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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Ripdev Releases Pusher for iPhone 2.2.1 – Free Download

Pusher is completely free to use and distribute

Ripdev is a team dedicated to the development of innovative applications for the iPhone. The company has released a new version of Pusher, an app that puts on your iPhone.

Pusher, as its name implies, is an application that 'pushes' tools onto the user partition of the phone, only it doesn't open the system partition up. It can then aid users who wish to install numerous tools for the iPhone, acquired from both the App Store and Installer, without compromising your security. It is a one-click solution that places Installer on your phone without actually jailbreaking it, according to Ripdev.

Softpedia doesn't condone jailbreaking / unlocking the iPhone / iPod touch or any other device. Using hacks may render your device unusable, or may considerably reduce the quality of your experience using the respective device. If you choose to download and install the jailbreak tools, you will do so at your own risk.
Unlocking / Jailbreaking your iPhone may violate your warranty or the EULA with Apple and/or your cellular service provider.

“While giving access to, Pusher is not installing any command-line tools on the system partition,” Ripdev explains. “This makes it more secure and prevents potential information theft that can be fairly easy with the 'normal' jailbreak methods.”

In addition to the new 2.2.1 firmware support, the latest version of Pusher also works for 2.0.2, 2.1 and 2.2 iPhones. However, Ripdev recommends that “you to stay on the bleeding edge and give 2.2 a try - it represents many hours of hard work of Apple engineers,” reads a post on the developer's web site.

So, what does this do, basically? Well, it allows the iPhone user to gain access to hundreds of tools that are not available in App Store. This doesn't mean that everything that's not in the app store is illegal to download and use on your iPhone. As such, users are free to start enjoying stuff like Kate, Qik and Snapture on their handsets, all thanks to Pusher. Best of all, it works for 2G and 3G and will not perform any SIM-unlock, Ripdev assures users. As a bonus, Pusher offers users the ability to set the SpringBoard background.

While the Mac OS X version of Pusher is immediately available for download using the link below, the Windows version of the software is still being worked on. “Pusher will put onto your 2.0.2, 2.1, 2.2 or 2.2.1 iPhone (both 2G and 3G) as well as a number of other goodies,” the developer adds.

Download Pusher (Free)

Download - Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities in Ubuntu 8.10. Update Today.

Fixes six kernel vulnerabilities

On January 29th the Ubuntu developers announced the availability of a new important security update for the Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) operating system (also applies to Kubuntu, Edubuntu and Xubuntu). The update patches six security issues (see below for details) discovered in the Linux kernel packages of Ubuntu 8.10, that could "help" a local attacker execute malicious code, causing system crashes/hangs, leading to DoS (Denial of Service) attacks. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to update your system as soon as possible!

The following Linux kernel vulnerabilities have been fixed:

1. The ATM subsystem failed to manage socket counts. Because of this, a local attacker could hang the vulnerable system, leading to a DoS (Denial of Service) attack. This issue was discovered by Hugo Dias.

2. The inotify subsystem included watch removal race conditions. Because of this, a local attacker could hang the vulnerable system, leading to a DoS (Denial of Service) attack.

3. sendmsg failed to release the allocated memory, in some cases. Because of this, a local attacker could force a vulnerable system to run out of free memory, leading to a DoS (Denial of Service) attack. This issue was discovered by Dann Frazier.

4. PA-RISC stack unwinding was incorrectly handled. Because of this, a local attacker could crash the vulnerable system, leading to a DoS (Denial of Service) attack. This issue was discovered by Helge Deller.

5. The ATA subsystem failed to set timeouts. Because of this, a local attacker could hang the vulnerable system, leading to a DoS (Denial of Service) attack.

6. The ib700 watchdog timer was incorrectly checking the buffer sizes. Because of this, a local attacker could crash the vulnerable system by sending specially crafted ioctl to the device, leading to a DoS (Denial of Service) attack.

These Linux kernel vulnerabilities can be fixed if you update your system to the following specific packages:

linux-image-2.6.27-11-generic 2.6.27-11.27
linux-image-2.6.27-11-server 2.6.27-11.27
linux-image-2.6.27-11-virtual 2.6.27-11.27

Don't forget to reboot your computer after this update! You can verify the kernel version by typing the sudo dpkg -l linux-image-2.6.27-11-generic command in a terminal.

About Ubuntu:

Ubuntu (an African word meaning “Humanity to others”) is the ultimate operating system, developed by an entire open source community. Ubuntu is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers, and it includes all the software you need, from web browser, e-mail client and word processing, to games, programming tools and web server software. Ubuntu OS can be used at home, in a business environment, in public schools, hospitals, etc. The best part of all this is that Ubuntu is, and will always be, free of charge.

Get the latest version of Ubuntu right now from here. Don't forget to share it with your friends and family.

download - Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities in Ubuntu 8.10. Update Today.

Fixes six kernel vulnerabilities

On January 29th the Ubuntu developers announced the availability of a new important security update for the Ubuntu 8.10 (Intrepid Ibex) operating system (also applies to Kubuntu, Edubuntu and Xubuntu). The update patches six security issues (see below for details) discovered in the Linux kernel packages of Ubuntu 8.10, that could "help" a local attacker execute malicious code, causing system crashes/hangs, leading to DoS (Denial of Service) attacks. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to update your system as soon as possible!

The following Linux kernel vulnerabilities have been fixed:

1. The ATM subsystem failed to manage socket counts. Because of this, a local attacker could hang the vulnerable system, leading to a DoS (Denial of Service) attack. This issue was discovered by Hugo Dias.

2. The inotify subsystem included watch removal race conditions. Because of this, a local attacker could hang the vulnerable system, leading to a DoS (Denial of Service) attack.

3. sendmsg failed to release the allocated memory, in some cases. Because of this, a local attacker could force a vulnerable system to run out of free memory, leading to a DoS (Denial of Service) attack. This issue was discovered by Dann Frazier.

4. PA-RISC stack unwinding was incorrectly handled. Because of this, a local attacker could crash the vulnerable system, leading to a DoS (Denial of Service) attack. This issue was discovered by Helge Deller.

5. The ATA subsystem failed to set timeouts. Because of this, a local attacker could hang the vulnerable system, leading to a DoS (Denial of Service) attack.

6. The ib700 watchdog timer was incorrectly checking the buffer sizes. Because of this, a local attacker could crash the vulnerable system by sending specially crafted ioctl to the device, leading to a DoS (Denial of Service) attack.

These Linux kernel vulnerabilities can be fixed if you update your system to the following specific packages:

linux-image-2.6.27-11-generic 2.6.27-11.27
linux-image-2.6.27-11-server 2.6.27-11.27
linux-image-2.6.27-11-virtual 2.6.27-11.27

Don't forget to reboot your computer after this update! You can verify the kernel version by typing the sudo dpkg -l linux-image-2.6.27-11-generic command in a terminal.

About Ubuntu:

Ubuntu (an African word meaning “Humanity to others”) is the ultimate operating system, developed by an entire open source community. Ubuntu is perfect for laptops, desktops and servers, and it includes all the software you need, from web browser, e-mail client and word processing, to games, programming tools and web server software. Ubuntu OS can be used at home, in a business environment, in public schools, hospitals, etc. The best part of all this is that Ubuntu is, and will always be, free of charge.

Get the latest version of Ubuntu right now from Softpedia. Don't forget to share it with your friends and family.

Aspire One 10-Inch Available for Pre-Order at Just $349

Offers 1GB of memory and 6-cell battery

The buzz generated around Acer's latest Aspire One netbook is certainly impressive, as the PC vendor managed to provide users with a product that features just the right elements to allow it to become one of the best systems in its class. Despite the fact that it has been developed on the same platform as most of its other competitors, the 10-inch netbook appears to be catching the attention of a significant number of users.
On that note, it looks like those interested in acquiring one of these systems, as soon as they are made available, can now do so by registering for a pre-order on online retailer J&R.

The netbook has just been listed as available for pre-order, with a price tag of just $349. For that amount of money customers will be handed a system that runs on an Atom N270 1.6GHz processor, combined with 1GB of RAM memory. A high-capacity 160GB hard drive is available, as the netbook's storage, while the integrated Graphics Media Accelerator 950, from Intel, is ready to provide a decent visual experience on the 10.1-inch Acer CrystalBrite display.

Packed with a 6-cell battery and a Windows XP SP3 operating system, the new netbook from Acer is said to be capable of providing the user with a noteworthy 5-hours of battery life. Weighing just 2.95 pounds, the netbook can provide quick access to the Internet, through the built-in Acer InvLink 802.11 b/g wireless technology. Additional features include 3 USB 2.0 ports, built-in speakers, integrated webcam, multi card-reader and a 10/100 Ethernet LAN port.

Acer is expected to provide several configuration options for its latest 10-inch Aspire One netbook, including a choice for built-in WiMAX and 3G wireless technology, SSD or Linux-based OS and even a higher-performance model, slated for March availability. This 10-inch Aspire One netbook will be featured with Intel's next-generation Atom N280 netbook processor.

India's $10 Laptop Comes on February 3

Designed to bring education to the masses

Back in mid-2008, the media was ablaze at the news that somewhere in India people were developing a portable computer system designed for educational purposes, which would carry out a price tag of only $10. The project was immediately put under scrutiny, especially given the astonishing low price of said laptop. However, the information was later corrected with the price point being raised to a more resonable $100.
On that note, news reports from India appear to confirm that the aforementioned system is going to debut sometime next month, with the price tag being set at just Rs500.

Currently there are few details on the respective lappy, but according to the online edition of “The Times of India” the Rs500 laptop will be on display in Tirupati on February 3, in time for the launch of the National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology. The system, which is said to be a response to the $100 laptop promoted by MIT's Nicholas Negroponte, is expected to come with 2GB of RAM memory. Unfortunately, there are few technical details to go on for the time being, though we should know more by the end of next week.

“A lot of testing is being done to ensure the technology works properly. The computer can be an ideal gift for children,” said higher education secretary RP Aggarwal. “At this stage, the price is working out to be $20 but with mass production it is bound to come down.”

Given the skepticism around the project, the effort is applaudable. A low-cost computer system that could be used for educational purposes could potentially change the computer system market, consequently allowing pupils in the lower-developed countries to benefit from the advancements in the computer technology field. The system could have a competitor in the form of the upcoming XO 2 laptop, designed by the One Laptop Per Child project.

Download Windows 7 Beta Checked Builds

Client and Server – 7000.0.081212.1400

In addition to the plain-vanilla Windows 7 Beta (7000.0.081212.1400) releases, Microsoft has also made available the checked builds for both the client and server flavors of the operating system. However, although meant for testing, the checked builds of Windows 7 client Beta and Windows Server 2008 R2 Beta (Windows 7 Server Beta) are designed with a specific target group in mind: device driver developers.

At the same time, the Redmond company is not serving the checked builds of Windows 7 client and server through its official Win 7 hotspot of via the Microsoft Download Center. The developer releases are only available through Microsoft Connect. The following Connect ID WIN7-3HQW-RF74 along with a Windows Live ID permits access to the downloads. Microsoft is offering 7000.0.081212-1400_server_unstaged_en-us-GB1SXCHK_EN_DVD.iso; 7000.0.081212-1400_client_unstaged_en-us-GB1CXCHK_EN_DVD.iso; 7000.0.081212-1400_server_unstaged_en-us-GB1SIAiCHK_EN_DVD.iso and 7000.0.081212-1400_client_unstaged_en-us-GB1CCHK_EN_DVD.iso.

The Microsoft Windows checked builds are a tradition of the company, and they are also referred to as debug builds. Microsoft clearly separates the check builds from what it is referring to as the free builds (or the retail builds) of Windows. With the checked builds, driver developers will be able to sniff out operating-system-level issues in Windows 7 and correctly diagnose them. The checked releases of Windows 7 come with compiler optimizations disabled and debugging check enabled in order to streamline the process of analyzing disassembled machine instructions and to respectively identify internal inconsistencies.

According to Microsoft: “the purpose of the checked build of Microsoft Windows is to make identifying and diagnosing operating-system-level problems easier. The checked build differs from the free build in the following ways: Distribution media containing the checked build are clearly labeled "Debug/Checked Build." The checked build distribution medium contains the checked version of the operating system, plus checked versions of HALs, drivers, file systems, and even many user-mode components. Because the checked build contains fewer optimizations and more debugging checks than the free build, the checked build is both larger in size and slower to execute than the free build. As a result, the free build is used in production environments unless it is necessary to use the checked build to identify serious problems.”

Windows 7 Beta is available for download here.

Product keys to activate Windows 7 Beta are available here.

Friday, January 30, 2009

AMD Catalyst 9.1 Software Suite Available for Download

Brings performance enhancements and fixes a number of issues

After much anticipation, it appears that the Sunnyvale, California-based chip maker AMD has finally released the new Catalyst Suite Version 9.1, providing Radeon graphics card users with the latest display drivers and the well-known Catalyst Control Center. As with almost all driver releases, the new Catalyst Suite version 9.1 comes to fix a number of known issues and provide a higher level of power, performance and reliability.

According to the release notes, the Catalyst Software Suite 9.1 will provide users of Radeon graphics cards with the Radeon display driver 8.573, the HydraVision for both Windows XP and Vista operating systems, the HydraVision Basic Edition, designed only for Windows XP, the Southbridge/IXP driver and the new Catalyst Control Center 8.573. The new Catalyst drivers offer support for both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Microsoft's Windows Vista and also for the company's latest Radeon graphics cards.

The new Catalyst Suite is now available for download for both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Microsoft's Windows XP and Windows Vista operating systems. Here are the links for AMD's new Catalyst 9.1 Software Suite:

ATI Catalyst Software Suite for Windows XP 32-bit

ATI Catalyst Software Suite for Windows XP 64-bit

ATI Catalyst Software Suite for Windows Vista 32-bit

ATI Catalyst Software Suite for Windows Vista 64-bit

What is rather interesting is that the new set of Radeon display drivers doesn't include support for ATI's Radeon HD 4850 X2 graphics card. Apparently, AMD has decided to provide users with a separate set of drivers, for this card specifically. The download links for it are also available, for both Windows XP and Vista operating systems.

Soon after the new drivers were made available, users have been quick to upgrade to the latest version. On that note, it appears that some of the first problems have already been reported on AMD's forums, with one user claiming that he has encountered issues related to AMD's multi-GPU CrossFire feature.

It is still early to say if the issues are actually related to the new drivers, but we will try to keep you posted as soon as more details become available.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Clonezilla Live 1.2.1-37 Improves Microsoft Windows Cloning

Now based on Linux kernel 2.6.26-13

Steven Shiau announced a few minutes ago the immediate availability of Clonezilla LiveCD 1.2.1-37, a Linux-based minimal operating system that can help you clone systems. The new version of Clonezilla is now powered by Linux kernel 2.6.26-13, based on Debian Lenny repository (01/26/2009), two new languages were added and the Microsoft Windows cloning implementation was greatly improved. "We are happy to announce this new stable release. In this release, we have 2 more new languages, and some improvement about cloning MS windows." - said Steven Shiau in the official release announcement. Without any further introduction, let's see what exactly has changed since the latest stable release, Clonezilla 1.2.1-23:

· Updated Linux kernel to version 2.6.26-13;
· Now based on Debian Lenny repository (01/26/2009);
· Added Italian language;
· Added Spanish language;
· Updated French translation;
· Updated Chinese translation;
· Updated Japanese translation;
· The hardware collect tool is now much faster;
· Added the -j2 and -j3 options in ocs-sr and drbl-ocs, for restoring/saving hidden data;
· Added the -j2 option in ocs-onthefly, for cloning hidden data;
· Added the -z2p option for Parallel BZIP2;
· Added the -e1|--change-geometry option to drbl-ocs and ocs-sr;
· Added for restore/save functions for hidden data between MBR and the first partition, in ocs-onthefly and ocs-sr;
· Added -e1 auto option in order to use the ntfsreloc tool to fix CHS based on the value of EDD;
· Added the get_RawCHS_of_HD_from_sfdisk function, which can be used as a backup plan for partclone.ntfsreloc;
· Enabled by default the -V option of ntfsclone restoring, in ocs-onthefly;
· The mounting warning of NTFS-3G, in prep-ocsroot, is now disabled;
· The user must enter now y/yes/n/no before saving or restoring;
· Hard drive's serial number can not be found in batch mode;
· The create-ocs-tmp-img utility received some options and it is now faster;
· Added the "" example, to help cloning an image to several USB sticks;
· The SWAP partition will not be restored when choosing "restoring partitions only";
· Swap or extended will not be listed when choosing the partition (because the "file -Ls" command will not show any "extended" info about a partition in Debian Lenny. Therefore, the developers replaced file with ocs-get-part-info);
· Fixed an issue with ocs-get-part-info (the input parameters were wrongly parsed);
· Fixed an LVM issue when parsing the partition table with ID=83. Therefore, the partition table will no longer be parsed based on partition ID;
· Fixed ocs-live-dev and ocs-iso;
· Fixed the -m option for ocs-live-dev;
· Fixed various parameters for ocs-sr.

The Clonezilla LiveCD is a minimal Linux distribution based on Partition Image, ntfsclone, DRBL and udpcast. It allows you to massively clone computers simultaneously. Unlike the Ghost for Unix/Linux LiveCDs (G4L/G4U), Clonezilla saves and restores only used blocks in the hard drives, which increases the clone efficiency. The Clonezilla LiveCD was born to bring more power and competence to your hard disk partitioning and cloning tasks.

Clonezilla LiveCD supports the following filesystems: ext2, ext3, reiserfs, xfs, jfs, fat16, fat32, ntfs and hfs+. Therefore, you can clone Linux, Microsoft Windows and even Intel-based Apple Mac operating systems. For other filesystems, Clonezilla uses dd to dump the whole partition. However, we are looking forward to seeing ext4 support in the next versions of Clonezilla LiveCD.

Download Clonezilla LiveCD 1.2.1-37 right now from here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Apple Pulls NVIDIA Graphics Update 2009 - Download

Apple Downloads section missing an item added just this week

For some strange reason, Apple has pulled one of the software updates posted earlier this week. Besides QuickTime Broadcaster 1.5.3, iDVD 7.0.3, and the update to the iLife Media Browser, Apple also posted an NVIDIA Graphics Update 2009 1.0 on the Downloads area of its web site.
Now, the download isn't listed anymore, while it is still available on Apple's servers.

Aimed at the new generation of MacBook Air, MacBook, and MacBook Pro, the update was said to improve playback of HD video running on systems equipped with NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT or GeForce 9600M GT graphics. It wasn't very clear exactly which systems the update applied to, since the GeForce 7300 GT is available with 24-inch iMacs and as a PCI-x graphics card available for the original Mac Pro models. Perhaps this is the reason for the pulling – Apple staffers are updating the description.

Whatever the reason, the NVIDIA Graphics Update 2009 was described as follows (before it was pulled):

About NVIDIA Graphics Update 2009

This update improves cursor movement when using the Apple Mini DisplayPort to Dual-Link DVI adapter with the Mini DisplayPort enabled MacBook Air, MacBook and MacBook Pro.

It also improves playback of HD video running on systems with NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT or GeForce 9600M graphics.

It was also revealed this week that Apple might have released the update after being faced with complaints from users who noticed video distortion when using the DisplayPort adapter with various Dell displays, but with Apple's own 30-inch Cinema Display as well.

As noted above, the 3.21MB update is still available for download on machines running Mac OS X 10.5.6. If you're not sure you need the update, better wait until Apple posts the download again, maybe with a more detailed tech note (as to who exactly needs it). If you believe the update can help you with DisplayPort issues, or at least can't do you any harm, you may download the update here.

NOTE: Neowin points out to an Apple Discussions user that claims the problem was worse after applying the update. The user was reportedly stuck with his external Samsung 22" monitor in mirror mode.

Available Now: KNOPPIX 6.0.0 - Free Download

With ADRIANE 1.1

Klaus Knopper proudly announced yesterday, January 27th, the sixth release of his popular KNOPPIX Live CD Linux distribution. KNOPPIX 6.0 was completely rebuilt from scratch, it is now based on Debian Lenny, and it's powered by the lightweight LXDE desktop environment. Among various applications included in KNOPPIX 6.0 we can notice the newly-released 3.0.1 open source office suite and the powerful Mozilla Firefox 3.0.5 web browser. Also included in the brand new version of KNOPPIX is the A.D.R.I.A.N.E. (Audio Desktop Reference Implementation And Networking Environment) talking menu, especially designed for the visually impaired.

"In the current release of KNOPPIX 6.0 CD (ADRIANE 1.1), starting with speech support in text menu mode is set as default. That way, blind computer users can use the system without having to enter boot options blindly." - said Klaus Knopper in the official release announcement.

Highlights of KNOPPIX 6.0:

· ADRIANE, a talking menu for the visually impaired;
· Now based on Debian Lenny;
· Completely rebuilt from scratch;
· Faster boot times;
· LXDE replaces KDE as the default desktop environment;
· 3.0.1, as the default office suite;
· Mozilla Firefox 3.0.5, as the default web browser;
· flash-knoppix, a new tool that allows you to create bootable USB sticks with KNOPPIX;
· Live CD edition only.

What is KNOPPIX?

Knoppix is a bootable Live CD, made up from the most popular and useful free and open source applications, backed up by an automatic hardware detection and support for many video cards, SCSI and USB devices and a lot of peripherals. Thanks to the high compression it uses, the CD can have up to 2 GB of software installed on it.

Download KNOPPIX 6.0 right now from here.

Download New FlashVideo Converter 2.3

Macvide has released FlashVideo Converter 2.3, an update to the Flash-to-video conversion utility for Mac OS X. FlashVideo Converter lets Mac users running Tiger or higher convert any Adobe Flash file such as .swf, .flv to common video format files such as mp4 (iPod Video), MOV (QuickTime), 3GP (cellular and mobile), ASF/WMV and the usual MPEG files as well.

FlashVideo Converter also allows user interaction on Flash content during conversion thanks to some new functionality added in version 2.0. Using the app, you can convert your favorite flash movies to create your own video or DVD collection. FlashVideo Converter lets you capture flash content in regular video formats that your Mac or portable device can play (without requiring an Internet connection).

Main features include the ability to encode

- Flash to Video to MOV format
- Flash to Video to MP4 iPod format
- Flash to Video to 3GP (3GPP, 3G2) format.
Video conversion utility for Mac

The converter also supports mp4 (iPod) for SWF and FLV files; Flash 6, Flash 7, Flash MX, Flash 8, Flash 9 compressed movie; movie clips, ActionScript and ActionScript2; movie width and height determination; customizable dimensions for exported video; auto determination of movie length; movie control over Capturing.

According to the changelog, FlashVideo Converter 2.3 improves Encoding process, adds jerkless encoding and fixes a bunch of miscellaneous bugs.

FlashVideo Converter 2.3 is available for $99.95 (USD) for a Single License, and may be downloaded using the link below. A demo version of the software is available for free download via the same address. The unregistered version adds a logo to the output video. The Universal app requires at least Mac OS X 10.4.

Download FlashVideo Converter (Update / Demo / Buy)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Download Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) Release Candidate 1 (RC1) for Vista SP1and XP SP3

Available here

The next iteration of Microsoft's proprietary browser is close to finalization. The first Release Candidate (RC1) Build of Internet Explorer 8 is now available for download. Following the Beta 2 and the Partner Build releases at the end of 2008, IE8 RC1 is designed to integrate with both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors of Windows Vista RTM and Service Pack 1 (SP1), Windows XP SP3 and earlier, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008. Microsoft released IE8 RC1 in no less than 25 localized variants.

With this launch, the Redmond company has indicated that Internet Explorer 8 is Platform Complete. This means that there will be no more changes between the Release Candidate and the RTW (Release to Web) builds of the browser. Microsoft will only continue to soften the rough edges of Internet Explorer 8 before the browser goes gold.

“The technical community should expect the final IE8 release to behave as the Release Candidate does. The IE8 product is effectively complete and done. We’ll [discuss] separately about the thousands of additional test cases we’re contributing to the W3C. We've listened very carefully to feedback from the betas. With the Release Candidate, we’re listening carefully for critical issues,” Dean Hachamovitch, IE general manager, explains.

At the same time, Hachamovitch points out that the RC1 Build of IE8 brings to the table a new level of reliability, performance, and compatibility, while also kicking security up a notch. “We’ve studied the telemetry feedback about the browser's underlying quality and addressed many issues,” the IE GM states. “We’ve worked closely with people in the security community to enable consumer-ready clickjacking protection. Sites can now protect themselves and their users from clickjacking attacks 'out of the box,' without impacting compatibility or requiring browser add-ons. We also made some changes to InPrivate, based on feedback from customers and partners.”

It is important to note that Internet Explorer 8 RC1 will not install on the pre-release versions of Windows 7. This because Windows 7 Beta (Build 7000) and post Beta (pre-RC, Builds 70XX) come with a Beta, respectively Release Candidate version of IE8 as a default component.

Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) Release Candidate 1 (RC1) is available for download here.

Download - Clean Up Windows Live Messenger 9.0 (2009) Corrupted Cache

To clear error 8100030

A corrupted cache can stop users from signing into Windows Live Messenger 9.0 (2009) with their Live ID accounts. According to Microsoft, the issue is not limited to just the latest iteration of its instant messaging client, as older versions of the software are also affected by the same problem.
“Some users seem to be getting an error 8100030d when they try signing into Windows Live Messenger, in some cases after they have upgraded to the latest version. This error can be caused if the cache files get corrupted and the solution is to simply delete the cache,” Sameer Halai, Windows Live Messenger program manager, revealed.

The Redmond company presented a variety of solutions, each tailored to specific releases of the IM client, in accordance with the operating system the software was installed on. Users of MSN Messenger running on Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows XP or Windows 2000 will have to open a command prompt window and write the following commands, making sure to press Enter after each one: “1. cd\ 2. cd %appdata%\microsoft 3. cd "msn messenger" 4. del /s listcache.dat.”

When it comes down to Windows Live Messenger running on top of XP, users will need to get the operating system to Show hidden files and folders in Windows Explorer; Tools menu, Folder Options; the View tab; Advanced settings list, under Hidden Files and Folders.

“Delete the Contacts Cache folder. To do so, right-click Start, and then click Explore to open the Windows Explorer window. In the Windows Explorer window, locate the folders below and delete all the files and folders inside them: C:\Documents and Settings\ Your Windows logon name \Contacts\ Your Messenger e-mail address and C:\Documents and Settings\ Your Windows logon name \Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows Live Contacts\ Your Messenger email address,” Microsoft explained.

For Windows Live Messenger on Windows Vista, users will need to perform a similar process as for Windows XP. “Click Start and then click Explore to open Windows Explorer. On the Organize menu, click Folder and Search Options. Click the View tab. In the Advanced settings list, select Show hidden files and folders under Hidden Files and Folders. Clear the Hide extensions for known file types check box. Click OK to close the Folder Options window,” the company stated. Once the hidden files are visible, users will need to remove Contacts Cache folder in C:\Users\ Your Windows logon name \Contacts\ Your Messenger e-mail address and C:\Users\ Your Windows logon name \AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Live Contacts\ Your Messenger e-mail address.

Windows Live Messenger 9.0 (2009) RTW Build 14.0.8050.1202 is available for download here.

Download Free Visual Studio Learning Resources

Courtesy of Microsoft

Designed to lend a helping hand to students venturing into the world of computer programming, Microsoft Visual Studio Learning Pack is a collection of components available as a free download from Microsoft. Version 2.0 of the Visual Studio Learning Pack 2.0 ( formerly the Visual Studio Middle School Power Toy) comes as a package of various software solutions, which has been tailored to the Redmond company's development suite, and which supports the free edition of Visual Studio 2008, namely the Express SKU, but also features deeper integration with Visual Basic. The five components of Visual Studio Learning Pack 2.0 weigh in at 3.8 MB and include Sort Designer Control, Search Designer Control, Visual Declarative Designer, Assistant Class Designer and Visual Programming Flow Chart.

“Sort Designer Control is a supplementary teaching tool developed to help students learn the basic concepts, algorithms, and implementations of popular computer sorting algorithms. It supports bubble and insertion sorting. The control generates initial values automatically and demonstrates intermediate states in the sorting process. It also generates sorting source code for both Visual Basic and C#,” Microsoft revealed.

The Search Designer Control is very similar in purpose to the Sort Designer Control, only that the tool is focused exclusively on popular data search algorithms, with support for binary and sequential searches. Microsoft's promise is that Visual Sort Designer and Visual Search Designer Controls can be used to easily put together sample search programs and visual demonstrations.

Programmers will also be able to use Visual Declarative Designer, a variable declaration tool, which is highly intuitive according to the Redmond company. The software is set up to streamline learning tasks associated with variable declaration and the associated source code.

“Assistant Class Designer is a visual class designer for novice programmers. This designer guides students through the processes of adding classes, properties, methods and events,” Microsoft added. “Visual Programming Flow Chart is a supplementary teaching tool designed to help students understand program control flow. It generates flow charts for functions and saves them in the JPG picture format.”

Microsoft Visual Studio Learning Pack 2.0 is available for download here.

Visual Studio Express Edition with SP1 is available for download here.

Adobe Releases Lightroom 2.3 RC, Camera RAW 5.3 RC – Free Download

Photographers using a Nikon D3X or the Olympus E-30 rejoice

Adobe has just released new versions of its Photoshop add-ons, bringing Lightroom to version 2.3 and Camera RAW to 5.3. The ‘release candidate’ (RC) label indicates that the plug-in is well tested but still needs community testing before it is distributed automatically to all customers, the company behind the Flash player reveals.

Adobe Lightroom 2.3 RC / 2.2
Adobe Lightroom works efficiently to aid professional photographers in importing, selecting, showcasing and developing large volumes of digital images. The “goal” of Lightroom 2.3 RC, as Adobe puts it, is to address several bugs and provide additional camera raw support. Issues fixed in this release include: slideshows could return to the first image randomly during playback; a memory leak could cause Lightroom to crash while attempting to process files with local adjustments; Canon EOS 5D Mk II sRAW files could process with artifacts in Lightroom 2.2.

Windows specific issues include: Lightroom 2.2 could cause disc burning to fail for Windows customers; in the Windows 64-bit version of Lightroom an sFTP upload process could cause Lightroom to crash.

As far as camera support goes, newly supported camera models include the Nikon D3X and the Olympus E-30. Additional language support has been included as well. Lightroom 2.3 now provides language support for Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Dutch, Italian, Korean, Portuguese (Brazilian), Spanish and Swedish.

Camera RAW 5.3 RC
Adobe Camera RAW 5.3 RC also adds support for the Nikon D3X and Olympus E-30. The Camera Raw plug-in provides easy access within Photoshop to the raw image formats produced by numerous professional and midrange digital cameras.

“The Camera Raw team would like the community to help verify the quality of the plug-in through normal usage as this will ensure that the plug-in is tested on a diversity of hardware and software configurations not available internally at Adobe,” reads a company post.

Users should also note that this release is not currently compatible with After Effects. Rest assured, though, Adobe promises to address this compatibility issue before the final release. Also, this release addresses possible artifacts that could appear in Canon EOS 5D Mk II sRAW files, Adobe points out.

Download Adobe Lightroom 2.3 RC / 2.2 (Update / Trial / Buy)

Download Adobe Camera RAW 5.3 RC / 5.2 (Free)

Free Removal Tool Available for iWorkServices Mac Trojan

Security firms rush to aid users that may have accidentally downloaded the most recent Mac malware

Last week, various sources were reporting that pirated copies of iWork '09 doing the rounds on torrent sites were infected with a trojan. Acknowledged by security firms Intego and SecureMac, there are currently at least two solutions to rid your computer of the respective malware.

In a security note issued on January 21, 2009, Intego revealed that it had discovered a new Trojan horse threatening Mac users. Called OSX.Trojan.iServices.A, the trojan was reportedly “circulating in copies of Apple’s iWork 09 found on BitTorrent trackers and other sites containing links to pirated software,” according to the security firm. “The version of iWork 09, Apple’s productivity suite, are complete and functional, but the installer contains an additional package called iWorkServices.pkg,” Intego explained.

Intego went on to outline that “when installing iWork 09, the iWorkServices package is installed. The installer for the Trojan horse is launched as soon as a user begins the installation of iWork, following the installer’s request of an administrator password (in older versions of Mac OS X, 10.5.1 or earlier, there will be no password request). This software is installed as a startup item (in /System/Library/StartupItems/iWorkServices, a location reserved normally for Apple startup items), where it has read-write-execute permissions for root,” said the company that develops and sells desktop Internet security and privacy software for Macintosh. From there, the malware connects to the Internet and to a remote server to which a hacker can have access. The hacker will then have the ability to connect and “perform various actions remotely,” the company warned last week.

According to a MacScan report, those who feel they might be infected can use SecureMac’s free removal tool to remove the trojan horse (available just below). Intego, for its part, has updated the virus definitions for its VirusBarrier X4 and X5 antivirus software for Mac (also available for download).

Download iWorkServices Trojan Removal Tool 1.0 (Free)

Download VirusBarrier (Update / Trial / Buy)

Download New Picasa for Mac (V. 3.0.2)

Free solution for finding, editing, and sharing your photos

Picasa is a program that helps users manage, edit, and share their photo collection with ease. Boasting some impressive control capabilities, the tool can find and display up to one million pictures from any place on your Mac. Editing options range from retouching to adding text and watermarks. When the work is finished, users can easily upload to Picasa web albums.

Picasa doesn't store images, but only represents the actual directories containing photographs on your computer, saving you space, as well as eliminating the risk of bad manipulation. The application handles your iPhoto Library in the same way, with a small variation made for the way in which the latter organizes your photos. If you make edits in iPhoto, each album or event in your iPhoto Library will contain an “Originals” folder and a “Modified” one. Picasa is able to scan the photos and videos in both of them, and can display a single collective folder with the most recent version of each file.

“Last year we had a blast at Macworld demonstrating all our Mac products, but as Mac users, we also know that the best part of Macworld is new product announcements,” said Stuart Morgan, software engineer of the Google Mac team, at the time Google was introducing Picasa to Mac users. “This year, we're getting in the spirit by making a little announcement of our own: we're happy to say that Picasa, Google's photo management software, will be joining the ranks of the free Mac OS X applications from Google!”

According to the Google Mac Team, a few minor features like geotagging and webcam capture aren't functional yet. This is understandable, since Picasa for Mac is only in its early beta stages. Despite other, minor issues, Mr. Morgan trusts users will “find plenty to like in this first beta.” “[...] We're excited to get this release out into the hands of the Mac community at this year's Macworld! We're looking forward to making Picasa for the Mac even better, and to hearing what you think,” he said.

The latest version of Picasa for Mac adds “numerous bug fixes based on initial beta feedback,” according to Google. You may grab it using the link below.

Download Picasa for Mac (Free)

Download System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 VHD

Available here

Microsoft is offering a trial version of the System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2, but, in case customers do not want the pains associated with actually deploying the solution in their infrastructure, the company is also serving a VHD of the software.
System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 VHD is a pre-configured virtual hard disk image, which allows users to run the solution in a virtual machine under Virtual PC 2007 or Virtual Server 2005. The full download is over 5 GB, and will permit customers to test-drive the complete System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2.

“System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 is the next-generation release of Systems Management Server (SMS) 2003. Leverage deep integration with the 2007 Microsoft Office system, the Windows Vista operating system, Windows Server 2008, and Exchange Server 2007 to promote your systems-management solutions. And generate new sales revenue by extending of one of the most secure, well-managed, and cost-effective platforms in the industry,” Microsoft revealed.

The evaluation package brings to the table not just System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2, but also SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition and Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2 Enterprise Edition. According to the Redmond company, the VHD image is time-bombed and set to expire within 30 days from the first execution. However, TechNet and MSDN subscribers have the option to prolong the life of the evaluation package beyond the 30-day expiration date. Microsoft informed that all the TechNet and MSDN members could activate the operating system shipping with the System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2, in order to use the solution until June 7, 2010.

“System Center Configuration Manager 2007 is the solution to comprehensively assess, deploy, and update your servers, clients, and devices—across physical, virtual, distributed, and mobile environments. Optimized for Windows and extensible beyond, it is the best choice for gaining enhanced insight into, and control over, your IT systems,” the software giant stated. “Built on key Microsoft technologies, such as Microsoft Windows Server Update Services (WSUS), Windows Server Active Directory, and the Windows architecture, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 enhances your insight into, and control over, your IT infrastructure. With Configuration Manager 2007, organizations can ensure that IT systems comply with desired configuration states to improve systems’ availability, security, and performance network-wide.”

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 VHD is available for download here.

AMD to Update Server Processors with New Shanghai Opterons

Designed to provide better power consumption

Sunnyvale, California-based Advanced Micro Devices is expected to unveil a series of new processors, designed to provide the company's professional users with an alternative low-voltage and high-clock speed server solution. The new chips will be part of AMD's Opteron family of server CPUs and are based on the company's “Shanghai” processors, released back in November 2008. According to the latest details in the industry, the new chips are expected to be announced this week, meaning that customers will likely be able to take advantage of them in the upcoming months.

AMD will unveil five new “high-efficient” variants of its Shanghai-based Opterons, all of which will be running on slightly lower clock speeds, but will provide an improved power consumption rate. According to “The Register,” the chip maker will provide new Opteron processors rated at 55 watts, using the company's ACP (Average CPU Power) scale. This rating is different from the one the chip manufacturer used in the past, namely the peak power consumption metrics.

In addition to the high-efficient Opterons, AMD is expected to release a Special Edition Shanghai chip, which will become available in two different models, one that will be targeted at two-socket servers, and one that will be designed for four-socket systems. Despite its slightly higher clock rate, this chip will feature a power consumption rate almost double that of the other chips. The processor is rated at 105watts.

Regarding the specifications of the new processors, all new Shanghai-based chips are going to provide four cores with a 512KB L2 cache memory and 6MB of L3 cache. They will be capable of supporting server configurations featuring 800MHz DDR2 memory. Furthermore, the Shanghai processors are expected to provide an enhanced performance level, when compared to the Barcelona chips released by AMD prior to its current server processor architecture.

Price-wise, the Opteron 2372 HE part, rated at 2.1GHz, will cost $316, while the 2374 HE, rated at 2.2GHz, will come with a price tag of $450. The 2376 HE part, running at 2.3GHz, is listed at $575 in 1000-unit quantities. All of the aforementioned processors are designed for two-socket servers, while for bigger servers AMD will release the 8374 HE, running at 2.2GHz, and an 8376 HE rated at 2.3GHz, priced at $1,165 and $1,514, respectively. The higher-clocked models, rated at 2.8GHz, will be offered for both two-socket servers and four-socket boxes with prices of $1,165 and $2,649.

ASUS Said to Be Facing Internal Struggles for Power

Could lead to the creation of a new brand

Alleged internal struggels for power at ASUS could enable a new brand
Enlarge picture
According to recent reports, ASUSTeK, one of the world's leading vendors of computer motherboards and portable computer systems, may be facing some internal struggles for power. The company's chairman, Mr. Johnny Shih, and Mr. Tung Tsu Hsien, the new boss at Pegatron, a breakaway OEM division of ASUSTeK, are reported to be going through some misunderstandings, the likes of which could lead to the creation of a new brand.

The news comes from a recent article on TweakTown, where a Taiwan-based magazine entitled “Business Today” is cited as being the source where a story on the internal power struggle undergoing at ASUSTeK has been published. According to the translated version (provided by TweakTown) of said article, Mr. Tung Tsu Hsien was forced to accept its current job, as the boss of the newly-founded Pegatron, consequently being eliminated from the ASUS board. Apparently, Mr. Tung Tsu Hsien was not pleased with the decision as he was more interested in the brand business, especially in the growing Chinese market.

The author of the lengthy article claims that Tung Tsu Hsien has brought along with him to Pegatron other people from the R&D and industrial design teams at ASUS, mainly due to the fact that he has won the hearts of the staff through its business practices.

According to the article, Tung Tsu Hsien decided to establish PEGA Design, made out of ASUS' Industrial Design Team, which joined Pegatron after the separation. From February 2009 onwards, the team will be working in the old ASUS building and will be allowed to take on designing contracts. Such contracts could materialize into some new notebook PCs, desktop and broadband modem designs. According to the writer of the article, the initial goal of the team, in Tung Tsu Hsien's perspective, is to test the market. Given a favorable response, the company could place orders from Pegatron for manufacturing, but that is yet to be confirmed.

The article ends by saying that, despite appearances of a “harmonious” ASUS split, the internal struggles at ASUS are pretty much real and that Mr. Johnny Shih may be facing more issues, in addition to the ongoing financial crisis.

Phenom II Breaks 6.5GHz, Enables New 3DMark Record

Using a liquid helium cooling solution

Prior to the official release of AMD's next-generation 45nm Phenom II processors, the Sunnyvale, California-based chip maker held a number of events where it approached the opportunity of demonstrating the overclocking potential of its latest desktop processors. Soon after their official release at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, the processors were used in yet another demonstration, where one of AMD's Phenom II products was pushed to record clock levels and was used to break the Futuremark 3DMark05 record.

While such an event is probably of little or no importance to the regular computer user, the achievement is nevertheless impressive as it requires a strong knowledge base of overclocking and some pretty impressive tools. Basically, an event such as the one that was held after CES earlier this month is of interest to those technology enthusiasts that take pleasure in pushing technology to its limits. The overclocking team, however, claims that the occasion was also meant to provide details on the performance levels achieved when employing alternative cooling methods, such as liquid helium.

The result of 45474 Marks in 3DMark05 is still standing, and you can see it for yourself at this page. There's also a YouTube video of the event (which is embedded at the end of this article), explaining the procedures required to record the impressive result. As you will notice in the video, the overclocking team managed to take the Phenom II processor to an impressive 6.5GHz, which permitted it to set a world record for the x86 quad-core processor. Initially, the core speed was set to 6.3GHz, which enabled a 3DMark05 score slightly below the 45000 mark.

AMD had been emphasizing the performance results of its Phenom II processors for a great amount of time ahead of their official release, but the simple fact is that these desktop chips haven't been successful in allowing AMD to reclaim the highest-performance CPU title, currently held by Intel's Core i7.

Monday, January 26, 2009

AMD and Ferrari Come Together in New Acer Laptop

12.1-inch Ferrari 1200 Laptop for on-the-go computing

Acer, the world's third largest manufacturer of computer systems, has just announced a new portable device, designed to be part of the company's already famous Ferrari lineup. The new laptop has been built on an AMD platform, featuring support for the chip maker's Turion X2 ultra-dual core processors. Providing a number of unique features, the Ferrari 1200 laptop comes in an ultra-portable package as it features a 12.1-inch screen size, close to that of the company's recently introduced 10-inch Aspire One netbook.

The new Ferrari 1200 comes just days after the PC vendor launched its highly anticipated 10-inch netbook, and it boasts a 12.1-inch wide-aspect display featuring Acer's CrystalBrite LCD technology, with white LED backlight, designed for an enhanced viewing experience. In addition, on the exterior, the notebook has been featured with a carbon-fibre cover, a material that you are more likely to find in car designs rather than in the computer business. However, according to Acer, this material allows for a better build quality, as it is lighter yet stronger than magnesium alloy.

On the inside, the Ferrari 1200 has been featured with AMD's M780G chipset, providing users with an enhanced graphics support, without compromising on power consumption. The laptop can be equipped with one of AMD's Turion X2 Ultra dual-core mobile processors and can support a maximum of 4GB of dual-channel DDR2 memory, a feature that will likely enable a high level of performance. According to the PC vendor, the new Ferrari laptop is a good choice for both gaming and multimedia enthusiasts.

Additional features include the Acer integrated Bio-Protection fingerprint solution, which will allow users to easily secure their data on the laptop and also enable a fast access to applications, through a simple finger-swipe. On the connectivity side, the notebook has been featured with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, accompanied by Acer's InvLink Wi-Fi application.

Acer is yet to provide pricing and availability details for the Ferrari 1200.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

IE8 RC1 for Vista SP1 and XP SP3 About to Be Released

Forget about IE8 Beta 2

Forget about IE8 Beta 2, the first Release Candidate build of Internet Explorer 8 is just around the corner, according to Microsoft. Frank Olivier, UX and Compatibility PM, revealed that the Redmond company was “about to release [Internet Explorer 8 Release Candidate (IE8 RC1)] for Windows Vista and Windows XP” on January 21, 2009. IE8 RC1 will be tailored to Vista RTM and SP1, to XP SP3 and earlier, to Windows Server 2008 and to Windows Server 2003, but not to Windows 7. Users running Windows 7 Beta Build 7000 will not be able to install Internet Explorer 8 Release Candidate 1 on the operating system, on top of the platform's own copy of IE8 Beta.

At the end of August 2008, Microsoft made available for download the Beta 2 release of IE8, the evolution from Beta 1, which was initially launched in March of the past year. By the end of 2008, a Partner Build of Internet Explorer 8 was offered to a select pool of testers, which already carried the label Release Candidate 1. Now, the software giant is simply gearing up to serve the real thing to the general public, namely the fully-fledged Internet Explorer 8 Release Candidate 1 (IE8 RC1), leaving the Beta stage behind, and signaling the proximity of the RTW (release to web) phase.

“Over the past months, our compatibility team has been hard at work, finding and fixing bugs that cause site rendering issues. Due to the different release schedules for Windows 7 Beta and IE8 RC1, some of these bug fixes didn't make it into Windows 7 Beta (aka Build 7000). So, if you want to use the latest version of IE8 – you’ll want to install IE8 RC1 for Windows Vista or Windows XP,” Olivier explained.

In this context, the IE8 Beta build that is included into Windows 7 Beta is an interim version of the browser, more evolved than Beta 2, but inferior to Release Candidate 1. While IE8 RC1 will be made available for all supported versions of Windows with the exception of Windows 7, the Beta variant in Win7 is bound to evolve at the same pace as the rest of the operating system it comes bundled with.

“Just like we did for IE8 Beta 2, we would love to get your feedback on IE8 RC1 rendering. Soon after we release IE8 RC1, we will [detail] again about using the Report a Webpage Problem Add-On to report site rendering issues. The data that you have uploaded with this tool in the past has been very useful in our efforts to find and fix rendering issues – thank you very much for helping us out,” Olivier concluded.

Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) Beta 2 is available for download here.

HP to Expand Netbook Lineup with Mini 1100 Series

9 new models coming soon

HP is expected to further expand its lineup of ultraportable computer systems by adding new models to its Mini range of netbooks. The upcoming models will make up for the company's Mini 1100 series, which will include the Mini 1110R, 1111NR, 1120NR, 1125NR, 1130NR, 1133CL, 1135NR, 1136NR and the 1141NR. In addition to the eight aforementioned Minis, HP is expected to also unveil a new Vivienne Tam-edition Mini 1140NR, for a total of 9 new HP Mini netbooks.

Despite no official word on the part of the company, the new systems have already been leaked on the Internet, on its webpage, consequently allowing users to speculate on their release. Aside from the netbooks' names being mentioned on the company's website, HP has also provided some technical specifications for just four of them, namely the Mini 1133CL, 1135NR, 1140NR and 1141NR. Besides a few minor differences, all four models appear to be pretty much alike, providing users with a 10.1-inch screen capable of a maximum resolution of 1024 by 576. Also, the Mini 1141NR appears to be the new Vivienne Tam-edition netbook, as it comes with a Vivienne Tam Sleeve.

All four models for which specifications have been revealed seem to have been featured with an Intel Atom N270 processor, running at the very familiar 1.6GHz clock speed. The systems have been configured with 1GB of RAM memory and a 60GB hard drive, in addition to a 3-cell battery. All systems also come with an ExpressCard/54 slot, HD Audio, stereo speakers and integrated microphone. The main difference between the 1135NR, 1140NR models and the 1133CL, 1141NR ones is that the last two will not be featured with integrated Bluetooth, which seems rather strange, given that most netbooks come with Bluetooth connectivity.

Specifications could be subject to change and will probably provide users with more options, in terms of storage, memory and battery solutions. However, we will have to wait until the Palo Alto, California-based PC vendor will officially intro the new products.

Google Drives Extra Nail in the Coffin of Firefox 2.0

Shutting down phishing protection

This week, Google drove one of the final nails in the coffin of Firefox 2.0, by discontinuing a service designed to keep users of the now obsolete version of the open source browser safe while browsing. As of January 20, 2009, the Mountain View search giant shut down the Phishing and Malware Protection service that informed Firefox 2.0 users that they were at risk when browsing malicious websites, especially spoofed sites.

“The data service that is used by the Phishing Protection feature in Firefox 2 is being turned off by Google on Tuesday, January 20th. Any Firefox 2 user with version or later may have already noticed that the option to enable this feature is disabled. If you’re using a previous version of Firefox 2, even though the feature is enabled in your browser, as of January 20th no new data will be sent to your computer,” Mike Beltzner, Mozilla's User Experience lead, revealed.

As far as Mozilla is concerned, Firefox 2.0 is dead as of December 2008. The past month, Mozilla issued the last security and stability update for Firefox 2.0, namely version, and informed that it no longer offered any support for the browser. While it continues work on Firefox 3.1, the company advised all Firefox 2.0 users to upgrade as soon as possible at least to version 3.0.5 of the browser, released in December 2008. As of last year, Firefox 2.0 users have been getting upgrade notifications to Firefox 3.0. Mozilla plans to deliver 3.0.6 in February 2009.

“We strongly recommended that you upgrade to Firefox 3. If you wish to continue using Firefox 2, we recommend turning off the preference titled 'Tell me if the site I’m visiting is a suspected forgery' in the Security preferences,” Beltzner added.

Firefox 3.0.5 and 3.1 Beta 2 for Windows is available here.

Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 for Linux is available here.

Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 for Mac OS X is available here.

Apple Secretly Intros Updated MacBook (White)

NVIDIA GeForce 9400M among the new additions

Great news for those planning to upgrade to fit the requirements of Snow Leopard and wanted to save a buck in the process - Apple has secretly beefed up its low end notebook, the White 13-inch MacBook with a 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo (1066MHz frontside bus) processor, double the original memory and better graphics, keeping the ports intact, as well as the price: $999!

Is this the sweetest offer Apple has made this year, or what? The processor has been updated from 800MHz frontside bus to the 2.0 GHz Core 2 Duo model with a 1066MHz frontside bus. Old MacBook models used to ship with 1GB of memory; the same money can now nab the customer 2 gigs of 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM memory standard on the polycarbonate MacBook. Apple has also updated the graphics to NVIDIA GeForce 9400M, the standard on the 13-inch unibody MacBook (Late 2008). A smaller update, but worth mentioning nonetheless, is Bluetooth 2.1.

Undoubtedly the upgrades are in anticipation of Apple releasing Mac OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard, the newest version of OS X that Apple is actively working on, as far as we know. The changes were first spotted by the eagle-eyed folks over at Engadget. However, although quiet, Apple does mention the upgrades on the Apple Store page, where customers can order a 13-inch aluminum or polycarbonate MacBook (pictured left).

“Starting at just $999, MacBook has everything you need to do everything you need. Advanced NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics, a fast Intel Core 2 Duo processor, and more memory standard deliver power and performance,” Apple says. “And MacBook offers a slew of innovative features, including a built-in iSight camera for video chatting on the go, fast Wi-Fi so you can work from anywhere, and a glossy 13-inch widescreen display that makes graphics and video come alive,” the description ends.

For a closer look at the new white MacBook, visit Apple here.

Virtual Earth 3D Crashes on Windows 7 Resolved

With the CEIP fix

Microsoft has resolved an issue that prevented the installation of Virtual Earth 3D into Windows 7 Beta Build 7000. Users that attempted to integrate the latest version of Virtual Earth 3D with the first Beta of Win 7 were confronted with an error message, followed by the application's crash. The error message only informed them that the Virtual Earth 3D failed to install, but did not provide any additional details.

“If you’ve tried installing Virtual Earth 3D on Windows 7 you may have see a little problem with the installer crashing during setup stating, “Virtual Earth 3D Install has stopped working,” Chris Pendleton, Virtual Earth tech evangelist, revealed. Microsoft was quick to resolve the issue identified by independent testers that affected not only Virtual Earth 3D, but also additional programs including Windows Explorer, and applications comprising some relying on MSI-based installers.

“As it turns out, there’s an issue with the Software Quality Metrics (SQM) in Windows 7 that it doesn’t like VE 3D. If you want to get it working, you’ll need to make a manual registry change. The fix is actually quite simple – just rename (or delete) the following key: HKLM\Software\Microsoft\SQMClient\Windows\DisabledSessions. Once you’ve done that, run the install again, and it should work without issue,” Pendleton added.

However, at this point in time users no longer have to delete the registry key mentioned by Pendleton. Microsoft has already solved the Windows 7 Customer Experience Improvement Program bug with a fix released through the platform's Action Center. In this regard, all applications that previously suffered crashes due to the bug residing in the SQL (CEIP) client, including Virtual Earth 3D should no longer deliver any integration problems when it comes down to the installation process on Windows 7 Beta.

Windows 7 Beta is available for download here.

Product keys to activate Windows 7 Beta are available here.

Virtual Earth 3D is available for download here.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 Has Support for Intel Core i7

Also offers leading virtualization performance and next-generation Java technology

Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of Open Source solutions, announced yesterday, January 20th, the immediate availability of the third update for their Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 operating system. Besides the usual bug fixes and software updates, the most important features brought by Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 are: better virtualization performance for the 64-bit architectures, support for the new Intel Core i7 (Nehalem) processors and the inclusion of the OpenJDK next-generation Java technology.

"Further strengthening our long-standing relationship with Red Hat, we have collaborated to make the newly available Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 operating platform run great on Intel Xeon processor-based platforms," said Doug Fisher,
vice president of the Intel Software and Services Group, and general manager of the Systems Software Division in the press release. "Together, the compelling combination of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 and Intel's current and future Intel Xeon processor-based servers enable customers to run the most demanding, business-critical workloads on high-performance, cost-effective, reliable platforms."

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 updates various packages, such as audit 1.7.7, wpa_supplicant 0.5.10, NetworkManager 0.7.0, dbus-glib 0.73.8 or sudo 1.6.9; and drivers, such as scsi_dh, scsi-target-utils and MPT Fusion.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) distribution is somehow targeted more to the commercial market, including mainframes, which enjoy a 7-year support on Red Hat's behalf after its release. New versions of RHEL are released quite fast and thus, users can upgrade their current version to the newest release free of charge. Red Hat distributed four versions of RHEL: RHEL AS (Advanced Server), RHEL ES (edge, economy or entry-level server), RHEL WS (workstation) and Red Hat Desktop. Existing RHEL customers will be able to download the updated ISO images or the updates from the Red Hat Networks website. New RHEL users can download a 30-day trial edition from the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Evaluation Program website, after registering.

"With Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3, Red Hat has once again delivered a rich set of features, developed through rapid innovation with the open source community, that can increase the capability and drive down the cost of customers' Information Technology," said Scott Crenshaw, vice president of the Platform Business Unit at Red Hat. "With the challenge to carve costs out of IT budgets, the flexibility, reliability and simplicity of an Enterprise Linux subscription has more value to customers than ever. Our customers have access to all the features of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 today."

Download - 1Password 2.9.8 Reaches Fifth Beta

Latest stable version remains 2.9.7

1Password, the password manager and form filler from the folks at Agile Web Solutions, has recently been updated to include three changes and one bug fix. The application is specifically designed for Mac OS X users and comes in a variety of versions, suitable for single or group use.

In the latest version of 1Password, Agile Web Solutions claims to have changed the display of "Fill & Submit", "Fill" ⌥, "Delete" ⌃, and "Edit" ⇧ options in the browser menu. Also, the developers have renamed the "Bookmarks" menu item to "Go & Fill" and moved it to the top of the 1Password menu in the browser. The last change concerns a dialog, which now displays "Fill Last Generated Password" when there are no Logins available for the current page, while the password is generated.

As many have found out, 1Password is designed to remember all the online passwords that you insert on any web page or form, anytime, by using one single (master) countersign. It integrates directly into most browsers, and sports built-in, anti-phishing and keylogger protection. Mac owners can easily manage hundreds of passwords with one key. It supports Firefox, Camino, OmniWeb, DEVONagent, NetNewsWire, and of course, Apple's own Safari. Opera, unfortunately, isn't supported. An iPhone version of the app is also available for download via the iTunes App Store.

1Password starts at $39.95 - Single User license. A Family license costs $59.95. 1Password is licensed on a per-person basis (a single license can be used by one person on as many Macs as they can afford), in order to reduce 1Password's total cost of ownership. By using the link below, you can update to the latest version, try out 1Password for free in demo mode, or buy a copy of the software. 1Password requires Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard). It is a Universal application, meaning it runs on both PPC and Intel-based Macs.

Download 1Password (Update / Trial / Buy)

Download New Sandvox 1.5.4

Create blogs, photo albums, podcasts and more

Karelia Software has a fresh version of Sandvox up for grabs. The application aiding creative users in manipulating text, pictures, video and audio adds new features, as well as improvements. Scroll down for the full scoop.

New Features added in Sandvox 1.5.4 include automatic support for the JS-Kit comments service to the Site Inspector. According to Karelia, this supercedes Haloscan, though Haloscan will continue to be supported for pre-existing sites with a valid Haloscan ID. Users are also encouraged to use the Site Inspector to (re)activate the appropriate comments system for their site. As such, JS-Kit is to be used for new sites, while JS-Kit or Haloscan is aimed at older sites already registered with Haloscan, Karelia says. Additionally, Sandvox now warns when a timed trial license has expired, this being the last enhancement included with Sandvox 1.5.4 Build 9259.

With more than 40 site designs available (with viewport settings for optimized display on iPhones), Sandvox's text, image, audio, and video sharing features are true assets for developers. Customizable banners that let you personalize your site have been added (added in Sandvox 1.2.7), while a comprehensive and completely integrated Help feature boasts more than 200 articles, including step-by-step "How do I...?" pages, etc.

"Sandvox is a great piece of software. It should be used in a software design class as an excellent example of an intuitive user interface. The features are accessible to basic users, but it is also powerful enough for advanced web designers. I've tried out different web publishing software, but they don't come close to Sandvox when compared on features, ease-of-use, and pricing," says Andrew Soh, a California resident and user of Kareila's website creation tool.

Sandvox costs $49 to buy. To update, purchase, or try a demo of the software, use the link below. The demo will only export or publish the home page of each project you create by using it. Sandvox requires Mac OS X 10.4.4 (Tiger) or later to work, and is a Universal application, good for PPC and Intel processors.

Download Sandvox 1.5.2 (Update / Demo/ Buy)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Download World of Warcraft Patch 3.0.8 for Mac

New abilities, bonuses, enhancements and more

Blizzard Entertainment has released a new update for Mac and PC versions of its popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft. The patch delivers the promised ability to create Death Knights on any realm as players reach level 55, as well as the usual laundry of fixes and tweaks.

Main changes brought by the latest WoW patch include:

Bonus Armor
According to Blizzard, "the mechanics for items with bonus armor on them has changed (any cloth, leather, mail, or plate items with extra armor, or any other items with any armor). Bonus armor beyond the base armor of an item will no longer be multiplied by any talents or by the bonuses of Bear Form, Dire Bear Form, or Frost Presence."

The run speed in spirit form has been increased by 50%. Night Elves in Wisp form will now move at a bonus 75% speed.

Racial restrictions on mounts have now been lifted.

Racial Resistances: These can now be mitigated against by gaining additional chance to hit.

Tapping: All player spells which cause a creature to become aggressive to you will now also immediately cause the creature to be tapped.

All Silence spells now have diminishing returns.

Dispel Resist talents have changed to protect only beneficial spells and damage over time effects.

Shield Wall, Barkskin, Guardian Spirit, and Divine Protection are now off the Global Cooldown.

60+ new graveyards to Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms.

Blizzard Entertainment also reveals that players will no longer experience automatic deprecation of their reputation when killing mobs. Basically, trivial mobs will continue to give out their full amounts of reputation on kill for the majority of cases in the game. Blizzard explains that “level 70 creatures in Stratholme, for example, will continue to award the full amount of rep to level 80 players seeking to boost their Argent Dawn faction.”

Also worth noting is that World of Warcraft now supports 3-D imaging. Blizzard encourages users to head here for more information. Those who are eager to download the patch right away can go to the address provided just below.

Download World of Warcraft Updater 3.0.8 (Free)

Download New and Improved TrailRunner 1.9.307

Plan your workouts for increased motivatio

Berbie has released a new version of its route planning app for Mac OS X, TrailRunner. Numerous functions have been tweaked, including map loading, background pre-loading, split at lap-points and track replacements.

According to Berbie, patches included with TrailRunner 1.9.307 should fix an infinite loop problem with route merge. As map loading performance is pretty good now, the software has re-enabled the low-res background pre-loading. Fixed bugs include:

- Fixed a bug with elevation calculations for intermediate tracks
- Fixed a problem with section split
- Fixed a problem where merged way-points could lose their name
- Fixed a problem with route import and split at lap-points
- Fixed a problem with intermediate track replacements.

TrailRunner is aimed at sports dealing with long-distance traveling, such as running, biking, hiking, and inline-skating. The free software is able to determine how long or how effective one's workouts are, and what routes work best for them. TrailRunner can also calculate a route for the desired distance, and export directions onto the users' iPods. This way, users get detailed orientation, while keeping the workout going. In recent releases, the company introduced the ability to display collected workout data within the program, matching the recordings with routes created by users. Berbie integrates with, the online community for the Nike SportBand, and the Apple Nike+ iPod Sport Kit running devices.

“There might be several motivations you start running,” says Berbie. “Just to get fresh air several times a week, to lose weight or to exercise as a semi professional for races and honor. Either motivation needs goals you define in a training plan and methods to check up your progress, like measuring your burned calories and weight loss, your improved heart-rate, your speed and ranking in a competition or just being able to master a marathon in a given time.”

TrailRunner is beta software. All beta releases of TrailRunner (including the one available today) will run for about three months, the company says. The latest version of TrailRunner - available below - requires Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. A download link for Tiger users is also available following the same address.

Download TrailRunner (Free)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Download New OnyX 2.0.3 (Free)

General purpose utility for Mac OS X

Titanium Software has released a new version of OnyX, an application that lets users tweak pretty much anything there is to tweak within Mac OS X. The new release adds half a dozen changes, including a new Info panel and updated Help. OnyX is completely free to download and use.

OnyX can manipulate everything from the Finder, Dock, Dashboard, Expose, and Safari to the Login window, and even the hidden settings of some of Apple's own applications. The utility enables you not only to optimize the way OS X works, but also to manage some of the processes behind most applications.

It allows you to delete caches and remove a certain number of files and folders that may become cumbersome, and there's also the option to see detailed info of your configuration. Just as important, OnyX is able to save a Desktop before modifying and relaunching the Finder. As you would expect, the app also lets you modify its appearance – window transparency, the icon, and the toolbar icons, and more. The latest version of the app brings the following enhancements:

· New "Info" panel;
· Modifying the number of recent places in the dialogs;
· Deleting Logs improved;
· Many alert messages modified;
· Bug while opening the Parameters panel corrected (catalan version);
· Help updated and reindexed.

- It is very important to back up your data before using OnyX. The application is not bug-free, and no user is infallible, according to the makers.
- If your computer freezes, don't worry, OnyX cannot destroy the System. If your computer freezes during the verification of the volume, it is a completely normal behavior! Once OnyX is finished checking, control will be returned to you.

OnyX is available for Mac OS ranging from Jaguar to Leopard. You can download the latest version of OnyX using the link below.

Download OnyX (Free)

Download: Adium Updated – Fixes Bugs

Updated to libpurple from 2.5.2 to 2.5.4

Developed by Adam Iser and Evan Schoenberg, Adium is a fast, fun, and free instant messaging client that supports most existing IM protocols. The latest version of the application includes so many bug fixes you'll probably simply skip the reading part and go straight for the download.

But, just in case you're curious, Adium 1.3.3 Beta 2 fixes major bugs found in previous versions of the software. Those include (highlights):

· Fixed a crash when a Yahoo user messages an MSN contact;
· Fixed display of Gadu-Gadu user icons;
· Fixed "Unable to add user - Unknown error (205)" when connecting to MSN;
· SASL PLAIN or IQ Auth passwords are no more in debug logs fixes to MySpace and MSN;
· Fixed problem of events being recorded with wrong contact;
· Fixed a bug that caused Adium to leave log files open.
The full changelog is available here.

According to the release notes, tab completion of names in groupchats is now case-insensitive, while Greek and Slovenian localizations have been updated.

Adium replicates many of the features (and the look) of Apple's own IM client, iChat. Adium combines an array of IM protocols, such as AOL Instant Messenger (including ICQ and .Mac), Jabber (including Google Talk), MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, Novell Groupwise and Lotus Sametime.

The IM client also gives users the possibility to connect with multiple types of accounts at the same time, combining all their friend groups into one big list. Supported buddy icons include AIM, MSN, and Yahoo! The free IM app boasts a customizable appearance that blends with the Aqua interface.

Adium requires an Intel or PPC Mac and Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or higher. To get the latest version of the program, go to the address below.

Download Adium (Free)

You may also want to look into GameBoy Sounds for Adium, an application developed by Nadim Kobeissi that replaces Adium's standard soundset for a number of events.