Category Archives: Tech News

Microsoft Planning to License SDL under Creative Commons

Microsoft is planning to change its process of developing secure software. The current Security Development License (SDL), widely used at Microsoft will now be available under a Creative Commons License. This makes it easier for developers to integrate SDL into their products and for other users to use and distribute these products and the license. SDL is described as,

The Microsoft SDL is a security assurance process that is focused on software development. It is a collection of mandatory security activities, grouped by the phases of the traditional software development life cycle (SDLC). Combining a holistic and practical approach, the SDL introduces security and privacy throughout all phases of the development process with the goal of protecting end-users.

The SDL License will now be free from the earlier exclusive Microsoft license by virtue of which, will see more number of standard software out in the market. SDL is strictly followed by Microsoft itself from Windows Vista onwards. Many other papers from the SDL portal will also receive this update as pointed out by David Ladd, the Principal Security Program Manager at Microsoft.

SDL was proposed by Bill Gates in 2002 and this has held up for the last eight years. After these eight years, Microsoft has felt that it should share this standard with the world and has taken the right decision in doing so.

(Source)

The Pentagon seeks protection against WikiLeaks

The Pentagon has been embarrassed  by WikiLeaks in more than one instance and it feels the immense need for a mechanism to prevent these leaks from the inside. Specifically for this purpose, the Pentagon has been working on a project by the name of Cinder that can identify the inside man who leaks information. Cinder stands for Cyber Insider Threat Program and aims to save the Pentagon from landing in awkward situations it is in right now.

Nextgov writes about the project saying,

While DARPA did not make any connection between the WikiLeaks case and Cinder, it said it wants to develop ways to detect actions on military networks and systems that could indicate someone is trying to copy classified files.

Its prime objective is protection from WikiLeaks. However, immense security measures will bring multiple people under scrutiny and will affect the workforce at the Pentagon. The security measures in place need to make sure that this matter is addressed.

The case of Bradley Manning, who transferred more than 90,000 Secret Army documents to WikiLeaks, is a serious breach of security and it needs proper access  privileges  to get hold of these files. However, if Manning had access rights, how secure will the security system be and who will have access to it?

This security measure is a necessity but I hope it is done in the right way and not like the Ubisoft DRM causing trouble for legit users.

(Source)

Aero Flip Task Switching for XP with WinFlip

[Windows Only] Over the last few years, Microsoft has tried to leave XP behind after releasing Vista, and then Windows 7. Even though they’d like to forget about XP, millions of people and businesses out there are still using it. Some are reluctant to give it up, because it works, and they’re familiar with it. If you still have a PC running XP, there are a few things you can do to make XP look like Vista or look like Windows 7.

One feature I sometimes miss in XP is the Aero Flip feature. In Vista and Seven, you can hold down the Windows key and hit the tab key to switch to another application. Here’s what it looks like in Win7:

aero-flip-win7

I recently found a cool little freeware application called WinFlip, which gives you the same feature in XP. Here’s what WinFlip looks like:

winflip-screenshot

WinFlip is small, and it doesn’t take up very much of the system memory while running. It’s available in several languages and has plenty of settings. You can access the settings by right clicking on the WinFlip system tray icon while it’s running.

• Download WinFlip from Softpedia

You might also want to check out some of the other application switchers we’ve mentioned in the past.

Techie Buzz Verdict:

There are plenty of ways to make XP look more modern, but sometimes these tweaks make XP run slower. WinFlip is an easy way to gain a cool looking feature without paying a big price in performance.

Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Excellent)

Watch Apple Music Event Online, iPod Touch/iTV September Event Online Updates

This is the 4th big event Apple is holding this year where they either announced a new device in the form of the , or free bumpers for 4 users. And come September 1st, 2010 Apple will be holding a special music press event. The music or rock and roll event will be held   at the Yerba Buena Center for Arts Theatre in San Francisco at 10 AM Pacific time.

Apple September Music Event

Thanks to the secretive nature of Apple, it is not really clear what will be unveiled or said at this September 1 event, however, it is rumored that Apple will unveil new features in iTunes and also unleash the next-generation Apple TV dubbed iTV. Apple may also unveil the new iPod Touch 4G which is rumored that the iPod Touch 4G may have a 5MP camera and support FaceTime.

Most of the Apple events do not allow live streaming so it almost impossible to know what’s really going on without you being there. However, there are several press people who will be there for the event and update people about it live as the event unfolds.

Lucky folks from Engadget get to attend the conference live, which you can follow at Engadget Live. Mac Rumors may also cover the press conference live and you can view the updates at http://www.macrumorslive.com/. In addition to that our favorite site GDGT may also cover the event which you can view updates for at http://live.gdgt.com/

Audio streams for the Apple Music press conference will be available at http://live.twit.tv/, you can also follow the updates on Twitter by following @macrumorslive.

More options to get updates on the Apple iPhone 4 press conference will be added once they become available, we will also try to add some video streams if they are available later on.

Google Acquires Angstro, another Social Networking Startup

Google continues its acquisition drive with Angstro, which is a social networking startup. Angstro has a unique feature of pulling in data from various social networks and websites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It was also a finalist in the Techcrunch 50. Angstro apps are specifically made for interoperability between various social networks and Google surely sees a bright future in this technology.

As more and more people join social networks, it becomes harder for them to set priorities for networks. Angstro makes managing multiple networks easier by aggregating them in a single location providing a considerable amount of functionality. The beta period of Angstro ended on the 20th of this month and it has proven to be extremely fruitful for Angstro.

Google has acquired  Jambool,  Slide: a social gaming market and Metaweb, a semantic search engine.  With these acquisitions, Google is either gathering a considerable amount of talent and technology or killing any possible uprising of competition. All these acquisitions give Google a considerable amount of entropy as they can pick any number of these acquired technologies and use it in their existing services to enhance them further.

We all are tired of seeing how Google is trying to  mimic  Bing search in visual appeal. Hopefully this acquisition will cook up something new at Google.

(Source)

1 Million Calls Made Through Gmail In Past 24 Hours

It is barely 24 hours since Google announced the Gmail Phone Call service through Google Voice and it has already made a record of sorts with over 1 million calls being placed in the past 24 hours.

Gmail 1 Million Calls

The volume of calls was tweeted through the official @google account on . The volume of calls though surprising might have been because Google is allowing free phone calls to US and Canada for US users, with users from other countries also being able to call US for free.

There is no indication by Google as to how many phone calls were paid, however, it would be interesting to know those numbers as it would show whether users are only using this service because it is free or whether they are actually using it to call other countries too.

Nevertheless, 1 million phone calls in 24 hours definitely looks like a success for Google and it would be interesting to see how much of a market share they can capture from other players like Skype. One thing is definite, once Google has this service integrated for mobile phones through Google Voice the volume of calls will be much larger.

Google Gets Dedicated Real-time Search Page

Google forayed into real-time search by announcing a deal with last year. However, real-time search results in Google went much ahead than just displaying results from Twitter and included web results too.

Google Logo

I remember reading a post by Danny Sullivan on Search Engine Land about his request to Google to add a dedicated real-time search results page and it looks like Google finally heeded his advice and announced the introduction of a dedicated real-time search page at http://www.google.com/realtime.

The difference between the regular search page and real-time page is that you will see relevant results which are freshly indexed on Google about the keywords you are searching for.

The new real-time search page includes several new enhancements including:

  • Geographically refining results based on your location
  • Conversations view to follow discussions in real-time, which will include re-tweets and replies. This will allow you to view a real-time discussion easily
  • An update to Google Alerts to stay informed about a topic of your choosing

The new real-time dedicated page can be found at http://www.google.com/realtime, however, you might see a 404 error since Google is slowly rolling out this new feature to users. What do you think of the new real-time search page? Do let us know. To get started watch a video of how to use Real-time search in Google in the embedded video below.

Update: The above URL is still giving a 404 error, but you can visit this URL http://www.google.com/realtime?esrch=RealtimeLaunch::Experiment to view the results, here is a screenshot of real-time search results in action.

Google Real-time Search Results

Looks pretty neat, but can be pretty overwhelming for a new user. What do you think?

Apple Sends Invitation For Event on September 1, iPod, iTV?

Apple has just sent out press invites to several websites about an Apple event which will take place on September 1, 2010 at the Yerba Buena Center for Arts Theatre in San Francisco at 10 AM Pacific time.

apple_september_event

However, there is no confirmed news on what the event would be about. However, it could be about the iTV device which is the next generation Apple TV, new features in iTunes and even the new 4G. It is rumored that the iPod Touch 4G may have a 5MP camera and support FaceTime.

There are several speculations on what the event will be about, however, there is no conclusive way to predict what surprise Steve Jobs might spring upon us this time around. Mark your dates.

Gmail Phone Calls Official, Call Rates Pretty Low

Earlier today we told you about Google planning to offer phone calls through Google Talk in Gmail and now Google has officially announced that users will . As I had said, this feature is tightly integrated with Google Voice and is offering free phone calls in U.S and Canada, at least till the rest of the year.

Gmail Phone Call

Calling rates to several countries are pretty low, for example calling India using Gmail would cost you 6 cents per minute to both landlines and mobile phones, calling to UK is about 2cents. This is on par or a bit higher than several calling cards available in the United States. You will find all the calling rates at this page.

Google will use your Google Voice account number as the outbound caller ID. You can also receive calls made to your Google Voice number within Gmail after following these instructions. You will need to install a voice and video plugin for your browser, which can be downloaded from http://gmail.com/call

The new calling button is integrated into Google Chat, and users can click on "Call phone" at the top of the chat list and dial a number or enter a contact’s name from your Google contacts.  This feature will be rolled out to US based Gmail users in the next few days.

Gmail Phone Calls

Update: I got to try this feature out in my account and it worked pretty well. I tried calling my own number and several others and the voice quality was excellent.

Gmail May Soon Get Phone Calling, Preparing a Skype Killer?

is no doubt one of the best email service available online, and Google has been adding several features which are not only useful but have also changed the way people have been using online email.

gmail_phone_calling

In the past Gmail has added an ability to send SMS messages to users in chat or Google Talk, and now according to reports from Cnet News, Google is preparing to add the ability to call people using Google Talk.

The new feature will make use of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) similar to what Skype does to allow users to call other users in US and Canada for free and charge for international calls. According to the information available it would be much lower than the charges you pay to your phone carrier and might even be lower than Skype.

The new feature could be an integration of Gizmo into Google Talk, which Google had purchased in November 2009. It would be interesting to see whether Google integrates this service with Google Voice and allows users to create a number that users could call in and answer the calls using Google Chat.

Skype which is the leader in VoIP calls offers similar service, however, the voice and video quality of Skype is much better than Gmail. Nevertheless, it might not take Google much time to build a solution which rivals Skype or is even better than them.

Earlier last month, a Google Voice Desktop application had leaked which gave users the ability to users to make and receive calls from their desktop. I would definitely want to see this integrated with Google Voice, which would mean that I could use Google Voice on my phone and then use it as a primary way to make or receive calls without having to pay exorbitant charges to my carrier. However, that dream could be a long shot, since there is so much at stake. What do you think?

(Source: Cnet News)