7/9/2008

Microsoft Admits Windows Vista Mistakes

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Microsoft is now acknowledging it screwed up with its initial launch of Windows Vista, and is ready to try again.

“We broke a lot of things. We know that, and we know it caused you a lot of pain. It got customers thinking, hey, is Windows Vista a generation we want to get invested in?” So Brad Brooks, Microsoft’s VP of Windows Vista consumer marketing, fessed up publicly this week.

Speaking at a keynote address at Microsoft’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference, Brooks signified that Microsoft was ready to admit mistakes and reposition itself to tell a better story about Windows Vista, to counter attacks by rival Apple and let customers know that Vista is finally stable and ready.

Troubleshooting tool for Java offered

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Sun on Tuesday announced availability of Java VisualVM, an open-source GUI tool for troubleshooting and profiling Java applications.

Users can view detailed information about Java applications while they are running on a JVM (Java Virtual Machine). Billed as an all-in-one troubleshooting tool, VisualVM integrates several command line JDK (Java Development Kit) tools and profiling capabilities. It enhances monitoring and performance analysis, according to Sun.

“After eight months of frantic development since VisualVM Preview 1 was released, I’m happy to announce the general availability of JDK 6 Update 7 Java VisualVM and VisualVM 1.0,” said Luis-Miguel Alventosa, a Sun senior software engineer, in a blog.

Offered as part of Java Platform, Standard Edition (SE) Update 7, Java VisualVM provides a visual diagnostic tool for development and production environments. It includes such technologies as jvmstat, which provides lightweight performance and configuration instrumentation to the HotSpot JVM, as well as Java Management Extensions and the NetBeans profiler.

Massive Internet flaw could let hackers take over the Web

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

Computer industry heavyweights are hustling to fix a flaw in the foundation of the Internet that would let hackers control traffic on the World Wide Web.

Major software and hardware makers worked in secret for months to create a software “patch” released on Tuesday to repair the problem, which is in the way computers are routed to web page addresses.

“It’s a very fundamental issue with how the entire addressing scheme of the Internet works,” Securosis analyst Rich Mogul said in a media conference call.

“You’d have the Internet, but it wouldn’t be the Internet you expect. (Hackers) would control everything.”

The flaw would be a boon for “phishing” cons that involve leading people to imitation web pages of businesses such as bank or credit card companies to trick them into disclosing account numbers, passwords and other information.

Attackers could use the vulnerability to route Internet users wherever they wanted no matter what website address is typed into a web browser.

Security researcher Dan Kaminsky of IOActive stumbled upon the Domain Name System (DNS) vulnerability about six months ago and reached out to industry giants including Microsoft, Sun and Cisco to collaborate on a solution.

DNS is used by every computer that links to the Internet and works similar to a telephone system routing calls to proper numbers, in this case the online numerical addresses of websites.

“People should be concerned but they should not be panicking,” Kaminsky said. “We have bought you as much time as possible to test and apply the patch. Something of this scale has not happened before.”

Kaminsky built a web page, www.doxpara.com, where people can find out whether their computers have the DNS vulnerability.

Google ventures into virtual reality with ‘Lively’

Filed under: — Aviran Mordo

In the latest expansion beyond its main mission of organizing the world’s information, Internet search leader Google Inc. hopes to orchestrate more fantasizing on the Web.

The Mountain View-based company unveiled a free service Tuesday in which three-dimensional software enables people to congregate in electronic rooms and other computer-manufactured versions of real life. The service, called “Lively,” represents Google’s answer to a 5-year-old site, Second Life, where people deploy animated alter egos known as avatars to navigate through virtual reality.

Google thinks Lively will encourage even more people to dive into alternate realities because it isn’t tethered to one Web site like Second Life, and it doesn’t cost anything to use. After installing a small packet of software, a user can enter Lively from other Web sites, like social networking sites and blogs.

The Lively application already works on Facebook, one of the Web’s hottest hangouts, and Google is working on a version suitable for an even larger online social network, News Corp.’s MySpace.

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