Software en Microsoft Sticks a Fork in Surface 2 and Windows RT <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/surface_2_4.jpg" alt="Surface 2" title="Surface 2" width="228" height="133" style="float: right;" />Windows RT becomes a footnote</h3> <p>Looking back through the years, it's pretty easy to pick out certain forgettable versions of Windows. You know the ones -- Windows ME, Windows Vista (before the first Service Pack), and now Windows RT, the most recent of the bunch. <strong>Microsoft has reportedly stopped producing Surface 2 tablets</strong>, which also means that the future of Windows RT is nonexistent at this point. You'll have to excuse us for not weeping.</p> <p>Microsoft has moved on, with the Surface Pro 3 contributing heavily to $1.1 billion in Surface revenue during Microsoft's most recent quarter, up 24 percent year-over-year. Surface Pro 3 tablets outsold Surface 2 during the quarter by a ratio of three to one, making it an easy decision for Microsoft to focus on its newest hardware and leave the old behind.</p> <p>"We are no longer manufacturing Surface 2; however, those still eager to buy Surface should visit Microsoft Retail Stores,, third-party retailers, and resellers for the latest availability," <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft told <em>The Verge</em></a>.</p> <p>Windows RT has been a dead OS walking almost from the moment it arrived. Microsoft already had the challenge of convincing users to adopt a brand new interface in Windows 8, but to also pile on a gimped version that couldn't run x86 programs was too much to ask. As a result, Microsoft ended up taking a <a href="">$900 million charge</a> on unsold Surface RT inventory a year and a half ago.</p> <p>Manufactures could still build devices running Windows RT if they really want to, but with even Microsoft giving up on the OS, there wouldn't be much point.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Hardware laptop microsoft notebook operating system OS Software surface 2 tablet windows rt News Wed, 28 Jan 2015 18:27:13 +0000 Paul Lilly 29329 at Former Opera Boss Just Built a New Browser Called Vivaldi <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/vivaldi.jpg" alt="Vivaldi" title="Vivaldi" width="228" height="182" style="float: right;" />New browser seeks feedback from power users</h3> <p>Jon von Tetzchner, co-founder and former CEO of Opera Software, is back in the browser game with a new startup. It's called Vivaldi Technologies, of which Tetzchner is also the co-founder and CEO of, and <strong>he's just made a technical preview of his Vivaldi browser available</strong> to the public. While still early in development, it's already fleshed out with features that may attract Opera fans, like mouse gestures and a speed dial interface for displaying your favorite tabs on the new tabs page.</p> <p>Why build a new browser? Tetzchner explains that he's disappointed with the direction Opera has taken in recent years, noting that it's no longer serving its community of users and contributors who helped build it.</p> <p>"So we came to a natural conclusion: We must make a new browser. A browser for ourselves and a browser for our friends. A browser that is fast, but also a browser that is rich in functionality, highly flexible and puts the user first. A browser that is made for you," Tetzchner explains.</p> <p>The build that's available is the first technical preview, and it's intended to show the direction the browser is headed towards. It's missing some key features and needs a lot more optimizing, though even in its early form, there's quite a bit to play with. You'll even find some new goodies, like being able to combine multiple sites into a single tab -- a feature that could come in handy if you're looking to organize similar sites.</p> <p>You can take notes, too, leaving yourself reminders of why you thought a site was worth bookmarking, or for any other reason.</p> <p>As this is a work in progress, the Vivaldi team is seeking feedback. If you're interested in kicking the browser's tires and (optionally) offering up your thoughts, <a href="" target="_blank">head here</a> and give it a download.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> browser Internet jon von tetzchner Opera Software Vivaldi News Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:53:43 +0000 Paul Lilly 29328 at Google Explains Decision to Leave 930 Million Android Handsets Unpatched <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/android_builds.jpg" alt="Android Builds" title="Android Builds" width="228" height="171" style="float: right;" />Don't expect a patch for WebView in pre-KitKat Android devices</h3> <p>If you own an Android handset running a version of the open source operating system that predates Android 4.3 KitKat, you won't be the recipient of a patch for WebView, a component of Android that developers use to display web content in their apps. WebView is also the backbone of Android's built-in browser in all versions up to KitKat. Nevertheless, <strong>Google won't spend time plugging up any security holes for WebView in older Android devices because it's "no longer practical."</strong></p> <p>That may seem like sour grapes to anyone who owns one of the more than 930 million pre-KitKat Android devices in the wild, especially since researchers recently discovered a new vulnerability in WebView. Regardless, once notified of the bug, Google made it clear that no patch was coming. More recently, the company offered up an explanation as to why.</p> <p>"Until recently we have also provided backports for the version of WebKit that is used by Webview on Android 4.3 and earlier," Andrew Ludwig, Google's lead engineer for Android security, <a href="" target="_blank">said in a Google+ post</a>. "But WebKit alone is over five million lines of code and hundreds of developers are adding thousands of new commits every month, so in some instances applying vulnerability patches to a 2+ year old branch of WebKit required changes to significant portions of the code and was no longer practical to do safely."</p> <p>In contrast, Ludwig says that one of the improvements in KitKat is that OEMs can quickly deliver updates of WebView provided by Google, and in Android 5.0 Lollipop, those updates are delivered through Google Play, so OEMs can wipe their hands of them completely.</p> <p>"With the advances in Android 4.4, the number of users that are potentially affected by legacy WebKit security issues is shrinking every day as more and more people upgrade or get new devices," Ludwig added.</p> <p>So, what can you do if you own an older Android device to avoid being a sitting duck? Ludwig recommends using an alternative browser, one that's updated through Google Play. There are various options, including Chrome (supported on Android 4.0 and up) and Firefox (supports Android 2.3 and up).</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="" target="_blank">Flickr (Travis Wise)</a></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> android Google mobile Security Software WebView News Mon, 26 Jan 2015 16:00:12 +0000 Paul Lilly 29311 at Build 9926 Arrives with Some More Pages from Windows’ Next Chapter <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Windows 10 Build 9926" title="Windows 10 Build 9926" width="228" height="195" style="float: right;" /></h3> <h3>Fast and slow rings receive January build simultaneously</h3> <p>A couple of days after its much talked about “Windows 10: The Next Chapter” event and over two months after the last official preview release, Microsoft on Friday <strong>rolled out a new Windows 10 Technical Preview build to the Windows Insider Program</strong>. A lot has changed from the last build, with the <a href="" target="_blank">January Technical Preview containing many new features and apps</a> (including some that are a bit too incipient to be of any real use at this stage).</p> <p>This latest build (<a href="" target="_blank">download</a>) includes: Cortana integration; Continuum interface with separate desktop and tablet modes; a new Start Menu that metamorphoses into Start Screen in tablet mode; a new Settings app that has, among other things, a Control Panel-esque homepage; and finally a more convenient way to connect to wireless audio and video devices via the new Action Center. Build 9926 isn’t short on new apps, either. They include new versions of Photos, Maps and the Windows Store (in beta; old version also present), as well as an all-new Xbox app.</p> <p>A lot of what is in this build can be seen in action in the following video walkthrough of Windows 10 features by Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group:</p> <p><iframe src="//" width="620" height="320" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> build 9926 january technical preview operating system OS Software windows 10 windows 10 technical preview News Mon, 26 Jan 2015 01:42:01 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29309 at After Windows, Google Discloses Three Zero Day Bugs in OS X <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Google Project Zero" title="Google Project Zero" width="228" height="95" style="float: right;" />Apple remains silent</h3> <p>Having recently <a href="" target="_blank">ruffled Microsoft’s feathers</a> by (responsibly) disclosing three unpatched vulnerabilities in Windows to the general public, Google’s Project Zero team has now turned its attention to the other side of the PC-Mac divide. The outfit recently spilled the beans on <strong>three zero-day vulnerabilities in Apple’s OS X operating system.<br /></strong></p> <p>It is not that Google’s bug hunters have trained their guns on OS X all of a sudden, as part of some sort of balancing act. The Project Zero team privately notified Apple about the three bugs in October and, as is its standard operating procedure, gave the latter 90 disclosure-free days in each case to come up with a fix. The 90-day responsible disclosure deadline in each of the three cases expired earlier this week and as a result the vulnerabilities are now out in the open. </p> <p>Unlike Microsoft, Apple hasn’t uttered a single word on the whole issue.&nbsp; This probably owes to the fact that the company has already fixed the bugs. According to <a href="" target="_blank">iMore</a>, all the vulnerabilities in question have already been fixed and the patches are part of OS X 10.10.2, which is currently in beta.</p> <p>Do you think Microsoft should take a leaf out of Apple’s book and <a href="" target="_blank">just concentrate on fixing bugs</a>, or do you agree with the former that Google’s refusal to extend the disclosure deadline “feels less like principles and more like a 'gotcha'”? Or are you one of those people who would like Google — a company that has chosen to <a href="" target="_blank">leave 60 percent of all Android users to twist in the wind</a> by refusing to fix a bug in the default Android browser — to focus on plugging holes in its own products with the same zeal with which it adheres to the disclosure deadlines?</p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> android apple bugs Google OS X project zero team responsible disclosure Software Windows zero day News Mon, 26 Jan 2015 01:28:34 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29308 at Microsoft Now Says Not All Lumia Phones Will Receive Windows 10 Update <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_10_phone.jpg" alt="Windows 10 Phone" title="Windows 10 Phone" width="228" height="203" style="float: right;" />Microsoft jumped the gun on Twitter</h3> <p>There's a lot of buzz and excitement surrounding Windows 10 at the moment, which is understandable since Microsoft just finished revealing a bunch of extra details at a scheduled press event. However, if you direct your attention to Microsoft's Lumia Conversations blog, there's a bit of a buzz-kill for Windows Phone owners. Specifically, <strong>Microsoft said that not all Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices will see an upgrade to Windows 10</strong>, even though it previously said they would.</p> <p>"We’re making it as easy as possible to get Windows 10. Windows 10 has been designed to run well on today’s Lumia phones. Like any upgrade to a new platform, not every phone will upgrade or support all possible Windows 10 features, and certain features and experiences will require more advanced future hardware," <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft said</a>. "Our goal is for the majority of the Lumia phones running Windows Phone 8 and 8.1 to join the Windows ecosystem along with an expected hundreds of millions of PCs, tablets and other devices running the next generation of Windows."</p> <p>Back in November of last year, Microsoft was saying something different on its Lumia Twitter account.</p> <p>"There will be Windows 10 upgrades for all Windows Phone devices. And will we will release new Windows 10 models in the future!," Microsoft tweeted, adding an smiley emoticon for good measure.</p> <p>It's not clear which devices won't see an upgrade to Windows 10, only that some won't make the cut. That's disappointing, both because Microsoft set a contrary expectation two months ago, and also because this isn't the first time owners of older Windows Phone owners have been left behind when a new OS came out.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> lumia microsoft mobile operating system OS smartphone Software windows 10 windows phone 8 News Fri, 23 Jan 2015 17:54:04 +0000 Paul Lilly 29304 at Everything We Know About Windows 10 <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_10_wall.jpg" alt="Windows 10 Wall" title="Windows 10 Wall" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Free, Surface Hub, Cortana and Hololens</h3> <p><strong>UPDATE: We've updated the story to include more info on Microsoft's PC gaming initiative and talked more about the tweaks to Windows 10.</strong></p> <p><strong>Microsoft held a Windows 10 press conference today and revealed a massive amount of details from the upcoming OS</strong> and much more. After many rumors, Microsoft confirmed that Windows 10 will be free to Windows 8, 7, and Windows Phone users...for the first year, at least. The company views it as an incentive for users to quickly jump on board to the Windows 10 platform. Microsoft believes this will solve one of its biggest OS issues for developers, and that is OS fragmentation. Beyond the initial year, however, Microsoft hasn’t revealed any pricing details for how much the OS will cost.</p> <p>Another rumor that Microsoft confirmed is that Windows 10 will support Cortana, which the company is pitching as the OS’s personal digital assistant. In short, the character Cortana is based off the character from the Halo games and is Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Siri. With Cortana, Microsoft is saying "she" is really tailored for the PC experience and you will be able to use voice commands to search for locally stored files or files on your One Drive account. These file types will include documents, pictures, music, and more. In the live demo that Microsoft gave on stage, Cortana was able to provide information on the weather, flight information, and more. What’s quite impressive about Cortana is that her voice sounds extremely realistic, much more so than either Apple’s or Google’s equivalents. Microsoft is also saying that Cortana will be able to get smarter and learn about you. For instance, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore asked her what she thinks the Super Bowl score will be. Knowing that Joe is from Seattle, she jokingly said that the Seattle Seahawks would win in dominating fashion. If you’re a little creeped out by this, you’ll be able to clear some of her history about you. She will also be able to tell you more about any particular web page you’re browsing and you’ll be able to right-click on words to get definitions and more.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/windows_10_project_spartan.jpg" alt="Project Spartan" title="Project Spartan" width="620" height="349" /></p> <p>To go along with Cortana, Microsoft is also creating a new browser. Codenamed Project Spartan, Microsoft's new browser will use a new rendering engine and will support note taking with either a stylus or a person's finger. Project Spartan will also let you click on words/phrases and leave comments. You'll then be able to share pages with your comments on them on the various social media outlets. Project Spartan will also enable saving web pages to view offline, much like the Get Pocket app.</p> <p>Microsoft wants to push gaming with Windows 10. "We will treat gaming on Windows 10 with as much passion as on Xbox One," said Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft's Xbox division. In addition to supporting DirectX 12, which the company vaguely stated will run up to 50 percent faster than DX11 equivalents, the company announced that users will be able to stream Xbox One games to any Windows 10 PC over a local network. This includes Windows 10 tablets/convertibles. Currently, the build that the company is using only supports 30fps/720p streaming, but Microsoft hopes to up that to 60fps/1080p by the offical release date of Windows 10.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/windows_10_xbox_one.jpg" alt="Windows 10 Xbox One" title="Windows 10 Xbox One" width="620" height="349" /></p> <p>Microsoft also revealed the Xbox app, which will allow you to capture and record the last 30 seconds of gameplay in any PC game, much like Nvidia’s ShadowPlay feature. This includes games from Steam, Uplay, or Origin. In addition, you’ll be able to cut and trim the beginning and ends of clips and share them with your Xbox Live friends on the Xbox app. When we asked if there were plans to integrate the Xbox friends list with Steam’s friends library, the company said it certainly wasn’t against it and said it was in talks with Valve.</p> <p>Currently, the software only records the last 30 seconds of gameplay, but when we asked if there were plans to be able to up the time limit, the company said that was possibility down the road.</p> <p>Microsoft also announced that Fable Legends would no longer be Xbox-exclusive, and will come to PCs. Even better, PC gamers and Xbox One owners will be able to play together online. This is a start of a strategy in which Microsoft envisions cross-platform play. The company confirmed that Xbox achievements will be making their way to PC titles as well.&nbsp;</p> <p>Another sector that Microsoft said it was interested in improving in the PC gaming space pertains to battery life. With gaming laptops becoming more popular, Microsoft says it's working on optimizing the OS for gaming battery life.&nbsp;</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/windows_10_surface_hub.jpg" alt="Windows 10 Surface Hub" title="Windows 10 Surface Hub" width="620" height="349" /></p> <p>Beyond the gaming stuff, Microsoft went over a multitude of other OS updates. Windows 10 will work across a wide variety of devices including phones, tablets, desktops and laptops, and would even eventually come to the Xbox One in some form. Power desktop users worrying that their OS will be compromised with a mobile OS (a la Metro) needn't worry, because the Start button is indeed back. There is, however, a tablet mode where the start button opens up and shows many more touch-friendly icons, but unlike Metro which was quite in-your-face, users can ignore this altogether if they so desired. Other features include the melding of the control panel and settings menus. The company said looking at the data, users were confused by which tool did what.</p> <p>One of the biggest issues with current versions of Windows is 4K scaling. Everything either looks too tiny, or certain programs aren't optimized for the resolution and look blurry. Microsoft said it is working hard to solve this issue both internally and with third-party developers. Considering that 4K seems to be a mere stepping stone for UHD panels at this point, Microsoft also told us that Windows 10 will support 8K. &nbsp;</p> <p>The company's various software suites will be getting updates as well. Outlook will be getting Microsoft's popular ribbon tool, allowing you to properly compose and format letters from your email client. Power Point will support hardware acceleration for fancier transitions. Microsoft is also introducing a new photo-organizing tool, which will collect your images and categorize them by location and time. This photo tool can also enhance images automatically to remove red-eye, and delete duplicate images.&nbsp;</p> <p>The company also announced Surface Hub, which is a Windows 10 PC integrated into an 80-inch 4K TV with a mic, cameras, and touch screen. Using it, you'll be able to use a stylus to draw on PowerPoint presentations, etc. The Hub is being designed for enterprise in mind and will cater to professionals who use Skype video conferencing.</p> <p>Microsoft’s last announcement was arguably the most exciting: Hololens. Many suspected that Microsoft would release a head-mounted display for VR to compete with Oculus Rift/Project Morpheus, however the company opted to go the augmented reality route. Hololens is a head-mounted display, but unlike VR headsets, the Hololens grants you full vision of your surrounding with a clear glass overlay in front of your eyes. In the glass, you’ll have a video feed that beams on to it in real time. The end result is you looking at virtual objects lying around your real living room space. Furthermore, you’ll be able to use the company’s new HoloStudio program to easily build 3D models with your hands. Microsoft is calling it the best print preview for 3D printing out there.</p> <p><img src="/files/u69/windows_10_vr.jpg" alt="Windows 10 VR" title="Windows 10 VR" width="620" height="384" /></p> <p>We got a chance to try the headset and can say we walked away incredibly impressed. Expect a more detailed write-up on it soon. There’s still a lot that we don’t know. For instance, we don’t know how it will interact with Windows 10 PCs considering it is it’s own dedicated, wireless device. We will say that we were pleasantly surprised by it and like VR, it has the potential to be transformative if it’s pulled off right. While no release date was given, Microsoft told us that it would come out during the Windows 10 launch timeframe.</p> <p>When is Windows 10 releasing? The company says it is aiming for this year. When we asked them if it would be coming out during Q4, Microsoft said it hopes to release before then, but gave no concrete date or time frame.</p> <p>What did you think of Microsoft’s various announcements? Let us know in the comments below.</p> cortana Hololens microsoft operating system OS Software windows 10 News Thu, 22 Jan 2015 05:05:55 +0000 Jimmy Thang 29294 at Microsoft to Offer Windows 10 as Free Upgrade to Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 Users <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/windows_10_3.jpg" alt="Windows 10" title="Windows 10" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />Can't beat the price!</h3> <p>Stop whatever it is you're doing and make a fist. Make sure there isn't a living creature within arm's length, and when the coast is clear, pump your fist in the air in celebration. What are we celebrating? The fact that <strong>Microsoft today confirmed plans to make Windows 10 a free upgrade for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 users!</strong> This is exactly the type of announcement we were hoping for, but didn't really think would happen.</p> <p>Yes, there were rumors that Windows 9 would be a free upgrade, most of which suggested the free upgrade would apply to Windows 8/8.1 only. And then Microsoft did something nobody saw coming -- it skipped over Windows 9 and announced Windows 10, giving itself an out to the rumors that Windows 9 would be free. Shenanigans, we thought. And we were wrong.</p> <p>Microsoft is holding a press event today in which it's revealing all kinds of details about Windows 10 and related hardware, including confirmation that Cortana is headed to the desktop. We'll have plenty of coverage once things wrap up, but in the meantime, we wanted to give you heads up about Windows 10.</p> <p>This is a bold move by Microsoft, and of course a welcome one by consumers. The free upgrade will be available for the first year, giving consumers plenty of time to make the transition. It should also mean that Windows 10's market share will eclipse that of Windows 8/8.1 in short order.</p> <p>Stay tuned folks, we'll have more to come!</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> microsoft operating system OS Software windows 10 News Wed, 21 Jan 2015 18:31:43 +0000 Paul Lilly 29291 at Theme Hospital Now Free on Origin for a Limited Time <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/theme_hospital.jpg" alt="Theme Hospital" title="Theme Hospital" width="228" height="128" style="float: right;" />The return of a classic</h3> <p>Patience is not only a virtue, it can save you cash as well. For example, if you held off on purchasing Theme Hospital when it came out in early 1997 in hopes that the price would come down, you can stop waiting -- <strong>Electronic Arts is giving Theme Hospital (Standard Edition) away for free via Origin</strong>, available for a limited time. You can then pocket the $5 you saved and apply it towards your health insurance deductible the next time you need to visit the doctor.</p> <p>In case you missed it the first time around, Theme Hospital is a business simulation game, though not nearly as serious as that might sound.</p> <p>"The world of Theme Hospital is home to dozens of goofy, fictional diseases. Some humans are afflicted with Bloaty Head, causing their noggins to triple in size; others suffer from King Complex, a psychological disorder that infects its victims with the irresistible desire to impersonate Elvis Presley. All of these sick people need help – that’s where you come in," the game's description reads.</p> <p>It's your job to plan and create a facility for all these patients, deciding on how many rooms are needed, as well as determine diagnosis and treatment operations. You'll have to hire staff members -- doctors, nurses, receptionists, and handymen -- and keep them happy.</p> <p>If that sounds like a good time, you can <a href="" target="_blank">grab the game here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Electronic Arts games origin Software theme hospital News Wed, 21 Jan 2015 17:57:51 +0000 Paul Lilly 29289 at Oracle Plugs 167 Critical Security Holes Pertaining to Hundreds of Products <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/oracle_plane.jpg" alt="Oracle Plane" title="Oracle Plane" width="228" height="163" style="float: right;" />Fixes for vulnerabilities in 48 different products</h3> <p><strong>Oracle today rolled out a Critical Patch Update for the month of January 2015,</strong> which contains fixes for 167 vulnerabilities found in hundreds of the company's products. The most severe of these received a score of 10.0 on the Common Vulnerability Scoring System (CVSS), the highest score available -- they pertain to Fujitsu M10-1 of Oracle Sun Systems Products Suite, Java SE of Oracle Java SE, M10-4 of Oracle Sun Systems Products Suite, and M10-4S Servers of Oracle Sun Systems Products Suite.</p> <p>"Some of the vulnerabilities addressed in this Critical Patch Update affect multiple products. Due to the threat posed by a successful attack, Oracle strongly recommends that customers apply Critical Patch Update fixes as soon as possible," Oracle stated in a <a href="" target="_blank">pre-release announcement</a>.</p> <p>Of the 19 security fixes for Java SE, 14 of the vulnerabilities may be remotely exploitable without authentication, meaning they can be exploited over a network without the need for a username and password, Oracle said. And of the 29 security fixes for Sun Systems Products Suite, the same goes for 10 of them.</p> <p>However, it was Fusion Middleware that received the most attention. Oracle included 35 new security fixes for Fusion Middleware, 28 of which may be remotely exploitable without authentication.</p> <p>Image Credit: <a href="" target="_blank">Flickr (D. Miller)</a></p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> Java oracle patch Security Software sun News Tue, 20 Jan 2015 17:56:55 +0000 Paul Lilly 29282 at Steam Client Update Adds Broadcasting Support and FPS Overlay <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/steam_watch_game.jpg" alt="Steam Client" title="Steam Client" width="228" height="187" style="float: right;" />Fancy new features graduate from beta</h3> <p>In case you need any added incentive to hop on Steam and play games, there's a <strong>Steam client update available that adds a few new features</strong> and a bunch of bug fixes. One of the big additions is that of Steam Broadcasting, support for which was first introduced to beta client users last month -- now it's available to the general public, allowing you to broadcast your gameplay for others to watch.</p> <p>You can invite a friend to watch your gameplay, and likewise, if a buddy is having a tough time getting through a level that you've already beat, you can watch what they're doing and offer pointers.</p> <p>With regards to privacy, it's up to you who gets to watch your gameplay. The first time a friend asks to watch your game, you'll be asked to choose a privacy setting consisting of:</p> <ul> <li>Only friends that I invite</li> <li>Friends can request to watch my games</li> <li>Friends can watch my games</li> <li>Anyone can watch my games</li> </ul> <p>You can find more information about the Broadcast feature in a related <a href="" target="_blank">FAQ</a>.</p> <p>Moving on, Valve also added the frames-per-second overlay to the regular client, another feature that had previously been available to beta client users. This one's self explanatory, though it's worth mentioning that it might negate the need for third party programs like FRAPS, at least for those who are only interested in viewing FPS performance.</p> <p>Most everything else included in the update pertain to bug fixes and performance enhancements, including tweaks to the general client, Big Picture mode, in-home streaming, Linux, and Steam OS. You can <a href="" target="_blank">view them all here</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> broadcasting fps overlay games Software Steam Valve News Tue, 20 Jan 2015 13:22:35 +0000 Paul Lilly 29279 at Decade Long World of Warcraft Subscribers to Receive Cool Statue <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/wow_statue.jpg" alt="WoW Statue" title="WoW Statue" width="228" height="241" style="float: right;" />Groovy gift for 10-year WoW vets</h3> <p>Our hats are off to anyone who has stuck around with World of Warcraft since the beginning. That takes some serious commitment, and as a token of its appreciation, <strong>Blizzard is giving away a rather neat looking statue to its most loyal WoW players, the ones who have been around for 10 years</strong>. Not just off and on players, either -- eligible recipients will have maintained an active subscription for a decade.</p> <p>"These gifts have been sent to the physical address associated with eligible accounts. To be eligible for this gift, a player must have created a World of Warcraft account within 60 days of the game launching in the NA or EU regions, and maintained their subscription or game time for all ten years," Blizzard stated in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a>.</p> <p>The statue won't bring back a significant other who might have bailed in year three after growing tired of always being second fiddle to an MMORPG, but hey, it looks neat. We know this because <a href="" target="_blank"> user Smitti</a> posted a <a href="" target="_blank">picture of the statue</a> he received, which would fit right in with any geek's gaming collection. Of course, one look at the comments section puts it into depressing perspective though.</p> <p>"$15/month x 12mo. x 10 years = $1,800... worth it," an <em>Imgur</em> user commented.</p> <p>It will be interesting to see how much these suckers end up selling for on eBay.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> games MMORPG Software statue world of warcraft wow News Mon, 19 Jan 2015 17:24:35 +0000 Paul Lilly 29277 at Watchdog Accuses China of Hacking Outlook Over the Weekend <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="/files/u69/email_hack_china.jpg" alt="Email Hack in China" title="Email Hack in China" width="228" height="197" style="float: right;" />More overseas hacking shenanigans</h3> <p>Weeks after Google's Gmail service was blocked in China, <strong>Microsoft's Outlook email service was the target of a cyberattack over the weekend</strong>, with fingers once again pointing to Chinese authorities. Online censorship watchdog <em></em> said that China initiated what's known as a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack, affecting people using email clients like Outlook, Mozilla's Thunderbird, and smartphone apps using the SMTP and IMAP protocols.</p> <p>Man-in-the-middle attacks essentially entail hijacking an online connection. The culprit then monitors communication and/or alters the transmission. He or she can also redirect users to malicious websites when they think they're headed towards a legitimate portal.</p> <p>"This attack comes within a month of the complete blocking of Gmail (which is still entirely inaccessible). Because of the similarity between this attack and previous, recent MITM attacks in China (on Google, Yahoo and Apple), we once again suspect that Lu Wei and the Cyberspace Administration of China have orchestrated this attack or have willingly allowed the attack to happen," <em></em> stated in a <a href="" target="_blank">blog post</a>. "If our accusation is correct, this new attack signals that the Chinese authorities are intent on further cracking down on communication methods that they cannot readily monitor."</p> <p>While IMAP and SMTP for Outlook were subject to a MITM attack, the web interfaces at and were both unaffected, the watchdog organization said. Nevertheless, <em></em> still considered it "especially devious" because the pop-up warning messages that people receive in email clients are often vague in nature, prompting users to quickly click through them while attributing the messages to benign network issues.</p> <p><em>Follow Paul on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a>, <a href="!/paul_b_lilly" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, and <a href="" target="_blank">Facebook</a></em></p> china email Gmail hacking microsoft Outlook Privacy Security Software News Mon, 19 Jan 2015 16:14:14 +0000 Paul Lilly 29274 at January Surface Pro Series Firmware Updates Contain Many Important Fixes <!--paging_filter--><h3><img src="" alt="Surface Pro 3" title="Surface Pro 3" width="228" height="151" style="float: right;" />Most updates are aimed at Surface Pro 3</h3> <p>Microsoft released <strong>new firmware updates for its Surface Pro 3, Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro tablets</strong> on Thursday. A quick comparison of the latest change notes on each tablet’s respective update history page shows that it is the Surface Pro 3 that has received the most love this time around, with Microsoft making available updated drivers for the tablet’s onboard Intel HD graphics, Wireless Network Controller, Bluetooth, Surface Home Button, and more.</p> <p>Here’s a model-wise list of changes, as published on the different <a href="" target="_blank">Surface Pro update history pages</a>:</p> <p>Surface Pro 3:</p> <ul> <li>Surface Pro UEFI update (v3.11.450.0) adds support for updated HD Graphics Family driver.</li> <li>HD Graphics Family driver update (v10.18.14.4029) enhances display stability and performance, improves user experience when using Miracast adapters. Improves compatibility with DisplayPort monitors and daisy chaining.</li> <li>Wireless Network Controller and Bluetooth driver update (v15.68.3073.151) addresses connectivity issues while Hyper-V is enabled. Adds an advanced feature to control the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz band preference.</li> <li>Surface Home Button driver update (v2.0.1179.0) ensures compatibility with the Surface Hub app.</li> <li>Microsoft Docking Station Audio Device driver update (v1.31.35.7) improves the user experience while using the Surface Pro 3 Docking Station so that sound is available when a speaker is not connected to the docking station.</li> </ul> <p>Surface Pro 2:</p> <ul> <li>Surface Pro UEFI update (v2.05.0150) improves the PXE boot experience with the 1 gigabit Surface Ethernet Adapter and further enhances the system security.</li> <li>HD Graphics Family driver update (v10.18.14.4029) enhances display stability and performance, improves user experience when using Miracast adapters. Improves compatibility with DisplayPort monitors and daisy chaining.</li> </ul> <p>Surface Pro</p> <ul> <li>UEFI update (v1.7.50) further enhances the system security.</li> </ul> <p>If you are a Surface Pro 3 owner and the above list is a bit too terse for your liking, a more detailed change log is available from the <a href="" target="_blank">Surface for IT Pros blog</a>.</p> <p><em>Follow Pulkit on <a href="" target="_blank">Google+</a></em></p> Bluetooth Drivers graphics driver Software surface home button surface pro 2 surface pro 3 surface pro firmware update News Mon, 19 Jan 2015 04:23:22 +0000 Pulkit Chandna 29269 at How to Use Adobe Photoshop <!--paging_filter--><p><span style="font-weight: bold;">Not sure where to start in Photoshop? Here's a crash course on the basics</span></p> <p>Photoshop is a powerful application that can be used for a variety of purposes, from editing photos or other images to graphic design and 3D art to light videography work. But Photoshop's power and versatility can also make it incredibly intimidating. The program’s main window is strewn with 20 different tools plus a ton of filter effects and image layers to top it all off. While Photoshop may be as understandable as Sanskrit to a novice, we’re going to show you how to get started with the basics.</p> <p><strong>Getting Started</strong></p> <p><strong><img src="/files/u170397/interface.jpg" width="620" height="341" /><br /></strong></p> <p>There’s a lot going on when you first launch Photoshop, but it’s not as incomprehensible as you think. On the left side, you’ll find the program's tools. You'll use these to manipulate your work, such as resizing and flipping images, cloning pixels, and drawing shapes. The right side, meanwhile, holds a quick menu to access the image adjustments; directly below that is your layer palette.</p> <h3><strong>Working in layers</strong></h3> <p><img src="/files/u170397/layers.jpg" width="135" height="351" style="float: left; margin: 10px;" />One of the things that makes Photoshop such a powerful image editor is the ability to stack layers on top of each other. For example, you might want to insert a new graphic into one layer, while another darkens a small portion of the image, and yet another adds more color saturation. Additonally, you can set each layer’s opacity and blend them altogether with effects. But more importantly, working in layers means you can isolate any changes you make to pixels in a that particular layer without affecting the whole image. So, every image you edit could easily have 10 or more layers. Professional editors will often create an image with 25 or more layers.</p> <p>The layers palette is located on the bottom-right of your screen; hit Control + J to create a new one. Think of your layers as a stack of paper. Make sure to organize each one accordingly, to avoid hidden elements. There are also plenty of ways to blend layers together, but we’ll come back to that later.</p> <h3><strong>All the filters</strong></h3> <p><strong><img src="/files/u170397/filters.jpg" width="620" height="349" /><br /></strong></p> <p>Filters are the second, if not the most, instrumental part of Photoshop. Unlike those color-shading Instagram filters, these will let you do some truly cool things with your images such as distorting the whole frame, adding various blur effects, and turning the image into a pixelated jumble—on purpose!</p> <p>There’s a lot to dig into here, so take yoru time and play around for awhile in the filters menu.</p> <p>On the next page, we're going over pratically every tool in Photoshop</p> <hr /> <h3><strong>Tools the Trade </strong></h3> <p><img src="/files/u170397/tools.jpg" width="100" height="546" style="margin: 10px; float: right;" />See that long tray on the left? (Pictured here to the right) That’s your tool set. It might look overwhelming, but it’s actually well organized into different sections. The top section has tools to select and move around parts of the images. One step down is holds brushes to add or remove elements of the image. Below that are tools to add text, shapes, and lines. Bringing up the bottom are navigation instruments and color swatches.</p> <p>We’re not going over every little tool but here are most them. Each is important in its own right.</p> <h3><strong>Transformative tools</strong></h3> <ul> <li><strong>Move Tool (V):</strong> This essentially allows you to move around objects with a simple click-and-drag. To move something, it has to be in an unlocked layer that’s also not the background layer.</li> <li><strong>Transform (T):</strong> Though this isn’t featured as part of Photoshop’s main menu, it’s an indispensable tool that lets you change the size of your image and rotate it.</li> </ul> <h3><strong>Selection Tools</strong></h3> <p>Selection tools are the key to creating a great image. But before we start delineating the various tools, there are a couple of keyboard commands you should know.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Shift + Left Click:</strong> Add to your current selection.</li> <li><strong>Alt + Left Click:</strong> Conversely, this shortcut will subtract from your current selection. </li> <li><strong>Control + D:</strong> one of the most important key combinations you should use to deselect Control + Shift + D: refocus on your last selection.</li> <li><strong>Shift + Control + I:</strong> Inverse selection. A neat trick is to isolate an object from its flat background by selecting every pixel around it and then hitting Control + I, so you have a perfect outline around your subject.</li> <li><strong>Control + D:</strong> Deselect everything.</li> </ul> <p>Now, with further ado, all of the selection tools.</p> <p><img src="/files/u170397/selection.jpg" width="350" height="421" style="float: left; margin: 10px 20px;" /></p> <ul> <li><strong>Marquee tool (M):</strong> This tool lets you highlight rectangular and circular parts of your canvas. Hitting the shift key while you’re moving the cursor will also cause this selection tool to morph into a perfectly square or round shape.</li> <li><strong>Lasso (L):</strong> The Lasso tool is a free-form selection tool that lets you draw lines over the image. When using the regular lasso option, you can create curved lines as long as you’re holding down the mouse button. Once you let go, it completes the shape with a straight line that connects with your starting point. Alternatively, there’s also the Polygonal Tasso Tool, which sketches out only straight lines. Lastly, the Magnetic Lasso will automatically latch on to edges.</li> <li><strong>Magic Wand (W):</strong> One of the easiest selection tools to use because it will select the area you click on as well as any similar pixels around that spot. It can be further fine-tuned by decreasing the tolerance, or if you want to select more of the area, increasing the tolerance.</li> <li><strong>Crop Tool (C):</strong> As the name suggests, this will crop your images. You can either click and drag the exact framing you want or click on the image to create a box over it, which you further adjust by shrinking the sides. Holding down shift while using either method will also preserve the image’s original aspect ratio.</li> <li><strong>Eye Dropper (I):</strong> Want to re-create the same color from part of the image? You can! Move the tip of this tool to the exact pixel you want to copy.</li> </ul> <h3><strong>Fixer-uppers </strong></h3> <p><strong><img src="/files/u170397/brush.jpg" width="620" height="338" /><br /></strong></p> <p>The next set of tools is a more focused on editing pixels and adding spot-on images. Like the Selection tools, there are a few nuances to these tools that it really helps to know. For example, a brush can have a soft head, which means its effect will gradually fade away on the edges rather than coming to a hard stop. Also, keep in mind you can change the overall size of your brush as well as its shape.</p> <ul> <li><strong>Healing Brush (J):</strong> This brush lets you fix small imperfections in your images such as acne or wrinkles, spots of dust, and other small fixes.<img src="/files/u170397/clone_tool.jpg" width="620" height="414" /></li> <li><strong>Clone Stamp Tool (S):</strong> Similar to the healing brush, this tool effectively clones an area. This could be useful for removing a cloud in an otherwise clear blue sky. To use the tool, you'll first have to press the Alt key and click on the area of pixels you want to replicate. After that you can just dab the clone tool on the part of the image you want to fix.</li> <li><strong>History Brush (Y):</strong> Made a mistake? No sweat, this brush lets you paint back in time. For example, if you made the entire picture darker, you could use this brush to selectively peel back your last edit in certain spots. </li> <li><strong>Blur/Sharpen/Smudge:</strong> This is one of Photoshop’s three-part editing tools. Blur rubs out details, making them fuzzier, and soften textures. Conversely, the sharpening tool accentuates the details, making them crisper. Smudge is a interesting tool because it melds pixels together, which makes it almost completey useless for real-life photos. However, the smudge tool might be more applicable for blending colors in art, or perhaps creating wisps of smoke.</li> <li><strong>Gradient Tool (G):</strong> Use the Gradient Tool to create (you guessed it) gradients of color. Once the tool is selected, click and drag the resulting line in the direction you want the color shift to go in. But if you want to mix in more than one color, use the drop-down menu bar toward the top of the screen. This lets you set up complex gradients that span multiple colors; you can also set the gradient pattern.<img src="" width="620" height="414" /></li> <li><strong>Burn/Dodge/Sponge Tools (O):</strong> Another trifecta of editing tools. Burn and dodge will affect the lighting in your image, adding more shadows or more light, respectively. The sponge tool, on the other hand, can be used to change the saturation in your image, making colors richer or grayer.</li> <li><strong>Eraser:</strong> Last but not least, the eraser lets you clean up any nasty edges or mistakes in your images. If you’re working with layers, a sure-fire tip is to use this tool with a soft brush to smooth out the edges between each element of the image.</li> </ul> <h3><strong>Image elements</strong></h3> <ul> <li><strong>Pen Tool (P):</strong> Usually more useful for artists sketching up vector graphics and other art, the pen allows the users to draw freeform and straight lines.</li> <li><strong>Text Tool (T):</strong> Who says Photoshop is only about images? Add some words to the picture.</li> <li><strong>Shapes tool (U):</strong> Add in an assortment of shapes, including rectangles with rounded or sharp sides, circles of all proportions, polygons, lines again, and other custom shapes.</li> </ul> <h3><strong>Navigation tools</strong></h3> <ul> <li><strong>Hand Tool (H):</strong> Giving you a hand getting around the frame, just click and drag to explore the canvas if you’re viewing the image at a high magnification.</li> <li><strong>Zoom Tool (Z):</strong> Speaking of magnification, this is an indispensable part of working in Photoshop. A regular click will zoom into the image, whereas holding Alt while hitting the mouse button will zoom out. With either option you can also hold down the mouse button for a smoother pull and push zoom.</li> </ul> <h3><strong>Shades of the rainbow</strong></h3> <p><strong><img src="/files/u170397/color_menu.jpg" width="620" height="475" /><br /></strong></p> <p>Picking colors adds a whole other subset of options. Once you hit your color swatches on the lower-left of a screen, a new popup window will show an entire color gamut for you to choose from. In the image above, you see a large box that displays red in a wide array of intensities, from washed-out white in the upper-left, plain old black in the bottom-left, and the brightest version in the upper-right.</p> <p>Next to this, there’s also a bar showing all the different hues to chose from. Of course, you can also manually dial in exactly what color you want to work with.</p> <h3><strong>History</strong></h3> <p>The History palette is a magical time machine located in the upper-right of the Photoshop interface. Photoshop records every little move you make; navigating to this small menu allows you to you jump back in time and revert to any changes you made in the past.</p> <p>Read on to see a few things you can do with Photoshop.</p> <hr /> <p>Now that we’ve gotten though the tools, we’re going to put everything we’ve learned to good use and start photoshopping some images.</p> <h3>A basic Photoshop</h3> <p><img src="/files/u170397/photoshopped.jpg" width="620" height="411" /></p> <p>One of the most basic things you can do with Photoshop is joining together two images. Let's start with creating a selection around the object we want to shop into our main image.</p> <ol> <li>Instead of using any old Marquee Tool, we’re going to use the Pen Tool (P), which we'll use to draw a path around the object.<img src="" width="620" height="470" /></li> <li>After the shape is complete, press the A key to bring up the Direct Selection Tool. Click on the image and select Make Selection in the contextual menu. </li> <li>This will create the selection; now, hit the copy shortcut (Control + C).</li> <li>Next up, lets bring up our main image, then paste (Control + V) the object into it.<img src="/files/u170397/photoshop.jpg" width="620" height="341" /></li> <li>Because it’s been added in as a new layer, we can easily move it around.</li> <li>Lastly, we’re going to clean up any harsh edges using a soft-brushed eraser.</li> </ol> <h3>Create a toy box image</h3> <p><img src="/files/u170397/final_tilt_shift.jpg" width="620" height="414" /></p> <p>One of the other cool things you can do simply in Photoshop is simulate the toy box effect typically created with a very expensive tilt-shift lens. This little trick lets you turn an image of the real world into a miniature toy set. Images shot from a tall building or some other elevation down onto a subject area work best. Once you've got your image, here's how to do it in a few simple steps.</p> <ol> <li>After you’ve opened your image, go to Filter &gt; Blur Gallery &gt; Tilt-Shift</li> <li>This brings up a new overlay of three bars, as well as a round center point on your image. </li> <li>This center point should be position over the subject you want to keep in focus. You can also tweak the miniature distortion and blur levels with the settings on the side. To orient the effect, you can rotate the bars or adjust the spacing between them. Once you’ve picked a pleasing effect, go ahead and click OK.</li> </ol> <p><img src="" width="620" height="341" /></p> <p>These next few steps are for an extra bit of gloss, but they’ll make your images pop.</p> <ol> <li>For a bit of vignetting fakery, you could add a new fill layer (found under the Layer menu). Make sure to pick a solid color, preferably black.</li> <li>This will in turn cover your image with a completely opaque layer of black paint, but don’t fret. Simply hover over to the layer’s opacity and bring it down.</li> <li>Next, use the eraser tool with a large soft brush and erase any spots you want to be bright in the final image. <p><img src="" width="620" height="341" /></p> </li> <li>Lastly, go to the adjustments menu and shake up some of the brightness and saturation to really make the image pop.</li> <li>Voilà! You have a great-looking (but fake) miniature photo</li> </ol> <h3>But wait there's more</h3> <p>We’ve barely scratched the surface of all the power behind Photoshop. There's much more that you can do with the program, such as generating vector art and adding selective color to your photos, for a few examples. But this was only a crash course to give you a starting point for all you great projects. Now, get photoshopping!</p> Adobe crash course how to use image editing Media Applications photoshop post processing Software Software Features Wed, 14 Jan 2015 22:49:29 +0000 Kevin Lee 28811 at