Microsoft releases Windows Live QnA beta

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft’s foray into social search is no longer invite-only. Now in public beta mode, Windows Live QnA allows users to ask and find answers to their most burning questions.

Like Yahoo Answers and Answerbag, Windows Live QnA makes community members the voice of authority.

Source: News.com

Microsoft Windows Vista goes on sale at Amazon

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Internet retailer Amazon.com Inc. has started taking early orders for Microsoft Corp.’s long-delayed Windows Vista operating system, offering versions of the product from $100 to $399.

The retailer’s Web site said the software will be available on January 30, and an Amazon spokesman said on Tuesday the date was an estimate based on informal conversations with Microsoft and others in the computer industry.

Microsoft spokesman Lou Gellos declined to comment on Amazon’s pre-sale, saying the software maker is still finalizing its pricing model. It has not set a release date for the new version of Windows, which sits on more than 90 percent of the world’s personal computers.

Source: Reuters

Times Blocks Article to U.K. Web Readers

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

The New York Times’ Web site is blocking British readers from a news article detailing the investigation into the recent airline terror plot, turning its Internet ad-targeting technology into a means of complying with U.K. laws.

“We had clear legal advice that publication in the U.K. might run afoul of their law,” Times spokeswoman Diane McNulty said Tuesday. “It’s a country that doesn’t have the First Amendment, but it does have the free press. We felt we should respect their country’s law.”

Visitors who click on a link to the article, published Monday, instead got a notice explaining that British law “prohibits publication of prejudicial information about the defendants prior to trial.” The blocked article reveals evidence authorities have in the alleged plot to use liquid explosives to down U.S. airliners over the Atlantic.

Source: AP

New Rootkit Alters Internet Search Results

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Panda Software Labs has detected the appearance of Zcodec, a new malicious program which incorporates a rootkit. It also alters Internet search results and installs other malicious codes. Zcodec is included in a program that supposedly installs codecs needed to play a certain multimedia format. When users are about to install this application, a user license window is displayed. However, no codec is installed, and the program does not wait for users to accept or reject the license agreement, as when they click on the downloaded file, Zcodec is installed on the computer.

Once installed, a rootkit (a program designed to hide processes, files or registry entries) is installed. Zcodec installs two executable files. The first modifies the DNS settings so that when a user clicks on results from search engines (such as Google), a different page is displayed.

This tactic is exploited by the programs creators to profit from pay-per-click systems, or even to redirect users to pages designed to steal confidential data.

The second executable can have one of two executed at random. In some cases it installs the Ruins.MB Trojan. This is designed to download other malicious programs on the system.

On other occasions, the file continually launches a casino application, asking for the user’s permission for install. However, even if the user rejects installation of the program, an icon is created on the Windows desktop which when clicked, will prompt installation.

Microsoft To plugs hole in DRM software

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft is preparing a fix for a program that strips the digital-rights-management protections attached to its Windows Media file format, representatives said Monday night.

Armed with the program, users could theoretically download an unlimited amount of music via MTV’s Urge music service, as well as other sites that offer music for download.

The “FairUse4WM” program was released earlier this month, and advertised as a tool to remove the rights restrictions from files encoded with Windows Media Player 10 or 11. The program’s creator, “viodentia,” published the orignal file to a message board on August 19, and the file has been quickly mirrored around the Web.

Source: ABC

Free legal music downloads in time for Christmas

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

It had to happen. A new legal music download service will be launched in December which will offer MP3s free at the point of delivery. New York-based Spiralfrog says its site will be fully funded by advertising.

The firm has some heavyweight backing in the shape of Vivendi Universal Music Group. Research apparently revealed consumers were willing to suffer ads for products relevant to them in exchange for free tunes.

Spiralfrog says it will make the entire Universal back catalogue available at no charge, including current hit parade favourites like Razorlight and Johnny Hallyday, together with its roster of classics from the likes of Stevie Wonder. Independent labels will be hosted too, along with video content.

Source: The Register

Hacker Sentenced to Home Detention for Infiltrating T-Mobile Network

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A hacker who infiltrated the network of T-Mobile USA Inc. and accessed personal information of hundreds of customers, including a Secret Service agent, was sentenced Monday to one year of home detention.

Nicholas Lee Jacobsen, 23, must also pay $10,000 in restitution to T-Mobile to cover losses caused by his acts, which took place in 2004.

Source: AP

Gang robs eBay car buyer at gunpoint

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A gang which set up a fake eBay car auction robbed the would-be buyer at gunpoint when he met to close the deal.

Shahzad Ali Shah, 23, agreed to meet the “seller” in Dagenham after successfully negotiating to buy the Mercedes Benz Kompressor C180. Shah felt “assured” by the vendor’s 92.3 per cent approval rating and agreed to pay for the vehicle in cash after he demanded hard currency.

Going to close the deal the robbers where waiting for him and robbed him of £5,580 plus Shahnaz’s purse, phone, and credit cards.

Source: The Register

Intel Introducing New Processors

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Chip maker Intel is introducing a series of new processors designed especially for business and e-commerce uses.

The company says its eight new Dual-Core Intel Xeon 71-hundred series processors are designed to perform better than their predecessors, and include lower-power options to help cut energy costs.

Source: AP

Yahoo rolls out a more comprehensive property site

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yahoo Inc. is upgrading its real estate site with a range of new features including current U.S. home valuations and aerial neighborhood views, the Internet media leader said on Tuesday.

The refreshed Yahoo Real Estate site gives users access to data on 3 million real estate listings, mainly from Prudential Real Estate, and comparative data on up to nearly 50 million homes from online property research start-up Zillow.com of Seattle.

Source: Reuters

AOL Revamped Music Download Service

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Internet giant AOL has revamped its Web-based music download service, adding music videos, streaming radio and user community features.

The new version of AOL Music Now is scheduled to debut Tuesday, offering some 2.5 million audio tracks and thousands of music videos, the company said.

Audio tracks can be bought individually for 99 cents, while music videos cost $1.99 each.

The service offers unlimited downloads at a monthly rate of $9.95, or $14.95 for the ability to transfer songs to compatible portable music players.

Source: AP

Apple Laptop Fire Reported in Japan

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Japanese authorities reported Tuesday the first case of an Apple laptop catching fire in Japan and ordered the U.S. company to investigate the trouble involving the faulty Sony batteries and report back within a week.

A laptop made by Apple Computer Inc. overheated and caught fire in April, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said. The user sustained minor burns after the the iBook G4 computer caught fire, according to Apple spokeswoman Michiko Matsumoto, who confirmed the case.

Source: AP

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