Consumer group slams RealPlayer as ‘badware’

A consumer advocacy group is blasting RealNetworks for installing adware and other software without properly notifying its users. In a report published Thursday, StopBadware.org faults the latest version of RealPlayer for secretly installing its Rhapsody Player Engine during the RealPlayer installation.

“RealPlayer 11 does not disclose that it installs Rhapsody Player Engine, and does not remove the software when RealPlayer is uninstalled,” Stopbadware says in the report. Rhapsody Player Engine is required to access RealNetwork’s online music service. But because users are not told that they have installed the product it could become a liability, using up the computer’s hard-drive space or processing power, or even creating a security risk for consumers if bugs are discovered in Rhapsody, said Maxim Weinstein, StopBadware’s manager.

Intel to launch X48 in mid March, sources claim

Intel has informed motherboard makers that it will definitely launch its X48 chipset in mid March, two months later than its original launch date, according to industry sources. The X48 chipset was originally slated for launch in January, but Intel pushed it back as inventory of X38 had yet to be cleared, the sources said.


Some makers, such as Gigabyte Technology and Micro-Star International (MSI), have already announced details of their X48 motherboards, but Intel’s delay in officially launching the new chipset is preventing the mobo makers from setting shipping schedules of their new motherboards

Dell Suit Reveals Lucrative Domain-Name Trade

A civil suit filed in Florida by Dell and its Alienware subsidiary is giving insight into the enormous sums of money that can be made by creating Web pages full of advertising links. In October, Dell sued a group of domain registrars, alleging the companies bought more than 1,100 domain names with trademark-infringing characteristics, such as “dellbatterrogram.com” in order to put advertising links on the pages.


The practice, known as typosquatting, is illegal. It’s intended to draw unwitting Web surfers to pages with URLs (uniform resource locators) that are similar to legitimate sites, and then redirect them to other sites. The owners of these Web sites get revenue from advertising referral programs every time a link is clicked.

Windows Server 2008 Is Microsoft`s Leanest, Meanest Yet

“Faster” and “slimmer” are two adjectives to which few software product upgrades can lay legitimate claim—particularly if the software upgrade in question is a Windows operating system.

And, yet, Microsoft’s Windows Server 2008, which recently hit the RTM (release to manufacturing) milestone, demonstrates that Microsoft is capable of producing a lean, mean server machine—and doing it, no less, atop the same code base that backs the company’s oft-maligned Windows Vista client operating system.


The new Windows Server boasts a set of networking enhancements that dramatically boost file serving performance, and the product can be deployed in a new, stripped-down Server Core configuration, which significantly reduces the attack surface of systems hosting certain Windows Server roles.


Toss in a more modular and securable Web server in IIS (Internet Information Services) 7.0, Microsoft’s new hypervisor-based virtualization functionality and a host of management enhancements, and Windows Server 2008 merits eWEEK Labs’ Analyst’s Choice designation

Kodak Designs New CMOS Sensor

Eastman Kodak Company revealed today in a press release that it has created the world’s first 1.4 micron, 5 megapixel device, the KAC-05020 Image Sensor. Using significantly smaller pixels, this sensor enables a higher level of resolution in small optical formats which will be especially useful in devices like cellphones: the sensor allows for full 720p video at 30fps in a quarter-inch camera. Unlike other small-pixel sensors which can produce poor images, especially under low light conditions, the 1.4 micron pixel used in the KAC-05020 is reportedly able to provide image quality that can equal or surpass what is available from current devices using larger, 1.75 micron pixel CMOS designs.


In a standard CMOS pixel, a signal is measured by detecting electrons that are generated when light interacts with the surface of the sensor. As more light strikes the sensor, more electrons are generated, resulting in a higher signal at each pixel. Kodak’s new pixel, however, uses the absence of electrons is used to detect a signal by reversing the polarity of the underlying silicon, allowing for a smaller design. Further gains in sensitivity were achieved by adding panchromatic, or “clear,” pixels to the red, green and blue pixels already on the sensor. Since these pixels are sensitive to all wavelengths of visible light, they collect a significantly higher proportion of the light striking the sensor.

Camera phones and other small-pixel consumer imaging devices often suffer from poor performance, especially under low light conditions,” said Chris McNiffe, General Manager of Kodak’s Image Sensor Solutions business. “By completely rethinking the design of the CMOS pixel and leveraging our work with high sensitivity color filter patterns and algorithms, Kodak was able to develop this remarkable new sensor that will enable a level of imaging performance previously unavailable from CMOS devices.