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Looking Beyond Vista To Fiji and Vienna 600

Vinit wrote in with an article that describes Microsoft's strategy for future versions of Windows. It begins: "As we all know that Microsoft Vista was originally scheduled to be released in 2003, after two years of Windows XP, but it got delayed by over five years due to various reasons. Definitely, Vista is very very improved OS over the previous versions, but the delayed in the launch has cost Microsoft, billions of dollars. Now the question at the moment is, what exactly after Vista? Microsoft can't afford to wait another five years for an operating system. People are becoming more aware of the choices they have, and Linux is no longer a hobbyist OS, and that day isn't far away when it becomes simple enough to be a viable alternative to Windows. The competition is fierce. That is why, to stay at the top, Microsoft has planned a 'Vista R2', codenamed 'Fiji' which will be released some time in 2008. And after Fiji, there will be Windows 'Vienna'. Windows Fiji, will not be a totally different OS from Vista; but it will be an add-on. Whereas Vienna will be totally different from Vista."

Microsoft Using Personal Data to Target Ads 139

smooth wombat writes "Microsoft is combing personal data with your search habits to produce targeted ads. Users who use Microsoft's Hotmail email service, msn.com news service and other Microsoft-owned sites will see ads specific to their demographic and interests. From the article: 'Microsoft executives say the system works anonymously and they won't pass on people's names or addresses to advertisers. Executives say they want to foster confidence in users to build a long-term business, and one that gives an incentive to not misuse personal details.' "We're in the early days of behavioral targeting but it's an idea whose time has come,' says Simon Andrews, chief digital strategy officer for WPP Group's MindShare, a large buyer of ad time. 'There is a lot of potential to know if people have been looking at specific sites.'"

Microsoft Bribing Bloggers With Laptops 308

Slinky writes "According to at least six bloggers, Microsoft has been sending out free top-of-the-line laptops pre-loaded with Vista as a 'no strings attached gifts'. This 'reward' for their hard work on covering tech in general is coincidentally right before the launch of Vista to consumers. To be clear, these weren't loans, they were gifts, and they were top-of-the-line Acer Ferrari laptops. Microsoft blogger Long Zheng broke the silence over the source of the freebies."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Drinking Alcohol May Extend Your Life 548

Adolytsi writes "MSNBC has an interesting article on an Italian study on alcoholism. While the obvious notion of overconsumption of alcohol being detrimental to one's health is supported, apparently drinking it in moderation can actually extend your lifespan. A study on over 1 million drinkers and 94,000 deaths yielded the results: "According to the data, drinking a moderate amount of alcohol — up to four drinks per day in men and two drinks per day in women — reduces the risk of death from any cause by roughly 18 percent, the team reports in the Archives of Internal Medicine. However, "things radically change" when consumption goes beyond these levels, study leader Dr. Augusto Di Castelnuovo, from Catholic University of Campobasso, said in a statement. Men who have more than four drinks per day and women who have more than two drinks per day not only lose the protection that alcohol affords, but they increase their risk of death, the data indicates.""

Autodesk Suing to Keep Format Closed 365

An anonymous reader writes "AutoCAD is by far the industry standard CAD tool for engineering drawings. When I was an engineering student it was on every computer in the college of engineering. Autodesk, the makers of the AutoCAD software, are attempting to quash an effort to reverse-engineer the proprietary binary format used by AutoCAD. Looking at the court order, their whole argument revolves around something called TrustedDWG that basically looks like a digital signature that verifies the file was created by an Autodesk product."

Behind the Magic of Anti-Censorship Software 40

Regular Slashdot contributor Bennett Haselton writes in to say "The December 1st release of Psiphon has sparked renewed interest in the various software programs that can help circumvent Internet censorship in China, Iran, and other censored countries. (Some of this interest undoubtedly being motivated by the fact that many of these programs also work for getting around blocking software at work or school.) Have you ever wanted to understand the science behind these programs, the way that mathematicians and codebreakers understand the magic behind PGP? If you loved the mental workout of reading "Applied Cryptography", have you ever wanted a tutorial to do the same for Psiphon and Tor and other anti-censorship programs?" The rest of his editorial follows.
The Internet

Bad Web Sites Can Cause "Mouse Rage" 267

alphadogg writes "Badly designed Web sites may have negative effects on a user's immune, cardiovascular, and nervous systems, a study says. The study of 2,500 users was commissioned by Rackspace Managed Hosting and published by the UK's Social Issues Research Centre. It found that five technology flaws in Web sites may have deleterious effects." How long before the first class action suit in the U.S. over bad Web site design?

Google NASA Partnership Announced 154

eldavojohn writes "Google & NASA announced their partnership today with many benefits. The director of a NASA site said 'Just a few examples are new sensors and materials from collaborations on bio-info-nano convergence, improved analysis of engineering problems, as well as Earth, life and space science discoveries from supercomputing and data mining, and bringing entrepreneurs into the space program.'" Update 23:51 by SM As pointed out by so many readers the GoogleNASA site originally linked was completely bogus.

Third Microsoft Word Code Execution Exploit Posted 174

gregleimbeck writes "Exploit code for a third, unpatched vulnerability in Microsoft Word has been posted on the Internet, adding to the software maker's struggles to keep up with gaping holes in its popular word processing program. The attack code, available at Milw0rm.com, contains sample Word documents that have been rigged to launch code execution exploits when the file is opened."

MySpace Users Have Stronger Passwords Than Employees 263

Ant writes "A Wired News column reports on Bruce Schneier's analysis of data from a successful phishing attack on MySpace, and compares the captured user-passwords to an earlier data-set from a corporation. He concludes that MySpace users are better at coming up with good passwords than corporate drones." From the article: "We used to quip that 'password' is the most common password. Now it's 'password1.' Who said users haven't learned anything about security? But seriously, passwords are getting better. I'm impressed that less than 4 percent were dictionary words and that the great majority were at least alphanumeric. Writing in 1989, Daniel Klein was able to crack (.gz) 24 percent of his sample passwords with a small dictionary of just 63,000 words, and found that the average password was 6.4 characters long."

PHP Security Expert Resigns 386

juct writes "PHP security holes have a name — quite often it was Stefan Esser who found and reported them. Now Esser has quit the PHP security team. He feels that his attempt to make PHP safer "from the inside" is futile. Basic security issues are not addressed sufficiently by the developers. Zeev Suraski, Zend's CTO of course disagrees and urges Stefan to work with the PHP development team instead of working against it. But given the number of remote code execution holes in PHP apps this year, Esser might have a point. And he plans to continue his quest for security holes in PHP. Only that from now on, he will publish them after reasonable time — regardless if a patch is available or not." Update: 10/30 12:57 GMT by KD : Zeev Suraski wrote in to protest: "I'm quoted as if I 'point fingers at inexperienced developers,' and of course, there's no link to that — because it's not true! The two issues — security problems in Web apps written in PHP, and security problems in PHP itself — are two distinct issues. Nobody, including myself, is saying that there are no security problems in PHP — not unlike pretty much any other piece of software. Nobody, I think, argues the fact that there have been many more security problems at the application level, then there were at the language level. I never replied to Stefan's accusations of security problems in PHP saying 'that's bull, it's all the developers' fault,' and I have no intention to do it in the future."

Quantum Cryptography Ready For Wide Adoption? 125

An anonymous reader points us to an interview with the founder of quantum cryptography pioneer MagiQ Technologies. From the article: "Q: When do you think we'll see service providers offer quantum cryptography services to their end-customers? A: This will happen within one year and we'll see fairly wide adoption within the next three years. We are working with big carriers such as Verizon and AT&T as well as some companies that own fiber networks. The goal is to embed quantum cryptography into the technology infrastructure so it becomes totally transparent to the end-user..." The cost of a pair of MagiQ boxes to implement point-to-point encryption on a 120-km link is $100,000 plus service.

Vista's TCP/IP Promises and Perils 183

boyko.at.netqos tips us to a new writeup on Vista's TCP/IP stack, which is called Compound TCP/IP (CTCP). From the article: "...security policy will come from a centralized source. When you get your DHCP lease, your computer will report to the stack what OS you're using, what version level, what patches, what anti-virus software that's active — all that kind of stuff. It will have the ability to restrict your network access if you have a down-level machine... We could see a lot of our customers with much higher WAN network utilization because of this new TCP/IP stack... CTCP can be enabled/disabled from the command prompt but there has been no mention of tuning parameters which leads us to ask the question: How are you supposed to configure this setting in Vista?... What worries us... is that Microsoft is basing this on packet round trip time. The round-trip time from the client-side will have the server processing time in it; but the clients aren't likely going to be the running the CTCP at first. If you have a server-to-server backup running, for example, CTCP may think its part of the round-trip time and it'll throw the delay window through the roof..."

Firefox 3 In Alpha 366

illeism writes to note that, a mere six weeks after the launch of Firefox 2, Firefox 3 is now available in alpha. CNet reports that it is currently recommended only for software developers and testers. The big change is the upgraded Gecko rendering engine (the UI is unchanged from version 2). From the CNet article: "Firefox 3 will include some significant changes. It uses version 1.9 of the Gecko rendering engine — which itself hasn't been released yet but which includes the Cairo graphics layer. Gecko 1.9 has been in development since before the release of Firefox 2, and it provides vector-based rendering on all platforms. As the Gecko 1.9 road map explains, Cairo will 'bring modern, hardware-accelerated 2D-graphics capabilities to the whole of the Web without requiring proprietary plug-ins or rendering obsolete the broad and rich set of Web-authoring techniques developed over the past decade.'"

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