Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Travelling to China? Leave your laptop at home

American Government officials and private business people travelling to China are taking more and more precautions against hacking and digital espionage, according to a report in The New York Times. While many people simply leaving their electronics behind, others have separate devices for travelling or follow elaborate routines for blanking out the hard drives before leaving and sanitizing them once again upon return. Travellers have also learnt to take the batteries out of their phones to protect themselves from spyware that might clandestinely start recording their meetings and conversations.
China isn’t the only offender, but its growing importance in world politics and economics make it a huge danger. Laptops that make it back from China are often infected with malware that spreads across a company’s network as soon as they connect to it upon return. The malware then sneaks into other computers, printers and networked appliances in order to avoid detection and allow remote attackers to gain access to corporate secrets.  Top government officials are said to be fully aware that every single laptop taken into China by officials in various government had returned without some sort of deliberate and persistent malware infection. It is also illegal to carry encrypted storage devices into China without prior government approval.


LG’s updated its Optimus smartphone with a couple of mid – range options and the SOL adds on to the already crowded shelves. Encased in a piano black plastic body, the 3.8 – inch blower sports an ‘Ultra’ AMOLED WVGA display, packs in a 1GHz processor and runs Android Gingerbread. The inclusion of Wi – Fi Direct and DLNA sharing is a pleasant surprise. There’s a gig of internal storage and it comes with a 2GB microSD in the pack… useful since it boasts of DivX/Xvid playback capabilities out – of – the box. An FM tuner is also on board.

As usual, LG decks up Android with its Optimus UI. You can pinch to view thumnails of the seven home screens, jump directly to the desired one with a tap, and even choose the one to display when the home key is tapped. The app drawer classifies apps according to the ones preinstalled and the ones you download. You can create your own app categories… a pinch collapses or expands headings. Preloaded apps include Polaris Office for document editing. Social+ widget for displaying social feeds and also a network data monitor widget.
The 5 – meg snapper can do 720p vids, but its below par – the lack of flash doesn’t help things. The screen is quite vibrant thanks to the AMOLDED goodness and the phone performs without any hiccups. It sure is a capable device, but doesn’t have any standout feature to distinguish it from others. At a similar price point, there are other contenders such as Sony Ericsson’s Xperia ray and even LG’s own dualcore Optimus 2X vying for your dough.


In an age svelte consoles, tablets, handhelds and smartphones that usually inhabit the pages of T3, the Brag Carnelian stands out. It’s an oddity, a heavily priced one at that – so much so that If you were to work out its cost, it could fetch you two Tata Nanos. Yes, in these heavy times rising hardware prices, 99 – cent apps and exponentially cheaper consoles, it seems like an awful extravagance.

Then you switch it on, and fire up. The Elder Scrolls V.Skyrim  in all its high – res glory. All those pricing concerns melt away. As good as the game was on slightly inferior devices, you can’t help but feel that the most intricate of details gave seemingly come alive. Water looks real enough to take a bath in, the fireballs spewed by the game’s iconic dragins seems to singe on each touch. An hour in and we can’t believe we actually settled for playing it on anything less.
In a way it’s unsurprising. Chance upon the specs and you’ll realise that this is a brute of a system. It ploughed through heavy hitters like indie PC – killer Hard Reset, our favourite post – apocalyptic shooter, Metro 2033 and Batman Arkham City without a hitch at a glorious 2560×1440 resolution with all the bells and whistles turned on. Thanks to the liquid cooling it wasn’t too noisy either.
The Carnelian isn’t exactly the most cost – effective solution to complement the fact that PC games are as cheap as they are and yes, you can build a discontinuing their Aurora desktop range in the country, you’re short of options for a branding gaming rig.
Having said that, if you’re an enthusiast with money to burn, you can’t go wrong with Brag’s latest.
Price: 1,85,000 Rs
  • Processor: Intel Core i7 3930K@ 3.2 GHz, Liquid cooled
  • Memory / Storage: 16GB DDR3/120GB SSD, 2TB HDD
  • Optical Drive: Blu – ray writer
  • GPU: AMD Radeon HD7970, 3GB
  • Connectivity: N Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, HDMI, DVI, USB 3.0


Stylish, laser – powered multi – touch keyboard and mouse duo morph into any interface you fancy
There’s a new wave of keyboards in town. Designer – turned – inventor Jason Giddlings ‘ multi – touch keyboard and mouse is the future of peripherals and promises to change the way we interact with computing devices, morphing into different interfaces as per your needs. The multi – touch device also supports gestures, and comprises of two “fourier transforum infrared “ (FTIR – Google it, why don’cha ) glass sheetsm and hence can be tailored to multiple purposes, from traditional QWERTY to video editing or gaming setups. The mouse is similarly adaptable, putting key controls under your palm.

Everything But the Box Terra MK3: FAT BOTTOMED GIRILS

Remember the saucy number by Queen that eulogised women with large posteriors? That’s the song that rang true in our minds when we were introduced to EBTB’s Terra Mk3 bookshelf speakers. While Freddie Mercury stood amongst the crowd of rock singer – performers  for his showmanship. EBTB does it with its eccentric designs that are anything but cuboidal. But are they fat enough to make the rockin’ world go around?
It didn’t take us long before we had the 30mm tweeters and 4 – inch bass – mid driver belting out tracks as best as they could. Just under the midrange driver and in front of the spherical enclosure is the bass reflex port. What’s more, there is a tweakable dial on each of the bottoms… kinky ! Actually, they are meant to tone down the highs, depending on your preferences.
At first, these lacquer – finished, high – gloss speakers were a little stiff when it came to reproducing adequate bass. However, they dealt with the highs and mids quite well.  It was only after extended usage did the mid – bass drivers seems to loosen up a little. Adding much – needed body to the soundtracks.

The Mk3 is bright – sounding, which everyone may not prefer, so the HF dial at the back is a plus. While the lows were not as full – bodied as we would have liked, the speakers never skipped a beat or boomed along lazily. Ideally, these should be paired with EBTB’s monster ball, the Subterranean II ( Model 2 ) subwoofer. While the Mk3s were not as detailed for layered music, they were superb with simpler orchestrations like a jazz routine or an acoustic ballad. If you have the moolah, you should take these girls down beside you that red firelight.

MAC JUICE ON TAP : Mobee Magic Feet

Keeping your achingly stylish Apple wireless kwyboard, Magic Trackpad and Magic Mouse fully charged, the complimentary and equally sexy Mobee Magic Feet inductive charging station props up your peripherals with six hours of side-by-side battery boosting keeping you in full working order for up to ten days. It also adds fours USB ports to your PC – hatting armoury while sitting sleekly on your desk 24/7.

10 Things… Tech heads are irrationally scared of

  • Unwanted PC seizure
  • Vintage tapes being found
  • Phone loss
  • Micro face cancer
  • The toilets of others
  • Children who know tech
  • Emailing the CEO
  • Cash machines
  • The Airport
  • Webcams

Unwanted PC seizure
You’ve never done anything other than work, buy Blu – rays online and play QWOP on your office computer. But you also know its previous owner was that sweaty guy with the Red Dwarf t-shirt who smelled of boiled lamb and left in a hurry. Could it be that any second now the “special police” will burst through the window, find a buried folder and send you down for a lengthy and disagreeable stretch in nonce town? Yes, in a word.
Vintage tapes being found
You were a bit of tormented singer-songwriter when you were a teenager, and recorded all your yearning balladry onto cassettes. Then you left them behind when you moved out. So where are said tapes now? They’re still sitting there, waiting for your children to find them. Then they’ll listen to Love is Killing Me ( reprise ), Window Pain, Requiem for my Loneliness and An Eternity of Misery and subsequently never look you in the eye again.
Phone Loss
If there’s one thing that’s more painful to lose than a close friend, it’s your beloved smart phone. The 24 hours before you find it in the fridge are filled with sweaty terror, stomach – churning dread and dark malaise: “How will all the people contact me?” Finally, you see The Precious sitting under that industrial block of cheddar and notice you have 22 missed calls, Job offers? Invites to parties? No. it was you ringing from the house phone.
Microwave face cancer
Cooking food in the old “potty ping” is responsible for your headaches and that lump on your neck, sure as your phone is killing your every sperm. Luckily, the microwave will not have time to kill you. The lasagne sat-fat fests meant for two that you scorch inside it every night will see to that.
The toilets of others

More specifically, those of potential in – laws. You just know it won’t be able to deal with what you’ve just done. Oh yes, it may have a doily on its head and delightful pine seating, but an effective flush ? forget it. Here goes 3-2-1… Nothing. So to refill, then try again. Oh dear. After an hour of this, and long after the dessert course arrived downstairs, you start to weep, before finally slopping off to bed and hoping for the best.
Children who know tech
They’re all over the internet, jumping on anyone who dare mistake their quadcore for a dualcore, or who mentions digital zoom ratings when everyone know only optical zoom is relevant, pausing only to lambast tech publications for their “Apple bias”. If only there was a way to lean through their monitors and clip them round the ear. Get off our virtual lawns, you pesky kids.
Emailing the CEO
A “personal” mailing from the boss to you and the 7,300 other people you work with has made clear there’s to be no pay rises, and counselled. “Feel free to email with any concerns.” So you reply with some detailed queries about his or her “road map”. Fear grabs you as soon as you hit send. Will you now be seen as a troublemaker? Or could it be you’ll get the promotion for your chutzpah? Neither, you’ll just be told a month later that a “company – wide review” is in place and times are tough, to which you should always reply with a thumbs – up smiley.
Cash machines
Up there with toilet rims , hand rails in hospitals and most trains, cash machine keys look like they’re laced with a cocktail of sweat, spit, blood, flu, E-Coli, herpes, bubonic plague and cholera.
The Airport
You know you haven’t got TNT in your blog; you know your passport is in your jacket pocket; you know your briefcase is in your hand. Still, this doesn’t stop you checking all three every 30 seconds or so. You’re also sure this is the time you’ll finally succumb to that childish urge to say, “No, I asked the Taliban to pack it for me,” as your laptop and camera cables poke suspiciously out of your carry bag.
Even wonder if that little camera built into your laptop is beaming your image to some far off land, or to everyone you know while you’re busy “relaxing”? No? Oh good, Just us then…