Adobe has introduced an auto-updater for its Flash software packages that reduces the chore of updating the widely-used application by automating the process for all supported browsers on Windows machines. Previously users had to apply individual updates to Chrome, Firefox and IE add-ons and plug-ins, a process that often went neglected, leaving systems open to attack. Read more...
Brazilian website Gemind has revealed screenshots claimed to show a desktop version for MAC OS and Windows of Microsoft's SkyDrive.
Currently Windows and Mac users can access Skydrive – Microsoft's cloud storage for files, photos, music, etc – through a browser and it's clunky compared to, say, the simple Dropbox icon for access to all your Dropbox cloud stuff.
Gemind shows a screenshot (above), in Portuguese, of a SkyDrive client for a Windows or Mac desktop with a set of three folders in the pane. The site also showed screenshots showing pricing for extra SkyDrive storage.
SkyDrive offers 25GB of free storage whereas Dropbox offers less than a tenth of that at 2GB. You can upgrade to, say, Pro 590 and get 50GB for $99/year or $9.99/month. SkyDrive is much less than that, if the Gemind screenshot is to be believed, with SkyDrive +50 giving you an extra 50GB for $25/year. There are SkyDrive +20 and +100 plans as well. Read more...
Microsoft's announcement last week that it will "include" four Office apps with Windows on ARM has analysts parsing the news like intelligence agencies that once tried to figure out what went on inside the Kremlin by poring over photos of who stood where on the Red Square reviewing stand.
Some analysts say that Office will be bundled along with Windows on ARM (WOA) sans a separate price tag. Others believe Microsoft would never give away one of its most precious possessions.
All acknowledged that Microsoft has not provided enough information, and that details may not emerge until just weeks before the company wraps up development.
Microsoft, meanwhile, declined to answer questions about Office apps on WOA, or to clarify what Steven Sinofsky, the head of the Windows group, meant in an 8,600-word missive published last week.
"What we know is that there will be some level of capability to those Office apps, but what we don't know is who pays for it," said Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC who was briefed by Microsoft last week.
Hilwa and fellow IDC analyst Al Gillen interpreted Microsoft's announcement as confirming that the Office apps included with WOA -- touch-enabled versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that run in the operating system's limited desktop mode -- would be bundled with the operating system, free to users. Read more...
Apple's flagship computer operating system, Mac OS X, has seen a long series of incremental improvements since it was first released in 2001. With its latest release, though, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Apple has started to incorporate concepts from its iOS operating system (for iPads and iPhones) into its Mac computers.
That's the trend that's sweeping the computer and mobile worlds right now: Turning desktop OSes into mobile ones, by bringing the concepts from simplified mobile OSes up to the desktop and making computers into iPad-style "app consoles," to use the phrase coined by John Gruber of Daring Fireball. Meanwhile, Google's open-source Android operating system is developing a style of its own, beyond just being a bare-bones smartphone OS. Read more...
The Amazon Web Service (AWS) Free Usage Tier now includes up to 750 hours of Windows Server 2008 R2 without having to pay the hard-to-catch cloud-fluffer anything.
Amazon is targeting developers – especially .NET heads – starting up anything that might turn into bigger paying customers once the devs' applications take off and grow.
Also available in the Free Usage Tier are another 750 free hours of Linux, along with S3, SimpleDB Elastic Block storage, and Elastic Load Balancer.
The amount of room available for free in Elastic Block Storage has also been boosted to 30GB and I/O requests doubled to two million. Read more...
Analysis Sunday marks the tenth anniversary of Bill Gates' Trustworthy computing memo, which made designing security into applications from the ground up a key priority at Microsoft for the first time.
The directive to make security a number one priority followed a period when Microsoft hack taken a sustained shellacking over the instability and insecurity of its software, especially Internet Explorer and Outlook,following the rampage of high-profile malware outbreaks such as the Love Bug, Melissa and Nimda.
The memo came after Microsoft had spent years fighting the Department of Justice's antitrust suit that centred of its Windows monopoly, in particular the bundling of IE with Windows, and two years after Redmond had begun to embrace web services with the launch of .Net.
Apple Macs were not the threat to Microsoft's desktop monopoly that they now pose but the perception of insecurity was a problem for Microsoft's ammunitions to push its servers and associated applications into the data centre, as well as its fight against Linux as a web server platform. Read more...
Last week Microsoft announced it is changing how Internet Explorer upgrades on Windows users' PCs in 2012. Taking users out of the equation, Microsoft said, will make the Web, and them, safer.
The move is a major departure from past practice, which required users to explicitly approve IE upgrades.
While experts have applauded the change, users aren't so sure: Most of the comments appended to Computerworld's story of last week were negative. Maybe they're not sure if it affects them, or when it will reach their PCs.
Or they just don't like Microsoft monkeying with their machines.
We've assembled some of the most pressing questions -- and answers, naturally -- about IE's auto-upgrade to help readers sort it out for themselves. Read more...
Microsoft has quietly launched a support website where experts charge $99 for one- or two-hour sessions designed to rid PCs of malware, speed up a machine or solve problems with Windows or Office.
Answer Desk debuted with no fanfare from Microsoft, which has not deigned to mention the new service in a press release or promote it on the front page of its domain, or even, surprisingly, on its consumer-slanted Windows website.
One of the few places the service does appear is on the Microsoft Store site, where Microsoft sells its own software, the Xbox game system and select OEM's Windows desktops, notebooks, tablets and smartphones.
The new support option is so low-key that Microsoft apparently scrubbed a Dec. 9 blog announcing Answer Desk. The blog, penned by Blake Morrison -- listed on LinkedIn as a Microsoft senior support escalation engineer -- no longer exists on Microsoft's TechNet blog network, although a cached edition was still available Tuesday morning. Read more...
Earlier today, Microsoft announced that it had closed the $8.5 billion deal for Skype, the Luxembourg-based Internet phone and chat giant. Microsoft and Skype unveiled the planned acquisition in May.
Skype will operate as a new business division within Microsoft, and Tony Bates, formerly the chief executive of Skype, will report directly to Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer.
In May, Ballmer promised that his company would continue to develop and support Skype on rival platforms.
"A, I said it and I meant it," Ballmer said when a reporter asked for assurances that Skype would continue to support operating systems and devices not sold by Microsoft. "B, we're one of the few companies with a track record of doing this," Ballmer added, citing Microsoft's Office edition for the Mac. Read more...
But snatching bronze as the third best way to turn apps into cash in 2015 will be Microsoft's Windows Phone OS, only launched last year.
Apple's iOS will remain the best platform to monetise apps until 2015, predicts Berg InsightPhoto: Cristiano Betta
Last year Apple's App Store generated revenues of €1.33bn - compared to the €80m generated by the Android platform. The analyst predicts Apple's App Store revenues will rise to €4.4bn in 2015, while Android's will swell to almost €1.5bn that year.
The Berg research report, entitled The Mobile Applications Market, notes that app downloads continue to soar: there were around 10 billion app downloads last year across all the mobile platforms - and it predicts this figure will reach 98 billion by 2015. Read more...
Microsoft today said it will ship eight security updates next week to patch 23 vulnerabilities in Windows, Internet Explorer (IE) and several other products in its portfolio.
The company sketched out the upcoming patches in an advanced notice of Patch Tuesday's line-up.
Two of the eight updates, which Microsoft refers to as "bulletins," will be rated "critical," the most-serious threat ranking in its scoring system. The remaining six will be labeled "important," the next-most-severe tag. Most of the bulletins, including four of the six pegged as important, are to patch vulnerabilities that attackers could exploit to execute malicious code, and potentially commandeer the computer, the company acknowledged.
Microsoft said that the eight updates will fix 23 security flaws. The company usually delivers a larger number of updates that patch a higher number of vulnerabilities in even-numbered months, leaving a lighter load for odd-numbered months.
In August, for example, Microsoft issued 13 updates that patched 22 vulnerabilities, while in September it delivered five updates that quashed 15 bugs. Read more...
Microsoft is set to unveil the next-generation of Windows tomorrow. The new operating system, currently known as Windows 8, is the tech giant's attempt to regain ground that it has lost to Apple, which surpassed Microsoft last year as the world's most valuable company. It isn't the MacBook or Mac OS X Lion that has Microsoft executives worried, though. It's the sheer dominance of the iPad.
The iPad hasn't skipped a beat since its debut last year. Thanks to Apple's ingenuity, a shockingly low starting price and a strong marketing campaign, the device has sold more than 25 million units in less than a year-and-a-half. More importantly, it has defined a whole new category of consumer devices. And it dominates that category with an iron fist.
iPad competitors have come and gone, but none have been able to make a dent in the iPad's rapid growth. HP has given up on the TouchPad, the RIM Playbook has underperformed and countless Android tablets have fallen by the wayside. Nothing has emerged as the alternative to the iPad. Read more...
The blogosphere is abuzz over the latest Black Hat presentation exposing the security holes of Apple's Mac OS X. The upshot is that Microsoft Windows, in comparison, does a better job of protecting its users, especially against network protocol attacks. A proof-of-concept hack shown at the Black Hat security conference involved plugging one rogue Mac computer into an enterprise network, where it was soon able to gather the authentication credentials of all the other Macs in the environment.
In my world (I'm a principal security architect for Microsoft), this is no big surprise. Macs have always been far more vulnerable to hacker assaults than Windows computers, by almost every metric that means anything. Yes, Macs do have far more software vulnerabilities than Windows computers. If you don't believe me, go to any vulnerability database (I like Secunia's advisory database) and compare any operating system or application from Apple and Microsoft, head to head, over the same time period during the last five years. Most people are absolutely shocked to see that Microsoft software in general, and Windows in particular, has suffered far fewer vulnerabilities than Apple software and Mac OS X. Read more...
The report is good news for Microsoft, which has taken its licks lately in the mobile computing market. Redmond's well-received but slow-selling Windows Phone 7 OS has yet to catch on among consumers, who are snapping up Apple iOS and Google Android handsets like crazy.
Windows 7 has proven a big hit on the desktop, however: 42 percent of PCs worldwide will run Win 7 by the end of 2011, Gartner reports. And nearly 635 million new PCs are expected to ship with the OS by the end of the year. Read more...
Buried in all the intrigue surrounding the Nortel patent auction was an interesting tidbit: Microsoft did not have to bid on the patents, but they did anyway. Why? As far as I can tell, it’s one of two reasons. One is evil. The other is evil genius. Either Microsoft really wants to kill Android. Or, if Android continues to thrive, Microsoft wants to be the ones that make billions of dollars off of its success.
In June it seemed unlikely that Microsoft would enter this high-stakes patent bidding process for the simple reason that they already had patent licensing agreements with Nortel. We were told these agreements would transfer over when the patents changed hands. But several days later, Microsoft began complaining that the eventual winner may be able to void their licensing agreements. Still, we were told this would not be the case. But surely Microsoft had to know that as well. So why were they complaining? They were playing mind games, attempting to mess with Google, says one source. Read more...