In less than two months, Microsoft will finally release Windows 7 to an eager user base, some of which have already put Vista in the rear view mirror. Microsoft's slickest OS to date, Win 7 purports to do everything from improve file transfer performance to solving the world's problems and finally bringing peace around the globe.
On the other side of the tracks, Justin Long and the rest of the Apple allegiant will get a head start on the next-gen OS wars with Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard." And while we can knock Apple for its overpriced hardware and sissy aesthetics, OS X Leopard users will be able to upgrade for just $29, or less than a week's worth of lattes.
But we're not here to diss on Apple (at least not unnecessarily), nor do we intend to crank Microsoft's hype machine (seriously though, Windows 7 officially kicks ass). What we will do is take you all the way back to Windows 3.1 and examine how the OS wars have evolved in the modern era (you can find our pre-Windows 3.1 retrospective here). And for you open- source fans, fear not, you'll get your fill of Linux as well.
So sit back, grab a cold one (beer if you're a PC user, mocha cappuccino if you're a Mac user, and Bawls if you're rocking Linux), and hit the jump to get started!
BioWare recently released some spankin’ new Mass Effect DLC, but, uh, it seems like they forgot to tell everyone. Titled “Pinnacle Station,” the Mass Effect DLC made a minimal impact upon landing, mostly because there was little-to-no pre-release hype associated with its launch. Oh sure, there were some hints – a wink, a nudge, and even a leak – but not a(n official) word from Microsoft or BioWare.
You’d think it’d be in your best interest to promote a new addition to your two year-old game, seeing as how most people have probably shelved it at this point. But then, we’re not marketing experts, so what do we know?
Anyway, the DLC costs five Washingtons – or one Lincoln – and gets Shepard and co. back in shape for Mass Effect 2 with 13 brand new combat missions.
Racing and shooting? Sometimes at the same time? Gee whiz, that sounds complicated. Surprisingly, though, id Software’s Todd Hollenshead thinks RAGE can pull off such a tricky balancing act in only one go and – as such – sees no need for an open beta. He said as much in an interview with VG247.
“I doubt there will be an open beta,” he stated, simply.
Well, what about a demo, then? RAGE may look, sound, and perhaps even taste great, but what if we’re still not sold on it? Is there hope for us yet?
“The demo question is hard to answer, because I don’t know what the development cycle will be like. We don’t have anything against demos or tests; we typically do that – probably – to a greater extent than almost anybody else in the industry, so my guess would be that we will have something, but that’s far from set in stone,” said Hollenshead.
So then, what will the demo be called? MILD IRRITATION?
Er, yeah... So, uh, what's the deal with airline food?
Sony today further bolstered its lineup of e-readers by announcing the Sony Reader Daily Edition - first in its stable to feature wireless connectivity (Wi-Fi and 3G). The Reader Daily Edition also features a 7-inch touch screen. In fact, wireless connectivity and a larger screen are the only notable features that separate it from the Reader Touch Edition.
Sony had announced the $299 Reader Touch Edition and $199 Pocket Edition earlier this month. The Daily Edition, which was announced at a launch event at the New York Public Library, will retail for $399 and debut in December.
Steve Haber, president of the Digital Reading Business Division at Sony, also announced that users will be able to borrow ebooks from the local library, with the borrowed books having an expiration period of 21 days. The new version of Sony’s online book store will let users search for libraries that loan electronic versions of their books.
Yes, we know: it's about frickin' time! Our intrepid web content specialist, Jason, has helped us get our PDF archive up to date, though the August issue (September is coming next week). We've also fixed a bug with the May PDF issue. You can download the June, July, and August issues by clicking through their respective links.
In the two years since we reviewed the first version of ID Vault, phishing attacks have increased by more than 180 percent, identity theft is up 25 percent, and organized crime has figured out ways to hijack financial sites and DNS servers.
For the most part, putting financial information into a browser is about as safe as walking through Central Park in one of those Chuck Bronson Death Wish movies.
So, you’d think ID Vault would be one of those tools you’d put on a chain and wear around your neck everywhere you go, but it isn’t. For those not up on ID Vault, it’s an encrypted USB key that stores your user names and passwords. If you want to go to your bank, eBay, or Amazon, you plug in the ID Vault and use a virtual keyboard to punch in a code (to thwart key loggers). The ID Vault client on your PC then goes to the site, makes sure you’re actually on a legitimate IP address for that particular website, and logs in for you.
If you're concerned about privacy, it might not be enough to hide your profile or limit who can view your personal information, a new report suggests. That's because social networking sites are sharing your personal info with tracking sites, according to the report.
"When you sign up with a social networking site, you are assigned a unique identifier," says Craig Wills, professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). "We found that when social networking sites pass information to tracking sites about your activities, they often include this unique identifier. So now a tracking site not only has a profile of your web browsing activities, it can link that profile to the personal information you post on the social networking site."
The study specifically points out Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter -- three of the most popular social networking sites on the planet -- as being guilty of leaking information. Using your unique identifier, a tracking site could then learn all kinds of things about you, including your name, address, email addy, gender, date of birth, what school you attend, where you work, and tons more.
But is it much ado about nothing? Only the tracking sites know for sure, and Wills admits that researchers have no idea what these sites do with the info, if anything at all.
Earlier this week Yahoo announced that it would be tweaking its mail and messenger services to be more social by letting users update their status, share photos easily and partake in video calls.
Along with the new and improved mail and messenger programs, Yahoo plans to overhaul its search engine with a new results page that will let users retrieve the content they’re looking for, without leaving the safety of the results page.
The idea behind these upgrades comes in two flavors: firstly Yahoo hopes to bring in more people who are not already familiar with the inner workings of their products, as well as to entice those that are already using Yahoo products to spend more time on their site. “Our user base grows when things are simpler and more delightful,” said Elisa Steele, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Yahoo.
There was also an acknowledgement that Yahoo’s new hope page was being worked on, but wasn’t done just yet.
Having just gotten off a plane, I'm now facing the difficulties that a West-to-East coast trip does to one's sleeping schedule. Thus, this week's freeware roundup has as much of a concrete theme as I have a coherent thought at the moment. But that's ok. Examples of killer freeware or open-source software don't always fall within a single bucket.
So what's on deck for right now? I won't give away too many details. Suffice, if you've ever lost data as a result of a scratched or scuffed CD, you'll want to click on the jump below. While the page loads, go dig though the trash to recover the media that you just tossed--it's not dead. It might be on life support, and you might stand a very good chance of losing parts of your data, but you might also be able to save a portion of the files located on said disc.
That's a great bit of lifesaving... and it's just one of the programs in this week's roundup. Even niftier applications lurk behind the cut below. Get your downloading finger ready.