Author - Jerry Paxton

Official Next-Gen Zune Specs

Engadget has posted the official info for the next generation of Zune media players from Microsoft. They will come in two categories, those with hard drives and those with flash memory. The hard drive Zune will be the ‘Zune 80’ and has 80Gb of storage (a good step up from the 30Gb current model). The flash drives will come in an 8Gb and 4Gb model and will be much smaller than their hard drive brethren. In other news the current generation Zune, soon to be dubbed the ‘Zune 30’ will be privy to the software updates that will go into the new models, giving old Zune owners alot to look forward to.

Jedi Sect Established in Lower Manhattan

Wired has posted a story on a group of folks who have founded a new sect of Jedi in Lower Manhattan. These folks get up, go to Starbucks every Tuesday morning, then proceed to a local dance studio to begin their lightsabre training…Yeah…

Bungie & MS Splitting?

8bitjoystick has posted that a source of theirs in Redmond is saying Bungie is readying to split away from Microsoft. This story, obviously still in the unconfirmed stage as Microsoft will only reply with, ‘There’s been no such announcement. We continue to celebrate the tremendous success of the global phenomenon that is Halo 3’, would obviously be big gaming news and we will keep you informed as we find out more.

IronKey 1GB USB Flash Drive Review

Packaging
A dignified black box with a very stable foam core keeps the IronKey from jostling about during shipping. The instructional booklet summarizes important information such as the self-destruct feature…yup, you heard me right but more on that later.

Manufacturing
The IronKey features a tamperproof and waterproof metal case. Besides exuding security in it’s Spartan design, it is also the sexiest USB drive we have ever seen.

Installation
Upon inserting the IronKey the first time, it asks you to initialize it by entering its name and the password that will be used to access the key. It offers you to backup your password online just in case of emergencies and then begins creating the AES encryption keys and formatting the secure volume of the drive. Then it asks you to activate the key drive. The online activation process is, of course, done over a secure site and asks you the standard registration questions in addition to some very customizable and personal secret questions you can choose from. Also, you chose a secret phrase that will help protect you from ending up on a site pretending to be the IronKey website.

Usage
Usage is like any other key drive, with the exception of entering your IronKey’s password upon insertion to unlock it for use. The IronKey Control Panel is very user-friendly and easy to use.

Features
One of the most interesting features of the IronKey is that upon entering an invalid password 10 times, the drive ‘self-destructs’, permanently erasing all data and rendering the drive useless. Literally useless, in that, it no longer works. If you backed your data up online you can restore the uploaded data to a new IronKey drive which is nice. There is also the ability to run mobile applications such as Firefox from the drive. In the case of Firefox, the drive uses ‘Secure Sessions’ to keep your internet traffic encrypted while browsing. IronKey’s ‘Secure Sessions Service’ sends your web traffic through multiple network routing servers before decrypting it on an IronKey server and sending it to the destination site. This makes it virtually impossible to track who is going where or correlate your surfing to your computer. The IronKey will also store usernames and passwords for frequently visited websites using its very strong AES encryption algorithms. According to the manufacturer’s site, the IronKey can detect being scanned by an electron microscope and will subsequently self-destruct. The IronKey will also self-destruct if it detects physical attacks as all chips are protected with a thin metal shield.

Benchmarks
We benchmarked the drive on our AMD X2 6000+ machine with 2GB of RAM in a Windows XP Pro environment using HD Tach Ver 3.0.4.0 and received a steady read speed of 25Mb/sec in a ‘real-world test’ with multiple programs running in the background – very impressive! We began copying a large, 600Mb file over to the drive and recorded speeds of roughly 14Mb/sec (again in our real-world test environment). While copying a number of smaller files, the write speed fluctuated slightly (as expected with multiple start-stops).

You can get an IronKey here.


Advance Wars 2 Shown in Paris

1up is reporting that Advance Wars 2 has been shown to Paris press folk recently, revealing some new details about the game. One of the biggest is the change to a more mature style of anime graphics instead of the more whimsical nature of the first game. Nintendo may show a demo at the E for All Expo coming up soon.