Microsoft: The spam vigilante

Links from Friday's episode of Loaded:

Microsoft helps the feds bring down a large e-mail spam outfit.

The New York Times announces its pricing structure for access to digital editions.

Microsoft launches a mobile app to help men be cool.

The FCC may not allow cell phone boosters.

Samsung launches 3D video on demand in Korea.

New research shows that Twitter solidifies social circles of happy and sad people.

When ER doc consults iPad, don't panic

Nobody likes a conversation interrupted by the mobile-device grab, that increasingly familiar maneuver by which someone betrays a total lack of interest in said conversation and searches for whatever else might be going on in the world instead.

But when your physician gets device-happy in the middle of your next doctor's visit, even in the ER, chances are it's for a good cause, such as looking up the latest on your condition in a reference guide.

Rosen and Barkin's best-selling 5-Minute Emergency Medicine Consult has, for years, been a six-pound, 1,300-page clinical reference tome designed to support urgent care providers. Now, Unbound Medicine is releasing the new-and-improved fourth edition for mobile devices (including iOS, Android, BlackBerry, etc.) in a "proven, rapid-access format."

At $99.95, the price tag is heftier than it is for the paper product (at the time of this posting the hardcover is $81.64 on Amazon), but it features not only the guide's 600-plus urgent care topics and updated protocols and treatment guideline, but also personalized "favorites" (perhaps not the best word) for symptoms and conditions a user might encounter more frequently.… Read more

GoodGuide rates most virtuous cell phones

Whether they consider it bling or just a tool, people typically buy phones based on features and carrier plans. But if you're looking to add benign environmental and societal impact to your feature wish list, GoodGuide has got the data.

GoodGuide launched on Thursday cell phone ratings that rank individual models and manufacturers on health, environment, and social attributes. The new category joins others already on the site, including cleaning products, food items, personal care products, and home appliances.

The ratings cover 576 phones and are based on publicly available information, said Chief Scientist Bill Pease. Altogether, 150 factors … Read more

Learning the Switch to Mac: Guided tips to Apple computers

With more than half of new Mac purchases going to those new to Apple, one app developer has taken the challenge of teaching the novices. Available now in the Mac App Store, Learning the Switch to Mac from "It's About Time Products" is a comprehensive overview of basic (and a few more-advanced) functions on the Mac.

Learning the Switch to Mac offers guided courses in performing many of the simple tasks that escape users coming over to Mac from the PC environment. You can learn how to utilize your Address Book, including printing labels; take advantage of … Read more

Your guide to the Sony Next Generation Portable

We've been inundated with a barrage of information regarding Sony's successor to the PSP. The Next Generation Portable, NGP, or PSP2 certainly has an impressive amount of news surrounding it, so we've decided to make this post our central hub for all things NGP. Here you can follow all of CNET's coverage of the new device scheduled to ship this holiday season.

News: The official NGP announcement Sony bringing PlayStation games to Android Analysis: Tale of two portables: Sony NGP versus Nintendo 3DS (head-to-head specs, games, and outlook) Capacitive and resistive touch to go head-to-head in next portable gaming warRead more

Workshop teaches kids to hot-wire cars

It's the kind of skill normally picked up only on the street, but Machine Project, a nonprofit community space in Los Angeles, held a workshop covering the basics of lock mechanics.

"The Good Kids' Guide to Being a Bit Bad: Cars Edition" taught a group of children, aged 7 and up, the ins and outs of breaking into and hot-wiring cars. Instructors and writers Tom Jennings and Jason Torchinsky introduced the pint-sized students to the tools of this illicit trade, such as putty knives and coat hangers, and explained how they can be used to trigger locks … Read more

Monitor buying guide update 2010

Christmas is about a week away, but I'm sure there are quite a few of you who've yet to even begin your shopping duties yet. I can safely (and smugly) say that I am completely done with mine.

If you've been putting off deciding which monitor to buy your chosen certain someone, today's your lucky day. If you've been wracking your brain over the difference between LCD and LED technologies, you're in even more luck.

Today I updated the Monitor Buying Guide to include exhaustive information on LED backlighting and how it relates to … Read more

OS installation problems? Check boot drive partition scheme

Sometimes people may have issues either with installing OS X where the installer may not show the drive as a valid installation source, or in the case of cloning from a previous boot drive the system will not boot. This likely happens in cases where people have acquired a system second-hand, or are reconfiguring a system that has had multiple drives and partitions on it, but can also happen if a current system has crashed to the point where the OS needs to be reinstalled.

While people might try using Disk Utility to format the hard drive to the recommended &… Read more

Prank a techie with these fake gadget gift boxes

While holiday shopping, we ran across these hilarious fake gift boxes, purporting to contain an outrageous assortment of high-tech gadgets (and we promptly ordered a two-pack from ThinkGeek for our own holiday pranking).

These are simple rectangular cardboard boxes, each printed with art and copy purporting to tout a fantastic gift-ready gadget. Of course, none of these devices actually exists; these are just dummy boxes for you to use to disguise your own gifts. After getting the iArm tablet forearm mount and the automated PetPetter, we checked out the manufacturer's Web site at and found several other winners, which we present here in handy slideshow format. … Read more

Should you wait to buy a tablet?

The hype around tablets is deafening this year--but is it really the right time to buy one? It's a good question (and a loaded one), so let's get to the bottom of it.

What features are you waiting for? Currently, the Apple iPad holds the majority stake in the tablet market, with a growing share coming from Android-based tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Tab. The features you can expect from this current crop of tablets include the core capabilities of e-mail, Web browsing, and multimedia playback, along with Wi-Fi, cellular, and Bluetooth wireless communication. Other features--such as gaming, over-the-air media downloads, printing, keyboard support, supported App stores, e-book reading, cameras, video chat, GPS navigation, and multitasking--are also available on today's crop of tablets.

From where I'm sitting, there's not much more we can ask of tablets.… Read more