Our own Will Smith uses Twitter to announce new articles and content on Maximum PC, my wife and I use Twitter to keep track of our kids and their friends, and "Britney Spears" uses it to entertain and inform her fans. Why the quote marks? A weekend article in The New York Timesreveals what Cnetsays "we all sort of knew already" - Twitter is full of ghostwritten entries.
Some of the sports figures, celebrities, and politicians who use ghostwriters on Twitter and other Web 2.0 social network sites include Britney Spears (although her staff is now signing their own entries), 50 Cent, Candidate/President Barack Obama, Kanye West, Ron Paul, and others. However, the Times also gives credit where due to to celebrities who write their own tweets like Shaquille O'Neal and Lance Armstrong (who one-handed a recent tweet about breaking his collarbone).
Join us after the jump to sound off about celebrity social-network ghostwriting.
Microsoft's latest browser, Internet Explorer 8, has gotten mixed reviews from MaximumPC.com readers (see comments here and here), but one question that's hard for any individual user to answer about any browser is "how secure is it?"
To find out, Microsoft asked NSS Labs to pit IE8 RC1 against its predecessor, IE7, as well as the following third-party browsers: Firefox 3.0.7, Safari 3.2, Chrome 1.0.154, and Opera 9.64. The objective: find out which browser did the best job at handling so-called social-engineering malware sites - the ones that try to con you into downloading malware disguised as something else ("Adobe Flash update," anyone?).
ComputerWorldreports that IE8 did the best job of fending off attacks from 492 malware-distributing websites, blocking 69% of attacks (details here [PDF link]). If you're not using IE8, join us after the jump to learn how your favorite browser fared.
Windows Home Server's latest update, Power Pack 2, is now available via Windows Update, the TechNet Windows Home Server Team Blog reports. WHS users must have Power Pack 1 installed before they can receive Power Pack 2. If you missed Power Pack 1, get it here.
Power Pack 2 fixes a number of irritating bugs left over from Power Pack 1 and the original release, and adds new features. For an overview of what's new in Power Pack 2, join us after the jump.
Another reason why Google has left its competitors way, way behind in the search engine race: Friday, a post on the (unofficial) Google Operating System blog noted that you can now restrict Google image searches by specifying one of twelve different colors:
Only images that contain the specified color will be listed in the search results. Officially, you must use a command-line search in your browser's address bar to use this new feature, using the following syntax:
Step one on the long road to retiring 32-bit computers to the PC graveyard was the development of 64-bit processors (check). Step two was the development of 64-bit operating systems (check). Step three was the development of 64-bit drivers (check). And now, it's almost time for step four: major 64-bit applications.
ZDNet's Ed Bott has done some digging around in Windows 7's MigWiz.xml file (it's used to configure the Migration Wizard in Windows 7) and discovered that the upcoming Microsoft Office 14 will be available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. In the Office 14 section of MigWiz.xml in post-beta builds of Windows 7, Bott found references to both standard and x64 programs in Office 14, as well as references to upgrade options from Office 2003 to either Office 14 or Office 14 x64 (note that the public Windows 7 beta doesn't include these settings). What does this mean to Office 14's expected release date? Bott says:
The fact that this code is being baked into Windows 7 now suggests that the rumors of an early 2010 ship date for Office 14 are accurate. Having native 64-bit support for all members of the Office family is an extra bonus and welcome news.
If you're currently using some version of Microsoft Office, does the advent of a native 64-bit version make you more likely to upgrade to Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 14? Join us after the jump for your chance to sound off.
As expected, Microsoft used this week's MIX09 conference to officially launch Internet Explorer 8, Cnet's Ina Fried reports. To make it easy to get your hands on IE8, links to the previous IE8 beta version website now automatically point to the official IE8 page. So, what's new in IE8? We've discussed a lot of the new features in previous articles, but if you need to get up to speed, here are some of the high points:
Compatibility mode, designed to enable IE8 (built, at long last, to comply with official standards) to properly render pages on sites designed to match previous IE versions' Microsoft-only features
Web accelerators, which provide one-click blog, define, email, find, map, and search for content in any web page
SmartScreen filter and other built-in features to help provide a more secure search environment
InPrivate browsing that automatically blocks history and other traces of where you've been online
The promise of hosted application "cloud computing" platforms is the ability to work anywhere, anytime. Unfortunately for Microsoft, the latest storm to obscure the promise of hosted applications hit its Windows Azure development platform last weekend. It was unavailable for 22 hours on March 13 and 14, eWeekreports.
It should be noted that Windows Azure, introduced at last October's Professional Developer's Conference (PDC), is still in its test phase. It's due to become generally available before the 2009 PDC in November, according to eWeek. Although it's still in testing, an essentially day-long outage isn't good news for Azure.
Is Azure the only cloud computing provider to have had problems from time to time? How reliable should cloud computing be? For your chance to sound off, join us after the jump.
Just when you might have thought it was safe to start using USB flash drives at work again, the third, and by all accounts, most fiendish version of the Conficker worm that's infected millions of PCs already is set to attack on April 1st, Ars Technicareports. Conficker.C's designed to hide itself even more thoroughly than its older siblings, using tricks such as:
Inserting itself into as many as five Windows-related folders such as System, Movie Maker, Internet Explorer, and others (under a random name, of course)
Creating access control entries and locking the file(s)
Registers dummy services using a "one (name) from column A, one from column B, and two from column C" method
To find out what happens when Conficker.C strikes, join us after the jump.
The Taipei Timesreports that the Taiwanese edition of Internet Explorer 8 will be released next Friday, March 20. The Times interviewed several Microsoft Taiwan personnel, including GM Davis Tsai and platform marketing manager Juno Su, for the story.
So, what does this mean for IE8 in other markets? It's unlikely Redmond would launch the newest version of its browser in only one market on March 20, but if you're still skeptical, take a look at Neowin.net's collection of About IE screen shots gathered from recent Windows 7 builds (7048 and 7057) - there's no mention of IE8 being a Release Candidate or beta as with the IE8 version included in the Windows 7 public beta. Neowin suggests that the most likely venue for the formal roll-out will be next week's Microsoft MixO9 Web Development and Design Conference in Las Vegas. Stay tuned to MaximumPC.com for the latest information.
Join us after the jump for your chance to chime in on IE8.