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03 September 2010

Facebook's new security feature: remote logouts

NEW YORK: Facebook is rolling out a new security feature that lets users log out of their accounts remotely from another computer.
To do this, go to "account settings" on your Facebook page and click on "change" next to "account security." There, you'll see where else your Facebook account is logged in, including the type of device and the city it's in or near. To log out of any of them, click "end activity."

Facebook is making this available over the next couple of weeks. It will be accessible on computers, but not mobile devices.

The feature is similar to what Google Inc.'s Gmail offers to its users, and Facebook says it's designed to help users keep their logins secure. - AP

29 March 2010

Smaller drop in power demand

KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) recorded a small drop in demand during Earth Hour on Saturday night with a load reduction of 203MW.  (27 March 2010)

In a statement yesterday, the company said in the same energy conservation campaign last year, TNB posted a bigger drop in electricity usage – 550MW.

High power consumption during the current hot weather might have contributed to the lower reduction in energy consumption during this year’s Earth Hour, it added.

A new maximum demand of 14,890MW was registered on March 25 beating the previous peak of 14,740MW on March 14.

TNB also said that it fully supported Earth Hour which calls for the switching off of non-essential lights and electrical appliances for one hour to raise awareness towards the need to take action on climate change.

28 February 2010

Securing A Visit



Being asked to surrender your identity card can put a damper on going from one open house to the next.

CHINESE New Year is a great time of the year. The extra-long weekends, all those friends to share festive celebrations with, and open houses to visit. That is, as long as you can get past the security guards without getting into a fight.

My problem is this: Many security guards in “gated communities” and condominiums insist that you hand over your identity card (IC) before they let you enter, and I always, rightly, refuse to do so. When my friend pointed out that it was illegal for security to hold another’s IC, the guard happily opened his drawer and fanned out half a dozen of the cards.

“See? All these people give their IC.” My friend bit her tongue but if I would have gladly said what she was thinking: “All these people are stupid.”

Malaysia is one of about a hundred countries in the world that uses the identity card system. Once a citizen reaches the age of 12, he will be given an IC, which he is expected to carry with him for the rest of his life. The latest incarnation (the electronic MyKad) not only has information on the person’s name, IC number, address and (for Muslims) religion, but also details on his/her driving licence, passport, digital certificates, health and (for some cards) Touch ‘n Go.

My friend was right about this card being private to the owner. According to the National Registration Regulations 1990, it is an offence for a person “to unreasonably detain any identity card other than his own”. Is a condominium security guard an “authority that exercises any of its lawful functions”? Even if he is, you don’t have to show him the actual IC; a simple photocopy is good enough. (Regulations 7, 8A and 9, if you’re interested.)

So why do these security guards insist they have the power to compel you to show them your IC?

Well, if you don’t give it to them, they won’t let you in to enjoy your angpows and mandarin oranges. And they’re more than happy to go through the “I’m just doing my job, don’t be difficult” spiel when you try to argue. So, most people just give in and hand over their cards.

The common excuse given is that it’s for security. They want to give you a tag that marks you as a visitor, and holding your IC ensures that you will return the tag. I’d rather give a RM10 deposit, thank you very much. Sometimes they say they need your personal details so that they have an accurate record of who’s going in and out of the compound. However, they usually take down the details of just one person in a car (passengers are obviously harmless). And I’m sure no self-respecting evil-doer would ever think of creating a fake IC to get up to no good.

I know that most security outfits know that it’s wrong to keep people’s ICs. This is because they say that if you can’t (or won’t) give them that, they will happily take your driver’s licence instead. (I found out they don’t like it at all if you tell them you don’t have either of those cards.)

The root of the problem isn’t that I don’t want to break laws by giving them my IC. The simple truth is that it’s none of their business who I am or where I live if I want to visit a friend.

Generally, Malaysians can be quite dumb – we give private data away too easily. With active participation in schemes like loyalty cards, we share our private particulars willingly, with no consideration of the consequences. At least you get free gifts with bonus cards.

So what should security companies do to safeguard their properties?

I think they need to practise the principle of fair access. If I want to visit a friend who is expecting me, then the guards should not stop me from reaching his unit through the interconnecting roads and paths. Otherwise, there is no way to visit my friend in his own (private) home without trespassing on another person’s private land.

Here’s a suggestion: when I reach a place and say I want to visit my friend at a particular road and number, the guard should make a phone call to confirm that I am expected. Accordingly, a record is made that my friend had visitors at a certain time. The guard can then escort me to his house to make sure I don’t get up to anything in between. Friendly, courteous – and secure.

Admittedly, that would give the guards more work to do, and the onus is on them to do some actual security work. However, I think that in this time of festivity it’s something they should look forward to. Not only is it an opportunity to personally wish residents Happy Chinese New Year, they might even get some oranges in return.

06 February 2010

Dell Vostro V13

Dell's Vostro V13 Is A Lighter, Thinner Workhorse

Nate Ralph, PC World
Dec 9, 2009 3:14 pm

Dell's Vostro line has traditionally been geared towards small businesses, doling out drab, low-powered notebooks and desktops for organizations that need PCs on a tight budget. But the V13, the latest notebook in the Vostro lineup, hopes to shake things up a bit. Weighing in at 3.5 pounds and a svelte 0.65 inches thick, this brushed-metal bijou promises to turn heads, without emptying your corporate warchest. We recently had a chance to sneak a peek at one, and came away fairly impressed.

The basic model runs for $449, and comes equipped with a 1.2GHz Celeron ULV 743 processor, 2GB of DDR3 SDRAM, a 250GB, 5400 RPM hard drive, and Ubuntu Linux. Connectivity options include 802.11 b/g WiFi, Gigabit ethernet, and Bluetooth 2.1 on every model. The 13.3 inch LED-backlit screen is also standard on every model. Klutzes will appreciate a Free Fall Sensor built into the motherboard, while road warriors can opt for a Mobile Broadband Module.

There aren't too many expandability options to speak of -- you'll find one USB 2.0 port, one USB 2.0 / eSata combo port, and a VGA display port. Ponying up for the $649 model will also net you Windows 7, a larger, faster hard drive, a webcam, and a 1.3GHz Core 2 Duo ULV SU7300 processor.

Now that we've got those pesky numbers out of the way, let's talk design. The V13 takes the ever popular brushed aluminum route, with zinc hinges. The chassis feels solid, despite being just about light enough to tote with one hand. There's a bit of plastic on the lip of the case to house the WiFi antenna, but nothing too egregious. While our typing-time was limited, the keyboard is full sized, and performed amicably. The trackpad also supports gestures, which could be a nice touch for users who opt for Windows 7.
Of special note is the battery: the 6-cell Lithium Ion battery is integrated directly into the case, much like unibody Mac notebooks. While it does allow Dell to shave off considerable girth, it means that should you ever need to replace the battery, you'll have to get your machine serviced. Like all machines in the Vostro line, the V13 comes with a year's worth of access to a plethora of business-friendly services, including 10GB of online backup, automated PC tuneup, and the DellConnect remote-troubleshooting service.

If your inner business mogul is enticed, you can hop on over to Dell's website and order your Vostro V13 today. And stay tuned for mote V13 coverage from PC World in the coming days.

ollow @ geektech on Twitter for more news on hardware, hacks, and cutting-edge tech.

17 January 2010

Touch screen anyway

Imagine turning any flat surface into a touch screen – well, this is now possible with Light Blue Optics’ Light Touch system. It is essentially a mini-projector that projects a virtual 10-inch (25cm) touch screen onto a surface. Using an infra-red touch sensing system, the device is able to detect where the user is “touching” the image. With both WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, it can be used for almost any purpose where a control panel is needed. Turn your coffee table into a TV remote control, anyone?

12 December 2009

Astro launches HD programming

Astro launches HD programming
12-Dec-2009 07:03:41

KUALA LUMPUR: Astro has launched its new HD programming, called Astro B.yond, which will go live on Dec 18.

The new high-definition broadcast will initially start with four channels, namely Astro Supersport HD, HBO HD, National Geographic Channel HD and History HD which will be available at launch date, while ESPN HD will start in January, said Astro chief operating officer of Strategy, Content & Marketing for Astro Henry Tan at the launch here yesterday.

Much like the switch from black-and-white television broadcasts to colour, high-definition (HD) television broadcasting is said to be the next big step in television programming.

The technology offers up to 10 times the detail of current standard-definition television broadcasts and HD broadcasts will be in the wide screen aspect ratio of all high-definition televisions (HDTVs).

Tan said that a treat for subscribers of Astro B.yond is that the World Cup 2010 would be broadcast in HD.

Existing subscribers who own HDTVs can upgrade to Astro B.yond for an extra RM20 per month to get the HD channels on top of their current subscription package.

New subscribers will have to pay for the standard installation and subscription fee of the non-HD Astro service before upgrading to the HD service.

The price includes a new decoder, satellite dish and remote control, all of which have to be replaced to get the new HD channels.

According to Astro chief executive office Datuk Rohana Rozhan, the company has spent about RM200mil to upgrade nearly every aspect of the company’s hardware and infrastructure in preparation for high-definition programming.

Subscribers who wish to upgrade to Astro B.yond can call 1-300-82-3838 or log on to to apply.

HD programming will only commence on Dec 18.

08 December 2009



If you have bought a HDTV and been complaining about the lack of high definition content from Astro, hold on to your horses because the company is set to introduce its HD service by the end of the year.

The company has been quietly upgrading its infrastructure, from cameras to launching the Measat 3A satellite, and is ready to roll out HD programming on its satellite network, said Paul Dale, Astro’s chief technology officer.

The HD channels that are going to be launched will be in 1080i. However, not all channels will be available in HD.

The first phase of the rollout will include popular channels, namely sports, documentaries and movie channels with more to come in the near future.

Details on the particular channels that will go HD will only be available at the launch date but it’s a given that the National Geographic and ESPN channels will be available in HD.

Local programming in HD is currently in the second phase of the plan and Astro is currently in the process of upgrading video cameras and other equipment.

To receive HD broadcast, consumers will be required to upgrade their TVs to HDTVs as well as change the current set-top box and satellite dish.

On top of the HD broadcasts, Astro is also working on a number of new services including a revamped channel guide and other new features.

The new set-top box will have a HDMI connection, composite outputs, Ethernet port, an USB port and even a digital audio output for 5.1-channel surround sound audio.

The Ethernet port on the set-top box even allows for the delivery of the video channels via the wired broadband connection although this, again, is in a future phase.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the new set-top box is that it comes with a high speed USB port so that you can connect any external hard disk to turn receiver into a digital recorder.

You can’t distribute the video on the hard disk though as each programme recorded is protected by DRM, so that it can only be viewed using the set-top box.

However, the video recording feature will not be available in the first stage of the rollout and will be enabled in a future firmware update.

The official consumer launch will be before the year-end.