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Saturday, September 29, 2007

Microsoft's Stealth Updates Affect XP Repair Installations

The stealth update that Microsoft recently delivered to customers blocks 80 patches and fixes from installing after Windows XP is reinstalled using the repair installation feature.

The problem has been traced to the so called "stealth update" to Windows Update which Microsoft has acknowledged sending to users beginning in July. The updates were delivered and installed without prior notification, even when the PC's owner had told the operating system not to download or install updates without notification and permission.

This problem affects users who restore Windows XP using the setup CD's "repair" option, which reinstalls the operating system files without disturbing the applications and data already on the disk drive. Because a repair is essentially a rollback to Window's original state, XP must be updated with all subsequent patches and hotfixes.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Microsoft Quietly Lets Vista Users Revert to XP

Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Lenovo are just a few of the system manufacturers offering downgrades. Each of these PC makers offer an XP Pro recovery disc to those who request one that can be used to revert a Vista machine to XP Pro.

Customers who already have purchased a Vista-PC can request an XP Pro recovery CD for between $15 to $20 by calling technical support.

Additionally some customers and businesses have complained about Vista's lack of support for software and hardware designed originally for XP.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Alaska Airlines testing wireless Internet service

Alaska Airlines has announced that it will test a high-speed satellite wireless Internet service on its aircraft next year. The airline will be the first carrier in the US to offer such a service, and if the test is successful.

The broadband service is designed to work over water and internationally. Customers will be able to access the service from Wi-Fi hotspots within the aircraft cabin.

American Airlines have also announced plans to test a broadband service, though it will use air to ground technology, rather than satellites.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Microsoft Office 2003 Service Pack 3 to be released

A third service pack for Office 2003, promising improved security and enhanced compatibility with Windows Vista, Office 2007, Internet Explorer 7 and Windows SharePoint Services, will be available on September 18, 2007.

The download will be 120MB for the U.S. version and will be free of charge. SP3 appears to address a variety of generally minor annoyances and bugs across the suite.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Google Calls for Global Online Privacy Standard

Google proposes that governments and technology companies create a transnational privacy policy to address growing concerns over how personal data is handled across the Internet.

Google envisions the policy to be a product of self regulation by companies, improved laws and possible new ones. Google's increasing power in search, Internet commerce and software services has place its privacy policies under scrutiny. In June, Google Inc. said it would delete the data it stores about end users anonymous in its server logs after 18 months.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Skype Worm Virus Warning

A new worm is sending convincing fake Skype Instant Messenger chats in an attempt to infect victims, the company warned today. The worm affects users of Skype for Windows.

The worm sends chat messages that attempt to trick victims into thinking they were accidentally sent a file with messages tempting the recipient to look at the message. The displayed link attempts to download a file ending with a .scr extention, used for screen savers. If double clicked, the malware known variously as Skipi, Pykspa and Ramex will first attempt to disable securty software, and then install another, data stealing piece of malware.

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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Man Arrested in Online ID Theft Scheme

A Seattle man has been arrested in what federal authorities described as their first case against someone accused of using file sharing computer programs to commit identity theft.

Gregory Thomas Kopiloff used peer-to-peer file sharing programs to scan other people's computers for financial information that he then used to open credit cards for an online shopping spree.

Kopiloff bought more than $73,000 worth of goods such as iPods and laptop computers online, then resold those items at half-price and kept the proceeds.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Microsoft's answer to the iPhone?

An executive in Microsoft's entertainment and games division today hinted that Microsoft may be developing its own rival to Apple's iPhone, based on Windows Mobile OS.

Microsoft's idea with Windows Mobile has been to move every day business capabilities, such as accessing email, from the PC to the mobile device.

Microsoft is rumored to be evolving its Zune multimedia player with new features out by the holiday time at the end of the year. Microsoft has already worked with hardware partners to develop Windows Mobile handsets with touchscreen capabilities that are similar to the iPhone's.

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Monday, September 03, 2007

Windows Vista SP1 hopefully released soon

The Microsoft Windows Vista blog reported official news of SP1 last week.

Microsoft product manager Nick White first says out that the company no longer relies on service packs as the sole way of updating Windows. Windows Update makes sure this happens fairly constantly. But with SP1 White says "In addition to updates we’ve previously released, SP1 will contain changes focused on addressing specific reliability and performance issues we’ve identified via customer feedback, supporting new types of hardware, and adding support for several emerging standards."

There is news of a SP1 beta, due in the next few weeks. SP1 itself is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2008.

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