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Apr 8, 2012

Sony Xperia S Now Available for Pre-Order in India

Sony India already confirmed it will bring the Xperia S in the country on April 10. Although the Japanese company did not mention the smartphone's suggested retail price, it did say that Xperia S will be bundled with free accessories worth Rs 4,000 (80 USD or 60 EUR).

The folks at AndroidOS have just been tipped on the smartphone's availability at various regional retailers. Customers who want to pre-order the Xperia S must come up with no less than Rs 32549 (635 USD or 485 EUR) outright.

Indian retailer Flipkart is now offering the Sony Xperia S for the amont mentioned earlier and throws in a free car charger and 2 NFC tags.

However, Sony India explicitly announced a few days ago that the Xperia S will be retailed with a sales package that comprises the following free accessories: car charger, leather case, HDMI cable and 2 NFC Tags.

Sony is really trying to attract Android enthusiasts with its new Xperia NXT series, but the competition is pretty harsh, especially that HTC also launched its One series of new smarpthones around the same timeframe.

To make things eeven more worthy for customers, Sony also offers Xperia S owners 50GB of free cloud storage on Box worth Rs 4,500 (85 USD or 65 EUR). 

However, a similar offer is available for HTC and LG smartphone owners, so it's not something that would set it apart from the competition.

On the other hand, Sony Xperia S is powered by Android 2.3 Gingerbread platform, while HTC's new devices are shipped with Ice Cream Sandwich operating system on board. 

Although Sony confirmed it will deliver Xperia S devices the latest Android 4.0 update as soon as possible, this might make customers choose the one of competition's devices.

All in all, Sony Xperia S seems like a pretty solid device on paper. Hopefully it will offer users the eperience they expect from such an expensive device.

Nokia Lumia 900 and HTC Titan II Go on Sale at AT&T

States via major carrier AT&T. Along with Nokia's first LTE smartphone, the carrier also introduced the HTC Titan II.

Customers can now purchase the Nokia Lumia 900 for only $99.99 with a new two-year agreement, or the HTC Titan II which is available for double the amount, $199.99 on contract.

Moreover, the Finnish company decided to give Americans the opportunity to try out the Lumia 900 even if they are not willing to commit to a long term contract. This is why AT&T is offering the smartphone for just $449.99 outright.

HTC Titan II is slightly more expensive as customers who want to avoid being tied by a long term contract must come out with no less than $549.99.

However, the differences between the two smartphones are pretty obvious, but both brands have their fans, so in the end it's just a matter of taste and money.

For example, the Lumia 900 sports a 4.3-inch AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, whereas the Titan II comes with a slightly larger Super LCD capacitive touch display. It is also worth mentioning Nokia's screen integrates ClearBlack display technology.

While both smartphones are powered by Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.5 Mango operating systems, they boast different processors. 

The Lumia 900 packs a 1.4 GHz single core Qualcomm APQ8055 Snapdragon CPU, whereas the Titan II is powered by a Qualcomm S2 Snapdragon processor clocked at 1.5 GHz.

Another major difference between the two is the rear camera. Titan II boasts an impressive 16-megapixel camera with autofocus, dual-LED flash and HD (720p) video recording, while the Lumia 900 comes with an 8-megapixel rear photo snapper that has the same features. Still, the latter embeds Carl Zeiss optics, which might be superior to HTC's camera module lens.

Check out AT&T's online store for more details on how to acquire the Nokia Lumia 900 and HTC Titan II Windows Phone devices.

Script: Template CMS

Template CMS is a light frame flat-file content management system for web servers running PHP.

Without any doubt you'll fall in love with Template CMS' beautifully crafted admin panel, which loads and handles almost as fast as the frontend.

Its minimal requirements allow a wide spectrum of use cases, webmasters being able to install and use Template CMS even with some of the most harsh and limiting hosting providers.

Some of Template CMS' most important features include a graphic installer, themes management, plugins, menu manager and WYSIWYG editing.

The CMS is just perfect for deploying on small to medium website projects.

Template CMS development is handled via its SourceForge page. Keep an eye on it, since version 3.x will soon be released.

Download Template CMS here.

Script: PhpMySport

PhpMySport is a web-based solution for managing a sport league online. It comes with default settings for soccer, basketball and rugby, but it can be adapted to any other sport as well.

A league administrator can manage all the settings and details a sport league might need managing on, all in the confines of a single application.

This includes matches, seasons, players, managers, coaches, referees, stats, stadiums, teams, competitions and even press releases.

PhpMySport also provides some other CMS-related features like users management, static pages, a forum, a graphic installer and WYSIWYG editing.

To view a PhpMySport demo, just go here and login using the admin/admin username and password combination. For development news, PhpMySport is managed via its SourceForge page.

Download  PhpMySport here.

OS X Mountain Lion Features: iCloud

iCloud is already a simple and intuitive service, though its underpinnings are quite complex. After all, the late Steve Jobs had envisioned the service since his triumphant return at Apple in 1997, but it wasn’t until last year that Apple could roll it out properly.

And now that they’ve gotten a handle on it, the engineering geniuses at Apple have taken things a step further in OS X 10.8, dubbed Mountain Lion.

The upcoming Mac OS, scheduled to debut sometime late this summer according to Apple’s own estimates, will feature iCloud embedded right inside every app that can use it.

The system-wide integration will spell less confusion for the customer, and better sync across devices.

Apple’s marketing pitch for iCloud in OS X Mountain Lion reads:

“It just works. In more ways than ever. In OS X Mountain Lion, sign in once with your Apple ID and iCloud is automatically set up across your Mac.1 That means right away iCloud keeps your mail, calendars, contacts, documents, and more up to date on every device you use. So when you add, delete, or edit something on your Mac, it happens on your iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. And vice versa.”

iCloud services include most of the former MobileMe benefits, including Contacts, Calendar and Mail, all re-architected and rewritten from the ground up, in order to work seamlessly with iCloud.

The App Store and iBookstore now send iOS apps and books to all your devices, not just the device they were purchased on, while iCloud Backup automatically saves the contents of your iOS devices to iCloud daily over Wi-Fi when you charge them.

iCloud Storage keeps all the documents you created using iCloud Storage APIs, and pushes them to all your devices automatically.

The same goes for your Photos via the Photo Stream service which automatically uploads and wirelessly pushes the photos you take or import on any of your devices to all your devices and computers.

Finally, iTunes in the Cloud lets you download your iTunes music purchases to all your iOS devices at no additional cost, and the optional iTunes Match feature replaces your music with a 256 kbps AAC DRM-free version.

See the related links below for more coverage of the features in OS X Mountain Lion.

Download Bing Wallpaper Pack 1.3

On Friday, Microsoft made available for download a new wallpaper pack for the owners of Windows-based computers. 

Available as version 1.3, the new pack will provide users with the possibility to enjoy Bing homepage images straight on their desktops. 

According to Microsoft, the new pack enables you to “bring the beauty of Bing to your desktop. Get a desktop wallpaper pack featuring 12 gorgeous Bing homepage images from around the world.”

The pack is available for download for all machines running under Windows 7, Windows Vista SP1 and above, or Windows XP with Service Pack (SP) 3. 

Before kicking off the installation process, users should note that the pack will offer to change their browser’s webpage, as well as the default search engine. 

The new Bing Wallpaper Pack weighs 10.2 MB, and is available for download via this link.

Toshiba Chips Power I-O Data SSDs

I-O Data has some new solid state drives up for sale, powered by 24nm Toggle NAND Flash memory and SATA 6.0 Gbps controllers from Toshiba.

Toshiba is a small presence on the market of SSD controller chips. This new product would have been its ticket to something closer to relevance, but the price more or less ruined it.

Granted, we've seen 120 GB SSD with tags higher than 16,800 Yen ($206 / 157 Euro), but not at speeds of 444.52MB/s read 340.53MB/s write.

Even at higher capacities, the transfer rates don't go much higher: the 480 GB drive operates at 480 MB/s read and 350 MB/s write.

Nevertheless, all the tests run by PC Watch show pretty good numbers overall, and the price may eventually slide down a few notches.

The name of the SSD line is TC58NC5HJ8GSB-01 and the capacities are of 60 GB, 120 GB, 240 GB and 480 GB, respectively.

Microsoft to Patch Six Vulnerabilities with April 2012 Security Update

On April 10th, 2012, Microsoft will deliver a new software update for its products as part of the usual monthly update rollout. 

A total number of six bulletins will be included in the update, four of which are rated critical, and which are meant to patch several security holes that were discovered in various products from the Redmond-based software giant. 

All of the said four vulnerabilities could allow for Remote Code Execution, the company announced via the Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification for April 2012. 

The first of these affects Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer, the second was discovered in Windows alone, while the third affects both Windows and Microsoft .NET Framework. 

The fourth critical vulnerability meant to be patched next week affects Microsoft Office, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Server Software, and Microsoft Developer Tools. 

A fifth bulletin included in the update, rated Important, patches a security breach that could result in Information Disclosure, and affects Microsoft Forefront United Access Gateway. 

As for the last bulletin in Microsoft’s April 2012 update, also rated Important, it could allow for Remote Code Execution and will resolve a vulnerability found in Microsoft Office.

Specific info on these patches will be delivered only on Tuesday. Also then, Microsoft will issue the official Security Bulletin numbers. The aforementioned advance notification will be replaced by the bulletin summary on that day. 

Along with the said patches, Microsoft will release an updated version of the Microsoft Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool on Windows Update, Microsoft Update, Windows Server Update Services, and the Download Center.

The company plans on hosting a webcast to address customer questions on the security bulletins on April 11, 2012, at 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada). 

Those who would like to participate can register for it now. Microsoft will also make the webcast available on-demand after that date. Additional details can be found on Microsoft Security Bulletin Summaries and Webcasts.

Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1 Delayed for June, But Boasts 1.5GHz Quad-Core Exynos CPU

There's good news and bad news for Android enthusiasts waiting for the chance to acquire themselves one of the latest tablets announced by Samsung this year, the Galaxy Note 10.1.

Let's start with the bad news. It appears that the Galaxy Note 10.1 has been postponed for June, sources in the industry cited by Korean site IPD MK clam.

However, the good news is the reason of this unannounced delay is the fact that Samsung decided to replace the 1.4 GHz dual-core CPU that was said to power the slate, with an enhanced 1.5 GHz quad-core Exynos processor.

It appears that Samsung plans to make the Galaxy Note 10.1 the new iPad's main competitor, and the initial dual core processor simply wouldn't have cut it.

Although this seems to be only a marketing move, we can safely assume that the slight change in hardware configuration will also bring a slightly modified suggested retail price for the tablet.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 leaked a few weeks before it went live in February at the Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona. The slate was launched along with two other tablets, the Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) and (10.1).

As the name suggests, the device is the much larger successor the popular Galaxy Note phablet, which means it comes with Samsung's S Pen technology and the stylus that allows users to take advantage of this technology.

More importantly, Samsung confirmed the tablet will be shipped with Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich on board, whilst the Galaxy Note smartphone has yet to receive its “Premium Suite” update, which also includes the Ice Cream Sandwich upgrade.

The tablet sports a large 10.1-inch with PLS TFT capacitive touchscreen display that supports 800 x 1280 pixels resolution. It will come in three version, depending on their needs users will be able to choose the 16GB, 32GB or 64GB model.

PowerColor Unveils PCS+ HD7850 Video Card

A new video card will soon show up for order, if it hasn't already, courtesy of PowerColor.

After so many high-end cards from NVIDIA's partners, PowerColor is offering something different.

Long story short, the company has completed its latest AMD-powered card: PowerColor PCS+ HD7850.

As the name implies, this is a custom-made Radeon HD 7850 board, where by “custom” we mean that the clock and memory are factory-overclocked (the former works at 1,000 MHz, while the RAM has a 4.9 GHz frequency).

To make sure the higher performance isn't damaging, PowerColor implemented the Gold Power Kit Design too, for stability (Digital PWM, DrMos and Multi Phases).

That said, the cooler isn't really all that revolutionary, but the SS-Shape heatpipes and the 92mm fan will definitely get the job done, 15% better than the reference model and at 15% less noise to boot.

No price was specified, but it shouldn't be too much higher than $240 / 240 Euro.

ECS Reveals Z77 Black Extreme Golden Limited Edition Motherboards

Like others before it, Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) has brought out some Ivy bridge-ready motherboards, but its announcement focuses on the top pair instead of describing the whole collection. 

In this respect, ECS is more similar to Biostar rather than Gigabyte, ASRock and Micro-Star International (MSI)

The company has formally unleashed the Z77 Black Extreme Series - Golden Limited Edition, which gets its name from triple-thickness gold plated connectors. 

There are two models in the line, Z77H2-AX and Z77H2-A2X, both of which feature black PCBs with gold-plated key components, ostensibly so that they won't wear out after component changes/upgrades. 

We'll let people decide for themselves if all that precious metal is worth paying for. The slogan of the line is, after all, “My Game, My Rules.” 

Spec-wise, people will find three PCI Express 3.0 x16 slots on the Z77H2-AX and two on the Z77H2-A2X, plus a mini PCI Express slot. 

A pair of legacy PCI slots is also present, as well as two PCI Express 2.0 slots for good measure. 

Furthermore, the Z77H2-AX, through a PLX ExpressLane PEX 874 Multi-Graphics Solution Chip, has double the PCI Express 3.0 support (2x16), which means that all three PCI Express slots can work at x16, not just x8. 

Moving on, in addition to these multi-GPU setup-enabling assets (SLI/CrossFireX), ECS tossed in a bunch of storage connectors and, of course, video outputs (HDMI, DisplayPort, DVI, etc.). 

The Z77H2-AX uses two eSATA, four SATA 6.0 Gbps and two SATA 3.0 Gbps ports (for HDDs and SSDs), while the Z77H2-A2X comes with a single eSATA. 

The list goes on with Wireless LAN, Bluetooth, USB 3.0 (six ports/headers), USB 2.0 (again, 6 ports/headers), Gigabit LAN, EZ charger and all the technologies Intel promised for its next-generation platform (Lucid Virtu MVP, Intel Smart Response, etc.) 

Prices have not been mentioned and sales will only start in the US (at first), in a fairly low supply too. Then again, the Z77H2-AX and Z77H2-A2X Black Extreme Series wouldn't be the Golden Limited Edition otherwise.

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