Jul 31, 2009

Anytime Upgrade & Family Pack prices for Windows 7 announced

Microsoft today unveiled pricing for Windows Anytime Upgrade (WUA) and the Windows 7 Family Pack.

Windows Anytime Uprade

WUA allows users who purchase machines with Home Premium or Starter to move up to a higher edition of Windows 7. The pricing structure will be:
  • Windows 7 Starter to Windows 7 Home Premium: $79.99
  • Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Professional: $89.99
  • Windows 7 Home Premium to Windows 7 Ultimate: $139.99

After Windows 7 is released to market on October 22nd, you will be able to buy a retail package that contains an upgrade key from retail outlets.

Microsoft will also be offering WUA online upgrades in 13 countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK or the US.

Windows 7 Family Pack

Windows 7 Family Pack will be available on October 22 and priced at $149.99 for 3 Windows 7 Home Premium licenses. Consumers will save $200 by purchasing the Family Pack over individual copies.

How to Upgrade Windows 7 RC Beta to Windows 7 RTM Build 7600

Most of the users are still on Windows 7 Beta Build 7000 and Windows 7 RC Build 7100 since those were the two Windows 7 Builds which was distributed under Public Preview.

Windows 7 Beta users must upgrade to Windows 7 RC as after July 01, 2009 Windows 7 Beta has started Bi hourly shutdown and will expiry on August 1, 2009 whereas Windows 7 RC will expire on June 2010.

Windows 7 RTM build 7600.16385 is already singed off and handed to OEM partners as well as it has been leaked on popular torrent websites. If you are attempting to upgrade Windows 7 RC/Beta to Windows 7 RTM setup will give you an error message saying: You cannot upgrade this pre-release version of Windows 7. Go online to see how to install Windows 7 and keep your files and settings.

That’s because Windows 7 RTM was build to block all versions prior to 7233. Like we had published guide on how to upgrade windows 7 Beta to Windows 7 RC same guide is still applicable here,

How to Upgrade Windows 7 RC/Beta to Windows 7 RTM
  1. Mount Windows 7 RTM Build 7600 ISO and Extract content to any folder or USB drive
  2. Now go to Sources folder of Windows 7 and open “cversion.ini” file in notepad
  3. Modify the “MinClient” build number to a value lower than your installed Windows 7 Build. For example, change 7233 to 7000 if you have Windows 7 Beta Build installed.
    • [HostBuild]
    • MinClient=7000.0
    • MinServer=7100.0
  4. Save the updated file to the same location and then run setup.exe to start Windows 7 RC upgrade process.
That's it, Now follow on screen instructions and choose Upgrade option at em0nx.

Image Tuner 1.2

Image Tuner is a free software for batch resizing, converting, watermarking and renaming your digital photos and images from more than 20 image formats to JPEG, BMP, PNG, TIFF and GIF formats. The program will help you to prepare your digital photos to upload and publish them in the Internet or send via e-mail.

What's new:
+ Added feature allowing to increase image resolution.

Download: Image Tuner 1.2 | Freeware, 1.5MB
Screenshot: >> Click here <<
View: www.glorylogic.com

Demigod demo released

The demo for Gas Powered Games' RTS game, Demigod, is now available for download. The demo features online Internet multiplayer games, the Cataract map and four playable Demigods (Regulus, Rook, Sedna and Lord Erebus.) All of the gameplay modes (Conquest, Dominate, Fortress and Slaughter) in Demigod are available to play in the demo.

Players will vanquish other would-be gods, gain levels and unlock the power of mystic artifacts as they battle for ascent to the Pantheon. Take control of an immensely powerful being and defeat your brethren in a series of epic arenas in order to ascend into the pantheon of the gods.

Easy to play, hard to master, Demigod is available worldwide digitally via Impulse at the same price ($39.95) no matter where the person is located.

Download: Demigod Demo at FilePlanet
Link: Demigod website

Nero Burning Rom Free

What's better than free? Free forever! Nero offers you the chance to enjoy Nero's world-renowned data disc burning and copying features for an unlimited time, absolutely FREE! Enjoy basic data burning and copying capabilities for your CDs and DVDs from the world's most trusted digital media brand, Nero. This version of Nero 9 contains simply data burning and disc copying features for CDs and DVDs. Additional features and functionality are available with an upgrade to Nero 9 full version. NOTE: To keep your system clean, it is recommended to deselect the Ask toolbar options during the installation.

News source: FreewareGeeks.com
Download: Download

Microsoft blacklists leaked Windows 7 OEM key

Microsoft has responded to pirates by blacklisting the Lenovo OEM key that leaked earlier this week.

On Tuesday Shaz3e reported that pirates were able to modify their BIOS and activate copies of Windows 7 Ultimate with a Lenovo OEM master key. Microsoft have worked with Lenovo to blacklist the master key before Windows 7 starts shipping with new PCs in October.

According to Alex Kochis, Director of Genuine Windows at Microsoft: "we've worked with that manufacturer so that customers who purchase genuine copies of Windows 7 from this manufacturer will experience no issues validating their copy of Windows 7. At the same time we will seek to alert customers who are using the leaked key that they are running a non-genuine copy of Windows. It's important to note that no PCs will be sold that will use this key."

Windows 7 is due to ship on October 22 this year and it's 99% certain that after this date more OEM keys will start leaking. According to Microsoft officials "Windows 7 already includes an improved ability to detect hacks, also known as activation exploits, and alert customers who are using a pirated copy." It has always been a cat and mouse game between Microsoft and pirates and it seems that it's 0-0 once again.

In related news, Microsoft announced yesterday that Windows 7 technical testers will be receiving a free copy of Windows 7 Ultimate on August 6.

iPhones at risk of hijacking via SMS

Researchers have discovered a flaw within Apple's iPhone SMS feature, an exploit that could allow a hacker access to your iPhone, disabling it and rendering it utterly useless. The exploit was publicized today at Black Hat cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas today.

Cybersecurity researchers Charlie Miller and Collin Mulliner discovered how they can disable any iPhone via a simple SMS. The exploit sent consumers into pandemonium, questioning if they should shut off their iPhone's as of Thursday, when the exploit was demonstrated and documented to the public. The exploit shows up on the victims device as a single square character.

Dwight Silverman from chron.com explains that the risk of consumers iPhone being compromised is very slim. The hacker will only be able to disable your iPhone if they send an SMS directly to your phone, making it harder is that they would need to spam every phone on the market hoping to hit an iPhone.

The report left by the researchers leaves gaps that must be filled in by attempted hackers in order to properly execute the attack, something that will eventually be discovered. Dwight also suggestions that the time needed to write a program to mass attack iPhone's on the market would require about two weeks to write the code.

Apple has reportedly had a month to fix the hole and release a patch to consumers, but has yet to do so. Since the demonstration and publication of the attack, Apple may delay the release of their new iPhone 3.1 firmware update to include a patch to fix the flaw in the iPhone SMS feature.

In theory, all consumers are safe for at least another two weeks until experts predict they will see this attack surface in the wild, unless Apple can patch the flaw by then.

Apple probably not attending CES 2010, despite rumors

Some of the big Apple news from the beginning of the year was that Apple would not be attending the Macworld Expo, stating that 2009 would be their last, despite the event being solely dedicated to their company. After this announcement, many speculated that the company might focus on other events, or in particular, the Consumer Electronics Show, which runs around about the same time as Macworld. Recently, news broke that the Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs, had been asked to keynote at CES, in which he has not responded. The Wall Street Journal stated that Apple will attend, but they've now updated their article after being called out, according to Apple Insider.

Here's the play by play: the WSJ initially stated that Apple was definitely going to be attending the CES in 2010. However, when the author of the article, Ben Charny, was at a dinner with the CEA Chief Executive, Gary Shapiro (who was said to have contacted Jobs, asking for him to be at CES), he was accused by Ryan Block (former editor of Engadget) of writing false information. Shapiro backed up the accusation, saying that Charny's article was, "specious and flatly wrong."

Engadget says that, yes, Apple still could potentially exhibit at the show, but it's unlikely. "Bottom line, though is that if Gary had even gotten remotely close to implying Apple would be at CES, this shoddily sourced piece by Charny wouldn't have been the earliest story with the scoop nearly 24 hours after the fact -- laptops would been immediately out for reports filed from the dinner table," they wrote, hence the WSJ correction.

So, Apple fans, it's time to get those hopes back under control, because chances are, we won't be seeing the computer maker at CES next year.

Microsoft Silverlight 3.0.40723 Update Released

What is Silverlight?
Silverlight helps you create rich web applications that run on Mac OS, Windows, and Linux. Welcome to a new level of engaging, rich, safe, secure, and scalable cross-platform experiences.

Download: Microsoft Silverlight 3.0.40723

Microsoft makes a u-turn, Windows 7 testers to get free copy

In a shock turn around, Microsoft announced today that Windows 7 technical testers will be receiving a free copy of Windows 7 Ultimate.

In recent weeks Microsoft has faced angry reactions from bloggers and beta testers when they originally announced the testers "thanks" was the discounted pre-order offer. Blogger Paul Thurrot claimed: "the painful thing here, for beta testers, is that they've been screwed" which demonstrated the reaction to the previous announcements.

In a blog posting at Microsoft's Windows Team Blog, Brandon LeBlanc confirmed: "to show our appreciation, members of the invitation-only Windows 7 Technical Beta Program will be eligible for a free, final copy of Windows 7 Ultimate." All current members of the English technical and international mini-beta programs are eligible for a full non-upgrade copy of Windows 7 Ultimate Edition. Testers can get access to their copy in one of two ways:
  • Download a copy and product key via Microsoft connect, English downloads will be available August 6th and other languages will follow as they become available.
  • Boxed retail copies are available in a limited amount and are being offered on a first come, first served basis. These copies will not be ready until October 22nd or later.
ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley recently highlighted the testing process and how the focus has been taken away from Microsoft's beta testers. Testers are no longer held in such high esteem it seems as Microsoft only supplied the same 2 public beta builds this time around. However, it's good to see Microsoft making a u-turn and admitting they were wrong to not provide a thank you to beta testers. Hopefully with Windows 8 Microsoft will focus on beta testers once again.

Jul 30, 2009

Microsoft launches MSN Video Player, streaming TV shows [UK]

Microsoft has taken the covers off its' latest venture into the video on demand market with the launch of MSN Video Player.

MSN Video Player will be available exclusively in the UK and will offer over 300 hours of free content from both BBC worldwide and producer All3Media, responsible for shows like peep show and shameless. Microsoft will be running a 6 month trial of the player during which time Ashley Highfield, Microsoft's managing director and vice president of consumer and online, claims that the company has sold out of its advertising space to fund the MSN Video Player.

The idea behind the video player is not to compete with the BBC's iPlayer or Channel 4's OD but to complement the services and offering backdated programming. In an interview with the BBC Microsoft's Highfield claims "we cover everything from a few months ago to a few years ago. This is bringing all the programs together in one place. It's going to be a one stop shop for recent and older classic British television."

As the service won't be fully available until next week it remains to be seen exactly how good the service is. Programs will be streamed in flash or using Microsoft's Windows Media Video (WMV). Strangely Microsoft is not planning to use its own Silverlight technology and will not be applying DRM to the streams. As the service is advertising funded, adverts will run before clips start streaming. Microsoft plans to roll the service out to the Xbox 360, Windows Mobile and living room TV screens (via IPTV) if the service proves popular.

Image Credit: Microsoft

Yahoo! shares drop 10% on news of Microsoft search deal

Yahoo's share price plummeted 10% in early morning trading on the NASDAQ stock exchange following news of a search deal with Microsoft.

The NASDAQ had only been open for one hour as investors looked to drop Yahoo shares with trade volumes reaching as high as 12 million moves in the market. Volume is the number of shares traded in a particular security during a given period of time.

Microsoft and Yahoo! both announced a search deal where Yahoo search results will be "powered by Bing" starting next year. However, share prices aren't Yahoo's only problem from the new deal.

During a conference call for investors and media, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer admitted the deal had "been a longtime coming." He went on to explain that "both companies benefit from scale and better economics. Consumers really will get better products," Ballmer said.

Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz admitted there would be some redundancies for Yahoo employees. "There are certainly many Yahoo search employees that will be asked to take jobs at Microsoft as they integrate the technology," Bartz said. "There will also be search employees that we look to help us on the display side... And then unfortunately, there will be some redundancies in Yahoo." Bartz continued "there will be redundancies, but it will be in the future." Bartz did not estimate on how many redundancies there would be.

If today's early indications on Yahoo's stock are anything to go by then the company is in for a rough ride in the next 6 months+ until the deal is officially finalised and approved.

Image credit: Yahoo Finance

Jul 29, 2009

How to Remove New Tab Button in Firefox 3.5

Firefox 3.5 provides you an additional way to open new tab. As similar with Internet Explorer 7/8, you can open new tab by clicking on the “+” sign as located at the end of tab bar. You probably don’t like this feature since you are already comfortable with the existing way of adding new tab, such as CTRL + T, double click on the empty tab bar area or right click on the tab bar and select New Tab. If you feel this feature doesn’t benefit much to you and you would like to remove the “+” sign button, you can do it by using simple trick.

To remove the “+” sign button, you need to edit userChrome.css file and different windows OS stores this file at different location. Follow below steps to get this file edited:

1. For Windows 2000/XP, navigate to C:\Documents and Settings\[yourusername]\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\[profile.default]\chrome. For Windows Vista/7, navigate to C:\Users\[yourusername]\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\[profile.default]\chrome. Since Application Data is considered as hidden folder and if you don’t see it, then you need to go to Windows Explorer and click on Tools -> Folder Options, under View tab look for Hidden files and folders, then enable Show hidden files and folders. Alternatively, you can open Application Data folder directly by typing this syntax, “%APPDATA%” (without double quote) at Run and click OK button to open this folder directly.

2. If you have customized Firefox before, then probably you will have an existing userChrome.css file located at this folder, else just create a new file and named it as userChrome.css.

3. Open userChrome.css by using notepad, then add below string to this file. If you already have userChrome.css file created before, just add this string at the bottom of the file and save it.

.tabs-newtab-button {display: none;}

Once you have completed above changes, you need to restart Firefox. After restarting Firefox, you will notice the “+’ sign button has been removed.

Microsoft confirms Yahoo deal, Bing to power Yahoo! search

Yahoo! and Microsoft have both confirmed earlier reports of a deal over search.

In a joint statement Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz confirmed "this agreement comes with boatloads of value for Yahoo!, our users, and the industry. And I believe it establishes the foundation for a new era of Internet innovation and development." Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the agreement will provide Microsoft's search engine, Bing, the scale necessary to more "effectively compete" and attract more advertisers and users.

The key terms of the agreement are as follows:
  • The term of the agreement is 10 years;
  • Microsoft will acquire an exclusive 10 year license to Yahoo!'s core search technologies, and Microsoft will have the ability to integrate Yahoo! search technologies into its existing web search platforms;
  • Microsoft's Bing will be the exclusive algorithmic search and paid search platform for Yahoo! sites. Yahoo! will continue to use its technology and data in other areas of its business such as enhancing display advertising technology.
  • Yahoo! will become the exclusive worldwide relationship sales force for both companies' premium search advertisers. Self-serve advertising for both companies will be fulfilled by Microsoft's AdCenter platform, and prices for all search ads will continue to be set by AdCenter's automated auction process.
  • Each company will maintain its own separate display advertising business and sales force.
  • Yahoo! will innovate and "own" the user experience on Yahoo! properties, including the user experience for search, even though it will be powered by Microsoft technology.
  • Microsoft will compensate Yahoo! through a revenue sharing agreement on traffic generated on Yahoo!'s network of both owned and operated (O&O) and affiliate sites.
  • Microsoft will pay traffic acquisition costs (TAC) to Yahoo! at an initial rate of 88% of search revenue generated on Yahoo!'s O&O sites during the first 5 years of the agreement.
  • Yahoo! will continue to syndicate its existing search affiliate partnerships.
  • Microsoft will guarantee Yahoo!'s O&O revenue per search (RPS) in each country for the first 18 months following initial implementation in that country.
  • At full implementation (expected to occur within 24 months following regulatory approval), Yahoo! estimates, based on current levels of revenue and current operating expenses, that this agreement will provide a benefit to annual GAAP operating income of approximately $500 million and capital expenditure savings of approximately $200 million. Yahoo! also estimates that this agreement will provide a benefit to annual operating cash flow of approximately $275 million.
  • The agreement protects consumer privacy by limiting the data shared between the companies to the minimum necessary to operate and improve the combined search platform, and restricts the use of search data shared between the companies. The agreement maintains the industry-leading privacy practices that each company follows today.
The agreement does not cover products such as email, instant messaging, display advertising, or any other aspect of the companies' businesses. It's strictly search.

What happens to Yahoo! search now?

Microsoft has confirmed that the deal with not close until 2010. Consumers will not see a change until 3 to 6 months after that. For now Yahoo! search will be the same until the deal is approved and complete and then Yahoo! search results will be provided and branded with Bing, "powered by Bing" will appear.

Stocks and shares

Microsoft shares rose sharply yesterday afternoon when reports surfaced that Microsoft and Yahoo were about to announce the deal. The NASDAQ exchange has not yet opened at time of writing so it will be interesting to see how both companies share prices fair in the markets.

Image credit: Yahoo Finance

History of deal

The agreement ends Microsoft's talks with Yahoo, which have lasted nearly 2 years. During the talks Microsoft has evaluated a takeover bid, seen Yahoo reply to it's ultimatums and nearly miss out on a deal when Yahoo attempted to partner with Google. The Yahoo-Google partnership failed due to regulatory concerns.

Bing will now have nearly 30% market share of search in US
According to figures from ComScore, in June Google held 65% of the search market in the US, with Yahoo at 19.6% and Microsoft on only 8.4%. With this deal Microsoft's Bing market share will be up to nearly 30% market share in the US, tripling its current share. Although Bing's market share will increase, Microsoft will not be earning as much as 30% revenue market share due to Yahoo keeping their own advertising model.

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, on announcement:

iPhone bug to hijack phone by SMS will be revealed tomorrow

Forbes is reporting that two researchers plan to reveal an un-patched iPhone bug that could virally infect phones via SMS.

The hijack was discovered by iPhone hacker Charlie Miller. Miller is a well known security researcher, famous for hacking a Macbook within seconds earlier this year at Pwn2Own 2009.

Miller plans to unveil the attack methods during a talk he is holding at tomorrow's Blackhat security conference in Las Vegas. Miller claims he is able to take over the iPhone with a series of malicious SMS messages. "This is serious. The only thing you can do to prevent it is turn off your phone," Miller told Forbes. "Someone could pretty quickly take over every iPhone in the world with this."

The flaw

The flaw exploits an issue with the way the phone handles SMS messages. The attack developed by Miller works by exploiting a missing safeguard in the phones' SMS software that prevents code in the messages' text from overflowing into other parts of the device's memory where it can run as an executable program. Miller and his colleague Collin Mulliner plan to demonstrate how a series of 512 SMS messages can exploit the bug, with only one of those messages actually appearing on the phone, showing a small square. If you receive a text message on your iPhone any time after Thursday afternoon containing only a single square character, Miller advises turning the phone off as soon as possible.

The series of SMS messages will give hackers complete power over any of the smart phone's functions. This includes dialing the phone, visiting Web sites and sending SMS messages.

According to Miller, Apple has been made aware of the issue but no patch has been put in place.

Windows Mobile affected too

Miller also claims he has found a bug in Microsoft's Windows Mobile devices that that allows complete remote control of the device. Miller discovered the bug last Monday and it's currently un-patched by Microsoft. It's not clear whether Miller plans to unveil full details of the Windows Mobile bug tomorrow or limited details until Microsoft has been made aware.

Windows 7 Ultimate cracked and activated with OEM master key

Windows 7 has yet to even be released officially to the general public, and already the dodgy folk on the Internet have fully cracked and activated the Ultimate version, with help from a leaked Lenovo OEM DVD .ISO file.

The news comes from website My Digital Life who state that you can already pass Windows Genuine Advantage validation offline, OEM style.

The leaked .ISO was originally posted on a Chinese forum, which was then downloaded in order for people to get hold of the boot.wim, and in turn retrieving the OEM-SLP key, plus the OEM activation certificate. Microsoft uses the same digitally signed OEM certificate, which has an .xrm-ms extension, as that in Windows Vista. Another point to note is that the key is a master one, which can be used to activate other OEM branded installations, like ones from Dell, HP or indeed Lenovo.

This is quite concerning; as mentioned, Windows 7 has yet to even be released, and it can be fully activated. This demonstrates the risk such a huge company as Microsoft takes when distributing a product as significant as an operating system, but this was essentially inevitable, regardless. It's interesting that a product can be pirated and activated before it's properly released to customers.

Microsoft was not available for comment at the time of writing.

Twitter changes homepage to focus on search

Twitter has updated its' main page to re-focus the social networking and micro-blogging service as a search engine.

The new look homepage is only available to new users and will be shown when you are not logged in to Twitter. Biz Stone, Co-founder of Twitter, said in a company statement, "Twitter has moved from simple social networking into a new kind of communication and a valuable source of timely information." Stone also confirmed that Twitter will be tweaking the homepage in the future, responding to customer feedback.

Over the past 12 months Twitter has gone from a million unique visitors to over 20 million in the US alone. The popular tool has seen some interesting web applications built around it. Stweet allows you to navigate streets in Google Street View and see what someone has said about the street. Microsoft is planning to build Twitter functionality into the Xbox 360, set to be released in the next couple of weeks.

The popular service has not been without problems though. Celebrities suffered from hack attempts on popular accounts earlier this year. Recently, a hacker gained access to personal accounts of those in Twitter support and then leaked personal and Twitter business information.

If you are a Twitter user then don't forget to add @Shaz3e.

Office 2010 CTP and "Click to run" released to more testers

Today, more invitation e-mails were sent out to Microsoft Connect members for the Microsoft Office 2010 Technical Preview - a early look into the latest and greatest version of Microsoft Office. 32-bit and 64-bit versions of all programs are available.

Available for download from the connect site are:
    Microsoft Office Professional 2010
    Microsoft Word 2010
    Microsoft Excel 2010
    Microsoft PowerPoint 2010
    Microsoft OneNote 2010
    Microsoft Outlook 2010
    Microsoft Publisher 2010
    Microsoft Access 2010
    Microsoft Visio 2010
    Microsoft SharePointDesigner 2010
    Microsoft InfoPath 2010
    Microsoft SharePoint Workspace 2010
    Business Contact Manager for Microsoft Outlook 2010
    Microsoft Outlook Connector
    Microsoft Office Language Pack 2010 - English
    Microsoft Office Language Pack 2010 - Japanese
    Business Contact Manager for Microsoft Outlook 2010 Language Pack - Japanese
    Business Contact Manager for Microsoft Outlook 2010 Database Tool

Upgrades are available for the matching architecture - 32-bit Office 2007 can be upgraded to Office 2010, but Office 2007 running on a 64-bit Operating system cannot be upgraded to Office 2010 - you must uninstall Office 2007 first.

Hardware and software requirements are listed as:
    500 MHz processor or higher
    256 megabytes (MB) of RAM or higher
    2 gigabytes (GB). A part of this disk space is free after installation if the original download package is removed from the hard disk.
    CD-ROM drive or DVD drive
    1024 x 768 or higher-resolution monitor

Operating Systems supported are Windows XP with SP3 (32-Bit Only), Windows Vista SP1 (32-bit or 64-bit), Windows Server 2003 R2 with SP2 (32-bit or 64-bit), Windows Server 2008 with SP1 (32-bit or 64-bit) and Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit).

Microsoft has also sent out invites to the "Click-to-run" technical preview, which is a "streaming" version of Office 2010. The program runs once, and streams Microsoft Office "bits" to the users PC. Streaming only needs to happen once, and the programs remain on the computer afterward - the connect site explains:

"The program provides a first look at the future of Internet application deployment. It delivers the products rapidly to the computer via streaming over the Internet. The following Office 2010 desktop applications are included: Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote" - could this be the start of a subscription based model?

Apple tablet computers may be available as soon as September

AppleInsider reports that Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. will be assembling tablet computers for Apple that may appear for sale as early as September.

The report, which was published by the Taipei, Taiwan Apple Daily paper and later carried by Dow Jones, cited unnamed sources in reporting that Wintek Corp. would supply flat panel displays for the device and that its battery would be built by Dynapack International Technology Corp.

According to sources known to AppleInsider, Apple's expected new tablet device which will be equipped with a 10-inch display and integrated 3G wireless service is not anticipated to arrive before early 2010.

That suggests that the report made by the Taipei, Taiwan Apple Daily in regards to Hon Hai may actually reflect the upcoming third generation iPod touch, which could easily be described as a "tablet computer" and is expected to be announced in September when Apple typically announces new revisions the iPod touch.

However, the paper specifically cites the device in its report as having a 10-inch screen along with 3G wireless service and describes it as being an "enlarged iPod", and not just a refresh of the existing iPod touch. The report indicates the model will hit the market in September or October in order to hit the Christmas holiday season, but notes that reports in the "foreign media" are not expecting it to arrive until the first quarter of next year.

Microsoft and Yahoo deal to be announced within 24 hours

BoomTown reporter Kara Swisher is confident from company insiders that the Microsoft and Yahoo deal will be announced within 24 hours.

Swisher cites multiple sources close to the situation, confirming some type of deal has been struck. It is not clear if the actual papers have been inked, sources said negotiations are complete.

Earlier this month Shaz3e reported that a Microsoft and Yahoo deal was imminent. It is expected that under the terms of the agreement, Yahoo! will be paid $3 billion upfront and will get 110% of the revenue that its searches provide after traffic acquisition costs in each of the first two years. In the third year, that figure would go to 90%.

Top executives at Microsoft–including SVP of the Online Audience Business Group Yusuf Mehdi and others flew out to Silicon Valley earlier this month to iron out the final details of the deal. It's expected that Microsoft will pay Yahoo cash upfront to take over its search advertising business.

Microsoft has been in talks with Yahoo for nearly 2 years, during which time Microsoft has evaluated a takeover bid, seen Yahoo reply to it's ultimatums and nearly miss out on a deal when Yahoo attempted to partner with Google. The Yahoo-Google partnership failed due to regulatory concerns.

According to figures from ComScore, in June Google held 65% of the search market in the US, with Yahoo at 19.6% and Microsoft on only 8.4%. Depending on the terms of the deal, this could bring Microsoft up to nearly 30% market share in the US, tripling its current share.

Spyware Doctor Released

We are happy to announce the release of Spyware Doctor version v6.

The new features include:
  • Password Protection – Settings, Immunizer & IntelliGuard Settings can now be protected by a password. When active, users will be required to enter a password to change some or all of the settings of these functions (range of protection determined by the user).
    Important - Please do NOT forget your password. A Password hint is provided to assist in recovering lost passwords. PC Tools cannot recover your Password, nor will any PC Tools employee EVER ask you to reveal your Password.
  • Full Screen Mode – Should the user wish to watch movies, play games or display a full-screen presentation, Spyware Doctor can be set to recognize this mode and silently block threats without interruption. Popups are blocked and the History will record all events processed during this time.
  • Right Click Scan – Users have the ability to right click on a file, folder or drive and perform a scan with Spyware Doctor.
  • New Scan Engine – The new scan engine has been integrated with file detection which will improve detection capabilities, improve scan speed and reduce memory usage.
  • Network driver (TDI) enhancements – The update divides network TDI monitoring into the following components:
    1. TDI generic driver – Receive network events and pass them to plugins that are registered to receive those events
    2. Product specific Network Plugins – Site Guard Plugin will register with TDI to receive and handle Site Guard TDI events. This will allow an easy way to update drivers specific to the plugin without having to update all TDI driver components.
Fixes in Spyware Doctor v6.0.1.447 include:
  • Error where service is starting in '0's' resolved
  • Changes with the evaluation package
  • Minor bug fixes
Where to download Spyware Doctor v6.0.1.447

For Spyware Doctor v6.0.1.447 Standalone, please click here.

Please note: If you have a SDAV license, a Smart Update will download the AV component.

Important: If you have installed SDv6.5.0.460 beta, you will first need to uninstall this version. Otherwise you can reinstall this version over the previous verison.

For Spyware Doctor with AntiVirus v6.0.1.447, please click here.

Operating System: Designed for Windows® Vista™ 64-bit SP1, Vista™ 32-bit, XP and 2000. Windows® 98 users click here.

Email Guard, Site Guard and Behavior Guard are available as optional add-ons to subscribers. You can enable/disable add-ons from 'My Licenses' section in MyAccount. For more detail on available add-ons visit: http://www.pctools.com/spyware-doctor/addons/

Please Note: Site Guard, Email Guard and Behavior Guard addons are not yet available on a 64 bit Operating System.

Link: Homepage
Download: Spyware Doctor

Registration Key:
Name: tano1221 SDFDSF ---
Serial: B4E1-C220-1C5B-F197-9A64-70EE-DD40-A9E2-00D0-CB92
Note: After you did that follow these steps for unlimited license: First run "Run.exe" type in Regedit. then search for HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\PCIools\ThreatFire

See in the list and look for the file "Registration" Just delete it.

VLC Media Player 1.0.1

VLC Media Player is a highly portable multimedia player and multimedia framework capable of reading most audio and video formats (MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264, DivX, MPEG-1, mp3, ogg, and aac just to name a few) as well as DVDs, Audio CDs VCDs, and various streaming protocols.

VideoLAN is free software, and is released under the GNU General Public License. It started as a student project at the French École Centrale Paris but is now a worldwide project with developers from 20 countries.

What's new:
  • flv and mpeg2 seeking,
  • wmv, wav, rtsp and ssa support,
  • fixes for Qt and MacOS interface,
  • fix of an integer underflow in Real pseudo-RTSP module
  • translations updates,
  • port of the ZVBI module to Windows for full teletext support and
  • codecs updates for Windows and Mac OS.

Download: VLC 1.0.1
Screenshots: >> Click here <<
Link: VideoLAN Website

CCleaner 2.22.968

CCleaner is a freeware system optimization, privacy and cleaning tool. It removes unused files from your system, allowing Windows to run faster and freeing up valuable hard disk space. It also cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally it contains a fully featured registry cleaner.

What's new:

  • Redesign of Cleaner results panel.
  • Added support for Opera 10 Beta.
  • Added support for Safari 4.0.
  • Added search to Uninstall tool.
  • Added search to Cookies screen.
  • Improved User assist cleaning in Windows 7.
  • Fixed bug in OpenOffice cleaning.
  • Fixed IE8 SuggestedSites.dat cleaning support.
  • Fixed UI bugs.

Download: CCleaner 2.22.968
Screenshot: >> Click here <<
Link: CCleaner Website

1st AutoRun Express 3.1: create autorun CD fast, now run several docs at once

Let your CD or DVD automatically open your documents or display a menu when your disk is inserted into the user's computer. Create autorun disks in a few clicks, no design or programming required! All you need to do is to specify your documents, web pages and presentations in this easy step-by-step wizard. You can create autorun disks from scratch or add autorun capabilities to the files already prepared for your CD.

You can ensure that your users will read your documents! If your user does not have the necessary software to open your documents, then your autorun disk will let the user know where to download a viewer software or even install this software automatically.

Your menus will automatically adapt its look to user's operating system and font settings. You don't need to manually position your buttons, just drag your documents to the wizard and let it do all the hard work for you!

Once you complete the wizard, you can burn your CD right from the program or test autorun without burning. You can completely customize the launcher program for your CD, assign custom file name, icon and version information (in the Enterprise version).

New version 3.1 allows you to autorun more than one document on CD insertion or on a menu entry click!

You can try this program absolutely free, and if you want it to autorun one or more documents automatically without a menu, then you can use it freely for your personal, non-commercial needs.

Download free version: Download

View: 1st Autorun Express Web site with more information and tutorials!

BurnAware Free 2.3.8

BurnAware Free is a free CD, DVD, Blu-ray Disc burning software. It is ideal for users with basic disc burning needs as backup, creating data, audio, MP3 music, DVD-Video discs and burning disc images. Free, easy to set up, it enables you to save your files to disc quickly and provides clean, flexible interface to help you complete your burning tasks much faster.

What's new:
  • Changes in BurnAware Free:
  • Setup file size reduced to 5 MB.
  • Launch time increased for every compilation.
  • No more false positives from Avast and AVG.
  • Fixed bug with DVD-Video compilations introduced in v2.3.4.
  • Fixed bug with "access violation" message if no recorder connected.

Download: BurnAware Free 2.3.8 | Freeware, 5MB
Screenshot: >> Click here <<
View: www.burnaware.com

How to: Create custom wallpaper collections in Windows 7

Do you love customizing your Windows desktop? If you do, you'll love this trick!

By default, Windows 7 includes several locations to choose pictures and desktop backgrounds from, such as Windows Desktop Backgrounds, Pictures Library, Top Rated Photos, and Solid Colors. In this article, I will walk you through the process of creating your own wallpaper collection through the registry, and how to customize it to your liking. This process will help you categorize and sort your wallpapers efficiently, and allow you to use a mix of categorized wallpapers with Windows 7's new automatic background shuffle without the need to lump everything together.

Disclaimer: The steps in this article involve modifying the Windows registry. Serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, review Microsoft Knowledge Base article 332756 (How to back up and restore the registry in Windows).

Step 1: Organize your wallpapers

The first step is pretty easy. You will need to create a folder hierarchy (figure 1) to place your different wallpapers in (such as %USERPROFILE%\Pictures\Abstract, %USERPROFILE%\Pictures\Nature, etc. - see figure 1), or tag your wallpaper images (figure 2) with categories (like Family Photos, Animals, etc).

(Figure 1 - A folder hierarchy containing various types of background images.)

(Figure 2 - Setting tag categories on images)

Step 2: Creating the registry entries for your wallpaper collection
  1. Click on Start, type "regedit.exe" in the Start Search field, and then press Enter.
  2. Provide consent or the appropriate credentials to User Account Control if prompted.
  3. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Wallpapers\KnownFolders.
  4. Right click on the KnownFolders key, click on New, and then click on Key. Name the new sub-key 1.
  5. In the 1 sub-key, create a new String Value (REG_SZ) and change its name to GROUPBY.
  6. Double click on the GROUPBY string value (REG_SZ) and set its value according to the following guidelines:
    • If your wallpapers are in a single folder and you are using tags to sort your wallpapers, set the value to System.Keywords.
    • If you are sorting your wallpapers using a hierarchy of multiple sub-folders, set the value to System.ItemFolderNameDisplay.
  7. In the 1 sub-key, create a new String Value (REG_SZ) and change its name to NAME.
  8. Double click on the NAME string value (REG_SZ) and change it to whatever you wish, for example "Personal Wallpaper Collection" - this is the name that will be displayed in Windows Explorer.
  9. Right click on the 1 sub-key, click on New, and then click on Key. Rename the sub-key to whatever you wish, such as Personal Wallpaper Collection.
  10. Right click on the sub-key that you just created (e.g. Personal Wallpaper Collection), click on New, and then click on Key. Name the new sub-key MergeFolders.
  11. Create a new String Value (REG_SZ), and change its name to equal the path of your wallpapers directory. For example, C:\\Users\\Kristan Kenney\\Pictures\\Desktop Backgrounds\\Abstract.
  12. Repeat step 11 for each additional folder of wallpapers that you wish to add to the collection.
  13. Close the Registry Editor.
  14. Log off and then log in in order for Windows Explorer to see the new wallpaper collection registry entries.

IMPORTANT: If you are using a folder hierarchy, you must include all of the sub-folders in the MergeFolders sub-key, as shown in figure 3:

(Figure 3 - the Windows Registry Editor, showing a list of sub-folders)

Step 3: Enjoy!
Right click on the Desktop, and then click on Personalize. When the Personalization window appears, click on Desktop Background, and then click on the drop-down next to "Picture Location". Click on your wallpaper collection that you just created, and then choose as many wallpapers as you want (figure 4).

(Figure 4 - A sample wallpaper collection)

But wait, that's not all!
In step 6, we went through the process of assigning a view method to the GROUPBY string value, such as System.Keywords (sort by Tags) or System.ItemFolderNameDisplay (sort by Folder name). There are other view methods available as part of the Windows Shell (Windows Explorer), such as System.RatingText (which will allow you to sort your images by rating). You can find many more to try in the online MSDN Library.

Please note, a lot of the System namespace shell properties are context specific, so there are a few that won't work, or will produce weird results. For example, using System.IsIncomplete or System.FlagStatusText will not do anything useful with your wallpapers.

Critical security patch for IE released, Win 7 RC affected

Microsoft has released an out of band security patch (MS09-034) to fix remote exploits in Internet Explorer.

This security update is rated Critical for the following versions of Internet Explorer:
  • Internet Explorer 5.01, running on supported editions of Microsoft Windows 2000
  • Internet Explorer 6 SP1, running on supported editions of Microsoft Windows 2000 and Windows XP
  • Internet Explorer 7, running on supported edititions of Windows XP and Vista
  • Internet Explorer 8, running on supported editions of Windows XP and Vista
  • Internet Explorer 8, running on Windows 7 Release Candidate (build 7100)

This security update also resolves three privately reported vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer. These vulnerabilities could allow remote code execution if a user views a specially crafted Web page using Internet Explorer. The security update addresses these vulnerabilities by modifying the way that Internet Explorer handles objects in memory and table operations.

The security update impacts ATL components and controls (like ActiveX controls, for example). Microsoft is advising developers who have built controls using vulnerable versions of ATL, to take immediate action to review and identify any vulnerabilities, modify and recompile their affected controls and components using the updated versions of ATL and finally distribute a non-vulnerable version of the controls and components to their customers.

Information for both of these exploits is available at CVE-2009-1918 and CVE-2009-1919.

Internet Explorer 8 for Windows 7 RTM is unaffected by this bulletin as according to a Microsoft spokesperson the IE defense-in-depth mechanism is already built into Windows 7 RTM. Windows 7 Release Candidate (build 7100) is affected and a patch KB972260 will be distributed. Patches for 2000, XP and Vista will be distributed by Windows Update shortly.

Intel halts 34nm SSD shipments due to firmware defects

Tom's Hardware reports that online retailers including Newegg have pulled Intel's latest SSD (Solid State Disk) from their websites just days after being made publicly available. This was due to a defect in the disk's firmware that was discovered in the first batch which shipped last week, according to a blog post written by OEM system builder Puget Systems.

Consumers who have already purchased the new 34nm "Postville" SSDs may face several issues, including data corruption when adding, deleting, or modifying the drive's password in the BIOS. "Initially we were told this might require a complete reworking of the drives, and that those we had gotten in were effectively unusable, but Intel was able to work out a firmware fix for the problem," said Puget's William George. "That won't be available immediately, but should be showing up in about two weeks."

Intel has since halted shipments of the "Postville" SSDs until the problem has been resolved. For those consumers who have already purchased the drive and have no plans to use a BIOS password on the drive, there should be no problems; however Intel is advising that consumers do not alter, delete, or create BIOS passwords until the drive has been flashed with updated firmware to correct the issue.

"It made sense to pause shipments and implement the changes ourselves and via customers versus asking consumers to do so," Intel told Tom's in an email earlier today. "Keep in mind the fix has been identified and validation is undergoing completion this week."

The updated firmware will be available on Intel's website when it is ready.

Microsoft releases game to help improve Bing search results

Microsoft Research have released an online game to help fine-tune search results for Bing.

The game is named "Page Hunt" and the basic idea is to show the player a random web page, and get the player to come up with a query that would bring up this page in the top few results on a search engine. The idea is that human computation games that elicit data from players can be used to improve search.

Page Hunt was developed by Raman Chandrasekar and Chris Quirk of Microsoft Research in partnership with The Chinese University of Hong Kong and Georgia Institute of Technology. According to Microsoft "before we released the game to the web, we conducted a pilot study within our company. During this experiment, 341 people played Page Hunt over a period of ten days, generating over 14,400 labels on 744 web pages in the system. On average every player contributed 42 labels, and every page has about 19 labels."

Page Hunt was unveiled at this week's SIGIR 2009 conference in Boston. If you're interested in helping improve Bing search results then checkout Page Hunt which is hosted at Microsoft's Live Labs site.

European Vista and XP to get browser ballot screen too

Microsoft has confirmed that it will be distributing a ballot screen software update to users, in Europe, of Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Last week Neowin reported that Microsoft has proposed the idea of a ballot screen to the EU. European consumers who buy a new Windows PC with Internet Explorer set as their default browser would be shown a ‘ballot screen' from which they could, if they wished, easily install competing browsers from the Web. If this proposal is ultimately accepted, Microsoft will ship Windows in Europe with the full functionality available in the rest of the world.

Mary Jo Foley noticed that hidden in the fine print of the proposal details, Microsoft confirms this will be available for XP and Vista via a Windows Update.

"Microsoft will distribute a Ballot Screen software update to users within the EEA of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows Client PC Operating Systems, by means of Windows Update as described hereafter: A software update enabling the Ballot Screen to be displayed will be made available to all current and future users of Windows XP and Windows Vista who receive updates from Windows Update. For Windows XP and Windows Vista users the Ballot Screen update will first be made available between 3 and 6 months after the adoption of the Commission's decision."

Microsoft is proposing that the ballot screen includes 10 or fewer of "the most widely-used web browsers that run on Windows with a usage share of equal to or more than 0.5% in the EEA (European Economic Area)." The browser choice will be presented with a display of icons and "basic identifying information" on the Web browsers.

Opera not happy

The decision has once again upset Opera who originally complained to the EU about Microsoft's inclusion of Internet Explorer in Windows. According to TechFlash Opera's chief technology officer, Hakon Wium Lie, suggested that displaying the IE logo could result in a natural bias toward Internet Explorer. "We're not sure about the use of logos," Lie said. "The blue 'e' has become so associated with the Internet in general, due to the bundling with Windows. We think using the blue "e" might not be such a good idea." The European commission has welcomed the changes Microsoft has proposed.

Image credit: Microsoft

Boorkmark & Share

Bookmark Options