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The New Model of Consumer Protection: Reputation-based security technology

(view in My Videos) In just the past few years, the threat landscape has significantly changed – and traditional antivirus technologies can’t keep up. Attackers generate literally tens of thousands of new malware variants every day, often distributing each variant to just a handful of users. That means that each time a new victim visits an attacker’s web site, a slightly different piece of malware is served up. How can a security vendor ever hope to discover each of these thousands of variants?   We call this problem “server side polymorphism” and we’ve seen it grow over several years. Yo...
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TwitViewer.net - Or How Something That Sounds Too Good to Be True Usually Is

The message might have come in early yesterday on your Twitter feed, "Want to know whos stalking you on twitter!?: http://twitviewer.net/" You might have clicked the link to visit the website. It all happened so fast, the fabulous offer (heck yeah, I want to know who the last 200 people are to look at my Twitter profile!) and the large scale distribution of the "tweet". Even seasoned journalists who should always wear their cynical and world-weary thinking caps fell for it. Yes, Virginia, it was a phishing scam that required people to cough up their Twitter username and password. It's true...
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Intrusion Prevention System (IPS): Your first line of defense against malware

What is IPS? Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) is a proactive protection technology that provides security at the network level. It is the first line of defense against malware. There is sometimes confusion between an IPS and a firewall. Personal firewalls are more basic, making allow/deny decisions to ensure that only “selected” programs are allowed to interact over the internet. Firewalls also block network communication on non-standard ports, which are generally not used by legitimate programs and services. On the other hand, an IPS goes one step further, and examines all network traff...
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Cybercrime News: Conficker is Spamming, Weak Economy Drives Crime, Why We Click on Spam and More

There's evidence that the Conficker botnet (oh, did you really think they distributed those millions of bots without a plan to monetize them?) is now being used on a "for hire" basis. A story from the UK referencing a new report from Cisco, states that malware called Waledec is being distributed via Conficker's millions of infected computers. Waledec uses your system to send out spam and spread itself to other computers. Before you pull your hair out in frustration, just make sure you've got an up-to-date copy of Norton Internet Security or another comprehensive security product on your co...
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SONAR 2

SONAR is a behavioral security engine that is at the heart of our antimalware defenses. With the unprecedented growth in malware that has been observed over the last few years, an effective security product has to able to distinguish a bad piece of new binary/software from a good one without the need for a fingerprint.  SONAR, first introduced a couple years ago into the Norton products, has been re-written for the 2010 products to keep pace with today’s threat landscape and take advantage of other new capabilities, such as our Quorum reputation services. Why do we need behavioral security...
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Microsoft Internet Explorer Unpatched Vulnerability is Here… Norton Users Never Fear!

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New Feature for Norton Internet Security 2010 - Download Insight

Why Download Insight?Downloading malicious software, typically when tricked into doing so, is becoming the primary way malware infects people’s computers. Nearly every threat today is unique in some way and is designed to evade detection putting tremendous pressure on the traditional signature-based approach. By the time a signature is written for a particular malware variant,  it has already changed itself and as far as the signature is concerned it is an “unknown” file. Whether the signatures are on the disk or in the cloud, they are usually not fast enough to keep pace with modern threa...
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Norton Internet Security 2010 Beta

Norton Internet Security 2010 BetaWelcome to the Norton Internet Security 2010 and Norton AntiVirus 2010 Public Beta! We’re really excited about his year’s version of Norton Internet Security 2010 and Norton AntiVirus 2010. We’ve made significant improvements to our existing features, as well as added a few new ones. We’ve also included support for Windows 7, the new upcoming version of Microsoft’s popular operating system. To access the Public Beta build, simply navigate to Norton Beta Center and select Norton Internet Security 2010 or Norton AntiVirus 2010. After you complete registrat...
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Live from WWDC 2009

Symantec's Mac product manager, Mike Romo is attending the Apple WW Developer Conference in San Francisco this week and shares some thoughts from this morning's keynote address in this video...Message Edited by Sondra_Magness on 06-08-2009 05:41 PM
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Phishing attacks on Facebook users point to efforts to mine login data for profit

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Cloud AntiVirus Forecast: Foggy, with a Chance of Irrelevance

We’ve been hearing a lot about cloud computing lately. Seems like just about anything you can tuck away into the clouds gets better, or so the story goes, since it allows everyone to access it from anywhere and harness the power of humongous databases full of useful information, among other benefits. Sure enough, the recent RSA conference had its fair share of hype on cloud computing and it has been mentioned to do everything from change security as we know it to solving the imminent swine flu pandemic. On the heels of RSA, a new “cloud antivirus” (AV) solution has been introduced which ha...
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Get in the know about Conficker

Symantec's Internet Safety Advocate Marian Merritt gives the lowdown on the Conficker worm and how you can stay protected.For more information on the Conficker worm, visit the Conficker Working Group page at:http://www.confickerworkinggroup.org/wiki/pmwiki.php?n=ANY.RepairToolsorwww.norton.com/conficker
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Social engineering: meh or muh-oh?

Social engineering: meh or muh-oh? There’s been a lot of news lately about the CanSec security conference where all the major Web browsers were “hacked”. The attack for the Safari Web browser required the user to click on a link, after which complete control of the machine was given to the attacker. Is that a real attack since it required somebody to click on a link? Aren’t viruses all about hacking into somebody’s machine without them doing anything? Not really. The Internet landscape has changed a lot recently. Not too long ago, a virus or worm could infect your computer while it just sa...
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The Latest in the Threat Landscape - Web Based Attacks: February 2009

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Gamer Gets Pwned by His AntiVirus (Episode 3): The Nightmare

Our gamers get set up as the main course in an all-you-can-eat human buffet...
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Chocolate-Covered PIFTS, X-Files & Mea Culpas

Ever had one of those days? You really intended for things to go right, but they didn’t. And they didn’t simply whimper out of existence, but left large, smoking holes in the living room carpet. That was this Tuesday. In truth, it began on Monday evening around 4:30 p.m. Pacific when we released a patch, the infamously named “pifts.exe,” which left the building before we signed it. This is a process that has worked like clockwork for many years, but due to a simple mistake, the patch wasn’t signed and was instead sent out to Norton AntiVirus and Norton Internet Security customers using th...
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Symantec Comments on PIFTS.exe

 Symantec released a diagnostic patch "PIFTS.exe" targeting Norton Internet Security and Norton Antivirus 2006 & 2007 users on March 9, 2009. This patch was released for approximately 3 hours (4:30 - 7:40 PM March 9, 2009 Pacific Time). In a case of human error, the patch was released by Symantec "unsigned", which caused the firewall user prompt for this file to access the Internet. The firewall alert for the patch caused understandable concern for users and began to be reported back to Symantec. Releasing a patch unsigned is an extremely rare occurrence that does not pose any security ...
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Gamer Gets Pwned by His Antivirus (Episode 2): The Celebration

A N00b MMORPG guild celebrates a great victory and experiences an unexpected defeat. This is the second episode of our "Gamer Gets Pwned by His Antivirus" series.
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Gamer Gets Pwned by his Antivirus (Episode One)

Here is episode one of our "Don't Get Pwned by Your AntiVirus" series...(enjoy)
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Norton Online Family and Fatherhood

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Are game accounts getting stolen? Really?

How crazy is it that cybercriminals are designing malware to steal log-ins for our online game accounts? Are they really that valuable? I can understand wanting to steal my credit card or bank account number. I can understand wanting to steal my identity so they can open new credit accounts in my name and stick me with the bill.   But, my game account? Really?   Over the last few years, various security companies (including Symantec) and several independent security agencies have published reports about the growing prevalence of Trojans aimed at stealing online game account log-ins. Rece...
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New Trojan Attacks Pirates

  We all know that software piracy is bad--it hurts the people who write software for a living--but it can also be dangerous. Case in point: the recent OSX.Iservice Trojan horse discovered today (January 22nd). Apparently, someone has uploaded Apple’s popular iWork 09 suite and added a Trojan horse to the installer.Some background: When software developers create an installer for the Mac, it's often several mini-installers, or packages, that are run in a particular sequence. Each package (.pkg file) contains specific code and a script makes sure that the code is placed in the right part of...
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Macworld 2009

As Alec Baldwin remarked in State and Main, "Well, that happened." Pretty much sums up this year's MacWorld Expo, which ended this week in San Francisco.  As I have done for several years (my first ad was in 1985), I made the annual pilgrimage to Moscone Center to meet up with my fellow Mac-heads, eager to see what was happening with Apple and other software and hardware makers and just enjoy what the world might be like if everyone used a Mac, if only for a few days.MacWorld's an interesting phenomenon. In the early days of the Macintosh (as we called it back then), it truly was the best ...
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Twitter Users Attacked by Phishing Efforts

Email, cell phones, Facebook and now Twitter all have something in common: they are being used by fraudsters for phishing attacks. If you are a Twitter subscriber you should be aware of these recent phishing efforts and how to protect yourself. You may even have received a warning from Twitter in the past few days. Here's the short and sweet (if I were really good at Twittering, I'd write this entry in 140 character segments but I'll spare you in the interest of getting you the facts): Chris Pirillo broke the story on January 3rd: "Phishing Scam Spreading on Twitter" just a few moments aft...
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Anybody need PC help?

It seems like having a computer equates to having PC problems.  We've all been there.  You are sitting at your desk and your computer's speed is crawling while you are trying to get something done.  Very frustrating.  It's not clear what the problem is exactly, but it is clear that your computer isn't running as fast as it use to.  You think maybe it's all of the music and photos you've downloaded?  Or maybe it's just the fact that your computer is a couple of years old?  It's time to put an end to slow computers and PC frustrations.  There's a free new application from NortonLive that wil...
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Pwned: The John4356783 Story

A year ago we reached out to the gamer community at DreamHack in Sweden to find out what they wanted from their anti virus software and more specifically what they didn’t want. Their biggest request was for anti virus that didn’t use up precious PC resources.  They also asked for security software that wouldn’t interrupt them when they were gaming. Some of them even asked for anti virus that would automatically change its mode of operation to accommodate them appropriately when they were gaming versus when they were surfing. Of course we could have just walked down the hall and talked to s...
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AMTSO: Reviewing the Reviews

In January of this year, Symantec became a founding member of the Anti-Malware Testing Standards Organization (AMTSO). Symantec and about 40 of the leading academics, reviewers, testers and vendors in the security industry joined forces to form the organization dedicated to helping improve the objectivity, quality and relevance of anti-malware technology testing. Since then, we’ve met several times and shared numerous spirited debates, but something we have agreed upon since our inception is the charter of the organization: ·         Providing a forum for discussions related to the testing...
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Head in the Clouds

I've been doing a lot of thinking about Cloud Computing lately.  This was sparked, in large part, by Symantec's internal engineering conference, Cutting Edge, as well as a number of things I've been reading.  Cloud Computing is shaping up to be one of the "next big things" that we are all going to be hearing a lot about over the next couple of years.  In fact, Microsoft just announced "Azure," their cloud computing services platform. Microsoft Azure is positioned to bring cloud computing to the development masses.  Anyone will be able to write cloud-aware applications and run them hosted i...
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A "How-To" on Manually Updating the Norton Recovery Tool

If you've recently purchased one of the 2009 Norton products, you may have noticed that this year, it came with something new - the Norton Recovery Tool. To avoid confusion between the Norton Removal Tool (NRT) and the Norton Recovery Tool, I will instead refer to the solution as the Norton Recovery Disc (NRD). For many of our users, this tool will never play a part in their security software experience, but for those who need it, it can be a life saver. So what is the Norton Recovery Disc, and when would you ever need to use it? The NRD is a bootable CD that can run scans and remove threa...
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Faster, Lighter NortonSystemWorks 12.0 Handles Today’s Top PC Performance Problems

Whether it’s defragging, cleaning and repairing the hard drive, maintaining your PC with a one-click checkup tool, or getting rid of unwanted Internet clutter, Norton SystemWorks delivers a comprehensive toolkit for faster, up-to-the-minute performance boosting utility tools.   One of the most significant improvements in Norton SystemWorks is that it delivers the enhanced performance of Norton AntiVirus 2009. You may have read about how we reengineered our 2009 products to make them the fastest and most up-to-the-minute security solutions. Norton SystemWorks 12.0 customers now save time w...
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The Norton Pulse Updates Feature

The Norton Pulse Updates Feature   Summary It’s a simple truth: The faster virus definitions are received, the better the protection is for the computer. Norton 2009 has added a new technology, called Norton Pulse Updates, which downloads new virus definitions almost as soon as they are created, without sacrificing reliability or performance.   When new virus definitions are created, they are posted right away as small Pulse Updates. Every five minutes, Norton LiveUpdate downloads the latest Pulse Updates and they are incorporated into the customer’s PC virus protection immediately.   Puls...
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Are you Naked? Exploits from the latest Microsoft Vulnerability seen in the wild

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Zero-Impact Meets Zero-Gravity

This past weekend I was joined by an international group of journalists and bloggers for a Zero-Gravity flight to “blast off” the launch of the Norton 2009 security products. This 18-person “band of brothers” boarded the G-Force One in Las Vegas, prepared to float, flip and fly the way orbiting astronauts do. One word describes the experience - awesome. But most people want to know, what in the world does a Zero-G flight have to do with security software?   And the answer is simple…we designed the 2009 Norton products with a mantra of "zero-impact performance".  Meaning, we want our softw...
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Norton 2009: A message from the performance team

To our Norton Customers:   Symantec is pleased to announce the official release of our Norton 2009 products. This year, we’ve made performance improvement the key focus of the 2009 Norton product line. Virtually everyone in the company - including executive management, product engineering, Quality Assurance, design, and development - knew that this was our main mission ever since our first 2009 engineering planning sessions. Since then, we’ve questioned, agreed, and disagreed to many of the ideas and concepts that came up, but we were consistently guided by our shared vision and dedicatio...
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Norton Performance Graphs Explained

Every day, corporations, governments, and individuals must live with security vs. performance tradeoffs.  An extra layer of security in any situation, digital or otherwise, always has a performance impact.   A simple (and probably overused) example is airport security.  Standing in an airport security line is time consuming, but provides the level of security mandated by the government.  We are mandated to trade performance (walking straight to the terminal) for the security provided by the inspections.  Overzealous security can cause bottlenecks, which inhibits daily activities.  Eliminat...
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Norton Insight: A solution to performance improvement without sacrificing security

Hello, my name is Kunal Karandikar and I am a Manager on Symantec’s Consumer Products Engineering team. My colleagues and I are excited about Norton Insight, a brand new feature to the 2009 Norton product line. There have been a lot of questions about how it works and what it does. In fact, there have been a few articles published recently that have compared Norton Insight with other technologies which we think are actually somewhat different, and believe do not really match up well to our new feature. We will hopefully be able to clear up some of the confusion and misconceptions within th...
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One MILLION websites compromised

In the old days, practicing “safe Internet” meant staying in the good online neighborhoods so you didn’t get infected. Today, almost any website you visit could be a landmine leading you to having your system compromised.  We all remember the quote from Austin Powers where Dr. Evil says “One MILLION dollars”. Now imagine a techie version of Dr. Evil, let’s call him “Dr. Drive-by” saying in that same tone “One MILLION websites compromised”. Drive-by download outbreaks can be measured in how many occurrences a particular domain name occurs in Google searches. Recent reports from SANS Interne...
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How Easy is it to Steal an Identity?

I was surfing the web tonight and I came across an article on Scientific American.  The author asked some friends for permission to break into their bank accounts and then went to work trying to steal their identity.  The ease at which he was able to do so is startling. He first used a variety of techniques to gather information including reading the target's blog and googling them and then he used that information to break into the user's email accounts via password resets.    Once he had access to the target's email he would be able to receive password reset emails from their bank accoun...
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The Shoemaker’s Children

You remember the Shoemaker’s lesson, don’t you?  It’s always the shoemaker’s children go barefoot. And so it was that after thirty years of writing about PCs and wagging my finger at those who tempted fate by not backing up regularly, I did it myself.  The entire episode has made me feel a little addle-brained, a lot chagrined, and like a cautionary tale.   It started when I bought the new Dell XPS—fully loaded. When was the last time you moved three years of work from one PC to another? Seriously, it consumed my free time for about three weeks until I had things the way I wanted them. You...
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Introducing Norton Labs

Today, the Norton team is excited to introduce Norton Labs, an online community where users can download new security technologies and share input directly with developers-- ultimately helping to shape our future products and features.  We created Norton Labs to foster a dialogue with our customers and bring them into our development process.  It gives us an outlet to showcase technology under development and get valued feedback from our most sophisticated users.  Also, Norton Labs gives us the flexibility to introduce key functionality outside of our standard development cycle.  Based on ...
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Recall Needed: Consumer Reports Security Suites Review

In recent years, Consumer Reports (CR) decided to take on reviewing security software in addition to the scores of energy drinks, vacuum cleaners and toasters they put through the paces annually. Consumer Reports has faced some challenges in this new endeavor; you might remember they generated a fair bit of industry discussion based on their security testing practices. Well-known organizations like McAfee, Sunbelt and others voiced concerns at test methodology that fell well outside the industry norm. Last year, we were – to put it mildly – shocked by the information and results published ...
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Who are you on the Web?

The Boston Globe had an article recently on how difficult it is to be anonymous in the internet age.  Reading the article compelled me to perform my every-once-in-a-while "googling" of myself.  What I found was pretty interesting. First of all, I'm not keeping a very low profile.  There were approximately 23,000 responses to the search query on my name (541 if you put my name in quotations.)  Most of the front page stuff was computer related.   A post on an old blog of mine about a web programming framework; several links to my posts on the Norton Protection Blog; a patch I submitted to an...
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Norton Safe Web

Today, the Norton team is launching an exciting new beta offering called Norton Safe Web, a Web site rating service that makes it easy for users to differentiate safe sites from malicious ones. Once downloaded, the beta will provide visual site ratings within everyday search results from top search sites like Google, Yahoo! and Live Search- so you can keep using your preferred search tool and don't have to take any extra steps. Additionally, due to the nature of Web threats such as drive-by-downloads, it will also warn users before they visit a site that contains malicious content. Our go...
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Summer fun: beaches, bbq's...iPhone apps?

So, this is a bit of a deviation from our standard security-focused articles, but given how you can't go 15 minutes without hearing about the iPhone 3G, I think it's appropriate to bring it up.  I have an original iPhone (4GB!) and was able to successfully download the new iPhone software before the mad rush and figured I would share some observations after a full week or so of using the software.First off, I admit it: I haven't been this excited about computers since I got my first Mac in 1985.  Apple's App Store (accessible via iTunes and through the iPhone itself) brings back that sense...
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The Hunt is On

Our team team hit a big milestone this week by reaching beta of our 2009 Norton Internet Security and Norton AntiVirus products. As many of you know, beta is a pre-release version of a Symantec product that is available for public testing before the final version is released. We rely on the valuable feedback of our community to evaluate how the product performs in "real world" environments. Additionally, it is an opportunity to be among the first to experience our latest products before they are finalized and released. We monitor the beta feedback closely and it is an important source of f...
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Not all Equipt-ment is Created Equal

I was just reading a story about Microsoft’s new subscription software package – Microsoft Equipt – and I have to say I was baffled to see the new “post-Bill Gates” Microsoft continuing to push these tired, old bundles. Drawing consumers in with the promise of enhanced productivity but essentially delivering a hodge podge of Microsoft technologies that lack consumer value and limit choice, Equipt looks less about providing a compelling value proposition and more about increasing Office revenue.                                                                                                 ...
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Things that make you go vrooom!

Right this very moment, the Norton software development team is hard at work making our products faster than ever. But hey, you know what else is fast AND just might help you save a little green on gas?!  A brand-new Vespa!  At the newly launched http://www.NortonToday.com site, we’re looking for videos (maximum two minutes in length) that show someone or something getting “Nortonized.”  Something that’s been “Nortonized” goes faster.  It feels less bogged down.  In short, it performs better than its competitors.  If you have questions, don’t worry: our contest information kit explains eve...
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Why Backing Up is Easier Than Flossing

For many folks, backing up their data is a lot like flossing. It's a chore and not the most pleasant way to spend a few minutes. You know it's important for good personal or computer hygiene, but you probably don't do it as often as you should. But once teeth start falling out or you lose wedding pictures, contacts, and tax records due to a computer crash, you become a lot more diligent with your flossing and/or your backing up. In fact, I'd wager that backing up is even easier than flossing now.Here's a quick video on why it's important to back up your most important files and how...
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WWDC08 - All iPhone, All the Time

  This is where the magic happens...WWDC08 I was up in San Francisco last week for the Apple WorldWide Developer's Conference (WWDC08) and I figured I would talk a bit about it.Now, the specifics of the show have been blogged to death, I am sure (some good writeups here and here), but a few themes really struck me:1 - We are all basically experiencing a fairly incredible transition, thanks in no small part to the iPhone. Yes, so-called Smartphones have been around for awhile, but it is clear that the iPhone has captured the imagination of people who would otherwise not care at all about a ...
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The Incredible Hulk Gets Nortonized - Literally

I don't know about you, but growing up The Incredible Hulk was one of my favorite comic books. I always loved the raw nature of the Hulk and his crazy rampages and willingness to take on just about anything from tanks and mutants to other superheroes in the Marvel universe. The new Hulk movie premieres on the big screen this weekend and I'm excited to see Edward Norton bring my favorite character to life. Closer to home, our Norton team partnered up with this summer blockbuster and is offering up some pretty decent loot (think 52" SHARP LCD TV) -- the details of which can be found at this ...
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