Your new programmable keyb

I remember reading about this a little while ago and now ExtremeTech has a review. Ergodex has a fully programmable keyboard called the DX1 Input System. It is a USB peripheral device designed for users to arrange (and rearrange) an assortment of programmable keys anywhere on its 11-inch x 9-inch “DX1 Pad.” The concept is simple: You begin with 25 DX1 keys, place as many of them on the DX1 Pad in any layout you wish, and use the included software to assign functions to each one.

Each key can be assigned its own macro (commands, actions), which can perform a variety of functions: a single key command (“Q”), multi key command (“Hello World,” list of actions), a text block(s) command (inserting any length of text), or program/file/URL commands. Each key communicates with the DX1 pad wirelessly and sticks to the pad firmly through an adhesive, which can be easily removed with a simple twisting motion.

Designed as an alternative to the standard QWERTY keyboard setup, the DX1 creates a window for users to personalize and customize their computer interface. Keys can be easily shuffled around for a customized layout and even act as different commands in different programs to suit your work style. So gamers, for instance, can have a completely personalized setup with keys that can do anything a standard keyboard can do, and then rearrange the keys into a more casual setup when dealing with more common Windows applications. Although not entirely designed to replace the keyboard, the DX1 Input System can make frequently used commands and command sequences simple enough by pressing just one key.

Read the full review here.

Bypass for Windows piracy check

A tool provided by Microsoft could let people get around a check meant to prevent those with pirated copies of Windows from downloading additional software from the company, according to a security researcher. 

The threat is mitigated because the keys generated by the GenuineCheck tool expire “rapidly,” the Microsoft representative said. Consequently, it would not do anyone much good to put up a Web page with a list of keys. Still, somebody would be able to generate a key and use it immediately on a PC with a pirated copy, or pass it on to a friend.

Get all the details here.

Insight into the XBOX 360

ExtremeTech interviews Microsoft VP, Todd Holmdahl who is responsible for all the hardware development, hardware and semiconductor teams, manufacturing, and test teams for the XBOX 360 – pretty interesting insight on how MS developed this from the ground up with IBM and ATI and on what to expect from the new device on the hardware front.

Personalize Google home page

At last now you can personalize the google home page – options include seeing your emails (from gmail of course), stock market, news (from Google New, BBC, NY Times, etc), Weather, etc. Interestingly slashdot features on the list – separately – which means *sigh*, more noise is now going to be generated there. Check it out here.

Update: Google Web Accelerator downloads

If you recall my previous post, I wanted to get you a quick update since then – seems like Google has stopped this for the time. If you get to the site it tells you the following message: Thank you for your interest in Google Web Accelerator. We have currently reached our maximum capacity of users and are actively working to increase the number of users we can support.

If you still want to download it then you can get it from this link on their site (1.4 mb). If you want it ping me as well and I can get it to you.

Exploit code chases two Firefox flaws

Two vulnerabilities in the popular Firefox browser have been rated “extremely critical” because exploit code is now available to take advantage of them. The cross-site scripting and remote system access flaws were discovered in Firefox version 1.0.3, but other versions may also be affected, said security company Secunia, which issued the ratings Sunday. One flaw involves “IFRAME” JavaScript URLs, which are not properly protected from being executed in the context of another URL in the history list. A second vulnerability exists in the IconURL parameter in InstallTrigger.install(). Information passed to this parameter is not properly verified before it’s used, allowing an attacker to gain user privileges. This flaw could allow an attacker to gain and escalate user privileges on a system.

You can disable JavaScript as a workaround for now, but when a patch is released, I guess I would need to reinstall this all over again. *sigh*. And everyone says (including me) that this is more secure than IE. You can read the details here.

Update: You can more information about the bug and the work around from Mozilla here.

Blogs in Hindi

I stumbled across an interesting blog – all written in Hindi – and boy is my Hindi rusty! But this is an excellent example of the usage (and limitations) of a UNICODE implementation. Not sure of the content of the blog itself as it will …. ahem …. take me a little while reading up and understanding. Flame mails awaited eagerly.

Google Web Accelerator

Well not sure what Google plans to do with this, but they just released something called a Web Accelerator that is designed to work with broadband connections and supports both IE and Firefox. What is it? Per Google it is an application that uses the power of Google’s global computer network to make web pages load faster. Google Web Accelerator is easy to use; all you have to do is download and install it, and from then on many web pages will automatically load faster than before.

How does it work? Google Web Accelerator uses various strategies to make your web pages load faster, including:

  • Sending your page requests through Google machines dedicated to handling Google Web Accelerator traffic.
  • Storing copies of frequently looked at pages to make them quickly accessible.
  • Downloading only the updates if a web page has changed slightly since you last viewed it.
  • Prefetching certain pages onto your computer in advance.
  • Managing your Internet connection to reduce delays.
  • Compressing data before sending it to your computer.

 You can read more about it.

More x64 bit Window Blues…

Well, in addition to the antivirus issues with Windows x64 bit, if you upgrade in most cases you could void your computers warranty – this varies from manufacture to manufacture of course. If you know the advantages of 64 bit and are one of the early adopters (or in other words a geek), then you are OK as you probably don’t need the manufacturer’s support (except if they need to switch hardware when it gets fried).

Thinking of upgrading to x64 XP? You might want to rethink that

Yes, I know, I have been harping about XP 64 bit and how you can upgrade to XP 64 bit for free, but you might want to rethink for in the short term (for about 6-12 months). Why you ask? Well in addition to the drivers (remember your 32 bit drivers will *not* work), the two biggest Antivirus solutions (Norton and McAfee) are not available and they don’t have any plans till 2006. The corporate versions of these could possibly start rolling out, but I am not sure if the home users will have the muscle to buy those.

In a statement released , Symantec said it would be “monitoring the adoption of x64 very closely” but confirmed that virus protection on x64 was not yet available. Symantec is pleased to be working closely with Microsoft to build out the new x64 ecosystem. Symantec will be monitoring the adoption of x64 very closely and will ensure that it delivers the right solutions at the right time to meet its customers’ security needs“.

More details: