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Category Archives: software

Is the ‘Black Screen of Death’ Plaguing Windows 7?

Today, Microsoft confirmed that it has been investigating a problem deemed the "black screen of death" by users, which affects its latest operating system, Windows 7. The error causes users of Windows 7 to see a completely black screen right after logging on to the system.

The firm said that it was looking into reports that suggest its latest security update, issued on November 10, somehow caused the problem. These reports also show the flaw affecting Vista, XP and other systems. Software firm Prevx, which recently issued a fix for the problem, claims "millions" of people may be affected. David Kennerley of Prevx wrote in a blog post that "users have resorted to reloading Windows as a last ditch effort to fix the problem." Mr Kennerly also shared that the firm had identified "at least 10 different scenarios which will trigger... --
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Research Group Develops Sonar Power Saving Technology

At the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University, a research group has developed a unique new way for your computer to detect whether or not a user is present, and are presently looking for test subjects willing to try it out and see just how much power it can save. Using your computer’s existing hardware, the microphone and speakers more precisely, echolocation software will determine whether you’re watching a movie (present) or getting a snack (away). Discussions among the group led to the idea of using sonar, as well. Developing software that, when the user is not using the mouse or keyboard, plays a tone at a high frequency and records the tone’s echo, the computer then has the ability to process the tone and filter out everything except that frequency and detects any variance. The software can... --
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IBM the Subject of DOJ Antitrust Inquiry

IBM is reportedly facing an antitrust inquiry from the U.S. Department of Justice. Recent actions the company has taken in the mainframe computer market have caught the DOJ's attention, according to the trade group that filed the complaint, the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA).

The DOJ has issued formal requests for information related to a complaint that was filed against IBM in September. CCIA's problem with IBM is related to the company's refusal to issue licenses for IBM's mainframe OS to its competitors. In some cases, IBM has rescinded the OS license from customers when they attempt to switch from IBM mainframe hardware to a competitor's. The DOJ had a long-standing antitrust consent decree with IBM, but abandoned it in 2001. Several midsized companies have intentions to compete with IBM in the... --
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Apple Pushes More Unneeded Software

While using any Apple programs on Windows recently, an odd Apple Software Update dialog box has been popping up, informing users that they need the iPhone Configuration Utility 2.1. But the iPhone Configuration Utility is actually a tool for system administrators to set up and configure corporate iPhones. It's been discovered that the completely unnecessary for most software installs more than just a configuration program. If this program is downloaded, the Apache web browser will appear right along with it. It's well known that having a Web server on your PC is a gross and inadvisable security risk. Keeping Windows secure is enough of a task, but adding a totally unregulated Web server into the equation is just a cruel joke. Always sticking with strictly needed programs on any system is the safest bet for any user.... --
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IBM Suddenly Switches to Symphony

The Handelsblatt, a German economic newspaper, reported with an insider quote that the staff at IBM have been given ten days to change to Symphony, IBM's in-house Lotus software. In the future, any use of Microsoft Office will require approval from a manager. Effective immediately, the Open Document Format will rule at IBM, while the .doc file will soon belong to the past. Lotus Symphony is an office software package that incorporates huge majorities of customized Open Office without a databank module, and the free software download provided by IBM is a definitive attempt to lure customers away from Microsoft software. IBM's recent cooperation with Linux distributors like Red Hat, Novell and Canonical was designed from the start to strengthen the software's chances in the market. In a surprising move, IBM's management seem to have settled on... --
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Adobe Offers up Outdated Software; Endangers Users

Adobe Systems has been called out by Secunia, a firm that exposes software vulnerabilies, for the outdated and unsafe software on its downloads page which contains dozens of security vulnerabilities. Several of these gaps in security are already being exploited in order to install harmful malware on users' machines. Customers who download Adobe Reader from the company's official downloads page will find that it automatically installs version 9.1 of the program on their machines, even though the most recent version is 9.1.2. This irregularity could put users at considerable risk for infection given the number of vulnerabilities patched in the two past versions. Unsurprisingly, Adobe defended their practices, pointing out that the page simply offers the Adobe Reader installer, which once running, will notify users of any important updates. "Adobe Updater will check for updates immediately on first launch," read... --
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Silverlight 3 Keeps Flash on its Toes

The latest version of Microsoft's Silverlight player was supposed to be released this morning, but  the company's presentation technology for graphics and video on the web arrived late Thursday night. The small, free plug-in download from Microsoft Is cross-browser and cross-platform, so it runs on Windows, Mac and Linux computers. Silverlight 3 is Microsoft’s player for streaming video and audio content, dealing with rich internet apps and displaying animated user interfaces in the browser. When compared to Flash, Silverlight's video capabilities hae always been impressive, and the extra features in this new version should keep the competition going. Microsoft's Expression Studio 3, a set of tools for building Silverlight apps, standards-based websites and vector graphics for the web, is due out next. Courtesy of webmonkey.com... --
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Microsoft Knew About Bug for Over a Year

Microsoft has confirmed today that they were aware of a bug behind an epidemic of Internet Explorer attacks for more than a year, but continue to defend their security process against critics. Mike Reavey, director of Microsoft's Security Response Center, admitted that the company received word of a critical flaw in ActiveX control during the spring of 2008. This specific bug can be exploited in IE6 and IE7 on Windows XP. Researchers Ryan Smith and Alex Wheeler reported the bug's prescence to Microsoft executives when they worked at IBM's ISS X-Force in 2007. While Smith and Wheeler won't specify exactly when they reported the vulnerability, the bug's Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) number points to an early 2008 detection timeframe. John Pescatore, a primary security analyst for Microsoft insists that the almost 18-month stretch between... --
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Windows 7 Testers Going Unheard?

Windows 7 beta testers are disputing whether or not Microsoft's is paying attention to their feedback. The argument follows a blog post by Steven Sinofsky the man in charge of engineering the new Windows 7 operating system. He notes that in one week in January Microsoft received data through Windows 7's automatic asessment system every 15 seconds. According to Sinofsky, it's impossible to keep everyone happy. That's partly because there are only so many changes Microsoft can perform to the system and still complete it, and partly because in many cases testers often have opposing views about a feature."... --
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Beat Speed Traps with your iPhone

"Two mobile applications, NMobile and Trapster, are giving drivers up-to-date maps of speed-enforcement zones with live police traps, speed cameras or red-light cameras. Each program pulls up a map pinpointing the locations of speed traps within driving distance.  An audio alert will sound as vehicles approach an area tagged as harboring a speed trap. Both applications rely on the wisdom of the crowds for their data with users reporting camera-rigged stop lights and areas heavily populated with radar-toting police officers via the iPhone or their web-based application creating the ultimate speed trap repository available to you when you need it most — while you're driving. To thwart false alarms and eliminate inaccuracies, Trapster enlists its community of nearly 200,000 members to rank speed traps on their accuracy. NMobile founder Shannon Atkinson declined to provide detailed data, though... --
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