developers are at it again in trying to keep the rooting community from modifying their Android devices. Reports are showing that T-Mobile's G2 handset includes a microchip that "prevents device owners from making permanent changes that allow custom modifications to the the Android operating system."

A report from New America states that the microchip includes a hardware rootkit that sniffs out third party ROMs and overrides them; reinstalling the original firmware over the custom ROM you worked so hard to install. G2 tinkerers are state that their roots "vanish" after a reboot, and are not happy about it. Considering the fact that there's a 40 page thread over at xda developers on the issue, I fully expect a workaround to be found anytime now.

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Western Digital unveils updated USB 3.0 external HDDs with up to 3TB of storage

Shane McGlaun | Storage | Oct 6, 2010 2:00 PM CDT

There are a bunch of companies that offer external storage today that connects to your computer with USB. Most of those drives are still USB 2.0 and if you have a new computer that supports the much faster USB 3.0, you will want a new drive that can back up large data sets faster using USB 3.0 connectivity. WD has announced that it has expanded its line of external storage solutions with new capacities and USB 3.0 connectivity.

The drives with updated USB 3.0 support include the My Passport Essential, My Passport Essential SE, and the My Book Essential. All of updated drives will support USB 3.0 at up to 5Gb/s and are backwards compatible with USB 2.0 for older machines as well. The drives also ship with WD SmartWave visual backup software for automated backups of important files and software.

The biggest news is that the My Book Essential drive now comes in a 3TB capacity in addition to the 1TB and 2TB versions that have already been offered. The My Passport Essential is the smallest portable drive from WD and can be had in 500GB in five colors. The Passport Essential SE portable drive is available in 750GB and 1TB versions in several colors. All of the external storage solutions are available to purchase right now with the My Passport Essential for $99.99, the Essential SE starting at $129.99 and going to $169.99, and the My Book Essential going up to $249.99 for the 3TB version.

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Razer offers special editions of Naga MMO gaming mouse

Shane McGlaun | Peripherals | Oct 6, 2010 1:10 PM CDT

When it comes to high quality, gaming mice there are really only two companies that your average gamer looks to. Those companies include Logitech and Razer. Razer has some great gaming products, but its mice aren't exactly known for lots of bling or style. A Razer mouse tends to be black with some LED lighting thrown in to spice up the design. Razer has announced a couple special editions of its Naga MMO mouse that are very colorful.

The special editions include the Naga Maelstrom and the Naga Molten gaming mice. The Maelstrom mouse has a colorful swirl effect on it that looks sort of like a spiral galaxy to me. The better looking one in my opinion is the Molten version with a cracked red and orange lava design. The Maelstrom version also has blue lighting for the buttons and scroll wheel while the Molten has red lighting.

Other than the new colors, the special edition Naga mice are the same. You get 17 programmable buttons that can have macros bound to them. The mouse has 5600dpi sensitivity setting, 1000Hz ultrapolling, and the silent ultra slick feet Razer uses on its mice. You can get optional software add-ons for the mice as well. Each of the special versions sells for $79.99 and will ship next month.

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Microsoft offers pink Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 to raise money for breast cancer

Shane McGlaun | Peripherals | Oct 6, 2010 12:06 PM CDT

Microsoft has been in the peripheral business for a long time. The company now makes some decent gear for gamers with gaming keyboards and mice. The majority of the peripherals that Microsoft offers are for general computer users with a notebook or desktop. A full line of notebook mice from Microsoft has been around for a long time and the company has unveiled a new special edition of its Wireless Mobile Mouse 4000 to raise money for breast cancer.

The mouse is the same as the other version of the WMM4000 that has been around for a while now. It has 2.4GHz wireless connectivity and uses a nano transceiver that can be left plugged into a notebook during transit. The mouse uses the Microsoft BlueTrack sensor for better tracking on a variety of surfaces. I have used BlueTrack mice before and they work very well on anything other than a mirror.

The battery life in the little portable mouse is promised to be ten months. The special edition's only difference from the existing mouse is the pink color to benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure charity. Microsoft has promised $4 for every special edition of the mouse sold at $39.95 per unit will be given to the Komen group. The minimum donation will be $200,000 and the money will be raised through September 11, 2011.

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Acer updates AIO and nettop PCs

Shane McGlaun | | Oct 6, 2010 11:04 AM CDT

When it comes to desktop computers some of the most popular are AIO machines with all the hardware inside the screen. Nettops are also popular with netbook style hardware inside tiny computer cases for use in all sorts of settings like the living room and more. Acer has announced that it has updated its Veriton AIO line and the Veriton nettop line with new models today.

The AIO line gets the new Z410G and Z290G that both run Windows 7. The Z410G is a 21.5-inch screen AIO with desktop performance with the Z290G offering an 18.5-inch screen and Intel Atom processor inside. Both of the machines are set to land this month starting at $599. The larger 21.5-inch AIO has 1920 x 1080 resolution and uses a Pentium E5700 CPU, 2GB of RAM, and Intel GMA X4500 graphics. The Z290G has a resistive touch screen, Atom D525 CPU, 320GB of storage and 2GB of RAM. Both machines have WiFi and a matching mouse and keyboard.

The little N282G nettop sports ION 2 graphics that supports up to 1080p video resolution. The machine will ship this month with a price starting at $399. The machine has an Atom D525 processor, 2GB of RAM, ION 2 graphics, and 320GB of storage. A version called the N281G uses a D425 Atom processor, 2GB of RAM, and Intel GMA 3150 graphics with 320GB of storage.

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Samsung unveils new 31 Series LCDs

Shane McGlaun | Displays & Projectors | Oct 6, 2010 10:02 AM CDT

The cost of LCDs for computer users is coming down all the time. I remember how expensive an LCD was back when most of us were still running CRT screens and today you can pick an LCD up for practically nothing. Samsung is huge in the LCD TV business and the company produces all sorts of LCDs for computer users too. The company has pulled the covers off a new series of displays for computer users called the 31 Series.

The series includes the 20-inch, BX2031, 21.5-inch BX2231, 23-inch BX2331 and 24-inch BX2431 screens. All of the screens use LED backlight tech to save power, provide nice colors, and image quality. The screens also use Samsung Magic Angle tech to make sure full contrast and color is available from all angles. The screens have many of the same features in common, save the small BX2031 that has its own specs like a 1600 x 900 resolution and only VGA/DVI-D inputs.

All of the screens have the same thin 19mm thick profile and 5,000,000:1 contrast ratio. All of the screens have a 2MS response time, but for that BX2031 with its 5ms response time. Inputs on the three larger screens include dual HDMI. The BX2031 will sell for $169, the BX2231 will cost $199, the BX2331 will cost $239, and the BX2431 will sell for $279 with all of them hitting stores this month.

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Internode start the FetchTV trial

Anthony Garreffa | TV, Movies & Home Theatre | Oct 5, 2010 7:29 PM CDT

Internode has started it's FetchTV service to customers who expressed interest in its early adopter program to sign up.

Customers who have a current ADSL2+ service on an Internode DSLAM and are close enough to the exchange to receive more than 4.5Mbps downstream can apply for the service with a reduced setup cost of $49 ($99 when the full commercial service launches) and pay a standard monthly fee of $29.95 without the need of committing to a 24 month contract.

During the trial, Internode will only a certain few ADSL modem routers, others may work but those users will have to configure it themselves.

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Acer announces new Aspire One AOD255 netbook

Shane McGlaun | Laptops | Oct 5, 2010 1:04 PM CDT

Acer has one of the more popular lines of netbooks on the market with the Aspire one offerings. The company has a wide range of netbooks with different specifications and features inside to cater to the needs of different users. Tablets like the iPad may be talking away sales from netbooks, but there are still new offerings coming to market that consumers will like. Acer has a new machine today that has CPU options and nice features called the Aspire One AOD255 netbook.

The AOD255 can be had with two different Atom CPU options. One of the CPUs is a single-core N450 and the other is the newer dual-core N550 CPU. Both of the processors support DDR3 RAM and the netbook gets 1GB of RAM no matter the CPU you chose to start with. Acer says the netbooks are good for a full day of use on a single charge with a battery life claim of 8-hours per charge.

The netbook also has a 10.1-inch LED backlit screen that needs 22.2% less power than other screens Acer uses. Portability is a big deal with a netbook and AOD255 is only an inch thick and weighs 2.5 pounds. Other features include WiFi, a 1.3MP webcam and mic, and a 250GB HDD. The OS is Windows 7 Starter. The netbooks will ship this month with the N550 machine starting at $329.99 and the N450 starting at $269.99.

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iLuv iMM747 dock supports the iPad, iPhone, and iPod

Shane McGlaun | Audio, Sound & Speakers | Oct 5, 2010 12:04 PM CDT

There are tons of speaker docks on the market today that will work with the iPad and the iPhone. There aren't that many available that will work with the iPad though. If you want, a dock that will charge your iPad while you listen to music or watch video iLuv has a new offering for you. The new iMM747 speaker dock will support any dockable Apple device.

One of the cooler features of the dock is that you don't have to mess with those little cradles that you have to exchange to support different devices on some docks. The iMM747 has an adjustable back that will work with any dockable iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad without those trays. The speaker dock is larger and wider than many we see thanks to its ability to work with the iPad. The dock measures 14.3" W x 5" H x 3.7" D and weighs 2-pounds.

The dock needs quite a bit of power at 15W for operation. It has a mini USB port that allows you to synchronize the docked device without having to pick it up. A 3.5mm input allows non-dockable players to be used with the dock, and the power adapter needed is included. The iMM747 will ship soon for $149.99 and is one of the first iPad docks around.

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Samson Q3HD Handy Video Recorder gets HD audio and video

Shane McGlaun | | Oct 5, 2010 11:04 AM CDT

I have used small and low cost camcorders before and generally they have good video quality with HD resolution and other features. Most of them have sound that doesn't match up with the quality of the video though. It always seems like the subject of the video sounds very far away to me. Samsung has announced a new camcorder called the Q3HD that promises audio quality as good as the video.

The little Zoom camcorder has stereo recording capability with the renowned Zoom audio technology. The camcorder can shoot 720p and 1080p HD resolution video and stores that video to SD cards. The 720p video can be filmed t 30fps or 60fps with 1080p in 30fps only. The camera also has 4x digital zoom. An integrated LCD and speaker lets you play the recordings back on the go.

Connecting the camera to your PC is very easy thanks to the integrated USB port and the camera has HDMI output for connecting to your big screen. Outdoor shooting can be improved with a windscreen and the camera is ready to go right out of the box. It includes a 2GB SD card, editing software, and a pair of AA batteries. An accessory kit is available with the windscreen, AC adapter, HDMI cable, AV cable, and tripod.

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