I've written about the demise of Windows RT on more than one occasion over the course of the last couple of weeks, and in the comments section of both articles, there's mention of Microsoft Bob. Prior to those incidents, it had been a long time since I've seen anyone bring it up. References to Microsoft Bob usually only manifest when talking about forgettable Windows releases, like ME, Vista (pre-SP1), and RT. However, Microsoft Bob wasn't actually a Windows version, it was a patronizing GUI that foreshadowed Windows RT's demise. Never heard of it? Let's take a trip back in time.
Hackers have a new security hole to go phishing in
If you use Internet Explorer 11, be aware that researchers have discovered a zero-day vulnerability that could allow attackers to change content on domains remotely. The exploit could also allow hackers to inject malicious content in browsers, steal personal data, and track your online movements. That's the bad news. And the good? You're unlikely to fall prey to such an attack, according to Microsoft.
For all intents and purposes, Windows RT is finally dead. That was actually true a week ago when Microsoft discontinued its Surface 2 tablets, thereby removing life support from Windows RT. But now that Microsoft announced it's no longer producing Nokia Lumia 2520 tablets, it's okay to write Windows RT's obituary -- this is, after all, the final nail in the coffin of an OS that died a slow and uneventful death.
Are you rocking a copy of the Windows 10 Technical Preview? If so, you can kick the tires on three of Microsoft's Universal Office apps -- Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. All three are immediately available to download in the new Windows Store beta, which you can gain access to if you've joined the Microsoft Windows Insider program (and if not, go here to become one), just as Microsoft promised they would be.
You're not supposed to know it, but Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Taboola have been paying the developers of Adblock Plus to stop blocking ads on their respective websites, according to a paywalled article in the Financial Times. The deals are confidential in nature, though FT says it was able to confirm that they do in fact exist. If true, it raises some questions about the transparency of one of the most popular browser extensions ever made.
The latest version of Android climbs to a 1.6 percent share
Google released Android 5.0 Lollipop to the public on November 3. 2014, but in the three months that have passed since then, it never registered a blip on the Android Developers Dashboard, until now. That's because Google doesn't list any versions with less than a 0.1 percent distribution. With the last few days, however, Android 5.0 has gone from virtually non-existent to a 1.6 percent share.
Looking back through the years, it's pretty easy to pick out certain forgettable versions of Windows. You know the ones -- Windows ME, Windows Vista (before the first Service Pack), and now Windows RT, the most recent of the bunch. Microsoft has reportedly stopped producing Surface 2 tablets, which also means that the future of Windows RT is nonexistent at this point. You'll have to excuse us for not weeping.
Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder and former CEO of Opera Software, is back in the browser game with a new startup. It's called Vivaldi Technologies, of which Tetzchner is also the co-founder and CEO of, and he's just made a technical preview of his Vivaldi browser available to the public. While still early in development, it's already fleshed out with features that may attract Opera fans, like mouse gestures and a speed dial interface for displaying your favorite tabs on the new tabs page.
Don't expect a patch for WebView in pre-KitKat Android devices
If you own an Android handset running a version of the open source operating system that predates Android 4.3 KitKat, you won't be the recipient of a patch for WebView, a component of Android that developers use to display web content in their apps. WebView is also the backbone of Android's built-in browser in all versions up to KitKat. Nevertheless, Google won't spend time plugging up any security holes for WebView in older Android devices because it's "no longer practical."
Fast and slow rings receive January build simultaneously
A couple of days after its much talked about “Windows 10: The Next Chapter” event and over two months after the last official preview release, Microsoft on Friday rolled out a new Windows 10 Technical Preview build to the Windows Insider Program. A lot has changed from the last build, with the January Technical Preview containing many new features and apps (including some that are a bit too incipient to be of any real use at this stage).