Jul 29, 2009 | 8
Microsoft and Yahoo today announced that, after months of courting and coyness, the two companies will join forces in the Web search arena to challenge Google's dominance.
Now comes the hard part—ensuring that the two veteran information-technology companies can make good on a deal that should deliver Microsoft's new Bing search engine a much larger audience while restoring relevance to Yahoo's fading star. The 10-year deal, which the companies hope to finalize early next year, calls for Yahoo to replace its own search engine technology with Bing, introduced early last month, and make its search sales force available to Microsoft to attract large advertisers.
Jun 16, 2009 | 4
Six months after the discovery of a security flaw in Apple's implementation of Java software in some versions of the Mac OS X operating system, the company is releasing a fix.
The software flaw could allow a hacker to install and execute malicious software (malware) on Macs running Leopard and some Tiger operating systems. Once onboard the Macs, the malware could be used to steal information from the computers.
Security researchers claim that Apple has been ignoring their warnings about this problem for months. Five months ago the Java vulnerabilities were publicly disclosed, and fixed by Sun Microsystems (the company that developed and maintains Java), according to a May blog post by Landon Fuller, founder of software maker Plausible Labs Cooperative, Inc. in San Francisco and a former Apple programmer. Fuller also published a proof-of-concept hack on his Web site demonstrating how someone could exploit the vulnerability to attack or even take control of another person's Mac, Computer Reseller News (CRN) reports.
May 20, 2009 | 1
In the market for yet another way to navigate cyberspace? Just days after physicist Stephan Wolfram took his Wolfram|Alpha "computational knowledge engine" live, word is that Microsoft next week will debut a revamped version of its flagging Live.com search engine, the No. 3 Web navigator behind Google and Yahoo.
Microsoft will take the wraps off of "Kumo"—the codename of its new, improved search engine—at the D: All Things Digital technology conference next week in Carlsbad, Calif., the Wall Street Journal reports. (Here's a low-res image of the new search engine, that CNET ran and reports was captured by someone who stumbled across it online while using Microsoft Live Search in the Internet Explorer 8 browser. It looks very different than the Live.com search results page pictured to the left.)
Apr 11, 2009 | 10
Now that so-called surface computing has begun to trickle into the mainstream—some real estate agencies, hotels, retailers and other businesses are beginning to use the technology to help their employees and customers interact with information using hand gestures on a touch screen in lieu of a keyboard and mouse—makers of this technology are delivering new uses for the technology and studying ways to improve the touch screen interface.
Microsoft, in particular, is looking to raise the profile of its Surface tabletop computer, which the company introduced last year for upwards of $10,000. At this week's Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) in Boston, Microsoft presented research indicating that the Surface interface could be made more intuitive for its users. The company this week also introduced Mobile Connect software for Surface that lets smart phones wirelessly exchange information with the tabletop computer.
Mar 31, 2009 | 4
It could be just another April Fool's joke, but just in case, security experts are warning Microsoft Windows users that the creators of the Conficker computer worm may launch a new campaign tomorrow to infect as many PCs as possible with their malicious software. This third generation of Conficker—the worm has been on the loose since November and has infected nearly 15 million computers—is expected to use new methods of spreading that security pros have yet to completely block.
The latest version of Conficker (which has various aliases, including Conficker.D, Conficker.C or Downadup.C) snuck onto computers already infected by one of its predecessors. According to Microsoft's Security Response Center Web page, this new version, which the company refers to as Conficker.D, does not spread by attacking new systems. Conficker.D does, however, have a new "peer-to-peer" updating capability that could enable infected systems to spread or receive instructions from those controlling the worm (it's creators remain at large) to steal info from infected computers or generate large amounts of spam e-mail that could clog the Internet and slow its performance, according to a Web posting by the Conficker Working Group (a team of computer security specialists formed by Microsoft, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), and various security software makers to keep the worm from spreading).
Feb 26, 2009 | 49
It's official, Microsoft's Windows Vista operating system gets the prize for being the most overhyped, underperforming information and communication technology (ICT) project. Windows Vista garnered 5,222 of 6,043 votes (86 percent) entered via the Web to snag top honors in the first-ever Fiasco Awards announced in Barcelona, Spain, today, beating out other contenders, including Google's Lively virtual world, the One Laptop per Child computer (developed by the Nicholas Negroponte-chaired One Laptop Per Child Association, Inc.) and Second Life. Second prize went to SAGA, the oft-malfunctioning administration and academic management system developed by Spain's Catalan Education Department for public school teachers in Catalonia.
Vista was announced in July 2005 and hit the market in January 2007 after a mega PR blitz by Microsoft, which promised it would be a slick, secure successor to the company's popular Windows XP operating system. Vista came with an eye-catching graphical user interface, and Microsoft positioned the operating system's Windows Media Center software as a tool that would make the PC the new hub of home entertainment systems. What Microsoft made less clear was that many customers couldn't run Vista without upgrading their PCs.
Feb 18, 2009
Elias Zerhouni, who headed up the National Institutes of Health (NIH) during the Bush administration, is back at work for another powerful person: Bill Gates.
Zerhouni, 57, joined the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Microsoft founder's public health and education philanthropy, earlier this month as a senior fellow. Zerhouni will act as an adviser on the foundation's Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative, which hands out grants to solve public health problems that aren’t otherwise being addressed by science, such as creating single-dose vaccines and vaccines that don’t need to be refrigerated. The Lancet Global Health Network noted Zerhouni's new role yesterday.
Feb 11, 2009 | 11
If you're still clutching your chest over that last sky-high electric bill and wondering how to keep it down next month, you'll be heartened to hear that help may be on the way from the company behind the world's largest search engine. Google this week announced that it's developing software called PowerMeter, which will let consumers check out their home energy use in near real-time on their computers. The company says on its blog that it's working with utility companies to ready for the market. No word on how long the testing will last before PowerMeter will be available for download.
PowerMeter will first be available through iGoogle, a Google service that lets you make a customized Web browser homepage. For those concerned about placing more information about their lives online for everyone to see, Google notes on its blog that it will not share personally identifying information with the user's utility company. Users will also be able to delete their energy data or ask their utility to stop sending data to Google PowerMeter at any time.
Jan 23, 2009 | 3
As if Microsoft's announcement yesterday that it's laying off 5,000 employees (the first such sackings in the company's 34-year history) wasn't bad enough, now some security analysts are predicting the worst is yet to come as the highly infectious Conficker worm continues to thrive after already striking as many as 10 million Windows PCs worldwide. The "malware" (as opposed to software) may be activated by its creators (who remain at large) at some later date, causing legions of infected PCs to digitally attack and disable other computers.
Jan 13, 2009 | 3
A new report warns that your computer software is probably less secure than you think. The SysAdmin, Audit, Network, Security (SANS Institute), a cooperative research and education organization in Bethesda, Md., that also provides computer security training, Monday released a reporting outlining the top 25 most dangerous errors that programmers make that may lead to security breaches and open the door to cyber crime and espionage.
Nonprogrammers probably won't glean much from the list, given that the errors listed have techy titles such as, "Improper Input Validation" and "Cleartext Transmission of Sensitive Information." Regardless of whether you understand what they mean, these problems affect much of the software that you use and potentially expose sensitive personal information to hackers.
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