Microsoft to Try Windows XP Out on OLPC in January Microsoft said it plans to conduct field trials in January of Windows XP running on the One Laptop Per Child XO laptop. The XO laptop ships with a Linux operating system and is meant to be a low-cost machine available to people who live in countries with developing economies.
December 2007 Advance Notification I wanted to let you know that we just posted our Advance Notification for next week’s bulletin release which will occur on Tuesday, December 11, 2007 at or around 10 a.m. Pacific Time.
It is important to remember that while the information posted below is intended to help with your planning, because it is preliminary information, it is subject to change.
Internet Explorer 8 Just as he was the first to talk about IE7, Bill Gates kept the tradition alive and discussed IE8 at the Mix ‘n Mash event here on campus yesterday. Bill was talking to some bloggers about IE.Next and called it IE8, the same way we do here in the IE team hallway. So, yes, the version after IE7 is IE8.
Dell to sell PCs at Best Buy Beginning in the next few weeks, Dell notebooks and desktops will be for sale at Best Buy, the companies announced Thursday.
Several models of XPS and Inspiron PCs will be available at 900 Best Buy locations, including the XPS M1330 in white, the Inspiron 1521 in blue and black, the Inspiron 1420 in black, and the all-in-one XPS One desktop.
Microsoft gears up for the biggest enterprise launch in its history Microsoft will be spending more than US$150 million worldwide to do a combined launch of its trio of enterprise products: Windows Server 2008, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, and Microsoft Visual Studio 2008, next year. The theme will be “Heroes Happen Here,” and the launch events will kick off in Los Angeles starting February 27, 2008.
IBM researchers build supercomputer-on-a-chip Supercomputers may soon be the same size as a laptop if IBM brings to market research detailed on Thursday, in which pulses of light replace electricity to make data transfer between processor cores on a chip up to one-hundred times faster.
Microsoft releases final version of HD Photo plug-in for Photoshop Microsoft has taken the beta tag off a plug-in to let Photoshop read and write files in the HD Photo format, which Microsoft is standardizing as JPEG XR. The free plug-in is available for download for Windows and Mac OS X systems.
Microsoft trials XP on XO laptop Microsoft is to begin field tests of Windows XP working on the so-called $100 laptop, or XO, early in 2008. It has not committed to offering XP on the XO laptop but hopes to release the operating system in the first half of 2008 if the trials succeed.
In a post from the OpenDNS blog, David Ulevitch says Google turns the page? in a bad way, in it he says Dell and Google have teamed up and are installing software on Dell Computers that borders on being spyware. The issue is that they, meaning computer manufacturers like Dell, Gateway, Sony, etc, are installing this program called Browser Address Error Redirector to redirect users who mistype url’s or enter search terms in the address bar like they do a search box, to a search results page that is filled with sponsored listings, the ones that Dell and Google will make money from if users click on them. Here is why this could happen:
This page was generated because of one of these two reasons:
The web address you typed did not resolve correctly.
You typed a keyword query in the browser address bar.
This page is meant to provide you with helpful related content, including web search results and paid advertisements, based on the meaning of the web address/keyword query that you typed. This program can be uninstalled from the Control Panel “Add/Remove Programs” in Windows XP or “Control Panel > Program > Programs and Features” in Windows Vista. Look for the application named Browser Address Error Redirector. Older versions may be called GoogleAFE.
Sounds pretty innocent to me, if you take them at their word, but the ads, err I mean the search results they serve up are dominated by Google ads, in fact, on most users screens, they probably would not be able to see the actual Google search results. Now, David says it is Google and Dell who is doing it, but I wonder if it is Dell’s decision alone to decide how many ads to place on a search results page such as this? I know I decide how many I show on my site, but I have no exclusive deal with Dell to compare it to. I guess the terms and decision makers will come out when Dell and Google respond, if they haven’t already. David goes on to give some reasons why Dell and Google would do this.
The computer hardware business has razor-thin margins which means making a profit is tough. So the opportunity for Dell to get a recurring revenue stream from an existing customer long after the sale of the computer is more than just enticing, it?s huge. It also means a couple other things:
Dell and Google have an incentive to make it very hard for users to turn this off.
Because users can?t get rid of it, Dell and Google can get away with putting more ads on the page and pushing user-relevant content off the page. Source: Google turns the page? in a bad way
Now, I myself have not seen the redirector in action, most of the Dell computers that I end up seeing are re-imaged when they are received by the buyers, so, this crap does not live on those computers very long, and, as a matter of fact, the last one I looked at did much the same thing, but with a Microsoft results page that was a little more helpful than the Dell/Google page, it only had three sponsored listings and a most popular products listing before the search results. OpenDNS is a service users have to go get, and they do much the same thing, but they are way more friendly on their results page, adding a did you mean this link, like when you misspell something, at the top, and the search results right below it, with the sponsored listings on the right, much like the default Google search page. So, lots of commenters are saying OpenDNs only brought it up because they are in competition and that they are trying to make it sound worse than it is by throwing terms around like spyware and saying it is hard to remove. It is easy to find and obviously named in the Add/Remove programs applet in the control panel, so it is not hard to remove.
Danny Sullivan says:
I wouldn’t consider it spyware, but it certainly isn’t friendly ware. But you can understand why some people would think it’s spyware, when their computers seem to be acting in a strange way. Some searches brought up plenty of people who are confused by the software and what it is doing.
One of the most ironic things in all this is to compare what’s happening to the statements Dell and Google have made about consumer choice in the past. When the deal came out in May 2006, Dell said:
Our motivation is to deliver customers tools that enable them to search and organize information quickly and easily, right out of the box…Dell customers will have the option of choosing Microsoft as their default if they prefer. Source: Google & Dell’s Revenue-Generating URL Error Pages Drawing Fire
As Danny said, Google says they just have to change the defaults in IE 7, if they prefer, but that is something that Google said in the past was too hard for people to do. They even argued that Microsoft was taking the choice away from consumers by setting the search default to Microsoft’s search engine, something Google does in Firefox and now Dell computers. Pot meet kettle, kettle meet pot. They said their motivation was to allow their customers to search and organize information quickly, something this search results page does not do, it is geared for the quick cash.
Ryan Naraine says he has pinged Google to ask them about it, and he asks, what if the software has an exploitable software vulnerability? Something I am sure we will find out soon enough.
Here are a bunch of tech stories for today.
Dell brings back XP on home systems Amid significant customer demand, the computer maker said on Thursday that it has returned to offering the older Windows version as an option on some of its consumer PCs.
How Security Companies Sucker Us With Lemons More than a year ago, I wrote about the increasing risks of data loss because more and more data fits in smaller and smaller packages. Today I use a 4-GB USB memory stick for backup while I am traveling. I like the convenience, but if I lose the tiny thing I risk all my data.
Vista, IE7 help Microsoft boost search market share In a rare bit of good news for Microsoft on the search front, web metrics firm comScore reported that for the month of March, Microsoft’s search engines saw their first market share increase in nearly a year. Microsoft’s search market share jumped 0.4 percentage points from February to March, giving it 10.9 percent of the total market.
April ’07 Back Compat Update April showers have yielded us a Back Compat update The latest backwards compatibility update is now available over Xbox Live (or will be very soon.) This free update brings the complete list of original Xbox games that you can play on your Xbox 360 to over 300.
Back to basics So we’re renaming Froogle as Google Product Search. We’re taking the opportunity to refocus the user experience on providing the most comprehensive, relevant results in a clean, simple, easy-to-use UI. Who cares.
Ubuntu 7.04 (Feisty Fawn) Latest Ubuntu released, I may as well download this one and try it.
Google Video powering some pirate sites Google, already being sued for copyright infringement on its YouTube service, may have another copyright tempest brewing on its older Google Video site. The site hosts numerous full-length movies which are now being exploited by “guerilla” video sites; in essence, Google is one part of the engine that powers video piracy.
MySpace News Launches Thursday On Thursday morning MySpace will launch its much rumored news property at news.myspace.com. Expect the site to go live and a press release to be issued around 7 am EST.
Microsoft aims to reach next billion PC users Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is using a speech in Beijing to unveil a new low-cost bundle of Office and Windows, one of several new initiatives aimed at getting PCs into the hands of more people in emerging markets. Especially considering they have only sold 244 copies of Vista in China.
Widgetsphere: New Playground For Marketers If you’re in the online marketing game and are not yet hip to widgets, listen up. Two emerging Web 2.0 technology firms focused in this space have a message for you. Those companies are Widgetbox and ClearSpring, both of which presented in a session on Tuesday afternoon at Web 2.0 Expo that was billed as “Using Widget Syndication for Online Marketing and Measurement”.
Categories: Google, Microsoft News, Windows Vista, Windows XP Tags: Dell, Google Product Search, Google Video, IE7, Microsoft, MySpace, Security Companies, Ubuntu, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Xbox 360, Xbox Live
If you add one blog to your feed reader, or subscribe to an alert from google blog alerts, it should be to the Sunbelt Blog, it always has tons of good info about what kind of security things they are currently going through, spam, spyware and virus they are fighting, but it also includes all kinds of good tips and tricks they find on other sites, plus there is always good commentary by Alex Eckelberry about all thing tech. I first read about the Julie Amero case on that blog, and hopefully, they have been instrumental in helping her out, I haven’t heard anything yet.
But a post I just read concerning IT managers and the first quarter of 2007 is so true. There are so many things that can cause them problems of all sorts, new operating system, new version of Office and a new version of IE7.
IE 7 rollouts. Legacy software breaking and certificate problems. Here are a couple of posts I just picked off our NTSysadmin forum:
Right now, when a user uses IE6 and goes to a https website that does its own certificate (like ours) it comes up and gives them the option to view the certificate then install. Then no more issues.
But with IE7, NOOOOOOOOO, it blocks the content and maybe, perhaps it’ll let the user through if they beg, but maybe it won’t.
Other than removing IE7 off all the machines (which is the current solution), is there any way for IE7 to trust us? I even did that http://domain/certsrv and installed the certificate manually (which works with IE6) but it won’t freaking work with IE7. Source: When life sucks to be an IT manager
Definitely worth a daily check if you have no feed reader. They also touch on something that could be big to, the change in daylight savings time could be big, I guess I will be preparing for it this coming week. Ugh.
Quite a bit of Windows Vista news today, to start off, Microsoft is giving Windows Vista users 90 days of free wi-fi from T-Mobile. Anyone with Windows Vista installed will be able to access any of T-Mobile’s 8,234 wi-fi locations for free, and users who already have Vista installed should be able to use it starting around January 26th.
As part of its promotional efforts surrounding the launch of Windows Vista, Microsoft said Wednesday that for 90 days after the debut of the next-generation operating system, customers would be able to use T-Mobile Hotspot Wi-Fi for free on laptops running Vista. Those with advance copies of the operating system would be able to take advantage of the program beginning January 26, Microsoft said.
The service would be available at any of T-Mobile’s 8,234 locations across the United States, including Starbucks, Borders bookstores, FedEx Kinko’s location, select Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, airports, and the airline clubs of American, Delta, United and US Airways. The only requirement to access the service is a computer with Windows Vista installed. Source: Free T-Mobile Hotspot for Vista Users
Ars Technica has released OEM pricing information for Windows Vista, usually, it is discounted heavily, but only the business and ultimate editions are actually discounted this time around.
Vista Home Basic $99 (full version retail: $199)
Vista Home Premium: $119 (full version retail: $239)
Vista Business: $149 (full version retail: $299)
Vista Ultimate $199 (full version retail: $399)
It must be noted that the OEM license that comes with Vista is indeed similar to the Windows XP OEM license in that it forbids any kind of transfer between machines. We expect that DIYers won’t have problems swapping parts, but technically you won’t be able to move a license to a brand-new box in two years without falling out of compliance. Source: OEM pricing for Windows Vista comes into focus
Another article today from Digital Chosunilbo, the English version, a Korean website, warns it’s readers to check with their favorite online sites, banking institutions and portals because Windows Vista does not like Active-X.
When Microsoft releases its next-generation Windows operating system in Korea next week, local Internet users will find that it doesn’t work with many of their favorite Web sites. A Hangul version of the new OS, called Vista, hits shelves Jan. 31, but the new OS is incompatible with many Korean online banks, portals, games sites and malls.
Three government bodies — the Ministry of Information and Communication, the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs, and the Financial Supervisory Service — warned Tuesday about the expected confusion. The problem is that Vista doesn’t play well with a software program called Active-X that is widely used in Korean Internet sites. Without support for Active-X, online services that Koreans use everyday like banking, stock trading, and shopping won’t be available. Vista users will also experience problems with government sites in applying for and printing documents and certificates. Source: Microsoft Vista to Cause Confusion for Korean Net Users
While it is true that Windows Vista will have trouble with some of these websites, it is because of IE7 Active-X Opt-in which only allows controls you say can run or high-volume, trusted controls like Flash. I guess this was another reason not to use the highly insecure Active-X controls, as most Korean websites apparently do.
Secunia has posted another vulnerability in Internet Exlorer 7, this one is called Internet Explorer 7 Window Injection Vulnerability, and this is related to a previous vulnerability from IE 6.0, here.
A vulnerability has been discovered in Internet Explorer 7, which can be exploited by malicious people to spoof the content of websites.
The problem is that a website can inject content into another site’s window if the target name of the window is known. This can e.g. be exploited by a malicious website to spoof the content of a pop-up window opened on a trusted website. Source: Secunia via Faill.com
They have constructed a vulnerability test here, and this has been tested on a fully patched system running Windows XP SP2 and IE7.
The folks over at Read/Write Web just posted an article, Web Browser Face-off, comparing web browsers, including the recent upgrades, IE7 and Firefox 2.0. It’s more of a “roundup” than a face-off, this is not a big review of each browser, just a comparison of their pros and cons. They look at [tag]IE7[/tag], Firefox 2.0, [tag]Safari[/tag], [tag]Opera[/tag], [tag]Flock[/tag] and [tag]Maxthon[/tag]. Anyway, if a good quick comparison of web browsers with no one picked as a winner is what you are looking for, read on.
The last few weeks have been packed with browser action and the two market leaders, Internet Explorer and Firefox, have launched major new versions. So to round out our recent browser coverage, we present the Web Browser Face-off – looking at how all the main browsers compare with each other in terms of features and innovation. We are basically looking for what is unique, interesting – and missing – in each browser.
Right now Microsoft still holds onto its huge market lead, but Firefox is gaining more ground every month. Probably more importantly, there are other major innovators in the browser space – such as the social browser Flock (a Read/WriteWeb sponsor) and the perennial innovator Opera. The Mac browser Safari of course has many passionate supporters, while new kid Maxthon is one to watch.
Regardless of who will prevail in the ‘browser 2.0 wars’, the users will win. While fighting each other, the browser makers innovate and simplify. They increase our productivity by integrating into the browser web concepts such as search, RSS, OPML, micro formats and more. The core browsers are getting slimmer and faster, while extensions that cover a wide range of services are being developed by external parties. Source: Read/Write Web
Over on PCWorld, they compare IE7 to Firefox 2.0 and come up with a winner, even if their reasoning is because one was first to the table with some of it’s offerings.
Firefox is a global, open-source project, so development has been very swift when compared to Microsoft’s closed-source development of Internet Explorer. We’ve had to wait a very long time between IE6 and IE7, so most users are installing IE7 with high expectations. The good news is that both browsers have seen some significant enhancements in three key areas: user experience, security and web standards. The bad news is that one browser still has better features and standards support than the other.
The better browser is Firefox 2 for two reasons: innovation and ease of use.
Both browsers are loaded with modern productivity features, but while Microsoft is just introducing these features to its browser, Firefox has already had them long enough to refine them, enhance them and make them even easier to use. While Microsoft has added an integrated search box to IE7, Firefox has added auto-suggest query completion and advanced search engine management to its own familiar search box. IE7 can now handle RSS feeds, but Firefox has several options for adding feeds within the browser, a client or your web service of choice. Source: PCWorld
I’m currently using both browsers and like both equally, but I am used to using the big blue E, so my time is mostly one sided, I need to remember to use Firefox. So, i guess I lean more towards IE7 by default, just as some of these people lean towards Firefox. They are both better browsers so you really can’t go wrong.
Microsoft has addressed reports of a vulnerability in Internet Explorer 7 that could possibly lead people to believe a website is safe, when it could actually be a malicious website looking to exploit browsers. The security site Secunia posted a vulnerability in IE7 address bar, here yesterday.
A weakness has been discovered in Internet Explorer, which can be exploited by malicious people to conduct phishing attacks.
The problem is that it’s possible to display a popup with a somewhat spoofed address bar where a number of special characters have been appended to the URL. This makes it possible to only display a part of the address bar, which may trick users into performing certain unintended actions. Source: Secunia
They have posted a test page to let you know if you are vulnerable or not, here. Microsoft’s response is posted here, but they pretty much say all they can, you can actually see the whole address if you click on the popup and scroll left or right, and they recommend turning on the Microsoft Phishing Filter, to help block phishing sites who might try to exploit this vulnerability.
Now, our general guidance as far as things you can do to help protect yourself against phishing attacks can help protect here. Specifically that you should never enter personal information into a website unless you’ve verified the server?s name by using SSL. We talk about this on our website here.
The other thing I wanted to mention is that in IE 7, the Microsoft Phishing Filter can help protect should any phishing sites attempt to exploit this issue in a couple of ways.
First, the Phishing Filter’s browser-based heuristics can help to protect you. These heuristics analyze Web pages in real time and then can warn you about suspicious characteristics if it finds any on the page. If someone attempts to use this issue in a phishing site, the Phishing Filter’s heuristics may detect that site as such and warn you.
Another way the Phishing Filter can help protect you is through our online service. If a site that attempts to exploit this issue is reported to us and confirmed to be a phishing site, we will add it to the Microsoft Phishing Filter?s online service and it will be flagged as a phishing site when viewed in IE7. Source: Microsoft Security Response Center Blog
The phishing filter should definitely help, although it did appear to slow my machine down when I first looked at it, so I may turn it back on and let it run some more to see if it actually gets any faster.
In July, Microsoft announced that it will update Windows XP SP2 users automatically using Windows auto updates, in the past Microsoft has phased them in slowly, this one will be done practically overnight. Now, I’ve heard mostly good things about IE7, I still have not tried it myself, I know, I know, what kind of geek am I, I will probably wait until it upgrades everyone and see what happens. But, when that happens, online merchants will see the biggest part of their userbase changing browsers, and they will be answering the phones a LOT more than they do now, until users get used to using IE7.
“I applaud what Microsoft’s done with IE 7, and the browser works very well,” said Richard Litofsky of Rockville, Md.-based cyScape. “But even the best software needs time to work out things once it’s in the wild.”
The automatic updating of most browsers — Internet Explorer controls 83 percent of the world’s browser market according to the most recent data from Net Applications — will stress Web sites’ help desks like nothing before, Litofsky claimed.
“Virtually overnight all these sites are going to be running a whole new platform.” Source: Techweb
If you have trouble when you are updated to IE7, you can use this tool, User Agent String Utility version 2, to make the website think your browser is IE6, as you could have rendering problems if the website does not know what browser you are using.
In testing on a couple different blogs, IE7 has proven to be immune to the vml exploit currently making the rounds. Ed Bott says Vista passes one security test,
Now, it’s important to note that the developers of IE7 clearly had no idea that this vulnerability existed in IE6. But their development process managed to block this particular exploit right out of the box, and the additional layers of security provided important clues that this page was potentially dangerous.
Sandi Hardmeier at Spyware Sucks says Important – IE VML Vulnerability – IE7 is immune and as a matter of fact says it has been immune to almost all the other vulnerabilities that have come out since its realease.
And the IE team says, “…With the exception of a very short list of issues we’re aware of and working on, we think the product is done…. Depending on your feedback, we may post another release candidate. We?re still on track to ship the final IE7 release in the 4th calendar quarter.”
Sounds like this may be as good of a time as any to read the release notes and upgrade to IE7, but be warned, there are still some software issues with other programs.