Instant messaging is a great way to stay in touch, but anybody who uses it extensively knows the pain of having friends spread out over different services. Ever install a bulky and bloated IM client for just one friend? Or wished you could instant message all your groupies without running 5 different chat clients in the system tray? Well IM providers and a handful of crafty open source programmers have listened to our cries. Free browser-based alternatives exist for all the major platforms, and all in one desktop clients are finally able to bring the competing services together.
Yahoo’s CEO Jerry Yang has scored a major victory against corporate raider Carl Icahn ahead of the crucial board election on August 1. Legg Mason’s Bill Miller, who owns a 4.4% stake in the internet company, has vowed his allegiance to Jerry Yang and the current board. Bill Miller’s support is being inferred as a fatal blow for Icahn’s Microsoft-backed proxy war as analysts don’t expect any institutional investors – that hold a stake in Yahoo – to back the boardroom coup.
The only glimmer of hope for Icahn is Gordon Crawford, who controls a substantial 6.5% stake. Gordon has hinted that he can align with Icahn but remains undecided. Yang wants to leave nothing to chance and wants to finalize a deal with AOL before the upcoming board elections, however, the chances of the deal going through ere Aug 1 remain slim.
Ubuntu's Hardy Heron (8.04) operating system has been flapping its wings in full-release form since late April, and now the latest Linux distro lands on pre-configured Dell systems. This isn't the first time Dell has offered Linux as an OS option, but up until now, OEM shoppers looking for a Windows-alternative were stuck using Feisty Fawn (7.04), bugs and all.
So why the nearly three month-long delay? Dell claims it spent that time in development to ensure a smooth rollout with the new OS, as well as testing for peripheral support, including ATI graphics, fingerprint readers, HDMI, and other odds and ends. Linux support has increased leaps and bounds from the pre-Vista days, but the emergence into the mainstream segment has been a relatively recent development, so it comes as little surprise that pre-configured systems using the latest distro release wouldn't be as quick to market as a Windows PC.
Dell currently offers Ubuntu on its Inspiron 530N desktop, Inspiron 1525N laptop, and XPS M1330 laptop machines, and is expected to add its XPS M1530N and new Studio 15N laptops to the lineup by early August.
Social networking colossus MySpace has launched a Pan-Asian game development contest. Developers from China, India, Japan and Korea will square off against each other to develop the best social game. The contest stipulates that developers be legal residents of one of the four countries mentioned above and above the age of 18 years. And no development team should have more than three members. The contest will culminate at the Tokyo Game Show and the winning social game will be plastered all over MySpace after being translated into English, Korean, Chinese and Japanese, besides that, cash and other prizes will be up for grabs. Registrations are open right now.
IBM’s Q2 results paint an idyllic picture as the company not only surpassed financial pundits’ expectations but also defied the gloom that currently shrouds the US economy. The company reported sales worth $26.8 billion in the second quarter and announced a profit of $2.77 billion – up 22%. The better-than-predicted result prompted IBM to revise its financial guidance upwards and now expects to earn $8.75 per share this year. The company has developed a strong immunity against the economic downturn due to the highly consolidated nature of its business and global reach. Its IT service division that caters to disparate businesses remains sturdy as ever.
Few companies wouldn't mind switching places with Google, who posted a $1.25 billion profit, but when you're the undisputed champ of the online world (or if you're Dr. Evil), a measly billion dollars just isn't enough. Along with earnings per share of $3.92, the numbers aren't adding up to what analysts had predicted, leaving many to wonder if the online advertising market might be taking a turn for the worse. Google Cheif Economist Hal Varian sees it differently, saying:
"Consumers are being cautious in their online spending patterns just as they are in the offline spending. Despite the weakness in the economy, advertising seems to be hodling up remarkably well in most sectors. This illustrates the point that we've made several times that during periods of slow economic growth, the last thing an advertiser wants to cut is its spending on search-based advertising."
But Varians comments did little to assuage investors, nor did posting gross sales of $5.37 billion, marking a 39 percent improvement over one year ago and hitting analysts' estimates. The company's shares still managed to drop 10 percent to $479.70 in after-hours trading.
Given the overall growth and $12.7 billion in cash, is the panic justified?
Phoenix Technologies has announced that its Hyperspace firmware will serve as the inviolable bulwark of NEC laptops. Hyperspace is a Linux-based firmware which ensures that indispensable applications like anti-virus and firewall keep on running even if the main OS is dysfunctional. The firmware works in conjunction with Phoneix’s hypervisor called HyperCore.
The Hyperspace firmware is also capable of running other apps ala Asus’ Splashtop instant-on OS but the version running on NEC notebooks will only support core security apps.The introduction of Hyperspace on NEC’s notebooks will guarantee enhanced levels of security to its customers as the core security apps will be immune to even the most sophisticated malware attacks.
Ping any enthusiast forum about security software and you'll likely get conflicting recommendations. But one thing most advanced PC users seem to agree on is that there are better, faster alternatives than Symantec's Norton software. With the release of Norton Internet Security and Norton Antivirus 2009, Symantec is telling those users to take another look.
Helping them do that, Symantec today has gone live with public betas for both programs, which the company purports are "designed to set a new industry standard for speed and performance." Symantec calls it their "zero-impact" performances goal and says it has implemented more than 300 improvements running the gamut from scanning engine tweaks to a better user interface. Even the installation looks to waste no time, with Symantec touting a one-minute install time and "less than half the memory usage of the next leading competitor."
Why the sudden interest in speed? "Based on customer feedback, we viewed performance as the key feature for this release. Our goal is to create the fastest security product in the world, hands down," said Rowan Trollope, Senior VP of Consumer Products.
Find out what else is new with Norton 2009 after the jump.
Yikes! Google, the online monolith of all things, well, online, has made it incredibly easy for spammers to find out your real name. That means instead of seeing "Dear Sir" at the beginning of male organ enlargement solicitations, pill peddlers and every other unsavory seller can more easiy address you by name. Of course, if you're in the market for male miracle growth, then perhaps that's not such a bad thing.
In any event, a SecuriTeam blog outlines all the gritty details on how the exploit works, and to rub even more egg on Google's face, the blog chose to uncover the identity of admin at gmail dot com for its short tutorial. The bug works by entering a gmail address under the 'share this calendar' tab, adding them, and then saving. While the true identity isn't revealed at first, navigating back to the page is all it takes to see the person's real name. We haven't seen an exploit this stupidly simple since John Halderman discovered how to circumvent music CD copy protection just by holding down the shift key.
Oh, and feel to drop Drew a line. Not only did he give permission to post his Gmail info, but he did it with the full expectation that he'll find true love from a reader of these news posts.
This time last year, most of us would have predicted that Blu-ray and HD-DVD would still be going at it, but even with a victor now declared in the high definition format war, digital downloads and streaming content are ruling the roost, just as Michael Bay prophesized (minus the corporate conspiracy theory). Hoping to become king of the digital hill, Amazon.com is introducing a new online store of TV shows and movies.
What's that you say, Unbox isn't new? That's right, but this isn't Unbox. Amazon Video on Demand departs from the company's first attempt at offering a digital video download service, and this time around, customers will not be required to download special software to the watch programs they buy. And in another departure from Unbox, the new service will extend support beyond just Windows PCs and TiVo set-top boxes.
Find out what else Amazon Video on Demand brings to the table and when it will be available after the jump.