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Monday, August 30, 2010

AMD Says Goodbye to the ATI Brand

Advanced Micro Devices said it will remove the ATI name from its products by the end of the year, killing a brand name synonymous with graphics enthusiasts for 25 years. AMD offers a range of graphics products under the ATI brand, including the Radeon, FirePro and Eyefinity offerings. The chip designer will instead attach the name AMD to those products by the end of the year.

ATI was originally established in 1985 as a graphics company and was acquired by AMD in 2007 for US$5.4 billion. AMD had trouble incorporating ATI into operations, taking billions of dollars in charges that affected the company's profitability.

The change could also help give AMD more exposure. For example, Apple uses the ATI graphics in the iMac, with the ATI logo prominently displayed on Apple's website. The logo would instead reflect AMD, which could help expand the company's visibility.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Facebook to kill IE6 support for Chat on IE9 beta day

Facebook has announced that it will soon end Internet Explorer 6 support for Facebook Chat. The kill date is September 15—the same day Microsoft plans to release the first IE9 beta. Today's announcement comes just a week after Microsoft launched a beta version of Windows Live Messenger that integrates with Facebook Chat.

Facebook explains its decision by saying that many users have complained about unstable chat sessions, or ones that stop completely. In order to improve the way connections are established and messages are sent, however, the social networking giant must make changes that aren't supported by older browsers.

Microsoft plans to support IE6 along with Windows XP until April 2014. Last month, IE6 had a usage share of just under 17 percent; at the start of the year it had just over 20 percent.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Web scam hits iTunes and Paypal

iTunes accounts linked to PayPal have been hacked with a number of users complaining that they have been cleaned out. Experts have said there is no security hole in iTunes or Apple servers and that it is most likely users have fallen for an online scam. Apple would not comment but said that they had recently implemented new security measures.

PayPal nor Apple would talk about the scale of the problem or how many people or accounts had been hacked. PayPal said that any unauthorized charges will be reimbursed.

Phishing involves using fake websites to lure people into revealing details such as bank accounts or login names.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Google patches 11 Chrome security problems

Google patched 11 vulnerabilities, three critical, seven high risk, and one medium in a new version of Chrome. All but one of the problems was in Chrome itself. The additional issue handled in Chrome 5.0.375.127 is a workaround for a critical Windows kernel bug.

Chrome has an automated update process that periodically checks for updates, downloads new versions, and installs them when a person restarts the browser.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Apple staff allegedly sold secrets worth $1m

Asian companies negotiating contracts with Apple allegedly paid more than $1m in kickbacks to an Apple manager in exchange for confidential information about what Cupertino would be buying.

That's according to a suit filed by Apple against Paul Shin Devine, until now a global supply manager at Apple. The suit follows his indictment for wire fraud and money laundering, among other things, as reported by the San Jose Mercury News. Devine was allegedly paid the money in exchange for information about the iPhone and iPod, which gave the companies the upper hand in negotiations with Apple.

The Wall Street Journal names three of the companies involved as Kaedar Electronics Co, Cresyn Co and Jin Li Mould Manufacturing Pte, of China, South Korea and Singapore respectively. Bloomberg got a statement out of Cresyn Co explaining that the company had paid an Apple employee for consultancy services, but that this was "limited to the trends in the US market" and that the firm "neither requested nor received any information regarding technologies".

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Monday, August 09, 2010

Is Apple prepping for a Verizon iPhone?

Rumor has it that Apple is buying millions of CDMA chipsets for a Verizon iPhone launch, according to TechCrunch. The tech blog published a story Sunday citing unnamed sources that said Apple ordered millions of CDMA chips from Qualcomm in what looks like preparation for a Verizon Wireless iPhone. TechCrunch said that the chipset order is due for December, which could mean a January launch for a Verizon iPhone.

AT&T and all the other carriers around the world that are selling the iPhone use a network technology called GSM. Verizon Wireless uses a competing technology called CDMA. The main supplier of CDMA chips is Qualcomm. So if Apple is indeed buying CDMA chipsets, then it would make sense that it might be developing a Verizon iPhone.

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Microsoft to issue record number of patches

Microsoft will issue 14 security bulletins on Tuesday to plug 34 holes, including eight that are critical, in Windows, Office, Internet Explorer, SQL and Silverlight, the company said on Thursday.

"This will be the most bulletins we have ever released in a month; we have released 13 bulletins on a couple of occasions," Angela Gunn, security response communications manager at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post.

Affected software includes: Windows 7; Windows XP; Vista; Windows Server 2003 and 2008; Windows Server 2008 release 2; IE 6, 7 and 8; Office XP Service Pack 3; Office 2003 Service Pack 3; 2007 Microsoft Office System Service Pack 2; Office 2004 and 2008 for Mac; Office Word Viewer; Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel and PowerPoint; 2007 File Formats Service Pack 2; Microsoft Works 9; and Silverlight 2 and 3.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Five Secrets to Windows 7 Success

According to Net Applications, it's been a good month for Microsoft. Internet Explorer 8 gained more market share to continue dominating the browser market, and Windows 7 surpassed its predecessor--Windows Vista--in market share for the first time. So, what exactly is driving the success of Windows 7?

1. Management. With integrated support for PowerShell 2.0, Windows 7 provides a superior infrastructure for IT admins to be able to automate common tasks and manage the desktops more efficiently.

2. Troubleshooting. Windows 7 provides Troubleshooting Packs that enable users to conduct their own troubleshooting for many common issues. IT admins can also create custom Troubleshooting Packs for recurring issues or internal applications.

3. Security. Windows XP--which is still by far the most used operating system--is far behind Windows 7 when it comes to security controls. Windows 7 has security controls--like ASLR (address space layout randomization), DEP (data execution prevention), and UAC (user account control), and PMIE (Protected Mode IE)-- that don't exist in Windows XP.

4. It's Not Vista. The reputation of Vista is more a Microsoft marketing failure than the result of any real issues with Vista. While Windows 7 is not "Windows Vista R2" as some have suggested, but it is does have many of the same core elements that Vista has.

5. It's Still Supported. Although Windows 7 has surpassed Windows Vista, Windows XP still has more than twice the market share of both Windows 7 and Windows Vista combined. Those that have applied Windows XP SP3 are still being supported by Microsoft, but Microsoft no longer supports Windows XP SP2, or earlier OS versions such as Windows 2000.

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Sunday, August 01, 2010

Microsoft Preps Monday Patch for Critical Windows Shortcut Exploit

Security researchers at VirusBlokAda identified an exploit in multiple versions of the Windows operating system that allow a compromised USB key to use Windows shortcuts to deploy malware on a user's PC. The only thing a user has to do to infect one's PC is to look at the contents of the USB key via Window Explorer.

Microsoft is now planning to release a patch Monday to address the shortcut exploit. According to the Microsoft Malware Protection Center's Threat Research & Response Blog, a rise in exploits under the family name Sality have picked up Microsoft's attention—so much so, that Microsoft's releasing this fix "out-of-band," or outside of the typical Windows monthly update schedule.

"Sality is a highly virulent strain. It is known to infect other files (making full removal after infection challenging), copy itself to removable media, disable security, and then download other malware.

Users can expect to see the aforementioned patch hit their systems around one p.m. Eastern Time on Monday. As mentioned, it will go live for all versions of Windows, as all are equally affected by the shortcut exploit.

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