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Category Archives: Technology

Adobe Offers up Outdated Software; Endangers Users

Adobe Systems has been called out by Secunia, a firm that exposes software vulnerabilies, for the outdated and unsafe software on its downloads page which contains dozens of security vulnerabilities.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... --

U of W Develops Self-Destructing Email Technology

Computer scientists at the University of Washington have developed a way to make electronic messages “self destruct” after a certain period of time, completely inaccessible to any nosy parties- non existent, in effect. Researchers said that they think Vanish- which requires encrypting messages, will be needed more and more as personal and business information is stored not just on personal computers, but on centralized machines and servers. The term of the moment for this concept is "cloud computing," and the cloud consists of the data — including e-mail and Web-based documents and calendars — stored on numerous servers. This unique approach relies on “shattering” an encryption key that is held by neither party in an e-mail exchange,  but rather widely scattered across a peer-to-peer file sharing system. A prototype of the Vanish system has been developed... --

Microsoft Streaming Music Service to Launch Soon

Microsoft plans to launch a music streaming service similar to the massively popular British Spotify.  The company aims to have the service ready by the end of July, whuich will offer users the oppurtunity to stream music for free as well as download to own. Spotify users can stream music for free as long as they're willing to listen to somewhere around a minute of advertising every half hour, while a £9.99 a month premium service (sans ads) is also offered. It is believed that Microsoft’s version will be ad-supported as well as offering a paid special service. The streaming site would be operated and owned by Microsoft, while being promoted through MSN and other parts of the Microsoft network. Courtesy of telegraph.co.uk
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Who Wants Windows 7?

In a recent survey run by ScriptLogic, nearly six in 10 companies admitted to having no intention of updating to Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 7. Due for release in October, the new OS is projected to account for almost half of the operating systems shipped by Microsoft come the end of 2010. In light of expectations, these are some disheartening numbers.

Of 1,100 IT administrators who participated in the survey, 59.3 percent said they had no plans to install Windows 7 as their primary operating system.  Time and resources were cited by 81.8 percent of respondents as the biggest barriers to deploying Windows 7, while other lesser concerns were deployment and migration, hardware support and migration of user settings.

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Amazon’s APIs Off Limits

Amazon has changed the terms of service. Again. This time, the rules surrounding its popular data APIs have made it so that it is no longer possible to access Amazon data from any mobile devices. Perhaps the oddest element of these new TOS, not only are mobile apps barred access to the APIs, they can’t even use data from the APIs if the actual access is done with a desktop app. The relevant line of the TOS, section 4e, reads: “You will not, without our express prior written approval requested via this link, use any Product Advertising Content on or in connection with any site or application designed or intended for use with a mobile phone or other handheld device.” For now, it would seem that mobile apps that want to access Amazon’s APIs are simply... --

Microsoft vs. Google: Should we Care?

Anyone keeping up with computer news is completely aware of the rivalry between Microsoft and Google. But this battle entered a new phase just last week with the announcement of Google’s Chrome Operating System — a direct hit for Microsoft Windows number one profit draw. Google served its Chrome Web browser at Microsoft’s Internet Explorer along with its Android smart-phone operating system, which was meant to make a dent in Microsoft’s Windows Mobile. The return attack consisted of Microsoft aiming its new search technology, Bing, against Google’s core and essence — the Google search engine. This is all well and good, not to mention brings in a lot of press, but in the end, none of it is likely to make any real difference for either giant or, possibly more importantly, for customers.It's all posturing, bringing... --

Windows 7 is Coming, but When?

Officials at Microsoft have said that the company expects to begin manufacturing of Windows 7 t before the end of the month. They have been less forthcoming about exactly when users will be able to get their hands on the product — other than users who buy new PCs with it preloaded starting October 22. On July 10, however, Microsoft notified its reseller partners that it plans to allow business users who’ve purchased volume licenses plus Software Assurance contracts to get Windows 7 before the end of July. Earlier in the year, Microsoft officials acknowledged they were offering Software Assurance users Windows 7 incentives, but didn’t spell out the particulars. It is believed by insiders that Microsoft is about a week away from RTMing Windows 7. This week, as part of its announcement that Steven Sinofsky... --

App Store Anniversary

Apple’s App Store opened a year ago today, early on the morning of July 10, 2008 with an update to iTunes. It wasn’t until the next day that the applications it contained could actually be downloaded and put to use on iPhones or iPod touches, but today is considered the anniversary. That morning, there were more than 500 third-party apps available in the store. A year later there are more than 56,000, not including the thousands of apps offered in 60 some odd foreign branches of the store. According to Apple, the one billionth app was downloaded at approximately 4:50 a.m. on April 23. With an average of 135 new... --

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... --

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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