If you thought that YouTube was mostly a way to discover lame-o fan trailers, not-so-sophisticated movie spoofs, or the latest viral video sensation, think again. As ArsTechnica reports, pyramid scheme recruitment videos are now flourishing on YouTube. Although these so-called "cash gifting" or "cash leveraging" schemes are often referred to as Ponzi schemes, they're different. As an ArsTechnica commenter pointed out, in a true Ponzi scheme, early joiners are "paid back" by money from later "investors" by the people controlling the alleged investment, but in a pyramid scheme, you make your money only when you can con others into giving you money.
Regardless of how boring your Friday afternoons might be and how desperate you might be to make more money, watch out for videos like these. Our advice? Save your cash for better investments, like more RAM.
How about an iTunes-style interface that shows web page or content thumbnails in the main pane with media libraries, browsing history, surflists, and statistics in the left pane? Or, how about tabs, applications, and work spaces in the left pane to take full advantage of today's widescreen displays? Either way, the once-sharp distinctions between a web browser interface and an operating system management interface like Windows Explorer have become very blurry. While the jury's still out on the Firefox of the future's interface, it looks as if the Ubiquity command-line interface will definitely make it into Firefox by version 3.6.
Are you ready for a new browser experience? Take a look at the prototypes, mockups, and demos, then join us after the jump for your chance to sound off.
Over Easter weekend, many Twitter fans were getting worms instead of finding Easter Eggs, as the developer of a rival microblogging site (StalkDaily), one 17-year-old Michael "Mikeyy" Mooney, was busy drawing Twitter users to his site through infected links and Twitter profiles. According to PCWorld and the Twitter status page, the infection has now been brought under control. But inquiring minds want to know, "what happened?" and "how can we stop a future attack?"
Doing a Google search for "Mikeyy" or "TwitterWorm" isn't the best way to find out, though, as the F-Secure security blog points out that fake news sites are being used to infect curious searchers with (unrelated) malware. To get the real scoop, join us after the jump.
Most users who have tried Windows 7 like it - a lot, but if you (or your company) are worried about what happens if old hardware or software you rely on won't play nice with the latest Windows version, stop worrying. According to Cnet's Ina Fried and ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, Windows 7 users will have the option to downgrade from 7 to either Windows Vista or even "the operating system that will not die," Windows XP.
Volume-licensing (aka "Software Assurance") customers have been able to do this for some time, but Microsoft has confirmed that downgrades from 7 to either Vista or XP will be available for at least a while after Windows 7 ships.
If you're on the fence about Windows 7, does the availability of downgrade rights make a difference? Join us after the jump for your chance to sound off.
If you've been worrying about computer security for awhile, you might remember when macro viruses in Microsoft Word and Excel files were at the top of the exploit list. These file formats, along with the omnipresent Adobe Reader PDF format, are once again among the biggest threat vectors being exploited by today's malware, according to a new report from the Microsoft Malware Protection Center. Fittingly, the full report and a condensed key findings version are available in either PDF or Microsoft's own XPS formats. These reports cover the July-December 2008 period.
Some key findings include:
Scareware (which Microsoft calls "rogue security software") is on the rise, including the latest versions of our old friend Antivirus XP.
A slight reduction in unique vulnerability disclosures from 2007, but the High (most serious) category was larger in the second half of 2008 than in the first half of the year or the second half of 2007.
Applications continue to be the biggest target (86.7%, with browsers at 8.8%, and operating systems at only 4.5%)
Redmond's ad writers drew blood with their first Laptop Hunters ad: "Congrats, Lauren. It's a PC," last month. They've wasted little time in following it up. This time, it's the guys' turn, and a little higher budget's in the offing: Giampaolo goes shopping for a powerful laptop under $1500. We watch him check out the stats, the keyboards, and hear him dismiss the Mac platform: "Macs, to me, are more about the esthetics, not the computing power." In the end, Giampaolo snags a Windows Vista-based laptop for about $1100. The tag line this time? "It's a PC because I'm really picky."
You can check out (Silverlight required) the continuing Laptop Hunters series at Microsoft's TV commercials website (including last year's painful "Mojave Experiment" and unbearable Gates & Seinfeld misfires). We like the Laptop Hunters commercials, but how about you? If you're on the Mac versus PC fence, do they push you off the fence? If you have Mac-loving friends or family members, what do they think? Join us after the jump for your chance to spill.
That's the message that Microsoft announced today on its Engineering Windows 7 blog, Cnet's Ina Fried reports.
While Microsoft says you can upgrade from Win7 Beta to RC when it becomes available, it prefers that you upgrade from Windows Vista to Windows 7 RC. Why? As the E7 blog entry points out:
The RC...is about getting breadth coverage to validate the product in real-world scenarios. As a result, we want to encourage you to revert to a Vista image and upgrade or to do a clean install, rather than upgrade the existing Beta. We know that means reinstalling, recustomizing, reconfiguring, and so on. That is a real pain. The reality is that upgrading from one pre-release build to another is not a scenario we want to focus on because it is not something real-world customers will experience.
This reasoning makes sense from Redmond's standpoint, but since the same blog post acknowledges that millions of users (including, I bet, a lot of Maximumpc.com fans) are using Windows 7 Beta as their "full time" operating system, Microsoft has outlined a way to bypass the usual installer checks. Join us after the jump for the details.
As Engadget puts it, the Windows Mobile news coming out of this week's CTIA Wireless 2009 trade show can be summed up in two words: "pretty" and "support" (for the upcoming Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system).
Want a phone where "pretty" is more than case-deep? Designer Isaac Mizrahi, Design Museum London, and the Council of Fashion Designers are teaming up with Redmond to create fashionable wallpapers for the 6.5 version of Windows Mobile. On the support side, Microsoft announced support from over 25 companies for its Windows Mobile Marketplace (Word 2003 DOC link).
For more about what Redmond put on display, join us after the jump.
The Conficker worm has been generating the big security headlines, but what The New York Times calls a "vast electronic spying operation" reveals an ongoing, very sophisticated cyberespionage campaign that may well represent an even more important threat than Conficker - especially to the Dalai Lama's Tibetan freedom movement.
Researchers at the University of Toronto Munk Center's Citizen Lab summarize GhostNet thus:
Documented evidence of a cyber espionage network— GhostNet—infecting at least 1,295 computers in 103 countries, of which close to 30% can be considered as high-value diplomatic, political, economic, and military targets.
Documented evidence of GhostNet penetration of computer systems containing sensitive and secret information at the private offces of the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan targets.
Documentation and reverse engineering of the modus operandi of the GhostNet system—including vectors, targeting, delivery mechanisms, data retrieval and control systems—reveals a covert, diffcult-to-detect and elaborate cyber-espionage system capable of taking full control of affected systems.
To find out more about how GhostNet works, join us after the jump.
It's been about six weeks since Redmond rolled out the Release Candidate for Vista SP2, and now the RTM Escrow build is available to Microsoft Connect beta testers, DailyTechreports. To make sure everything's working, the RTM Escrow build includes both slipstream and standalone installers.
If you find an unofficial source for something claiming to be the RTM Escrow build, the build string is 6002.17043.090312-1835. Typically, the RTM Escrow build is the last step before a public release, probably in April.
Check out our complete Vista SP2 coverage here. Have you tried this new build? Join us after the jump and give us your thoughts.