We're only a week away from E3, and the news faucet has tapered off to a mere drip. And yet, despite the drop-off in quantity, Monday has provided us with unprecedented quality. In today's Roundup, there lurks a reason for big-time excitement, as well as another. Let's just say that for some of you, this week may very well be more exciting than E3. No, you're not hearing things; that's the "Read More" link beckoning.
It's hard not to feel violated at the gas pump every time you fill you up your tank, and relief doesn't appear to be in sight. That is, unless you're a small business owner. As part of Microsoft's Bump the Slump sweepstakes, the multi-billion dollar corporation plans to give away 5,000 gallons of gas in order to promote its various software applications. Huh?
According to Eric Ligman, Microsoft US Senior Manager of Small Business Community Engagement (don't waste any space on that business card), the sweepstakes is about "saving money," and while that's hard, nay, impossible to do at the pump, Microsoft's Bump the Slump website claims that its bevy of software can add up to big savings. For example, "Windows Vista can save you as much as $70.77 in energy costs per PC per year compared to a typical PC not running Vista. It saves you money and lets you give Earth a little hug."
The promotion will cost Microsoft about $20,000, with the winner expected to be drawn on July 21, 2008. To be eligible, entrants must be 18+ years old and a legal resident of the 50 United States, own a small business in the U.S., and have between two and 100 employees. And when it's over, you can add Microsoft to a list which includes Mexican food, Celine Dion, baked beans, and other things known to give gas.
The dreaded day has come and gone. June 30th 2008 marked the first milestone in Microsoft’s plan to euthanize our beloved OS. Windows XP leaves us with more of a bang than a whimper, and considerably more street credibility than it afforded at launch. Here at Maximum PC we want to take you down the nostalgic path of Windows XP one last time. A path lovingly paved for us over the years with hundreds of patches and countless upgrades.
Hit the jump and step inside for one last farewell to an old friend and to see why the future doesn’t look so bad.
The battle between Adobe's Flash format and Microsoft's competing Silverlight software to deliver rich internet applications (RIAs, not to be confused with the RIAA, an entirely different beast in every sense of the word) to your browser may come down to which technology search engines are better able to index. Adobe recently announced a new initiative with Google and Yahoo towards making the Flash file format (SWF) more easily visible to each site's respective spiders, leaving Microsoft noticeably missing from the group pow-wow.
But one company is taking notice of Microsoft. Find out who it is and what they want after the jump.
This holiday weekend many of you will be kicking back with a cold one, firing up the grill, spectating your local fireworks display, and perhaps catching up on a videogame or two when the festivities all come to an end. But while you're busy unwinding, hackers continue to look for ways to distribute malicious code and exploit vulnerabilities. Don't let what's supposed to be a relaxing weekend turn into a hair-pulling experience because you were caught off guard.
Update to Opera 9.5.1
Opera Software unveiled version 9.5 of its flagship browser less than a month ago, and the first major update is now available. Patching Opera to version 9.5.1 addresses several bugs and stability issues, and at least one "highly critical" vulnerability that could be used to execute arbitrary code. And it's not just Windows users that should install the update, but Mac OS X and Linux lovers too. Areas addressed in the update include:
Display and Scripting
View the 9.5.1 changelog for a detailed list of changes, and then hit the jump to see why you should be extra cautious about using the VLC Media Player.
Google’s Street View service has already hit a roadblock in the UK, even before its launch across the Atlantic. Google would be hoping that this is just a hurdle and not a dead end for Street View’s UK version. Street View is an extension of Google’s navigational and mapping services that features photographs of locations on Google Maps and Google Earth.
A U.K rights organization, Privacy International, believes that the service violates people’s right to privacy as Street View photographs freely feature passers-by, that too, without their consent. The organization has been in constant touch with Google over the issue but seems unsatisfied with the answers it has received thus far. Google has tried to placate Privacy International with promises of a new technology - which it claims is under trial – that can identify human faces and blur them.
However, every bit the cantankerous and incredulous social rights organizations, Privacy International has asked Google to either furnish more details of the technology within a week or run the risk of being officially referred to the Information Commissioner, who can even gatecrash Google’s ‘Street View’ launch plans.
Privacy International has a plausible reason behind its skepticism. It points to Google’s track record of freely reneging on such promises; as it did with the promise of developing ‘crumbling cookies’ after acquiring DoubleClick.
Developers concerned about indexing have thus far been hesitant to incorporate Flash into websites because of the challenge involved in making the content searchable. This despite the fact that more than 98 percent of internet-connected computers have Adobe's Flash Player installed. Search engines are able to index static text and lnks within Flash SWF files, but as Adobe points out, "rich internet applications and dynamic Web content have been generally difficult to fully expose to search engines because of their changing states," a problem which also exists in other RIA technologies.
To help get over that hurdle, Adobe announced a new initiative with Google and Yahoo to make Flash files more indexable-friendly by search engines. For its part, Google says it developed an algorithm that explores Flash files in the same way a surfer does, "by clicking buttons, entering input, and so on." Any text visible to a website visitor while interacting with a Flash file is also visible to Google's algorithm. And while Yahoo isn't quite as far along as Google, the collaboration with Adobe means it's now a matter of when, not if, SWF applications become more searchable.
Missing from this latest announcement is any mention of Microsoft and its MSN Search. It remains unclear whether Adobe purposely excluded the Redmond company, which owns Silverlight (a competitng format to Adobe's Flash), or if Microsoft chose not to participate. But regardless of Microsoft's level of involvement, expect to see more Flash content, whether you want it or not.
Each day, some big-wig exec says PC gaming is writhing on the ground, scrambling towards the light. Generally, I just scoff and log back in to the 10 million person chatroom that is World of Warcraft. But what about when someone who I actually respect utters the dreaded D-word? Well, I scoff at them in article form, and what better platform to use than the Roundup? Hit the ever-present "read more" link to read all about the aforementioned exec, as well as topics ranging from Gametap to Led Zeppelin, and a few things in-between.
Just in time for Independence Day, Adobe has unfettered the popular PDF file format. Adobe has abandoned proprietary control over the popular PDF format. Now the International Organization for Standardization will assume developmental responsibilities of the file format, which will be developed as an industry standard.
The ISO 32000-1 Document management – Portable document format – Part 1: PDF 1.7 is the official ISO standard that lays down the ground rules for developers of PDF-related applications. Adobe CTO Kevin Lynch said that this move is in keeping with Adobe’s “commitment to openness.” The release of PDF specifications should lead to a much needed rise in the number of PDF creation and editing tools.
Now that Windows XP has reached its official end of life, we can start talking about the OS in past tense (sort of). The same applies to Bill Gates, the Harvard dropout gone billionaire, who recently relinquished the reigns and stepped foot into semi-retirement. The former CEO's passing of the guard might have left many wondering what Microsoft's future will look like in life after Gates, but what about life after Windows?
It might sound preposterous, but don't tell that to the Microsoft Research team who, for the past several years, has been working on Singularity, an entirely new system-architecture and operating system built from the ground up. Comprised of only a few hundred-thousand lines of code, not only is Singularity entirely different from Windows, but the source code, build tools, test suites, design notes, and other background materials are all readily available, provided you're able to sign a non-commercial, academic Shared Source license. And that's not the end of it - Singularity Version 2 will bring multi-core computing into the mix.
To find out how Microsoft's mysterious Midori project plays into the picture, and if Windows might soon be obosolete, hit the jump.