This holiday weekend many of you will be kicking back with a cold one, firing up the grill, spectating your local fireworks display, and perhaps catching up on a videogame or two when the festivities all come to an end. But while you're busy unwinding, hackers continue to look for ways to distribute malicious code and exploit vulnerabilities. Don't let what's supposed to be a relaxing weekend turn into a hair-pulling experience because you were caught off guard.
Update to Opera 9.5.1
Opera Software unveiled version 9.5 of its flagship browser less than a month ago, and the first major update is now available. Patching Opera to version 9.5.1 addresses several bugs and stability issues, and at least one "highly critical" vulnerability that could be used to execute arbitrary code. And it's not just Windows users that should install the update, but Mac OS X and Linux lovers too. Areas addressed in the update include:
Display and Scripting
View the 9.5.1 changelog for a detailed list of changes, and then hit the jump to see why you should be extra cautious about using the VLC Media Player.
Google’s Street View service has already hit a roadblock in the UK, even before its launch across the Atlantic. Google would be hoping that this is just a hurdle and not a dead end for Street View’s UK version. Street View is an extension of Google’s navigational and mapping services that features photographs of locations on Google Maps and Google Earth.
A U.K rights organization, Privacy International, believes that the service violates people’s right to privacy as Street View photographs freely feature passers-by, that too, without their consent. The organization has been in constant touch with Google over the issue but seems unsatisfied with the answers it has received thus far. Google has tried to placate Privacy International with promises of a new technology - which it claims is under trial – that can identify human faces and blur them.
However, every bit the cantankerous and incredulous social rights organizations, Privacy International has asked Google to either furnish more details of the technology within a week or run the risk of being officially referred to the Information Commissioner, who can even gatecrash Google’s ‘Street View’ launch plans.
Privacy International has a plausible reason behind its skepticism. It points to Google’s track record of freely reneging on such promises; as it did with the promise of developing ‘crumbling cookies’ after acquiring DoubleClick.
Developers concerned about indexing have thus far been hesitant to incorporate Flash into websites because of the challenge involved in making the content searchable. This despite the fact that more than 98 percent of internet-connected computers have Adobe's Flash Player installed. Search engines are able to index static text and lnks within Flash SWF files, but as Adobe points out, "rich internet applications and dynamic Web content have been generally difficult to fully expose to search engines because of their changing states," a problem which also exists in other RIA technologies.
To help get over that hurdle, Adobe announced a new initiative with Google and Yahoo to make Flash files more indexable-friendly by search engines. For its part, Google says it developed an algorithm that explores Flash files in the same way a surfer does, "by clicking buttons, entering input, and so on." Any text visible to a website visitor while interacting with a Flash file is also visible to Google's algorithm. And while Yahoo isn't quite as far along as Google, the collaboration with Adobe means it's now a matter of when, not if, SWF applications become more searchable.
Missing from this latest announcement is any mention of Microsoft and its MSN Search. It remains unclear whether Adobe purposely excluded the Redmond company, which owns Silverlight (a competitng format to Adobe's Flash), or if Microsoft chose not to participate. But regardless of Microsoft's level of involvement, expect to see more Flash content, whether you want it or not.
Each day, some big-wig exec says PC gaming is writhing on the ground, scrambling towards the light. Generally, I just scoff and log back in to the 10 million person chatroom that is World of Warcraft. But what about when someone who I actually respect utters the dreaded D-word? Well, I scoff at them in article form, and what better platform to use than the Roundup? Hit the ever-present "read more" link to read all about the aforementioned exec, as well as topics ranging from Gametap to Led Zeppelin, and a few things in-between.
Just in time for Independence Day, Adobe has unfettered the popular PDF file format. Adobe has abandoned proprietary control over the popular PDF format. Now the International Organization for Standardization will assume developmental responsibilities of the file format, which will be developed as an industry standard.
The ISO 32000-1 Document management – Portable document format – Part 1: PDF 1.7 is the official ISO standard that lays down the ground rules for developers of PDF-related applications. Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch said that this move is in keeping with Adobe’s “commitment to openness.” The release of PDF specifications should lead to a much needed rise in the number of PDF creation and editing tools.
Now that Windows XP has reached its official end of life, we can start talking about the OS in past tense (sort of). The same applies to Bill Gates, the Harvard dropout gone billionaire, who recently relinquished the reigns and stepped foot into semi-retirement. The former CEO's passing of the guard might have left many wondering what Microsoft's future will look like in life after Gates, but what about life after Windows?
It might sound preposterous, but don't tell that to the Microsoft Research team who, for the past several years, has been working on Singularity, an entirely new system-architecture and operating system built from the ground up. Comprised of only a few hundred-thousand lines of code, not only is Singularity entirely different from Windows, but the source code, build tools, test suites, design notes, and other background materials are all readily available, provided you're able to sign a non-commercial, academic Shared Source license. And that's not the end of it - Singularity Version 2 will bring multi-core computing into the mix.
To find out how Microsoft's mysterious Midori project plays into the picture, and if Windows might soon be obosolete, hit the jump.
So here's the good news; Google has officially released its Google Talk application for the iPhone and iPod touch browsers. That means you can text away to all your gFamily and gFriends and look trendy doing it. And you needn't install anything, either. The application runs completely from within the Safari browser. Just head over to www.google.com/talk, sign in, and start mashing away while being careful not to spill your Starbucks Latte.
Ready for the bad news? Don't you dare try to do anything else while holding a conversation. As you might have already surmised, Google Talk "needs to be open in your Safari browser. When you navigate away to another browser window or application, you status will be changed to 'unavailable' and your Google Talk session will be restarted when you return." Giving your undivided attention would be considered good social etiquette in a face-to-face encounter, but must the same manners apply in a virtual environment?
Earlier this week OCZ announced a new lineup of low cost SSDs, trumping Super Talent's MasterDrive MX series in both price and performance. In an attempt to address the former, Super Talent has begun bundling Ubuntu with its SSDs and will continue to do so right through to September 30th.
"Bundling an excellent OS plus applications package like Ubuntu helps MasterDrive MS customers get up and running that much faster and easier. This is a great value add that doesn't increase the cost." - Joe James, Super Talen Marketing Director
And James is right, it doesn't increase the cost. Of course, it doesn't increase the value (or performance) of the MasterDrive MX line either. But it might increase the perceived value of Ubuntu, which if you head over to Ubuntu.com, you can download the Linux distro free of charge. Or if you'd prefer a hard copy without firing up Nero, you can put in a request for a free CD and they'll even throw in a handful of stickers. Sadly, neither option will cost you a cent, not even shipping, and who wants a free OS? Pshaw! Super Talent's bundle tackles this problem, and you'll have to fork over at minimum $299 (30GB). Or if you really want that copy of Ubuntu to come laced with uber value, you have the option of paying up to $649 (120GB). Now all you Windows owners with a predisposition to paying for your OS can finally get your Linux on without feeling like you cheated the system, something Amazon couldn't offer with its paltry $12.99 price tag.
A dispute between security appliance maker Barracuda Networks and Trend Micro started earlier this year when Trend Micro claimed that ClamAV infringes on its patents covering the use of server-based antivirus software on FTP and SMTP gateways. Barracuda has now filed a countersuit against Trend Micro to try and protect the open source ClamAV antivirus program from Trend Micro’s nasty allegations of infringement. Barracuda which is a supporter of open source software was unwilling to simply negotiate a cheap licensing agreement for patent indemnity. This of course also benefits other ClamAV users which include small business, non-profits, and even some governments.
Ars Technica quotes Barracuda CEO Dean Drako as saying, "The reality is that Trend Micro is asking Barracuda Networks to pay for the use of the free and open source ClamAV software.” He goes on to say, “We have asserted all along that Trend Micro's actions are unjust and could have serious implications against the open source community and other free and open source projects."
While Barracuda’s motives aren’t all together altruistic since they use ClamAV in their products, it’s none the less vital for everyone. ClamAV is not a fully featured AntiVirus program, nor is it the best, but it plays an important role. Trend Micro sounds like it is patent fishing for cash, and I am unimpressed. They might run the risk of a consumer backlash if it attempts to go after ClamAV directly. You can learn more about Barracuda’s efforts here.
CNet reports that the Microsoft Office subscription service previously code-named "Albany" will be sold at Circuit City as Microsoft Equipt. Equipt provides home users with access to a lot of software for a yearly subscription that's not much more than Windows Live OneCare.
To find out more about what you get for your money, join me after the break.