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Is Windows 8 worth it?

Windows 8 is great!

Back to Windows 7!

What is windows 8?

Posted by Christo [PCD]
Votes: 139
Previous polls


Wednesday 17 December 2008
Hardened Google Chrome Ready to Throw Down With IE, Firefox
Christo [PCD] , Wednesday 17 December 2008 - 07:32:49 //

Google's new browser has been upgraded with a hardy coat of security armor to protect it for the tough fight ahead as it comes out of beta

The browser market is, according to some analysts, saturated. Firefox is making slow gains and leader Microsoft's Internet Explorer has waned slightly, but the pair holds the vast majority of the market. Opera also holds a small market share, continuing to eke out gains, as does Apple's Safari browser, buoyed by the increased in MacBook and iPhone shipments.

Coming into this market, Google faced a tough battle with its first browser offering, Chrome. And while many lauded Google for trying new things with the browser, others criticized it for crashes and lack of certain features found in Firefox. While Chrome was expected to "kill" smaller browsers like Opera, while stealing market share from the big guys like Microsoft, the opposite actually happened -- Chrome slid from its initial market share, while Opera climbed.

Now at last Google's Chrome browser is out of beta and is a full-fledged product. However, for a giant used to dominating every field it tries its hand in, the prospect of lack of adoption is a strange one for Google.

In order to try to prevent such an outcome, Google has outfitted the final version of its browser with arguably the toughest security foundation found on the market today.

Firefox and Microsoft's internet explorer, as well as Safari and Opera, invest vast resources in making browsing a secure experience. However, on a base level these browsers give the browser and its scripts some level of access to the user's computer, putting its file system and hardware at risk.

Google's Chrome takes a different approach, giving each tab and the javascripts in it, its own "sandbox". By "sandboxing" Google makes sure that scripts and plug-ins are cut off from your computer, essentially negating many common attacks that foil other browsers.

Ian Fette, security product manager for Google describes, "I think Google was very proactive in terms of what we've been doing around trying to help prevent users from being infected with malware. On the Web browser, we're trying to do everything we can to make sure that users are not becoming affected with malware, and a big part of that is the sandboxing technology."

The mechanism is a second layer of defense, he says, that will prevent the system from harm even if the browser is hijacked. He states, "It's designed to prevent malware from getting installed on the system, from being able to start again when you close the browser and restart the computer; it's designed to help prevent malware from being able to read files on your file system … it's really a defense-in-depth mechanism."

While ambitious, the armor does have some admitted Achilles’ heels. First, it depends on Windows APIs for its sandbox approach, so if these could be circumvented, access to the system-at-large might be obtained. Some legacy systems -- which use file systems like FAT32 that do not have security descriptors -- will not be able to receive the same level of protection from the system. Other potential gaps are also noted.

Google's Chrome has also been outfitted with other security perks like an Incognito mode, essentially the same as Microsoft's InPrivate mode, nicknamed the "porn mode", featured on Microsoft's upcoming Internet Explorer 8. The mode, while not fail-safe, makes it so far less cookies and other information is allowed to be stored on your computer.

Google's SafeBrowsing API is used to blacklist known malicious sites.

Mr. Fette feels Google has the edge when it comes to security. He states, "I think the biggest advantage that we have is that Chrome is the first browser built from scratch after bad guys started exploiting other browsers. We've had the luxury of looking at the security problems other browser vendors have had, and designing around those from the very beginning."

While Google Chrome may indeed be more secure, the real question is -- will customers bite?

Is Google's Chrome (pictured here), fresh out of beta, good to go or going nowhere? Google hopes the former as it tries to stake its claim to MSB: Most Secure Browser. However it has little market share to date, and faces a tough fight ahead.

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1229491356 Harden

Sunday 16 November 2008
Google Offers Text Ads Linked to Malware Site
Christo [PCD] , Sunday 16 November 2008 - 01:00:45 //

Sale of ads to known malware site an embarrassing slip for internet giant Google

Search giant Google is known for its "do no evil" approach. It goes to great lengths to protect the environment and it blocks sites on lists of known malware sites from being searched.

However, security researchers made an alarming discovery of a major slip-up for Google. The site had allowed a known malware site to buy text ads and was placing these ads on its partner pages through its Google AdWords service. The link was listed as “Antivirus XP 2008,? which led to the URL “ (Don't go there)

Why does this sound a bit familiar? Well, "Antivirus XP 2008" happens to be the name of one of the most obnoxious malware to be developed in the last year. The very widespread virus hides itself in users systems. It pops up to warn them annoyingly with a fake antivirus dialog that their computer is infected with all sorts of bad things and the end may well be nigh -- or so it says. The whole thing is really a scam, to try to get people to upgrade to an equally fake "pro edition".

Getting rid of the virus is even more of a pain, as it does have one thing in common with antivirus software -- it regularly connects to the internet and updates itself. However, unlike AV software, it updates itself to better evade virus scans.

While those familiar with computer security may spot the name instantly, the legitimate sounding Google link likely fooled many users. The oversight is particularly impressive, considering the malware was listed under its own well known name.

Interestingly, Google searches for the site turned up no results, showing a dichotomy in that Google blacklisted the site from its search, but did not prevent it from advertising.

A Google spokesman responded to the incident, stating, "Google is committed to ensuring the safety and security of our users and our advertisers. As soon as we are aware of any violations of our policy, we work quickly to investigate and remove sites that serve malware in both our ad network and in our search results. As such, we've removed this site from our ad network."

Sure enough the ad was removed. However, the oversight has left many wondering -- was this an isolated incident or the sign of a bigger problem? In the end it's rather amazing considering how powerful and savvy Google currently is, that it either has little filtering or has a highly inaccurate filtering system of what sites are allowed to be advertised.

Google sold ad space to this known malware site with its AdWords service. The oversight indicates Google has little filtering of what it sells links to. (Source: Maximum PC)

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1226789909 Google

Microsoft Launches Online Store
Christo [PCD] , Sunday 16 November 2008 - 01:00:09 //

Microsoft appears to be following in the footprint of Valve and others and transitioning its sales online

Many software developers have found great success moving their products online. One shining success store is Valve's Steam engine, which has cranked up the company's profits and has been so successful that it now distributes games from other companies, like Take Two, for a fee. Another example of the success of online software has been Apple's App Store, which game developers are flocking to.

The bottom line is that online software distribution saves in packaging and disk production costs, as well as cutting out publisher and retailer cuts.

Now in what some are perhaps sensationally calling the beginning of the end for brick and mortar (B&M) software sales, Microsoft is becoming the latest company to move to offering its software online.

Microsoft quietly launched its Microsoft Store today, which offers directly digital copies of Microsoft Windows Vista, Microsoft Office, and more. It also sells assorted Microsoft gadgets and accessories, which while significant, are overshadowed by the fact that Windows is directly available for sale and download for the first time.

The approach, with Microsoft and some others refer to as Electronic Software Distribution (ESD) has its perks too. Microsoft mentions the faster reception over mail orders. It describes, "The big difference is that after your payment is confirmed, you can immediately download the product to your computer and install it right away. There is no longer any need to pay for shipping costs and waiting for the big brown truck to drive across the country. You’ll be able to enjoy your software almost immediately – all it takes is the download time of the product, which will vary depending on the size of the digital download."

However, even more useful is a benefit hidden in the text of the announcement. Until mainstream support for the product ends, you can redownload it to your computer whenever you need it. Not having to search around for validation keys on the backs of CD cases or in product manuals certainly seems to make the online version of Windows a superior choice.

Some are already accusing Microsoft of shooting resellers and retailers in the back with the decision. In alarmist fashion, they are saying that Microsoft's decision signals the death of packaged software. These critics continue with gloom and doom predictions about the fate of OEMs and their ilk.

In reality, this probably isn't the case. While Microsoft surely wants to slowly transition towards the more profitable purely online sales model, it will still continue to sell packaged versions of Windows for a long time. While this transition will likely hurt retailers and resellers significantly, it won't be a fatal blow, and they will have time to seek other business strategies. And in the meantime, the continued availability of packaged Windows at brick and mortar stores will help Microsoft reach some that do not have adequate internet connections to make such installations feasible.

Why did it take Microsoft, who usually set the software industry curve, so long to adopt direct online sales? One likely explanation is the firestorm of criticism from retailers and the media that they knew would follow. However, with more and more users headed online (currently 80 percent of Americans use the internet regularly); the choice was simply too tempting and financially rewarding for Microsoft to pass up. And for the user it's a win-win situation, as it provides more options and some very handy benefits.

Is packaged Windows going to go the way of the dinosaur with Microsoft's new direct download Windows? Not quite yet, but Microsoft is clearly aiming to transition to primarily online sales.

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1226789796 Micros

Monday 06 October 2008
Google, Yahoo Delay Ad Partnership
Christo [PCD] , Monday 06 October 2008 - 21:12:48 //

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Google Inc and Yahoo Inc have decided to delay implementing a controversial search advertising partnership, Yahoo said on Friday.

"The companies have agreed to a brief delay in implementing this agreement to continue our ongoing discussions with the (U.S.) Department of Justice," Yahoo said in a statement. "We have had discussions with regulators and look forward to responding to their questions about this agreement."

Google issued a similar statement.

"When we announced our advertising agreement with Yahoo in June we agreed to delay its implementation until October to give regulators time to look at the details. As we are still in conversation with the Department of Justice we have agreed to a brief delay in implementing the agreement while those discussions continue," the company said.

The delay was expected to last less than a month, a source familiar with the discussions on the issue told Reuters. "We're still looking at the time frame of October," the source said.

The deal, which allows Google to sell advertising for some of Yahoo's online advertising space, is unpopular with advertisers who fear higher prices. Google's web-search market share widened to 63 percent in August, while Yahoo dropped to 19.6 percent and Microsoft Corp slipped to 8.3 percent, according to comScore Inc.

Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, said his organization was opposed to the pact. "We're gratified that Google and Yahoo are delaying," he said.

Google uses an algorithm that aims to match consumers with what it says are the most appropriate ads, a formula some advertisers find mysterious and bothersome.

The deal announced in June to share advertising was widely seen as an effort to help fend off Microsoft's efforts to acquire Yahoo, by bringing Yahoo an additional $800 million in annual revenues.

An antitrust lawyer, who regularly brings mergers to the Justice Department, said that the delay was probably not a good sign for Google and Yahoo.

"It means that they were not going to get a clean bill of health in time, and perhaps it's much worse than that. They don't want to go forward and be told that there's potentially a very serious problem there," said the lawyer.

There had been previously been signs that the planned partnership was running into trouble with the Justice Department, in particular reports that the agency had brought on board top litigator Sandy Litvack to work on the deal.

Litvack was the department's antitrust chief under former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and Walt Disney Co's former vice chairman.

Google has argued the tie-up means Google and Yahoo could work together to improve the chances that consumers will be more likely to get ads for products they will want to buy—thus giving advertisers more bang for their buck. It has also said that since it sells its advertisements by auction that it has little control over prices.
[Submitted by MaTiCa]

Thursday 24 July 2008
Facebook Sues German Knockoff Social Networking Site
Christo [PCD] , Thursday 24 July 2008 - 20:38:21 //

Facebook begins to take legal action against social networking web sites that copy the site's design

Attorneys representing Facebook have filed a lawsuit against a German-based social networking web site that has a user interface that is virtually identical to Facebook.

StudiVZ, the most popular social networking site in Germany, has 10 million regular users and also is the most popular networking site in German. Even though Facebook has a German language web site, it has had a hard time trying to get new users due to sites like StudiVZ and others. The English Facebook web site reportedly has as many as 80 million users spread across the world.

Facebook claims the slight changes were "nominal" and the German site simply replaced "Facebook's blue color scheme with a red one." Also in the lawsuit, the German site also copied the Facebook wall, groups, friend feed, and other features used in Facebook.

A quick glimpse of the web site does reveal that even from the sign-up page onward, it is almost 100 percent identical to the English version Facebook web site, except in a different color.

Facebook could launch lawsuits to stop at least nine other Facebook clone web sites to get shut down, with Xiaonei, operating in China, likely Facebook's next target. Xiaonei closely mimics Facebook and its user interface, and is the most popular social networking site in China.

The attorneys for Facebook have been busy as of late, after the site and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, recently completed an intellectual property dispute that accused Zuckerberg of stealing the site's design from classmates at Harvard University. The founders behind the ConnectU social networking web site, which never really picked up users like Facebook, said Zuckerberg stole the idea for social networking from ConnectU after being hired to write code for the site.

With that legal matter closed, it's likely Facebook has set its sights back on a global expansion, attempting to launch web sites native to specific nations and regions.

[Submitted by Christo [PCD]]

1 1216923578 Facebo

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