9/30/2006

Just One More Release Before Windows Vista Goes Gold

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft will release just one more build of Windows Vista for testing before the code goes gold, said Brad Goldberg, the general manager for the Windows client business group.

That build will be made available to a limited group of between 50,000 and 100,000 testers in October, and follows the interim Vista build that Microsoft released on Sept. 22.

Goldberg declined to say if this final test build would be known as Release Candidate 2, adding that the company is focused, from an engineering perspective, on targeting the group of testers from whom it most wants one last set of feedback.

Source: eWeek

Microsoft Steers Firefox Users Wrong On XP SP1

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft, which will end support of Windows XP SP1 in less than two weeks, incorrectly flags users running Mozilla’s Firefox browser that they need to update when they visit the Windows Web site.

The Redmond, Wash. developer has warned users of the four-year-old Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) several times that it will stop all support for the operating system Oct.10, the next regularly-scheduled patch date. It has repeatedly recommended that users update to
Windows XP SP2, which can be downloaded free of charge from the company’s Web site.

On that Web site, however, users running Windows XP SP2 and Firefox are incorrectly told that their PCs must be upgraded. Internet Explorer users, on the other hand, are given the correct information.

“Your computer is not up to date with the latest version of Windows XP. Upgrade to Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) today to help keep your computer secure,” the site tells Firefox users.

Source: Yahoo

Apple Fixes 15 Flaws, Updates Mac OS X To 10.4.8

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Apple Computer Inc. on Friday updated Mac OS X 10.4 to patch 15 vulnerabilities in the operating system and bundled software that can let attackers run malicious code, crash the computer, or gain unauthorized access to the machine.

According to the alert that Apple released alongside the update, more than half of the fixed flaws can lead to “arbitrary code execution.” In plain English, that means a hacker could hijack the Mac and install his own software on the system. Four of the bugs are in Flash, the Adobe-sold animation player bundled with Mac
OS X.

Source: AFP

Iranian video game offers chance to blow up U.S. tanker

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A new Iranian computer game sets players the task of blowing up a U.S. tanker in the Gulf to block the sea route for much of the world’s oil supplies, a newspaper reported on Saturday.

The game, “Counter Strike”, invites players to plant two bombs on the oil tanker to sink it and make the strait of Hormuz impassable, the Jomhouri-ye Eslami daily reported. About two-fifths of globally traded oil passes through the channel.

The game illustrates a warning by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said in June that oil exports in the Gulf region could be seriously endangered if the United States made a wrong move on Iran.

Source: Reuters

Yahoo allows outsiders to innovate on Yahoo e-mail

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Yahoo Inc. is set to allow outsiders to create new services using the world’s most popular consumer e-mail program, in the broadest move the Web has yet seen to enlist independent programmers to build a company’s products for it.

Officials of the world’s largest Internet media company said on Friday it planned to give away the underlying code to Yahoo Mail, one of the crown jewels of its business, in a bid to encourage software developers to build new applications based on e-mail.

The move to open up the underlying code of Yahoo Mail — used by 257 million people — is designed to spark development of thousands of new e-mail applications built not only by Yahoo engineers but by outside companies and individuals.

Source: Reuters

9/29/2006

The Gif Format is Finally Patent-Free

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Not many people noticed that the GIF file format is only now free from patents, as of the 1st of October 2006. Quick recap: first in 1999 Unisys tried to extort money from users and developers. Then, in 2003 the world hoped that the saga would finally be over. Then, in 2004, it was IBM’s turn. Now, the SAGA seems to be over for real!

Source: Slashdot

Microsoft To Patch Newest IE Flaw

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft admitted that an ActiveX control–WebViewFolderIcon, also called “Web View”–exposes a vulnerability in the Windows Shell that can be exploited by attackers to hijack PCs. A fix is promised on Oct. 10.

Source: InformationWeek

Cable Channel To Allow Video, Photo Sharing

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Simple Star Inc. and Time Warner Cable are testing photo and video sharing over a dedicated digital cable channel.

Time Warner Cable subscribers in Hawaii are the first to test the service, with other states, such as New York and California, to roll out soon, said Simple Star Manager Lynn Bruni.

“People are creating cooking and other types of shows,” Bruni said. “All the content created and uploaded to the site can be viewed by anyone who can access channel 917, a local channel in Hawaii.”

Source: InformationWeek

Laptops Content may be Subject to Inspection upon Entering the United States

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

A recent and controversial decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California held that the United States (U.S.) Customs Officials may seize and search travelers’ laptops upon entering the U.S. even in the absence of search warrant or probable cause.

The traditional 4th Amendment protection offered by the U.S. Constitution does not apply to airport searches, held this Court.

This decision was reached in U.S. v. Romm, No. 04-10648, a child pornography case. The Customs Officers seized and searched Romm’s laptop, even though Romm had no been issued a search warrant or had any probable cause of been committing a crime. After a careful search, the Customs Officers found that Romm had recently visited some child pornography websites and this evidence was used in Court in the State’s case against him.

Some experts argue that this case represents judicial approval of a far-beyond invasion of privacy, even though its facts do not provide the best example of an innocent defendant. Commenting on Romm’s case, Shaun Martin, a Law professor at the University of San Diego, said: “It is one thing to turn on your computer in the airport to make sure it is not a bomb. It is another thing for customs officials to turn on your computer and to read everything you ever wrote and to look at everything you ever downloaded.”

Source: ibls.com

Google Talk Open To Everyone

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Last year, Google launched Google Talk, a free service for making voice calls and sending instant messages. It used to be that only Gmail users could use Google Talk but Google opened up Google talk to everyone and all you need to sign up for Google Talk is a Google account which can be obtained freely.

Sony to Initiate Global Replacement Program for Notebook Battery

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Sony Corporation will initiate a global replacement program for certain battery packs that utilize Sony-manufactured lithium ion cells used by notebook computer manufacturers in order to address concern related to recent over-heating incidents.

This announcement came after a slew of recalls from notebook manufactures like Dell, Apple, IBM, Lenovo and Toshiba which overall recalled over 5 millions Notebook Batteries.

Sony is discussing this plan with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission and will coordinate with other government authorities as required. We will announce details of the program in the near future.

On rare occasions, microscopic metal particles in the recalled battery cells may come into contact with other parts of the battery cell, leading to a possibility of short circuit within the cell. Typically, a battery pack will simply power off when a cell short circuit occurs. However, under certain rare conditions an internal short circuit may lead to cell overheating and potentially flames. The potential for this to occur can be affected by variations in the system configurations found in different notebook computers. Sony believes that this engineering analysis remains valid.

Sony will consult with its OEM customers that utilize these battery cells and work with those that choose to participate regarding quantity and the scheduling of replacement battery packs.

Intel Previews Potential Replacement for Flash

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Intel literally has, in hand, the first prototype of a new type of nonvolatile memory chip that its executives think could someday supplant flash memory and thus change the face of the industries such as cellular phones, music players and possibly even PCs.

Intel, as part of a lengthy joint venture with ST Microelectronics, has produced the first Phase Change Memory or PCM chips—nonvolatile memory chips that work well for both executing code and storing large amounts of data, giving it a superset of the capabilities of both flash memory and dynamic random access memory.

This means it can both execute code with performance, store larger amounts of memory and also sustain millions of read/write cycles.

Source: eWeek

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