Maingear Eyes DIY Builders By Selling Standalone PC Cases

April 23rd, 2015 by Manmohan No comments »

Maingear is typically known as a boutique desktop and notebook maker, offering pre-built PCs that customers can configure based on their budget. These PCs typically have a plethora of hardware options spanning from the CPU to the PSU. What we have yet to see is Maingear selling its cases without all the hardware packed inside. As of today, that has changed.

The company is now going after the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) crowd by serving up its most popular cases. These include the Shift, Potenza, F131, Drift, Rush, Force and Torq models. Customers can personalize these cases by ordering custom color combinations found in the Maingear palette, or by supplying automotive color codes. Customers can even get their artwork laser engraved on the side.

Out of the group, the Shift case has the highest starting price at $499. As with the company’s desktops, customers have a number of options to choose from such as the exterior finish, the interior finish and chassis lighting. Customers can also configure the case with processor cooling and a power supply. Additional optional gear consists of a portable tool kit and a nifty shirt.

As an example of what to expect when configuring one of these cases, the Shift can have an Alpine White automotive paint finish for $399 extra. For another $299, customers can get the same finish on the inside. Want the chassis to be nice and glossy? Add $50 to the total. Lighting can be provided by LED light strips that cost $39 each and consist of Amber, Blue, Purple, Red, Ultra Violet or White colors. There’s even a light strip that can be changed by remote control ($74.99).

With all of the above, customers can find themselves with a customized chassis that costs more than purchasing a pre-built gaming desktop. The Torq case has the smallest starting price tag of $100, followed by the Rush case ($110), the Drift case ($155), the Potenza case ($210), the F131 case ($220) and the Force case ($349). The Torq is the smallest of the group, whereas the Force case is the tallest.

“Our selection of DIY cases gives everybody the ability to build and create a truly unique system that reflects their personality,” stated Wallace Santos, CEO and Founder of Maingear. “This is the first time Maingear has offered its customization capabilities and unique cases for non-full system buyers.”


Dell beefs up Ireland R&D center

April 23rd, 2015 by Manmohan No comments »

Dell Inc. is hiring 100 engineers to work in its facility in Limerick, Ireland, according to a report from Ireland-based RTE News.
The report says the company is focusing its hires there on engineering rolls as it expands its research and development outfit at the Limerick facility. When the hiring is done, the report says nearly 1,000 people will work at Dell’s Limerick facility. The Round Rock-based computer company also has offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland.
Dell employs about 14,000 people in the Austin area and has been diversifying its product line to include more corporate and back-end services and hardware. The company still has a stranglehold on some aspects of its old PC-focused business model. For instance, Dell captured the largest share of the global personal computer monitors market during the fourth quarter, research firm International Data Corp. reported earlier this month.


CORRECTED-UPDATE 2-Logitech moves away from computer mouse, looks to wireless

April 23rd, 2015 by Manmohan No comments »

Gadget maker Logitech International SA said on Thursday quarterly operating profit fell 34 percent on steep currency declines and shrinking demand for accessories like the computer mouse on which it built its global brand name.

Nonetheless, strong demand for newer music and video accessories helped profits to come in higher than all analyst forecasts.

Logitech has refocused on new lines like wireless music speakers, videoconferencing and video game controllers, offsetting a decline in personal computers and demand for its mice and keyboards it has made since the dawn of the PC age.

Towards that end, Logitech said it will exit a low-margin business that mainly makes computer mice for PC makers to sell as their own. Sales there fell 26 percent in the latest quarter.

It reported operating profit of $14.5 million for the quarter ended March 31, compared to $21.8 million a year ago, due to pockets of sales strength, lower costs and fewer restructuring charges. Net sales in the March quarter fell 4.7 percent to $467.2 million, at the high of estimates.

Logitech has at best managed slow sales growth for six of the past seven years. However, underlying demand for new products and action to cut costs and raise prices are positioning it for sustained growth in coming years, it said.

Shares of the Lausanne-based company traded up 2.2 percent at midday on the Zurich stock exchange, following the report.


Once Logitech exits the declining computer mouse manufacturing business, underlying sales results from are set to show sustained sales growth in constant currency terms, Chief Executive Bracken Darrell said in an interview.

“This (retail business) is going to be the bulk of our business going forward,” Darrell said. “What we are announcing today is the simplifying of our story.”

Excluding currency swings, sales nudged up 1 percent. Logitech’s retail business, which generates 90 percent of sales, grew 7 percent in constant currency. Importantly, newer growth categories on which it is betting its future business, grew 45 percent and now make up nearly one-third of its retail business.

Darrell, who has moved Logitech into new product lines while cutting costs in older product areas, said Logitech was prepared to increase prices to offset currency declines.

“We are raising prices around the world,” Darrell told Reuters, referring to markets outside the United States. The price increases will take effect in this quarter,” he said.

The CEO said he believes the company commands pricing power in many of its accessory lines including what is now its best-selling product line — wireless Bluetooth speakers. It plans to raise prices around 11 to 13 percent in Europe, for example.


Windows 10 Device Guard: Microsoft’s effort to keep malware off PCs

April 23rd, 2015 by Manmohan No comments »

RSA 2015 On Wednesday, at the RSA conference in San Francisco, Microsoft veep Scott Charney outlined a new security mechanism in Windows 10 called Device Guard. We’ve taken a closer look.

The details are a little vague – more information will emerge at the Build event next week – but from what we can tell, Device Guard wraps an extra layer of defense around the operating system to prevent malware from permanently compromising a PC.

Device Guard, when enabled by an administrator, checks to see if each and every application is cryptographically signed by Microsoft as a trusted binary before it is allowed to run. Device Guard itself runs in its own pocket of memory with its own minimal instance of Windows, and is protected from the rest of the system by the IOMMU features in the PC’s processor and motherboard chipset.

These IOMMU features (outlined here by the Minix project) wall off Device Guard from the computer’s hardware, so it cannot be tampered with by other software, no matter how low level that software is.

If the Windows 10 kernel, which has control over the PC, is compromised, Device Guard will remain fire-walled off, and cannot be subverted into allowing unauthorized code to run. A hypervisor running beneath the kernel and Device Guard enforces this.

(In theory, that is – similar “secure execution environments” have been defeated in the past.)

Ultimately, the idea is to stop miscreants installing malware on a machine, thus limiting the amount of long-term damage the attacker can do.

“If you want to create a persistent threat on Windows you have to get code running in the kernel, because then you can get under apps, under a lot of safeguards, and change the behavior of the system,” Dustin Ingalls, Microsoft’s group program manager for operating system security, told The Register.

“With Device Guard, we take at least a similar sized step forward as the change for Windows 8 by making a bet on hypervisor-based security. With Windows 10, what will happen is that the hypervisor will be on all the time; you’ll have your main OS, but what you’ll also have is this very tiny, constrained version of Windows with no network or display stack. It’s designed to be a very tiny, tightly controlled secure execution environment.”

Ingalls told us Device Guard will approve trusted universal apps on Windows 10 desktops, tablets and phones. Applications available from the Windows Store will be signed off and ready to run via Device Guard. Enterprises with legacy apps can send hashes of the executables to Redmond to be signed within minutes, we’re told.

“When apps are submitted to the Store, those apps go through vetting and all kinds of checks,” Ingalls said.

“But if an enterprise is saying ‘Hey, sign this for me,’ it will be done with a key that only works for that company. If that enterprise wants to sign bad stuff, they are entitled to do that – we’re not trying to say we’ll only sign this or that. All we’re doing is trying to make it easy for you to get an app signed so the new defenses will allow this piece of software to run.”

There is, of course, a catch. To get Device Guard working, a supported IOMMU setup must be present in the PC or device. However, AMD and Intel processors, and even certain ARM and MIPS cores, have had IOMMU protection mechanisms built-in for a while now. Intel calls its IOMMU tech VT-d; AMD prefers AMD-Vi.

When Windows 10 comes out this summer, computer giants such as HP, Lenovo, Acer, and Toshiba, will tout their hardware as Device Guard-capable or Device Guard-ready.

Device Guard-ready systems will have the required IOMMU hardware present, kernel drivers optimized for Device Guard installed, and the security feature enabled. Device Guard-capable devices will have just the IOMMU hardware present, leaving the driver installation and configuration up to the user.

There may be an extra cost for Device Guard-ready systems over Device Guard-capable products, but that’s up to the manufacturers, Microsoft said. In the longer term, it’s hoped that cost will disappear.

“Device Guard has to be one of the most compelling security innovations we’re shipped in Windows,” Ingalls said. “But it doesn’t signal an end to malware. It makes it much, much, much more difficult especially in the world where you’re dealing with cybercriminals.”


Computer hardware dealer Also Latvia increases turnover, but reduces profit in 2014

April 23rd, 2015 by Manmohan No comments »

Last year, Also Latvia turned over EUR 55.6 million, which is 28% more than in 2013, when the company turned over EUR 43.5 million.

According to “” information, the company earned EUR 286,839 in 2014, which is 15% less than in the year before, when the profit reached EUR 337,610.

According to Also Latvia management report, the company’s operations last year were influenced by foreign currency fluctuations. This year, the company plans to further increase turnover, expecting that the role of technology industry in Latvia, the company’s client base, and trust in the company will provide the anticipated return.


Supervisors OK $4.3 Million Computer Hardware Switch

April 23rd, 2015 by Manmohan No comments »

The Board of Supervisors signed off this week on a $4.3 million agreement with an Atlanta-based firm to replace Riverside County’s computer hardware platform, touching off a discussion about the ongoing challenges in centralizing information technology functions within county government.

On a 5-0 vote made Tuesday, supervisors authorized Department of Information Technology Interim Director Christopher Hans to secure the five-year compact with Bias Corp. Under terms of the agreement, the company will install a platform that will facilitate continuing use of the county’s PeopleSoft software that’s approaching a dozen years old and will pave the way for its eventual replacement with a higher grade system for data management.

The contract stipulates that Bias will also provide maintenance and technical support services after the hardware is up and running.

Supervisor Kevin Jeffries expressed concern about the expenditures and asked Hans whether the contract was “step one of many steps to come” in overhauling the county’s hodgepodge IT system and centralizing operations.

“It’s another very important consideration,” Hans said. “Putting the hardware in place is a very long and complicated process. The software upgrade can’t begin until the hardware is in place. You’re looking at a two-year process.”

Supervisor Chuck Washington used the contract deliberation as a springboard into a wider debate about whether the county is meeting its main goal of becoming “more efficient at doing business.”

“The integration of IT is very cumbersome, expensive and fraught with frustration,” Washington said. “We have to depend on technology, and I want to continue supporting efforts that move us toward (efficiency). But I’m concerned that we can’t achieve the end-game.”

Hans, who will leave his post in three weeks when the county’s new full- time IT chief, Steve Reneker, takes charge, acknowledged the PeopleSoft system in place now is “overly complicated and difficult to maintain,” but that there was no immediate solution.

“We’re devoted to keeping this cobbled-together software running,” he said. “We’re trying to be more nimble and reactive to what customers want.”

County CEO Jay Orr said the Bias Corp. hardware replacement was two years overdue and represents a big move toward rebuilding the computing network the county currently operates.

“Running shadow systems is not cost-effective,” Orr said. “I’m a believer in centralization. We need tough, insightful leadership and all county department heads pulling in the same direction. And if we’re going to be successful, we need the right hardware.”

The Board of Supervisors authorized IT consolidation in 2012, with the goal of folding more than two-dozen agencies’ Internet-based and data storage operations into a single unified structure. Former Department of Information Technology Director Kevin Crawford initiated the process, which met with resistance from several collective bargaining units. Crawford resigned last August.

As part of the consolidation, the board approved purchasing the one-time Press-Enterprise newspaper headquarters in downtown Riverside for $30 million and authorized spending another $14 million to lease a building in the Riverside Technology Business Park.


Tobago kids take computer programming to a higher level

April 16th, 2015 by Manmohan No comments »

The computer camp was developed by the Ministry of Tertiary Education and Skills Training (MTEST) for participants throughout Trinidad and Tobago. In Tobago it was hosted at the Calder Hall Multi-Purpose Community Centre and the Charlotteville Methodist School from March 31 to April 10. The TechnoKids camp aims to demystify computer programming and teach it in a way that’s fun and easy to learn.

Neilson Lewis spoke about his experience as an Instructor at the TechnoKids camp in Charlotteville. “I think the initiative is very good intervention at this age and the games and visual tutorials were well suited to capture and hold the interest of kids this age. It was a beautiful experience for them learning how to do coding and for me to teach them. A lot of people would like to know how to do programming but find that it’s hard, so seeing their excitement brought me joy.” Lewis continued “There was even further excitement when some of them wanted to learn how to do more programming beyond what this curriculum entailed. I used an application called Microsoft Small Basic to do additional programming exercises which they totally enjoyed.”

The computer camp used another game called Kodu which runs on Xbox and is a new visual programming language made specifically for children to create games. Eight-year-old Israel Elias attended the camp at the Calder Hall Multi-Purpose Community Centre and shared that he had a great time creating games. “I enjoyed attending the camp because I made new friends, learned how to use a computer and do coding. I got to play games and I understand now how to give the commands that make the games work. I used coding to give commands to the games’ characters to tell them to walk, move forward, to jump and do different things.”

The main application used in TechnoKids is Microsoft’s Hour of Code which facilitates the ongoing development of children by offering online, self-guided and self-paced tutorials. Even though the camp has concluded the children can go on the Hour of Code’s website and continue on to higher levels of computer programming and obtain certificates for each level. Jacqueline Adams was the Administrator for the TechnoKids Camp at the Calder Hall Multi-Purpose Community Centre and believes that programmes like TechnoKids are really needed in Tobago to broaden the future of the children and diversify Tobago’s economy. Adam shared that the parents were very appreciative of the camp because many of them would not have thought of computer programming as a future career for their children. She said “Some of the parents had other planned Easter activities for their children but they cancelled these plans so the children could come to the camp. The attendance was 100 percent every day except once when a child had an emergency.”

Lewis agreed that the TechnoKids programme was good Tobago and explained why “Firstly it will help these children to be able to express themselves better. To create and give commands to the games’ characters should have helped them learn how to break things down into very small steps.” Lewis added “Secondly we have a tourism dependent economy but this should open their minds to careers in IT; not just being a programmer but how the computer works, the hardware aspect of it etc. It is good to know that we may have a good future work force to draw on.”

A total of six hundred and thirty-five children participated in MTEST’s 2015 edition of its TechnoKids camp at various venues around Trinidad and Tobago to encourage as many children as possible to consider IT and software development as a future career. The Blink I Bmobile Foundation was a proud sponsor of the TechnoKids programme and donated the T-shirts for the children and staff, as well as the tablets used. Frances Simmons, Head of Tobago Operations at blink I bmobile expressed her delight at seeing how quickly the children learned computer programming and said “It was great to see the kids having fun during their vacation but still learning at the same time. We look forward to seeing many more children becoming involved in technology, now and in the future, and we will continue to support the education of our nation’s youth as much as we can.”


Get Adobe Flash player