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Friday, January 20, 2006

Microsoft: Yes, there's a flaw in Windows wi-fi...

Microsoft has admitted there is a security flaw in the way Windows handles wireless connections but the company has said it may not fix the problem until its next Service Pack is released.

The flaw, within a Windows feature that automatically searches for a wi-fi network to connect to, was made public last Saturday by security researcher Mark Loveless at hacker conference ShmooCon. It can be used by a hacker to gain access to files on a victim's laptop, Loveless claimed.

Microsoft said it had finished investigating this claim and had found there is scope for users to be compromised. However, it does not plan to rush out a fix.

Microsoft said in a statement: "Due to the design of this feature, the most appropriate method for adjusting the default behaviour is in a future Service Pack or update rollup."

On Tuesday, the software behemoth revealed it was not planning to release the next Service Pack for XP, called XP SP3, until the second half of 2007.

Microsoft recommended on Wednesday that customers enable a firewall, get software updates, and install antivirus software. Customers who believe they may have been affected can contact Microsoft Product Support Services via its website.


FBI releases 2005 Computer Crime Survey

The FBI has released its 2005 Computer Crime Survey, with nearly two thirds of respondents claiming security breaches had hit them where it hurt: the wallet. Losses averaged $24,000 for those targeted.

That figure may not be much if you're a Walmart or a General Motors, but of the 2,066 businesses surveyed, nearly three quarters (72 per cent) employed fewer than 100 staff and 45.8 per cent claimed sub $5m annual revenues.

That $24,000 a year suddenly means a lot more to them, especially when on the face of it, they have already deployed standard fayre security measures, such as antivirus (98.2 per cent) and firewalls (90.7 per cent). Yet this still means roughly one in ten is running without firewall protection.

Security deployments appear to be in waves. Beyond antivirus and firewalls, roughly three-quarters also used antispyware and antispam solutions, then around half said they had VPNs, access control lists, physical security and desktop management. Encryption, IDS and content filtering had been adopted by a quarter, while smartcard and biometric solutions counted for around one in 20.

Yet the threats continue to proliferate, with 87 per cent repondents suffering some kind of attack. In all the respondents tallied more than 5,000 incidents between them.

Four in five professed to have had to deal with incidents originating from viruses and spyware. Data or network sabotage was also high, at 22.7 per cent, and network instrusion at 14.2 per cent. This is worrying as only 23 per cent had actually deployed intrusion detection systems which would strengthen defences against these attacks.

It might appear that businesses these days are pinned down by external digital assaults, but in fact 44.4 per cent cited unauthorised access incidents originating from within the company.

Respondants said the vast majority of threats appear to come from the US and China - 26.1 and 23.9 per cent respectively said they had experienced intrusion attempts from these countries. Around one in 20 said they had been aware of such attempts from Nigeria, South Korea, Germany, Russia and Romania. Perhaps the anomaly here is the appearance of the Pitcairn Islands, with 12 or so respondents having been attacked from there.

Of course determining the original IP address of attacks is no easy task - attacks might be proxied through any geographical location. But China's strong presence here masks a troubling problem for the FBI. 'Difficulty tracking IP addresses and prosecution in China combined with other economic, military and political concerns make this an unusually troubling statistic' the report reads. 'especially when considering the potential impact of industrial espionage and state sponsored cyber warfare efforts.'

But the overall picture painted by the report is that businesses are only reporting what they are able to detect and that they are falling victim to a great deal more criminal activity than they are aware of.

Dr Eugene Spafford, Computer Security Professor at Purdue University and advisor to Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush said: 'So long as we continue to apply patches and spot defenses to existing problems, the overall situation will continue to deteriorate. Without a significant increase in focus and funding for both long-term cyber security research and more effective law enforcement we can only expect more incidents and greater losses, year after year.'


Gadget of the Week

The first thing you notice about Apple's new iMac — running the Intel Core Duo chipset rather than an older PowerPC chip — is that it's almost identical to the iMac that the company introduced in October. The second thing you notice, though, is that it is noticeably faster. It only takes around 30 seconds to restart the entire system.

On the outside, the only feature that distinguishes this iMac from the last one is the video output. With the right adapter, you can now plug in one of Apple's 20-in. or 23-in. displays and extend your desktop into that space. (Previously, any external monitor simply mirrored what was on the iMac's own screen.) On the inside, of course, it's running a 2GHz dual-core processor that Apple says has been tested at roughly two times the speed of the old G4.

Perhaps you're thinking about upgrading to one of the new Intel Macs, either the iMac or the 15-in. MacBook Pro due out in February, but you're worried that your old software won't work well. Here's the deal: Apple has asked its software partners to compile programs in a "universal" format, which means they'll have two sets of execution code written side by side. Anything that isn't written for Intel will be handled in the computer's background. You won't have any kind of "Classic" environment popping up. The catch is that a few of Apple's higher-end programs won't work this way, including Final Cut Pro, Motion, Soundtrack Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Aperture, Logic Pro, Logic Express, Shake and Final Cut Express. If you run any of those on a regular basis and plan to get an Intel-based Mac, you'll have to "crossgrade" to the new editions, due by the end of March.

As you might have expected, the iLife suite of multimedia software has been recompiled for the Intel platforms. What you might not have known is that it has also been overhauled, in a brand new '06 edition. Highlights of the new iLife release include a faster, easier-to-manipulate iPhoto with a picture capacity of up to 250,000 shots; an iMovie with pre-produced themes so you can Hollywood up your home movies with opening credits and scene changes; Garageband with do-it-yourself podcasting tools; and a new application, called iWeb, that helps you build your own slick web pages. The only thing that's easy to complain about is a new feature in iTunes called MiniStore, a panel that tells you what other music you can buy based on what you're listening to at the moment. It's uncharacteristically tacky, but as Apple folks are quick to point out, you don't have to turn it on.

Apple's new product line, both hardware and software, offers a lot to digest but don't worry. We'll revisit it again soon when the MacBook Pro, a sort of iMac on wheels, ships next month.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Is Apple Considering An IPod Phone?

Apple Computer Inc.'s recent trademark applications have fans asking whether the computer maker is building a device that would combine the iPod portable media player with a mobile phone, but at least one expert on Tuesday gave such a device a "low probability."

In early January, the Cupertino, Calif., company filed four trademark applications for the term "Mobile Me." The applications covered areas such as computer services, providing music over a local or global communication network, portable digital electronic devices and software, and telecommunication services.

Apple was not immediately available for comment, but the filings sparked speculation that Apple was working on an iPod phone.

"Let the speculation begin!" said blogger W.Y. in Malaysia.

Apple entered the mobile phone market in September with the unveiling of the Rokr, manufactured by Motorola Inc. that plays music purchased through Apple's popular iTunes music store. Available through Cingular Wireless, experts were less than enthusiastic, given that the device could only hold as many as 100 songs. The iPod, on the other hand, can hold thousands of tunes.

"We haven't seen anything that looks and feel like an Apple product yet," Julie Ask, analyst for JupiterResearch said.

Michael Gartenberg, also an analyst with JupiterResearch, said it was a "low probability" that Apple would build an iPod phone. Apple currently holds about 75 percent of the market for digital media players, and it would make more sense for the company to continue focusing on features and services for the current product line.

"What they need to do is keep the product fresh, so it remains feature and price competitive with competing products," Gartenberg said.


GPL 3 Released for Public Comment

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) released the first public draft of the new version of the General Public License, marking the first major alterations in 15 years to the licensing guidelines used by the open-source community.

The GPL was originally intended for free software developed by the FSF, but the I.T. industry has experienced a sea change since then. Currently, there are some 50,000 developers using the GPL as a way of getting their software out to users.

According to the FSF, the GNU GPL is the most widely used free-software license worldwide, with almost three-quarters of all free software programs, including
Linux, distributed under it.

Use of software released under the GPL allows distributors to charge for distributing the software -- for example, for the cost of putting it on a CD-ROM -- but it prohibits charging for actual software usage.

Patent Protection

The new GPL 3 draft provides an explicit patent license that covers any patents held by the program's developers, replacing the implicit license on which GPL 2 relies.

Other provisions require some distributors to protect software users against patent-infringement claims, and prevent GPL-licensed applications from being used in digital-rights management (DRM) software.

"As a campaign to limit users' rights, the adoption of DRM is fundamentally at odds with the spirit of the free software movement," the document states. "Our aim is, and must be, the abolition of DRM as a social practice."


Corel WordPerfect Office X3 Home Edition

Corel has a winner in WordPerfect Office X3, a feature-packed productivity suite that's just as easy to use--and in many ways more innovative than--industry-goliath Microsoft Office 2003. Not only can X3's three core applications--WordPerfect, Quattro Pro, and Presentations--save files in the ubiquitous Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format, its WordPerfect word processor can import and edit PDFs, too. While this import feature needs work, it's convenient for editing long, text-based PDFs used by legal and government workers. The interface of X3 has updated icons and toolbars that match Windows XP themes, and its new Yahoo toolbar lets you conduct Web searches from within WordPerfect. A great new security feature is WordPerfect's ability to strip out the hidden metadata within documents. This helps prevent any comments, undo/redo changes, and other sensitive information from reaching an unwanted audience when you share files--a similar feature is expected to ship within Office 12 later this year.

Overall, WordPerfect Office X3 is a solid upgrade for longtime users, particularly those who manage a lot of PDFs. Die-hard Microsoft fans may want to wait to see what Redmond has up its sleeve with the radical changes expected within the upcoming Microsoft Office 12. At the same time, current users of Microsoft Office 2003 who don't want to deal with the potentially steep learning curve in store for Office 12 may prefer to try the more familiar interface and improved tools within Corel's suite.


PlayStation 3 launch date in question

What Sony Corp. Chief Executive Howard Stringer didn't say at the recent Consumer Electronics Show about Sony's PlayStation 3 video game console spoke volumes about the key product's timetable, analysts say.

Giving a keynote speech at the huge Las Vegas trade show earlier this month, Stringer provided no updates about the product's U.S. launch.

Although Sony had a prominent location on the showroom floor at the annual convention, the Japanese giant showcased televisions and portable music players, while the PlayStation 3 was tucked behind glass in the back of its booth. Sony offered only non-playable, demonstration versions of a limited number of games.

Industry watchers now expect the product's U.S. launch in the second half of 2006, although Sony may get a Japanese version out during the "Spring 2006" launch window that the technology giant first predicted last year.

Any delays could make it much harder for Sony next holiday season as it races to put out its own new product to take on Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360 in the market for video game players.


Monday, January 16, 2006

European companies develop search engine to rival Google

In his New Year's address outlining his administration's plans for 2006, French President Jacques Chirac focused on plans for a European search engine to rival US internet companies such as Yahoo and Google. Some of the top tech labs in France and Germany are reportedly working on the 'Quaero' (Latin for 'to search') search engine.

Those involved in the Quaero project, including Thomson, France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom, have said that it will be much more than a typical search engine. It will provide an array of multimedia tools for identifying and indexing images, sound and text. Quaero will also reportedly include a powerful translating tool which will be able to 'understand' audio as well as text. The developers plan to make Quaero available on all platforms, including PCs, mobile devices and digital TVs.

The ambitious project will probably not be available anytime in the near future. Quaero is still in the earliest stages of development, so early that none of the major players have yet ventured a guess as to how much the project might cost. When Quaero does launch, it will have a great deal of catching up to do. Google currently has a tight hold on its position as the world's leading search engine, and it shows no signs of loosening its grip. The company is coming off its busiest year yet, with new projects in software offerings, VoIP and library digitisation.

The Quaero project is by no means the first attempt to dethrone Google. Companies like Microsoft and Yahoo spend millions of dollars every year to compete with the search engine. But for the Quaero project, more may be at stake, namely Europe's cultural identity in the information age. As President Chirac said in his New Year's address, 'Today the new geography of knowledge and cultures is being drawn. Tomorrow, that which is not available online runs the risk of being invisible to the world.'

Other European projects are currently underway to compete with the US' and Japan's technological dominance. The EU recently launched the first satellite of the Galileo constellation, which will eventually provide a navigation system to rival the US' Global Positioning System (GPS). Also, French broadcasters hope to launch CFII this year, an international satellite TV news channel aimed at competing with CNN.


Seagate claims largest laptop hard drive

Seagate has produced a 160GB laptop drive - the highest capacity 2.5in drive on the market.

The Momentus 5400.3 drive is Seagate's first laptop drive to use perpendicular data recording - a technique fast being adopted by other disk makers. By the end of this year, it hopes to have all of its products will using the technology.

The drive, as its name suggests, runs at 5,400 rpm and is designed specifically for laptops. The version shipping now has an Ultra ATA/100 interface and a second version with a faster Serial ATA interface will be available later this year, said Seagate. No price was given for either drive.

Perpendicular data recording involves standing the magnetic fields that represent data bits upright. In most current drives these fields lay flat on the disk surface. Standing them upright means they take less space, enabling more to be packed on the disk and the storage capacity to be increased.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Intel Outlines Software Programs for Apple Developers to Boost Multicore, Threaded Application Design

Intel Corporation today announced new software development tools and resources through its Intel® Software Network. These tools and resources will help Apple developers take advantage of Intel® Core™ Duo processor technologies to maximize application performance on the new Intel–based Mac platforms.

The special beta versions of the Intel® Fortran Compiler, Intel® C++ Compiler, Intel® Math Kernel Library and Intel® Integrated Performance Primitives are available now. Intel will also provide other resources to assist with software optimization, dual core threading and migration information. More information on these programs is available at

“Intel is pleased to offer Apple developers a free trial of our products through a special beta program, and we look forward to developer feedback prior to introducing our products in the coming months,” said William Savage, general manager of Intel’s Software Products Division. “Our highly optimized compilers and libraries yield significant performance advantages for applications and take advantage of the opportunities made available through multi–core and multi–threaded environments.”

“High performance scientific and creative customers need to squeeze every last drop of performance out of their systems,” said Ron Okamoto, Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. “We’re thrilled that Intel has brought their respected suite of tools to help Apple developers maximize the performance of their applications on Intel–based Macs.”

These development tools are integrated into Apple’s Xcode development environment and offer an alternative to existing tools and compilers. The Intel Fortran compiler enables the scientific and technical community to bring the fastest versions of their applications to Mac OS X and Intel–based Mac platforms using industry–standard math libraries and language. The Intel C++ Compiler provides the ability for Xcode users to apply targeted optimizations to performance–sensitive areas of their applications, allowing them to get the most out of the Intel Core Duo processor.

Intel augments these compilers with advanced support for threading through OpenMP* and auto–parallelism capabilities. The Intel Math Kernel Library (Intel® MKL) is a set of highly optimized mathematical routines designed for engineering, science, and financial applications that require maximum performance on Intel processors. The Intel Integrated Performance Primitives (Intel® IPP) is a software library of highly optimized functions for multimedia, audio, video, speech, computer vision, image and signal processing.

Based on Intel’s proven suite of software development products for other platforms, each product has been transitioned to Mac OS X’s Xcode development environment to ensure complete fidelity with other Intel platforms, giving Mac OS X developers a familiar base to use Intel’s powerful development tools.

The suite of development tools from Intel will be available for purchase in the second quarter of 2006, and are now available for free trial in the special beta program.


Oracle and Sun team up to provide .NET alternative

Sun and Oracle have established a new strategic partnership in an attempt to challenge Microsoft with what Oracle CEO Larry Ellison calls "standards-based systems." According to Ellison and McNealy, their mutual goal is the production of a complete Java-centric enterprise datacenter architecture that leverages Solaris 10 and Oracle's Fusion middleware. Designed specifically as an alternative to Microsoft's .NET technology stack, the new platform is competitively priced and based on robust frameworks.

Both companies have lost a lot of relevance in the modern world, where cost-effective open source software and disposable commodity hardware reign supreme. These days, Oracle is adopting Java in a major way, because they feel that it will help them to modernize. Ellison criticized Oracle rival SAP, claiming that Oracle's extensive use of Java facilitates higher quality solutions:

"SAP believes that they can modernize their applications without changing them. They keep writing programs in a language called ABAP [Advanced Business Application Programming], which is a 25-year-old proprietary language not related to Java. It has the same number of letters in its name, but it really is an old-fashioned proprietary technology."

According to Ellison, this is all about providing users and developers with technology based on standards. But what standards is he talking about, and are those the standards that consumers care about? The availability of an open source .NET implementation based on ECMA standards certainly makes Java look more proprietary. Rather than emphasizing open standards — an area where both companies fall significantly short of competitors like Novell and IBM — Sun and Oracle should focus on the real benefits of their technology: extreme reliability and virtually incomparable scalability.

Solaris 10 and Fusion middleware are both relatively impressive technologies with a lot of value, but does that justify the cost and the interoperability limitations that afflict these somewhat isolated platforms? Fusion is an end-to-end solution for developing, deploying, and managing extensible service-oriented application architectures. It is virtually unbreakable, but the price is steep. Solaris 10 provides extreme reliability but it is still very expensive if you run it on Sun's hardware (which is necessary if you want to take advantage of the free Oracle licenses associated with the new partnership) and it doesn't perform as well on the commodity x86 hardware favored by the industry. Sun is actively working to improve support for other processors, particularly AMD's powerful Opteron line and Oracle is hoping that broader integration of Java technology will facilitate greater interoperability, but both companies are going to have to fight an uphill battle against Microsoft and open source industry leaders like IBM.


Google unveils personalized homepage for mobile phone users

Google Inc. announced Thursday that it has begun to offer personalized Google homepage to American mobile phone users.

The personalized hompage will allow users to perform web search, check Gmail, read news headlines, local weather forecast and stock price, all in one page.

The company has a plan to offer the personalized homepage to users in other countries within weeks or months, according to Deep Nishar, Director of Wireless Products at Google.

Giving users the ability to find certain type of information by setting their own mobile phones is paramount to the development of mobile Internet, said Charles Golvin, an analyst with Forrester Research.

The fewer clicks it takes to find the information one needs, the more possible the user does it on his mobile phone, said Charles Golvin.


Frogs of South America Can't Take the Heat

There aren’t a whole lot of global warming skeptics left, but those who still need some convincing should take a look at the frogs of Central and South America. According to a new study in the journal Nature, the little critters are dying fast, and climate change is to blame.

There are a number of reasons humans should care about frogs, not the least being that they’re so-called indicator species—particularly sensitive animals that are the first to die when climate goes awry. As such they can warn us of problems when there still might be time to fix things. Biologists know that since 1979, two-thirds of 110 species of frogs have vanished in the American tropics. J. Alan Pounds, a resident biologist at the Monte Verde Cloud Forest Preserve in Costa Rica, wanted to determine if climate is indeed to blame. To do so, he and his colleagues studied voluminous records of frog extinctions from 1979 to 1998 and compared them with records of atmospheric and ocean temperatures in the same period. The results: 80% of species deaths indeed occured after especially warm years, with the overheated 1987 claiming five species all by itself.

Pounds and his colleagues believe it’s not the heat specifically that’s causing the deaths, but rather a fungus that attacks frogs and thrives as the climate changes. Paradoxically, the fungus prefers things cooler rather than hotter, but planetary heating actually results in daytime cooling of the frogs’ and fungus’s habitat since it leads to more evaporation, which in turn produces shade-producing clouds. The best way to stabilize all of the thermometer fluctuations is dial back the greenhouse gasses. Frogs, after all, are only the beginning.


Partners to develop ultra-thin chips

The partnership among IBM, Sony and Toshiba that produced the vaunted Cell microprocessor is being extended for another five years to focus on advancing chip designs at extremely small scales.

The companies planned to announce on Thursday that their next joint research project will aim toward chips with features smaller than 32 nanometres - 32 billionths of a metre. (By comparison, the average strand of human hair strand is about 100,000 nanometres in diameter.)

Today's chips generally are built with components as small as 90 nanometres, though 65-nanometres-based chips are emerging.

It's part of the microprocessing industry's constant fight to wring performance improvements and cost efficiencies out of ever smaller chips.

Other efforts in the 30-nanometre range are already occurring, including a partnership between IBM and Advanced Micro Devices (Research into molecular computing is aiming even smaller, toward chips with features that might operate in the space of 2 to 3 nanometres.)

Lisa Su, a vice president in IBM's semiconductor research and development centre, said this partnership is different because of Sony's and Toshiba's expertise with the specific needs of chips for consumer devices.

The Cell chip already produced by the IBM-Sony-Toshiba pact packs eight processors and cost $US400 million to develop.

With its powerful graphics capabilities, Cell is the heart of Sony's upcoming PlayStation 3 video game system and next-generation Toshiba TVs, but it has yet to win much wider acceptance.

Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT Research, said the companies appear to have concluded that costs and complexities of 32-nanometre technology would be so immense that "partnering is the best way to go".


Friday, January 13, 2006

Microsoft Plans Launch of Search Ad System

Microsoft Corp. plans to launch its system for selling advertising alongside regular search results by June in the United States, giving the company its next piece of ammunition in the battle with rivals including Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc.

Microsoft has been testing its ambitious new platform for selling all kinds of online advertising, called adCenter, since last spring. Right now, the company said about 25 percent of the sponsored links that accompany regular search results on its MSN Search site are from adCenter, but that will grow to 100 percent by the time the company's fiscal year ends in June.

Redmond-based Microsoft currently outsources the job of providing such sponsored links to a Yahoo Inc. subsidiary, Overture Services, although the contract between the two expires in June.

The move to bring that job in-house is important because competitors such as Google make most of their money selling ads placed next to search results.

The launch is also a major step toward Microsoft's broader adCenter ambitions, which executives say will eventually be a system for offering companies ways to buy online advertising space on multiple platforms, ranging from its blogging sites to its newly launched Office Live system for offering business software and services online.

For that broader effort, Microsoft's adCenter researchers and developers are finishing up a series of tools that aim to provide extremely detailed demographic information, so advertisers can more accurately target their ads to the right audience. Many of those tools are expected to be available in the next six to 12 months, said Tarek Najm, adCenter's general manager.

Much of the work is being done by Microsoft's adCenter Incubation Lab, or adLab, which was also announced Thursday.

AdLab is a joint effort between Microsoft's Redmond-based adCenter and experts in its Chinese research lab. Najm said it marks the first time that a Microsoft product group is working so closely with one of Microsoft's research labs, which are typically staffed by researchers who study far-flung, futuristic or just plain quirky technology.

Najm said his group wanted to partner with the Chinese researchers because of their expertise in fields that will provide the technical and computational backbone for getting advertising to the right viewers.

The Chinese and U.S. researchers on Thursday previewed a multitude of those tools at its Redmond campus.

Overall, they aim to give advertisers a better sense of the age, gender and other traits of people who are viewing certain information online. For example, the technology could give a car advertiser the best shot at reaching women over 45, or men under 25. A movie company, in turn, could be given a better chance of reaching people who are or have recently visited sites related to entertainment.

Microsoft said it is not using personally identifiable information to target the ads.

Forrester analyst Charlene Li said Microsoft's platform has definite potential to go head-to-head with competitors such as Google and Yahoo because of the detailed demographic information it can provide to advertisers — even though people might be more familiar with the other two brand names.

"The thing about search is that it's all about performance, not about the brand name," Li said. "As long as it performs, people are going to buy it."

Still, Li said that Microsoft and the companies who sell ads will have to be subtle in their advertising, so people don't start to feel like the advertising is so targeted that Big Brother must be watching.

"You can't bang people over the head," she said.

Microsoft has admitted that it originally missed the boat on the hot field of Internet search, preferring instead to outsource the job to others. The company, whose search engine is the third most popular after Google's and Yahoo's, is now rushing to catch up.


Anti-Spyware Group Issues Final Guidelines

The divide between adware companies and software removal vendors seems to have grown in the last year, with at least one major lawsuit, and increasingly inflammatory rhetoric on all sides.

Adware comps accuse anti-spyware vendors of defaming them, and wrongly classifying and removing software that users might want. Adware company 180solutions last November filed a suit against software removal company Zone Labs, which classified 180solutions as a high security risk; charges included "trade libel," unfair trade practices, and tortious interference with business expectancies.

Others say that software removal companies provide a valuable service to consumers who have inadvertently downloaded adware programs--or, worse, have been victims of programs that downloaded themselves through exploits.

Now, in an attempt to bridge the disconnect between adware companies and software removal vendors, the Anti-Spyware Coalition--a group convened by the Center for Democracy and Technology that includes anti-spyware vendors like Aluria, Lavasoft, and McAfee, as well as major Internet companies AOL Microsoft and Yahoo!-- has released a final draft of its "risk model description."

The model--touted by the Anti-Spyware Coalition as providing transparency to the rationale for classifying programs as potentially harmful--sets out a complicated matrix of factors used to categorize adware and other software. For instance, the model asks whether the software delivers ads. If so, the question then becomes whether the ads are attributed to their source program clearly (considered low-risk), indirectly via a pop-up with a label (considered medium-risk), or not at all (high-risk).

But these are only some of the criteria. The model also looks at other factors, including circumstances surrounding installation. For example, an installation originating at a site designed for children is considered medium-risk.

While the 16-page report details a variety of criteria, it stops short of recommending a formula to determine whether programs should be targeted for removal. For that reason, the document isn't likely to completely satisfy the concerns of adware companies.

Sean Sundwall, director of corporate communications at 180solutions, said that his company, for one, is concerned that the draft doesn't provide clear guideline for when software programs should be targeted for removal. "Overall, the risk factors document appears to address the most egregious behaviors and draws appropriate boundaries that clearly define what is and is not acceptable," said Sundwall in an e-mail to OnlineMediaDaily. But, he added: "Our biggest concern is that scanning applications still have enough latitude in implementing these standards to make them meaningless. The worth of these criteria will largely be determined by how closely the scanning applications actually follow them."

David McGuire, spokesman for the Center for Democracy and Technology, said the purpose of the document is to "bring clarity to the process that anti-spyware companies use to identify dangerous behaviors in software" rather than to tell companies how to decide which programs to remove. "We're not seeking to homogenize anti-spyware technology," he said. "We think diversity is a real value."


Thunderbird gets upgraded

Mozilla on Thursday released version 1.5 of its Thunderbird email client, touting a raft of new features aimed at both security and usability.

The new Thunderbird offering comes some six weeks after version 1.5 of Mozilla's Firefox browser debuted. Some of the new features made available in Thunderbird today are common to both new pieces of software.

Like Firefox, Thunderbird now features an automated update tool, where previously users had to download point upgrades manually. This may reduce the amount of data which needs to be downloaded for each update.

The email client can also now handle podcasts and has improved general support for RSS. Those with limited storage space will enjoy the new ability to delete attachments from stored email.

The increasing threat of email scams has provoked Mozilla to include a built-in detector to lower the threat posed by phishing attempts. Thunderbird users can also now set their client to spell-check their text as they type it.

Some of the more technical aspects of the new software include support for authenticating with the Kerberos protocol, integration with server-side spam filtering and automatic saving of draft messages during composition.

A more complete list of improvements can be found on the Mozilla site.

Despite all the work done by Mozilla on the email client in the approximately 13 months since version 1.0 was released, Thunderbird still lacks several key features found in alternative software like Microsoft's Outlook. For example, Thunderbird as yet has no calendaring functionality, despite the existence of a separate Mozilla project dubbed 'Lightning' designed to bridge this gulf.

Version 1.5 of Thunderbird does also not include some experimental work recently done on the email client to include tabbed browsing of email messages. That addition mimics one of the most popular features of the Opera and Firefox Web browsers.

According to Mozilla, Thunderbird has been downloaded more than 18 million times since its initial 1.0 release. The email client can be downloaded from Mozilla's Web site and distributed freely. It is is available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. It is generally available in more than 30 languages, although some language teams have not yet completed the translation process for the new version.


Thursday, January 12, 2006

Symantec comes clean on Norton rootkit

Popular consumer security software vendor Symantec has come a cropper over use of 'rootkit' technology in its products.

The news couldn't have come at a worse time, in the shadow of the Sony rootkit fiasco, which ended in court settlements whereby the music giant offered replacements, refunds and free music in a bid to placate public outcry.

Symantec, for its part, has issued a fix for an element in its Norton SystemWorks and Premier range which recovers deleted data.

The NProtect directory temporarily stores copies of files that have been deleted or modified. If a user accidentally deletes a valuable file from the Recycle Bin in Windows, then Norton will be able to recover it from the NProtect folder.

But Symantec didn't want users to see the folders, in case they accidentally deleted the contents here too. So it made the folder invisible to Windows. And being invisible to Windows, it is also invisible to programs running on Windows. Like antivirus programs, for example. So any malicious files stored in the NProtect directory wouldn't be scanned.

Symantec has now decided that this is not necessarily a good thing. It has issued an update to the software to reveal it in Windows.

It says the program can be updated simply by running the update feature of the software, but adds that it will require a reboot.

It claims the risks associated with the hidden directory are low, as it can not be exploited remotely and an attacker would have to successfully authenticate themselves to gain access.

The company is not aware of any malicious code built to exploit the directory at the present time.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Apple debuts Intel-powered Macs

Apple has started selling the first iMac computers that are powered by Intel's dual processor chip.

The announcement about the availability of the Intel-powered computers was months ahead of the schedule Apple announced in 2005 for the new range.

Apple boss Steve Jobs also launched a newly branded laptop called the MacBook Pro which also uses an Intel processor.

The new generation of iMac would be two to three times faster than the current iMac G5, he said.

The MacBook Pro would be four to five times as fast as the current PowerBook G4, Mr Jobs told Macworld in San Francisco.

The new laptops will not ship until February but the iMacs are available immediately and the price - starting at $1,299 (£929) - will remain the same.

It was widely expected that Apple would use the Macworld platform to announce that Intel-based computers would ship.

The rest of the Mac family will shift to the Intel dual-core Duo chip during the course of the year. It represents the culmination of a fast-moving collaboration between Apple and Intel, and both Steve Jobs and Intel chief executive Paul Otellini were on stage to pat each other on the back.

The shift to Intel was first revealed last year. Previously, Apple machines were powered by PowerPC chips made by IBM and Freescale.

Slice of iLife

The keynote speech from Steve Jobs at Macworld concentrated, as expected, on computers rather than digital entertainment.

In fact, the only announcement of note for its growing family of iPods was a remote control with FM radio capabilities.

It will allow users to skip tracks and adjust the volume of their iPod without having to have it in their hand. It will also enable them to listen to FM radio stations.

It will be priced at $49 (£28).

The main slice of Mr Jobs' presentation was given over to updates that Apple has made to its suite of digital lifestyle applications, iLife.

iPhoto gains a new application to allow people to take part in what Mr Jobs described as photocasting - basically allowing people to subscribe to a feed of photos from someone else which will automatically update every time new photos are added.

There was a new application for iLife which will allow users to build websites to show off all their rich media.

"Everyone wants to share music, photos, blogs and podcasts over the web and there are applications out there that let you build websites," said Mr Jobs.

"But the easy-to-use ones often build ugly websites so we have created one that is easy to use and builds beautiful websites."

Dubbed iWeb, the application will ship with all new versions of iLife. The price of the package - at $79 (£55) - will remain unchanged.


iPods to serve up FM radio

While the iPod was the not the star of Apple's opening day, it was not entirely overlooked at the annual MacWorld technology fest.

The company unveiled a $79 iPod Radio Remote accessory that allows users of the iPod nano and iPod video to tune into to FM radio stations and remotely access some controls on their iPod.

The device enables iPod users to display station information on the iPod screen and will also display song titles and artists when tuned into a radio station that supports the Radio Data System (RDS) standard.

Weighing in at half an ounce, the remote also allows users to adjust the volume, control a slideshow, and skip forward or back within a selected music or video playlist.

The accessory is powered by the iPod so does not require extra batteries, however Apple said that using the FM radio would reduce iPod playback time.


AMD Intros High-End Athlon For Gamers

AMD topped off its AMD64 processor family Tuesday with its Athlon 64 FX-60 dual-core processor and aimed it at power-hungry gamers and heavy digital media users.

The firm said the processor is its highest performing dual-core processor and has "an average 34 percent improvement on overall digital media performance and an eye-popping 80 percent faster performance on certain benchmarks over similar single-core processors."

"Those who crave ultimate performance on 3D games and intense digital media applications can experience realistic physics and lighting, advanced artificial intelligence and amazing performance on digital media applications," said AMD's Bob Brewer in a statement. Brewer is corporate vice president, desktop division, AMD microprocessor solutions sector.

One firm, Velocity Micro, has used the processor in its Gamers' Edge DualX T1425 system. Graphics specialist NVIDIA said it is working with the new processor and noted that its performance exceeds high-end military simulators that were available just a few years ago.


Sky to offer legal movie download via the internet

Sky has launched two new services that will allow sky subscribers to watch sky movies away from their television. The two new services - Sky by broadband and Sky by mobile – will allow usersto download blockbuster or classic movies to enjoy when they want and access highlights of the weekend’s Barclays Premiership matches on their PC with Sky by broadband, or catch up with the latest news on the move with Sky by mobile.

The Sky by broadband and Sky by mobile services come in response to growing evidence of consumers’ desire to take control of their TV viewing and to access media content in different ways. Sky by broadband is a new service available exclusively to Sky digital customers that lets viewers legally download a wide range of movies and highlights from Sky Sports and watch them on their home PC at no extra cost.

More than 200 movies are available at launch including a mix of Hollywood blockbusters such as Spider-Man 2 and The Day After Tomorrow, and cult-classic Sky Movies titles from Alien: The Director's Cut to Dr Strangelove. The number of titles will increase over time to encompass over a thousand titles from the Sky Movies catalogue. The service offers a complete A-Z movie listing and search by genre function. Users can set their movie preferences and searches can be sorted by director, film name, and actor allowing viewers to create their own movie download library.

The service will also include over 1,000 Sky Sports video clips at any one time including highlights of every Barclays Premiership and UEFA Champions League match. In addition to the movies and sports on Sky by broadband, Sky One will also launch an online entertainment package in 2006. Sky by mobile gives Sky digital and Sky Bet customers access to Sky entertainment, sports, news and weather on the move. Broadband now accounts for 57.4% of all UK internet connections (source: National Statistics, September 2005) as consumers take advantage of faster connection speeds to watch video content or download music on their PC. Almost half (47%) of all Sky digital customers have broadband connected PCs, compared to a national average of 38%.


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Google opens online video store

The web giant's co-founder Larry Page announced the service at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. US network CBS is making shows like CSI and Star Trek available to buy online. Google is the latest company to explore the idea of selling video on the net, following Apple who led the way with its iTunes online store. Pay to view Competition in the burgeoning online video arena is shaping up to be fierce. Others like Microsoft and Yahoo are also getting involved in offering video via the web. Much of the talk at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is about gadgets of all shapes and sizes that can connect via to the net to download video.

Google has been offering video for free over the internet for about a year. But this is the first time it will enable its users to pay for premium content. "It lets anyone sell video," said Mr Page announcing the Google Video Store. "The content producers can decide what to charge." Some 3,000 items will be available to rent or download and watch in Google's new desktop video player.

Blockbuster TV

As part of the service, the search giant has done a deal with CBS to offer some its big blockbuster hits such like CSI and Survivor for $1.99 in the US. CBS is also making available its archive of programs, among them Star Trek and I Love Lucy. Details about the service outside the US are sketchy. Mr Page said he expected different content to be available in different parts of the world, depending on rights issues. "The rights for video are really complicated so generally you are going to see video that is licensed for particular countries," he said.

The video will be available to download for Windows or Mac, as well as for the Sony PlayStation Portable and Apple iPod.

Beyond the browser

The move towards paid for video downloads was pioneered by Apple last year when it introduced an iPod video player and shows from ABC, NBC and others on its iTunes store.Web giants like Yahoo and Google are trying to break out of the PC browser to offer their software and services on a plethora of devices. At CES, Yahoo announced free software that would let viewers use the TV screen to search and watch the more than one million video clips in its video search service.Microsoft is also looking to expand to the TV. At the Vegas techfest, it revealed a deal with Sky to offer content from the British satellite broadcaster available through Windows software.

During his presentation, Mr Page also introduced a free service called Google Pack. This allows users to install software from a range of companies from a single download.Included are Google's desktop, instant messaging and Google Earth mapping programs as well as the Firefox browser, Adobe's PDF reader and Norton anti-virus software from Symantec. Mr Page used his platform at CES to make a plea for gadget makers to agree to common standards so that devices would just work with each other and use a standard power supply.


First Look at the Palm Treo 700w Smartphone

Palm's Treo 700w Smartphone--the first Windows Mobile-based Palm product--makes some very smart adjustments in melding the popular Treo hardware with Microsoft's operating system for handhelds. Is it a perfect hybrid? No, but it certainly should strike fear into the hearts of other Windows Mobile smartphone vendors.

Like its Palm OS-based predecessors, the 700w (which runs Windows Mobile 5) capably strikes a balance between personal digital assistant and cell phone. It's small enough (4.4 by 2.3 by 0.9 inches) and light enough (6.4 ounces) to fit in most pants pockets, but not so tiny that you can't read the display or type on the integrated QWERTY keyboard.

At $500 (or $400 if you purchase a two-year voice plan for at least $40 a month, plus the $50-a-month unlimited data plan), the price of the Treo 700w is not out of line for a full-featured PDA-phone hybrid.

In many ways the 700w is similar to the Treo 650; both use the same connectors, for example. The 700w is powered by a 312-MHz Intel XScale processor and has 128MB of memory, including 60MB of user-available memory.

At first glance the Treo 700w's button layout doesn't seem much different from that of the Treo 600 or 650 (both of which are based on the Palm OS). On closer inspection, however, you notice that the Calendar button immediately to the left of the central rocker button has been replaced by a Windows Mobile Start button that brings up the main Windows Mobile menu. Meanwhile, the e-mail button immediately to the right of the rocker is now an OK button, which you can use to shut down Windows or processes (instead of tapping an on-screen OK or X). This button is especially useful considering Windows Mobile's proclivity for keeping apps running and using up memory (you can even shut down a bunch of apps in a memory manager by simply pressing the OK button). But I missed the one-touch access to my e-mail and calendar.

The two buttons directly beneath the display, which in the 650 are smaller and bring up the main Palm menu and the current screen's drop-down menu, respectively, now simply activate right- and left-hand on-screen options (something you see on many cell phones).

Instead of the familiar icon-driven Palm home screen, the 240-by-240-resolution screen displays a variant of the Windows Mobile Today screen that adds two empty text boxes--one for typing in a contact's name or phone number (so that you can quickly initiate a phone call) and another where you can type in keywords for a Google Web search.


Friday, January 06, 2006

Yahoo reaches out beyond browser

Web giant Yahoo has taken the first steps towards moving beyond the browser.

It has announced plans to allow people to use Yahoo e-mail, messaging and other services on mobile phones and via the TV.

Yahoo joins a growing number of net firms that are looking to break out of the confines of the PC browser.

Details of the venture, dubbed Yahoo Go, were revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

In the hand

Yahoo has set up camp in a large tent at CES to provide a taste of how people can access its services on different gadgets.

As mobiles become almost ubiquitous and offer increasingly powerful capabilities, they have attracted the attention of net-based companies.

Google, for example, recently introduced a version of its Gmail e-mail service customised for mobiles.

And internet calling company Skype has released a beta version of its software for Windows smartphones.

Yahoo is dipping its toes into the mobile arena by joining forces with Nokia, Motorola and US carrier Cingular to gain a foothold.

The Nokia handset offers one button to get access to Yahoo mail, contacts and more, mirroring what users get on a browser.

Motorola's Razr and Slivr handsets on Cingular come with a pre-loaded package of Yahoo services.

Big screen service

As well as targeting the small screen, Yahoo has set its sights on larger displays. It has created a version of its services specifically for the TV, running on Windows Media Center PCs.

It means that people would be able, for example, to look at their pictures on the photo-sharing site Flickr on the TV.

Yahoo's move to the living room has being prompted by the evolution of the TV set into the gateway for digital video, music and pictures.

Other big players in the industry such as Microsoft and Intel are also pushing to play a bigger role in the lounge.

CES, the world's largest consumer technology trade show, runs until Sunday.


Motorola and Google Align for Mobile Search

Motorola, Inc. , a global leader in wireless communications, and Google Inc. today announced a global alliance to enable users easy access to Google on Motorola handsets.

Motorola will integrate a Google icon onto select devices so that users can connect directly to Google anytime, anywhere at the click of a button. These mass-market, Internet-optimized handsets will be distributed from early 2006 to select Motorola customers worldwide.

"Many of our customers have been asking for mobile devices integrated with their consumers' favorite online search services. By featuring Google on Motorola handsets for those customers, we are making it easier for consumers to connect to the information they need when they need it," said Scott Durchslag, Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Global xProducts for Motorola's Mobile Device business. "Our relationship with Google provides an opportunity for us to offer a high quality mobile search experience – one familiar to and loved by millions of users across the globe."

"Access to information is imperative for people on-the-go. Whether checking the local weather or locating the restaurant of their choice, consumers today require personalized search services that are tailored to their needs," said Nikesh Arora, vice president, European Operations, Google Inc. "With immediate access to Google, millions of Motorola users worldwide will be able to quickly and easily find information that's important to them."


Otellini Introduces Intel® Viiv™ Technology

Intel Corporation President and CEO Paul Otellini today unveiled two platforms and several content alliances that provide the foundation for new experiences from digital entertainment and wireless laptops –– and include the new high–performance, low–power Intel® Core™ Duo processor.

Noting the transformation now underway in entertainment, Otellini introduced the company’s new home platform –– Intel® Viiv™ technology –– and several commitments from top U.S. and international entertainment companies including AOL, DIRECTV, NBC Universal, Turner Broadcasting’s GameTap, ESPN, Televisa and Eros. ClickStar announced its first feature film, “10 Items or Less,” with a plan for an Internet premiere within weeks of its theatrical release, an industry first. These and other developments will bring millions of songs, movies, programs and games to the PC in 2006.

Intel Viiv technology–based entertainment PCs will help make it easier for families to download, store, view, manage and share all kinds of digital entertainment and information on a choice of TV, PC, laptop and hand–held viewing screens.

Intel® Centrino® Duo mobile technology improves performance and battery life for the fast–growing wireless laptop market segment. Otellini also introduced the ground–breaking Intel® Core™ Duo processor – powerful dual core silicon supporting the Intel Centrino Duo and certain Intel Viiv technology models. The processor is well equipped to deliver performance–per–watt efficiency and sleek designs for entertainment PCs, notebooks and CE–like devices.

“With our new platforms, we’re not only boosting wireless computing, but also advancing digital entertainment a few steps closer to effortless,” said Otellini. “Just as we enabled exciting new norms with wireless broadband laptops, we’re working with computer, CE and entertainment companies to make home entertainment easier. Our unique processors, tailored platform features and joint work with these industries exemplify our push to advance on–demand delivery of movies, TV, music, games and photos to any home on virtually any screen.”


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Booming Demand For LCD TVs

2005 will go down in history as the year of the big screen LCD TV. Large screen LCD TVs have recently come down in price to be very competitive with large (40”+) plasma TVs. People who have been searching for the perfect flat panel TV screen can finally get it at a price they want. One thing is for certain: home entertainment will never be the same again: it will be bigger and better.

“We've seen the price drop below $1000 for some LCD TVs,” Said Michael Crow in a recent interview. However, some of the really high end LCD TV prices still run in the thousands.

The home theater trend has swept the nation in recent years with some families even going to the extent of installing lighted aisles and popcorn machines in their homes. Home projectors, plasma TVs, and LCD TVs can make the difference between a mediocre cinema experience and an incredible one. Some technologies have fallen by the wayside, while others (like flat screens) have made substantial in roads in living rooms across the country.

While both LCD TVs and Plasma televisions can deliver large screen pictures, they use different technology to deliver a state of the art viewing experience. Shipments of both types of flat panel screens are expected to increase in years to come as they replace older CRT monitors.


Samsung develops 'fast' phone

Samsung Electronics Co said on Tuesday it had developed what it claims to be the world's fastest multimedia-downloading mobile handset.

The phone, equipped with an MSM6280 chip from the Qualcomm of the United States, enables users to download music or other multimedia content at a speed of 3.6 megabits per second, or approximately 10 MP3 music files a minute.

The mobile using "high-speed downlink packet access (HSDPA) technology," was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the company said.

"Samsung is proud to showcase HSDPA as the future of mobile broadband," said Kitae Lee, president of Samsungs Telecommunications Network Business.

The mobile, equipped with Qualcomms Mobile Station Modem, is a product of strategic collaboration between Samsung and the US company.

The new handset marks "an exceptionally important milestone in driving the commercialisation and deployment of this technology worldwide," said Sanjay K Jha, president of QUALCOMM CDMA Technologies.


Videora Converter for Ipod

The Videora Converter handles video conversion for your favorite hard-to-please device like the 5G iPod, PSP, TiVo, or Xbox360.
[Videora] allows you to convert your regular PC video files (avi, mpeg, etc) into the proper video format that your mobile or fixed video device understands. Each version is tailored specifically to the device in question.

I know that a lot of PSP and iPod owners are constantly looking for new and better ways to convert videos for their portable device - the Videora Converter looks like a really nice option.


One digicam, two lenses: Kodak announces the EasyShare V570

Ultrawide angle zoom lenses are tricky and expensive to make, not to mention bulky. Kodak sidesteps these limitations by combining an ordinary 3x zoom lens and a 23mm equivalent fixed focal length ultrawide optic in a single camera, making what's sure to be one of the more intriguing cameras of 2006.

Given the maturity of the digital camera market, it's pretty rare when something genuinely new comes along. It's even more rare to find something new that actually meets a real need in the marketplace. The newly-announced Kodak EasyShare V570 looks like it just might satisfy on both counts, offering both a fixed ultra-wide angle lens and a separate 3x optical zoom lens in a very small package.

Wide angle capability is rare, but desirable in consumer digital cameras, as indoor confines often make it hard to capture all you want to see in your photograph even if you back up against the wall. While most modern digital cameras have a "wide" end to their zoom lens, it's seldom really that wide, equalling about 33 to 39mm on most digital cameras. To get quality wide angle lenses at a low price, you really need a prime (non-zoom) lens. Selling a non-zoom camera into this modern market would be tough, though, because they make framing and composing your shots much easier.

Camera makers can design and build an ultra-wide angle lens, and zoom lens design and construction is a well-understood art. Combining the two is the tough part. A few cameras manage to cover a range from ultrawide to medium telephoto (notably the Kodak EasyShare P880 and the Sony DSC-R1), but the optics required to do so are relatively large and bulky, not to mention expensive to make and sell.

Rather than try to tweak the optics to go from 23mm to 117mm in a singe stroke, the engineers at Kodak decided to use two lenses to cover the range.


Monday, January 02, 2006

LASERline Introduces Apple iPod Nano Accessory

After increasing media reports about the Apple iPod nano’s susceptibility to scratches, LASERline introduced an iPod nano accessory that repels dust and scratches. LASERline’s Silicone Skins are made of light-weight, high-grade, waterproof silicone elastomer that won’t break, snap, tear, pill or split like rubber.

The LASERline silicone skins are translucent membranes that fit snugly around the Apple iPod nano. The shock-absorbing material protects against accidental bumps as well
as annoying fingerprints and scratches. The skins have an anti-static feature which repels the dust that can scratch and harm an iPod. Because the skins are waterproof, rain, snow or sweat are not problems, so users can take their music with them wherever they go in complete comfort and style.

Apple iPod nanos are so portable they can be slipped into a shirt pocket or the small coin pocket of a user’s jeans -- but left unprotected, they are subject to annoying scratches that can distort the screen and impact their sleek look. The LASERline Silicone Skins are the perfect iPod nano accessory.

LASERline Silicone skins for the Apple iPod nano are available in a variety of colors including: pale baby pink, icy blue, pearly white and not-so-basic black. Customers can also purchase the skins in convenient two-packs of white/black, pink/purple and blue/green. Five-packs of white, black, blue, green and pink are also available.

LASERline Silicone skins are available online at iPod nano accessory skins for $14.99 and come with a free neck lanyard and wrist strap.


Educational Video Unveils Tricks Hackers Use

Fiberlink Communications Corp, a leading innovator and trusted enterprise partner for secure mobile workforce solutions, developed an on-demand video demonstration to show CIOs and CSOs the ongoing risks that threaten mobile workers everyday. The "Anatomy of a Hack" illustrates how, without proper security protection, a hacker can take complete control of a mobile worker’s system and potentially infect a corporate network.

Security threats today go beyond idle hacking for recreation. A recent survey of the top vulnerabilities of 2005 by the SANS Institute reports that attacks are becoming less widespread, but more focused on quick financial gain. Today criminals are focusing their attacks on poorly protected applications such as Kazaa, Windows Media Player, Mozilla, Firefox, Apple Safari Browser and others with the intent to gain information that can be used in fraud.

Accompanying the video is a best practices guide that details how CIOs and CSOs can protect their networks against the most notorious types of threats including: network sniffing, malware and direct attacks. Participants will get a better understanding of:

- Common security risks and vulnerabilities that threaten today’s mobile workforce.

- Techniques, skills and tools used by hackers to exploit vulnerabilities on mobile endpoint systems.

- Best practices and essential tools necessary to help ensure mobile workers are compliant with corporate security policies.


Practices Guide


Significant 2006 Technology Trends

Once again, Technology Futures, Inc. (TFI) provides important emerging technology trends for 2006 and beyond developed through our 27 years of forecasting, strategy, and analysis work. Popular futurist and technologist David Smith (Vice President, TFI) states "These trends are of great consequence to those involved with global business, technology business process, science and universities, government agencies, federal labs, corporate labs, and technology savvy consumers." He adds, "Comparing this year's trends to TFI's list of trends for 2005, we see the trends as being still on the mark, with continuing progress being made in all the areas outlined last year. Below we have outlined some of the developments and provide some new trends and enhancements."


1- Traditional media continues to change as the impact of the democratization of the Internet and the increased penetration of global broadband coverage expands the Internet even more.

2- The threat to security and privacy continues to grow and to expand to other devices besides the wired Internet such as . mobile devices and device-to-device networks.

3-The digital home is entering the next level of acceptance, with the expansion of the electronic gaming and MP3 marketplace being a major driver.

4- Public relations and marketing expenditures and projects continue their shift to the public networks.

5-The timeframe of the product life-cycle continues to decrease.

6- Globalization and outsourcing continue to be paradigms of success.

7- The age of bio enters a new stage of production as advances in the technology continue.


DKMessenger - Video Communications Software

DKware announced this week that it is offering free PC-to-PC videophone and messaging services to the general public with its new instant messaging application, DKMessenger. DKMessenger permits real-time communications via text, video and audio simultaneously.

Douglas Kadlecek, founder of DKware, suggests that existing communications systems are antiquated and overpriced. ‘We are happy to offer this free service to the general public. For years, phone companies have charged a premium to send voice and data using proprietary switched networks. We feel that the Internet introduces a new paradigm, where software-based communication systems will proliferate while the costs are reduced to near zero. As proof, we are offering DKMessenger for free.’