Social networking sites are about to get a lot more chatty. Meebo, the Web-based instant messaging company, said it is taking its IM technology to partner sites this fall. When members sign on to compatible social-media sites, they'll be able to load up their buddy list, while also being able to detach the buddy list window. And when surfing away from one social site to another, users can still chat with their site-specific friends by migrating buddy lists into the Meebo client. It's all part of an effort Meebo is calling Community IM, and so far, sites said to be on board include:
According to ComScore, the above list gives Meebo access to 55 million users worldwide, and co-founder and CEO Seth Sternberg hopes to have even more partners jump on board by the time the service launches. Ad revenue will be shared, and Meebo claims its small, targeted ads receive much stronger "click through" rates than those found on other social networking sites like Facebook.
With a development team of just 40 strong, is Meebo being overly ambitious, or are they another success story in the making?
Flip someone the bird and they'll know just what you're telling them. But wave your hand in front of your monitor all you want, and no matter how many times you've watched Obi-Wan use the Force, you're just not going to manipulate your PC. At least not yet.
Toshiba's Qosmio G55-Q802 looks to the change the way you interact with your PC by reading hand signals. Make a fist and move it around to control the mouse pointer, or flip your thumb up like Fonzie to select an object. Force-push won't work, but raising an open palm will tell the system to stop or resume video playback, giving you hands-free media control.
Built around the Centrino 2 platform, an Intel processor performs most of the tasks on the G55, but to read hand signals the laptop will use a quad-core HD processor powered by the same Cell processor found in Playstation 3 consoles. The Cell also lets the PC scan videos and index every new face it finds.
If operating systems had an obituary section, it would be quickly filling up this summer. First Windows XP kicks the bucket (sort of), and effective November 1st, 2008, OEMs will no longer be able to license Windows for Workgroups 3.11 in the embedded channel. Believe it or not, the announcement will come as a disappointment to those who planned to purchase the 16-bit OS. While Win 3.11 has been long gone in the standard (retail/OEM) channel, the old code has continued to be used for specialized applications, like cash registers, train schedule displays, and other lower-horsepower platforms.
The November deadline provides a timely opportunity to give a gag geek gift this Christmas. Pick up a Win 3.11 license while you still can, and toss it in a stocking along with Windows 3.11 for Dummies. Hey, it beats a fruitcake!
You've seen the commercial and already know what brown can do for you, but you'll be red with rage if you fall for a new scam based on an old trick. On its website, UPS has posted a bulletin alerting customers that a fraudulent email claiming to be from UPS is making the rounds. The email implores recipients to open an attachment reportedly containing a waybill for the shipment to be picked up, but the only thing being picked up by doing so is a nasty virus.
Maximum PC readers know full well to leave attachments alone, but if you're a frequent UPS customer, these types of scams can catch you off guard, particularly since UPS does, on occasion, send out official notifications that may include attachments. If in doubt, UPS is asking its customers to contact customerservice at ups dot com.
Pingdom AB, a Swedish-based website monitoring firm, recently studied the uptime of the update sites for the three most popular desktop operating systems, Microsoft, Apple, and Ubuntu. During the second quarter of 2008 (April-June), Pingdom reports (2) that Windows Update was up 100% of the time, compared to Apple Software Update's 99.9% uptime, and Ubuntu Archive's 98.64% availability. During the period, Apple's update service could not be contacted for a total of 2 hours, 34 minutes, while Ubuntu's update service could not be contacted for a total of 1 day, 5 hours, and 45 minutes.
It sounds like a clear win for Redmond, but a closer look at how update sites work suggest the story isn't so simple. For more, join us after the jump.
Microsoft has long offered hardware compatibility information for different versions of Windows, including Windows Vista. Remember the Hardware Compatibility List (HCL)? Until now, though, Microsoft has dropped the ball on making software compatibility easy to determine. With a renewed emphasis on marketing and customer satisfaction this summer, Microsoft has now created an easy-to-use one-stop shop for determining which hardware and software products will work with Windows Vista, the Windows Vista Compatibility Center.
For a quick tour of the WVCC, and to learn how you can make it even better, see us after the jump.
During a keynote at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2008, Microsoft CEO Kevin Turner went on record claiming Vista "is more secure today than Apple Leopard, or XP, or Linux, or open source." Surprisingly, Turner's right, at least when looking over a report (PDF) from Microsoft's own security division comparing the number of fixed and unfixed vulnerabilities of several operating systems. So is Vista (and by association, Microsoft) getting a bad rap?
Arstechnica says no, and points out "exploited vulnerabilities are something that needs a little bit more emphasis, and so do infection numbers." Security company PC Tools (makers of ThreatFire, reviewed in the February 2008 issue of Maximum PC, page 26) found that up to 70 percent of Vista home PCs are infected with malware, and while Microsoft might not agree with PC Tools' findings, its no secret that Mac OS X and Linux systems are targeted less frequently than Windows. Microsoft evangelist Michael Kleef claims end users are ultimately to blame for the higher infection rate, and not the OS, but when it comes out that one of Vista's main security features was designed to annoy, does the fault really lie with the end user?
There was much hype surrounding Microsoft's DirectX 10 API before its release, and since its debut, we've seen a handful of games take advantage of the new instruction sets. But there still lacks that killer game that blows every DX9 title out of the water and many gamers still resent the decision to tie DX10 exclusively with Vista, leaving the XP faithful out in the cold. And for those that made the upgrade? Microsoft's incremental DX10.1 update came as a slap in the face to anyone who upgraded both their OS and videocard in the hopes of future-proofing their system. Only ATI's 3xxx and 4xxx series support the minor update, which might not be so minor after all.
Soon making the DX10 and DX10.1 controversies old news, TGDaily reports Microsoft will unveil the next major update -- DirectX 11 -- at this year's annual XNA Gamefest scheduled to take place on July 22 and 23 in Seattle. Little is known about DX11, except that Microsoft plans to make it available for both Windows Vista and Windows 7.
With the dust yet to settle on DX10, are gamers looking forward to DX11?
Garage bands, practiced shower singers, local sensations, and other unsigned artists can now get paid through Last.fm's Artist Royalty Progam (ARP). Last.fm announced the service back in a January, and this week the service went live. More than 450,000 tracks have been uploaded to coincide with the launch, and independent artists who register and upload tunes can start accruing royalties any time their songs get played through the site's ad-supported streaming music feature or Web radio.
Martin Stiksel, Last.fm co-founder, said "This is a bid day for independent artists. We're leveling the playing field by offering them the same opportunities as established bands to make money from their music. The young musician making music in a bedroom studio has the same chance as the latest major label signing to use Last.fm to build an audience and get rewarded. The Artist Royalty Program is another revolutionary step towards helping musicians take control of their music -- and, more importantly, make a living from it."
Click through the jump to find out who's urging indie labels to steer clear of the royalty program.
Unless a playable demo manages to leak onto the web like the trailer for the upcoming Max Payne movie did, Far Cry fans won't be catching a sneak hands-on peak of the hotly anticipated sequel, Far Cry 2. Slated for release sometime before Christmas, Ubisoft's first person shooter isn't being developed by the same team that conceived the original game, and will sport a new game engine. Because of the changes, gamers are holding their collective breaths on whether or not the follow-up can maintain the same appeal that made the first game such a surprise hit, but it looks like that won't be known until it ships.
Far Cry 2's creative director Clint Hocking explained the decision not to release a demo saying there's no way to offer a teaser without giving up a significant amount of game play. "I don't know too many people who are willing to give away a 12-hour game or free," Hocking said.