Tag Archives: Latest News

Seesmic Acquires Ping.fm – Adds Support for 50 Social Networks

Seesmic is considered by many to be the most powerful and efficient Twitter client. However, in the past Seesmic has made it clear that it doesn’t wish to restrict itself to Twitter. And rightly so. Although Twitter and Facebook dominates the social networking landscape, there are plenty of other major players. As a logical progression towards their aim of becoming the definitive social networking client, Seesmic has announced that it is acquiring Ping.fm.

Seesmic-Acquires-Ping.fm-Social-Network-Support

Ping.fm is a simple service which can push status updates to several dozen social networks. One of the biggest strengths of Ping.fm is that it allows you to update your status message on the go using SMS, MMS, Instant Message or even e-mail. Seesmic has promised to integrate Ping.fm with all its services. It will also be maintaining and developing the Ping.fm API, which is used by close to hundred applications.

Although the financial details of the deal were not disclosed, Ping.fm co-founders – Adam Duffy and Sean McCullough, will be joining the Seesmic team. The duo will also become shareholders and a part of the Seesmic management.

Ping.fm publishes 200,000 updates every day and has 500,000 registered users. This acquisition will undoubtedly give Seesmic an edge and help Loic Le Meur achieve his target of 1 million updates a day. It will be interesting to observe how competitors like TweetDeck will respond. Since, the Ping.fm API will be maintained; other clients will also have the option of offering Ping.fm integration in the future.

Microsoft Is Looking for a Linux and Open Office Compete Lead

Is Microsoft already hot in their pants about Linux and Open Office? A recent job posting does not suggest otherwise. According to a job posting on Microsoft careers, they are looking for a Marketing lead who will focus on one of the biggest issues that is top of mind for KT and Steve B in Compete.

microsoft_linux_lead_posting

Linux, Mac and other OSS have always had a very small share when compared to the giant share Microsoft has had in both operating systems and Office software.

However, this posting definitely means that Steve B himself is having some nightmares about both Linux and Open Office. Some of the job requirements posted on this listing are pretty clear about that fact.

The Commercial Software Initiative (CSI) owns three core objectives for the Area (and Subsidiaries) as follows:

1. Drive compete Strategy. The CSI Lead is responsible for providing a 360 degree view of the US compete environment (directly to the Compete lead and BMO) and ensuring plans are in place to help drive healthy, balanced, and sustained growth. Ability to win share and ensure growth faster than the market (Servers, IW, Web, HPC)

2. Be a Perception Change Agent. The CSI Lead needs to drive perception across a number of key audiences (IT Pros, Government Elites, BDMs, IT Journalists, etc.) Ability to implement programmatic marketing that will CHANGE THE WAY PEOPLE think about Microsoft, specifically those with a hostile’ or negative perception of the Microsoft platform.

3. Build Compete Muscle‘ in the US. The CSI Lead owns ensuring that the region and subs are fully ready to compete against Linux and participate with Open Source Communities. This includes everything from training to being the subject matter expertise, where needed. Ability to diagnose and share problem, find root causes and pull together a team that will PLAN / DO / CHECK / ACT in the right direction.

And there is more key notes for this opening:

• You will educate our field and partners to compete and win. Work with EPG and other field organizations to profile Linux in key accounts. Drive Linux and UNIX compete content.
• Support competitive sales situations where Linux is a key competitor to help drive marquee wins and grow your US evidence. Work with your account teams and develop growth plans.
• Start a productive and positive culture of Loss Reviews’ Look at the competitive pipeline regularly to see where Linux Server and OpenOffice challenges arise.

What do you think? By the way, if you a candidate for this job, you can visit this page on Microsoft Careers to apply for the position.

McAfee Cautions About Shortened URLs on Social Sites, HTML 5 and Flash

URL Shortening services are quite the rage because of social networking sites like . However, these shortened URLs could be deadly, at-least for your computers.

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According to a new study by McAfee, who are one of the top security software vendors, shortened URLs will be the heavy target for Cyber criminals on sites like Twitter and in 2010.

Over the past decade, we’ve seen a tremendous improvement in the ability to successfully monitor, uncover, and stop cybercrime,said Jeff Green, senior vice president of McAfee Labs. We’re now facing emerging threats from the explosive growth of social networking sites, the exploitation of popular applications and more advanced techniques used by cybercriminals, but we’re confident that 2010 will be a successful year for the cybersecurity community.

In addition to that McAfee also has raised equal threat levels for Adobe Reader and Flash, which are one of the most exploited end-user software. One interesting point in the study is the prediction that HTML5 will induce more attacks, and entice more rogue sites, due to the fact that it is cross-platform and will help them attack more users. McAfee also says that web based OS such as Google Chrome OS would make malware creators shift towards attacking the web more than desktop users.

The release of Google Chrome OS and the technological advancements of HTML 5 will continue to shift user activity from desktop to online applications, creating yet another opportunity for malware writers to prey on users. HTML 5’s anticipated cross-platform support also provides an additional motivation for attackers, enabling them to reach users of many mainstream browsers.

Some points from the McAfee study say this about the threats in 2010:

  • Social Networks Will Be Platform of Choice for Emerging Threats
  • Cybercriminals Continue to Target Adobe Reader, Flash
  • Web Evolution Will Give Cybercriminals New Opportunities to Write Malware
  • Banking Trojans, Email Attachments Delivering Malware Will Rise in Volume, Sophistication
  • Botnet Infrastructure Shifts from Centralized Model to Peer-to-Peer Control

In a recent show of Gillmor Gang, John Borthwick, the founder of Betaworks, which also owns Bit.ly, said that they generate more than 80 million clicks in 24 hours. Imagine the number of clicks generated by all of them combined and the security risks it presents users with.

Several prominent services like Bit.ly and TinyURL have their own security measures in place, however, to be on the safer site and ensure your , make sure to always update your browser and computer, and use security software on your PC.

Many web browsers like Firefox, , , Internet Explorer 7 and 8 provide additional measures to block suspicious sites, if you are using an older browser it is highly advisable to upgrade it to the latest one.

Israel Researchers Working On a Hard To Crack 3D CAPTCHA

Captchas are challenge-response tests used to ensure that the user is a human (and not a robot). I am quite sure that every net user is familiar with them. Whether you are creating a new email account or registering at a forum or simply downloading a file, you will have to deal with a captcha. But, finding a good and effective captcha is tougher than it seems. Make them too easy and bots will manage to figure them out. Make them too tough and even human beings will have trouble. Rapidshare’s infamous cats and dogs captcha was a perfect example of captcha gone wrong.

Rapidshare-Captcha-Worst-Captcha-Ever

A group of Tel Aviv University scientists are currently developing a next-gen captcha, which they believe will be extremely difficult for bots to crack. The research project led by Prof. Danny Cohen-Or will be utilizing pictures with 3D-objects like a running man or a flying plane.

According to Prof. Cohen-Or, “Humans have a very special skill that computer bots have not yet been able to master. We can see what’s called an ’emergence image’ — an object on a computer screen that becomes recognizable only when it’s moving — and identify this image in a matter of seconds. While a person can’t ‘see’ the image as a stationary object on a mottled background, it becomes part of our gestalt as it moves, allowing us to recognize and process it.”

The proposed captcha is still a work in progress. It will take some time for the concept to move from research papers to real world applications. However, let’s hope that it will make life easier for us.

Rumor: Apple Tablet to Be Called iSlate?

Apple-TabletApple and rumors: a match made in heaven. On one hand you have a company which is obsessed with secrecy, and on the other hand you have hordes of die-hard fans who would go to any length to uncover what’s brewing inside the Apple labs.

Over the past week, we have done our bit to indulge the rumor mills about Apple Tablet. And here comes another juicy speculation that has been buzzing through the intertubes. Apple Tablet may be named iSlate.

The basis for these rumors? Well if you are looking for something concrete, there isn’t anything. But, MacRumours has managed to unearth that in 2007 Apple had purchased the domain iSlate.com. The domain is currently owned by Markmonitor.com – a brand protection firm. Not only that, TechCrunch also discovered that islate.co.uk is also owned by Markmonitor.com, while islate.fr is owned by a firm called Wilson & Berthelot, which happens to list Markmonitor as the technical contact for the domain name registration. Markmonitor was also responsible for registering islate.info and islate.biz. And, both of these domains were registered on the same date as islate.co.uk – 17th November 2006. It is quite possible, that Markmonitor was hired by Apple to register the domains on their behalf.

iSlate-Apple-Tablet

Within of a week of the domains being registered, a company called Slate Computing filed a US word mark for ‘ISLATE’. What is Slate Computing all about? These are the goods and services provided by Slate Computing according to the filing information:

Computers; computer software, namely, database management software, electronic mail and messaging software, Internet browser software, paging software, database synchronization software, software for accessing, browsing and searching online databases, software for creating spreadsheets, tables, graphs and charts, software for organizing and analyzing data, software for word processing, software for creation and display of presentations including text and graphics, software used for image editing, image processing, image acquisition, image file management, image viewing, image sharing, and the creation of documents incorporating images, software for use in developing websites, software to help users create, edit, organize, search, transfer, publish and subscribe to weblogs, blogs, podcasts, web broadcasts and news and information feeds on global and/or local computer and telecommunications networks, software for use in authoring, downloading, transmitting, receiving, editing, extracting, encoding, decoding, playing, storing and organizing audio, video and still images, software for authoring digital content, software for personal information management, software for DVD authoring, software for the electronic storage and retrieval of electronic calendar files, software with clock and alarm clock functionality, telephony management software, character recognition software, application development tool software for personal and handheld computers, software for the redirection of messages, Internet e-mail, and/or other data to one or more electronic handheld devices from a data store on or associated with a personal computer or a server, and software for the synchronization of data between a remote station or device and a fixed or remote station or device; computer operating system software; computer utility software; computer peripherals. notebook computers; laptop computers; tablet computers; computer servers; handheld computers; mobile computers; hard drives; audio speakers; speakers for computers; radios; cameras; video cameras; telephones; mobile telephones; personal digital assistants; electronic personal organizers; electronic notepads; blank magnetic data carriers; computer gaming machines; microprocessors; memory boards; computer monitors; keyboards; computer input devices, namely, touch screens, styluses, mice, trackballs and shuttle dials; computer cables; modems; printers; computer accessories, namely, computer battery chargers, battery packs, docking stations, adaptors, computer wired and wireless remote controls, audio headphones and earphones, and replacement parts for all the aforesaid goods.

Bear with me for a moment, because at this point things get really interesting. A quick online search provides absolutely no information about ‘Slate Computing’. For a company that doesn’t have any online presence (and no one has heard about), Slate Computing definitely manufactures a hell of a lot of products. What are the odds that Slate Computing is a shell company? Is it just co-incidence that their product line seems match with Apple’s?

TechCrunch also uncovered that, ‘Slate Computing’ had filed a trademark for the term in the European Union too. The trademark was filed on the same day (21st Nov, 2006) and the legal representative for the firm was the UK-based firm Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge. These are the same guys Apple had worked with while trademarking the term ‘MacBook’ in the EU.

The evidence behind the iSlate speculations is by no means concrete. But at least there is some evidence to back up these speculations, which is a lot more than what we can say about most Apple related rumors.

‘3 Idiots’ Movie to Be Available On YouTube: Google Gets Into Pay-Per-Download Business

In a move that will surprise many, the producer of the Bollywood movie ‘3 Idiots’ has announced that, the movie will be legally available on YouTube within 12 weeks of its release.

3-Idiots-Poster

Vidhu Vinod Chopra – the producer of the movie, hopes this will help in countering piracy. “I’m providing this facility for those who can’t see it on big screen and watch pirated movies. I just want them to discourage pirated prints. They just need to wait for 12 weeks and after that they can legally download the movie and watch it,” said Chopra.

Viewers will also be able to download the entire film from YouTube for a certain fee. Although the amount hasn’t been disclosed yet, this is probably the first time where YouTube would be legally allowing video downloads. ‘3 Idiots’ will signal Google’s entry into the pay-per-download business.

Indian film-makers have been trying various avenues in a bid to tackle rampant piracy. Earlier this year, movies like ‘Kaminey’ and What’s Your Raashee’ premiered on DTH (direct to home) services, within a month of their theatrical releases. In a sense, Vidhu Vinod Chopra isn’t doing anything radical. But, with a low broadband penetration it will be interesting to see how profitable this experiment will turn out to be.

Mozilla Developer Sheds Some More Light on the New Firefox 4.0 Theme

Mozilla has been working hard on giving Firefox 4.0 a facelift. Stephen Horlander, who has been a long time Mozilla contributor, has shared some more information about the upcoming user interface (UI) changes.

Firefox-4.0-Skin
Firefox 4.0 Mockup

The new skin will eliminate the Menu Bar and instead tuck away all the options within a single application menu. This is similar to what you may have seen in Windows 7 applications like Paint and WordPad as well as the recently released Opera 10.5 pre-alpha.

The other big change in Firefox 4.0 will be the placement of the tab bar. According to current plans, the tab bar will be now positioned above the address bar. However, the tab bar will not be merged with the title bar. The title bar will be retained in order to house the application button. There will be numerous other changes all around including new icons and refined toolbar appearance.

Firefox-4.0-Skin-Changes
Firefox 4.0 vs 3.5

The Firefox 4.0 UI is still a work in progress. However, it is definitely shaping up to be an impressive update to the existing skin. What do you think about the changes? Do you prefer having a simple single menu instead of a menu bar? Don’t forget to let us know.

Twitter May Have Finally Reached Profitability

Twitter-ProfitableTwitter has often been ridiculed due to the apparent lack of a business plan. In fact Twitter’s possible business model has been a topic of hot debate. Over the past year, it almost looked as if pundits were obsessed with figuring out/speculating how Twitter will ever manage to make money. Now BusinessWeek is reporting that, Twitter might have finally reached profitability.

We had earlier reported that, Twitter has inked content sharing deals with both Microsoft and Google. While these deals will undoubtedly bolster the concerned search engine’s real-time capabilities, they have also succeeded in pushing Twiter into the black. Twitter is believed to have received $15 million from Google and $10 million from Microsoft. As a direct consequence of these multi-year agreements, Twitter will be able to make a small profit in 2009.

The other important contributor has been a reduction in the bills paid to telecommunication companies. Twitter’s growing clout has allowed them to renegotiate many of the deals at more favorable terms. In fact, this has resulted in Telecommunication bills being replaced by employee expenses as the single biggest source of expenditure. Maintaining profitability in the future will depend on Twitter’s ability to explore new revenue sources and keeping the number of employees in check.

Opera 10.5 Internal Build Leaked

Opera-10.5-Evenes-LeakedEarlier this week, Opera Software had revealed that a special pre-alpha build Opera 10.5 will be unveiled on 22nd December. However, gHacks is reporting that an internal build has already been leaked. You can download the leaked build from here.

The big changes in Opera 10.5 (codenamed Evenes) are:

1. Updated skin: Opera has received another facelift. The tab bar has been merged with the titlebar – similar to what we are accustomed to seeing in Google Chrome.

Opera-10.5-New-Interface

Opera-10.5-Jumplist 2. Better Windows 7 Integration: Evenes takes advantage of Windows 7 features like jumplists and taskbar thumbnails. The jumplist displays a list of your speed dial entries while taskbar thumbnails allow quick switching between tabs.

3. Private Browsing: Private browsing has become a standard feature in modern browsers and with Evenes Opera has finally caught up. Unlike in other browsers, you don’t need to open a separate window to enter private browsing mode. Opera supports per-tab private browsing. Whenever you open a private tab, Opera will not keep a record of pages opened in that tab.

4. Improved UI: There are UI enhancements all around. Interfering dialogue boxes have been done away with where ever possible e.g. the wand (password manager) and the find (in page search) dialogue boxes have been now integrated into the UI. Find has also been beautified. It now dims the rest of the page while highlighting your query. This is similar to how Safari’s search feature works.

Opera-10.5-New-Find

5. Updated Rendering Engine: Evenes ships with a newer rendering engine (Presto 2.5.18) which is expected to improve Opera’s rendering speed. However, the long anticipated Carakan (Opera’s new JavaScript rendering engine) is still missing.

Opera 10.50 pre-alpha will be formally available on December 22nd. Since, there is still a couple of days left the public build will possibly different than the leaked one. The internal build may have regression and stability issues. If you wish to try it anyway, it is highly recommended that you install it separately (instead of updating the existing installation).

Update 1: Opera software has officially responded. According to them the leaked build is actually pretty old and the build to be released on Tuesday will be a lot nicer. So does this mean that Carakan will make it to the official pre-alpha build?

Update 2: Opera 10.5 pre-alpha has been officially released. You can find your coverage here.

uTorrent 2.1 Adds Support for Video Streaming, Access Anywhere and DNA

The final build of uTorrent 2.0 may not be out yet, but that hasn’t stopped the developers from beginning work on future builds. They have already released multiple alpha builds of uTorrent 2.1 (codenamed Falcon). Falcon will be a major update for uTorrent and will include both visible and under the hood changes.

The biggest attraction of uTorrent 2.1 is support for video streaming. Video streaming will allow you to begin watching videos without waiting for it to be completely downloaded. In fact if your connection is fast enough, you would be able to instantly begin watching the video. This will be similar to the experience provided by online video services like YouTube.

Simon Morris (VP of Marketing and Product at BitTorrent) commented that, “Our hope is to transform getting media using uTorrent from a ‘load-wait-watch-tomorrow’ to more of a ‘point-click-watch’ experience.”

Although uTorrent didn’t explain how the new feature works, it probably uses a sequential download scheme. In sequential download mode a client gives preference to pieces with lower sequence numbers (rather than giving preference to availability). This can reduce download speed, but allows an audio or video file to be previewed before the download has been completed. Many rival clients like BitComet have had this feature for a long time. For playback uTorrent can use its own online player or your favourite local media player.

uTorrent-Falcon-New-Interface-Video-Stream

Falcon will also introduce a new zero-configuration, secure web UI which will allow you to access uTorrent from other terminals or from your smartphone. The new “Access Anywhere” feature will utilize end to end encryption to enhance security and privacy. Another notable addition is support for DNA – a free content delivery service run by BitTorrent. uTorrent 2.1 also features a refreshed UI with brand new icons. Other features which are currently being worked upon include, optional file security preferences and browser integration. A beta release is expected during the first quarter of 2010. If you are feeling adventurous you can download the alpha build from here.