OOiZiT.com offers music platform for new bands, artists

A new music website aims to help unsigned musicians achieve success without the need for a traditional record contract.

OOiZiT.com, pronounced ooo-is-it.com, is the brainchild of founder Thomas Fearn. 1,000 bands have already joined the site.

"For years new artists have made the UK a power house for music but, until now, they’ve not had the dedicated platform to push their creativity and talent. We are going to change that," insists Fearn.

"Unlike other social networks, OOiZiT.com is completely focussed on new music. OOiZiT.com isn’t simply for career hungry music artists, it provides new music lovers with a huge source of new music and helps highlight some of the most exciting acts in the UK."

For 9.97 per month the site promises unprecedented promotional and sales tools and services specifically geared towards UK music talent says OOiZiT.com.

The site also allows listeners to earn money through the site too by offering bands the opportunity to give the listeners the chance to sell their tracks on their behalf – for each sale made the music listener receives a cut of the profits.

The site includes Facebook and MySpace integration to further promote your music.

OOiZiT.com offers music platform for new bands, artists

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Gadget blog Gizmodo hit by malware ad

US gadget blog Gizmodo apologised to readers on Tuesday after failing to spot an ad was in fact malware.

Gizmodo said the malware was on its site "for a little while last week," without specifying details.

Gadget blog Gizmodo hit by malware ad

"Guys, I'm really sorry but we had some malware running on our site in ad boxes for a little while last week on Suzuki ads," Gizmodo editorial director Brian Lam said.

"They somehow fooled our ad sales team through an elaborate scam. It's taken care of now, and only a few people should have been affected, but this isn't something we take lightly as writers, editors and tech geeks."

"Everything should be cleared up but you should be checking 'qegasysguard.exe' if you're experiencing random popups," Lam added. "Be careful, load up some antivirus and make sure your system is clean. I'm sorry."

The problem wasn't spotted for sometime due to the fact Gizmodo is put together on Mac and Linux computers. "We would have noticed sooner except everyone on staff is on OS X or Linux for production machines," Lam admitted.

Malware and fake virus adverts or scareware appear to be on the rise with the New York Times and Daily Mail both being recent victims.

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Apple Tablet: Did The New York Times spill the beans?

The New York Times' Executive Editor, Bill Keller may have inadvertently confirmed the existence of the oft-rumoured Apple Tablet in a private speech earlier this month. Keller may have also let slip the name of the new device: Apple Slate. Then again, he may have been speaking hypothetically based on the common assumption that Apple is about to release a tablet device in the next few months.

Here's what happened: The Keller Speech

On October 15 or 16, Keller gave a speech during an "all hands" meeting for the Times' digital staff at TheTimesCenter in New York, according to a post by Harvard's Nieman Journalism Lab.

During the speech, Keller made a reference to the Times' strategy for mobile devices. "We need to figure out the right journalistic product to deliver to mobile platforms and devices," Keller said. "I'm hoping we can get the newsroom more actively involved in the challenge of delivering our best journalism in the form of Times Reader, iPhone apps, WAP, or the impending Apple slate, or whatever comes after that."

Did The New York Times spill the beans?

The entire meeting was supposed to be off the record, but a video of the speech was made available to Nieman, which it posted on Vimeo on October 19. Nieman's interest in the video had nothing to do with Keller's possible hint at the device.

Instead, Nieman was interested in the Times' thinking about the future of the newspaper industry. So it took a few days before technology pundits discovered the tablet reference, which was first uncovered by Gawker late on Sunday.

Apple slate or Apple Slate?

So did Keller let information about the Apple tablet slip or was he simply making a reference to a product that many believe to be in Apple's pipeline? Earlier this month, The Times was rumoured to be working with Apple on the rumoured tablet as a part of the device's pumped-up e-reading capabilities.

If the e-reader rumour is true, then Keller would almost certainly know about the device, and it's likely he would be constrained on what he could say about the tablet by some sort of secrecy pact between the Times and Apple.

Assuming Keller agreed to keep his mouth shut, why would he have spoken so freely about an Apple slate/Slate to his staff? Maybe he thought it was acceptable since he believed he was speaking off-the-record, maybe the entire digital staff at the Times has been developing content for Apple's device for months, or maybe Keller doesn't know a thing at all. It should be pointed out that "slate" is a less common, but by no means unused, term for Apple's rumoured tablet device.

Regardless of whether he knows anything or not, Keller's comments are a tantalising tidbit of information while we wait to see if Apple really will show off a tablet device in the near future. What do you think? Did Keller inadvertently confirm the Apple tablet or is he in the dark about Cupertino's plans just like everyone else?

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Leona Lewis LIVE webchat with iTunes TODAY at 4.30 pm GMT

Apple has sent out a press release today to announce Leona Lewis appearing online this afternoon.

"Today at 4.30pm on the iTunes (UK) Facebook page, iTunes will be hosting a LIVE web chat with Leona Lewis. The web chat will last 30 mins and fans will be able to put questions to the X Factor star."

Information can be found on the Facebook page:http://www.facebook.com/iTunesUK.

Leona Lewis LIVE webchat with iTunes TODAY at 4.30 pm GMT

Lewis rose to fame in 2006 as the winner of the third series of The X Factor.

Echo, the upcoming second studio album by Lewis is scheduled for release on 16 November in the UK and a day later in the US.

Lewis worked with Ryan Tedder, Justin Timberlake, Max Martin, John Shanks, and Harvey Mason, Jr. amongst others to produce the follow-up to her debut album Spirit. The album was preceded by the hit single "Happy", released on 15 September.

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Cygnett intros Maestro speaker dock for iPod, iPhone

iPhone, iPod and MP3 accessories maker Cygnett has introduced the Maestro speaker dock for iPod and iPhone.

The speaker dock is billed as "minimalistic and modern" and comes with a dedicated subwoofer and twin mid-range speakers promising powerful bass and vivid mid tones.

Typical of many docks, the Maestro charges both iPhone and iPod while docked and comes with both a mains adaptor and room for batteries for extra portability.

A slim line remote control, which offers Shuffle, Repeat, Menu and Mute buttons plus complete playlist and song navigation is also supplied. An auxiliary input option to connect to external music sources is also provided for non-Apple users.

iPhone users needn't worry about missing an important call insists Cygnett. When a call comes through on your iPhone, the music volume automatically fades and the iPhone will ring through the speakers. Once the call has ended, your music fades back in and continues to play.

The Cygnett Maestro has a SRP of 59.99 including VAT and is available from Amazon and iWorld.

The speaker dock comes with 'Works with iPhone' and 'Made for iPod' licence approval.

Cygnett intros Maestro speaker dock for iPod, iPhone

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Mac version of Amazon Kindle download app promised

Amazon has confirmed that the company will also offer Mac users the ability to read Kindle content without the ebook reader following news of a PC version late last week.

The free desktop app, available from November, will initially let PC users download and read ebooks from the online retailer's Kindle store, without having to invest its Kindle eBook reader, recently made more easily available to UK customers.

Amazon hasn't said when the Mac version might be made available.

PC users will be able to utilise Windows 7 multi-touch functionality including turning virtual pages by touching the screen.

Mac version of Amazon Kindle download app promised

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Microsoft sales and earnings drop less than expected

Microsoft reported revenue that was down 14 per cent year-on-year for its first fiscal quarter, with net income down 17 per cent - but it still beat analyst expectations on both counts.

The figures were dragged down by deferral of revenue from sales of Windows 7 to PC manufacturers ahead of the operating system's launch on Thursday, the company said.

Microsoft sales and earnings drop less than expected

Overall revenue totalled $12.92 billion for the quarter ended Sept. 30, down from $15.06 billion a year earlier. Net income fell to $3.57 billion, for earnings per share of $0.40, down from $4.37 billion a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast revenue of $12.32 billion and EPS of $0.32.

The $1.47 billion in deferred revenue would not have been enough to maintain sales in the company's Windows and Windows Live division, where revenue fell $1.66 billion year on year, to $2.62 billion.

However, CFO Chris Liddell put a bright face on it.

"We are very pleased with our performance this quarter and particularly by the strong consumer demand for Windows," he said.

If Microsoft had not had to defer Windows 7 sales, profit would have gone up 8 per cent, it said.

Sales in the Servers and Tools Division remained steady at around $3.4 billion, with operating income there up 23 percent to $1.28 billion while operating profit in the Entertainment and Devices Division, which makes the Xbox, doubled to $312 million on sales that were steady at $1.89 billion.

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Distant Suns iPhone app offers chance to celebrate Galileo's 400th anniversary

From today, 23 October through to Sunday 25, amateur astronomers worldwide plan to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Galileo's telescope and his celestial discoveries.

Distant Suns from First Light for iPhone and iPod touch promises a way to join them.

Distant Suns uses the compass on the new iPhone 3GS to identify the planets, constellations, over a hundred galaxies and star clusters, and thousands of stars.

"Distant Suns gives users a faithful reproduction of the sky now or in the future or even back in Galileo's time," explains Distant Suns inventor Mike Smithwick.

"On Galilean Nights you'll see just how far we've come since Galileo first aimed his handmade telescope toward the heavens 400 years ago. An event which quite literally changed the world."

"Learning about the night sky is much easier now than in Galileo's time. It is hoped that seeing Jupiter's four largest moons - called 'Galilean Moons' - will increase interest in what the night sky has to offer."

Available from the Apple iTunes App Store Distant Suns costs 2.39 and requires the iPhone 2.2.1 Software Update or later.

Distant Suns has a long history, having been first published for the Commodore Amiga in 1987.

Distant Suns iPhone app offers chance to celebrate Galileos 400th anniversary

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Extensis Universal Type Server 2 adds deeper font compliance management

Extensis has released an "significant update" of it's Universal Type Server 2, which adds deeper font compliance management, Snow Leopard and Windows 7 compatibility.

Universal Type Server helps creative businesses and workgroups handle font-related workflow issues and problems. It lets companies centralise font libraries, users and permissions, helps to eliminate font conflicts, supports font previews and auto-activation, checks fonts for integrity and corruption before distribution, and works with Adobe and Quark applications.

The Extensis Universal Type Server 2 includes:

Deeper font compliance management: administrator can see who added which font to which workgroup and reverse those actions.Active Directory flexibility: administrator can now exclude individual users from distribution group mappings.Enhanced user management allows easier batch application of settings and refined filtering of users.Simplified network password perfect for smaller teams (using optional LDAP bind authentication).Snow Leopard compatibility for client and server.Windows 7 compatibility for Universal Type Client.TrueType Collection font support.Substantial font integrity screening enhancements.New command line scripting tool for automation and integration.New optional MySQL external database module (chargeable add-on component for Universal Type Server Professional only).Enhanced Directory Integration now standard with Universal Type Server Professional.Improved overall performance including synchronisation and working with font sets.

Extensis Universal Type Server 2 adds deeper font compliance management

Extensis server-based font management users with a current annual service agreement will receive this maintenance update at no cost. Other Extensis font management customers may be eligible for upgrade pricing.

The Extensis font solution comes in two versions - Type Server 2 Lite- for teams of 10 or less and Type Server 2 Professional- for any size company.

Full pricing details can be found on the Extensis website.

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Dutch court orders Pirate Bay to remove Torrent links

The Pirate Bay, the popular BitTorrent search engine, has been told by a court in Amsterdam to remove all links to copyrighted material and close access to Dutch users within three months or face a fine up to €3m/2.75m.

The Amsterdam referral court ordered the three Pirate Bay founders to remove the links acting at the request of Dutch anti-piracy group Stichting BREIN.

Dutch court orders Pirate Bay to remove Torrent links

The Pirate Bay doesn't actually contain any files only links to BitTorrent files. The Pirate Bay is billed as the worlds largest BitTorrent tracker, and reportedly has more 22 million users worldwide.

However, the founders of the site claim they no longer have any control over content and can't comply with the order, having sold it in 2006 to Riservella Ltd., a company registered in the Seychelles.

"It's a bizarre story," said their lawyer, Ernst-Jan Louwers. "The court assumes that they're behind the site - end of discussion."

The Pirate Bay founders - Frederik Neij, Peter Sunde and Gottfrid Svartholmmen - along with a fourth defendant were found guilty in April this year by a Swedish court of having promoted copyright infringement.

The court ordered them to pay around 30 million Swedish kronor (2.4 million) in damages, although all four defendants appealed the verdicts.

Earlier this week it was announced that appeal won't be heard until next year, having originally been announced for November.

The delay is due to allegations of bias directed at two of the judges, Ulrika Ihrfelt and Katarina Boutz , which must be resolved before the appeal can take place.

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After new Macs, is Apple's next move Blu-Ray?

Amid the flurry of brand-new Apple products - including new iMacs, updated MacBooks and Mac Minis, plus more - sometimes details go unnoticed and slip through the cracks.

One such detail was Apple's decision to change the display ratio on its new iMacs to 16:9 - which would then allow Macs to play 1080p, the Blu-Ray dimensions.

After new Macs, is Apples next move Blu-Ray?

Was this slight modification a tease of what's to come with next year's possible reworking of Apple's line?

The history between Apple and Blu-Ray hasn't exactly been . . . friendly. Last October, Steve Jobs infamously declared that Blu-Ray was a "bag of hurt" and that his company would wait until it took off in the marketplace to even consider adopting it as a built-in technology.

Well, Steve, that time may be now. Blu-Ray player sales have risen dramatically; people have realised this is not a fad, and that Blu-Ray is the next step in home entertainment.

Now that that's established, the next step is for Apple to build Blu-Ray support into its line of computers. First stop: the iMac. The iMac has distinguished itself as a solid computer and, what's better, has a cheap(er) monitor.

Now that at its biggest the iMac stretches to 27 inches, it'll be competing against standard HDTVs in terms of what the boob tube in your bedroom is going to be.

Adopting Blu-Ray as a built-in technology would have been a superior move for Apple yesterday, but it dropped the ball. It looks like if Jobs is ever going to drop his "bag of hurt" complaints, we'll have to wait until next year to see it.

Meanwhile, there are PCs out there that support Blu-Ray and Windows 7 . . . Just sayin'.

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75% of surfers say no cutting off illegal downloaders

Nearly three-quarters of UK Internet surfers are against the government's plan to cut off the internet access of those suspected of illegal file-sharing, says the Open Rights Group.

Under proposals, first detailed in the government's Digital Britain report earlier this year and currently being pushed by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, Ofcom would track and warn the owners of computers being used to download content illegally.

75% of surfers say no cutting off illegal downloaders

Those that continue to offend would have their internet access slowed or blocked, while some could face fines of up to 50,000.

However, the plans face much opposition from both ISPs, including BT, which claims the measures will cost 1m a day to implement, causing ISPs to pass some of the cost on to consumers, as well as the music industry.

Now it appears the public are also opposed to the plans, with research conducted by YouGov on behalf of the the Open Rights Group revealing that only 16 per cent of UK residents are in favour of the automatic internet ban for those thought to be illegally downloading.

Over two-thirds said a court should consider the evidence in each case before restrictions are imposed, which would ensure those whose connections have been hijacked would not take the blame.

"Clearly business secretary Lord Mandelson is out of step with public opinion and should think again," said Jim Killock, Executive Director of the Open Rights Group.

"This poll shows people rely on the internet, and an overwhelming majority think that access should only ever be withdrawn as the result of court action."

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Lindsay Lohan due in courtMusic industry signs online distribution agreement with EU

Music industry signs online distribution agreement with EU

The European Commission has signed an agreement with the online music industry designed to improve consumers' access to online music across the 27-nation European Union, it said Tuesday.

Online music retailers including Amazon.com and Apple, Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia, royalty rights collecting societies, consumer groups and the record labels EMI and Universal Music Group struck the deal with EU Commissioner for competition Neelie Kroes.

Music industry signs online distribution agreement with EU

The agreement they reached sets out general principles that will underpin the online distribution of music in the future, leading to "improved online music opportunities for European consumers," the participants said in a joint statement.

"European consumers want and deserve better online music offerings," Kroes said in a statement, describing the agreement as evidence of "real progress in this direction."

This is the first time players involved in the distribution of music have agreed on "a common roadmap," she said.

Apple is optimistic that over the coming year it will be able to make its iTunes online music store available in countries where it doesn't operate at present, the Commission said.

Meanwhile, EMI expects to sign non-exclusive digital licensing agreements with two of the most obstinate collecting societies in Europe -- SACEM of France and Spain's SGAE, the Commission said.

The biggest obstacle to creating a fully functioning online marketplace for music until now has been the reluctance of collecting societies to do away with their traditional approach to the European market, which involved each one maintaining a monopoly over rights collection in its national territory. The Internet's ability to reach across borders makes it harder for online stores to restrict sales to customers in a particular territory.

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EU says Europe must scan books like Google

The European Commission issued a call to arms to European lawmakers and those involved in the process of digitizing books Monday, urging the European Union to create a "pro-competitive European" answer to the legal arrangement Google and others seek to implement in the US.

It added that it is possible to set up an EU legal framework for digitizing books quicker than in the US, in spite of the head start Google has already made there and despite the fact that the E.U. comprises the different copyright regimes of the 27 member nations.

"If we act swiftly, pro-competitive European solutions on books digitisation may well be sooner operational than the solutions presently envisaged under the Google Books Settlement in the United States," said Viviane Reding, the commissioner for telecoms and the information society in a statement.

A person close to Reding said the Commission doesn't expect a final disposition in the Google Books settlement until the end of 2010. At a status hearing earlier this month, the US District Court judge in the case gave the parties involved until 9 November to submit a revised settlement agreement.

The deal had suffered a blow in September when the US Department of Justice filed a brief with the court, calling for the settlement to be modified so that it complies with not only copyright and antitrust laws, but also with rules governing settlements of class action lawsuits.

EU says Europe must scan books like Google

Reding, together with Charlie McCreevy, commissioner in charge of the internal market and copyright issues, unveiled a plan to speed up the transfer of knowledge contained in books in libraries across Europe to digital platforms accessible to everyone.

One major hurdle is the question of how to digitize so-called orphan works - books whose authors cannot be identified or located. Another is what to do with books that have gone out of print. The Commission said Monday it will begin talks with libraries, the publishing and technology industries and consumer groups to find a solution for "simple and cost-efficient rights clearance covering mass-scale digitisation and the online dissemination of library collections still protected by copyright," it said.

As regards orphan works, the Commission wants to establish common due diligence standards to recognize orphan status across the EU.

Last November it launched a project, loosely modeled on the Book Registry idea contained in the proposed Google Books settlement, called ARROW (Accessible Registries of Rights information and Orphan works). This gathers national libraries, collective management organizations and publishers and is co-funded by the E.U. ARROW identifies rights holders and clarifies the rights status of a work, including whether it is out of print or orphan.

The two Commissioners said the debate over the Google Books Settlement in the U.S.shows that Europe can't afford to be left behind on the digital frontier.

"We must boost Europe as a center of creativity and innovation. The vast heritage in Europe's libraries cannot be left to languish but must be made accessible to our citizens," said Commissioner McCreevy.

Google welcomed the Commission's initiative Monday. "With today's communication, Europe shows how it is at the forefront of bringing cultural and knowledge heritage back to life," it said in a statement. "This is part of a tremendous undertaking and we are participating in it with Google Books. We look forward to working with the Commission on solutions that will support further developments of digitization initiatives designed to preserve Europe's culture."

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Apple Pro Studio Series 2009 comes to Manchester, 24 November

After stopovers around Europe and the world, the Apple Pro Studio Series 2009 arrives in Manchester on 24 November.

The free event will showcase the latest releases of Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Server and Logic Studio, highlighting new tools and techniques.

Two sessions, one focused on Final Cut, one on Logic, will show what's possible, combined with Mac OS X Snow Leopard, for film makers and musicians working with Macs.

The two sessions are:

Pro Studio Series 2009 - Final Cut24 November, 2009, 16:00 - 17:30 pmEvent Number:90014Description:Discover the Final Cut workflow. With more than 100 new features, the new Final Cut Studio advances the art and technology of filmmaking with innovations that help you work faster, collaborate more efficiently and finish brilliantly. Adding Final Cut Server frees up even more time for creative work, with new features that make it exceptionally flexible and easy to use.

Pro Studio Series 2009 - Logic Studio24 November, 2009, 19:00 - 20:30 pmEvent Number:90013Description:Record, produce and perform with the new Logic Studio. The new Logic Studio includes over 200 new features that let you write, record, edit, mix and perform your music. It also comes with the largest collection of software instruments, effect plug-ins and Apple Loops ever packed into a single box.

Apple Pro Studio Series 2009 comes to Manchester, 24 November

Spaces are limited so you should register now to be sure of your place at www.apple.com/uk/software/pro/series says Apple.

The location for both events is:

Odeon Cinema Screen 18Printworks Centre27 Withy Grove ManchesterM4 2BS

(Visit our sister site MacVideo for in-depth details and analysis regarding all the new features found in Final Cut Pro.)

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Nokia's 'iTunes-killer' has only 33,000 UK users

A year after launching in the UK, with rollouts elsewhere since, Nokia’s Comes With Music service has amassed just 107,000 subscribers, according to an analyst report.

The report, issued on Thursday by Music Ally, came the same day that Nokia reported dismal financial earnings.

Comes With Music lets anyone who buys a supported Nokia phone download and keep as many songs as they like from Nokia’s collection of 6 million tracks. The cost of the service varies based on how many voice and text minutes a user wants each month. After a year, the deal ends unless users buy a new phone, but they still get to keep all the music they’ve downloaded.

Nokias iTunes-killer has only 33,000 UK users

The service first launched in the UK one year ago and since then 33,000 people here are using it, Music Ally said. Other countries got the service throughout the year. Australia has the second-largest mass of users, with 23,000 people subscribing to it. Italy has only 691 users, after the service launched in April, according to the report.

Nokia would not confirm or deny the subscriber figures. It said the service has rolled out rapidly around the world. "We take a long-term view of Comes With Music rather than seeing it as a short term promotion," the company said. Nokia said the service has rolled out in 13 countries; Music Ally's report and figures analyse nine countries.

Music Ally did not reveal its source for the numbers, saying only that it was "passed details of the uptake of" the service. It said that in April, its analysts ran figures to confirm that there were 23,000 active users of the service in the UK at that time.

The analysts have a few theories for why the service should be doing so poorly. "On paper it looked like a fantastic consumer proposition and good value for money," Music Ally wrote in the report.

But the marketing message may be too complicated for consumers to understand, it said. "The marketing messages, the advertising positioning and the in-store sales strategies were failing to support each other and not weaving into a compelling whole," the report said.

The service may also be too advanced for developed markets, it said.

"This is not to say that [Comes With Music] is doomed – just that Nokia may have to decide whether it can really afford to continue marketing a service in the hope that eventually consumers catch up with it," Music Ally said.

The company has been trying to branch out into various kinds of services, such as Comes With Music and its Ovi services, including photo sharing, email and maps. It has had mixed success. In August, Nokia said it had signed up 1 million users to its email service. But earlier this year, it shut down a Seattle office that was developing an online sharing service as part of a decision to lay off 450 people in its services unit. It also halted investment in the Ovi Share photo sharing service and shut down Mosh, a social-networking site.

The Music Ally report about Comes With Music came on the same day that Nokia reported a 20 percent decline in sales for the third quarter and an $833 million loss. While the company said it held onto its 38 percent market share, it has been steadily losing share over the past couple of years.

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Sneaky Microsoft plug-in puts Firefox users at risk

An add-on that Microsoft silently slipped into Mozilla's Firefox last February leaves that browser open to attack, Microsoft's security engineers acknowledged earlier this week.

One of the 13 security bulletins Microsoft released Tuesday affects not only Internet Explorer (IE), but also Firefox, thanks to a Microsoft-made plug-in pushed to Firefox users eight months ago in an update delivered via Windows Update.

Sneaky Microsoft plug-in puts Firefox users at risk

"While the vulnerability is in an IE component, there is an attack vector for Firefox users as well," admitted Microsoft engineers in a post to the company's Security Research & Defense blog on Tuesday. "The reason is that .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 installs a 'Windows Presentation Foundation' plug-in in Firefox."

The Microsoft engineers described the possible threat as a "browse-and-get-owned" situation that only requires attackers to lure Firefox users to a rigged Web site.

Numerous users and experts complained when Microsoft pushed the .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 (SP1) update to users last February, including Susan Bradley, a contributor to the popular Windows Secrets newsletter.

"The .NET Framework Assistant [the name of the add-on slipped into Firefox] that results can be installed inside Firefox without your approval," Bradley noted in a Feb. 12 story. "Although it was first installed with Microsoft's Visual Studio development program, I've seen this .NET component added to Firefox as part of the .NET Family patch."

Virtually impossible to remove from Firefox

What was particularly galling to users was that once installed, the .NET add-on was virtually impossible to remove from Firefox. The usual "Disable" and "Uninstall" buttons in Firefox's add-on list were grayed out on all versions of Windows except Windows 7, leaving most users no alternative other than to root through the Windows registry, a potentially dangerous chore, since a misstep could cripple the PC. Several sites posted complicated directions on how to scrub the .NET add-on from Firefox, including Annoyances.org.

Annoyances also said the threat to Firefox users is serious. "This update adds to Firefox one of the most dangerous vulnerabilities present in all versions of Internet Explorer: the ability for Web sites to easily and quietly install software on your PC," said the hints and tips site. "Since this design flaw is one of the reasons [why] you may have originally chosen to abandon IE in favour of a safer browser like Firefox, you may wish to remove this extension with all due haste."

Specifically, the.NET plug-in switched on a Microsoft technology dubbed ClickOnce, which lets .NET apps automatically download and run inside other browsers.

Microsoft reacted to criticism about the method it used to install the Firefox add-on by issuing another update in early May that made it possible to uninstall or disable the .NET Framework Assistant. It did not, however, apologize to Firefox users for slipping the add-on into their browsers without their explicit permission -- as is the case for other Firefox add-ons, or extensions.

This week, Microsoft did not revisit the origin of the .NET add-on, but simply told Firefox users that they should uninstall the component if they weren't able to deploy the patches provided in the MS09-054 update.

According to Microsoft, the vulnerability is "critical," and also can be exploited against users running any version of IE, including IE8.

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Apple gets best spot in EU browser 'ballot screen,' Mozilla says

Mozilla again slammed the browser "ballot screen" proposal that Microsoft's made to European antitrust regulators, saying that the voting will be skewed Apple's way because its Safari browser will be the first choice on the list.

In a long blog post, Jenny Boriss, a Firefox user experience designer, argued that Microsoft's ballot screen , which has been given preliminary approval by the European Commission, is unfair.

Microsoft has proposed listing five browsers on the first screen of the ballot, including its own Internet Explorer (IE), Apple's Safari, Google's Chrome, Mozilla's Firefox and Opera Software's Opera.

Although Microsoft first suggested that the browsers be ranked in order of market share from left to right, the commission objected, since its antitrust action was triggered by complaints that Microsoft stifled competition by bundling IE with Windows.

Instead, the ballot will list the browsers in alphabetical order, ranked by the name of the browser maker. That gives Apple the first spot, followed by Google, Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera.

Apple gets best spot in EU browser ballot screen, Mozilla says

"This ordering is about the worst option possible," said Boriss. "Microsoft wrote in their proposal that 'nothing in the design and implementation of the Ballot Screen and the presentation of competing web browsers will express a bias for a Microsoft web browser or any other web browser,' but this is exactly what the current design does. Windows users presented with the current design will tend to make only two choices: IE because they are familiar with it, or Safari because it is the first item."

Boriss was especially hard on Apple. "The disproportionate advantage to Safari is what really makes this design poor," she said, citing several studies that claim first position in a ballot gives an advantage, in part because Western voters scan from upper left to lower right when they read.

The problem with putting Apple first, continued Boriss, is that Safari on Windows is a mess. "Safari has the smallest market share of the five other browsers," she said. "Frankly, Safari is a good browser for Apple computers, but Apple hasn't put much effort to make it competitive on Windows. It's just not their priority. So, by listing Safari first, the ballot is presenting as the recommended item the browser that is least likely to be the one the user wants."

According to Web metrics vendor Net Applications, Safari on Windows accounted for about 0.3% of all browsers used in September. IE, Firefox and Chrome, meanwhile, owned 65.7%, 23.8% and 3.2%, of the market share respectively. Net Applications, however, does not split out Firefox on Windows, but lumps together all Firefox users, whether they're running the browser on Windows, Mac OS X or Linux.

IE runs exclusively and Chrome predominantly on Windows; Chrome's only production version is for Windows, although some users are running the Mac and Linux developer builds of Google's browser.

Not surprisingly, Boriss' alternative idea would be to rank the browsers in order of share, with the exception of IE, which would presumably then be in the fifth, or last spot. "A user can't truly judge if a browser is right for them from a couple lines and a logo, so knowing what other users have chosen is actually not the worst way to make a decision," she said. That would put Firefox in the favored first spot, with Chrome, Opera and Safari following.

Another way to present the ballot screen would be to randomize the order of the first five browsers each time a user encounters it. "[That] does not provide users with any information about what browsers are preferred, but at least it does not give undo advantage to an unpopular browser each time," Boriss said.

The IE antitrust action dates back to December 2007, when Opera formally complained to EU officials about Microsoft tying the browser to its market-dominating Windows operating system. The EU commission charged Microsoft with violating antitrust laws in January 2009, after which Microsoft made several concessions, including a plan that at one point would have meant shipping Windows 7 minus a browser.

In July, MicrosoMicrosoft advanced the ballot screen concept , which EU officials had earlier said was their preference.

Mozilla has been the most vocal of Microsoft's rivals in its criticism of the ballot screen. Two months ago, company executives slammed the proposal and demanded changes.

The EU has solicited comments, which must be filed by Nov. 9, and will either approve the ballot screen proposal soon after that or require Microsoft to make more modifications.

Microsoft's chief counsel, Brad Smith, said this month that his company was "very pleased" with the EU's decision to move into the last phase of the case.

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Boxhead: Zombie Wars debuts on iPhone, iPod touch

MEDL Mobile has released Boxhead: Zombie Wars for iPhone and iPod touch, a version of the popular online Flash based game.

Famed games developer Sean T. Cooper saw the iPhone platform as an opportunity to launch the newest member of the Boxhead family. 25,000,000 players and over 250,000,000 rounds have already been played online.

In Boxhead: Zombie Wars, you play as Jon Bambo, a black-clad mercenary with an arsenal of deadly destructive weapons.

Your aim is to keep him alive against waves of flesh-eating zombies and fire-breathing demons using a array of offensive and defensive weapons. According to Cooper, the stronger you get, the stronger - and more numerous - your enemies get.

Available from the Apple iTunes App Store, Boxhead: Zombie Wars costs 1.79 and requires the iPhone 2.2.1 Software Update or later.

MEDL Mobile, a company that builds iPhone applications, and encourages development with an App Incubator scheme, is also the team behind Problem Halved, developed by Rob Shoesmith, a binman from Coventry.

In recent months, Shoesmith has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows talking about his iPhone success while still working emptying the bins as his carrer develops.

MEDL Mobile continues to seek ideas for new iPhone applications in return for a substantial slice, 75 per cent, of any profits.

Which applications get the green light depends on five factors says MEDL Mobile – originality, functionality, simplicity, revenue, opportunity and fun. More information on how to submit ideas can be found here.

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Friday evening: Apple Store is down

Friday evening and the Apple Store is currently down. With recent rumours of new entry level MacBooks, a slimmer iMac and revamped Mac minis. Could we be seeing new products from Apple before the weekend?

We'll know soon.

10pm: The store is back up and online but it appears nothing is new. Several sources suggest we will see new Apple products next week. Apple's FY 09 Fourth Quarter results are also due next week.

Apple Store is down

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Apple allows in-app purchasing for free App Store apps

According to multiple sites, Apple has changed the rules regarding in-app purchases for App Store developers. Previously, in-app purchases were restricted to paid apps, but now developers of free applications can take advantage of in-app purchases as well. This is a welcome change, not just for developers, but for consumers as well.

Why is it so welcome? Because it should mark the end of having two versions of many App Store programs, which makes things easier for both developers and consumers. Presently, many developers create a free “lite” version of their program—typically this is done with games, but I’ve seen it done in other categories as well—to get people interested in the full version of their program. If you use the free version and like it, though, the upgrade process hasn’t been as simple as it should be—due to the restriction on in-app purchases within free apps.

As a result of the restriction, to upgrade you must buy the full app in the App Store, and remove the lite version from your device. Add in a bit of time to rearrange the program icons to your liking, and upgrading is way too much work. Additionally, any work you’d done in the trial version would be lost (at least without the developer jumping through all sorts of hoops to use their own servers to sync the data).

With Apple’s change in policies, though, there’s no longer a need for the “lite” version of a program. Instead, developers can build a free application that demonstrates some degree of their program’s full strengths, and put the rest of the features behind an in-app purchase option. If you create a game, you can give away the first three levels, and lock up the remaining 97 until the user has paid. If you write a to do list application, you could restrict the user to managing only a handful of to do items, and then unlock the full capabilities after an in-app purchase.

Apple allows in-app purchasing for free App Store apps

Another potential winner with this change are developers who want to develop subscription-based apps. Today, these programs must be sold for at least a token amount, so that the developers can offer the subscription feature using the in-app purchasing. Even that token amount, though, may dissuade consumers from trying the program. Now, they can distribute the app for free, and still be able to use the in-app purchasing to sell the subscription content.

As a user, besides the ease of working with only one application, it should eventually become easier to search the App Store. Search today, and you’ll find multiple instances of “Some App” and “Some App Lite;” “Some Other App” and “Some Other App Lite,” etc.

With the announced change in the rules, these types of duplicates should vanish, as developers will simply distribute “Some App” for free, and unlock additional features, levels, etc. via the in-app purchase feature.

Developers should welcome this change, as managing a single application is much preferred to managing two distinct but nearly identical applications—bug fixes and new features will only have to be added to one code base, only one app will have to be uploaded to the App Store, and Apple will only have to approve one version of the program.

It will be interesting to see if this change helps drive prices down even further in the App Store. The question is whether a developer can drive more demand (and eventually, revenue) from a “free” version of their app with some locked-off functionality, or from two separate applications, one fully-featured with a price tag, and the other a permanently feature-limited free version.

If developers think “free + in-app purchasing” will drive more revenue, then we will eventually see even more “free” apps appearing on the App Store. As a consumer, I know I prefer the easier app management that comes from the one-app solution, but it will be the developers who determine which types of applications we’ll see going forward.

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Apple bucks netbook trend, Gartner says

Netbooks were instrumental in the increase in PC shipments for most manufacturers during the third quarter, but Apple defied the trend despite offering standard laptops at premium prices, according to figures from analyst firm Gartner.

Apple executives in the past have trashed netbooks as junky devices with cramped keyboards and the company does not yet have a netbook on the market. Most PC vendors, including Acer, Hewlett-Packard and Dell are offering netbooks, which are low cost and designed to perform basic tasks like word processing.

Apple's PC shipments in the US grew year-over-year by 6.8 per cent to total 1.57 million during the third quarter, placing the company fourth behind Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Acer, according to numbers released by Gartner on Wednesday. Overall PC shipments in the US grew by 3.5 per cent year-over-year to total 17.82 million.

Apple's growth was driven by dedicated fans of the company's products and the education market, said Mikako Kitagawa, principal research analyst at Gartner.

Apple bucks netbook trend, Gartner says

Comparatively, growth in PC shipments for companies like HP and Acer came from low-priced laptops and mini-notebooks, which includes netbooks. Netbooks especially helped Acer's shipments, which grew by 61.4 per cent year-over-year. HP's third-quarter shipments grew by 2.7 per cent.

Netbooks attracted interest during the quarter because of low prices, Kitagawa said. Dell offers netbooks, but its shipments dropped by 8.9 per cent during the quarter, Gartner said.

Like Apple, Dell is trying to de-emphasise netbooks to focus on profit margins, but there is a difference between the companies, Katagawa said. Dell offers mini-notebooks, but isn't as aggressive in the space as Acer and HP. Dell was the top PC vendor in the US with a 26.2 per cent market share, while Apple held an 8.8 percent market share.

Apple's brand recognition means that its customers do not mind paying a premium, she said. "That is what they are built for, that is something no other PC vendor can do," Kitagawa said.

Dell has especially struggled to build strong brand recognition, with issues surrounding customer support and product returns affecting the company's reputation.

There is also a big installed base of Apple systems in the education market and those buyers tend to stick with Apple PCs. Dell has made an aggressive play in the education market in recent years, launching new products designed for use in schools and classrooms, and offering discounts.

"Switching to Windows is too expensive for that audience," Kitagawa said.

Gartner's PC shipment numbers are an estimate and will be finalized in November, Kitagawa said. IDC also reported third-quarter PC shipments on Wednesday, and said Apple's shipments grew by 11.8 percent year-over-year. Apple is announcing its fourth quarter financial results on Monday, in which it will share the number of Macintosh laptops and desktops shipped during the quarter.

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I don't want to sell Twitter, says Biz Stone

When you're co-founder of one of the hottest companies on the Internet dealing with acquisition rumors is a constant part of the job, but on Thursday Twitter's Biz Stone sought to put an end to the persistent talk that he wants to sell the company.

"Twitter is not interested in being acquired by a bigger company, we want to build an impressive company on our own and we believe that we can," Stone said to an audience of Twitter users at an event in Tokyo on Thursday evening.

His statement, after being translated into Japanese, drew a few cheers and claps from the audience, which was made up of many of Twitter's most enthusiastic users in Japan. The event was being held to mark the first visit to the country by Stone and the launch of a new mobile site.

Twitter remains a private company and so far has shown little interest in seeking funds from the stock market, despite its inability to generate any significant revenue. The company was recently reported to be near a new round of financing from a group of investors that valued the micro-blogging service at around US$1 billion.

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Virtual Programming intros X3: Terran Conflict Mac OS X game

Virtual Programming has released X3: Terran Conflict for Mac OS X.

The new standalone game promises to be more expansive and open-ended than previous entries in the series.

X3: Terran Conflict continues the X Universe’s story of human, alien, and machine races vying for power - players choose between several different characters, with their selection slightly altering the plot.

X3: Terran Conflict features striking graphics and audio that make players feel as if they’re really exploring deep space insists the company.

Players undertake dangerous missions, become economic powerhouses, and engage in conflicts ranging from dogfights between small spacecraft to massive battles involving fleets of ships.

Those who participate in X3: Terran Conflict can undertake a wide variety of missions or simply chart their own course. Players can trade resources with some races, while others may attack players on sight.

As they accumulate wealth, players can not only upgrade their spacecraft and buy new ones but also build factories, trading stations, weapon platforms, and a headquarter. 

X3: Terran Conflict is available at Virtual Programming’s Deliver2Mac digital download service and costs 29.95.

Terran Conflict Mac OS X game

Terran Conflict Mac OS X game

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Google to send detailed information about hacked Web sites

In an effort to promote the "general health of the Web," Google will send Webmasters snippets of malicious code in the hopes infected Web sites can be cleaned up faster.

The new information will appear as part of Google's Webmaster Tools, a suite of tools that provide data about a Web site, such as site visits.

Google already emails administrators if its automated scanners detect malicious content on a site. Those pages are then marked in Google's search results with a warning.

Increasingly, cybercriminals seek to hack legitimate Web pages and plant malicious software since it may be a long time before those sites are cleaned up or detected as opposed to a newly created domain. Unfortunately for administrators, there also may be a significant gap in time between when the site is hacked and when they find out their Web site has been placed on a blacklist.

"We understand the frustration of Webmasters whose sites have been compromised without their knowledge and who discover that their site has been flagged," wrote Lucas Ballard on Google's online security blog.

To Webmasters who are registered with Google, the company will send them an email notifying them of suspicious content along with a list of the affected pages. They'll also be able to see part of the malicious code.

"These samples - which typically take the form of injected HTML tags, JavaScript, or embedded Flash files - are available in the 'Malware details' Labs feature in Webmaster Tools," Ballard wrote.

When the Web site is clean, administrators can email Google, and their site will be given the all clear.

"We hope you never have cause to use this feature, but if you do, it should help you quickly purge malware from your site and help protect its visitors," Ballard wrote.

"We plan to improve our algorithms in the upcoming months to provide even greater coverage, more accurate vulnerability identification and faster delivery to Webmasters."

Google to send detailed information about hacked Web sites

Google's scanners may not be able to provide malware samples in all cases.

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Apple about to activate FM radio on the iPhone?

Apple is reportedly developing an FM radio application for the iPhone and iPod touch, with similar functions now available to iPod nano users.

According to Apple rumour website 9to5Mac, the FM radio would work in the background, like listening to music via iTunes, while users check email and surf the Internet.

Apple about to activate FM radio on the iPhone?

Last month Apple added an FM radio tuner to the popular iPod nano with the ability to pause and rewind your favourite radio stations and shows while on the go.

The radio supports tagging in the US, with listeners able to buy songs they hear on air via iTunes.

According to 9to5Mac: "The holdup on this app is that Apple is trying to integrate the Mobile iTunes Store purchases into the functionality of the program."

The website suggests Apple could could add some Shazam technology to help with those stations that don't support tagging, which appears to be the majority of them.

Apple's iPhones and iPods are already able to receive FM radio signals but the function has only be used for the Nike+ ecosystem until now according to 9to5Mac.

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GEAR4 intros PowerPad, first dedicated wireless iPhone charger

GEAR4, the Mac, iPhone and iPod accessory manufacturer, has introduced what the company believes is the first dedicated wireless iPhone charger.

The PowerPad, compatible with both the iPhone 3G and 3GS, uses inductive charging, where power is simply transmitted through the case to the iPhone battery.

The iPhone can be placed anywhere on the charge pad and does not require specific contact points and built-in magnets - found in fixed position inductive solutions - to move the case into the right position to be charged.

Works with iPhone (WWi) certified, the PowerPad has been designed to provide the ultimate solution in convenient power management insists GEAR4.

"Our vision of the future of wireless power is what makes this product launch so significant. We believe that wireless charging will become pervasive over the next decade, lead by the widespread adoption of standards. The launch of PowerPad represents the start of this transition," said GEAR4’s CEO Tom Dudderidge in a press release.

The compact charging pad plugs into the mains to transmit charge to the iPhone through the liquid rubber receiver case. The case also acts as a robust protective cover when out and about and then, when charge levels are running low, place the iPhone on the charge pad to power it up wirelessly.

The PowerPad offers the same charge time as standard wired chargers claims GEAR4, with no loss in performance compared to rival chargers available on the market.

The GEAR4 PowerPad has a SRP of 79.99 / €99.99 and will be available from retailers across Europe or from www.gear4store.com from November.

GEAR4 intros PowerPad, first dedicated wireless iPhone charger

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Microsoft grants Mac Office 2004 11th-hour reprieve

Just a day before Microsoft was to have retired Office 2004 for Mac by ending updates and fixes, including security patches, the company said on Monday that it would instead extend the five-year-old suite's support until Jan. 10, 2012.

Microsoft announced the 27-month reprieve on its Mac Business Unit's (MacBU) blog , saying that the extension was meant to give Office 2004 users, who can utilize Visual Basic-based macros, enough time to migrate to the next edition of the application suite, which isn't scheduled for release until late 2010.

Microsoft grants Mac Office 2004 11th-hour reprieve

"The date has been extended to 2012 specifically to ensure continuous cross-platform compatibility for Office 2004 customers reliant on [Visual Basic for Applications] until support for VBA is released in the next version of Office for Mac," said Mike Tedesco, a senior product manager for MacBU, in the blog post.

Microsoft scrubbed Visual Basic from Office 2008 for Mac, a move it tacitly admitted was a mistake when it said in March 2008 that the next upgrade would again support the scripting language.

The still-unnamed Office, which Microsoft has only promised by the holiday selling season next year, will also include a Mac-specific version of Outlook as a substitute for the little-loved Entourage email application.

Today, Tedesco stressed that the stay of execution would not change Microsoft's policy of supporting Mac versions of Office for only five years.

Because Microsoft labels Mac Office as a "consumer" product, it supports the suite only five years, half as long as the Windows versions. Office for Mac receives what Microsoft calls "mainstream support," which generally runs five years, but it is ineligible for the additional five years of "extended support," a phase that includes security updates but provides other fixes only to companies that have purchased support plans.

"This extension does not change the five-year support policy for other Office for Mac products, including future versions," Tedesco said. "Nor does it affect any other Microsoft products, including Office on the Windows platform. With the additional support [for Office 2004], we will continue delivering all the types of support associated with mainstream support, including security updates and non-security bug fixes."

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ustwo™ intros Ben 10 MouthOff™ for iPhone, iPod touch

ustwo™, the team behind Steppin™, MouthOff™ and most recently The Dot - or simply .™ has announced Ben 10 MouthOff™ for iPhone and iPod touch.

Ben 10 MouthOff™ is ustwo’s™ first foray into branding based around their popular MouthOff™ iPhone application, which received more than 40,000 downloads when initially launched.

Fans of Ben 10, the UK’s number one boys’ brand, can impress their friends by emulating the mouth movements of their favourite alien characters, placing their iPhone in front of their own mouths and seeing the visuals on the handset move in correspondence to their speech insists ustwo™.

"As the stellar boys brand of the moment, Ben 10 was an obvious choice for our first iPhone app, but we didn’t want it to be something we did just for the sake of it. ustwo’s™ app really stood out to us in terms of innovation, creativity, usability and longevity, the key components for a successful app," said Joe Braman Commercial Director, Mobile, Digital & DVD at Turner Broadcasting.

ustwo™ intros Ben 10 MouthOff™ for iPhone, iPod touch

The Ben 10 iPhone application replicates the Omnitrix on the handset screen, and scrolling through the watch, just like their hero, users can select aliens including Ripjaw, Ben Wolf, Stinkfly, Grey Matter, Diamondhead, Four Arms, Wildmutt, Upchuck, Cannonbolt or Ben himself.

The Ben 10 application uses original animation throughout and sound effects taken directly from the series, which sees our hero Ben Tennyson fight a series alien monsters. Ben 10 and Ben 10: Alien Force is shown on the Cartoon Network and ITV in the UK, as well as being sold on a series of best selling DVDs.

Available from the Apple iTunes App Store Store Ben 10 MouthOff™ costs 1.19 and requires the iPhone 3.0 Software Update or later.

A detailed Macworld profile of ustwo™ can be found here.

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Minor MobileMe upgrades improve iDisk

Apple seems to be getting used to rolling out small but useful upgrades.

Hot on the virtual heels of the iPhone OS 3.1.2 release, Apple on Friday announced some improvements to the MobileMe service.

Minor MobileMe upgrades improve iDisk

If this MobileMe upgrade came without much fanfare, that's likely because the improvements themselves just aren't that fanfarish.

Highlights include new settings for public iDisk files, a revamped Web interface, and more granular privacy controls for what others can and can't do with files stored in the online repository.

The occasionally-indispensible Find My iPhone feature also received some token upgrades--more prominence in the me.com toolbar, and its own shiny new URL.

Saving the best for last, Apple also included one real live bug fix in the MoblieMe upgrades: an issue where exporting multiple contacts at once would fail is reportedly corrected.

So, MobileMe enthusiasts who like upgrades and hate major changes, this one's for you.

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Google adds more mobile search options for iPhone users and others

In today's bustling world of smartphone apps, Google has kept an eye on the guy who may not have hundreds of pounds to drop on a phone.

Google continuously revamps its mobile browser edition so basic handhelds get the same thorough search experience you'd find on a smartphone.

The latest evolution in mobile search is a filtering option that allows for specified search results. This feature almost seems like it was created specifically for picky tech shoppers.

Search for a device, click the "options" drop-down located beneath the search bar, and filter your results. You can scope out forums to get the word-of-mouth nitty gritty, or reviews from trusted sources.

Further delve into your results by choosing a timeframe - any time; past 24 hours; past week; etc.

Google's advancement takes the desktop experience into the palm of your hand, even if you have a basic mobile phone. And in a world where some people have decided they'd rather fiddle with a phone than in the bedroom, well, props go to Google for making that possible.

Google adds more mobile search options for iPhone users and others

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VMware intros Fusion 3, Windows on a Mac solution

VMware, the maker of desktop and server virtualisation tools has announced VMware Fusion 3, a way to run Windows on the Mac.

VMware Fusion 3 comes with more than 50 new features and enhancements, delivering a better-than-ever Windows on Mac experience insists the company.

Fusion 3 comes optimised for Snow Leopard, with a new 64-bit core engine and native support for the 64-bit kernel.

Fusion 3 also supports the full Windows 7 experience, complete with Windows Aero and Flip 3D.

Switching has been made easier says VMWare, with users able to bring their entire PC to their Mac in a few easy steps, either wirelessly or via Ethernet cable.

The update comes with improved graphics and better gaming support for OpenGL 2.1 and DirectX 9.0c Shader Model 3, which will enable users to run their favourite 3D Windows games and applications without rebooting.

A new full screen menu bar gives you control over your virtual machine and can be moved to any side of the screen to make guest user interfaces - such as taskbars and menu bars - more accessible.

The software comes with a link to 10 video tutorials and adds a 12-month complimentary subscription to McAfee VirusScan Plus. Automatic snapshots allow you to roll Windows back to a safe state if something goes wrong.

VMware Fusion 3 will be available online store and authorised retailers worldwide on from Tuesday, 27 October for $79.99 or $39.99 for those looking to upgrade. Currently Amazon lists the software at 58.99.

VMware intros Fusion 3, Windows on a Mac solution

System requirements are Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later and a copy of Windows.

Supported 32-Bit Guest Operating Systems include:

Mac OS X Server v10.5 Leopard (experimental)Windows Vista Business, Enterprise, Ultimate, Home Basic, and Home Premium EditionsWindows Vista Business, Enterprise, Ultimate, Home Basic, and Home Premium SP1 EditionsWindows XP Professional SP2, Home Edition SP2Windows XP Professional SP3, Home Edition SP3Windows 98 SEWindows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition, R2 Enterprise EditionWindows Server 2003 Enterprise Edition SP2Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition, Standard Edition (experimental)Windows 2000 Server SP4, Advanced Server SP4, Windows 2000 Professional SP4Windows NT 4.0 Server SP6a, Workstation SP6aWindows Me, Windows 3.1, Windows 95 SP1, MS-DOS 6.xSUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, 9 SP3SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and Desktop 10 SP2SUSE Linux 10.1, 9.3Novell Netware 6.5 SP7Novell Linux Desktop 9 SP2Novell Open Enterprise Server SP2Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.0 Update 2 (Advanced Server, Enterprise Server, Workstation)Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4.0 Update 6, 3.0 Update 9Red Hat Enterprise Linux 2.1—stock 2.4.9-e3 (Advanced Server, Enterprise Server, Workstation)Red Hat Linux 9.0—stock 2.4.20-8, upgrade 2.4.20-20.9Red Hat Linux 7.0—stock 2.2.16-22, upgrade 2.2.17-14Solaris x86 10 (Update 5)Ubuntu Linux 8.04, 7.10, 6.10, 5.10Mandriva Linux 2008, 2007, 2006FreeBSD 7.0, 6.1, 5.5Turbolinux Enterprise Server 8Turbolinux Desktop 10

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Intego offers 90% saving on Mac Security Bundle

Intego, the Mac security specialists, have announced a new Mac Security Bundle which offers a 90 per cent saving on a range of solutions compared to buying them separately.

The 39.99 bundle of tools and utilities normally costs 400 and is on offer until Saturday 31 October 2009.

Intego offers 90% saving on Mac Security Bundle

The bundle includes:

Intego VirusBarrier X5 - billed as an complete antivirus software suite for the Mac, which eliminates potential viruses including system and macro viruses.

Micromat TechTool Pro 5 - a well reviewed diagnostic, repair, and maintenance utility tool for Macs. Performs a comprehensive suite of tests on your computer's hardware and attached drives. The software lets you create an emergency startup partition that includes TechTool Pro on one of your hard drives.

Absolute Software Computrace LoJack - which can track, locate and recover stolen computers.

Macware WebGhost - which aims to hide your IP address online so you can surf anonymously.

Intego ContentBarrier X5 - useful parental controls designed to filter and block certain Internet content according to the settings you choose. Can also block unsuitable content in the workplace.

Intego NetBarrier X5 - personal firewall, antivandal and filter for the Mac by constantly filtering all the activity that enters and leaves through the Internet or a network. NetBarrier X5 promises to protect users from thieves, hackers and intruders, and warns you automatically if any suspicious activity occurs.

Smith Micro Spring Cleaning - organises your hard drive and eliminates duplicate files.

JoeSoft Klix - finds and recovers corrupted pictures on your camera or media card.

Intego Personal Antispam X5 - designed to reduce spam and filter out phishing emails, checks a whitelist and blacklist of addresses, message headers, content or layout, URLs in messages and more.

Intego FileGuard X5 - creates virtual safes that provide unbreakable protection for all your sensitive files. Each safe can have its own password. You can store safes on file servers or external disks and you can keep them on your home or office Mac with no risk of anyone opening them.

Intego Personal Backup X5 - backs up files, synchronises folders, and clones startup volumes. Personal Backup X5 can also synchronise data between two computers, such as a desktop Mac and MacBook, or create a bootable backup of your entire Mac OS X volume

MOApp MyWallet - secures passwords and other important information.

System requirements for all tools and utilities in the Intego Mac Security Bundle are Mac OS X 10.4, 10.5 or 10.6, Intel or PowerPC.

Intego are offering an extra incentive to buy the package by adding a free copy of GagaFactory’s Radio Gaga, which lets them listen to and record 10,000+ Internet radio stations, with the first 10,000 bundles purchased.

The bundle is only available online from a dedicated website MacPromo at www.macpromo.com.

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ADOBE MAX: AIR 2.0 will give greater access to local desktop resources

While Flash Player got most of the attention at Adobe Systems' developer conference this week, the company also announced an update to Adobe AIR, a runtime environment that allows Flash programs to run offline on the desktop.

The first version of AIR (Adobe Integrated Runtime) has been used for a handful of well-known applications, such as the TweetDeck tool for Twitter, the BBC's iPlayer media software and the New York Times Reader, which makes it easier to flip through news articles on a PC screen.

AIR 2.0 will give greater access to local desktop resources

AIR can be useful to Flash and Flex developers because it lets them write programs that run outside the browser, on the desktop of any computer with the AIR runtime installed. The technology is only 18 months old, however, and is competing for attention with Microsoft's Silverlight, Google Gears and others.

Adobe hopes to move it forward with a new version that will be released in beta later this year, it said at Adobe Max this week. The software aims to address shortcomings identified by some developers, especially the limited access that AIR provides to local PC resources.

AIR 2.0 will add the ability to access mass storage devices, which means an application will be able to detect when a user plugs a Flip video camera into a PC, for example, and then save the files to a local hard drive or offer to upload them to the Web.

It also gets a native process API (application programming interface), which will allow AIR programs to communicate with applications installed on the desktop. An AIR directory program could call up information about a customer stored in an SAP application, for example, said David Wadhwani, general manager of the Adobe Flash Platform group.

To do this, however, AIR programs will have to be deployed as a native installer, such as an .exe file. Adobe says developers will be able to generate native installers automatically in a forthcoming AIR development kit.

Other planned capabilities include the ability to open a document such as a PDF or Word file from within an AIR program, and to use AIR for a peer-to-peer application. There are also general improvements for better CPU and memory utilization.

That last item is much needed, according to Derek Zarbrook, president of Konductor, a startup that is using AIR to offer a content hosting service for Web designers. "Memory leakage has been a big issue," he said. Memory leaks occur when programs gradually use more and more of the computer's memory over time, causing performance to take a hit.

Konductor's service includes an AIR application that lets clients update Web sites built for them by designers. It chose AIR because its allows the clients to update their sites by dragging and dropping images and other content into the application from the desktop, something a Web browser can't do. "Also, a lot of people still like desktop applications; it's what they're comfortable with," he said.

AIR 2.0 is scheduled for general availability in the first half of next year. Adobe says it will also do a version of AIR for smartphones sometime in 2010.

The update is unlikely to change the usage model for AIR, which will continue to be around games, video, media applications, and creating rich interfaces for business applications, Wadhwani said. "I think the use cases are pretty well-settled," he said.

The software has been installed on 300 million desktops, according to Wadhwani. Developers can write AIR applications using Adobe's Flex tools or with Ajax, but most are using Flex, he said.

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CEATEC: IPhone app lets up to 10 people play the piano

Yamaha and two partners have developed an iPhone application that lets up to 10 people play a piano at the same time, among other features.

Finger Piano Share is an iPhone application that was developed by Japan's Densan System. The application, which is still under development, allows users to play songs using virtual keys displayed on the screen of an iPhone or an iPod touch.

IPhone app lets up to 10 people play the piano

Like popular video games such as Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution, Finger Piano Share uses a series of visual prompts to let users know what keys to press and when to press them.

The application can also be used to play a Yamaha MIDI-equipped piano that's connected to a computer with an Internet connection.

When the user taps a key using Finger Piano Share, the note is played on the piano.

Up to 10 people can use the application to play on the same piano, said Atsuko Ito, a supervisor at Yamaha's Center for Advanced Sound Technologies.

Finger Piano Share also supports Sekai Camera, a geotagging application developed by Tonchidot.

Using geolocation, Sekai Camera turns the iPhone's camera into a viewer that displays tags and files left behind by other users.

The application supports Finger Piano Share, allowing users to upload music files that contain music played at a certain location or on a specific piano.

Clicking on a music file offers the option to launch Finger Piano Share, which will then play back the music.

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Dishy cooking app proves a hit with iPhone users

Four days after release, Dishy for iPhone and iPod touch has become the best selling cooking application on the UK iTunes App Store.

Dishy promises to make cooking easy and is billed as a recipe book, shopping list and a step-by-step guide to actually cooking a meal all in one.

95 included recipes, developed by an in-house chef, are searchable by dietary requirements, ingredients - measured in metric or imperial - and cooking time.

Users choose one or more dishes to cook, along with for how many. Dishy then creates an interactive shopping list for all the ingredients, items can be 'ticked off on screen as you walk around the shop or supermarket.

Dishy guides the user through the cooking process one step at a time, including ensuring getting the timings right. Countdown timers are built into the recipes wherever they are needed, and a progress indicator and expected finish time help the user get all components of the meal on the table at the right time insists Dishy’s founder and lead developer James Carroll.

Available from the Apple iTunes App Store Dishy costs 1.79 - normal price 2.99 - for a limited introductoryperiod and requires the iPhone 2.2.1 Software Update.

Dishy cooking app proves a hit with iPhone users

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Adobe Press brings Photoshop video training to iPhone

Adobe Press has introduced CS4 Photoshop: Learn By Video for iPhone and iPod touch.

The application offers users a chance to take a quick tour of the Photoshop CS4 interface, learn about the recent Content Aware-Scale feature in CS4, paint special effects on layers, read a histogram, use layer masks, create a Web gallery and more.

Users can mark any video for later viewing and share tips and comments with others. Test yourself with quizzes, track your progress and review problem topics and tay up-to-date on Adobe Press news via the Twitter group.

Videos are viewable both online and without Internet connection and are part of a much larger 19 hour video package sold by Adobe Press on disc.

Available from the Apple iTunes App Store Adobe CS4 Photoshop: Learn By Video costs 1.19 for a limited time and requires the iPhone 3.0 Software Update or later.

Adobe Press brings Photoshop video training to iPhone

[Via John Nack on Adobe]

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GEAR 4 intros Explorer-SP 'home portable' speaker

GEAR4, the Mac, iPhone and iPod accessory manufacturer, has introduced the GEAR4 Explorer-SP speaker for iPhone and iPod.

Dubbed a 'Home Portable' speaker, the Explorer-SP promises a wealth of audio features in a compact and portable design, which says GEAR 4 is ideal for travel.

The speaker unit offers impressive audio quality combined with advanced battery functionality according to the company, giving up to eight hours of portable use after a two hour charge. A battery level indicator lets users know when the unit needs to be recharged.

According to GEAR 4, the speaker unit comes with a 3D sound effect for increased music width and depth and a bass port for a fuller rich sound.

The Explorer-SP package includes remote control, carry case, power supply with UK / EU plugs and four dock adapters for iPod and iPhone.

The GEAR4 Explorer-SP has a SRP of 99.99 / €149.99 and will be available from retailers across Europe or from www.gear4store.com from November.

GEAR 4 intros Explorer-SP home portable speaker

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