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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

First Look: Microsoft's Windows 7

Microsoft recently took the wraps of the preview version of Windows 7, which will be the successor to Vista.At first glance, Windows 7 maintains the streamlined look of Vista, but appears more muted, even Windows XP like. Mostly, Microsoft seems to be focusing more on functionality, possibly in a bid to put some distance between Windows 7 and Vista.

Windows 7 will be easier to connect to cameras, phones, and printers. That's handled in the OS by Windows 7's new Device Center.Most obviously, a quick tour through Windows 7 reveals its new taskbar, which is sparser than in previous iterations of the OS. From the screen shots, it's clear that Microsoft has listened to criticism and tuned many features, including search and access to security controls. The look and feel of the user interface is also highly customizable.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Vista Service Pack 2 in Beta

Microsoft is preparing a major update to its Vista operating system with Service Pack 2. The new Vista Service Pack 2 will incorporate all fixes released since Service Pack 1, along with a slew of new improvements aimed at increasing support for new hardware and technology standards.

Some of the features include:
The introduction of Windows Search 4.0

The addition of the Bluetooth 2.1 Feature Pack

The added ability to record data to Blu-ray discs

Improved WiFi setup

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Google Open-Sources Android on Eve of G1 Launch

Google and the Open Handset Alliance released the complete Android platform source code, which means you can actually build a phone with the software if you have the chops.

Developers can also contribute code to the platform thanks to a set of APIs that allows Android to host applications written by third-party developers.

In open-sourcing Android, Google said consumers can expect to see more applications, such as location-based travel tools, games and social networking offerings, as well as cheaper and faster smart phones. Such efforts are already under way: Note Motorola's social networking smart phone based on Android.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

New study suggests link between Internet activity and mental acuity

Researchers studying the aging process have found that surfing the Web may improve the memories of middle-aged and older adults.

The new study suggests that searching the Internet stimulates the parts of the brain that control reading, language and memory, which could prolong cognitive function.

Volunteers were given a series of Web searches and tasks that involved reading passages in a book, while the researchers monitored their brain activity.

The magnetic resonance imaging scans revealed that the temporal, parietal and occipital lobes were activated in all of the participants as they performed the book-reading tasks.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Microsoft Surprises With New Windows 7 Name

In its brief but troubled lifetime, Windows Vista has been characterized as something of a bloated memory hog by many Microsoft channel partners and customers, some of whom have been clamoring for a slimmer, more simplified version of Windows.

In a Monday post to the Windows Vista team blog, Mike Nash, corporate vice president of Windows Product Management, announced that Windows 7 will be the official name of the OS, marking the first time that a Windows product code name will be carried over to the final version.

Nash also threw readers a dose of logic by noting that the Windows 7 name also denotes the fact that it's the seventh version of Windows that Microsoft has developed.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

US satellite returns first high resolution images

Satellite imaging company GeoEye has released the first pic from its GeoEye-1, launched on 6 September and destined to provide high resolution pictures for Google's Earth and Maps services.

According to Cnet, commercial customers include Google, which has "an exclusive partnership to use the GeoEye-1 imagery for online services". The powers that be will also benefit from GeoEye-1's sharp eyesight. GeoEye's CEO, Bill Schuster, explained that the satellite is "an excellent fit to meet the US Government's important requirements for mapping and broad area space-based imagery collection over the next decade".

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

Skype Messaging Surveillance found in China

A group of computer security researchers and human-rights activists based in Canada at the University of Toronto recently found a gigantic surveillance system in China that is being utilized to monitor and archive Internet text conversations that contain politically charged wording.

The system is capable of tracking text messages that are sent by TOM-Skype customers. TOM-Skype is a joint venture between eBay and a Chinese wireless provider.

The Canadian activists of Citizen Lab stumbled upon the surveillance operation last month. The stated that a cluster of eight message logging computers in China held over a million censored messages. Within the last two months the servers were able to archive over 166,000 censored messages from over 44,000 users.

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