3/1/2005

Microsoft says 64-bit Windows due in April

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

SAN FRANCISCO–Microsoft said it plans next month to offer long-awaited 64-bit versions of its Windows operating system.

Speaking at the Intel Developer Forum, Windows chief Jim Allchin said the desktop version of the souped-up Windows would come at the beginning of April, while the server version would come at the end of the month.

“We’re locked on to 64-bit,” Allchin said, encouraging developers to start tailoring their applications to include the ability to take advantage of the extra processing power.

Last month, Microsoft released a second, near-final “release candidate” version of the operating system. The company had promised a final release would come by the end of June.

The 64-bit versions of Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 have been a long time coming, particularly for chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices, which has offered such chips for roughly two years in the server market and 18 months in the desktop PC market.

Source: ZDNet

IE drops below 90% market share

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

For most companies, 87.3 percent of a global market might seem just fine. But most companies are not Bill Gates’ Microsoft. Founded by Earth’s richest man, the firm still stands astride the world when it comes to browser usage; but the might of its Internet Explorer is just a little diminished. On Monday, two reports were released — one American and one Continental — that show IE’s share of the browser market dropping below 90 percent.

On Monday, OneStat.com, a Dutch firm specializing in Web metrics, claimed that Mozilla browsers are now the choice of 8.5 percent of the Earth’s Internet users — up by one percentage point more than in November 2004.

And once a chink in the armor is rent, the vulnerability tends to spread. OneStat.com also said that other browsers such as Netscape – created by a unit of Time Warner’s AOL — edged upwards as well; Apple Computer’s Safari browser now has 1.2 percent of the market. All these factors have reduced IE’s global share to 87.3 percent.

Back in the 50 States, U.S.-based WebSideStory also had words on Monday for Microsoft. WebSideStory said that in the previous five weeks, Firefox’s market share grew 0.74 percentage points and posted growth of 0.89 percentage points in the six weeks prior to that.

The American Web analysts say Firefox has 5.7 percent of the U.S. market, and other Mozilla-based browsers have 2.5 percent. Meanwhile, IE has dropped to 89.9 percent of Yank users’ market share. Maybe that figure is nothing that ought to concern Gates’ software leviathan–unless one compares it with IE’s 95.5 percent market share in June 2004.

Source: MSNBC

Creative drops $50 from some music player prices

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Creative ZenCreative on Tuesday reduced the prices of its Zen Micro digital-music players.

Prices are up to $50 less than those the company had announced earlier. The cuts closely follow the debut of a new line of iPod Mini players from Creative’s rival, Apple Computer.

Creative’s 6GB player will see the biggest cut. It will ship for $249.99, rather than the earlier-announced price of $299.99. The device is not yet available, but customers can preorder it on Creative’s Web site.

The company’s 5GB player now costs $229.99, instead of $249.99, as it did previously. The 5GB player has been available since November.

The 4GB player will be available for $179.99 after a $20 mail-in rebate, Creative said. The Singapore-based company had previously said the device would cost $199.99. Like the 6GB player, it can be preordered on Creative’s Web site.

Sim Wong Hoo, the company’s CEO, said in a statement that Creative has its competitors on the defensive and that “we can further drive our momentum by dropping the price of our Zen Micro MP3 players.”

All the players will feature support for both the MP3 and WMA formats, up to 12 hours of battery life, an FM radio and recorder, a voice recorder, vertical touch pad controls and access to 2 million downloadable songs through MSN Music and services such as Napster, Musicmatch and Wal-Mart’s online music store, Creative said.

Source: News.com

Windows Media Player 9 Still Vulnerable To Spyware

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Nearly two months after promising to update its media player software to block the threat of malware infection, Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday admitted that users of its Windows Media Player 9 Series remain at risk.

Redmond has hemmed and hawed on its response to the threat and the circumstances of the latest admission isn’t sitting well with security researchers.

When the first red flag was raised in early January, Microsoft made it clear that the use of rigged .wmv files to exploit the DRM (digital rights management) mechanism was not a software flaw.

A week later, the company reversed course and promised new versions of WMP within 30 days. “While this issue is not the result of any exploit of Windows Media DRM, we do recognize it may cause problems for some of our customers,” the company said in a statement. To help mitigate these problems, Microsoft said the software would be tweaked to “allow the end-user more control over when and how any pop-ups display in the license acquisition process.”

On February 15, Microsoft rolled out two WMP updates which, according to officials, covered the malware infection scenario. Even the language in Microsoft’s update pointed to the addition of “integrity checks to the DRM system.”

However, security researchers quickly discovered that the WMP update did not solve the problem. Harvard University researcher Ben Edelman told eWEEK.com he tested the updated WMP9 on Windows XP SP2 (Service Pack 2) and found that the spyware infection threat remained. “Regrettably, and quite surprisingly, the update does not seem to solve the problem,” Edelman said.

Source: eWeek

Intel dual-core ‘Smithfield’ to ship as Pentium D

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Intel’s first desktop dual-core processor, ‘Smithfield’, will launch next quarter as the Pentium D, the chip giant revealed today.

It also admitted that the part will not support a key feature of all the most recent generations of the Pentium 4: HyperThreading.

Instead, HT will be used to differentiate the dual-core Pentium Extreme Edition - note that ‘4′ is being dropped here, too - from the D. Both D and EE varieties will operate across an 800MHz frontside bus operating through an LGA775 socket.

Intel today spoke of the EE as a “four-thread” processor and the D as a “two-thread” chip.

The 1066MHz FSB found on the latest P4EE, the 3.73GHz model launch last week, will not be a feature of initial dual-core products. But Intel claimed the dual-core model will run 50-65 per cent faster, despite the lower clock speed.

Both D and EE chips will be fabbed at 90nm and represent single-die products, Intel Digital Enterprise Group VP Stephen Smith said today. The chip maker has always avoided coming clean on this until now, leading some - including us - to assume that Smithfield might simply be a pair of Prescott processors packaged together.

The Pentiums D and EE will be launched next quarter, the latter as the 3.2GHz 840. It comprises 230m transistors - as will the D; HT being disabled rather than missing altogether in the lesser processor. Both with support the 64-bit addressing EM64T system and the Execute Disable Bit. The chips measure 206mm²

Source: The Register

No 911 for VoIP Phones

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Seventeen-year-old Joyce John frantically grasped the portable phone and dialed 911. Downstairs, her parents struggled with two armed robbers.

“Joyce, Joyce, call the police!” her mother, Sosamma, screamed. But when she did, she heard this message: “Stop. You must dial 911 from another telephone.”

Joyce grabbed another phone downstairs but got the same recording. She finally banged on the door of a neighbor, who called an ambulance. By then, her parents had been shot. They survived, but their attackers fled.

The problem: Joyce tried to call from a phone with Internet-based technology, known as VoIP, for voice over Internet protocol. Even though the family’s VoIP service provided a basic 911 feature, Joyce’s father, Peter, didn’t realize he had to activate it.

The ordeal, which happened last month in Houston, points up a challenge for Internet-based phone companies as they struggle to provide 911 service to their growing base of subscribers.

Some VoIP providers don’t offer 911 at all. More typically, those such as Vonage and AT&T offer a bare-bones 911 service that doesn’t show operators a caller’s number or address. And it doesn’t ring on the emergency phone lines in the dispatch center. As a result, some 911 centers don’t accept the calls.

Several VoIP providers do offer a full-featured 911- called Enhanced 911, or E-911 - that’s akin to the 911 feature most consumers have today with regular phone service. But it sometimes costs extra.

Vonage, the No. 1 VoIP provider, has been working with states, 911 directors and local phone companies to bring free E-911 to customers. Its efforts have bogged down, though, partly over regulatory hurdles.

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Source: USAToday

Yahoo Opens Search Developer Program

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yahoo wants developers to know that its search engine welcomes them.

The company on Tuesday is launching a comprehensive developers program for its search technology during the Search Engine Strategies 2005 Conference & Expo here.

Called the Yahoo Search Developer Network, the program provides access to Yahoo’s Web search engine, its four vertical search services, such as Yahoo News, and its technology for checking spelling and recommending related searches.

Yahoo also rolled the developer API (application programming interface) from its Overture Services division into the program.

“This is a recognition that search is going from a consumer application to a broad platform on the Web,” said Eckart Walther, Yahoo’s director of product development. “Search is becoming the file system of the Internet.”

Source: eWeek

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