Online Computer Tips Home
Home All Tips OCT Newsletter Free Tutorials Tech News Resources

Monday, February 28, 2011

Gmail Bug Deletes E-Mails for 150,000 Users

The cloud has failed roughly 150,000 Gmail users, whose e-mails have been deleted and accounts disabled by a mysterious glitch.

Users on Google's help forum report that the Gmail bug responsible deletes everything, including e-mails, labels, folders, and settings. When affected users log on, they see a welcome message as if they've never used Gmail before. Other users simply found their accounts disabled while repairs are being done. According to Mashable, the bug affects less than 0.08 percent of users.

Updated With Google Response: "A very small number users are having difficulty accessing their Gmail accounts, and in some cases once they're in, trouble viewing e-mails. This is affecting less than .08% of our Gmail user base, and we've already fixed the problem for some users. Our engineers are working as quickly as possible and we hope to have everything back to normal as soon as possible. We're very sorry for the inconvenience."

Full Story

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Windows 7 SP1 Now Available

Windows 7 SP1 doesn’t bring nearly as much to the table as some past Windows service packs. There is almost exactly nothing to see here unless you’re running Windows Server 2008 R2 (my money says most of you aren’t), and even then it only helps you if you’re deeply invested in a Microsoft backend for your thin clients.

To install the update to your existing Windows 7 PC will generally take no less than half an hour (not including download time), and probably more on older hardware and netbooks. In daily use you won’t notice any major performance improvements, especially if you compare, say, Vista RTM to Vista SP1.

Windows 7 SP1 will get you a more secure (and possibly more stable, depending on your particular circumstances) PC, but it doesn’t change things up under the hood nearly as much as did Windows XP SP2 or Vista SP1, or even XP SP3 and Vista SP2.

Full Story

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chrome 10 Beta Supercharges Performance

Just when it was looking like Google Chrome couldn't get any faster, a new beta shows up and shatters that impression. Google announced a new Chrome 10 beta that boosts JavaScript performance by a substantial 66 percent, as measured by Google's own V8 benchmark, and implements GPU-accelerated video playing. The beta also changes the way users set options, and lets them sync passwords.

Product manager Jeff Chang and product marketing manager Li Chan described the GPU video acceleration: "Users with capable graphics hardware should see a significant decrease in CPU usage. In full screen mode, CPU usage may decrease by as much as 80%.

The new beta adds a couple of other new user features. Users can now sync saved site passwords on multiple computers. The released version already allows syncing of bookmarks, preferences, themes, and extensions. The new feature also allows for encryption of the synced password if the user chooses that measure of extra security.

The new version will likely make it to the stable release channel some time in the next few weeks: Chrome versions have been coming out at a pace of once every three months—more frequently than any other major browser.

Full Story

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

30% of Verizon iPhone 4 buyers switched from Droid, 25% from BlackBerry

More than half of all Verizon iPhone 4 buyers switched away from one of the iPhone’s two primary competing platforms in the process, with one in four new iPhone 4 users on Verizon came from RIM’s BlackBerry camp, while nearly one in three came from the Verizon Droid realm.

The first point is that there were clearly a large number of Verizon customers who preferred the iPhone all along but, not willing to leave Verizon, were instead using whatever they considered to be the best of Verizon’s available smartphone options.

The second definitive point is that while more of AT&T’s existing iPhone users may well jump ship once the next generation iPhone arrives or once their contracts are up, very few iPhone users were having bad enough experiences with AT&T that they felt they needed to make an immediate move to Verizon.

The final tidbit here is that while a slight majority of Verizon iPhone 4 buyers were in fact switching away from competing Verizon smartphones, nearly half were switching away from some kind of generic flip-phone or other featureless phones.

Full Story

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Global data storage calculated at 295 exabytes

Mankind's capacity to store the colossal amount of information in the world has been measured by scientists.

The study, published in the journal Science, calculates the amount of data stored in the world by 2007 as 295 exabytes. That is the equivalent of 1.2 billion average hard drives. One exabyte is a billion gigabytes.

The researchers calculated the figure by estimating the amount of data held on 60 technologies from PCs and and DVDs to paper adverts and books. Scientists calculated the figure by estimating the amount of data held on 60 analogue and digital technologies during the period from 1986 to 2007. They considered everything from computer hard drives to obsolete floppy discs, and x-ray films to microchips on credit cards.

The fastest growing area of information manipulation has been computation. During the two decades the survey covers, global computing capacity increased by 58% per year.

Full Story

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Microsoft ships IE9 RC

Microsoft today launched the release candidate of Internet Explorer 9 (IE9), saying that the browser is now feature complete and that the final build would ship shortly.

IE9's release candidate, or RC, features faster performance, a small memory footprint, new support for additional Web standards and the opt-in Tracking Protection that Microsoft has touted as its answer to calls for a Do Not Track feature in all browsers.

"With the Release Candidate, we've taken to heart over 17,000 pieces of feedback about IE9," said Dean Hachamovitch, the executive who heads the IE team, in a blog post today. "You will find the product has made progress on all fronts -- performance and standards, user experience, and safety and privacy."

Tracking Protection is Microsoft's response to growing concern on the part of consumers, privacy advocates and government regulators about online privacy, particularly how advertisers track users' movements and their purchasing habits.

Although Microsoft has promised to complete IE9 this quarter, it has not set a launch date for the final version. Microsoft is betting that IE9 will bring back some of the users who have abandoned Internet Explorer for rivals like Mozilla's Firefox and Google's Chrome.

Full Story

Monday, February 07, 2011

Google fixes 9 bugs in Chrome, including sandbox-escape flaw

Google on Thursday patched nine bugs in Chrome and upgraded the most stable edition of the browser to version 9. The nine flaws fixed in Chrome 9.0.597.84 range from several crash bugs to what Google called a "race condition in audio handling." The latter was the only vulnerability rated as "critical," Google's most serious ranking. Two others were pegged as "high" and six were labeled as "low."

According to French security company Vupen, the audio handling race condition bug can be exploited to escape Chrome's sandbox.

If accurate, it would be the second sandbox-escape vulnerability that Google's patched in the last two months. On Jan. 12, Google updated Chrome with fixes for 16 bugs, including one that Adobe yesterday said was also a sandbox-escape flaw.

Chrome is the only major browser that isolates system processes in a sandbox, technology designed to prevent malware from escaping an application, like Chrome, to infect the computer or steal information from the hard drive.

Full Story

Friday, February 04, 2011

Dating site steals 250,000 Facebook profiles

If you made any of your Facebook profile information publicly accessible for all to see, there's a good chance you are already a potential mate on

The self-described online "dating agency" launched this week, and it already has a quarter of a million profiles. But then again that's pretty easy to do when you just run an algorithm to transfer over all the public profiles you can find on Facebook.

"Scraping people's information violates our terms. We have taken, and will continue to take, aggressive legal action against organizations that violate these terms. We're investigating this site and will take appropriate action," said Facebook director of policy communications Barry Schnitt.

The pair of Web designers who made is arguing it only pulled the data to show it was possible, and claim it's an expression of "art" in the digital profile era. They say they'll remove anyone's profile if they're asked to, and insist it's more of a prank than anything else. But knowing how power-hungry Facebook is, they may have to pay for this prank.

Full Story

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Chrome, Safari reach record browser share highs

Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari posted record numbers in January while Microsoft's Internet Explorer lost ground for the sixth month running. Both Chrome and Safari passed major usage share milestones, breaking the 10% and 6% bars, respectively, said Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based Net Applications.

Chrome, which has added 5.5 percentage points in the last year, gained just over seven-tenths of a point in January to end the month with 10.7% of the global browser market. Meanwhile, Safari piggybacked on a boost in Mac usage -- last month Apple's Mac OS X desktop operating system posted its largest gain since September 2009 -- to climb four-tenths of a percentage point to 6.3%.

IE lost over a point to end January with a 56% share, a new low. IE has lost six points in the past year, with only two months of gains during that time. Mozilla's Firefox remained flat in January, accounting for 22.8% of all browsers used during the month.

IE9, which launched as a public beta last September, is slated to ship this quarter. Microsoft has also issued invitations to an event next week in San Francisco, where most expect the company to announce the release candidate, or RC, build of the browser -- the last major step before work is wrapped up.

Net Applications calculates browser usage share from data acquired from the 160 million unique visitors who browse approximately 40,000 Web sites it monitors for clients.

Full Story