Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cloud Computing

We are always on the watch for the 'next best thing' when it comes to technology and the Internet. Certainly no one can doubt that the next generation of the Internet (known as Web 2.0) has had a dramatic affect on how people interact and connect with each other.

Another emerging concept that has the power to change how we perform tasks is taking place before us as well, and it is called 'cloud computing.' Simply put, it is the ability to use resources and tools via the Internet without actually owning or being near them. The only requirement is to be able to access them.

The term 'cloud' is used to indicate the whole of computing services accessible via the Internet. It is an all-encompassing description of the complex internet-connected networks that exist in datacenters all over the world that power services and applications behind the scenes.

The concept of utilizing resources in these networks is being adopted by businesses both large and small. These resources are categorized to describe their function, and include:

a. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS)
b. Platform as a Service (PaaS)
c. Software as a Service (SaaS)
d. Web 2.0

In the most general terms, Infrastructure as a Service means that companies may no longer need to own and house their own back-end servers and other network computing infrastructure besides an internet-connected PC or laptop in order to maintain business functionality. This capability can be purchased on a subscription basis from entities that market these services in a 'virtual' manner. This allows businesses to keep their costs low by not having to purchase, maintain and recycle their own equipment for this purpose, and also mitigates the possibility of business interruption due to the highly available nature of these solutions. This equates to increased uptime and profitability for Infrastructure as a Service customers.

Platform as a Service is also known as 'cloudware', and refers to the availability of development tools in creating web applications and services to the end user. Like IaaS, you never 'see' the inner-workings of this environment unless you are a computer programmer or IT resource, but it exists nonetheless and again affords those who use these tools the ability to reduce costs while running their businesses.

Sofware as a Service is defined as software applications that are subscribed to and accessed only through the Internet, and not installed on local PCs or laptops. Applications built by and accessed via Google fall into this category, as well as the many photo sites to which you can upload your pictures and videos, edit and share them with others. These solutions are gaining tremendous popularity, because end users do not need to install, update and maintain software locally - only connect to it and use it when the need arises.

Web 2.0 describes the whole of the social networking movement on the Internet, and includes but is not limited to destinations such as Facebook, MySpace, eHarmony, LinkedIn and Twitter. These sites offer the ability for people all over the world to share common interests, stay connected and learn more about each other - and these sites aren't just for the young. Statistics show that the over 50 generation is logging onto these sites in greater numbers than ever before. In fact, in one month alone, Facebook adds over 17,000 new members.

The next time you are on the Internet and upload a photograph and use the online tools to modify that picture, you are participating in 'cloud computing.' The picture is probably loaded to a site that uses IaaS for their servers, PaaS in order to provide the visual interface in which you modify the photograph, and SaaS applications you'll use to access your email program and social networking sites in order to send it to or post it for those with whom you would like to share the picture.
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Earth Hour

Earth Hour is a sort of open-source movement against global warming. On Saturday, March 28, at 8:30 p.m. in each time zone, millions of people in thousands of cities are expected to turn off the lights for one hour to raise people's consciousness about the link between global warming and energy use.

One day before the start of the event in Asia, "Earth Hour" is the top search item on Twitter. A 30-second clip about Earth Hour on You Tube has gotten almost 59,000 views. Facebook groups count hundreds of thousands of members.

The goal for this year is to get 1 billion people to turn their lights off for an hour. In 2007, 2.2 million homes and businesses switched off their lights for an hour and in 2008, it went to 50 million. But it's not just individuals: dozens of cities and 829 world landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower and the Great Pyramids of Giza, will be dark for one hour as well.

The whole point of Earth Hour is to cast a vote and make a visible statement by turning off the lights for an hour. But it's worth pointing out that a few watts will be saved along the way and that people waste a lot of energy in their daily lives.

This week, a published study calculated that $2.8 billion is wasted from office PCs that aren't shut off properly. Perhaps people who participate in Earth Hour could unplug their home electronics as well.
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Women in IT Celebrate " Ada Lovelace Day "

Today is Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of women in technology that centres around the use of blogs.

Launched by Suw Charman-Anderson, a freelance software consultant, Ada Lovelace Day is a day of blogging designed to draw attention to women who are "excelling in technology".

Lovelace was born in 1815, and is recognised as one of the first computer programmers. She wrote programs for Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, along with the very first description of a computer and software.

Interested parties were asked to sign up to the Ada Lovelace Day Pledge: "I will publish a blog post on Tuesday 24 March about a woman in technology whom I admire, but only if 1,000 other people will do the same."

The list has already clocked up over 1,600 participants. However, under 400 posts are currently live.

"Women's contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognised. We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines," wrote Charman-Anderson launching the event. "Whatever she does, whether she is a sysadmin or a tech entrepreneur, a programmer or a designer, developing software or hardware, a tech journalist or a tech consultant, we want to celebrate her achievements."

Any woman who creates, invents, or uses any technology in an innovative way is asked to participate.
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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Twitter Primarily Used as a Business Tool

Micro-blogging site most popular among 35 to 49 year olds, analysis reveals Twitter has become primarily a business tool used by people in their late twenties to early fifties, according to new data from market research firm Nielsen.

The micro-blogging site has developed by 1,382 per cent since last year, from 475,000 unique visitors in February 2008 to seven million in February 2009.

The Nielsen data shows that the majority of Twitter users are not teenagers or academy students, as on many other social networking sites, but are from earlier generations.

Some 42 per cent of the site's users in February this year were aged among 35 and 49, while 20 per cent were among 25 and 34.

Nielsen also found that 62 per cent of Twitter users visit the site while at work, and 35 per cent from home.

The ability for users to access Twitter from a mobile phone is "a driving factor in the social network's success", according to Nielsen. In January this year, 735,000 unique visitors accessed the Twitter site through their mobile.
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Friday, March 20, 2009

Microsoft Releases Internet Explorer 8

Microsoft has clearly released Internet Explorer 8 (IE8), the latest version of its web browser, adding improved compliance with web standards, greater security features and improved performance.

Available to download now, IE8 includes only minor changes over the release candidate version that was made accessible to testers in January.

The new browser adheres much more closely to published web standards than previous versions, and has features designed to offer greater privacy and stronger protection against malicious web pages. It also has user interface improvements designed to make life easier, according to Microsoft.

"It really is the most complete browser currently available for whatever you want to do," said John Curran, Windows Business Group lead at Microsoft UK. However, Gartner analyst Ray Valdes maintained that IE8 has no compelling new features from an end-user perspective. "But Microsoft doesn't need to have compelling features - it just needs to be in the same ball park as rival browsers. Its advantage is a huge installed base and the supporting infrastructure in enterprise deployments," he said. Nevertheless, Valdes stressed that the improved security in IE8 makes it an essential upgrade, especially for businesses still using Microsoft's browser. " Enterprises now need to get off IE6 and move to a more modern browser," he said.

IE8 now displays content in the most standards-compliant way, which should drive greater consistency in web sites and applications. However, some content designed for earlier IE versions may not display properly, which means that a Compatibility Mode is required to display any problem pages as they would look in IE7.

"The problem is that many corporate apps were designed for IE6, which had flaws, so the apps worked around those flaws. If you try to use them in a modern standards-based browser, they don't work," explained Valdes, adding that this is not likely to be a problem in the web at large. "Legacy support is important," explained Curran. "If a company standardised on IE, they've probably made a significant investment in applications, and we want to ensure they can continue to take advantage of those. Microsoft takes this very seriously."

Improvements for users focus on ease of use, such as an added 'find' bar that starts attractive through the page as you type, and a built-in search bar that now shows visual results for web searches. Also new are Accelerators, which provide shortcuts to functions from web content, such as looking up a selected word, and Web Slices, which provide live links to web-based information such as stock market prices. Reliability has been addressed with improved crash recovery, along with isolation between tabs so that one badly behaved web page does not bring down every open tab.

IE8 also delivers greater privacy through an InPrivate Browsing mode, which retains no information such as cookies or browsing history from web sites visited, and InPrivate Filtering, which offers greater control over third-party content that might be gathering information about the user, such as tracker ads.

Julia Owen, Microsoft UK's product manager for IE8, claimed that greater security was a "foundational aspect" of the new browser during development.

As well as IE7's phishing filter technology, IE8 can now analyze and block cross-site scripting attacks used to abduct information such as passwords from compromised web sites.

"It blocks cross-site scripts without the need to disable JavaScript, which is immensely helpful because you don't have to think about it," said Owen. Valdes agreed that all these features are worth having. "Users need all the security help they can get, and Microsoft is now trying to fill this need," he said. IE8 is easier to deploy and manage for enterprise customers, according to Curran, with new Group Policy settings that allow administrators to control browser settings through Active Directory.

Settings that can be managed include whether specific sites are viewed in standards mode or compatibility mode, enabling or disabling security filters, policies for security zones, and whether users can change key settings.

IE8 is available for Windows XP, and the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2003. Users testing the beta release of Windows 7 should not install IE8 over the version that is included with that platform, Microsoft warned, as there are some differences in the code.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Apple Debuts Upcoming iPhone 3.0 Software

Apple has afford light on what will be content in its upcoming iPhone software update.

The company said on Tuesday that it would be releasing the iPhone 3.0 package as a beta version for developers. Apple is currently hoping to accept the 3.0 update accessible for customer purchase this summer at a amount of $9.95.

For that price, users will be given a number of new features, most notable support for MMS messaging and the ability to cut and paste text, a common gripe amongst iPhone owners.

Additionally, Developers will be given access to a number of new API's, including the ability to play a user's iPod library within an application and the ability to use push notification to alert users.

"The new iPhone OS 3.0 is a major software release packed with incredible new features and innovations for iPhone customers and developers alike," proclaimed Apple worldwide product marketing senior vice president, Philip Schiller. "It will keep us years ahead of the competition."

Other planned updates include support for stereo Bluetooth devices, voice memo recording, and support for Apple's Spotlight search tool.
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The New BETA Version of Google Chrome

Google has released a new beta version of its Chrome browser. The new beta is promised to be more faster and has also had more user features added to make it fuller featured.

“The best thing about this new beta is acceleration( speed ) — it's 25% faster on our V8 benchmark and 35% faster on the Sunspider benchmark than the current stable channel version and almost twice as fast when compared to our original beta version,” said Google Chrome Product Manager, Brian Rakowski, in a blog post.

Other features added include autocomplete on web forms, the ability to zoom in of certain sections of web pages and a new form of tabbing, that allows called windows to be viewed side by side.

The beta will not replace the current stable Chrome browser, but will run side by side with it.

“Getting on the beta channel means your version of Google Chrome will consistently get updated with new acceleration enhancements, features, and bug fixes before more users see them,” said Rakowski.

“We're doing our best to quickly churn out new features as they are available rather than saving them up for occasional major releases. Riding the beta channel is a great way to let us know about what's working and what's not, but don't be surprised to find some rough edges.”

Google launched the Chrome browser in September of last year but so far it has failed to make serious inroads into the browser market.
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Saturday, March 14, 2009

New Google Program Turns Voicemail into Email

INTERNET search engine, Google, has expanded its push into the telephone market, offering a service that provides a single number for home, work and mobile phones and turns voicemail into email.

Google Voice automatically transcribes voicemail messages into email or SMS and provides a transcript in a user's email inbox on their computer or mobile phone.

"When you receive a voicemail, Google Voice will automatically transcribe it into text so you can read what the voicemail is about," Google said in an instructional video on the company blog. It warned, however, that back the transcripts are "fully automated" through voice recognition technology, they "may include mistakes."

The service is currently accessible only to existing users of a Google-owned telephone service known as GrandCentral, which the internet company purchased in July 2007. But Google said it is to be offered for free to new subscribers to Google Voice in the next few weeks.

GrandCentral provides a single telephone number for home, work, and mobile phones and a central voicemail inbox that can be accessed through the web. Additionally, its allows for low-priced International calls over the internet. Like GrandCentral, Google voice will also allow users to consolidate their home, work and mobile phones in a single telephone number.

Google during the past year has been actively exploring ways to expand its revenue, almost all of which currently comes from internet search advertising.

Recent moves include adding advertisements to Google properties such as Google News, Google Maps and Google Finance and to videos on YouTube, which Google purchased for $US1.6 billion in 2006.

Yesterday, Google launched a test version of a new "interest-based" advertising system that shows ads targeted to web surfers based on their previous online activities.
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BETA Version of Mozilla Firefox 3.1 has Released

Mozilla has released the third beta of Firefox 3.1, which boasts improved performance, web compatibility and speed.

The public preview release is intended for “developer testing and association feedback,” said the firm in a developer blog post.

Users are advised by Mozilla to read the release notes and known issues before installing the beta.

The new features include a new Private Browsing Mode, including the ability to “Forget This Site” from the History sidebar, and support for new web technologies, such as W3C Geolocation API and JavaScript query selectors.

Mozilla asked for feedback from users on the improved stability given the engine through the new TraceMonkey JavaScript and on the improved Gecko layout that gives faster content rendering.
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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Is Apple Really Going to Produce a Netbook ?

It's possible, but sounds unlikely. There is a good chance that Apple is producing something, because the Chinese-language Commercial Times has just reported that: "Taiwan-based Wintek will supply touch panels for Apple's new netbook, and shipments will start in the third quarter this year." This was picked up by DigiTimes in Taiwan, but it doesn't tell us much.

Clearly there is a gap amid Apple's small-screen pocketable products, including the iPhone and iPod Touch, and its big-screen portable MacBooks. But if Apple wants to bridge it, it could start from either end.

Apple could produce a mini-notebook running Mac OS X on an Intel Atom processor, which would attempt with popular models such as the Asus Eee PC range and Acer Aspire One. Or it could produce a tablet computer running OS X (not the Mac version) on an ARM Cortex processor, which would be like a large iPod Touch.

The Wintek deal, if the reports are correct, suggests the latter is more likely. Wintek is pioneering what it calls Capacitive Type Touch Panels, with the initial target bazaar being smart phones and handheld game consoles. The company thinks that, over the long term, they will be used in large-screen machines such as netbooks and TVs, but it's starting small. An ARM-based device may also be advised more likely if it exploits the abilities that Apple brought in then it bought a chips firm, PA Semi.

On the other hand, touch screens are also the new frontier for the netbook market. Intel's Classmate 2 reference design is a convertible netbook/tablet PC design with a touch-sensitive screen, and advanced touch features are built into Microsoft Windows 7. There are also affairs for devices that have two screens and assignment like electronic books. If you want to do computing, you turn them around and one screen becomes a touch-sensitive keyboard. The OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) project is developing an XO-2 along these lines, and Asus has shown a similar device in prototype. It's a bazaar that Apple could pioneer, making its new machine the Nintendo DS of twin-screen netbooks.

Although netbooks and touch-screen tablets are becoming popular today, both ideas go back to the 1980s, if not earlier, and have been tried many times before. Apple launched the infamous Newton MessagePad, a touch-screen tablet/PDA, in 1993, and did a small portable netbook version, the eMate, for the education market. Steve Jobs killed them off in 1998, when Apple was in a difficult financial position. In these difficult financial times, a big-screen iPod Touch looks a better bet than a small-screen MacBook, and less likely to undermine sales of Apple's very profitable portables.
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Google Introduces Phone Services

Google has strengthened its mobile services with the admission of a service called Voice that could be a challenge to Skype and other phone firms. It lets customer make cheap International calls and gives them a speech-to-text affection for voicemail.

The services are available thanks to Google's acquisition of phone firm GrandCentral which gives users a lifelong universal phone number.

"This could be big. Google is seen as disruptive," said analyst Jon Arnold. "They are a wild card in telecoms and wireless but this is Google and they are very smart at what they do. "The core of Google's business is search and for a long time the industry was concerned about the GrandCentral acquisition. What was the fit? What was the motivation? It will be interesting to see where they ultimately go with this," said Mr Arnold, principal of analyst firm J Arnold & Associates.

Google Voice is the first major update to GrandCentral, which Google bought for an undisclosed sum, thought to be $50m (£36m) in 2007. The service gives subscribers one number that lets them route all their phones through - home, office and mobile.

Users also get a single voicemail account regardless of which phone messages are left on. Screen grab of Skype website, Google Voice is the latest attempt by the company to reach out beyond online search and advertising. Domestic calls will be chargeless(free) but International calls will require users to set up a Google Checkout account. Calls to landlines in the UK will cost 2 cents per minute.

EBay's Skype offers chargeless domestic and International calls made over the internet from one computer to another, but there is a charge to landlines and mobile phones. Skype President, Josh Silverman told analysts and investors that "chat and voice will become table stakes". He also revealed that the company is adding 350,000 new users a day and is on track to do more than 100 billion calling minutes in 2009 alone.

Google does not appearance the service as a blackmail to Skype or other telecom companies any more than its Google Talk offering, which lets users chat over the internet for free.

"This is about allowing your existing phone to work better," said Craig Walker, now group product manager for real time communications at Google and co-founder of GrandCentral. "It's not that we are replacing your phone, we are giving [it] the ability to work better," he said. He declined to say how many users had signed up. Google Voice is currently only available to former GrandCentral users.

Google Voice also allows all voice messages to be turned into text which will then be sent either through an e-mail or an sms. "Voicemail can be a pretty negative experience for a lot of people," said Mr Walker. "Voicemail need no longer be the chore it has been in the past," he declared. Mr Walker demonstrated its search capabilities by displaying the 1,000 or so voicemails he had accumulated while testing the system over the past few months.

Google boss, Eric Schmidt, said he viewed mobile as the next big opportunity. At the recent Morgan Stanley Technology Conference in San Francisco, Mr Schmidt said he believed mobile search revenues would over take those on a PC within a few years

"The fact of the matter is that mobile devices are going to be the majority of the way that people get information," he said. A report in February by the Kelsey Group suggested that "about 20% of U.S. cell phone subscribers are on the mobile web right now and only about 5.2 million are doing searches".

Mr Arnold said that if Google perfected its speech-to-text feature to other languages, all bets were off. "This could be very powerful given the globalisation of markets. Language is another barrier and when you break that down, the world of communications opens up and globally this has exciting opportunities," he said.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Symantec Updates Altiris Management Tools

Symantec has launched the latest versions of its Altiris server and client-management products, which automate tasks and accomplish licence compliance.

Altiris Client Management Suite 7.0 is now cross-platform, and can be used to manage Windows, Linux and Mac systems. The suite will audit and categorise known applications into a software catalogue, automatically distribute software with required components, and accomplish periodic configuration checks, the company said on Tuesday in its announcement.

The client-management package also provides centralised desktop power management, with integrated support for Intel vPro chips, to allow IT professionals to power systems up for routine maintenance. Symantec has cannibalised systems-management technologies from its other products, including Ghost, pcAnywhere and Workspace Virtualisation, to include in the suite.

Altiris Server Management Suite 7.0 has a console that lets IT administrators monitor the performance of a company's distributed servers, whether virtual or physical. It also collects, stores and analyses events.

The operations of both adapted suites can be managed using the existing Symantec Management Console, which also handles other Symantec software, including security, data-loss prevention, and backup and recovery products.

Altiris Client Management Suite 7.0 costs €95 (£87) per user, per year, while Altiris Server Management Suite 7.0 is priced at €411 per server, per year, for the basic versions of the suites.
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Facebook Launches Arabic Version

Facebook, the world's best successful social networking site, has clearly launched in Arabic, tapping into a potentially huge bazaar in the Middle East and beyond, the company has announced.

Facebook, based in Palo Alto, California, already has large numbers of users in the Arab world: in Egypt, where the site has 900,000 users, it has become a highly effective tool for political mobilisation, with accumulation demonstrations against the government organised through forums. The ability to use it in Arabic is acceptable to accomplish it even more popular.

In Saudi Arabia the site has more than 250,000 users and in Lebanon more than 300,000 users. Arabic, announced by 250 million people and Hebrew, announced by 7 million people, will now be available from a drop-down menu at the bottom of the homepage.

"It's the first time Arabic speakers will be able to use Facebook in their own language," said Ghassan Haddad, the Facebook director of localisation. "It's potentially huge." Fifty million of the world's 250 million Arabic speakers already use the internet, but Arabic only makes up 5% of global web content. There are 700,000 active users, people aged over 18 who returned to the site within the past month in Israel.

Facebook asked users of a trial version to translate the site over the past month, a cost-effective scheme that has proved popular with users who translated the site into other languages. After providing suggestions, users discussed and voted for the best translations. Facebook said 850 Arabic speakers and 870 Hebrew speakers had helped with the project.

Arabic and Hebrew, semitic languages that are both written from right to left, posed appropriate challenges. For example, while the verb "write" in English is the same regardless of whether the person accomplishing the autograph is a male or female, different translations of "write" are required in both languages.

Facebook developers built a mechanism to detect the gender of the user and select the translation that matches it and used Modern Standard Arabic, which is acclimated in the media and other formal and religious circles.

"The mix of characters between languages written in different direction makes it difficult at times for Web applications to determine the actual direction to display the language in," said the Lebanon-born Haddad. "Design is another challenge, since a web page laid out from right to left looks like a mirror image of an equivalent English page. All components on the page must be changed for right-to-left languages including text alignment, ordering of tabs on pages, different fields on forms, labels, buttons and much more."

Facebook is now available in 40 languages with more than 60 others in development. The company said that 200,000 people had helped with translations.

Although Facebook has been accessible in English across the Middle East since it opened above the US academy network in September 2006, its Arabic language version puts in in more direct competition with popular regional sites including Jeeran, Maktoob, ArabFriendz and Kalam Arab.
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Monday, March 9, 2009

Nokia Updates Their Products ( + Laptop )

THE world's top mobile phone maker Nokia is eyeing entering the laptop business, its Chief Executive, Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said in an interview to Finnish national broadcaster YLE on Wednesday.

"We are attractive very actively also at this opportunity," Mr Kallasvuo said, when asked whether Nokia plans to make laptops. Industry has rumoured about Nokia's accessible plan to access the PC industry since late last year, but Mr Kallasvuo's comment was the first official admittance of such plans.

"We don't have to look even for five years from now to see that what we know as a mobile phone and what we know as a PC are in many means converging. "Today we have hundreds of millions of people who are accepting their first internet experience on the phone. This is a acceptable indication," he said.

Nokia's comments appear a week after No. 3 PC brand Acer launched a foray into the phone business with eight mobile phone models, joining leader Hewlett-Packard and No. 4 Lenovo in the high-growth space. While able accumulation margins in the smartphone industry attract PC brands, the attraction of the low-margin computer industry is less obvious.

"Nokia maybe afraid about entering a market segment that is already heavily commoditised, but it would be in a position to exploit its enormous scale in manufacturing, supply chain and distribution," said Ben Wood, Research Director at CCS Insight.

"All leading mobile network operators and retailers are adding affiliated notebooks and netbooks to their portfolios alongside mobile phones. On this basis it comes as no surprise that Nokia is evaluating this segment," he said. The global PC industry was resilient for most of last year when other technology sectors were ailing, but it too has now been caught up in the deepening economic downturn that has hit demand from consumers and corporate buyers.
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“Hot Spot” Technology to be used in Australian Series

CRICKET'S administering anatomy has accepted Australia's additional Test against South Africa in Durban from Friday will include "Hot Spot" technology for referrals to the third umpire.

The technology, which wasn't accessible for last week's first Test in Johannesburg, will also be in use for the third Test in Cape Town later this month. It's the fourth series in which the referral system has been trialled; the first time Australia and South Africa.

Both teams are allowed two unsuccessful requests for reviews of decisions per innings, but some decisions referred to third umpire Asad Rauf in Johannesburg weren't clear-cut, especially a caught-behind decision against Mark Boucher which the South Africa batsman felt had absent his bat. Australia captain Ricky Ponting and South Africa skipper Graeme Smith have welcomed the use of the technology for the reminder of the series.

"Hot Spot" images will be accessible to the third umpire in the event of a player requesting a decision to be reviewed, the ICC said in a statement. "Hot Spot" will use infra red cameras at each end of the ground.

"By having Hot Spot accessible it means the television official will have even more information at his disposal if he is called upon, via a appeal for a review, to assist the on-field umpires with a decision and that has to be a acceptable thing," ICC general manager of Criket, David Richardson said.

"It also means that when the ICC Cricket Committee meets in May to consider the affair of the technology trial it will have a much more complete picture of the aids accessible for use and whether, and if so how well, they formed in a match situation."
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Microsoft : Lots to turn off in Windows 7

In a blog announcement on Friday, Microsoft acclaimed that, with Windows 7, customers will accept the advantage of disabling a number of the features of the operating system, should they so choose. It turns out it is not just Internet Explorer that users will be able to turn off in Windows 7.

In the recent Windows 7 buils, Testers had noticed that users could turn off the Web browser, in addition to many other things that were already part of a "Windows Features" dialog box. However, in its blog, Microsoft acclaimed that there are a number of things that users could not turn off in Windows Vista, but will be able to in the final version of Windows 7. Among the fresh options, users will now be able to turn off things such as Windows Media Player, Windows Media Center, Windows Search, the XPS Viewer and several others.

"If a feature is deselected, it is not accessible for use," Microsoft said in the blog. "This means the files (binaries and data) are not loaded by the operating system (for security-conscious customers) and not accessible to users on the computer. These same files are staged so that the features can calmly be added back to the active OS without additional media. This staging is important acknowledgment we have received from customer who absolutely do not like to dig up the installation DVD."

Microsoft beneath to comment on what role, if any, antitrust and authoritative issues played in the decision to expand the number Windows components that can be disabled. However, a number of the programs on the list are things that have drawn regualtory ire, such as the browser and media player, as well as the XPS technology which has been seen as a rival to Adobe's PDF.

With Windows 7, Microsoft has additionally bare several programs out of the operating system entirely. The photo gallery, e-mail, and movie-making programs that had been part of Windows will now be accessible only as abstracted Windows Live downloads. With Windows Vista, Microsoft included a version in the operating system, but then offered for download an alternative Windows Live service-connected version.
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Telstra, Cooperate with the Microsoft

A TELSTRA-branded mobile user interface is the aboriginal bake-apple of the telco's accord with Microsoft, about three months afterwards their fresh affiliation was forged.

The Telstra interface, which was developed by Victoria-basedcomputer application developer Pointui, runs on Windows Adaptable 6.1 and allows users to customise their phone's home awning and abate the cardinal of accomplish to admission and use applications.

"It's all about bringing that one touch, one bang user acquaintance to our customers," Telstra controlling administrator advancement articles Ross Fielding said.

The user interface will tie in with Microsoft's barter email server and will additionally admission admission to accumulated email servers for SME customers. Admission to email will be answerable on a pay per ages base Telstra said.

The user interface additionally allows users to binding their handset to a PC for use as a USB abstracts modem.

The interface will be broadcast in the abreast approaching to accommodate a ambit of Microsoft products, such as Sharepoint and Live Meeting, Mr Fielding said during the Adaptable World Congress in Barcelona.

Earlier this week, Microsoft appear a fresh adaptation of its operating system, Windows Adaptable 6.5, that has agnate customisable appearance as the Telstra interface. Windows Adaptable 6.5 will additionally absorb appearance such as added good web browsing and added good operability with a touch-screen phone.

Although Telstra's fresh user interface is based on Windows Adaptable 6.1, Mr Fielding said Telstra didn't feel like it had acclimatized for an inferior operating system.

"Microsoft-based mobiles are not the best accessible accessories so we've been alive with Microsoft and Steve Ballmer to get it alive for us.

"We are blessed with 6.1 because it is on added handsets than 6.5. The assignment that we've put in with this interface has been anon fed into the development of 6.5."

The fresh Telstra interface will be accessible on a $60 account plan with a Motorola A3100 in April and on a $150 account plan with the Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 in May.

Telstra said the user interface will be accessible on added Windows Adaptable handsets in the future.

The accord will see the two companies coact on adaptable devices, hosted business applications and unified communications.
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Facebook Hit by ‘Error Check System’ Attack

A fresh allotment of malware authoritative the circuit on Facebook falsely warns users that their accompany accept had problems examination their profiles, assuming the abeyant to abduct claimed advice from users.

The rogue application, dubbed "Error Check System," was declared Monday by aegis close Sophos' Graham Cluley in a blog posting. The archetypal absurdity bulletin reads "(Friend's name) has faced some errors back blockage your contour View The Errors Message."

But the warnings are affected and a viral attack to advance the appliance and recruit added Facebook users, Cluley wrote. While adage that there is no affirmation of claimed advice theft, Cluley acclaimed that utilizing an absurdity bulletin about the recipient's contour was "sneaky."

"This is an important admonition to all Facebook users that they charge exercise attention about which third-party applications they install on their profile, and anybody should bethink that Facebook does not accept applications afore they are fabricated accessible on their site," Cluley wrote. "You absolutely are putting your assurance in complete strangers back you add that abutting appliance to your Facebook profile."

However, non-Facebook associates are at accident as well. A Web chase of "Error Check System" will crop a articulation to a armpit that contains cipher that will admit a affected virus browse and try to fool users into installing malware bearded as antivirus software, Cluley wrote in a additional blog. Sophos articular the malware as Sus/FakeAV-A and Troj/FakeAV-LL.

"The anguish is that in abounding people's blitz to acquisition out added about the apprehensive application's behaviour on Facebook they may able-bodied run beeline into a scareware author's trap," Cluley wrote. However, he noted, "Is it accessible that the aboriginal Facebook appliance was absolutely a red herring, and the absolute alarming burden came from bodies Googling for information?"

Facebook users already adulterated by the appliance can uninstall it by application the Edit tab in the Applications area of their Facebook profile.
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Cellphone Chargers Go Universal

GLOBAL handset makers and telecommunications providers, including Telstra, accept affiliated calm to advance a accepted charger for adaptable phones by January 2012.

The charger would assignment on any cast of adaptable phone, acceptation users would alone charge one charger for any handset purchased.

The move, led by industry accumulation the GSM Association, involves 17 above adaptable operators and manufacturers including Nokia, Motorola, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Vodafone.

Apple and Research In Motion, maker of BlackBerry devices, are not allotment of the initiative.

GSMA estimates that amid 600 actor and 960 actor adaptable phones awash aftermost year were fresh handsets -- agnate of up to 82,000 tonnes of backup chargers every year. The affiliation said about 1.2 billion adaptable phones were awash in 2008.

Micro-USB will be accepted charging interface.

"The adaptable industry has a cardinal role to comedy in arrest ecology issues and this programme is an important footfall that could advance to huge accumulation in resources, not to acknowledgment accessibility for consumers," Rob Conway, GSMA arch controlling officer.

"There is astronomic abeyant in adaptable to advice bodies alive and assignment in an eco-friendly way and with the abetment of some or the better names in the industry, this action will advance the way," Mr Conway said at the Adaptable World Congress in Barcelona.

Telstra accustomed the initiative, which would eventually advance to amount savings.

"Given the estimated eight actor handsets awash in Australia every year, affective to a standard, accepted charger for adaptable phones has the abeyant to badly abate duplication and waste," Ross Fielding, Telstra controlling director, said.

"The proposed charger could be fabricated accessible as a standalone accessory, eliminating the accepted claim for a charger to be included with every fresh adaptable phone," Mr Fielding said.

Apart from users who consistently change their handsets, the account will appear as acceptable abatement to travellers. Already some airports such as Singapore's Changi action chargeless recharge casework to cartage for about 20 altered handset models.
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Norton Online Family BETA Version from Symantec

Known for its security software, Symantec on Tuesday launched a fresh affairs aimed at educating parents about their children's online usage. Norton Online Family, now accessible in beta, is a affectionate ascendancy apartment with assorted levels of brake and an accent on acceptance reporting.

Citing a Rochester Institute of Technology abstraction that begin a huge gap amid the allotment of parents against accouchement who abode no online supervision, Symantec says that Online Family is advised to arch that gap by "fostering communication" amid parents and their kids. According to the RIT study, alone 7 percent of parents anticipate their accouchement accept no online supervision, while 66 percent of kids anticipate they go unsupervised.

To abode that, Online Family uses a desktop applicant alleged the Norton Safety Minder for Windows and Mac that letters to the parents' Norton Family annual with options to e-mail notifications, too. Norton Online Family appearance parental-controlled customization levels based on the computer's user accounts, so that multi-child families can accept altered ecology levels for altered kids. It runs in the arrangement tray, too, so that its attendance is accessible to all users.

Online Family can log Web sites, block sites application both a affair acquaintance or a acceptable blacklist, and abode on social-networking activities. Back it advance visited Web sites, it automatically filters out advertisement URLs that get pinged back visiting media-rich sites. This makes the log easier to anatomize through.

Online Family includes some avant-garde appearance that accommodate believability to the affirmation that this is added than aloof a souped-up keylogger or blacklist. The blocked sites feature, for example, can be set so that kids can "appeal" to their parents for approval via either e-mail or a Norton-based babble app. It can additionally be set so that it lets kids through to see the flagged site, behindhand of affectionate approval, but again the parents' log flags the visited site. The albatross of discussing the content, of course, is larboard up to affectionate discretion.

Importantly, Online Family advance how accouchement represent themselves on social-networking sites, and alerts parents back a adolescent misrepresents their age. Age misrepresentation, Symantec said, was generally an indicator of a adolescent advertence with bodies or groups that the parents weren't acquainted of. It additionally keeps clue of how continued a kid has spent on a social-networking site, what time they log in and out, and how generally they appointment the site.

The fresh affairs monitors client-based burning messaging, too. This includes Google/Jabber, Yahoo, Microsoft Live, AOL, Skype, ICQ, Trillian's built-in babble protocol, as able-bodied as Trillian's multi-protocol appearance and Digsby's, too. However, site-based messaging can not be tracked. Once a adolescent logs into Facebook, for example, Online Family won't be able to chase what they're accomplishing aural the site.

Other monitors accommodate a claimed advice blocker, area claimed advice specific to the adolescent can be blocked from actuality beatific out from the computer, a affectionate notification whenever a kid creates a fresh annual on any site, a time adviser to accomplish a "computer curfew," and a notification for back the Norton Safety Minder is angry off.

Online Family requires a Norton account, and the allotment is chargeless until the affairs leaves beta. Final appraisement for the Online Family abiding absolution that's accepted in the bounce has yet to be announced, but the beta balloon is chargeless for now. Symantec has said that they appetite to accomplish Norton Online Family affordable, though, so it's absurd that the amount point will be exorbitant.
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Google Feel Sorry for Gmail Breakdown

GOOGLE was scrambling yesterday to figure out what acquired Gmail to crash, leaving millions of people worldwide without access to the chargeless web-based email service for a few hours.

"We're actively investigating the source of the affair and will share more advice with our users as soon as we have it," said Andrew Kovacs, Google's agent. Gmail became what was referred to in online chat forums as "Gfail" at about 0930 GMT and remained inoperative for two-and-a-half hours.

"We know that for many of you this disrupted your working day," Gmail site reliability manager, Acacio Cruz, wrote in a posting at the California internet titan's website. "We're really sorry about this, and we did do everything to restore access as soon as we could. Obviously we're never happy when outages occur, but we would like to stress that this is an unusual occurrence."

Gmail service was reportedly disrupted for an estimated 113 million users in Europe, Asia, US and elsewhere. Quick-thinking porn-peddlers capitalised on the situation by creating a Gmail user group titled "Gmail Down" that displayed sex pictures and videos to people that went searching for information about the problem.

Gmail service crashed a couple of times last year but had operated uninterrupted since it was bolstered with features that include people being able to abstract and read message offline.

To accomplish apology for the apparent computer server problem on Tuesday, Google is extending by 15 days the subscriptions of users that pay for Google Apps Premier editions of Gmail designed for businesses. Google sparked online panic last month when a glitch briefly prevented users from visiting any websites in search results.
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The New Technology of Google, Google Latitude

Millions of people will be able to clue anniversary and every move by accompany and ancestors through their adaptable phones, acknowledgment to a fresh affection launched by Google yesterday.

The fresh arrangement dubbed “Latitude” uses a agenda map to appearance automatically absolutely area a admired one is at any time, sometimes pinpointing their area to a few metres. Worried parents will be able to analysis up on area their accouchement accept got to afterwards school, accompany can accommodated for a quick alcohol if they see they are adjacent and spouses will be able to see if their ally absolutely are alive backward at the office.

Google said that Latitude was an opt-in feature, acceptation that both parties accept to accord to actuality spied on. But aloofness campaigners said they were afraid by the idea, and children’s groups said the Government should arbitrate and attending into whether the arrangement was absolutely secure.

The affection was fabricated accessible anon on millions of adaptable phones that can admission the web, such as the BlackBerry. Within weeks Google hopes to absolution a adaptation that will additionally assignment on computers as well.

“Once you’ve aggregate your location, you can adumbrate it from alone accompany or all of your accompany at once, or you can about-face off Google Latitude absolutely at any time.” said a Google spokesman. “You can acclimatize your aloofness settings in Latitude so that you allotment as abundant or as little about your area as you want, with whom you want.”

Google said that it had activated the artefact with bags of bodies to accomplish abiding that the arrangement was secure, but experts were not so sure. Simon Davies, administrator of Aloofness International, said the aegis was alarming and said Latitude would accessible up a “privacy minefield”. “Google is aboveboard if it thinks there are able controls on this feature,” he said.

Others were anxious that alike admitting you could, in theory, bar anyone from spying on your location, in convenance associate burden would beggarly it would be difficult to adios their advancement to chase you, alike if it was not in your own interests.

“It’s about the little white lies. You ability be skiving off work, and now your bang-up ability be able to see that you’re at Twickenham instead of at home,” said Ian Angell, an advice able at the London Academy of Economics. “You’ve already got adaptable buzz technology area husbands and wives clue anniversary added in secret. Google is so common that this will become the aphorism rather than the exception.”

Google said that bodies consistently had the advantage of adjusting how abundant about their area they capital to accord away. Colleagues could alone apperceive what burghal you were in, admitting added added accurate accompany could acquisition out what artery you were walking down. How abundant anniversary alone capital to acknowledge was consistently up to them.

The technology is acceptable to be greeted agilely by a adolescent bearing absorbed on amusing networking websites such as Facebook. In testing, the affection was bound adopted by bodies to locate accompany in awash areas, and by families to accord themselves a asperous abstraction of back admired ones would be abiding home.

Children’s groups said that, admitting the assumption of actuality able to analysis up on the abode of a adolescent may accompany accord of apperception to abounding parents, problems would appear back accouchement became teenagers and approved added albatross and independence. “Is a adaptable buzz acceptable an cyberbanking bridle on children?” said John Carr, the secretary of the Children’s Charities Coalition on Internet Safety. “You can see situations area this affectionate of affair ability be useful, but it is additionally affectionate of imprisoning accouchement alike more.”

Mr Carr alleged for the Government to attending into the aegis of the system, and said that any aggregation that admired to action or advertise trackingcomputer application such as this should be appropriate to get a licence.

The Advice Commissioner’s appointment said the opt-in attributes of Latitude adumbrated that the affection annoyed abstracts aegis laws, but said it would adviser the arrangement closely.
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The New Marketing Tools from Yahoo!

Yahoo is accepted to bare fresh accoutrement on Tuesday that are advised to advice marketers added good ambition their online ads, according to a address Monday black in The Wall Street Journal.

One account will ambition graphical ads to users based on accurate chase agreement accomplished in Yahoo's chase engine, customizing the offers in the ads based on the Web sites the user has visited. Another apparatus will acquiesce marketers to acquirement argument ads that run with chase after-effects that are tailored to the time of day or the consumer's age and gender, the cardboard reported.

"Targeting a armpit with a brace hundred thousand users...I don't alarm that targeting. I alarm that ashen effort," Joanne Bradford, Yahoo's arch carnality admiral of U.S. acquirement and bazaar development, told the paper. "Size does matter."

Bradford and Yahoo arch VP Michael Walrath are accepted to altercate the fresh appearance at a appointment in Orlando, Fla., on Tuesday.

Yahoo admiral will accept to apparatus the plan amidst connected agitation at the company. Yahoo has been beneath burden for about a year afterwards declining to complete mergers or cardinal partnerships with Microsoft, Google, and Time Warner's AOL.

Yahoo Arch Executive Carol Bartz is accounted to be basic a above administration about-face that could be appear as aboriginal as this week. Bartz reportedly beatific a announcement on Friday to advisers saying, "Get well-rested, because abutting week's a biggie."

The about-face is reportedly accepted to accept key admiral such as arch operating officer, arch technology officer, and a new, added able arch business administrator all address to Bartz.
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Technology of Flash Player 10 in the Smartphone

BARCELONA - A full-fledged adaptation of the Adobe Flash player is advancing anon to a accomplished bulk of smartphones. Unfortunately, Apple's iPhone isn't one of them.

Adobe appear at the GSMA Mobile World Congress actuality Monday that Flash Amateur 10, which is the abounding adaptation of Flash that runs on PCs, will be accessible on smartphones active Windows Mobile, Google's Android, Nokia S60/Symbian, and the fresh Palm operating systems. Devices with Flash Amateur 10 are accepted to hit the bazaar starting in aboriginal 2010.

The aggregation has formed for years on a failing apotheosis of its Flash technology for adaptable phones. Adobe admiral said that about 40 percent of all phones that are alien today use this adaptation of its technology. But because Flash Lite doesn't acquiesce for the aforementioned functionality as what's accessible on the Flash 10 desktop adaptation of the technology, adaptable users are missing out.

In November, Chief Technology Officer Kevin Lynch told attendees at Adobe's Max appointment in San Francisco that the aggregation would accompany the full-fledged Flash Amateur 10 to smartphones.

Even admitting Flash 10 will be accessible for best smartphones aboriginal abutting year, the technology still charcoal on the ambition account for iPhone users. But Adobe admiral say that it's coming.

"We would adulation to see it on the iPhone, too," said Anup Murarka, administrator of Technology Strategy and Partner Development for Adobe. "But it's Apple's accommodation on back and how they abutment any fresh technology. So we will abide to assignment on it."

Adobe's CEO Shantanu Narayen alluded in comments he fabricated to the Bloomberg account account at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, beforehand this ages that the aggregation has had abstruse difficulties award a applicable adaptation of Flash for the iPhone. But he said the two companies were continuing to assignment on it.

"It's a adamantine abstruse challenge, and that's allotment of the acumen Apple and Adobe are collaborating," Narayen told Bloomberg Television. "The brawl is in our court. The onus is on us to deliver."
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Acer Introduces 8 Smartphones in GSMA 2009

Weeks prior to the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2009 actuality in Barcelona, there were affluence of rumors as to what Acer would acknowledge at its appointed Monday columnist conference. We knew they'd be smartphones but there were capricious opinions as to how abounding and what type. Well, all the belief can stop now as the aggregation assuredly took the wraps off the accessories on Monday night.

Speaking at Antoni Gaudi's Casa Batllo, several Acer executives, including CEO and President Gianfranco Lanci, appear that the aggregation would accompany added than 10 smartphones to bazaar in 2009 and showed off 8 accessories at the event.

Acer, which is added accepted for its Netbooks and notebooks, said it acquainted the move to smartphones was a analytic one. "The smartphone bazaar is the accustomed administration of our abiding adaptable action as our appetite is to action acute solutions to all the needs of adaptable users," Lanci said.

Collectively accepted as the Acer Tempo smartphone series, the handsets all run Windows Mobile--the aggregation did say there are affairs for added operating systems but did not specify which ones. The Tempo alternation offers a ample ambit of devices, from the aerial end to the low end, and aims to ability a assorted chump base. To accord you a sampling of the line, actuality is a breakdown of the aboriginal four accessories that will appear to bazaar in March and April.

Acer M900: The M900 is advised for business users and comes with a slide-out abounding QWERTY keyboard for your messaging needs. It will run Windows Adaptable 6.1 Professional Edition and has a 3.8-inch WVGA blow awning and an anchored fingerprint scanner for security. The smartphone additionally includes GPS, HSDPA support, and a 5-megapixel camera.

Acer F900: Like the M900, the Acer F900 boasts a 3.8-inch WVGA blow awning but lacks a concrete keyboard. The accessory is optimized for Web browsing and comes with Internet Explorer Adaptable 6 with abutment for JavaScript and Adobe Flash Lite. Added highlights accommodate a widget-based home screen, GPS, Wi-Fi, HSDPA, and a 3.2-megapixel camera.

Acer X960: The X960 is a little added consumer-centric, accumulation the archetypal Windows Adaptable smartphone appearance into a added corpuscle phone-like anatomy factor. The touch-screen buzz additionally has a widget-based Today awning so users can accept quick admission to all their important information. Acer additionally touts the X960 as a acceptable little aeronautics accessory with its congenital GPS capabilities.

Acer DX900: The DX900 is the world's aboriginal bifold SIM smartphone so you can accept two numbers associated with the device. Acer offered it as a band-aid for those who capital to accumulate abstracted altered numbers for their assignment and claimed lives--or for globetrotters.

Other models Acer affairs to absolution in the additional bisected of 2009 accommodate the Acer L1 and the Acer C1, which are entry-level accessories for those authoritative the jump from a approved corpuscle buzz to their aboriginal smartphone. These two will additionally be affordably priced, with the aggregation assured them to go for 49 euros (around $62) or beneath afterwards carrier subsidies.

Acer said it is talking with account providers and will accomplish carrier announcements in the advancing months. However, the aggregation batten actual about about bazaar releases and did not accurately acknowledgment the United States. Acer did say that it affairs on announcement added smartphones in Q4, so this isn't the aftermost we've heard from them.
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