Net Applications has released the global market share statistics of all major web browsers for the month of July. Internet Explorer registered a slight increase, as its market share went up by .01% to 73.02% compared to the previous month. Although the increase is statistically trivial, its significance lies in the fact that it has come after months of steady decline. IE’s only major competitor, Firefox, witnessed a month-over-month decline of .19% and ended up with 19.03% market share. Undoubtedly, Firefox’s market share grew on the back of the pompous Firefox 3 launch in June. So the slight decline can be seen as a correction of sorts. However, Firefox 3 is still going strong at the expense of Safari and its predecessor Firefox 2. Both Safari and Opera were down in July, according to Net Applications' July survey.
MySpace and Facebook users now have bigger worries than whether Wordscraper will stay online: two new worms, known as the Koobface family, are attacking Windows users of these popular social networking (or "Notworking" sites, as our friends at The Inquirer call them). These new worms pose a threat to the peace of mind of people like Zac Koobface (a real Facebook user, by the way).
Kapersky Labs was the first to detect these worms: Net-Worm.Win32.Koobface.a (targets MySpace) and Net-Worm.Win32.Koobface.b (targets Facebook). McAfee refers to both worms as W32/Koobface.worm, while Symantec uses the terms W32.Koobface.A and W32.Koobface.B.
Both worms send comments or messages to other users of the service. The messages or comments contain alleged links to humorous YouTube files (such as "Paris Hilton Tosses Dwarf On The Street"). When the user clicks on the link, the link redirects to a website that displays an error message claiming the user needs an updated codec to enable the Adobe Flash player to play the video. The alleged Flash player update (codecsetup.exe) contain the worm.
When the Koobface.A worm runs, it configures itself to run automatically when the system starts, checks for MySpace cookies, and if it finds them, modifies the user's profile by adding links to malicious sites that contain the worm. To learn more about Koobface.A and Koobface.B, check the McAfee and Symantec links earlier in this article.
If you use Kapersky, McAfee, or Symantec antivirus, the latest virus definitions will detect and stop these worms. If you use other antivirus or anti-malware programs, check for updates daily - and don't click on funny video links from other MySpace or Facebook users. The results just aren't very funny.
Been bugged by these or other social-networking worms? Tell us your story after the jump!
Having squashed a last-minute bug found in the Mac OS X version, Mozilla has released the first preview of Firefox 3.1. Code namd "Shiretoko" after a national park on Japan's northern-most island of Hokkaido, the Alpha 1 build includes many of the features Mozilla hopes to add to the update before its final release ships in late 2008 or early 2009. These include improvements to the Smart Location Bar and better tab switching.
Pressing ctrl-tab in the Alpha 1 build switches users between current and last-viewed tabs instead of navigating through each one sequentially, similar to the alt-tab application switching in Windows (or command-tab for those of you grooving on a Mac). Users will also be able to see thumbnail previews of the pages in each tab. Surfers not wanting to get their hands dirty with an Alpha build can get this functionality now with the Ctrl-Tab extension.
Mozilla is also developing the Gecko 1.9.1 layout engine, which makes its debut in Firefox 3.1 Alpha 1. For this reason, expect sketchy compatibility when attempting to render some web pages.
If you choose to give the new build a whirl, be sure and let us know what you think below!
Are you one of the forlorn Internet Explorer 7 users swept up in the wave of FireFox 3 mania? Do you long to make it cool to use Internet Exploder, umm make that Explorer, again? Do you want to help Microsoft do better with IE8?
Well, rise up and heed the call; Uncle Bill wants you! You can send an email over to IESO@microsoft.com and tell them about yourself and why you’d be a great beta tester. Maybe you’ll make it in and be part of the IE8 Technical Beta program for the second part of beta on Microsoft Connect.
The new technology can replace facial features of a person featured in any image with that of someone else. The software is quite smart and picks features from thousands of images available on sites like Flickr. The USP of this software happens to be its ability to function flawlessly without any human intervention or support. Google can certainly give the face swapping software a thought, as it will not only be a more presentable alternative to obscuring but also bring a bit of comic relief.
When Vista launched over a year ago we had many compelling reasons not to upgrade. But as time progressed and Microsoft silently addressed our woes, it seems clear; the Vista of today could be somewhat misjudged. That doesn’t make it perfect however, and Microsoft has owned up to this by releasing a 14 page guide with tried and tested tweaks that improve overall performance and boost notebook battery life. This free and easy to follow PDF guide walks you through native tools built into the OS which allow you to optimize Vista’s performance.The contents are especially helpful if you are new to Vista, having just come from XP, but even Vista veterans are bound to find a few things of note. If you manage to make your way through the Microsoft guide and are still looking for more, a host of other tweaks and tips can be found in both our online archives and Maximum PCs March 2008 print issue.
Shawn Fanning, the former Northeastern University student who created Napster and popularized peer-to-peer sharing, could never have imagined all the fuss the technology would create nearly a decade later. Comcast earlier this year drew ire over throttling Bittorrent traffic, and now AT&T is taking a hard lined stance against its wireless customers engaging in P2P activities.
FCC Republican Robert McDowell asked AT&T about its policy regarding P2P traffic over its wireless network, and in a letter, Robert Quinn, AT&T senior VP for regulatory affairs, said in no uncertain terms that its customers are strictly forbidden from usng P2P services.
"AT&T's terms of service for mobile wireless broadband customers prohibit all uses that may cause extreme network capacity issues, and explicitly identify P2P file sharing applications as such a use," Quinn wrote.
Unlike Comcast, who drew criticism both for throttling internet traffic and for initially denying it was doing so, Quinn also wrote in his letter that AT&T does not use network management tools to block the use of P2P applications, and that its customers are warned in writing that they could have their service terminated if caught violating the policy.
Social networking site Facebook finds itself needing to update its data center infrastructure to support new media applications, and Intel will be the one to help them do it. The two companies on Thursday announced a joint agreement that will see Facebook use "thousands" of Xeon 5400 quad-core processors built on a 45nm manufacturing process.
More than just hardware support, Intel will also work with Facebook to optimize its software for use with the bevy of Xeon chips, giving extra focus to making the software take advantage of the additional processor cores. Moreover, Intel will look to send a message that its microarchitecture can support the massive data centers that will support cloud-computing infrastructures.
"It's a big win for Intel in the general category of web infrastructure and by that I mean categories like cloud computing," said John Spooner, an analyst with Technology Business Research. "Facebook has a large computing infrastructure that delivers these types of web services on demand and it requires the same level of service and infrastructure as a cloud-computing provider."
Facebook wouldn't comment on which OEMs would build the new servers, but according to eWeek, multiple sources have confirmed Dell and HP would be involved.
Yahoo isn't the only one facing the threat of a proxy battle. Kavan Singh, a 26-year-old entrepreneur who owns a chain of Cold Stone Creamery ice cream stores, wants to freeze Chris Gorog out of his position as Napster 2.0's CEO, which would end his uninspired reign.
Gorog, the former CEO of Roxio, struck a deal to scoop up the once renowned P2P service for just $5 million in 2002, turned it into a legit paid music subscription service, and promised investors an influx of millions of customers. But instead of music listeners turning out in droves, today only about 760,000 subscribers pay a monthly fee to listen to its library of 6 million songs. Since the relaunch 3.5 years ago, stock has plummeted 69 percent, and the company noted a $16 million loss for this fiscal year. Now Singh wants Gorog to step aside.
Along with two other investors, Singh will fight for a board seat at the company's September 18 annual meeting. All three of them blame Gorog and mismanaged marketing for the company's failure to compete, noting that people still associate Napster with illegal activities. "When you tell people they should get Napster, they say, 'What are you trying to do? Get me arrested?'", complains Thomas Sailors, one of the investors running for a board seat.
Whether the ice cream man and his entourage prove successful remains to be seen, but will it even matter, or does Napster have a shot at turning its fortunes around?
Gamers are pasty, white nerds who pop and sizzle when exposed to the sun's rays, say the old stereotypes. We're socially inept and maladjusted -- unable to carry on a normal human existence. Of course, that's an uninformed viewpoint at best, but neither would I say that all gamers are social butterflies.
As I write this, I'm sitting in QuakeCon's cavernous, dimly-lit BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) area, where gamers from all walks of life gather to, well, do what they always do: play games. But even though the BYOC is populated by hundreds of people, the air is abuzz with a light hum of voices. The ear-annihilating roar that one would expect from such a colossal crowd is absent. Obviously, not all QuakeCon goers are into the talky-talky.
So, what kind of gamer are you? Do you live for events like QuakeCon? Do you thrive when jostling against the shoulders of others? Or do you mute your headset every time you hop online, preferring instead the subtle company of your own mind? Single-player? Multiplayer? Pick your poison.
Either way, today's Roundup has stories that pertain to your experience -- from some colorful language about Diablo III to Flagship Studios' stunning conclusion (for real this time!). Oh, and another Doom movie, but that story is for me.