Earlier this month, Google announced its "Mail Goggles" feature for Gmail users who have a habit of sending out emotionally charged emails without first considering the consequences. That was followed up by this week by giving Gmail users the ability to send canned responses based on a set of custom-created filters. So what will Gmail engineers conjure up next?
If you answered 'emoticons,' go ahead and give yourself a happy face. Users can now select from nearly 160 animated and static emoticons, ranging from two block-headed faces giving each other a smooch (aww) to a stinking pile of crap with flies swirling around (aww schnap!).
"The black-and-white days of text-based emails have had their day," Darren Lewis, Gmail engineer, said in a blog post. "Following the evolutionary path blazed by colored labels, we present, in all their technicolor glory, emoticons in your mail."
Notebook manufacturers might be finding it difficult to separate themselves from the competition in what has become an extremely crowded netbook market. It's gotten to the point where we can recite a netbook press release without having ever read it - Atom processor, solid-state drive (SSD) or hard drive, 1GB of RAM, Windows XP or Linux, and so forth. So how do you stand out from the crowd?
If you're MSI, you release a new BIOS that offers overclocking controls. With the v1.09 BIOS released this week, Wind owners can push their Wind netbook's Atom N270 processor in increments of 8 percent, 15 percent, and 24 percent over the stock speed. As is always the case with overclocking, you'll have to analyze the risk-to-reward ratio, and according to ElectricVagabond.com, the reward of a 24 percent overclock can equate to as much as a 30 percent increase in performance.
Anyone Wind owners plan on playing with the new BIOS? Hit the jump and give us your impression.
Redmond usually releases security patches once a month, on Patch Tuesday, but Microsoft's security experts are worried enough about a newly reported vulnerability in the Server service to post an "out-of-band" security update, MS08-067, yesterday for all versions of Windows from Windows 2000 SP4 through Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7 pre-beta. Microsoft hasn't issued a security update between Patch Tuesday releases since April 2007, so this is a significant security issue.
Although all supported versions of Windows are vulnerable, Windows 2000 SP4, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003 versions are especially vulnerable to this flaw, which can permit remote code execution via a specially crafted RFC request.
To find out what makes this vulnerability so critical, and to learn how to get the update, join us after the jump.
Having a tough time waiting for Intel's Core i7 platform to finally reach retail shelves? While power users patiently wait for next generation components to emerge, Evga has offered up an early look at its upcoming X58 SLI FTW motherboard.
"Evga is proud to show a sneak peek of a new motherboard based on the Intel X58 Express Chipset, supporting the upcoming Intel Core i7 processor," Evga wrote in in a statement. "The Evga X58 SLI FTW motherboard will feature 6 DIMMs of triple channel DDR3 memory, and a board layout optimized for the enthusiast including 2-way and 3-way SLI support."
The new board represents a departure from what has been an exclusive partnership with Nvidia, at least in terms of the chipset. Nvidia will still be represented on the all-black PCB with SLI support, which has been a long awaited marriage between Intel chipsets and Nvidia graphics.
As implied by the FTW moniker, Evga's upcoming motherboard boasts several features of interests to enthusiasts and overclockers, such as VDroop control, 100 percent solid state capacitors, and no less than 10 SATA ports with an eSATA port thrown in for good measure.
Evga says the board will be available in November for an as-yet undetermined amount.
In a joint collaboration with Universal Music Group (UMG), Dell has begun offering preloaded MP3 bundles on new systems. The move, according to Dell, is to give consumers a "simple, economical way to jump-start a digital music library."
For $25, users can select a 50-song bundle devoid of DRM, or $45 for a 100-song bundle. Song bundles are broken up into several categories, such as Rock Titans, which includes tracks like Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd and Kryptonite by Three Doors Down, or Afternoon Delight represented with tracks like On Bended Knee by Boyz II Men and Crazy by Patsy Cline. Sadly users aren't allowed to create their own bundle, but then again, who doesn't have both Patsy Cline and Boyz II Men in a single playlist?
Music packs are available now on both laptops and desktops, sans XPS ONE, Inspiron Mini 9, and operating systems XP, Vista 64-bit, and Linux.
Amazon has agreed to acquire casual web gaming company Reflexive Entertainment. The move marks the internet behemoth’s foray into casual gaming. Reflexive was constituted in 1997 and is stationed in Orange County, California. Reflexive is working on a game development and distribution service called Reflexive Arcade.
The Reflexive Arcade service will be restricted to only PC, Mac and web-based games. The true motivation behind this particular acquisition is not yet known. The two companies haven’t made the details of the transaction public.
SRI International, a Silicon Valley startup, has armed three online military communities with its social network analytics technology called iLink. The technology will allow the disparate set of users of these online military communities to share information in a more efficient manner than previously imagined.
The social network analytics technology intelligently summons relevant information - content, discussions, and other network members – for users when they want it. "iLink learns to deliver the right answers to the right people at the right time," SRI International's David Gutelius explained. The military is currently dwelling upon the various ways it can utilize this technology.
We don't claim to be businessmen, but even we have to say LucasArts' rationale behind Star Wars Galaxies' continued existence seems a little off. When asked whether the troubled Star Wars MMO would step down gracefully or take a lightsaber to the gut, LucasArts senior online exec Tom Nichols replied:
“We’re still committed to Star Wars Galaxies. A couple of things: a demonstration of that commitment includes a recent trading card game that we launched in August. It’s doing very well for us and we have a new expansion pack being planned for that."
“I think the market will definitely support [both Star Wars: The Old Republic and Star Wars Galaxies]."
He also noted that the two games feature different mechanics, which he believes will attract different audiences.
But if you've never played either game, what can Galaxies throw your way to entice you to its shriveled up side of the force?
“Shortly we’re going to release a new Hoth encounter that recreates that classic battle in the Empire Strikes Back, and that’s exciting content for our Galaxies community, so we’re definitely committed to the product.”
A Hoth level. Added to one of the few Star Wars games in history that didn't already have one.
Galaxies fans, feel free to tell us why we're wrong/why we should die in a fire.
With Opera’s market share hovering around 1%, you might think that the Scandinavian browser’s developers would be feeling a little down. That doesn’t seem to be the case, as DailyTech has posted a lengthy interview with Jon S. von Tetzchner, the founder of Opera Software, and in it the Norseman seems as enthusiastic as ever about Opera’s prospects.
When asked about what makes Opera competitive, he responds “speed,” clarifying that he doesn’t just mean the software’s speed, but also the speed with which the user is able to accomplish things using the browser. He refers specifically to Opera’s mouse gestures, password wand, and the “Quick find” history-searching function as helping users browse faster.
Of the competition, he says “We believe in giving users the tools they need. Outside of add-ons, Chrome, Firefox and IE all think the browser should get out of your way. We continually add and refine features to make browsing more productive, organized and efficient.”
He also discusses Opera’s strong showing in the mobile market, its relationship with Nintendo, and his thoughts on how Chrome is actually growing Opera’s market share.
If you’ve ever used or considered Opera, the interview is definitely worth a read, so check it out and let us know what you think.
Never ones to shy away from an uphill battle, Microsoft has recently been taking new steps to combat software piracy in China. They’ve launched a program, euphemistically called “Windows Genuine Advantage,” which blacks out users' screens if it discovers that they’re running pirated Microsoft software.
In China, a country where a large majority of computers are running pirated software, this move has, predictably, caused quite an uproar.
The China Daily quoted Dong Zhengwei, a lawyer, as saying “[Microsoft is] the biggest hacker in China with its intrusion into users’ computer systems without their agreement or any judicial authority … I respect the right of Microsoft to protect its intellectual property, but … They should target producers and sellers of fake software, not users.”
The quote references the fact that in China, a lot of the software sold commercially is actually pirated, meaning that users might be at risk of a blackout without even knowing it.
Is Microsoft just protecting their IP, or have they gone too far? Let us know after the jump.