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Sunday, April 27, 2008

PC makers find ways to extend XP's life

Facing a June 30 deadline to stop selling PCs with Windows XP, the world's largest computer makers are getting creative.

Taking advantage of the "downgrade rights" offered as part of the Windows Vista license agreement, Hewlett-Packard and Dell both plan to offer machines loaded with XP well beyond June.

Technically, the computers will be Vista Business or Vista Ultimate machines that have been factory downgraded to XP at the customer's request. In practice, they are more like XP machines that come with an already paid-for upgrade to Vista when and if the customer chooses to do so.

The pre-downgraded PC option is just the latest way that PC makers have responded to stronger-than-expected demand. After shifting largely to Vista after its January 2007 mainstream launch, Dell and others quickly began adding more XP options in response to customer requests.

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

No Change in XP Plan

Comments by Steve Ballmer at a press conference in Europe have led to speculation that Microsoft is reconsidering its June 30 deadline to stop selling most new Windows XP licenses. A spokeswoman from Microsoft's public relations firm said Thursday that there is no plan for a change in deadline, however.

"If customer feedback varies we can always wake up smarter, but right now we have a plan for end of life for new XP shipments," Ballmer said.

The spokeswoman said Microsoft is aware that some customers are pushing for an extension to the deadline -- more than 160,000 people have signed a "Save XP" petition launched by Infoworld magazine, for example.

Retailers and PC vendors can also continue to sell any backlog of Windows XP licenses that they bought before the June 30 deadline. Beyond those exceptions, most new Windows licenses purchased after June 30 will be for Windows Vista.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

PayPal To Block Older IE, Firefox Browsers From Site

As part of an effort to combat phishing, PayPal plans to block older versions of Internet Explorer and Firefox and other unsafe browsers from accessing the online payment site.

Phishing is a deceptive practice used by Web criminals to acquire personal information, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details. Phishers often pose as legitimate businesses in emails to lure victims to fraudulent sites where they are asked to input their personal data. Phishers also use Websites with URLs similar to legitimate sites, hoping that a person will misspell the address and end up at the fraudulent site. PayPal is among the favorite targets of phishers, along with eBay and online banks.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Google Helps Group Find Child Predators On The Web

Google has developed search technology that sifts through millions of pornographic images and videos from the Web to help police find child sex predators.

A team of Google researchers led by Shumeet Baluja used the free time the company provides employees to work on pet projects to develop software tools tailored to help the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children track down child predators. Google is a member of the organization's Technology Coalition Against Child Pornography.

The tools developed by Google researchers helps NCMEC workers sort and identify files that contain child pornography. In addition, the new video tool streamlines analysts' review of video snippets, Baluja said. "In particular, the tools we provided will aid in organizing and indexing NCMEC's information, so that analysts can both deal with new images and videos more efficiently and also reference historical material more effectively."

In organizing the data more efficiently, analysts will be able to work faster in getting law enforcement the information they need to locate missing children and find child sex predators, the researcher said.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Plot Thickens in Yahoo-Microsoft Drama

Yahoo's last ditch efforts to avoid a takeover by Microsoft Corp. appear to be setting the stage for a dramatic finale featuring a rich cast of Internet and media stars.

Eager to frustrate Microsoft in any way possible, Internet search leader Google Inc. has already agreed to help out Yahoo by participating in an unusual test that will gauge how much more advertising Google can sell for its struggling rival. The 2 week experiment will be limited to ads posted alongside a small percentage of Yahoo's online search results in the United States.

As part of the AOL deal, Time Warner would make a cash investment in return for a 20 percent stake in the combined entity, according to a Wall Street Journal story that cited unnamed people familiar with the matter. Yahoo then would use the Time Warner cash to buy back stock to put some money in shareholders' pockets. Yahoo would pay between $30 and $40 per share for an unspecified amount of stock, the Journal said.

Microsoft's bid was worth about $42 billion, or $29.24 per share, as of Wednesday, when Yahoo shares closed at $27.77. Analysts have said that Microsoft can afford to pay about $35 per share, or about $50 billion, for Yahoo without undermining its future earnings. Yahoo has indicated it thinks its franchise is worth at least $40 per share, or more than $55 billion.

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Intel Unleashes Powerful, Power-Saving Atom Chips

Intel unveiled the Centrino Atom family of low power processors for mobile Internet devices. It also announced a new class of inexpensive, simple Internet centric computers, called "netbooks," which will hit the market later this year.

The Atom processor is based on a new micro-architecture designed for small devices with low power consumption. It is compatible with the Intel Core 2 Duo instruction set, and supports multiple threads for better performance and increased system responsiveness.

Their thermal design power (TDP) specification maxes out at 2.5 watts, less than one-tenth the 35 watts TDP of the current mobile Core 2 Duo processors. The new family supports hyper-threading technology, which lets the processor execute two instruction threads in parallel.

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