There's a new firmware version available for the Nook, version 1.5, and according to Barnes and Noble this is the largest update ever to the company's eBook reader platform. New features include:
Sync current reading position across devices
Customizable folders and group content for My B&N Library
Password protection option for purchases made on a Nook device
Pass code security for the Nook
In addition, the new firmware brings about faster page turns up to 50 percent quicker than previous versions, improved search functionality that includes My Documents in the results, better battery life, and "other performance enhancements."
The version 1.5 software applies to both 3G and Wi-Fi Nook devices and is available for download at www.nook.com/support.
Apple today announced that the long delayed iOS 4.2 update is finally available for download for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, bringing multitasking, Folders, a Unified Inbox, Game Center, AirPlay, and AirPrint to the iPad. It's about friggin' time.
"iOS 4.2 makes the iPad a completely new product, just in time for the holiday season," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Once again, the iPad with iOS 4.2 will define the target that other tablets will aspire to, but very few, if any, will ever be able to hit."
The addition of multitasking addresses one of the iPad's major shortcomings, and the other additions -- like Folders and a Unified Inbox -- ensure the iPad will remain a hot selling product even as competition in the tablet space starts to heat up. But what Apple can't address through software updates are the handful of hardware omissions, like USB ports, a memory card reader, and webcam (which rules out FaceTime support).
So what's the verdict, does iOS 4.2 make the iPad a more compelling option, or is it still an overpriced, oversized iPod touch? Hit the jump and sound off!
Microsoft tomorrow will begin pushing out its Fall Dashboard update for the Xbox 360 console, three days ahead of the Kinect launch.
In addition to adding support for Kinect, the mandatory update revamps the user interface and adds some new features, like ESPN 3, Zune Music, a new voice communications codec, and perhaps best of all Netflix search functionality.
Those who decline the update will not be able to connect to Xbox Live, though all the offline features will remain intact. View the full FAQ here.
Attention Firefox uses, go ahead and restart your browser if you haven't done so recently. Firefox should automatically update itself to version 3.6.12 (assuming it's already downloaded the patch), and while there aren't any fancy new features to speak of, the latest version does fix a critical security issue Mozilla says could potentially allow remote code execution.
"We have received reports from several security research firms that exploit code leveraging this vulnerability has been detected in the wild," Mozilla stated in a blog post. "Thanks to Mozilla's industry-leading open security process the fix has been created, tested, and released to users within 48 hours of first notification about this vulnerability."
The fix also applies to Firefox 3.5 users, which has been updated to 3.5.15. If you haven't received the update automatically, you can force Mozilla's hand by clicking Help > Check for updates.
Here's something for all you early adopters who scoff at the notion of patience being a virtue. Provided you're rocking a legal copy of Windows 7, you can now download the operating system's first Service Pack in Release Candidate (RC) form.
Windows 7 SP1 includes both a roll-up of OS updates and several new goodies, including RemoteFX.
"Microsoft RemoteFX introduces a new set of remote user experience capabilities that enable a media-rich user environment for virtual and session-based desktops," Microsoft said in a statement. "RemoteFX can be deployed to a range of thick and thin client devices, enabling cost-effective, local-like access to graphics-intensive applications. RemoteFX also supports a broad array of USB peripherals to improve the productivity of users of virtual desktops."
Also included is Dynamic Memory, which enables servers running Hyper-V for server virtualization to make better use of memory.
Before you go and download the Release Candidate, there are some things you should know. The RC can't be installed over the beta of SP1, though you can install it on an evaluation version of Windows 7. Microsoft considers this a "high quality release," however once the final build of SP1 ships, you'll need to uninstall the RC version in order to upgrade.
Are you a PC user? Good; you are likely annoyed. Because, let’s face it, there are some parts of the “master of your domain” experience that are downright annoying to do. Novice users have it easy—to them, a computer is merely a portable word processor, a fancy little device that allows them to watch cats frolic online, catch up on the most recent versions of The Office without paying for cable, and surf the web for hours on end.
You, however, are not a novice user. You are intermediate, to advanced, to hardcore, and you don’t like it when you have to expend precious hours fixing up your PC in a variety of different ways. You want a system that works perfectly and you want it yesterday. Well, to that, I offer five meager freeware apps (or free Web apps) that should help trim some of the annoying processes out of your normal system use.
Let's start with the good news. Sprint on Thursday announced a new Epic 4G update that promises "increased 3G upload speeds," while also fixing a few other issues. These include:
Wi-Fi standby battery drain
Amazon MP3 cannot download in 4G
Large emails lag in upload speeds
The over-the-air (OTA) update was supposed to be pushed to devices beginning yesterday and rolled out within the next several days, but Sprint apparently ran into a snag. Ready for the bad news?
"We were planning to release an update for your Samsung Epic 4G on 9/30. The file was delivered and on track for distribution but late this afternoon, we learned that an administrative issue prevented Google from releasing the update as we had planned," Sprint said. "We are working to resolve the issue and will provide an update as soon as we understand the new delivery schedule."
Upon hearing the news, some Epic 4G owners cried foul, saying the staggered update was part of a ploy to prevent users from returning their phones before the 30-day return window shuts. Sprint insists that isn't true.
"We would like to clarify that the timing of this update has nothing to do with the 30 day return window that many of you on these blogs have been discussing and that this delay has nothing to do with any last minute changes within the release package itself. The delay is simply due to an administrative issue that we are working to resolve," Sprint said.
Hooray! Another free update for Team Fortress 2! But this one, er, asks you to spend money. Easy now, put down that irate message board post. You wouldn't want to do anything you'll end up regretting, after all. Plus, this isn't quite as bad as it looks. Don't believe us? Let's hear what Valve has to say.
“We never really think about the money TF2 makes when we’re thinking about what to do. In this case, the thing that we are trying to build is a framework for a more robust collaboration with the community on content creation. This has been one of TF2’s main drives for some time now. In other games, community creators build content after the release, and it forever remains inaccessible to most players,” Valve told our sister site PC Gamer, who – as per usual – leaped all over this story like a rabid fox that's mistaken your face for a delicious baby bunny.
“We view the Mann-conomy as the next, crucial step in the evolution of how communities interact with products. Now they’ll not only be able to contribute to the product, they will be directly compensated for their work.”
Oh, there's also this exceedingly important bit from Valve's Mann-conomy FAQ:
“Our plan is to continue updating TF2 just like we always have, adding free maps, game modes, new features, and more. The Mann Co. Store is simply an alternative way of obtaining items that other players can earn during gameplay.”
Phew. Plus, almost every item – aside from a few minor cosmetic ones – can be unlocked through traditional means such as random drops and crafting, in addition to new methods like trading and winning mid-match duels. Yes, duels. Now you can daintily slip off the white lace glove of war and slap someone in the face with it. If they accept your duel challenge, they'll be highlighted during the match, and the game will keep track of how many times you've killed one another.
Currently, Valve's marketplace features a smattering of its own items and 17 new community created items, which – according to Valve – equate to “about five new class updates.” In the words of some guy on the street we just talked to: “Yeah, I guess it's a pretty big deal. Who are you? You said there would be food.”
Microsoft today issued an out-of-band security update to tackle a bug in ASP.NET that is being exploited in the wild. Following a public report of the vulnerability, the Redmond outfit confirmed the bug in a Security Advisory (2416728) on September 17. MS, in its advisory, had expressed concerns that hackers could use the Windows Web server flaw to “view data, such as the View State, which was encrypted by the target server, or read data from files on the target server, such as web.config.”
"Based on our comprehensive monitoring of the threat landscape, we have determined an out-of-band release is needed to protect customers, as we have seen limited attacks and continued attempts to bypass current defenses and workarounds," the company told the IDG News Service.
The fix covers all supported Windows versions. The update is currently only available through the company's download center, and not through Windows Update, meaning that it can only be installed manually.
"This is the first time we've released [an] update this way, but due to the nature of the active attacks and the severity of the potential loss of data, we are releasing the security update to the Microsoft Download Center first so customers (specifically large enterprises, hosting providers and ISVs) can begin updating their systems.”
Motorola Droid X owners will be happy to know that Verizon has begun rolling out Android 2.2, otherwise known as Froyo, as an over-the-air (OTA) update. If you haven't already, you should be receiving it within the next few days.
Android 2.2 brings a number of enhancements to the Droid X, some of which include:
Native Adobe Flash Player 10.1
Enhanced browser performance
Automatic app updates
Improved Exchange support
Transition from Wi-Fi and 3G without losing data connection
For those of you feeling impatient, you can force an update immediately. To do so, tap Menu from the main menu, select Settings - About phone - System updates. Mash the download button and follow the on-screen instructions to install.