This past Tuesday Yahoo released the latest version of their instant messaging program, Messenger 9.0. With the release, they’ve introduced a slew of new features including a brand new interface, chat window, improved spam control, and the Yahoo Messenger Pingbox.
The new interface is more spread out than previous versions, allowing for larger avatars and the ability to post status messages. Also included in the new interface is the ability to import your contacts in bulk from your e-mail, IM, or Facebook contact lists using third party operator TrueSwitch. TrueSwitch will search through your address books and find users already on Yahoo and shoot them a friend invite on your behalf.
The new chat window ups the ease-of-use factor, allowing users to drop maps, images, videos or links directly into the chat box when you want to share them with your friends. Being able to check out videos and images without even leaving your IM client is mighty convenient. Yahoo also made a reversal from their dime-sized emoticons, scaling them down to give them a much cleaner look.
The final big feature is the Yahoo Messenger Pingbox, which is brand new with this release. It allows for web site owners (such as bloggers, eBay sellers, and social networking power users) to chat in real time with anyone visiting their site. This is a step up over lurking your inbox, waiting for a reply e-mail from the site owner that you’re trying to get in contact with. For the owner of the site these Pingboxes are simple to use, and highly customizable. Everything from the aesthetics of the window, to sending out a broadcast message to your site’s users, you’ll be given lots of control.
As if college students didn't already have enough studying to do, it appears they made need to brush up on the fundamentals of PC security. For example, when presented with a popup, do you:
A: Click it, because what company would lie about promising to remove all your adware?
B: Click it, because in your hungover state you can't read what it says anyway
C: Click it, because that's how you assert your independence
D: Close it out
The answer's obvious for Maximum PC readers, but not so for those who reside on a college campus. The Psychology Department of North Carolina State University concocted a series of four fake popup dialogs, with one warning: "The instruction at '0x77f41d24 referenced memory at '0x595c2a4c.' The memory could not be 'read.' Click OK to terminate program." Only one of the warnings blended in with XP, and the others were designed to be easy to spot as adware.
Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly), 25 students out of a panel of 42 clicked the button for two of the fake alerts, and 23 hit OK on the third. Only 9 of them closed the window.
So why'd they do it? Nearly half of the students said that their main concern was getting rid of the dialogs and the distraction they presented. Time to add Computers for Dummies for next semester's textbook shopping list.
Believe it or not, there are security options out there other than AVG. McAfee, being one of them (surely you've run across McAfee on an OEM rig or two), announced plans to acquire network security vendor Secure Computing for around $465 million. The move, according to McAfee, is intended to beef up the company's network security portfolio.
"Today's announcement of this pending acquisition is a natural extension of McAfee's security-only focus," Dave DeWalt, CEO and president of McAfee, said in a statement. "We expect the pending combination of McAfee and Secure Computing will create an annual projected combined revenue of just under $500 million in the network security segment of our SRM (security risk management) portfolio."
Before the acquisition can go through, it must first pass regulatory approvals and get the green light from Secure Computing's stockholders, all of which is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.
Leading internet research firm Net Applications has revealed that many early Chrome adopters are now reverting back to Internet Explorer and Firefox. User comfort is finally overcoming the curiosity that the browser initially educed.
Stop us if you've heard this story before: A semi-small dev team, formed in the mid-90's, lovingly crafts two 2D RTSes before upgrading right into the third dimension. The next RTS in their flagship series isn't quite as well-received as the previous two, but still flies off the shelves and perches itself on top of the sales charts. So what do they do next? Why, craft an MMO with the assistance of an extremely lucrative license! Got any guesses as to who we might be talking about?
That's right, Ensemble Studios.
Yes, Blizzard and Ensemble, after a quick make-up job, could probably star in The Parent Trap: Gamer's Edition (A Brett Ratner Film), but cribbed answers from each other's track records are only the beginning.
As early as 2006, Ensemble began work on a Halo MMO. Here, however, we're willing to wager that any similarities to Blizzard's MMO-opus are more than mere coincidence. Sadly, we'll never know what Ensemble had planned for this decidedly PC-oriented jaunt through Halo's universe, because it's been decomposing in Ensemble's recycle bin for nearly a year, according to a thorough analysis by Gamasutra.
This is freaking brilliant. Warhammer Online, as with any MMO, is home to a number of -- in this case, preternaturally quick -- gold spammers. But unlike those other MMOs, whose developers only emerge, spit a "Get off my lawn!" at the gold-amassing fiends, and then stomp back into their lairs, far too uncaring to actually latch the gate behind them, Mythic is taking a different approach.
"Since WAR launched we have been banning these jerks like crazy," Mythic co-founder Mark Jacobs wrote in his blog. "As of Saturday Night, we had banned about 400 of them. My CSRs have a zero tolerance policy. We don’t wait and let them stay in the game and ban them en-masse, my guys ban their useless, time-consuming butts right away. We have a strike team whose sole job it is to get these guys off our servers as quickly as possible."
But that's not even the best part. Jacobs continued:
"This weekend, we unveiled a new wrinkle in the fight against them, the public ban message. Players on our Phoenix Throne server have been treated to special messages when a gold seller/spammer is banned. I’ve given them a wide leash to come up with creative messages to tell the entire community who has been banned and we keep it within the Warhammer universe."
"Messages like 'Tchar’zanek has ordered the slaughter of [Spammer] and all others of his kind who weaken the Raven Host by providing wealth and power to the unworthy' have been seen all weekend. We will continue this policy and expand it to the other servers. We are in for a real fight against these bottom feeders and it will be a long and costly battle but it’s one we are going to take to them and this is only the first step."
We don't know about you, but we've never tossed our hard-earned dollars into a spammer's alchemic pot, and we sure as hell aren't starting now. Now if you'll excuse us, we must return to killing everythingthat moves and rooting through fresh remains. Ah, nothing like an honest day's work to set the mind at ease.
We're still a month away from seeing the first mobile phone running Google's Android mobile platform hit the retail sector, but while ordinary folk have to wait patiently, there exists a handful of Google and maybe T-Mobile employees plugging away on the new phone. And it's from spotting one of these pre-release units in the wild that VentureBeat reports that Amazon will have a mobile store in place by the time Android ships.
Speculation suggests that the Amazon music store on Android will most likely be a mobile version of its existing AmzonMP3 online digital music store. Such a move would certainly heat up the competitive juices between T-Mobile's HTC Android phone and Apple's iPhone, and perhaps help Amazon grab some of the marketshare controlled by iTunes.
One of the commonly accepted keys to success is to write down your goals, and Mozilla has done just that. The open-source software company has identified four areas it would like to improve by 2010:
Deepen Mozilla's role as a centerpiece of the internet
Continue Firefox mindshare and marketshare momentum
Of most interest is Mozilla's focus on mobility and by 2010, the company plans to "have an effective product in the mobile market." That plan appears to include getting its TraceMonkey engine fine tuned to run on ARM processors. Preliminary results look very promising, though it's anyone's guess as to when Firefox Mobile will show up on handheld devices, with Mozilla saying only that it "will ship well before" 2010.
There's been much ballywho surrounding Windows 7, Microsoft's anticipated successor to Vista, and we've covered much of it right here on MaximumPC.com. From what is known, Microsoft appears to be working closely with system vendors to ensure Windows 7 enjoys a smooth rollout among preconfigured systems, and to avoid third-party drivers giving the new OS a bad rap in similar fashion to how the software maker suggests early Nvidia drivers did to Vista. But it now looks like users will have to wait until December before spending some hands-on time with Windows 7 beta 1.
In the meantime, a pair of videos showing off two features of the new OS have begun making the rounds. The first one shows the Windows 7 Start menu, which looks no different than Vista's. However, with the mouse pointer hovered over the icon, a search box appears just above it in the video.
The second clip showcases Microsoft's redesigned Calculator application. You can choose from four modes - Standard, Scientific, Programmer, and Statistics - and copy and paste values. A new Options menu brings more functionality to the table, such as quickly calculating specific dates and breaking them down in to years, months, weeks, and days. Templates and unit conversion are also included, giving geeks with a caculator fetish something to salivate over.
Check out the clips and hit the jump to let us know what you think.
Give Ebay some credit - its union with StumbleUpon, which it acquired in May 2007, has lasted longer than some marriages. But now it appears Ebay wants out of its $75 million relationship, assuming Tech Crunch's sources prove reliable.
The news site claims Ebay has hired Deutsche Bank in hopes of stumbling upon a buyer, though the asking price remains unknown, and it's anyone's guess whether or not the auction site can get back what they invested in StumbleUpon. From July 2007 to July 2008, StumbleUpon has dropped from boasting 4.4 million worldwide visitors and 31 million page views to 1.1 million visitors and 25 million page views. Oddly enough, registered users continue to grow and now sits at over 6 million strong, a 20 percent increase over what it was just 5 months ago.