Saturday, July 25, 2009

No More IE On Windows 7 ?

It would seem that Microsoft has conceded to the requests of European regulators after facing antitrust accusations. On January 15, the European Commission charged the software giant with seeking to hinder rivals by coupling Internet Explorer with its Windows operating system. With Microsoft’s OS being used on a vast majority of the world’s PCs, the company was accused of harming innovation and limiting consumer choice.

Redmond considered stripping IE from the European version of their latest operating system, Windows 7, but has since scratched that plan. Instead, the company has proposed a consumer “ballot screen” on the system’s first boot up, permitting users to choose between several third party browsers. Windows 7 will still ship with IE, but users will have the option to disable it. PC makers will also be permitted to pre-load any desired browser onto their systems.

I’m not entirely sure how Microsoft can even be pinned for abusing their market dominance by excluding competitor’s software from their own operating system. In my mind, it’s equivalent to a local diner forcing McDonalds to carry the diner’s homemade fries. Where is the line drawn?


Another Hole IN Microsoft Internet Explorer ( IE 8 Include) Fixed

In a rare move, Microsoft on Friday said it would be releasing security updates on Tuesday--outside of its monthly patch cycle--for a critical vulnerability in Internet Explorer and a moderate vulnerability in Visual Studio.

The two security bulletins will address one overall issue and are being released separately "to provide the broadest protections possible to customers," Microsoft said in a statement.

The vulnerabilities affect Windows 2000, Windows XP, Vista, Windows Server 2003 and 2008, Internet Explorer 6, 7 and 8, Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003, Visual Studio 2005 and 2008 and Visual C++ 2005 and 2008, according to the security bulletin advance notification.

"While we can't go into specifics about the issue prior to release, we can say that the Visual Studio bulletin will address an issue that can affect certain types of applications," the statement said. "The Internet Explorer bulletin will provide defense-in-depth changes to Internet Explorer to help provide additional protections for the issues addressed by the Visual Studio bulletin."

"The Internet Explorer update will also address vulnerabilities rated as critical that are unrelated to the Visual Studio bulletin that were privately and responsibly reported," Microsoft said.

Customers who are current with their security updates are protected from known attacks related to the updates, the company said. The updates will be released through the Microsoft Update, Windows Update, and Windows Server Update services.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Google Chrome Introduce New OS 2010

After nine month release their Chrome Browser, Google claim that over 30 Million people downloded arround the world.

and now google intend to made their own operating system they call "Google Chrome operating System", it's open source ; lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010 and we'll soon be working with the open source community.

according to Google Official Blog, this google OS design to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out, and most of the user experience takes place on the web.

Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and we are working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year. The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.

Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android. Android was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of devices from phones to set-top boxes to netbooks. Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems. While there are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, we believe choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google.


Auto Unsubscribe On Gmail

It’s not uncommon for Internet users to sign up for an email newsletter or mailing list only to decide later they want to opt out. Even though these messages may not all fall into spam territory, generally it’s easier to just mark them as such hoping they stop showing up on your inbox, rather than going back to the source and actually following the unsubscribe process.

Google has found this to be a very common behavior and thus is introducing a new auto-unsubscribe feature to Gmail to try and streamline the process. Now, when you report a newsletter as spam, you will see the notification box above asking if you want to automatically unsubscribe as well. The feature may not work for all mailing lists, according to Google, and it can take several days for the request to be processed. Still, it seems like a really useful feature to have.

Additionally, the search giant says Gmail won't display the unsubscribe option for lists that are known to be spammers so that you don't get more spam from them by inadvertently verifying that your address is legitimate.


CodeName Morro

Microsoft is set to release the beta version of the successor to its anti-virus & malware program Windows Live OneCare, named Microsoft Security Essentials, on Tuesday, June 23rd in a limited release. Code named Morro, it includes a new interface, some new features, and a price tag of free. Microsoft says it expects to release the final version by the end of 2009 and it hopes that everyone will make use of it to provide basic worldwide protection from viruses and malware.

Codename Morro has been in development since November 2008 and Microsoft will be officially calling it Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) from here-on-out. It will be totally free to all genuine (and yes, the installer checks) Windows XP/Vista/7 users in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, but only 32-bit for Win XP. There have been many rumors surrounding Morro and this review will hopefully clear some of them up. For example, it has been said on other tech-related sites that Morro will be a "cloud computing anti-virus" solution, but this is surely not the case as this idea doesn't really make any sense. Secondly, MSE is mostly just OneCare's framework without any of the added extras, like managing firewalls, networked computers, and file backup capabilities. However, MSE is very light-weight and is speedy and works effectively without being in your face and keeps your computer virus-free at the same time.

Microsoft has said that their goal with MSE is to make a global and broad solution for providing basic protection against viruses and malware without any cost to the user. Many users are familiar with those "trial" antivirus suites that comes with new computers and once they expire, an enormous amount of users don't renew or purchase a full version of any anti-virus software. Other reasons for this free software is the fact that those "big-name" security suites from companies like McAfee or Symantec are simply too bloated with features that confuses average computer users and can be extremely pricey. This is also geared towards emerging markets where users don't want to pay for security software for their PCs. MSE is a way to reach a very broad audience and make basic protection available without any hoops or caveats.

To install MSE, you just have to download the installer file, which is only around 4MB and install it onto your PC. Before you do so, you'll want to uninstall any anti-virus related security software from your PC because having more than one usually causes conflicts. Also, when you install MSE, it will connect to Microsoft's Genuine Validation system, which checks your installation of Windows to make sure it is valid. The install process took only about a minute on our test machine running the Windows 7 Release Candidate. Once it's done, it will run a quick scan of your system if you choose to not skip it and once it starts this, you can minimize the window and forget about it.

he installation wizard is very easy and straightforward to install and once you do, it will prompt you to do a quick scan of your system.

The application interface itself is very simple to use and understand. There are four tabs across the top labeled Home, Update, History, and Settings. If you're familiar in any way with Windows Defender, the anti-malware program that comes with Windows, you'll be familiar with MSE's interface. It also installs a tray icon that lives in your Windows task bar and is hidden in Windows 7 by default. MSE also integrates nicely into the Windows shell by allowing the scanning of a file or folder by right-clicking it and choosing "Scan with Microsoft Security Essentials."

MSE's interface is very easy to use without overbearing the user with a multitude of complicated settings and bloat.

Along the top of the MSE window you'll either see a red bar, meaning there's an issue that needs your attention, a yellow bar indicating there is a potential issue, or a green bar that means you're fully protected. A "yellow warning" typically is something minor like your anti-virus definitions are out of date and a "red warning" is when something has gone wrong and requires immediate attention.

The various tabs in the interface include the following features and options:

Home: This is the default screen where you can start a scan, see the status or change the settings of your scheduled scan, the status of your real-time protection and definition updates.

Update: Here is where you can see detailed information about your current anti-virus and spyware definition files, including their creation date and version numbers. You can also press "update" to manually update your definitions. We should also say that MSE will automatically check for new definitions periodically on its own and install them silently.

You can manually download updates of MSE's detection definitions as well.

History: We believe a better title for this tab could have been "Scan History" or "Detected Items" because "History" seems a little misleading. What it does is show you all of the detected items that MSE has found on your computer from previous scans. You can choose to view all questioned items, quarantined items, and allowed items that the user has allows to be run on the system. When a potentially threatening file is shown here, MSE will show the "alert level" of the file, date detected, and what you choose to do as a user (such as delete it, quarantine it, skip it, etc.).

Settings: This tab allows you to control many aspects of MSE and how it runs on your system. You can alter the settings for scheduled scanning, which sets up a time to run a scan of your system automatically. The default actions setting lets you choose what to do when a possible dangerous file with a specific MSE assigned threat level is located on your system. For example, for a "medium alert level", you can leave the recommended action selected or choose quarantine, remove, or allow.

The settings windows in MSE allow you to customize every aspect of how the software runs and detects threats on your PC.

You can also adjust the real-time protection settings here too. MSE has this turned on by default and also has settings to monitor file and program behavior (typically called heuristics scanning) and to scan all downloaded files & attachments. Both of these settings are also turned on by default.

There's also settings for setting excluded files and folder locations, specific file types, and even processes as well. The advanced tab lets you choose to scan archived files (.zip, .cab, etc.), removable drives (USB flash drives, etc.), and creating system restore points before dealing with potential threats.

The last option in the list is Microsoft SpyNet, which according to MSE "is the online community that helps you choose how to respond to potential threats. The community also helps stop the spread of new malicious software infections." The two options are either basic or advanced membership. With basic membership, MSE will send basic information back to Microsoft to help in the development of future anti-virus/spyware definitions. They also explicitly state that some personal information might be unintentionally sent, but it will not be used to identify or contact the user. Advanced membership sends more specific information about detected threats, like file names and locations on the computer. It also sends how the infected file operates and behaves and how it impacted the performance and operation of the computer. The same privacy warning is also stated for this option.

My impressions of MSE are quite good as I have experienced no stability or compatibility issues with it. The program itself is extremely light-weight and no performance hit has been observed during its use. Even while it scans the computer is still more than usable. The program runs completely silent as well without popping up any annoying windows about things that I don't need to know about like some other security programs (and OneCare) do. I believe that anyone that is running a genuine copy of Windows, especially Vista or 7, should get this when Microsoft releases it. MSE is a very good anti-virus/spyware solution that works effortlessly and won't cost you a dime...ever. Keep in mind too that the coming release is the beta version, so there may be small glitches and bugs yet, but I have yet to encounter any. However, install at your own risk should go without saying.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Take A Look At Microsoft Office 2010 (Page 2)

Word 2010 also includes a new paste feature in the right-click context menu. When you have text copied to the clipboard and you right-click anywhere in your document, a new paste selection area appears in the menu with three icons for pasting options. You can either paste with formatting, merge formatting, or paste text only without formatting. Word always gave you the ability to keep or remove formatting when pasting, but it was also via a tooltip menu that appeared when you hovered over something you pasted in the past. This way you get instant and up-front pasting options.

The new Protected View gives users a chance to make sure the Word document they downloaded really is safe to open.

The pasting options that appear in the right-click context menu

On start up, there are new animated splash screens for each application. The start up times are also remarkably faster than previous versions of the Office suite. Opening Word or Excel can be done in around 2 seconds and Outlook in 4-5 seconds, which is extremely fast. (Full disclosure: We tested the CTP on Windows 7 Release Candidate because that’s what Office 2010 has been primarily designed to be run on.) Outlook’s reliability and speed has been significantly improved, which has been a common issue with Outlook. They’ve made searching and navigating within Outlook exceptionally fast and noticeably better over Office 2007. As mentioned earlier, Outlook now uses the ribbon interface instead of the traditional drop-down menus, but we like the ribbon integration because it has been done in a mostly well thought-out manner and looks natural. One thing we did not like about the ribbon's design is the placement of the send/receive button, which is on the second tab and not the first tab, which effectively hides it from the default view. Outlook does automatically send/receive on start up, but any subsequent times you must click the second tab and then click send/receive.

The new splash screens in Office 210 are animated and feature minimize/close and cancel buttons, but since each program loads so fast, they don't really serve a purpose.

Outlook is probably the most changed application to the Office 2010 suite with the addition of many new features. When used with Windows 7, you can right-click the program’s icon in the task bar and a list of common tasks appear, such as Creating a New E-mail. Also, you can drag a file from a Windows 7 application’s Jump List to the Outlook window and a new e-mail message will appear with that file attached to it. Syncing with Windows Mobile 6.1 phones has also been included to allow you to sync text messages to your e-mail inbox and reply to them right from Outlook on your computer. Voicemails can also be converted to text from voice and sent as an e-mail. Another really useful feature in Outlook 2010 is its ability to combine and thread e-mail messages from the same e-mail address together. This threading is shown by a "(#)" designation (with '#' being the number of e-mails) in the right of the e-mail in your message list. When you click on it, the hidden e-mails will unthread and display indented under the main e-mail. When you click off any of these e-mails, they disappear again. This feature is a nice way to keep related e-mails from the same person together without having to search around to find all of them.

Outlook 2010 has been completely ribbonized.

A closer view of the Outlook 2010 ribbon menu. Note Send/Receive functionality (and the button itself) is located on the second tab on the ribbon

Outlook 2010 also now as the Office application tab shown to the left of the ribbon tabs and when clicked, it transforms the window into almost exactly what it does in Word 2010. The default view in this new window is the account settings area, which lets you modify your e-mail account's settings, such as POP3 servers, etc. There are other menus as well, such as the Print menu, which shows you printer settings and a print preview of the e-mail you have selected in Outlook at the current moment.

he account information menu lets you change your e-mail account's settings as well as perform a few additional tasks.

Outlook also has a new feature called Quick Steps, which lets you define common tasks that you perform on a regular basis and wish to have them done with one click. To do so, you can setup a new quick step with all of the steps and actions that you need taken. For example, you could setup a quick step to move all e-mails from to your Accounting folder with just one click. You can also assign keyboard shortcuts to each quick step as well. Once created, the Quick Step appears in its own section of the ribbon on the first tab, which means they are always displayed by default. One could think of these as a sort of macro, but without all of the security flaws and issues.

Outlook's quick steps let you setup a way to perform common tasks with just one click. In this quick step, I setup a way to make a new message to with the message flag of Today and an importance of High.

There are a few other tweaks to some of the other Office 2010 programs. Excel has gotten some new Web 2.0-looking chart graphics and layouts. They look really slick and are just another way to jazz up a boring office memo. However, mostly each program has stayed the same, especially Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, but Outlook definitely got most of the changes. There has also been some talk from the Office development team that Office 2010 will include Twitter, Facebook, and other social networks integrated right into Word. These features weren't in the leaked CTP build, but we expect them down the line.

There's a nifty send a smile/frown feature that comes with the CTP, which lets you send feedback to the Office development team when you encounter something either positive or negative. It puts two face icons into your notification tray that you can click either the smile face or sad face and a window will appear which takes a screenshot (if you want) and you can type out a description of your experience. If you do get the CTP, you'll definitely want to use this notification feature because with this Office CTP release, we have encountered a few minor bugs, mostly with things not where they say they are (such as help topics) and error dialogs result. But since this is only a technical preview, we can't be too harsh, but we can hope all of these issues will be resolved by the rumored very late 2009 or January 2010 release of Office 2010.

With the retail release of Office 2010, Microsoft will also be debuting its new Office Web, which are online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. At the time of this CTP leak, none of Office Web features are available.

It should also be noted that if you have a previous Microsoft Office suite installed on your PC, such as Office 2007, you can keep them installed alongside Office 2010 (with the exception of Outlook, which it will uninstall for you). If you elect to install Outlook 2010 and you currently use an older version of Outlook, it will move all of your e-mails, contacts, and calendar items to the new version...but export your data to a .PST anyway just to be safe.

If you would like to sign up for the Office 2010 Consumer Technical Preview wait-list, you can visit Microsoft's Web site to sign up. They say that not everyone on the list will be invited to the CTP preview, but it doesn't hurt to sign up now.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Take A Look At Microsoft Office 2010 (Page 1)

Microsoft recently announced the consumer technical preview (CTP) of Microsoft Office 2010, which was shown to attendees of Microsoft’s TechNet conference. We were able to get our hands on the CTP before its scheduled release date (July 2009) and check it out. They have changed around a few things, especially when it comes to the “ribbon” menu and a few other features.

Word 2010's interface with the more subtle gray ribbon that fits in well with Windows 7's interface

Perhaps the largest change to Office 2010 is the availability of both a 32- and 64-bit version of the suite. The leaked CTP’s SKU is Office 2010 Professional, which comes with the basic apps (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher) and other more advanced apps (Access, SharePoint, Visio, Groove). Microsoft has also expanded the use of the ribbon menu to all of the Office 2010 applications. The ribbon menu was introduced in Office 2007 and was both praised and resented for various reasons. However, with Office 2010, the ribbon is here to stay for sure. They have also altered the look of the ribbon to a more subtle, flat gray look, which blends in nicely with Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 7 operating system. You can now hide the bulk of the ribbon menu by clicking a small arrow button on the right side of it, which is useful for users with a smaller screen space due to the use of a small screen resolution. Each Office application’s menu button, which was formerly round, has been replaced with a colored tab that appears first on the ribbon. The tab’s color depends on the Office program (ie: blue for Office, green for Excel, and yellow for Outlook). When clicked, the whole interface transforms into a new menu-window. Along the left side of the window there is a column of options that are specific to the program that’s open. For example, Word’s options include Save/Open/Close, Print, and Share. The default menu that is open is the "recent" menu, which shows all of the documents that have been opened recently. The more complicated tasks, such as Print and Share, expand further right on the window when clicked or hovered over. For example, the Print feature no longer appears in a new window, but rather a new column where all the various print features can be adjusted. Microsoft has removed one of my favorite features of Office 2007, the Quick Print button, which used the default print settings and sent the document to the printer in only one click. The New menu shows a large variety of document types that you can create in Word and gives you a preview of the type of document in the right part of the screen.

A closer view of Word 2010's ribbon and the new Office tab menu, which houses all the functionality of the circular Office button in Office 2007

The default menu that is open in the Office tab is the "Recent" menu, which shows recently opened documents.

When clicking on the "New" menu, you can select from many different types of documents.

The new Print menu in the Office app tab allows you to modify all the print settings all in the same window as your document. There's also a print preview that appears on the right side of the screen.

The Share menu in the Office app tab gives you an enormous variety of options to share a document. It allows easily export to an e-mail message, a PDF version, a XPS document, an Internet fax, and an online blog entry.

Microsoft has added a few security features to Office 2010. The one that users will mostly often come across is when they open a downloaded document in Word 2010. When you do so for the first time, the ribbon is hidden and all editing is also disabled. A red Protected View notification appears letting you know the file was downloaded from the Internet and may not be safe to open. You can then click on "enable editing" and Word will return to normal.



New Firefox 3.7 Theme release

It's only been a few weeks since Firefox 3.5 went live, and Mozilla has already released a mockup of Firefox 3.7’s theme. They have posted several screenshots of a potential user interface for the future build. The theme is displayed on Windows Vista and Window 7 (with and without Aero), as well as XP.

While it's still in the workshop, the images provide a glimpse of some changes you might see in the coming versions of Firefox. In addition to embracing glass on Windows Vista and 7, the future layout may include a tools button on the right side of your search bar, and a page button on the left of your tabs.

Mozilla hopes to introduce a more significant series of changes with Firefox version 4.0. Among the current ideas is one which would combine and move the reload, stop and go buttons, the addition of a tab sidebar, moving tabs above the main toolbar and quite a few other UI tweaks.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Portable Application Suite, Real Cool Portable Start Menu

For years, USB Flash Drives have provided a convenient way of transferring files from one computer to another or carrying around data you need to access while on the go. Now, with 16GB sticks selling for $40 or even less, they have reached a point where you can do far more with them. The PortableApps Suite is a compilation of free and open source software for Windows preconfigured to work from your USB drive, and integrated with a sleek customizable menu.

There are numerous advantages to carrying your applications around on a thumb drive; for one, it’s a great way to get things done when you’re at a computer that’s not your own without storing any information on the host system. It also lets you take your bespoke settings anywhere, including active bookmarks in Firefox and multiple IM accounts in Pidgin.

In all, you’ll get a web browser, email client, office suite, calendar/scheduler, instant messaging client, antivirus, audio player, Sudoku game, password manager, PDF reader, minesweeper clone and backup utility. Just pop your PortableApp-loaded drive onto a free USB port and you are ready to go.

The suite comes in two flavors; a 355MB Standard version and 150MB Light edition which replaces OpenOffice for AbiWord to save disk space – or if you only need a simple word processor. There’s also a stripped-down version which lets you add only the applications you choose. All versions come with the integrated apps menu and backup utility, along with a set of custom icons, auto play configuration, folders, and a quick start shortcut.


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