Sunday, December 30, 2007

Microsoft Security & Critical Releases ISO December 2007

This ISO-9660 CD image file contains all security and critical updates for Windows released on Windows Update on October, 2006. October 2006 Security and Critical Releases ISO Image does not contain security updates for any other Microsoft products.

This CD image is intended for corporate administrators who manage large multinational organizations, who need to download multiple individual language versions of each security update and who do not use an automated solution such as WSUS. Use this image to download multiple updates in all languages at the same time.

Caution: Be sure to check the individual security bulletins at prior to deployment of these updates to ensure that the files have not been updated at a later date.


Serious flaw discovered in Windows Vista's Explorer

At a time where everyone is anxiously awaiting the upcoming service pack for Windows Vista (and while others flock back to Windows XP in droves), yet another flaw in the Windows Vista operating system has been discovered that can bring the Windows shell ("Windows Explorer") to its knees within 20 seconds. Even worse, this issue occurs under every day usage of the operating system if you use the Search function regularly with boolean search operators.

1. Click on Start, and then click on Documents.

2. In the Search entry box, type "NOT Shortcut" (without the quotes).

3. Click on the "Save Search" button and save the search query as "Search Test".

This has been confirmed as a flaw in Windows Vista (all editions) and Windows Vista 64-bit (all editions), and even worse, the issue still occurs on the latest release candidate for Service Pack 1. The bigger question is, will Microsoft step up to the plate and fix this issue or will they let it pass on by while they work heavily on Windows "7", ignoring the fact that Windows Vista still has flaws and inconsistancies that are seeing larger companies hold back deployment until 2009 or even skip Vista?


Friday, December 28, 2007

AOL to End Support for Netscape Browser

An historic name in software will effectively pass into history in February as AOL discontinues development and active support for the Netscape browser, according to an official blog.

AOL will keep delivering security patches for the current version of Netscape until Feb. 1, 2008, after which it will no longer provide active support for any version of the software, according to a Friday entry on The Netscape Blog by Tom Drapeau, lead developer for The Web site will remain as a general-purpose portal.

Netscape was the original mass-market Web browser and helped to popularize the Internet in the mid-1990s, but it has long taken a back seat to Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. Firefox itself traces its roots back to Netscape software that was made into open source. The Mozilla Foundation was founded in 2003, with support from AOL, and has released successive versions of Firefox while AOL continued to develop Netscape on top of the same platform, Drapeau wrote.

Groups within AOL have tried and failed to revive Netscape Navigator and gain market share against Internet Explorer, according to the blog entry.

"AOL's focus on transitioning to an ad-supported Web business leaves little room for the size of investment needed to get the Netscape browser to a point many of its fans expect it to be," Drapeau wrote. "Given AOL's current business focus ... we feel it's the right time to end development of Netscape branded browsers, hand the reins fully to Mozilla and encourage Netscape users to adopt Firefox," Drapeau wrote.

The Mosaic Netscape browser was posted for downloading in 1994 by Mosaic Communications, which later changed its name to Netscape Communications. That company kicked off the dot-com boom with its hugely successful initial public offering in August 1995 and was acquired by AOL in 1999. But Internet Explorer, introduced in 1995, eventually dominated the browser market. Microsoft's bundling of its browser with Windows operating systems was a key issue in antitrust lawsuits filed against it in 1997.

As of this month, Netscape had only 0.6 percent of the browser market, which was still dominated by Internet Explorer with more than 77 percent, according to Web application and analytics firm Net Applications. Firefox was gaining, however, with market share just over 16 percent.

Users will still be able to download old versions of Netscape from an archive, currently located here, though they will not be supported by AOL, Drapeau wrote.


Five Firefox Tips You May Not Know About

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
The thing I like best about Firefox is that just when you think you know everything there is to know about the browser, something new comes along and surprises you.

I discovered five new Firefox tips today. Maybe these are old hat and you know them already. Or maybe like me, you had no idea these could be done.

1. Quick search - without going to a search engine first.

Are you reading a website and you subsequently discover a word or phrase that you want to put into a search engine? Up until now, I would just open a new tab, type in the URL for Google and manually type the word or phrase in. But it seems there is a faster easier way.

Just highlight the word or phrase with your mouse’s left-click button. Then drag the highlighted text into the address bar in the browser. Then press “enter”. Firefox will now perform a “Are you feeling lucky?” Google search for you.

2. Delete visited URL’s

When you drop down the box underneath the address bar, you can see your recent browsing history. But what if you want to remove one URL from that list? Maybe you’ve been looking at a naughty site and you don’t want your girfriend to know? Or maybe you’ve been shopping for your loved one online and you want to keep it a secret?

Just drop down the URL box, highlight the URL you want to zap then press the “delete” button on your keyboard. The URL will then be removed from the list.

3. Navigate to browser tabs using the keyboard

Instead of using the mouse to click on a tab, why not use the keyboard instead? Pressing CTRL + TAB together will bounce you from tab to tab, starting from the one in the far left and working its way along. Or if you want to go to a specifc tab straight away, you can do that too. CTRL + 2 will take you directly to the second tab from the left. CTRL + 5 will take you to the fifth tab from the left.

4. Start downloads instantly

Instead of right-clicking on a download link, choosing “save to target” and pressing enter, just drag the download link to the “downloads icon” in the toolbar. The download will start automatically.

5. Grab files off webpages, even protected webpages

Have you ever wanted a picture, file or video off a webpage but you can’t, because it’s been protected? Just right-click on the page, choose “View Page Info” then the “media” tab. Find the file you’re looking for from the list and click on “save”. (note : this doesn’t work for everything but I have still had a pretty high success rate nonetheless).


Webroot SpySweeper 5.5 - Free Download

Just 3 days ago, i told you guys about free AVG Pro download, now here is another free antiSpyware i.e. Webroot SpySweeper 5.5 from ComputerActiveMagazine. Your subscription last for a year. Hurry!! this offer ends on 17/01/2008.

Click Here and sign up to receive your unique registration number.
Click Here to download program.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Make Your XP Computer Look Like OS X

For whatever reason, many Windows XP users are obsessed with making their desktop look like a Mac. It's not a new phenomenon, but the enterprising people over at FlyakiteOSX created a really easy way to transform your desktop into an OS X look & feel without a lot of trouble.

Note: This installation will change a lot of files and install a whole bunch of utilities, so proceed with caution if you aren't prepared to deal with any problems that might happen.

When you launch the setup you'll eventually get to this screen, where you should check the box for "Create System Restore Point", along with whichever options you want.


After installation and rebooting your computer, you'll be presented with a desktop that looks very much like OS X.


It even updates your shutdown screen…


And the login screen…


There's an included "System Preferences" application that looks just like the one in OS X, but works differently… when you click on the icons it will launch the relevant Windows settings panel.


If you have problems trying to remove this, remember that you setup a Restore point during setup. You can always return everything back to normal by using System Restore if you need to.


Download FlyakiteOSX from

Twitter with Friends Using the WPF Client Witty

Twittering with friends seems to be the new "thing-to-do" on the web these days. Many bloggers are using it and it has even made its way into an episode of CSI! So what exactly is Twitter you ask? Twitter is an online web service that lets you post what you are doing - in 140 characters or less - in which those who are "following" can track what you're doing based on what you post. Bloggers sometimes also use Twitter to share URLs and to share quick thoughts on a variety of topics.

Now I said that Twitter was a web service right? Well the Twitter developers have released an API in which developers can use to create "Twitter clients" to be used outside the web browser.

Alan Le, from the company Vertigo, has utilized the Twitter API and designed a WPF Twitter client called Witty that extends the Twitter experience into Windows Vista. If you recall, WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) is built in to Windows Vista.

I also blogged about another awesome product from the Vertigo folks back in August called Family.Show. Family.Show is a WPF app used in tracking family history and creating a family tree.

With Witty, I can quickly receive updates from people I am following as well as quickly post on what I'm doing (or any specific thought quickly I might have) quickly as the app nicely sits on my notification area of my taskbar.

To install Witty, just download the .zip file (above) and extract to a folder on your PC. Once the files are extracted, open the folder the files were extracted to and double click on Witty.exe. Feel free to follow me! You cal also follow the Windows Vista Team Blog on Twitter as well - which will update whenever a new post is made here on the blog.

Please note that the latest version of Witty released is 0.1.5 - which is what I recommend you use. My screenshots reflect 0.1.6 but it is an early alpha (pre-beta) version of Witty I am helping test out for Alan. For future versions of Witty, feel free to leave comments and I'll make sure Alan gets them!

Download: Witty 0.1.5 (986Kb)


Tuesday, December 25, 2007

AVG Anti-Virus 7.5 Professional Free Download

Computer Active Magazine is giving away free copy of AVG 7.5 Professional anti virus software. Download right now. The offer expires on 17/01/2008.


MP901 portable media player looks slapped together


The MP901 from Shenzhen Link-Create Technology seems much more appropriate for Halloween than the Christmas season, with its seemingly Frankenstein-inspired design that incorporates what looks to be parts from a few other gadgets. It supports MPEG-4 video files (in AVI container), MP3, WMA, WAV and AAC audio files, and JPEG images.

The device has a 2.4-inch TFT LCD with 262,000 colors and a 1.3MP camera. A speaker and a microphone are built-in, and e-book, FM radio and gaming functionality (including NES games) are included. Internal memory ranges from 128MB to 4GB, expandable through a TransFlash card slot. Dimensions are 88×48x10mm.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Apple to launch iPod with automatic volume control

Listening to music non-stop has never been easier since the iPod came along.

But future versions of Apple's MP3 player are to be adapted to prevent users from playing tracks at full blast through their earphones for too long.

Amid growing fears that listeners could cause irreversible damage to their hearing - the highest setting is as loud as a chainsaw - Apple is developing an automatic volume control.

A new patent reveals that the next iPods and iPhones could automatically calculate how long a person has been listening and at what volume, before gradually reducing the sound level.

The device will also calculate the amount of "quiet time" between when the iPod is turned off and when it is restarted, allowing the volume to be increased again to a safe level.

The patent states: "Since the damaging effect on users' hearing is both gradual and cumulative, even those users who are concerned about hearing loss may not behave in a manner that would limit or minimise such damaging effects."

Listening to volumes below 70 decibels is considered safe. But iPods can currently reach volumes of over 100 decibels - the equivalent to standing 10ft from a pneumatic drill - and enough to cause permanent damage after just 15 minutes.

Some MP3 players can even exceed 120 decibels.

In April, Apple revealed it had sold more than 100million iPods worldwide and was expecting, by the end of this year, to have sold more than 4.5million iPhones. Of those 200,000 will have been bought in Britain.

Its patent application, however, is the first time Apple has acknowledged concerns over the risk the iPod poses to hearing and comes after a series of damning studies highlighted the potentially damaging effects.

The Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) has led calls for restrained listening and claimed that more than four million young people aged between 16- and 24-years-old are at risk of hearing damage from listening to loud music.

Its research showed more than half of that age group were listening to digital music players for more than an hour a day. Twenty per cent notch up more than 21 hours a week.

RNID chief executive Dr John Low said: "If young people don't heed our warnings about safer listening, they could end up facing premature hearing damage.

"If you regularly plug in, it is only too easy to clock up noise doses that could damage your hearing for ever."

Last year, researchers in the U.S. claimed that listening to an iPod on full blast for just five minutes a day could cause irrevocable hearing damage.

Audiologists from Harvard University said consumers should limit their listening to about four-and-a-half hours a day at 70 per cent volume, or 90 minutes at 80 per cent.

Many MP3 players in Europe, including France, have had volume levels capped at 100 decibels.

Apple refused to comment on its patent application.

Emma Harrison, head of campaigns at RNID, said: "If the next generation iPods do what the patent claims, it could help to protect the hearing of millions of its customers."

It is unclear whether owners of the next-generation iPod will be able to switch off the automatic volume control.

The iPod was launched in 2001 with enough memory to store 1,000 songs. The latest models can hold many times more. The Queen is said to have one capable of holding 1,500 songs.


Microsoft Launches Microsoft Point Gifting at the Last Possible Holiday Shopping Moment


Good news procrastinators and slackasses! Have you still not bought The Orange Box or another appropriately awesome game for your best bud with an Xbox 360? No worries, just give them a shitload of Microsoft Points from the comfort of your lonely computer chair. As of yesterday, you can gift points from the Microsoft Points site, but you've gotta know their Windows Live ID—Gamer Tag transactions are on the way early next year. It's US residents only (plus the site is a little busted up in Firefox 3 so I couldn't login 'til I fired up IE). If your friend's getting a Zune for Christmas, they'll work in the Zune Marketplace too. Just take note that if you actually give someone a bundle of points for Christmas, since the program just launched yesterday, it's a red-and-green neon sign that you're a mediocre-to-crappy friend.


NX-7 GPS navigation system with DMB and more

NX-7 is a GPS navigation system from Korea with a super slim profile. It utilizes the super sensitive SiRF Star III GPS receiver, and has a 4.3″ touchscreen in 16:9 format. It has an embedded DMB receiver for watching digitally broadcast channels on the go, and has various other multimedia features too. And for DVDs you can always use the video in port.


Wikia search to launch Jan. 7

Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has set Jan. 7 as the launch date for an open-source search project that eventually hopes to challenge Google and other established players.

The Wikia Search project has assembled the basic technologies for a search engine, including a search application, search algorithm and Web crawler. The project will allow technology enthusiasts to help filter sites and rank search results, using a community model akin to that of Wikipedia.

The idea is to challenge the established players by offering a search service that is more transparent to end users, meaning they can see how search results are arrived at. Wales has described Yahoo and Google as opaque services that don't explain how results are arrived at.

Wales has started to invite a handful of people to test an early version of the search platform, which will be publicly launched on Jan. 7, he wrote in an email to the Wikia mailing list Monday.

The search tool will take time to evolve, and the initial service won't match the capabilities of the leading search engines. Contributors will have to develop the search platform over time, in a similar way that Wikipedia took time to get enough entries to be useful.

The search project is part of Wales' for-profit company, Wikia Inc., which offers a software platform that anyone can use to build wikis. In a similar way, the Wikia Project will allow other people to build their own search engines.

Wikia Inc. was started in 2004 and has received investment money from and Bessemer Venture Partners.


Sunday, December 23, 2007

First-tier notebook vendors pushing 4GB products next year to lift DRAM market

While first-tier notebook vendors such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Toshiba are planning to roll out 4GB notebooks starting from the first quarter of 2008, the move is expected to give a boost to the DRAM market, according to memory module makers.

The mainstream specification for notebooks is 1GB in the market at present.

Quotes for 1GB DRAM modules have fallen to US$16 in the second half of December while prices for two 2GB modules are likely to drop to less than US$60 in the first quarter of 2008. Based on this scenario, the cost for 4GB RAM will account for less than 6% of a US$1,000-cost notebook. This is much lower than the 10% of the overall system cost as seen in the past, memory makers added.

With the price for two 2GB DRAM modules at such a reasonable range, most notebook vendors should be willing to adopt the specification.

A 4GB notebook will need 32 1Gb DRAM chips compared to only eight for a 1GB notebook, Taiwan DRAM makers pointed out. With demand coming from new notebooks launches, the DRAM market may not see a serious oversupply in 2008 as in 2007, industry sources predicted.


Robot Learns to Serve Tea

Honda Asimo humanoid robot may be headed for a lifetime of domestic chores: engineers at the company have taught the robot how to serve tea to guests -- and give a nice little bow when it's done.

The tea needs to be prepared by a human and placed on a tray on a cart. Asimo will then push the cart to the table, lift up the tray and place it on the guest's table. The robot then takes a couple of steps back and bows, as is the tradition in Japan.

Serving tea -- or any other drink -- is one of the new features in the latest version of the robot, unveiled earlier this month. The robots also try to cooperate on certain tasks. For example, one will push a cart with tea for two tables. When it comes to a stop and begins to serve the first table, another Asimo will take the second tray and serve the second table.

The Asimo robots are connected by a wireless network and information about the tasks and the location of each robot is shared between them. The information allows tasks can be assigned in the most efficient manner.

Asimo can also monitor its battery level, and when it gets low the robot can automatically head to the nearest recharging station. It backs into the charging stand and recharges standing up. It then walks off the charging station and resumes its duties.

New sensors also allow robots to monitor the path ahead of them and anticipate where humans will be walking. The robots will pause or change course automatically to avoid obstacles and keep out of the way of people.

Asimo is one of the most advanced humanoid robots ever developed, but there is a long way to go before Honda sees its dream of a humanoid robot that can do real work and coexist with humans. Indeed, is indicative of the amount of work to be done that the latest Asimo boasts as its top function the ability to do a job that children pick up at an early age: the ability to carry a tray.


Zepto Helios A32, A40 LCD TVs play nice with Media Center

We're still a bit unsure if we're looking at a couple of TVs that actually sport built-in Extenders for Windows Media Center or just a couple of pretenders, but whatever the case, the newest duo from Zepto certainly has our attention. The 32-inch Helios A32 sports a 1,366 x 768 resolution panel, an optional "integrated wireless media center," a 2,000:1 contrast ratio, eight-millisecond response time, a single DVB-T tuner plus twin analog tuners, PIP support, the firm's own ambient lighting system and an internal amplifier for speakers. As for the 40-inch Helios A40, it steps things up with a 1,920 x 1,080 panel, but otherwise remains identical to its aforementioned sibling. Price wise, you'll be looking at 15,995 Danish Kroner ($3,085) for the little guy (which is available now), or 19,995 Danish Kroner ($3,857) for the A40 (shipping next month).


Saturday, December 22, 2007

IBM Offers Free E-Mail Search Tool

IBM has created a free semantic e-mail search engine aimed at users of the company's Lotus Notes software and Microsoft Outlook.

The engine, called IBM OmniFind Personal Email Search (IOPES), allows users to search their mail based on concepts, such as dates and phone numbers, according to IBM. It also allows searchers to define their own concepts.

Once the software is installed, it indexes and analyzes the user's e-mail store. Searches are conducted through a browser interface that delivers results through a stripped-down, Google-like interface.

Users can enter simple keyword-based queries or ones using basic natural language constructions. For example, to find e-mails from a friend named Mark Smith, you could simply enter "from Mark Smith."

But to find only the e-mails Smith sent in a certain month, a query might be constructed as "Mark from January 2007." You could find his phone number by typing "Smith's phone number."

The results don't show a list of e-mail headers or display the messages in full. Instead, the software extracts the passage it believes contains the right answer, and highlights what it deems to be the specific information requested, such as a phone number.

Users can also search for attachments, with search results providing direct links to the documents in question.

E-mail is a good target for developing a semantic search engine because users frequently repeat certain phrasings and words and repeatedly exchange the same type of information. "There is a fairly large number of things that are so e-mail specific," said Shivakumar Vaithyanathan, the project's technical lead.

Researchers in a number of IBM labs worked on the project for the past year and a half, according to Vaithyanathan. The product has been quietly available on the company's alphaWorks site for a couple of months, but only now is IBM attempting to drive widespread adoption, according to a spokeswoman.

"To be able to solve all these problems in some meaningful way, we want some feedback," Vaithyanathan said.

IBM also released the tool internally to its employees and said it has received mostly positive responses.


Microsoft's 12 Gifts of Christmas

For holiday 2006, Microsoft offered up a big lump of coal, as in no Windows Vista. Is someone feeling guilty or what? This year, Microsoft has unloaded a bag full of gifts for the holidays. I pick the 12 best.

And, no, no, no, no, no! I won't be setting these gifts to music. Please feel free to sing through the 12 gifts, but I won't help you. That parody approach long ago became a bad joke.

So, what were Microsoft's best gifts, from 12 to one? Here's my list:

12. Connect 3.0 beta. The list begins with a little lump of coal in the Christmas stocking. Microsoft is testing a new Connect Web site. It's time for the Microsoft beta tester revolt, because the new site is butt-ugly. No thanks, Santa!

11. Windows, code name 7. OK, so you haven't deployed Vista yet and loathe the prospect of testing. No worries, Microsoft has started dropping hints about successor Windows 7. It's a gift! In a Dec. 11 blog post, Microsoft's Hilton Locke wrote: "If you are impressed by the 'touch features' in the iPhone, you'll be blown away by what's coming in Windows 7." Did you get a gift receipt for that iPhone?

10. The 11-cent reward. Yesterday, Microsoft announced an 11-cent-per-share dividend for stockholders. For all those Microsoft investors pining for the good old share growth days or Google's stratospheric share price, every little bit helps. I don't get anything. For conflict-of-interest reasons, I don't invest. Say, don't spend it all at once!

9. Bill Gates' Office 2007 tutorial. Microsoft's chairman wants you to know how he uses his company's software. Sorry, I couldn't get past the dreamy description of Gates' gear: "Three large flat-screen displays ... synchronized so they work like a single very wide display." I also got a warm, fuzzy feeling about Gates' management style. He wrote, "Each year I do something called ThinkWeek where anybody in the company can submit a paper about an idea they have to change the way our company works or to pursue a new development project." Oh, yeah, and he uses Office 2007, too!

8. Vista's disabled off switch. Microsoft will finally do away with one of Vista's most loathed features (c'mon, you hate it more than Universal Account Control pop-ups). Vista will no longer disable if not activated. This could have ranked as a bigger gift, but Microsoft still requires businesses with volume-license keys to use activation servers. OK, so it's not the present you really wanted.

7. Internet Explorer 8's acid trip. IE7's first year of application-breaking mayhem has passed, and Microsoft execs are suddenly talking about its successor. Considering Microsoft has said nothing about IE8 for the first 11 months of the year, the sudden disclosure is quite the gift. Surely, everyone is so proud of how grown-up IE8 is. The browser passed Acid2.

6. Server protocols. Yesterday, Samba licensed server protocols from Microsoft, as required by the 2004 European antitrust ruling. But developers should be careful what they ask Santa for. Microsoft may benefit more from the protocol program than licensees. Is this like when I give my wife a DVD that I want to watch more than she does? Happy Christmas!

5. A ribbon for Popfly. Microsoft gave its mashup site and service a nice makeover, just in time for the holidays. The Popfly Web Creator now incorporates stylistic elements from the Office 2007 ribbon. Microsoft just wants you to feel as comfortable on the Web as when using desktop software. Santa says: "Begone with archaic browser motifs!"

4. Office 2007 and SharePoint Server service packs. Microsoft knows that you really don't need them. But socks and underwear (ah, thanks, mom) are what someone gives when they don't know what else to give or they don't care to find out what you want. Microsoft checked a box on the gift list and, poof, Service Pack 1 arrived.

3. Hyper-V. Microsoft even called the Dec. 13 Hyper-V beta a gift. Santa "developers, developers, developers" Steve Ballmer must have pushed the elves hard to get out the virtualization software in time for the holidays. Hyper-V testing is the perfect break from all that chaotic Christmas shopping. You've nothing better to do, right?

2. Search visualization. For all those developers tired of boring, text-driven searches, Microsoft has a gift. This week the company released Windows Live QuickApps code for Tafiti search visualization. What happens when Silverlight meets Live Search? Tafiti! Developers, Microsoft wants you to feel young again, like when Santa brought you that first set of Legos or building blocks.

1. Windows XP Service Pack 3 Release Candidate 1. You know you need it and maybe even want it. The world runs on Windows XP. It's Microsoft's most successful operating system ever. For the zillions of people waiting on switching to Vista or never going to it, Windows XP is their computing lifeblood. SP3 is that new transfusion. Say, why not celebrate the holidays with a Windows XP tattoo? Why should the Zune tattoo guy have all the fun?


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Gemei Readies Fancy US Series Media Player

Gemei’s United States X590 is inspired by the most powerful country, boasting a design that is simply, well, Chinese. The X590 boasts a 2.5-inch screen that supports 16 million colors. On each side of the screen is a rather roomy setup of buttons that makes it obvious this PMP is meant for gaming. Hopefully you’re into MD / SFC / NEO games. If movie watching is your thing, you have an array of file formats playable on the X590: RM, RMVB, FLV, AVI, DAT. For audio, MP3, WMA, APE and FLAC are supported. No word on price yet but we know it comes in lilac.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Google Develops Wikipedia Rival

Google is developing an online publishing platform where people can write entries on subjects they know, an idea that's close to Wikipedia's user-contributed encyclopedia but with key differences.

The project, which is in an invitation-only beta stage, lets users create clean-looking Web pages with their photo and write entries on, for example, insomnia. Those entries are called "knols" for "unit of knowledge," Google said.

Google wants the knols to develop into a deep repository of knowledge, covering topics such as geography, history and entertainment.

Google's project will have to catch up with Wikipedia, which includes more than 7 million articles in 200 languages. Anonymous users constantly update Wikipedia entries in an ever-growing online encyclopedia that's edited by a network of vetted editors.

But Google asserts that the Web's development so far has neglected the importance of the bylined author.

"We believe that knowing who wrote what will significantly help users make better use of web content," wrote Udi Manber, vice president of engineering, on the official Google blog.

Google said anyone can write about any topic, and repetition of entries on the same subjects is beneficial. Google will provide the Web hosting space, as well as editing tools.

Contributors can choose whether to let Google place ads on the knols. Google said it will give the contributors a "substantial" portion of the revenue generated by those ads. While Wikipedia lacks ads, keyword advertising has underpinned Google's growth.

Entries can't be edited or revised by other people, in contrast to Wikipedia. However, other readers will be able to rank and review others' entries, which will then be interpreted by Google's search engine when displaying results.

The concept of peer-reviewed information is nothing new and is implemented in different ways on various Web sites. Yahoo, for example, has an "Answers" feature where users can ask questions, and the response is ranked on quality. Also, most blogs have forms where readers can comment on the author's entry.

Despite those other formats, Google probably feels that "a service like Knol might be necessary to stay competitive," wrote Danny Sullivan, editor in chief of Search Engine Land, in a review.


Thursday, December 13, 2007


QuickTime Player is a free multimedia player. You can use it to view many kinds of files, including video, audio, still images, graphics, and virtual reality (VR) movies. QuickTime supports the most popular formats on the Internet for news, sports, education, movie trailers, and other entertainment.

QuickTime is also a multimedia architecture that other applications can leverage. Some of the most popular software-such as iTunes, iMovie, and Final Cut Pro from Apple, as well as many third-party programs-uses the QuickTime architecture for important multimedia functions. These applications require QuickTime to be installed in order to function properly.

Download Qt
Download Qt with Itunes

Make Your QuickTime Pro:

Name: Apple Retail
Company/Organization is optional

SHD-U32GS, a new 32GB TurboUSB memory Card

If you are desperately looking for a way to download all your company's client database before running away with it and selling it to any competitors, here you are, maybe the ultimate USB Key, which will allow you to store up to 32GB of data and which will be 20% faster than any other USB Key thanks to the Buffalo’s TurboUSB…

Oh by the way, I am not responsible if someone will actually do what I just wrote previously…


Samsung reveals wireless 8-inch SPF-83V digiframe

The Samsung SPF-83V is a new 8 inch digital photo frame based on Microsoft technology. Photos can be viewed wirelessly from sharing sites such as Windows Live Spaces or from your PC. The Samsung SPF-83V frame also communicates with Windows Media Player and open standards such as RSS. “Our latest digital photo frames, based on cutting-edge technology from the Microsoft Research labs, are easy to use and are one of the few offerings in the marketplace that offer a ‘network’ approach to digital photo sharing.” said Christopher Franey, vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing at Samsung Electronics America. Price and availability of the Samsung SPF-83V to be announced.

Samsung Press Release
Samsung Licenses Microsoft Technology for Wireless Digital Photo Frame

New consumer product, available in time for the holidays, is one of the few networked offerings on the market and is result of ongoing licensing and technology collaboration between the two companies.

REDMOND, Wash. and IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/—Samsung Electronics America Inc., a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Corporation, today announced the release of its new 8” Digital Photo Frame SPF-83V, based on technology developed by Microsoft Research, in time for the holiday season. With this innovative addition to their photo frame lineup, customers can enjoy photos wirelessly in their home and display photos from sharing sites such as Windows Live Spaces or from personal collections on their PC.

The frame works with the Windows Live Photo Gallery, which makes sharing photos with friends and family easy. Users can organize and upload individual photos or albums from their PC to Windows Live Spaces and the photos are ready for display on the frame.

Along with the technology licensed from Microsoft Research, the Samsung frame communicates with Windows Media Player and open standards such as RSS. The product is a result of a long-standing collaboration between Microsoft Corp. and Samsung Electronics, including a patent cross-licensing agreement signed by the two companies in April 2007.

“Offering our customers next-generation products that bring them closer to family and friends is important to us,” said Christopher Franey, vice president of Commercial Sales and Marketing at Samsung Electronics America, Information Technology Division. “Our latest digital photo frames, based on cutting-edge technology from the Microsoft Research labs, are easy to use and are one of the few offerings in the marketplace that offer a ‘network’ approach to digital photo sharing. This is a great example of our ongoing collaboration with Microsoft, and we are confident that the resulting product will be received extremely well.”

“Working with industry leaders such as Samsung to allow them to deploy Microsoft’s innovative technologies and bring great products and services to customers more rapidly is what our intellectual property licensing efforts are all about,” said Louis Carbonneau, general manager of Intellectual Property Licensing at Microsoft. “This is just one example of how our dedication to open innovation can lead to greater collaboration between two technology industry leaders and to great products—right in time for the holidays.”

More information about the full offering of Samsung digital photo frames can be found at

About Samsung Electronics America Information Technology Division
Samsung’s Information Technology Division (ITD) markets a complete line of award-winning LCD Monitor products, including professional large format LCD and Plasma displays. ITD also markets an award-winning line of color and monochrome laser printers and multifunction devices, video security systems and the family of Samsung Q1 Ultra-Mobile Personal Computers (UMPC). Samsung ITD is committed to supporting the needs of its channel partners in the professional, commercial, corporate, and SOHO markets. Based in Irvine, California, ITD is a division of Samsung Electronics America (SEA), a U.S. subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Company, Ltd. (SEC). The SEA organization oversees the North American operations of Samsung including Samsung Telecommunications America, LP, Samsung Electronics Canada, Inc. and Samsung Electronics Mexico, Inc. Please visit for more information or call 1-800-SAMSUNG for more information.

About Samsung
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. is a global leader in semiconductor, telecommunication, digital media and digital convergence technologies with 2006 parent company sales of US$63.4 billion and net income of US$8.5 billion. Employing approximately 138,000 people in 124 offices in 56 countries, the company consists of five main business units: Digital Media Business, LCD Business, Semiconductor Business, Telecommunication Network Business, and Digital Appliance Business. Recognized as one of the fastest growing global brands, Samsung Electronics is a leading producer of digital TVs, memory chips, mobile phones and TFT-LCDs. For more information, please visit

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.


Motorola A1600 Leaked?

Just like with the next generation of it’s popular RAZR 2 series, Moto Ming A1600 will not have any radical design departures. Just some design tweaks, better and faster chips/components for better overall specs.

Motorola Ming 2 A1600 specs include:

* Quad band GSM (850/900/1800/1900), GPRS connectivity
* Faster CPU
* Linux OS
* 3.2 megapixel camera with autofocus and LED flashlight
* Wi-Fi connectivity
* Built-in AGPS receiver
* 17.5 mm thin
* Talking dictionary
* 3 built in games (skiing, bowling and racing 3D games)

According to Chinese site Enet it will be launched next February (probably during 3 GSM show).

Source 3.2 Final Available

Paint.NET is free image and photo editing software for computers that run Windows. It features an intuitive and innovative user interface with support for layers, unlimited undo, special effects, and a wide variety of useful and powerful tools. An active and growing online community provides friendly help, tutorials, and plugins.
It started development as an undergraduate college senior design project mentored by Microsoft, and is currently being maintained by some of the alumni that originally worked on it. Originally intended as a free replacement for the Microsoft Paint software that comes with Windows, it has grown into a powerful yet simple image and photo editor tool. It has been compared to other digital photo editing software packages such as Adobe® Photoshop®, Corel® Paint Shop Pro®, Microsoft Photo Editor, and The GIMP.
The programming language used to create Paint.NET is C#, with a small amount of C++ for installation and shell-integration related functionality. The source code is available under the terms of the MIT License.

Download 3.2


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Nintendo Wii Zapper

Though we've had the Japanese Wii Zapper in the office for quite a while, we've been waiting to receive the U.S. one in the hopes that it would be...well...better, somehow. While Link's Crossbow Training -- bundled with the Zapper -- is definitely a worthwhile $20 investment by itself, it's vastly more playable and more fun with simply a Wii Remote and Nunchuk, sans Zapper.

Some thoughts on the Zapper, culled from our Link's Crossbow Training review:

"I suppose I should probably explain why the Zapper is so disposable. The concept of a firearm-shaped casing for a controller that so naturally lends itself to lightgun games was perhaps an obvious one, but nonetheless exciting for shooter fans. For those weaned on the point-and-click goodness of the NES Zapper and the likes of Duckhunt, there's a lot to like about the idea of kicking back with an RC Cola and shooting at your television. Alas, due to some obtuse design decisions and the family friendly Nintendo approach of making sure it doesn't really look like a gun, the Zapper lacks even the simple ergonomic prowess of its 22-year old father. The trigger is simultaneously mushy while feeling like it has a pebble jammed somewhere in it, the hand grips are clumsy and slippery, and due to the elongated, two-handle design, there's no terribly comfy way to hold it. It's not terrible, but it doesn't add anything to the experience beyond what the Wii remote provides itself (besides the extra weight), and hampers its performance unnecessarily."

We'd love to imagine the prospect of a game that truly sells the peripheral, but you can't really beat the functional simplicity of the Wii remote by itself. Whether you're training with Link, laying out zombies in Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles or gunning down military goons in Ghost Squad, you'll likely ditch the Zapper after a few awkward sessions. It might seem like a bargain at $20 -- which it is, Crossbow Training considered -- but if you're actually in it for the visceral addition of holding a gun while you game, you're probably better off looking into the myriad third-party options available.


Ask rolls out search privacy tool

Search engine Ask has launched a feature that it hopes will prove a selling point for consumers concerned about their online privacy.

AskEraser allows users to immediately delete search queries stored on Ask's servers, in contrast to rivals such as Google which stores data for 18 months.

How personal data is used is becoming more of an issue as people live more of their lives via search engines.

Some are concerned about possible deals between search engines and ad firms.

In America consumer advocacy groups have expressed doubts about a proposed merger between Google and ad-serving company DoubleClick, which is currently being reviewed by US regulators.

Privacy issues

Jumping on the privacy bandwagon, Ask is offering users the chance to take charge of what happens with their search history.

An AskEraser link will feature prominently on the homepage and, when enabled by the user, will delete all future search queries and associated cookie information from its servers.

The information it destroys includes IP address, user ID and session ID along with the complete text of a query.

"For people who worry about their online privacy, AskEraser now gives them control of their search information," said Jim Lanzone, chief executive of

But some critics have pointed out that it doesn't entirely erase all information, as search queries relating to advertisements supplied by Google will continue to be passed to the search rival.

Other search engines are attempting to quell concerns about privacy and most operate polices which mean search histories are deleted between a year and 18 months after they were made.

But some consumers are getting twitchy about how their data is shared, following some high-profile cases.

In August 2006 AOL was forced to apologise after it released the search queries of more than 650,000 of its US subscribers to help in academic research.

Although users' names were not associated with the search terms, fears were raised that the queries contained personally identifiable data. It was not clear which researchers were given the data and how they intended to use it.

And just last week Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of social networking site Facebook, had to make changes to a new advertising system after more than 50,000 users complained about it.

Called Beacon, the system is designed to track web shopping on partner sites outside Facebook with the intention of providing targeted adverts to the social network based on purchases.

After complaints the site was invading privacy, Facebook changed Beacon from an opt-out system to opt in.

Mr Zuckerberg has said users can now switch off Beacon completely.

'Paying with privacy'

Despite these cases not everyone is convinced that privacy is a big enough winner for users to desert their favoured search engine for Ask.

"The press loves to run stories about the hidden privacy concerns caused by data collected online, but consumers have taken an 'out of sight, out of mind' approach," commented technology blog TechCrunch.

"We're finding that people are willing to pay for the best free products with their privacy," it added.

Surveys conducted in the US seem to bear this out. While a majority of Americans say they are concerned about their online privacy, only a tiny percentage are actually prepared to take steps to protect it.

Yahoo believes that its current privacy policy is sufficient.

"Search log data is anonymised within 13 months of collection except where users request otherwise or where Yahoo! is required to retain the information to comply with legal obligations.," the firm said in a statement.

"We believe the 13 month-policy is the appropriate timeline to honour our commitment to our users' privacy while preserving our ability to defend against fraudulent activity and continue to improve our services," it read.

Google said it had no plans to implement such a tool.

The highly competitive search engine market, which is dominated by Google, means rivals are increasingly searching for applications that differentiate them.
According to internet measurement firm comScore, Ask accounted for 4.7% of US searches during October. Google took the lion's share with 58.5%, with Yahoo accounting for 22.9% and Microsoft for 9.7%.


Vudu to Offer HD Movies Online

In a major shift in movie distribution, a high-definition version of the hit ''The Bourne Ultimatum'' will be released through Vudu Inc.'s online service Tuesday -- the same day the DVD comes out.

It is the first of many HD movies Vudu plans to deliver online at the same time DVDs become available.

Owners of Vudu's set-top box, which costs $399, use a high-speed Internet connection to watch the movies they rent and to download the ones they buy.

Movies usually are released in staggered windows in different formats -- DVD, online through Xbox Live and other companies, or on demand on cable.

But Hollywood studios are experimenting more with digital distribution, and a few have agreed to work with Vudu to sell HD movies, though the selection remains limited.

Some in the industry worry that competition between the two high-definition formats -- Blu-ray and HD DVD -- is holding back production in high definition as consumers debate which format to use. For consumers who download movies with Vudu, that choice is not an issue, however.

Universal Pictures, the studio behind the ''Bourne'' movies, is the first to offer a downloadable HD version of a movie the same day as the DVD is released.

In addition to working with Universal, Vudu has signed deals to distribute HD content from Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate Entertainment Corp. Universal is owned by NBC Universal, a joint venture of General Electric Co. and Vivendi Universal, while Paramount is a division of Viacom Inc. Lionsgate is independent.

The Vudu box, which first went on sale in October, offers a catalog of about 5,000 standard-definition films, which can be rented for 99 cents to $4.99. Some films, including the HD editions of the ''Bourne'' films, can only be purchased, meaning they can be stored permanently on the set-top.

''The Bourne Identity,'' ''The Bourne Supremacy,'' and ''The Bourne Ultimatum'' will sell for $24.99 each, though Vudu customers can get the two older movies for free during the holiday season.

Vudu Homepage


Make Your Own Ringtones (Even With Copyrighted Songs)

Too many startup ideas are rather boring combinations of trendy concepts — say, a social network for hedge fund mangers. But I ran into one today that seems interesting; it’s something like YouTube for ringtones. The site, which officially launches Tuesday, is called Cellware, and it was founded by John Ferber, who started with his brother Scott.

There are a couple of nifty bits to what Mr. Ferber is doing. First, the site offers free ringtones, in a world where most ringtones are either sold for as much as $2.49 in conjunction with major labels, or through various subscription services that pitch themselves through rather garish ads on social networks with their prices in hard-to-read print.

The business model is advertising: banner ads on the Web site you use to pick the ringtones to download, and on the SMS message you need to receive in order to get the ring tones on the phone. In addition to ringtones, the site also offers images for use as wallpaper, downloadable games and video clips, also supported by ads.

There is some oddball professional content, a library of sound effects, and some indie rock. But the main point is for people to upload and create their own ringtones. Indeed, there are some simple Flash tools that let you upload whole MP3 tracks, edit them into clips and even mix several tracks together into a mashup. These can be tagged, rated, searched and shared in a way that any user of YouTube would recognize.

The site also offers anyone who uploads ringtones or other content a share of the advertising revenue they generate.

Uploading and sharing MP3 files? Isn’t there a bit of a copyright issue there?

Mr. Ferber has a rather interesting take on this. Unlike most user-generated sites which post all content and wait for copyright owners to complain, Cellware has someone listen to every ringtone before it is put up on the site for others to hear, so copyrighted songs can be blocked.

On the other hand, the site makes it incredibly easy for people to upload MP3 files of songs and then send 20 second clips of them to their own cellphones to use as ringtones. Mr. Ferber said Cellware does not filter out copyrighted content for this aspect of the service because it deems that this falls within the fair use doctrine — the rights of someone who buys a copyrighted work to use it in certain ways, such as to make backup copies of software. Of course, Cellware does not verify that you have actually paid for the song you are converting.

Using an MP3 file as a ringtone is certainly not new. Some phones make it easy, and there is a lot of software available to help people do this. Still, the music industry would like to preserve its extra revenue from ringtones as much as possible. Apple, for example, charges an extra 99 cents, above the price of a song itself, to use a song as a ringtone for the iPhone.

Not surprisingly, the iPhone is one of the few phones capable of playing MP3s that will not work with Cellware’s service.



Microsoft rebrands PlaysForSure to Certified For Windows Vista, confuses world

Microsoft's PlaysForSure DRM just took another step closer to the grave with the help of some rebranding. Those of you with players from SanDisk, Nokia, and Creative among others, looking for compatible music from Napster, Real Rhapsody, Yahoo Music, Wal-Mart and such must now look for the "Certified for Windows Vista" logo, not PlaysForSure. Of course, Microsoft's Zune is also certified for Windows Vista, just not certified for Windows Vista so it won't play back the same protected files. Man, could DRM get any more consumer unfriendly?


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac goes gold, ships next month

Microsoft Corp. said Tuesday it has wrapped up development of Office 2008 for Mac, the first overhaul to its productivity software suite for Apple's Mac users in nearly half a decade.
The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant said the frozen code will be released to manufacturing later this evening, ahead of the software's official launch next month at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco.
Come January 15th, Office 2008 for Mac will be available in three distinct editions ranging from an entry level $150 Home and Student Edition to a high-end $500 Special Media Edition.
However, Microsoft is currently running its "Super Suite Deal" promotion, which allows customers to purchase the current $330 Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac Standard edition or the current $130 Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac Student and Teacher edition and then receive the $500 Office 2008 for Mac Special Media Edition for only the cost of shipping and handling.
To take advantage of this offer, simply purchase Office 2004 for Mac Standard Edition ($330) or Office 2004 for Mac Student and Teacher Edition ($130) from an authorized reseller like by January 14th. (Your receipt must be dated between Nov. 1, 2007 and Jan. 14, 2008.) Then print and complete the Super Suite Deal Redemption Form [pdf].
Those customers who participate in the promotion and return the Super Suite Deal Redemption Form by February 14th, 2008 will receive a copy of Office 2008 for Mac Special Media Edition for the cost of shipping ($7.00 US, $10 CND) once it becomes available next month.
Microsoft does not appear to be requiring proof that participants who purchase Office 2004 for Mac Student and Teacher Edition are actually students or teachers. Therefore it appears likely that anyone can purchase the Student and Teach Edition for $130 from Amazon and then receive a copy of the $500 Office 2008 for Mac Special Media Edition for just the cost of shipping and handling.
Those readers interested in Office 2008 for Mac may want to check out AppleInsider's recent Road to Mac Office 2008 series, installments of which are listed below in the order they were published.


New version of Windows Live Messenger for MSN Mobile available



Phil Holden points out that a new version of Windows Live Messenger is available for almost all  phones.

for MSN Mobile, for both WAP 1.x and WAP 2.x phones.  If you've installed MSN Mobile on your phone you should be good to go, if not, go to, and fill out the info to have a text message sent to your phone to allow you to install msn mobile, (or just browse to on your phone):

If you have a Windows Mobile phone, you'll want to use Windows Live for Mobile, or alternately, Windows Live for Nokia, but if not, the new update offers a lot of features for enabled phones:

  • Rich emoticons support
  • The ability to view and manage up to five active conversations
  • Customers can change the display names, status etc
  • Full access to your Live Contacts
  • Search your contacts, hide offline contacts etc



Microsoft Offers Windows Vista Ultimate For Free

Microsoft is providing free Vista edition for taking survey and giving feedback. Sign up for the chance to get free Vista. Go to the website provided at the end of this topic, and sign up for the chance to win.

You can use this website to sign up for one or both parts of the program, but note the following restrictions:

  • Participation is currently limited to US residents of 18 years and older.
  • You are the owner of the computer you use for this program.
  • The automated feedback program is offered to Windows Vista and Windows XP customers only.
  • The survey feedback program applies to all versions of Windows.
  • Microsoft, comScore, and MarketTools employees are not eligible to participate.

Sign Up

Halo 3 Named TIME's Best Game of 2007

Magazine calls Bungie's latest gaming effort the "perfect" shooter and "graphically gorgeous."

"In one of the greatest years video gaming has ever seen, Halo 3 is the very best of the bunch," writes Lev Grossman, author of TIME's Top 10 Video Games of 2007. Grossman called Bungie's latest effort the "perfect" shooter and "graphically gorgeous."

Master Chief was so good, in fact, that he outranked The Orange Box, Rock Band, and Super Mario Galaxy -- all of which hold a greater average review score on Metacritic.

Other considerations on TIME's list include BioShock, Call of Duty 4, Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, Mass Effect, Ace Combat 6, and God of War 2.


Norton AntiVirus 11 for Leopard Announced

Symantec has introduced Norton AntiVirus 11 for Mac, featuring support for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.

The software furnishes vulnerability protection technology, which watches the web application layer. Norton AntiVirus automatically detects and removes viruses, scans and cleans downloaded files and email attachments, and protects against software vulnerabilities.

To address the growth of multi-platform PC and Mac environments, Norton AntiVirus 11 for Mac scans for both PC and Mac vulnerabilities, viruses and macro viruses.

Symantec promises performance and engine improvements to ensure better compatibility and less impact on system startup and resource usage. Product, virus definition, and vulnerability protection updates are automatic.

A new Norton AntiVirus dashboard widget gives a quick summary of system protection and status. This also offers a 'snooze button' scan, if a Mac user's engaged in another task on their computer they can reschedule the virus scan for a more convenient time.

For power users, Norton AntiVirus 11 for Mac can be accessed using the Terminal, bypassing the application completely and allowing such users to add antivirus scans and other capabilities to their own custom scripts.

Norton AntiVirus 11 costs £39.99.


Dell Unveils Its First Tablet PC

Dell (Dell) on Tuesday introduced its first tablet PC, saying that businesses are ready to consider more flexible types of computers for employees.

The Latitude XT weighs 3.5 pounds and features a 12.1-inch daylight-viewable display built for indoor and outdoor use. The screen enables people to manipulate data with the use of their fingers or a stylus, which can also be used for writing as if on paper. The device can also be operated using a keyboard and mouse.

Tablet PCs have been available for several years. Among the factors that made the time right for a Dell tablet was the entrance of Generation Y in the workplace, Margaret Franco, director of marketing for the Latitude product line, told InformationWeek. The twenty-somethings starting their careers are used to interacting with computers in different ways, having grown up with mobile phones, portable music players, and other handheld devices.

In addition Vista, the latest version of Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) Windows, is better equipped than XP for powering a touch-screen environment like a tablet PC, Franco said. Finally, touch-screen technology in general is more mature, giving people the option of using their fingers or a stylus to manipulate data.

With these factors gradually changing the market, Dell believed the time was right to launch its first product. "Corporations will standardize on different types of notebooks to serve the usage models of their diverse workforce," Franco said. "We call it hyper-segmentation that's happening in the mobile market, and the PC market in general."

But the high price tag of the Latitude XT is likely to discourage most businesses from adopting the new device for employees unless they have special requirements that can't be filled by a traditional notebook. Where a regular Dell laptop is available for less than $1,000, Dell's new Tablet PC will sell for $2,500 when it ships at the end of the month.

The XT comes standard with 1Gbyte of memory and a 1.06GHz Intel (NSDQ: INTC) Core 2 Solo ULV processor U2100. The machine also includes a 40Gbyte hard drive, and Wi-Fi technology. The computer is available with Windows Vista or Windows XP, and has a battery life of more than nine hours.

About 1.5 million tablet PCs were sold last year, which is 56% more than 2005, according to Dell's estimates. However, most of the machines were for specialized use, such as by delivery people or warehouse workers. The machines have not caught on with consumers, experts say.

Dell is not new to touch screens. The computer maker introduced the capability for some functionality in its XPS One entertainment computer launched last month.

And even though Dell has yet to ship its first tablet PC, the company is being sued for alleged patent infringement of touch-screen technology. Typhoon Technologies made the allegations in a suit filed last week in a Texas federal court. The developer and licensee of touch-screen technology also named Motion Computing as a defendant in the lawsuit.


Office 2007 sp1 ready for download today

Today sp1 ships. hurray. It's not up there yet but should be later today. Also the kb articles for each patch don't seem to be live at this moment but should also appear later on today.

Looking down the list of fixes, here are some that caught my eye (read the whitepaper for the full list):

  • Communicator won't let you IM a distribution list any more for security reasons
  • Icons for presence have been modified so that red/green colour blind people can tell the difference between available and busy by looking at the icon rather than the text next to it
  • That Excel bug with 65,534 getting shown as 100,001 is fixed
  • SharePoint works on Windows Server 2008
  • AJAX supported on SharePoint for web parts
  • Outlook delays with opening large psts eliminated

Here is the rest of the blurb:

What can you expect in Service Pack 1?

SP1 focuses on the issues that matter most to our customers based on direct customer feedback and error reporting tools. You can expect:

  • Stability. Using data from the Dr. Watson bug-reporting system, we've fixed the top software issues for each application in the 2007 Office system. The 2007 Office system SP1 also improves the stability of server components in the 2007 Office system and delivers compatibility with Windows Server® 2008, so you can confidently plan for future upgrades.
  • Performance. The 2007 Office system SP1 improves performance in applications and servers. Performance improvements can be found in Microsoft Office Excel® 2007, Microsoft Office Outlook® 2007, Microsoft Office PowerPoint® 2007, and Microsoft Office SharePoint® Server 2007.
  • Security. By incorporating incremental advances in security and results from application testing, the 2007 Office system SP1 offers home and office users better protection against malicious software and potential threats to privacy.

For a full list of improvements in SP1, download the Service Pack 1 whitepaper.

What does SP1 mean for you?

Service Pack 1 eliminates distractions and performance issues that disrupt workflow, allowing employees to be more productive in the work that they do. SP1 is also an important milestone for deploying the 2007 Office system, making it easy to deploy the most secure and reliable version of Office to date.

How do you get it?

Initially, SP1 will be available as a free download from OfficeOnline. SP1 will be made available via Automatic Update in the next 3-6 months, and we'll issue 30 day advance notice prior to delivering SP1 via automatic update.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Media player users beware: more vulns ahead

Security researchers are warning that popular media players offered by Microsoft and AOL are vulnerable to attacks that can completely compromise a user's PC.

Attack code has already been released for the bug, which has been confirmed in a codec used by older versions of Windows Media Player, made by Microsoft, and in AOL's Winamp. A Symantec researcher has warned that users of other players may also be at risk because the vulnerability itself resides in a commonly used MP4 codec produced by a company called 3ivx Technologies.

"The exploit works by supplying victims with a maliciously formed MP4 file," Raymond Ball wrote for Symantec's DeepSight Threat Management System. "When a victim unknowingly clicks a link that appears safe, the MP4 content is delivered, causing the exploit to run."

A researcher who goes by the name SYS 49152 released exploit code here, here and here that targets Windows Media Player 6.4 and Windows Media Player Classic, which are made by Microsoft, and AOL's Winamp version 3.5. Each uses the 3ivx MP4 codec, which is vulnerable to a stack overflow.

Secunia describes the Windows Media Player vulnerabilities as "highly critical," the second-highest rating on Secunia's five-tier scale. The vulnerability reporting service didn't have a rating for the Winamp vulnerability.

No patch is available. Ball recommends users remove the codec or disable media players that use the MP4 codec until the hole is plugged. That strikes us as overkill. Taking care not to click on suspicious links in browsers and email programs should suffice.

The vulnerabilities are the latest reminders of the exposure that can come from using a media player. Two weeks ago, a security bug was discovered in the way Apple's QuickTime that leaves PC and Mac users alike at risk of remote hijacking. Apple has yet to acknowledge the vulnerability, which resides in the way QuickTime interacts with servers that stream audio and video.


Microsoft Business Intelligence VPC Release5.1

Microsoft Business Intelligence (BI), a complete suite of server, client, and developer products, supports decision makers in developing deeper knowledge and insight that helps them make better business decisions, faster. Microsoft BI is delivered through three layers or workloads: data warehousing, reporting and analysis, and performance management and R5 has demos across these three workloads.


Western Digital MyBook locks your media files



So, you've bought yourself a shiny 1TB MyBook network-attached storage drive and want to use the famed media-sharing features to access your music collection from work? Not so fast, bucko: that sounds like pirate talk to Western Digital.
The drive, advertised with the taglines “Anywhere, Anytime Access” and “Share Photos and Files”, is aimed at users who have a large media collection and don't want to leave their PC on to access it. Offering the ability to “listen to your music while on vacation,” the drive seems like a dream come true for storage of your music and video collections. Purchasers are starting to find, however, that it's more of a nightmare thanks to overly restrictive DRM included by Western Digital.
The MyBook comes with built-in software to share files via a web interface, but if the files you want to share are AVIs, MP3s, DivXs, or any one of thirty-five different banned file extensions then you're out of luck: the software will refuse to even acknowledge their existence for anyone except the administrative user who created the share. Wanted your classmates to view your latest mash-up before it hits YouTube? Ain't happening.
Coming so soon after the PlusNet “we're not here to police your usage” pronouncement it's interesting to see that there are companies out there who feel the need to introduce 'features' likely to inconvenience everyday users more than they will the dirty filthy pirate types, just in case you might possibly have thought about sharing that Artist Formerly Known As Squiggle song.
If you're a creative type and were looking for a way to share your masterpieces, it might be a good idea to look elsewhere: after all, both you and Western Digital know full well that nobody gives anything away for free unless they're breaking the law.


Office Live Workspaces beta begins



Microsoft announced today that it is rolling out entry into the beta of Office Live Workspaces, a new service that will allow document storage in the cloud from within Office applications.  You can sign up for the beta, and then download and install a plug-in to Office to be able to access a menu to be able to open and save Office documents to cloud based storage.

While access has not appeared for me here yet, US based customers who signed up for the beta should be getting accepted in to the program shortly, we'll keep you posted.

In the meantime, David Berlind at ZDNet has posted a video walkthrough with Kirk Gregerson, who we interviewed in October.



Tymphany's LAT250 subwoofer: smaller than you'd think

Tymphany LAT250 Subwoofer 4 ohm per coil version Drive as 4 ohm stereo, 2 ohm mono or 8 ohm mono

The patented LAT 250 is designed to provide strong bass performance in a new vibration-free, cylindrical form factor. The driver may be configured for use in sealed, vented, bandpass or open-baffle enclosures, and provides high bass output from a very compact transducer. In typical applications, mechanical vibration is more than 90% lower than comparable loudspeakers, even at full output. The LAT 250 employs dual voice coils, and impedance configurations from 2 Ohm to 16 Ohm are available per customer requirements.
Paired with the Peerless Lifestyle driver, the Tymphany LAT, is an ideal solution for lifestyle consumer electronics products such as flat panel TVs and sound bars, MP3 and cell phone docking stations, multimedia PCs and other small devices.
Note: The nominal impedance is calculated with both coils driven in parallel.

See pdf file for wiring instructions, specifications and application notes.

pdf file
Product Homepage