Notice to new Firefox users: You've been served (ads)
Mozilla has decided that the best course of action going forward is to fill all those blank squares in new tabs with sponsored content (ads, for the layman). The new initiative is called Directory Tiles and it's intended to "improve the first-time-with-Firefox experience," or at least that's the sales pitch from Darren Herman, Mozilla's Vice President of Content Services. It's his job to diversify revenue and sustain Mozilla's mission through innovation in content and personalization products, and this is one way he plans to do that.
A couple of last minute additions to Patch Tuesday address security holes in Windows XP
Today is the second Tuesday of the month, which means it's time to download a collection of security fixes from Microsoft. Otherwise known as Patch Tuesday, today's collection includes seven security bulletins, including two late additions that fill up patch remote code execution holes in Windows XP. These are some of the last updates Windows XP will ever receive, as Microsoft plans to stop supporting the legacy OS on April 8, 2014.
Support for Windows XP will end in less than two months, and if you know of family members or friends who are still running the legacy operating system, Microsoft has some tips. In a recent blog post, Microsoft's Brandon LeBlanc suggested ways you can help your loved ones rid themselves of Windows XP before support officially ends on April 8, 2014. One of those ways is to upgrade their PCs to Windows 8.1.
Attention Surface owners and anyone else rocking a touchscreen display with Windows 8 or Windows 8.1, there's a version of Firefox you might be interested in. Mozilla today made its "Firefox for Windows 8 Touch" beta available to download, so you can tap and swipe your way through cyberspace the way you do on the Start screen. The browser has a new tile-based Firefox start screen with one-tap access to Top Sites, Bookmarks, and History.
Flappy Bird developer profits handsomely from your frustration
The current craze in mobile gaming isn't Candy Crush or anything else you've been invited to play a few dozen times on Facebook. It's Flappy Bird, a simple game that will drive you absolutely bonkers almost from the get-go. Those of you who have played it know what I'm talking about, and if you haven't downloaded it yet, well, just remember that everything's going to be all right. While you're cursing how something so simple can be so difficult yet maddeningly addicting, Flappy Bird developer Dong Nguyen is laughing all the way to the bank as his game averages $50,000 in ad revenue per day.
An update to Windows 8.1 may roll out in April instead of March
Microsoft is planning to issue an update to Windows 8.1 that will introduce a number of new features and enhancements, such as possibly bypassing the Start screen and booting straight to the desktop environment by default (this hasn't been confirmed), but when it will arrive is still up in the air. Initially planned for a March release, world on the web is that Microsoft is now planning to roll out the Windows 8.1 Update 1 in April.
If you're on the fence about which subscription-based streaming music service to cozy up with, Microsoft has an offer it hopes you'll find too good to refuse. That offer is a free Nokia Lumia 520 or 521 handset when you purchase a 12-month pass to Xbox Music. That's not a bad deal on a couple of levels, the first being that you're essentially receiving two months free by paying for a year in advance -- Xbox Music typically runs $9.99 per month.
The newest version of Android is tied with Froyo (Android 2.2) for market share
A quick visit to Google's Developers Dashboard for Android reveals that mobile device makers and wireless carriers alike are dragging their collective feet when it comes to embracing Android 4.4 KitKat. After three months, KitKat has inched its way onto 1.4 percent of all Android devices, barely edging out Android 2.2 Froyo, which claims a 1.3 percent share of the market. Meanwhile, Jelly Bean (Android 4.1.x to 4.3) is picking up most of the slack with a 59.1 percent share.
One step closer to the Windows 8/8.1 you always wanted
There's a scene at the end of Stepbrothers where Brennan exclaims, "You guys finally came to your senses and got us something cool!" He was referring to pirate hats, crossbows, illicit magazines, and other swag uncovered in his and Dale's treehouse, but if Microsoft keeps tweaking Windows 8 the way it has been, desktop users far and wide will be shouting the same thing at Redmond. While nothing is set in stone, it's being reported that internal builds of Windows 8.1 Update 1 enable the boot-to-desktop option by default.
Patent deal with IBM puts to rest previous litigation
Twitter, the popular microblogging service that's now a publicly traded company, no longer has to defend itself against patent infringement claims brought on by IBM. Rather than battle one another in court, Twitter went and purchased 900 patents and signed a cross licensing agreement with IBM. Financial terms of the agreement, which was inked last month and announced today, were not disclosed.