Gadget

iPhone 6 Metal Frame Allegedly Leaked, Suggests Thin Device

Even though the iPhone 5s was released a few months ago, we have already seen many rumors for Apple’s next generation iPhone 6. Apple leaker C-Tech, who is either a hit or a miss, posted the photos below of what appears to be the iPhone 6 metal housing.

The photos show the device being very thin, (as rumors have pointed to, perhaps 6mm) making the iPhone Air name rather appropriate. You can also see the larger back frame, lining up to other rumors that the iPhone will feature a larger display around 4.7 to 5 inches.

Obviously the authenticity of these photos cannot be verified, but do you think the images are legit?

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Posted by plates55 - January 8, 2014 at 2:50 pm

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5 Tech Products That Will Be Dead in 5 Years

With the speed of innovation in the tech industry, we can’t know every piece of technology that will fill our everyday lives in five years, but we can predict what won’t last. As smartphones begin to render low-end cameras obsolete and Netflix continues to upend the DVD and Blu-ray market, it’s clear the technology landscape will look dramatically different in the near future.

Here are five tech products we predict will go the way of the dodo in the next half-decade.

Blu-ray/DVD players

Netflix, Netflix, Netflix. Amazingly, the entire demise of Blu-rays and DVDs (and Blockbuster) are due to one company. There were other players in the cultural shift to streaming movies, but Netflix is the iTunes of movies on demand. Funny enough, iTunes offers movie rentals as well.

Blu-ray players were the cream of the crop when it came to watching movies for a few years, but 2013 is expected to be the last year of growth for the market. As the ease of use, accessibility and quality of Netflix  continues to increase as it rolls out 4K streaming over the next few years (not to mention other competitors that may generate interest from users), look for Blu-ray players to quickly become a nice collectible right next to your VCR.

Stand-alone in-car GPS units

In a little over six years, over 1.3 billion iPhone and Android smartphones have been sold around the world, and all of those devices have access to mapping software. Combine that with the propagation of in-car GPS systems, and it spells a swift demise for the stand-alone GPS units for vehicle dashboards, which saw widespread success in the early and mid-2000s. Since smartphones started offering GPS capabilities in 2008, sales of stand-alone GPS units for vehicles have seen a 15-20 percent decline per year.

Costing between $75 and $350, standalone GPS units built for vehicles from companies like Garmin and TomTom are already losing their viability (although these companies are still finding success with GPS units for boating and other outdoor activities), and will likely be completely removed from the market in five years. As battery technology allows for more usage time in smartphones and more people move into newer cars with built-in GPS systems, opting for a standalone GPS unit will cease be an option in the near future.

Dial-up Internet

Yes, dial-up Internet is still around, and people still use it. In fact, 3 percent of Americans still use dial-up Internet. That’s 9 million people, equal to the population of New Jersey. Only 65 percent of Americans currently have broadband connections. Thanks to the necessity of the Internet and new alternatives for connecting to the Internet at faster speeds, this won’t be the case for long.

Internet companies are expanding at a rapid pace, as people in underserved areas demand access to broadband speeds. Expansions will continue over the next five years, thanks in part to the FCC’s Connect America Fund, which aims to bring broadband to 7 million Americans who cannot currently receive it. Combined with expansions from cable companies and new viable alternatives like satellite Internet (which now reaches speeds of 15Mbps), dial-up Internet will finally be extinct in five years.

Low-end digital cameras

We have Apple to thank for this one. The 2010 release of the iPhone 4 and its game-changing camera forced the mobile industry to step up camera quality to the point that it has rendered sub-$200 point-and-shoot cameras all but obsolete. There are still a few straggling consumers out there who prefer the optical zoom or battery life of a low-end digital camera over the one in their smartphone, but at the rate of progression of mobile camera technology, those user complaints will soon be addressed.

In five years, camera companies like Nikon, Canon and Sony will have done away with their low-end camera lines and shifted their focus to the mid- and high-end market, as the low-end market will have been completely subsumed by smartphones.

Car keys

One of the quickest and least discussed changes to happen over the last few years is the reduction of physical car keys and the introduction of smart keys in a number of new vehicles by manufacturers. Surprisingly, the move away from physical car keys happened without much of a fuss from consumers. With benefits like keyless entry, push to start, driver profiles and remote start, buyers of newer vehicles have enjoyed the benefits of the new smart system (though many still end up to getting locked out of their cars if they leave the car while the engine is warming up).

But as quickly as smart keys have come on the scene, smartphones may soon replace them. With apps like OnStar RemoteLink offered by Chevrolet, which allows you to unlock and start a your car with an app, the future of car keys may lie in an app store. Whether we stick with smart keys or move on to something more innovative in five years, you can be sure that the physical car key we have used for the last 70 or so years will be a thing of the past for new cars.

 

 

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Posted by plates55 - January 6, 2014 at 3:30 pm

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This Lightbulb and Speaker Combo Is a Bright Idea With Dim Execution

AwoX StriimLight

 

The AwoX StriimLight B-10 sounds crazier than it actually is. It’s a lightbulb, and it’s also a Bluetooth speaker. You screw it in, pair it to a device, and stream music to an 8W LED lightbulb. The light socket powers both the speaker and the bulb, so the latter has to be screwed into a socket for the speaker to work.

This is a better lightbulb than it is a speaker. It produces bright and warm-looking 3000K light that resembles the output of a fluorescent tube. It’ll screw into any E27 Edison mount, and we had successful results with three different lamps in the WIRED New York office.

As you’d expect, the speaker is not very good. A single 2-inch, 10W mono speaker in the middle of the LED lamp kicks out mediocre, bass-bereft audio. But those shortcomings are forgivable as the StriimLight leans heavily on gestalt principles.

AwoX StriimLight speaker grille

Pairing it to a device is a simple process: You turn the bulb on, it beeps twice when it’s discoverable, and then you find the “StriimLIGHT” on your device’s pairing menu. Turning the lamp on and off restarts the discovery process if you have trouble finding the bulb in its Bluetooth menu; it’s basically a hard reboot of the bulb.

One little perk is that the StriimLight comes with its own remote control. The included plastic watch-battery-powered clicker is made of plastic, and lets you turn the light on and off, turn the speaker volume up and down, and mute the audio entirely.

AwoX StriimLight with remote

Unlike your average lightbulb, this one begs to move around a lot. You’ll want to screw it into a socket on the porch, in the bathroom, or in the bedroom so you can listen to some music wherever you happen to be. But the StriimLight heats up pretty quickly, and you need to let it cool down for a minute or two before unscrewing it and carrying it around. After initial setup, we used it for about 20 minutes (both as a light and as a speaker) before wanting to take it out and test it in another lamp. Both the speaker grille and the bulky construction underneath it were very hot to the touch. So it’s portable, but only after a cool-down period.

Unlike “smart” LED bulbs like the LIFX and Philips Hue system (both of which cost around the same price and don’t have built-in speakers), the StriimLight doesn’t change colors or offer control via a mobile app. It’s a lightbulb, and it’s also a Bluetooth speaker. That’s it.

The idea behind the StriimLight isn’t as goofy as it sounds. It certainly isn’t an essential product, but it’s an early and interesting sign of where consumer electronics are headed over the next few years.

Namely, we’re in the thick of an era where single-purpose devices are on the way out. Our phones have also been our cameras, MP3 players, and remote controls for years now. The next slew of convergence will take place in our homes, inside now-mundane pieces of hardware. Our fridges will also be Wi-Fi routers, our side tables will also be wireless charging devices, and our lightbulbs (and showerheads) will also be Bluetooth speakers.

At $100, the StriimLight is too expensive. It doesn’t sound good enough to justify the price. But would $100 be too expensive for a speaker/lightbulb with better audio quality and app-adjustable colors? Or one that doubled as a Wi-Fi repeater or cell-signal booster? Mull it over while you listen to our Spotify playlist for Bluetooth Lightbulbs:

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Posted by plates55 - December 18, 2013 at 4:03 pm

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Choose the Right Charger and Power Your Gadgets Properly

 

You accidentally left your micro USB charger back at the hotel… 500 miles away. Now it’s time to buy a new one. You pick up a cheapie from your nearest electronics retailer and hey, what gives? What used to take 3 hours to charge now takes 12.

Turns out not all chargers are created equal, even if they look similar. Here are some quick buying guidelines that’ll save you time and ensure you’re using a charger that’s optimized for your device’s power requirements.

First, some background. Charging power is based on three things: power (P, measured in Watts), current (I, measured in amps or milliamps), and voltage (V, measured in volts). The amount of power is determined by the equation P = IV. In other words, power is the product of current multiplied by voltage. Because larger devices like tablets have substantially bigger batteries than smartphones, chargers designed for the former tend to deliver energy at a higher rate (a higher current).

For example, consider these charging scenarios for the Retina iPad mini. You could use a Lightning connector plugged into a computer (via USB), an iPhone charger connected to a wall socket, or an iPad charger connected to a wall socket. A PC USB charger delivers 2.5 Watts of power (5 volts at 500 mA). An iPhone charger delivers 5 Watts (5 volts at 1000 mA). A Retina iPad mini charger delivers 10 watts (5.1 volts at 2100 mA).

While all of these will charge your iPad, using the USB connected to a PC will charge your Retina mini four times slower than if you used the iPad charger it came with. Conversely, if you use a tablet charger for your smartphone, it’d charge up faster than normal (Note: Some devices like the iPhone will only draw up to 1A of current no matter the charger). If you play mix-and-match with these types of chargers like this, don’t worry — you’re not going to blow up your phone or anything crazy like that. And the myth that charging your device at a faster rate will reduce the life of your device’s battery is false. For some older devices, the higher specced charger just won’t work at all, while newer devices will just charge faster.

Ultimately, it’s really the amperage that determines how fast a charger will supply power to your device. If you want quicker charging, look for a wall or car charger that delivers 2100 mA of current at 5 volts (or whatever voltage the device you’re trying to charge is specced at).

If you’re grabbing a new charger off the shelf, there are a couple other things you should consider. One of them is the logo that identifies compliance with international standards. These can be faked. The CE mark is a popular one, and as someone in this forum thread unfortunately discovered, his substandard charger sported a fake CE mark. The C and E in the actual logo should each be approximately a half circle, and if you continued the circle of each letter fully, the two circles would just link together in the middle.

If a charger has incorrect capitalization for the current and power output it’s supposed to deliver (think “MA” instead of “mA,” for milliamps), that could be a sign that the charger isn’t up to snuff too. Having no manufacturer label on the device could also be a red flag.

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Posted by plates55 - December 18, 2013 at 3:58 pm

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Some of These Lifesaving Tools Are Real, Some Are Fake. Which Is Which?

The world is dangerous, so having the right tools is important. Here’s some gear that could come in handy. But beware: Three of these could save you; the rest are pure fiction. Can you tell which is which? (Answers at bottom.)

SurvivorBoot  These utilitarian boots have a removable knife, flint, and can opener and a compartment beneath the insole for a compass in case you find yourself lost in the woods—or, you know, camping.

Avalanche Airbags  You know how it is. You’re heli-skiing in the Alps with your heiress friends when an avalanche threatens to take all of you out. This backpack helps you float to the top, toward precious air.

BabySaver  The backyard pool can be a dangerous place for new swimmers. Sew this sensor into your child’s bathing suit or stick it onto a floatie and it will sound an alarm before the little one gets in over their head.

Navimate  Ever see the movie Open Water? This GPS device tracks you during a dive and makes sure that even after you’re abandoned at sea and the sharks eat your body, at least your air tank will be recovered.

LAND/Shark  No matter where you’re stuck, this bag o’ shelter will keep you warm. At sea it will protect you from jellyfish stings, and in the snow the massive orange sack is visible from a chopper.

CarFloat  The problem with getting out of your car once it’s in water: The weight of the engine flips the thing upside down. This airbag keeps you level longer, giving you more time to escape.

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Posted by plates55 - December 16, 2013 at 5:11 pm

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Tech Time Warp of the Week: The Commodore-64, 1983

The best selling computer of all time? It wasn’t the Macintosh. Or the Apple II. Or the IBM PC.

It was the Commodore-64, the computer-disguised-as-a-keyboard that made its debut in 1982.

According to the late Jack Tramiel — the man who founded Commodore International — the company was selling nearly a half million C64s a month when he was forced out of the operation in 1984, and by the time the machine finally gave up the ghost a decade later, he estimated, somewhere between 22 million and 30 million Commodores had found their way into the world.

“We made machines for the masses,” Tramiel said on the 25th anniversary of the C64, before nodding to the man sitting beside him, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. “They made machines for the classes.”

With the video below, you can return to the heyday of the C64. Your guide is the late Jim Butterfield, the mustachioed Canadian who built a career showing the world how to use this dirt-cheap home computer. Butterfield was the author of such books as Learning Machine Code Programming on the Commodore 64 (and other Commodore computers) and he founded one of the largest Commodore users’ groups in the world, but you could also find him on TVOntario, hosting a show called The Academy. And he turned up in Commodore training videos like this one.

Released in 1983, the original video ran for almost two hours. But, against our own better judgment, we’ve cut in down to about 9 minutes, giving you just the best of the lot. It’s a document not only of the C64, but of an earlier age of computing, an age when home computers were foreign objects to most people — when the “un-boxing” was such a scary thing.

Yes, Butterfield un-boxes the machine for you, but that’s just the beginning. He shows you everything from the I/O ports on the rear of the machine to the cassette tape reader you can use in lieu of a floppy drive to the memory chips inside the chassis.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

 

link

http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/03/tech-time-warp-commodore-64/

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Posted by plates55 - March 15, 2013 at 9:32 am

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7 Gadgets That Minted Money and Spawned Entire Industries

<< Previous | Next >>
dynatac
  • dynatac
  • regency_transistor_radio
  • zenith-space-command
  • atari-2600-joystick
  • barcode_scanner
  • polaroid_land_camera_360
  • 114147431_18c4cda572_b

 

To paraphrase Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous remarks about obscenity, the concept of the “gadget” is not easy to define—but we know a gadget when we see it. They capture our imaginations like little else. We become compulsively attached. The best gadgets fulfill basic needs we’re hard-pressed to describe, and because of that possess a magical ability to conjure money. They become talismans for economic vitality, as the gadgets in this gallery show.

While the “gadget” predates the invention of electronics, we stuck to devices that one way or another make use of electricity, in keeping with the 21st-century sense of the word. We also decided that for this list, a gadget was something a person had to be able to hold and more or less use with one hand, which ruled out laptops, for example. We picked gadgets that tipped toward the “gizmo” side of the continuum.

The gadgets we chose weren’t just popular. They didn’t just make their inventors or manufacturers a lot of money. These diminutive devices cracked open the earth, shoving tectonic plates east and west to build new mountains of economic activity. They demonstrate the profound capacity of the most unassuming bits of metal, glass and plastic to transmute the basic elements of labor and commerce into new sources of gold.

Above: Motorola DynaTAC

You could be forgiven if in the early 1990s you didn’t take investment advice from Zack Morris ofSaved by the Bell. But his conspicuously incessant yapping into his Motorola DynaTAC-style mobile phone put Zack in the vanguard of a fundamental change in the way human beings interact—a change that minted a trillion-dollar industry. The DynaTAC went on sale in 1984 after the FCC approved the 2.5-pound device as the world’s first consumer-grade cell phone. At a cost of nearly $4,000 for the handset alone, Zack’s DynaTAC signified him as the preppy, privileged rich kid. But his ugly brick turned out to be simply the first domino in a technological cascade that has spread across the world with amazing speed. Just 20 years post-Zack, a new World Bank study finds that 75 percent of the world’s population has access to mobile phones, including much of the developing world.

Photo: mikek/Flickr

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Posted by plates55 - July 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm

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podcasters, beg-a-thons, and bandwidth

NPR is famous for beg-a-thons, wherein they lament the high cost of production and distribution and, oh yeah, solicit funds.  It’s more pronounced now that they have started podcasting.  More popular podcasts (particularly those who are making a go at doing it for a living) also have the same complaints.

I am slowly being converted to the opinion that the bandwidth complaint is a fundraising ploy. If they were really concerned about the cost of bandwidth they would attempt to minimize the use of bandwidth.  But the bandwidth Jeremiahs are the same folks who apparently take no care to reduce their own footprint, putting out excessively, needlessly large audiofiles.  YES it’s their podcast and their content and they can put it out however they wish, but if you want to beg for donations to cover your costs then I will expect you to attempt to minimize your costs.

Consider these ideas for reducing bandwidth;  they take a bit of up-front scripting to make it work programatically, then it just motors along with zero added effort from the podcaster:

  1. Make a bittorrent feed available.  Your listeners will happily donate bandwidth to keep your content flowing.
  2. Publish two podcast feeds:  a feed with all the bells/whistles and a low-bandwidth feed.
  3. use a lower sampling rate.  44.1 is CD quality. Does your spoken word podcast require better-than-CD sampling?  For our purposes, the Nyquist Rate predicts sampling should be 2x the highest audio frequency.    Since the human ear hears roughly 20-20,000Hz, this explains the 44.1k sampling rate of CDs.  If your podcast does not contain high frequencies at the extremes of human hearing then it does not need a high samping rate.
  4. use Variable Bit Rate (VBR) rather than Constant Bit Rate (CBR).  This ensures no frame uses excessive bitrate to encode the audio.
  5. if you must use CBR, use a lower bitrate.
  6. if your podcast is mono, then encode as mono rather than stereo.  Joint stereo reduced some of the waste when distributing mono in stereo encodes, but it’s still a waste.
  7. Consider voice presets in your favorite encoder.  See the lame voice preset result below.  This single change would probably make the biggest difference in podcasting bandwidth for most content producers.
  8. Consider other formats.  If you insist on high bitrates, .ogg can shave a bit off the filesize (see below).   If are really serious, use a speech-specific format like speex.

A specific example

Here’s the last file I downloaded from the feed of FreedomainRadio, your friendly neighborhood anarcho-capitalist (recommended, btw):

$ file FDR_2096_Sunday_Show_19_Feb_2012.mp3
FDR_2096_Sunday_Show_19_Feb_2012.mp3: Audio file with ID3 version 2.3.0, contains: MPEG ADTS, layer III, v1, 128 kbps, 48 kHz, Monaural
For the purposes of re-encoding I decoded to .wav using mgp123.  The result was a 48kHz .wav file.  I resampled in some cases below to get 44.1kHz .wav files or lower.
101097  FDR_2096_Sunday_Show_19_Feb_2012.mp3
The original file is 101.1MB, sampled at 48kHz and CBR 128K, representing a 0% savings in bandwidth cost.  At least it’s mono, which is not something we can take for granted with voice podcasts.
Ok, so let’s do some encoding with more bandwidth-friendly options in LAME.
100576 Feb 21 01:14 fdrtest-lamevbr-noresample.mp3
 97379 Feb 21 01:28 fdrtest.lamevbr-resample.mp3
 53812 Feb 21 00:48 fdrtest-lame-voice-preset.mp3
Encoding VBR at the original wonky sampling rate is 100.58MB, representing 0.5% savings in bandwidth.  Not much, but would the podcaster rather keep half of 1% of bandwidth costs in his pocket?  You bet.
VBR at 44.1kHz is 97.38MB, 3.7% savings.  Now we are getting somewhere.  And the ‘cast should never have been distributed as 48kHz, anyhow.
LAME’s –preset voice flag is probably what podcasters should be using by default.  Notice it is 53.81MB, for a 46.8% savings in bandwidth.  With no added effort.  With little or no degradation in voice-only audio. My friends, this is what I call Good Enough.  Yes, music gets thin and weird with this preset but we are talking about voice here.
68536 Feb 21 01:08 fdrtest.ogg

Changing nothing in the original 48kHz .wav, encoding with ogg vorbis gives us a 68.54MB file, for a 32.2% savings.  Not bad, though one might lose some windoze/mac listeners.  But as a second feed…  Note that the .ogg advantage will decrease on lower quality sounds files.  Speex is what you use for those.

50746 fdrtest.48k-original-sample.speex
 14498  fdrtest.08k.speex
 26394 fdrtest.16k.speex
 33830 fdrtest.32k.speex
Speex is a codec made expressly for voice.  It is not good for music.  That VOIP app you use probably uses speex.  Speex is a minority codec;  it does not have large mindshare or even widespread technical adoption.  The default Android media app does not play speex as of this writing, and that’s a shame.  Speex also really only works well with certain predefined sampling rates:  32, 16, and 8kHz.
The first run is speex encoding the 48kHz wav.  It hated that rate and said so when invoked.  But it output a file of 50.75MB, for a savings of 49.8%.
The best use of speex for podcast is probably encoding 32kHz files.  Our trial resulted in 33.83MB, a savings of 66.5%.  Or even speex at 16kHz (73.9% savings).
For completeness I also tested speex at  8kHz (85.7% savings) but it’s not really practical.  8kHz is  listenable for short periods (like voicemail) but fatigues the ears after long exposure.   It sounds like a telephone.
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Posted by plates55 - February 25, 2012 at 7:09 pm

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Has Conduit hijacked your browser? Here are instructions fro deleting it>>!!!

Conduit sells search engines to sites that install the engine to hijack home  pages. I purchased a product from Ashampoo, and rejected the option to install  the Bing Ashampoo search bar, yet it was installed. The code of my hijacked home  page is http://search.conduit.com/?ctid=CT2475029&SearchSource=13. Conduit  evidently is in some partnership of revenue sharing of the hijacked home pages.  A Web of Trust search will show many complaints from users. Conduit Engine shows  up in my add/remove programs, but failed to uninstall, and the “uninstall” was  preceded by some direct script code that quickly popped up and then disappeared,  I assume so that the search bar cannot truly be uninstalled.
A Google  search of Conduit Engine will result in complaints by users who want to  uninstall the search engine, but are having problems.
Because my edit  varies greatly from the advertiser’s own description below, I will leave their  ad, until more research can be done, that justifies taking their advertising  down. Do be aware that they are associated with home page hijacking and spyware, to  persons who do not desire to have their engine. I have discovered this from Web  of Trust and Google. I hope to have my answer improved, once I have discovered  how to have their spyware removed. I welcome any answers that can improve upon  mine. I will also post how to remove the engine once I am successful.

Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_conduit_engine#ixzz1lbvRrEvj

 

Conduit bundles a hidden “toolbar” and other apps with other companies’ software,  pays them a kickback because they are willing to hide from the end user that  Conduit products are being allowed to install secretly alongside what the user  actually wanted.
The outcry is widespread but they seem to still be  getting away with it.
They pretend to address the issue here  http://www.conduit.com/Community/Forum/Questions.aspx?fpage=10&threadid=8423
But it is clear that the attempt is  disingenuous.http://forums.cnet.com/7723-6122_102-504164.html
In my  case, Bit Torrent did me the disservice. I thought they were still the open  source industry leader in free and reliable torrent apps, but I was clearly  mistaken. Had to uninstall secretly included addons in all browsers, as well as  removing toolbars and hidden client apps via Add/Remove function. Seems to have  worked. We’ll see.
Their claims are below…   ==================================
Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_conduit_engine#ixzz1lbvdmEny

 

HOW to delete:

If you are using Firefox, uninstall it from the addons.
Users are reporting that Revo Uninstaller having success in uninstalling Conduit. Download Revo Uninstaller Freeware – Free and Full Download – Uninstall software, remove programs, solve uninstall problems

If it still will not delete/

 

Boot computer up into safemode and then delete it.  That shouod work.

 

1) To get rid of the Toolbar / widget things, you need to go to Tools > Add-ons > Plugins, and uninstall the two entries pertaining to BitTorrent and Conduit. You will need to restart Firefox twice for this. Check that they are both gone when you have restarted.

2) To remove the Search Box hijack, click on the down-arrow next to the search box (it will probably have a Google symbol next to it) and select Manage Search Engines. Then select any search engine you don’t like the look of or recognise – you will be surprised how many there are – and for each one click Remove.

3) They were the easy bits. Now to remove the Conduit Engine itself.

You need to have Firefox shut down for this, as it restores some of the files upon shutdown to prevent corruption. First, locate you Roaming Application Profiles. You will need to be an administrator to do this, but assuming you are, in Explorer select Tools > Folder Options > View tab (if Tools is not visible, hit Alt) and ensure the radio button for “Show hidden files, folders and drives” is selected and “Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)” is unchecked (you will be asked to confirm this).

Find your profile. This will be located in your home drive (probably C:) in the “Users” or “Documents and Settings” (for XP) folder, so in my case it is C:\Users\Keith. Ensuring you have Folder View open, click on the {profile} folder and in the right-hand pane locate AppData (or Local Settings\Application Data for XP). Within this is the folder “Roaming”, within which is the Firefox Profile folder, e.g. {profile}\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles.

Beneath that is your random profile ID folder, which will be something like “1234abcd.default”. This folder I will call {fprofile}.

First, locate the pesky Conduit Engine folders, which contain most of the gubbins associated with this monster. Delete the folders {fprofile}\conduit and {fprofile}\CT2790392 (I can’t vouch for this exact number, but it seems to be standard at the moment).

Find the file {fprofile}\prefs.js and save a copy of this with a .backup extension. Right click on prefs.js and select “Edit”; this will (should) open the javascript file in Notepad.

You need to remove all references to Conduit:

First, delete every line beginning with the following:

user_pref("CT2790392. user_pref("CommunityToolbar.

Second, locate the following line:

user_pref("browser.search.defaulturl", "http://search.conduit.com/ResultsExt.aspx?ctid=CT2790392&SearchSource=3&q={searchTerms}");

Change it to (for Google search):

user_pref("browser.search.defaulturl", "http://www.google.com/search?lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=");

You will need to find the relevant command line for your own search engine, or just leave the second quotes empty for no URL bar searching.

Finally, locate the line:

user_pref("keyword.URL", "http://search.conduit.com/ResultsExt.aspx?ctid=CT2790392&q=");

and change it to (for Google): user_pref("keyword.URL", "http://www.google.com/search?lr=&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=");

Again, you will need to find your own code for different search engines: I’m not a huge fan of Google, but at least you can just delete the cookie to remove your search history, or use Private Browsing.

 

 

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Posted by plates55 - February 6, 2012 at 9:24 am

Categories: Gadget   Tags: , , , , , , ,

CO Judge Orders Defendant to Provide Unencrypted “Copy” of Hard Drive (Non-Copyright Infringment Case)

CO Federal Criminal Case

First off, this is not a Copyright infringement Case.  This order comes from a Colorado Federal Judge in a Criminal case for real estate fraud.  Here is the article – http://www.informationweek.com/news/security/encryption/232500386  The CO court did not tell the defendant to give up her password, just provide a copy of the unencrypted hard drive.  This was based on information that the hard drive actually contained evidence and not a fishing expedition.

While I still have to read and review the details of this order, I believe this ruling will be appealed and fought at a much higher level.  The right against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment cannot be so easily trumped!  I believe the Supreme Court will be looking at this in the future.  Here is a recent article on the Supreme Court ruling that the use of a GPS tracking device on a suspect required a search warrant (not just the whim of an investigator or prosecutor)(http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9223646/Supreme_Court_GPS_ruling_called_a_win_for_privacy?taxonomyId=144).  Not the same issue, but still a core one concerning our rights.

So What Does This Mean For These Copyright Infringement Cases?

Besides being a criminal case (not a civil one), this order only came after a full investigation, court authorized searches, and forensic analysis.  None of these are even close to the copyright infringement cases brought by the Trolls.  The only forensic examination I know of for these cases was from a “consent to search” obtained by a Troll in a CA case (http://dietrolldie.com/2011/12/14/named-defendant-in-prenda-law-inc-boy-racer-inc-case-211-cv-03072-mce-kjn-eastern-district-of-ca-ammended-complaint/).  We are slowly advancing to “some” named Does and the Trolls are continuing to say they are going to a full trial.  This is more Troll BS in my opinion.  As Rob Cashman stated in his Blog, when it comes to a deposition (happens before the trial phase), that opens the door for the Trolls ”experts”  and methods to be deposed also.  This is going to open “Pandora’s box” for the Trolls and they know it.  Saying that, I want to go over a wonderful piece of software I have mentioned in previous posts – TrueCrypt.

“Well if the court is going to possibly make me provide an unencrypted copy of my hard drive, why use TrueCrypt?”

One feature of TrueCrypt is the ability to create a hidden volume.  This hidden volume is located within a standard TrueCrypt volume – AKA: “A dream within a dream” OR “Plans within plans.”  When I first read about hidden volumes years ago, I thought it was a really good option for people living in countries run by repressive governments.  I never thought it would be something to really consider using in the US.

The idea being you first create a standard TrueCrypt volume on your computer.  It can be an entire hard drive or just a TrueCrypt file.  Once the primary TrueCrypt volume is created, you create a smaller hidden TrueCrypt volume  within this one.  This smaller hidden volume does not have a detectable signature – it looks like random data.

Once the TrueCrypt volumes are created, you place all your sensitive files (Tax files, financial data, medical records, private pictures & movies of you and the wife (wink wink ;)  , etc.) in the “Known” volume.  In the hidden volume you now place any extremely sensitive files.  After adding your files to these volumes, you “dismount” the volumes until you need access.  What this hidden volume gives you is “plausible deniability.”

Plausible Deniability

Here is an example.  An adversary is looking at your system and they see you have TrueCrypt installed.  They may even determine which files and/or drives are TrueCrypt volumes.  This adversary forces you to open (unencrypt) the TrueCrypt volume.  They now see all you private information in the known TrueCrypt volume.  But they can’t see the hidden volume.  “But can’t a forensic examiner find the hidden volume????”  NO.  There is no indicators that a hidden volumes exists within the known volume.  The unused area within the known volume appears as  random data.  You have complied with the adversary and can plausibly deny any wrongdoing.

Now I know some people are going to say, “what are you hiding?” & “what are you afraid of?” I love the line that if you are not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear.  What a load of crap!  Please tell me why our founding fathers wrote the Bill of Rights? – Nice TechDirt article on the matter.

– It is because our history has shown over and over again that abuses of power do occur and will occur again.  The Trolls are abusing the courts by filing these mass John Does cases under the claim of protecting the rights of copyright owners.  This is not an effort to protect anyone, it is a business model to generate as much money as possible regardless if the public IP address owner did anything.

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Posted by plates55 - January 27, 2012 at 7:23 am

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