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TechTalk & Personal Computing Guide

The Tech-Talk News. (Page 5)

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Posted: 15 February 2005 at 2:03pm | IP Logged

MS AntiSpyware Free for Personal Use

By Ed Oswald and Nate Mook, BetaNews

February 15, 2005, 2:05 PM

UPDATED Speaking at the RSA Conference Tuesday, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said the company's recently released anti-spyware product will remain free for personal use.

"Just as spyware is something that we have to nip down today, we have decided that all licensed Windows users should have that protection at no charge," Gates said.

A version of the software for enterprise customers, however, will not be free. Microsoft has yet to announce any details or pricing for that release. There had been much speculation that Microsoft would move to a fee-based service once the anti-spyware program moved out of beta.

Microsoft AntiSpyware, which is based on software developed by GIANT, is part of a continuing effort by Redmond to make its operating system more secure. According to a recent survey, as many as 80 percent of Windows users may be infected by spyware.

"Customers are concerned about the risk malware poses to their personal information, and frustrated by its impact on the reliability and performance of their computers," Gates said. "We are responding by making security easier and more cost-effective for Windows customers, helping to protect millions of people who are vulnerable today."

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Posted: 15 February 2005 at 2:04pm | IP Logged

Gates: IE7 to Debut Before Longhorn

By Nate Mook, BetaNews

February 15, 2005, 1:17 PM

UPDATED Reversing its plans not to release a new version of Internet Explorer independent from Windows, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates now says IE 7.0 will debut before Longhorn. At the RSA Conference in San Francisco, Gates acknowledged that IE had become a security risk and promised a beta of IE7 will be available this summer for Windows XP SP2.

The update will include new anti-spyware features, and likely draw on Microsoft's recent acquisitions of security companies GIANT and Sybari.

Microsoft executives had previously held firm that Longhorn -- due in 2006 -- would bring the next major changes to Internet Explorer. In the past few months, however, Redmond has faced increased security threats and an eroding market share following the launch of Mozilla Firefox.

Microsoft's Internet Explorer Web log shed some additional light on the decision to separate IE from Windows.

"Why? Because we listened to customers, analysts, and business partners. We heard a clear message: 'Yes, XP SP2 makes the situation better. We want more, sooner. We want security on top of the compatibility and extensibility IE gives us, and we want it on XP. Microsoft, show us your commitment.'," wrote IE team head Dean Hachamovitch.

Microsoft officials have not ruled out an IE7 release for Windows 2000, but say the current plan only involves Windows XP Service Pack 2.

"Right now, we're focused on XP SP2," said Hachamovitch. "We're actively listening to our major Windows 2000 customers about what they want and comparing that to the engineering and logistical complexity of that work. That's all I can say on that topic."

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DVD Copy Protection Strengthened

By Ed Oswald, BetaNews

February 15, 2005, 1:04 PM

Content protection software maker Macrovision announced Tuesday a software solution that could help curb the problem of illegal copying of DVDs.

The software, called RipGuard, plugs up a hole created by the popular DeCSS software. DeCSS allows the user to break the already present copy protection and make near-perfect copies of the discs for uploading to P2P networks or re-burned onto recordable DVDs

Macrovision said no additional hardware or software is required on the players, as the technology is built into the disc. While protecting the content digitally, it will also protect it from analog copying (ACP) as well.

"Macrovision RipGuard DVD is designed to dramatically reduce DVD ripping and the resulting supply of illegal P2P content," said Steve Weinstein, general manager of Macrovision's Entertainment Technologies Group.

"Ultimately, we see RipGuard DVD and the ACP framework evolving beyond anti-piracy, and towards enablement of legitimate on-line transactions, interoperability in tomorrow's digital home, and the upcoming high definition formats."

The feature is expected to be widely available in the second quarter of 2005.

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Posted: 15 February 2005 at 2:09pm | IP Logged

Ask Jeeves Considers Firefox Variant

By Nate Mook, BetaNews

February 15, 2005, 11:13 AM

Google is not the only search engine interested in leveraging the recent success of Firefox. Ask Jeeves recently met with members of the Mozilla Foundation to discuss opportunities for working together, which could include a version of Firefox tailored for Ask Jeeves, according to executive vice president Tuoc Luong.

Mozilla's release of the open source Firefox has opened the door for companies who want to offer a Web browser, but lack the development resources to start from scratch. AOL recently revived the Netscape brand with a new browser based upon Firefox's core

Google's interest in Firefox has also sparked questions following its hiring of two Mozilla developers and the registration of the gbrowser.com domain name. Google, however, has been less up front about its intentions than Ask Jeeves.

"Two weeks ago, Lanzone and I met with mozilla.org at their office in Mountain View. The main purpose was to discuss Ask Jeeves and mozilla.org working together and how Ask can make contributions to Mozilla that make sense," Luong wrote in a Web log posting.

Luong said Ask Jeeves was considering opening up the source of its desktop search software, and contributing the code to a Mozilla project. "We're open at two levels. Contributing just the core desktop indexing technology or possibly the entire desktop search application," he said.

Ask Jeeves is also interested in adding its search functionality into Firefox, replacing Google as the default Web crawler.

"We explained that we want to support and leverage Firefox by building extensions to and plug-ins within Firefox," said Luong. "We discussed the fact that it doesn't make sense for us to build a browser from scratch, but we think building Ask specific functionalities on top of Firefox to build an AJ-branded or co-branded browser could make sense in 2005."

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Internet Explorer 7 Beta This Summer
flexbeta.net reports

Today at RSA, Bill Gates talked about Internet Explorer 7. As the guy responsible for IE, I wanted to say a couple of things about it. First, some basics: we're committing to deliver a new version of Internet Explorer for Windows XP customers. Betas of IE7 will be available this summer. This new release will build on the work we did in Windows XP SP2 and (among other things) go further to defend users from phishing as well as deceptive or malicious software.
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Posted: 15 February 2005 at 2:11pm | IP Logged
Are Anti-Spyware Vendors Selling Out?

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According to BroadbandReports, both Lavasoft and PestPatrol have stopped detecting WhenU Adware, without any public announcement concerning the changes. The decision immediately led many to believe both companies had followed the path of Aluria - an anti-spyware firm that weakened detection criteria after striking a marketing agreement with WhenU.
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Posted: 17 February 2005 at 1:25pm | IP Logged
IE 7 Sparks Talk Of Browser Wars

By Antone Gonsalves, TechWeb News
browsers,browsers,
Microsoft Corp.'s decision to update Internet Explorer sooner than originally planned is less about improving security, as the company has claimed, and more about combating rivals in the lucrative search market, a market analyst said Wednesday.

In announcing that the company would begin beta testing IE 7.0 in early summer, Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates told attendees at the RSA Conference in San Francisco Tuesday that the upgrade would include additional defenses against phishing scams, worms, viruses and spyware, but did not give any details on new capabilities.

Security concerns have been a major impetus for consumers to switch from IE to alternative browsers, with the Mozilla Foundation's open-source Firefox benefiting the most. As of January, IE market share had fallen to 92.7 percent, while Firefox's share had risen to 4.8 percent, according to JupiterResearch, a division of Jupitermedia Corp. Other browsers, such as Netscape and Opera, accounted for the rest.

But JupiterResearch analyst Joe Wilcox believes Microsoft is also concerned with reports that rivals Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. may be preparing to launch their own branded browsers. Ask Jeeves Inc., a smaller competitor in the search-engine market, has said it is in discussions with Mozilla about launching its own browser based on open-source Firefox.

Microsoft's MSN entertainment portal competes with Google, Yahoo and Ask Jeeves in the lucrative market of Internet search. Advertisers are expected to spend $13.8 billion online in 2007, with paid search forecast to grow 30 percent compounded annually from now until then, according to JupiterResearch. Paid search are sponsored links that are listed separately from general search results.

"The big money is in paid search, and each of these search engines are vying for the queries that lead to search dollars," Wilcox said.

Consumers that adopt a search engine's browser would be more likely to use its services to find products or information on the web, which means higher delivery rates for sponsored links, Wilcox said.

Not all experts agree, however. Gary Price of SearchEngineWatch.com points out that all the major search engines distribute free toolbars for IE that point to their services. He believes security was a major reason for deciding not to wait until next year to ship an IE upgrade with the next version of Windows.

"One reason is certainly the security issue," Price said. "The longer they wait, the more market share they could lose."

Nevertheless, there are signs that a browser war is imminent. America Online Inc., which competes with Google, Yahoo and MSN, started beta testing a standalone browser this month. Ask Jeeves is "brainstorming" with developers in the Mozilla Foundation about building its own branded browser on top of Firefox, Daniel Read, vice president of product management for Ask Jeeves, said.

"We're in discussions with them at the moment, but there are no firm plans right now," Read said.

Google, on the other hand, hasn't announced any plans for releasing a browser, but the market leader has hired Firefox's lead engineer Ben Goodger and Mozilla developer Darin Fisher, who ran the cookies and permissions part of the non-profit's browser development efforts. Yahoo also hasn't announced plans for releasing a browser.




Edited by cdesai12 - 17 February 2005 at 1:27pm
cdesai12 Goldie
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Posted: 17 February 2005 at 1:28pm | IP Logged

Netscape 8 Beta Pushed Back to March

By Nate Mook, BetaNews

February 17, 2005, 3:22 PM

America Online won't be issuing the first beta of Netscape 8 as expected this week, pushing the public release back until March. The company says it needs more time to prepare its revived browser, which is based upon Mozilla's Firefox code base and focuses on protecting users from malicious Web sites.

In January, the Netscape team released a minor update to its prototype Web browser that brought the code base up to Firefox 1.0. Netscape, which has been available to a limited group of testers since November, was originally built atop Firefox 0.9.3

As first reported by BetaNews, AOL tapped Mercurial Communications to help rebuild its Netscape browser brand early last year. The company hopes to build upon the success of Firefox and bring its users a safer browsing experience under the familiar Netscape banner.

AOL had scheduled a February 18 beta to open Netscape's doors to the public, but development is taking longer than planned. The delay is unrelated to any specific bug or problem, sources said.

"We have an excellent beta candidate, but we wanted to spend a little additional time to polish it before making it publicly available," a company spokesperson told BetaNews. "We expect that a beta will be publicly available within the next couple weeks."

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