The EU executive has charged the company with monopoly abuse for tying the Internet Explorer browser to the Windows operating system installed on most of the world's desktop computers.Windows 7 Will Scream With New SSD Drives - Business Center - PC World
It said it welcomed Microsoft's suggestions but would have to check how they would work and whether they would ensure "genuine consumer choice." It will seek comment from other browser makers and computer manufacturers before deciding on the proposal, which could become legally binding for five years.
Regulators will also examine a new offer by Microsoft to share information with software developers who want to make products compatible with Windows and Windows servers. That aims to settle a lengthy antitrust row that has racked up nearly euro1.7 million ($2.42 million) in EU fines for Microsoft.
On the browser case, Microsoft is suggesting that users of Windows XP, Vista or its latest release Windows 7 could pick a browser from a ballot screen listing five of the most popular browsers in Europe. Existing Windows users would get the ballot screen from a software update.
It said the choice of these five browsers would be reviewed twice a year based on usage data for the previous six months. Microsoft's browser is the most widely used worldwide, but Mozilla Corp.'s Firefox is gaining in popularity.
Mozilla and Google Inc. — which recently released a browser, Chrome — are supporting the case against Microsoft.
Intel is introducing two new X25-M SSD drives that are faster and much cheaper. It might be time to take the leap. Since you’re going to put together a new computer to run Windows 7 anyway, why not include a solid-state disk?iPhone Security: Not Beefy Enough for Businesses? - PC World
Windows 7 disables disk defragmentation, which is unnecessary with a SSD and shortens the device's life expectancy. It also disables Superfetch and ReadyBoost, which were designed to improve performance on traditional drives where random read performance is a serious bottleneck. Perhaps most importantly, it supports Trim, which significantly improves write performance. This article gives a great explanation on why Trim is so important. The drives use Intel’s newest 34nm technology, improve the previous generation’s write performance and reduce read latency by an additional 25 percent. Basically, they smoke the traditional spinning disk hard disk that’s in your current computer.
It’s true that the rotating platter based technology is still miles head of SSDs in terms of GB per dollar, and that’s likely to be true for years to come. Intel’s newest 2.5inch drives will cost $225 for the 80GB version and $450 for the 160GB (previous generation drives currently run close to $375 and $770, respectively). That comes to more than $3 per gigabyte, which is still expensive compared to traditional drives which give you nearly 3GB per dollar for a laptop drive and over 11GB per dollar for a desktop drive.
The iPhone has evolved from a casual smart phone into one with the potential to serve businesses across the globe. Its latest iteration, the iPhone 3GS, comes packaged with an encryption feature supposedly perfect for sensitive information stored on the device.Defamation 2.0 | newmatilda.com
But information has surfaced that the iPhone 3GS can be hacked in two minutes with readily available freeware. Is the business world ready to ditch the tried-and-true Blackberry in favor of Apple's offering?
Jonathan Zdziarski -- iPhone developer and hacker extraordinaire -- showed Wired how easy it is to tear the 3GS apart and expose data. "Apple may be technically correct that [the iPhone 3GS] has an encryption piece in it, but it's entirely useless toward security," Zdziarski said. He added that the iPhone 3GS is about as secure as the iPhone 3G and the first-generation iPhone, the latter two having no encryption features whatsoever.
Zdziarski's demonstration bypassed the encryption process in two minutes. As he extracted data from the phone, the iPhone itself began to decrypt everything being pulled, almost as if it wanted to be stripped bare. Hacking is done easily with available jailbreaking tools such as Red Sn0w and Purple Ra1n. Once that process is completed, hackers can then install the Secure Shell client to yank data and plop it onto a computer's hard drive.
While the majority of bloggers and social media addicts take a responsible approach to the material they post, social media sites are also hosting an ever-expanding population of users publishing defamatory material under the honest belief that they are having a private conversation.The world's most toxic video game consoles - News - PC Authority
In the eyes of the law, they are certainly not.
In legal terms, defamatory material is either libellous — when it is in writing — or slanderous, when it is spoken. To qualify as defamatory, two criteria must be satisfied. Firstly, the material in question must identify the person or persons defamed in a way recognisable to someone other than the defamed party.
Secondly, the material must be published — which means that it is communicated to someone other than the person or persons defamed. Courts rely on what is known as the "natural and ordinary meaning" as the test for whether the publication conveys a defamatory meaning or imputation. Lawyers need only plead that the publication is defamatory because, while harm to a person's reputation might be important to them personally, once the other tests have been satisfied, damage to reputation is simply presumed by the court.
While the laws of defamation haven't changed recently, the ways in which individuals can publish material certainly have. Several recent examples demonstrate the vulnerability of users of social media to the suit of defamation.
In the US, as the UK's Independent has reported, Courtney Love is currently being sued for remarks made on Twitter about a clothing designer. According to the New York Post, a woman's reputation was allegedly damaged when a Facebook group implied she had AIDS, used drugs, and engaged in bestiality. And according to the New Zealand Herald, a Facebook group there maintained a page called "David Bain is guilty", which, given Bain has been acquitted by a jury in the High Court of killing his parents and three siblings, might be something they should reconsider.
Closer to home, the ABC reported that yet another Facebook group published photographs of a man charged with lighting one of the deadly Victorian bushfires and called for him to be burnt at the stake. Also in Victoria, women were harassed and bullied following publication of their names and phone numbers on a site dedicated to, among other things, the disparagement of ex-girlfriends. There is also a site warning women not to date particular men, publishing defamatory allegations about them along with photographs and other identifying remarks.What is clear is that none of these people know anything about what the law means when it decides whether something is defamatory. Also indicative of an ignorance of the legal issues involved in defamation — was a statement by the representative of one bullying site that his being the host of the site did not make him responsible for the material published on it. Others believe that by setting up a site anonymously or hosting it in a country like the US, where the laws related to freedom of expression are more liberal, they will be able to get away with posting defamatory material. These people might be perturbed to read of the case of one Joseph Gutnik, who successfully sued Dow Jones for material uploaded in New Jersey, but viewed on a computer screen in Melbourne. What all users need to understand is that the internet changes nothing. If material can be downloaded anywhere in the world, it can be defamatory according to whatever that legally means in the jurisdiction in which it was downloaded.
The Nintendo Wii, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony Playstation 3 all failed under the Greenpeace environmental report card, in a global effort that aims to publicly name and shame the electronics companies who continue to use hazardous materials in their products.Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 release dates - Ars Technica
Two years ago, the three gaming giants were added to the 'Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics', in an well-meaning attempt to show which corporations were doing the green thing and which definitely weren't.
In 2007, Greenpeace warned the video gaming cartel that they either remove BFRs (Brominated Flame Retardants) and PVC from their products or continue to damage the environment. That was then. Almost two years later, it appears very little 'green action' has happened in the gaming scene.
Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 had hit the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) milestone at build 7600.16385 on July 22nd. Microsoft this week also disclosed the dates for when different groups will be able to get their hands on the final builds of both Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. It seems, however, that there is some confusion for getting access to the RTM build: the dates aren't the same for both operating systems.Paypal announces flexible, ubiquitous developer platform - Ars Technica
Paypal announces flexible, ubiquitous developer platformAsk Google to guarantee privacy for the future of reading - Boing Boing
Paypal has announced a brand new developer API called the Adaptive Payment Platform that will allow for monetary transactions of almost any size to take place nearly everywhere there’s an Internet connection. In addition to allowing for payments outside of the web, the new platform allows for nearly unlimited flexibility in how payments are handled.
CNET, reporting from a PayPal press conference this afternoon noted that the new API will allow developers to place themselves between buyers and sellers (and take a cut of the transaction if they like), split payments into multiple transactions, and choose which side of the transactions—buyer or seller—pays the Paypal transaction fees.
As a part of the announcement, Paypal disclosed that nearly 300 developer partners have been working with the API on a beta basis. A selection of these include Microsoft who have worked to integrate the new APIs into their cloud computing service Azure and Twitpay—a payment network that operates over the microblogging service Twitter. Others include LiveOps, MedPayOline, and Rainfall of Envelopes.
As Google expands its Google Book Search service, adding millions of titles, it will dramatically increase the public's access to books. More and more people will soon be browsing, reading and purchasing books online. But Google may be leaving out the privacy we have come to expect, with systems that monitor the digital books you search, the pages you read, how long you spend on various pages, and even what you write down in the margins.BBC NEWS | Business | Microsoft profits down by a third
To ensure that our privacy remains at least as strong online as it is in the physical world, Google needs to do more. With the ACLU of Northern California and the Samuelson Clinic at UC Berkeley, EFF has written a letter to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, demanding that Google take specific steps to protect your freedom to read privately. We've asked that Google only respond to legitimate warrants when the government comes calling, for example, and we've asked that they not share your private reading data with third parties without your permission, among other things.
Microsoft has reported disappointing results for the April to June quarter, with profits down by almost a third.Palm plays cat-and-mouse with Apple, reenables iTunes sync - Ars Technica
Net profit for the period was $3.1bn (£1.9bn), down by 29% from the same period a year earlier. Revenue came in at $13.1bn, down 17% from a year ago.
The results were worse than analysts had been expecting.
The world's largest software maker said it had been affected by weakness in the global personal computer (PC) and server markets.
Palm passive-aggressively fired back at Apple in its 1.1.0 update to the Pre's webOS Thursday night. Among the handful of changes that came with the point update, the software restores syncing functionality with iTunes after Apple unceremoniously "fixed" the "problem" last week. The move is the latest in this high-profile cat-and-mouse game between Apple and Palm, and Palm seems to be willing to keep poking the fate bear—but to what end?Apple nabs 91% of "premium" computer revenue in June - Ars Technica
webOS 1.1.0 isn't all about iTunes compatibility. Among other things, it contains a number of useful updates to the Pre, including better timezone support in the Clock application, improved syncing with Google when you edit a Google contact, and the addition of emoticons in text, multimedia, and instant messages. The software also gained some enterprise features in the form of Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) support that allows for remote wipe, PIN/passwords, inactivity timeouts, and improved certificate handling.
If you need any more reasons why Apple isn't jumping into the cheap netbook fray, a look at some analysis form NPD on recent computer sales should make Apple's point of view crystal clear. For the month of June, slightly more than 9 out of every 10 dollars spent on a computer over $1,000 went to Apple. That's a significant increase from the share of revenue Apple had of the higher-end PC market last year, which was already an impressive 66 percent.Microsoft, Apple, others sued over touchpad patent - Ars Technica
While netbooks get a lot of attention and have rocketed Acer up the ranks of top PC manufactures by units, the inexpensive mini laptops have lowered the Average Selling Prices of Windows-based PCs. Based on NPD's data, the ASP of a Windows laptop was $520—$569 if netbooks are excluded. The ASP of a Mac laptop is $1,400. Similar trends hold for desktops as well—the ASP of a Windows-based desktop PC in June was $489, while the ASP for a Mac was $1,398.
Though Apple only holds about 8 to 9 percent of the US market share by units, its strategy of focusing on quality over quantity is paying off. The company reported increased sales of Macs in the past quarter, and is enjoying healthy profits on sales of over $8 billion for the quarter. COO Tim Cook summed up Apple's attitude during this week's earning call, saying, "Our goal is not to build the most computers; it's to build the best. And we will—whatever price point that we can build the best at, we will play there."
Apple, Microsoft, and 18 other companies are being sued for patent infringement by Texas-based Tsera which claims to have invented the touchpad. The lawsuit, filed last week in the US District Court Eastern Texas Division, claims the company owns "all right, title, and interest in" patent 6,639,584, which was filed in 1999 and granted in 2003.In the suit, Tsera singles out Apple by claiming that the company knew of the existence of the patent back in 2004 but ignored it. The fact that Tsera is aiming its guns primarily at Apple, which has undoubtedly made the most money off of portable touchpad devices, and that this suit was filed in Texas, where courts are unusually friendly to plaintiffs in patent infringement cases, suggests that this is a classic patent lawsuit. Now add that Tsera isn't even mentioned in the patent because it was granted to inventor Chuang Li of Saratoga, California, and that it is seeking triple damages from Apple, as well as royalties from all further use of touchpad technology by the defendants. It would surprise us if Tsera wasn't a patent troll.BBC NEWS | Technology | Wireless power system shown off
A system that can deliver power to devices without the need for wires has been shown off at a hi-tech conference.Forrester: Vista and Mac OS gaining in the enterprise - Ars Technica
The technique exploits simple physics and can be used to charge a range of electronic devices over many metres.
Eric Giler, chief executive of US firm Witricity, showed mobile phones and televisions charging wirelessly at the TED Global conference in Oxford.
He said the system could replace the miles of expensive power cables and billions of disposable batteries.
"There is something like 40 billion disposable batteries built every year for power that, generally speaking, is used within a few inches or feet of where there is very inexpensive power," he said.
Trillions of dollars, he said, had also been invested building an infrastructure of wires "to get power from where it is created to where it is used."
Electric car charger (AFP/Getty)
Witricity claims to be able to charge gadgets large and small
"We love this stuff [electricity] so much," he said.
Mr Giler showed off a Google G1 phone and an Apple iPhone that could be charged using the system.
Windows Vista is now installed on almost one out of eight corporate desktops. Mac OS X has also made recent gains, though Windows' share of corporate desktops remained dominant. Windows had 96.2 percent of the enterprise market, with much of that still accounted for by Windows XP. Nevertheless, the numbers are starting to move.In the Future, the Cost of Education will be Zero
Forrester had the following summary of the good news for Microsoft and Apple:
With Windows 7 generally available on October 22, 2009, most IT operations professionals are in a holding pattern. They successfully standardized on Windows XP, couldn't justify an upgrade to Windows Vista in tough economic times — or simply didn't even attempt to given the political hot button that Windows Vista has become — and plan to start their enterprise-wide Windows 7 deployments in the late 2010/early 2011 time frame in line with the start of the next anticipated major corporate PC refresh cycle. Forrester's analysis of more than 85,000 enterprise clients [at 2,600 companies] found that Windows XP, while still king, is finally beginning its long-anticipated decline in the corporate PC market. Picking up ground are both Windows Vista, which now powers approximately 12 percent of Windows PCs, and Mac OS X, which has ramped up to an impressive 3.6 percent.
One vision for the school of the future comes from the United Nations. Founded this year by the UN’s Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technology and Development (GAID), the University of the People is a not-for-profit institution that aims to offer higher education opportunities to people who generally couldn’t afford it by leveraging social media technologies and ideas.HOW TO: Use the Web for Socially Responsible Shopping
The school is a one hundred percent online institution, and utilizes open source courseware and peer-to-peer learning to deliver information to students without charging tuition. There are some costs, however. Students must pay an application fee (though the idea is to accept everyone who applies that has a high school diploma and speaks English), and when they’re ready, students must pay to take tests, which they are required to pass in order to continue their education. All fees are set on a sliding scale based on the student’s country of origin, and never exceed $100.
The idea of “ethical consumerism” or “conscious consuming” is a social movement based around the idea that people should be cognizant of the impact their purchases have on the environment and the health and well-being of the people involved in making those products. It’s very hard to be an ethical consumer if you aren’t armed with information about the products you buy, however. Who makes those products? Where did they come from? What sort of social or environmental impact does the company have?Rudd announces Tasmania NBN links - Telco/ISP - Technology - News - iTnews.com.au
These are questions that can be answered by utilizing the nine resources listed in this post. The sites below offer information for the conscious consumer about the companies and products we buy every day. If you know of any other places to turn for ethically savvy shopping information, please leave links in the comments.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced the first three regional towns that will be connected as part of the Federal Government's $43 billion National Broadband Network (NBN).Pirate Party's copyright reform cannon could sink copyleft - Ars Technica
Smithton, in Tasmania's northwest, Midway Point, a coastal haven northeast of Hobart, and Scottsdale, an inland town northeast of Launceston, will be the first towns connected under the Tasmanian NBN plan.
All three towns in Tasmania lie outside of the state's major cities, but with a combined population of 5000 fall within the intended coverage area for the fibre component of the NBN, which - when completed - will cover 90 percent of Australia's population.
Both Smithton and Scottsdale are based in marginal Federal seats (Braddon and Bass).
Free Software Foundation (FSF) founder Richard Stallman published a statement last week expressing concern about the Swedish Pirate Party's copyright reform platform. The party's ambitious goals for copyright term reduction would blast holes in copyleft licensing, a serious blow to Stallman's Free Software movement.Pirate Bay's anonymity service enters beta testing - Telco/ISP - Technology - News - iTnews.com.au
The GNU General Public License (GPL), a widely-used open source software license that was originally written by Stallman, exploits fundamental characteristics of copyright law in order to guarantee that the freedoms granted by the license are extended to derivative works. The underlying legal principles that facilitate copyleft cannot function without conventional copyright.
Open source software licenses grant recipients the freedom to study, modify, run, and redistribute software. Copyleft licenses are a category of open source software licenses that require linked code to be distributed under the same terms, meaning that copyleft code generally can't be used in proprietary software. This distinguishes copyleft licenses from more permissive open source software licenses such as the BSD license.
Copyleft is an important part of Stallman's vision because it compels companies that use copyleft code to open their own source code when they might not have otherwise been willing to do so voluntarily. As a license that governs the distribution of code, the GPL is enforced through copyright law. When a company fails to comply with the obligations stipulated by the license, they can be taken to court for copyright infringement.
Virtual Private Network (VPN) service IPREDator has opened its doors to beta testers this week.Aussie net filtering trial deemed a success despite problems - Ars Technica
Operated by the developers of popular file sharing site The Pirate Bay, the service allows subscribers to access the Internet anonymously.
Web surfers typically connect to the Internet via an Internet Service Provider (ISP), which assigns each user a unique, identifying IP address.
The IP address is appended onto any network traffic to and from a user's computer. Online transactions including banking, e-mail and search engine queries may thus be traceable.
With the principle that "the network is under our control, not theirs", IPREDator grants online anonymity by substituting a user's IP address with a new address.
Besides providing anonymity, the new address also allows users to bypass ISP-defined limitations, which could include Senator Conroy's proposed ISP-level Internet filter.
Other services such as Torrent Freedom, Perfect Privacy and Witopia also offer personal VPNs for users who require privacy, want to access overseas content, or who need access to information within censored areas such as China's "Great Firewall".
Although not without controversy, the initial testing of the Australian government's Internet filtering system has gone off with few problems according to reports from some of the participating ISPs. Five of the nine ISPs testing the government's filtering system reported few problems during testing, even though only 15 customers participated at one and a couple of customers at another were unable to access a completely legal porn site. The other four IPs have either yet to comment on the filter's performance or have refused to talk publicly about the results.
AT&T's 4chan Block Raises Issue of Net Neutrality - PC World
It appears some of AT&T's broadband customers across the United States were intentionally blocked from accessing the infamous forum 4chan over the weekend. The message board's founder Christopher "Moot" Poole posted a notice on the 4chan Status blog yesterday claiming AT&T was "filtering/blocking img.4chan.org (/b/ & /r9k/) for many of [its] customers." Poole encouraged 4chan users to contact AT&T to complain. The 4chan black out lasted for about 12 hours and was reportedly over by 11 p.m. Pacific Time.
Censorship or Network Management?
It's unclear why AT&T would block 4chan, or even if it was a deliberate action, but assuming the Internet service provider was blocking the site, it's not hard to understand why. In addition to being credited with many Internet memes including the RickRoll and LOLcats, other more dubious actions have been associated with the Website including the recent Operation Sh**ter that manipulated Twitter's trending topics; the YouTube porn prank; the Time 100 poll "hack" and the harassment of the Church of Scientology by the group called Anonymous.
AT&T and 4chan Fuss Gets Ugly, Then Despicable - PC World
On Sunday AT&T blocked access to portions of 4chan.org, an image-board Web site that allows users to post uncensored images and content anonymously. Soon after the blockade was detected by 4chan.org its founder Christopher "Moot" Poole posted a statement to the 4chan site complaining about AT&T's actions and urged 4chan users to "call or write (AT&T) customer support and (AT&T) corporate immediately" to complain about the blocking.Interestingly enough, and raising serious Net neutrality issues, is the fact that Poole claimed on his site's status blog AT&T never contacted him regarding the blockade. To some 4chan users and Net neutrality advocates the blockade had the appearance that AT&T may be blocking 4chan because of content posted on the site, and not for security issues. That is claim AT&T loudly disputes.Late on Sunday, sometime midway through the ban, a report surfaced on both CNN iReport and Digg claiming that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson was dead, this turned out to be a prank. Poole has posted an update to the saga on his 4chan site's blog. He is toning down his rhetoric explaining the AT&T and 4chan blockade was all a big mix up. He explains that in 4chan's effort to thwart a DDoS attack against 4chan (not AT&T) it unintentionally created the appearance to to AT&T network administrators that it was the source of a DDoS attack. Now Poole says he doesn't blame AT&T for blocking access to 4chan stating in the blog entry: "In the end, this wasn't a sinister act of censorship, but rather a bit of a mistake and a poorly executed, disproportionate response on AT&T's part.Twitter Not Outlawed In The White House. And More Tweets Are Coming.
The Internet got in a bit of a tizzy this weekend when it was reported that Twitter was banned from being accessed from inside the White House. What is this, Iran, some wondered? But have no fear, despite what White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told C-SPAN, Twitter is apparently not entirely blocked and they’re working to open it up more, Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton told Mediaite today.Apple's Digital Album Plan Sounds Familiar - PC World
Here’s where the confusion apparently comes from. Access to Twitter’s website is blocked on most White House computers, but that’s only for security and recordkeeping reasons for the time-being. Apparently, the White House is working with the White House counsel and the Office of Administration CIO “to review and relax these restrictions,” Burton says. And, more importantly, it is apparently not official policy of the White House that staffers are not allowed to tweet, and some do so from their own web-connected devices.
And there are computers that can post to Twitter in the White House right now via HootSuite, which you see from time to time as the source of official White House tweets. But most of the official White House account tweets are done by the new media team (consisting of Director of New Media Macon Phillips and Online Programs Director Jesse Lee), from the new media offices are in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building (which is next door to the White House). President Obama’s account is apparently handled by the DNC.
Apple is working on a new plan to save the album, according to a report taking the Web by storm this week. The story, published Monday by the Financial Times, describes a deal involving Apple and four major record labels. It cites "people familiar with the situation" as having provided the information.Apple Is Growing Rotten To The Core: Official Google Voice App Blocked From App Store
Apple and Digital Album Sales
Apple's motivation for such a program would be obvious: Record companies stand to make far more money from full album sales than from single track purchases. Right now, in the era of 99-cent song purchases, people tend to snatch up individual tracks instead of complete collections.
Still, despite the excitement the rumor's stirring up in the tech world, the idea -- said to be codenamed "Cocktail" -- may not be as innovative as it sounds. Early last year, for example, Sony BMG debuted a program called Platinum MusicPass. The program offers "complete album and bonus materials" with a full album purchase, packaging in digital booklets, videos, remixes, live tracks, and documentaries.
Compare that to the new "Cocktail" system, which is said to include interactive booklets, liner notes, photos, lyric sheets, and video clips. Aside from the fact that Apple's edition would presumably focus on Internet-based sales -- the MusicPass cards themselves are sold through physical retail stores -- the concepts sound eerily similar.
Earlier today we learned that Apple had begun to pull all Google Voice-enabled applications from the App Store, citing the fact that they “duplicate features that come with the iPhone”. Now comes even worse news: we’ve learned that Apple has blocked Google’s official Google Voice application itself from the App Store. In other words, Google Voice — one of the best things to happen to telephony services in a very long time — will have no presence at all on the App Store. If there’s ever been a time to be furious with Apple, now is it.
A Google Spokesperson has told us the following:
We work hard to bring Google applications to a number of mobile platforms, including the iPhone. Apple did not approve the Google Voice application we submitted six weeks ago to the Apple App Store. We will continue to work to bring our services to iPhone users — for example, by taking advantage of advances in mobile browsers.
Of course, it’s not hard to guess who’s behind the restriction: our old friend AT&T. Google Voice scares the carriers. It allows users to send free SMS messages and get cheap long-distance over Google Voice’s lines. It also makes it trivial to switch to a new phone service, because everyone calls the Google Voice number anyway.