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Saturday 19 September 2009
Online: Voice chats for Facebook fans
MaTiCa , Saturday 19 September 2009 - 12:23:43 //

CHATTING with friends and family on Facebook will take on a new dimension later this year, thanks to Vivox Labs, the newly launched innovations division of Vivox (www.vivox.com).

How, you may ask? By being able to conduct voice chats on the popular social networking website.

Although not heavily promoted by Facebook, the announcement of this new feature was made earlier this week by the company that provides integrated voice service for virtual worlds like Second Life, and online gaming like Star Wars Galaxies and Eve Online as well. Vivox Web Voice for Facebook is currently in a closed beta stage and the release is set to be sometime in the fourth quarter of this year.

Essentially, how it works is that a Facebook user will need to download and install the Web Voice for Facebook plugin in order to chat with people on one’s friend list. It doesn’t just work for one-on- one conversations, but also for group discussions. This makes it useful not only for family chats, but potentially for meetings, too.

However, it is not designed for exclusive Facebook use – it will also be made available to third party developers who would like to include the service into their applications as well. Interestingly, the company also plans to encourage non-Facebook user participation by offering free dial-in-numbers that will allow them to call in to an existing conversation.

Vivox has positioned itself incredibly well – the world’s largest social networking site boasts an audience of 300 million users, and founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated this week in his blog (http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php) that the company is now “cash flow positive?.

Skype, watch out. - By TEGAN BEDSER

SOURCE: Dispatch Online
[Submitted by MaTiCa]



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Friday 18 September 2009
Microsoft Offers Students Windows 7 Pro at Snow Leopard Prices Until January 2010
MaTiCa , Friday 18 September 2009 - 17:59:51 //

Windows 7 is getting closer to its October 22 launch date. With improved security, better compatibility, and a slick new look, the OS should please owners of both powerful and underpowered machines alike. Microsoft has already offered hot pre-order deals, but now it has announced its sweetest deal of them all.

Students with a valid student email address are eligible to get a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium or Professional, 32-bit or 64-bit (your choice, presumably some might pick the lighter Home Premium for netbooks) for a mere $30. And with one announcement, Microsoft has essentially matched Apple's OS price point for one of its most pivotal demographics -- students.

Apple beat Windows 7 to the market and has been loudly trumpeting that its Snow Leopard -- priced at $29 per license -- beats Windows 7 in prices. However, students in the U.S., U.K, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Korea and Mexico will now have their pick between the two competitors at virtually identical prices.

With Snow Leopard, students will get several key improvements (virtually all of Apple's core software was fine-tuned and sped up), but the release falls somewhere between a full Windows OS release and a Windows Service Pack. For an equivalent price they can get Windows 7, a full OS release packing many features that have drawn rave reviews from early adopters. The deal is sweet for users of traditional PC hardware and Macs alike, as even Mac users can take advantage of it to equip their Boot Camp Macs with Windows 7 for gaming and Windows-favored activities.

The deal is found on the win741.com site, a recently launched site from Microsoft, which calls the offer "too sweet to pass up." The site proclaims, "For a limited time, eligible college students can get the sweetest deal on Windows 7 - for only $29.99 USD. That's less than most of your textbooks! Hurry -- offer ends January 3, 2010 and 12 a.m. CST."

One major appeal of the deal is that with Windows 7 and a netbook, students get about the most portable and affordable bundle possible for a fully functional computer.

The move seems a smart one, given that Apple does have Microsoft beat on standard prices, with a copy of Home Premium (upgrade) retailing for $120 and $200 for a Professional upgrade (versus $29 for Snow Leopard). With the price bar set nearly four times as high as Apple's, the pressure is on Microsoft to deliver a dynamite product -- which indications show it will.

Still, Snow Leopard's aggressive pricing has caused it to double the initial sales of its predecessor, Leopard, and quadruple the sales of Tiger. Apple has also been much more aggressive in targeting school children, with programs such as "Field Trip to the Apple Store" in the U.S. and Canada. Many schools continue to use Mac computers primarily. All of this bodes well for Apple's long term success. However, Microsoft is at last making a legitimate bid to seize this important demographic from Apple.

SOURCE: DailyTech

Windows 7 Graphic1

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Wednesday 16 September 2009
Google aims big with Chrome v3.0
MaTiCa , Wednesday 16 September 2009 - 17:53:37 //

Looking to add yet more shine to the appeal of its Chrome browser as a simple but speedy alternative to the likes of Internet Explorer and Firefox, platform maker Google has unveiled a stable downloadable version of Chrome v3.0.

Marking a full year of activity and availability in the hard-fought Web browsing arena, Google’s latest release touts a significant percent performance improvement and comes as the California-based search giant strives to secure a 10 percent market share for its Chrome browser by 2011.

“If at the two-year birthday we’re not at least 5 percent (market share), I will be exceptionally disappointed,? commented Chrome Engineering Director Linus Upson in a Reuters report.

“And if at the three-year birthday we’re not at 10 percent, I will be exceptionally disappointed,? he added.

Beyond providing Chrome users with enhanced surf speed, version 3.0 also includes aesthetic themes, which, much like Personas for Firefox, allows personal customisation of the browser’s appearance.

The release of Chrome version 3.0 comes in the same week Google has promised to have a stable Mac version of its sleek browser ready for full consumer download by the close of 2009.

In terms of current market share figures, research firm Net Applications offers that Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is enjoying dominance to the tune of 67 percent, while Mozilla’s Firefox has a secure second place with 23 percent, and Apple’s Safari browser sits in third with 4.0 percent.

SOURCE: The Tech Herald

Chrome 14

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Microsoft's Xbox 360 gets Modern Warfare 2 makeover
MaTiCa , Wednesday 16 September 2009 - 17:49:59 //

Given the outstanding critical and consumer reputation amassed by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, you’d be forgiven for thinking its upcoming sequel, Modern Warfare 2, wouldn’t need to rely on the peddling of retail gimmicks to help it fulfil its status as a flagship shooter and potential Game of the Year.

However, with publisher Activision/Blizzard already offering up fully functioning nightvision goggles with the game’s expensive Prestige Edition, software giant Microsoft has this week revealed a special Modern Warfare 2 edition of its popular Xbox 360 console.

Revealed at a press event in Los Angeles, the limited edition black Xbox 360 stands above existing versions of Microsoft’s platform thanks to a whopping 250GB hard disk drive and specific custom Modern Warfare 2 detailing.

Expected to hit retail in the United States this coming November 10, the Modern Warfare 2 bundle also includes two black wireless game controllers, a black Xbox 360 wireless headset, a composite A/V cable (Unfortunately no bundled HDMI), and a standard version of Infinity Ward’s Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 videogame.

Priced at a tempting $399 USD, the limited edition Xbox 360 also comes with a one-month Gold subscription for Xbox Live and a free trial with home entertainment specialist Netflix.
SOURCE: The Tech Herald
[Submitted by MaTiCa]

186 1253116099 Micros

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Cloud Security Still Not 'Major Priority'
MaTiCa , Wednesday 16 September 2009 - 13:14:25 //

No matter how you define the cloud -- software delivered on a per user/per month basis, or infrastructure leased on a pay-as-you-go basis -- the major stumbling block to mass adoption is, and will for the foreseeable future remain, security.

Vendors of cloud computing services, for their part, have done little to alleviate the situation, other than to assure customers that security is a major concern. The Cloud Security Alliance has only now gotten around to refining initial guidelines it issued earlier this year.

For the time being, companies who use cloud computing believe it's secure, and those who don't, well, they're not quite so sure. For those who do take this leap of faith, their willingness to overlook little things like the lack of a service level agreement has more to do with the business they're in or the expense involved with rolling their own management systems and security apparatus.

To see what I mean, just look at the sorts of data that companies are pushing to the cloud, and the sorts of companies most willing to go that route. Archie Reed, a cloud security expert who holds the rank of distinguished technologist at HP, told me that cloud adoption is very high in certain verticals, including real estate companies, retailers and government agencies. In other words, exactly the type of entities you'd expect; entities that wouldn't mind if their listings, inventory or statistics were accidentally exposed or leaked.

Financial services companies, however -- not so much. Processing data in the cloud, sure. Storing data there -- not on your life. Small and medium sized enterprises aside (where the cost-benefit analysis comes down strongly on the side of relying on cloud services), large companies with a lot to lose from a security breach are still reluctant to store their data in the cloud.

Their reticence is more than the residue of hidebound attitudes about Internet-based services; many cloud vendors don’t include security provisions in their enterprise service level agreements (when they offer SLAs at all) -- they simply point to their so-far spotless records.

For many corporate officers, that's not only too big a risk, it's a violation of their fiduciary responsibilities to shareholders, not to mention regulatory mandates in certain cases.

Why isn't security a bigger issue for those vendors? It may well be that cloud computing is a victim of its heretofore exemplary record. Maybe it's going to take a cataclysmic event -- a huge data loss suffered by a large cloud computing company -- to upend the complacency around cloud security. "If and when we see a major breach," Reed told me, "perhaps the focus will move from being 'it's a major concern' to 'it's a major priority.'"

SOURCE: The Information Week Blog

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