In the latest ads from Apple we see the usual argument that PCs are virus laden and crash continuously. The ads seem to indicate (all without saying it of course) that Macs are immune to crashes and Viruses.
Well if this is the case then what should we make of the latest news about Snow Leopard?
According to a few sites on the Internet the newest flavor of OSX includes a built in Malware detection system. This is interesting on a couple of fronts. The most obvious is that it shows that Macs are not immune to viruses. This belies the advertisements that say they are.
But on another front it is a 2nd case of Apple actually Following Microsoft. Yes I said Apple copying Microsoft; and for a second time.
The first is in moving to a 64 bit OS, this one is in including a Malware detection system. Ever since Windows Vista MS has had Windows Defender. It is a built in Malware detection and removal system. Now it seems that Apple has thought that is a pretty good idea and dropped one into Snow Leopard.
I wonder what will be next…
Apple is pushing its new OS onto the faithful starting on the 28th of August. Keeping with the feline naming convention OSX 10.6 will be called Snow Leopard.
The new OS is supposed to be faster, more stable, and offers a ton of new features and improvements. There is one that is creating a lot of back and forth between the Mac Lovers and the Mac Haters.
This is the claim that Snow Leopard is a 64 bit OS. Now technically this is true but it is not true for all MACs. You see not all Intel CPUs can support EM64T (Intel's implementation of 64-Bit memory extensions) although that number is very small. Still even in some models that do support EM64T the installer will only install a 32-Bit Kernel. According to Apple even though the Kernel will be 32-bit you will still be able to run 64-bit applications.
Now this I am not sure about, previously Apple claimed that OSX 10.5 was 64 bit because a single portion of the OS was able to understand 64-bit memory extensions, however the OS as a whole did not. This would appear (on the surface at least) to look like a similar situation. I have a feeling you will find that those systems with a 32-bit Kernel will not be able to run 64-Applications. But those systems with a full 64-bit Kernel will be able to run both.
One way or the other we will know on the 29th what the real deal is with the 32-bit Vs 64-Bit Kernel on Apple systems with Snow Leopard.
Ah it is my daily head ache. I power on the work laptop and get ready to start browsing the internet in search of something to write about. I also crank up the usual instant messaging applications. First MSN, then Skype; however lately Skype has been more of an annoyance than a benefit.
Starting about a month ago I began receiving invitations to view people's web cams. These are so obviously spam that it would be funny if I was not getting 3-7 per day and often 2-3 each time I open Skype.
Despite having my privacy settings to not allow IMs from people not in my contact list, and not allowing people to see me as on line unless they are in my list I still get these. They are also happening more and more frequently. To make matters worse the only recourse is to block them and select the "report abuse from this person" checkbox.
My favorite ones are the ones that say "Hey we talked all night Saturday, here is the web cam link you wanted". Now, I have had a few nights when I was younger where I do not remember much of the previous evening, but I would have to be really dim to fall for that one.
Skype's FAQ page is not helpful at all stating that to prevent these you just need to setup the privacy filters...in exactly the same way that I have them setup. Unfortunately it has not helped at all.
Our Download of the Day today is InfraRecorder 0.50 (32-bit).
InfraRecorder is a free CD/DVD burning solution for Microsoft Windows. It offers a wide range of powerful features; all through an easy to use application interface and Windows Explorer integration.
InfraRecorder is released under GPL version 3.
- Create custom data, audio and mixed-mode projects and record them to physical discs as well as disc images.
- Supports recording to dual-layer DVDs.
- Blank (erase) rewritable discs using four different methods.
- Record disc images (ISO and BIN/CUE).
- Fixate discs (write lead-out information to prevent further data from being added to the disc).
- Scan the SCSI/IDE bus for devices and collect information about their capabilities.
- Create disc copies, on the fly and using a temporary disc image.
- Import session data from multi-session discs and add more sessions to them.
- Display disc information.
- Save audio and data tracks to files (.wav, .wma, .ogg, .mp3 and .iso).
The latest version includes the following changes:
Changes in Version 0.50 (32-bit)
* Relaxed default project ISO9660 settings.
* Made progress dialogs resizable for easier reading.
* Added wait cursors to time consuming operations.
* Fixed bug causing failed operations to sometimes be reporeted as successful.
* Fixed bug causing an error when verifying discs containing single character file or directory names.
* Updated cdrtools to version 2.01.01a61.
* Added support for displaying BluRay and HD-DVD capabilities.
* Displayed OK button problem should now be gone.
* Greatly improved device detection speed, devices are now always probed at startup.
* Fixed a bug preventing boot images from being removed from projects.
* Updated InfraRecorder projects not to store file size information that potentially could cause write errors.
* Added safety net preventing non-recoverable read errors to affect integrity of other files during recording operation.
* Updated InfraRecorder to lock files on hard drive during file system creation in order to avoid inconsistency errors.
* Added support for importing data from file lists like M3U.
* Added command line options for selecting default project and media type.
* Fixed a bug causing projects opened by association not to be loaded if welcome screen was enabled.
* Added support for using Ctrl+A in the track secion to select all tracks.
* The drive letter is now displayed with the name of all CD/DVD devices.
* Renamed disc fixation to disc closing.
* Fixed bugs related to drive letter detection.
In what seems to be a "Twilight Zone" moment it has been uncovered that UK pricing for Windows 7 will be roughly half of what the cost will be in the US.
According to a CNET article Microsoft is pushing Windows 7 Home Premium full version for less than you can buy an upgrade in the US. The official pricing is 65 GBP, which converts to $107 USD. This is $13 less than the US upgrade price for the same product.
Of course the 65 GBP does not include the standard VAT (Very Annoying Tax) that is imposed in the UK. This 17.5% tax adds 11.37 GBP to the cost pushing it up to 76.37 GBP $126.11 plus shipping.
This still puts it under the $200 US price for Windows 7 Home Premium but makes other editions of Window 7 that only shave about $40 off as much less of a savings.
Still it is nice to finally see comparative pricing hitting the UK instead of the usual lopsided ones.
Steam has released their latest user survey results. The results for July 2009 show an interesting trend.
Apparently Windows 7 is being quickly adopted by gamers despite not actually being available for sale. This is eating into the Windows XP Dominance that currently exists. Another trend is the fast adoption of 64-Bit operating systems.
Intel still dominates the CPU world while Quad Cores are seeing a rapid gains. nVidia holds the GPU place of honor with a nice 65% share of the 20 million respondents.
What the numbers mean is that game developers need to start thinking about multi/many-cored systems and also DX11. If the current Windows 7 adoption rate stays consistent then we will see DX11 take off in a way that DX10 never did.
Other priorities should be 64-bit and widescreen support. These areas are growing as the people look to use more memory in their systems and the cost of widescreen monitors drop rapidly
Our Download of the Day today is Trillian Astra 18.104.22.168.
Trillian is a fully featured, stand-alone, skinnable chat client that supports AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo Messenger, and IRC. It provides capabilities not possible with original network clients, while supporting standard features such as audio chat, file transfers, group chats, chat rooms, buddy icons, multiple simultaneous connections to the same network, server-side contact importing, typing notification, direct connection (AIM), proxy support, encrypted messaging (AIM/ICQ), SMS support, and privacy settings.
Without stealing your home page and with no other included software, pop-ups, or spyware, Trillian provides unique functionality such as:
- contact message history,
- a powerful skinning language,
- tabbed messaging,
- global status changes (set all networks away at once),
- Instant Lookup (automatic Wikipedia integration),
- contact alerts,
- an advanced automation system to trigger events based on anything happening in the client,
- hundreds of emoticons,
- shell extensions for file transfers, and
- systray notifications.
Our Download of the Day today is AVG Free Edition 8.5.409.
AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is trusted antivirus and antispyware protection for Windows available to download for free. In addition, the new included LinkScanner® Active Surf-Shield checks web pages for threats at the only time that matters - when you're about to click that link.
AVG Anti-Virus Free has these following features:
- Award-winning antivirus and antispyware
- Real-time safe internet surfing and searching
- Quality proven by 80 million of users
- Easy to download, install and use
- Protection against viruses and spyware
- Compatible with Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP
- AVG Anti-Virus Free Edition is only available for single computer use for home and non commercial use.
The latest version includes the following changes:
Changes in Version 8.5.409
Core: Detection of the next modification of Virut has been added.
Update: Several improvements in update process.
Our Download of the Day today is OpenOffice.org 3.1.1 RC1.
OpenOffice.org 3 is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers.
OpenOffice.org 3 is the result of over twenty years' software engineering. Designed from the start as a single piece of software, it has a consistency other products cannot match. A completely open development process means that anyone can report bugs, request new features, or enhance the software.
Easy to use
OpenOffice.org 3 is easy to learn, and if you're already using another office software package, you'll take to OpenOffice.org 3 straight away. Our world-wide native-language community means that OpenOffice.org 3 is probably available and supported in your own language.
... And it's free
Best of all, OpenOffice.org 3 can be downloaded and used entirely free of any licence fees. OpenOffice.org 3 is released under the LGPL licence. This means you may use it for any purpose - domestic, commercial, educational, public administration.
I really do love it when a new OS comes out. It is a time for experimentation. Finding the hidden tweaks to make the OS run faster, more secure and generally exactly the way you want it too.
As always there are numerous articles that give you ideas on how to get the most from your installs. But what about getting the most out of the features offered?
With the inclusion of Windows Media Center in Windows Vista many people (myself included) have used Microsoft's OS as a front end for a Home Theatre PC. The problem with Vista was that it was sort of clunky and slow. granted it was light years ahead of XP MCE but still not exactly what most were looking for.
In Windows 7 much of that has changed but there are still some areas that need to be addressed. This has been done by MissingRemote. They have taken a look at the way MCE launches and published a handy list of switches to add to the ehshell.exe (MCE's real name). These can do everything from remove the sounds and logo to preventing someone from shutting media center down.
Granted some of this can be done in the settings page but for the tweaker (computer tweaker) these are pretty cool.
Our Download of the Day today is SuperAntiSpyware 4.27.1002.
SUPERAntiSpyware Professional features our highly advanced Real-Time Protection to ensure protection from installation or re-installation of potential threats as you surf the Internet. Used in conjunction with our First Chance Prevention and Registry Protection, your computer is protected from thousands of threats that attempt to infect and infiltrate your system at startup or while shutting down your system.
Advanced Detection and Removal
- Detect and Remove Spyware, Adware, Malware, Trojans, Dialers, Worms, KeyLoggers, HiJackers, Parasites, Rootkits, Rogue Security Products and many other types of threats.
- Light on System Resources and won't slow down your computer like many other anti-spyware products. Won't conflict with your existing anti-spyware or anti-virus solution!
- Real-Time Blocking of threats! Prevent potentially harmful software from installing or re-installing!
- First Chance Prevention examines over 50 critical points of your system each time your system starts up and shuts down to eliminate threats before they have a chance to infect and infiltrate your system.
- Schedule either Quick, Complete or Custom Scans Daily or Weekly to ensure your computer is free from harmful software.
The latest version includes the following changes:
Changes in Version 4.27.1002
* Resolved small User Interface (UI) issue with themed based display
* New Kernel Driver to support Windows 7 32-bit (Native 64-bit coming later this month)
* Support for Swedish, Hungarian and Estonian Languages
With the release of the RTM to Technet you have to wonder how people are going to make the move from their existing OS to Windows 7. In the past (especially with Vista) Microsoft pushed for a full upgrade from one retail product to another.
However we were all told that Windows 7 upgrades would be much easier.
I am not sure if that is true but I am looking forward to checking out just how easy an upgrade is in the next few days. One issue for many people is going to be the move from any of the Beta or RC versions to the retail or even the RTM. According to existing information if you are running one of these you will have to backup your personal files and start from scratch with a clean install.
If you are using Windows XP or any of the basic versions of Vista you will be in the same boat. To lessen the blow MS is no longer calling it Format and Reload. It is now called a "Custom Install" how very nice of them. I know I feel better about the pain of a fresh install with that nicer sounding name.
This morning we brought up the fact that Windows 7 was not available on TechNet. As of 13:00 US Eastern Time Microsoft's newest OS can now be grabbed by those with TechNet access. I am sure this is the gate that will open a flood of reviews for the eagerly anticipated XP and Vista replacement.
We have moved to using Windows 7 in our testing and are looking forward to utilizing the final stable build. Now it is a short 77 day wait until retail availability.
The next step in the availability chain is to VL (Volume License) customers with SA (Software Assurance) should be able to download this tomorrow. MS Gold partners will get it on the 16th while action pack subscribers will have to with until the 23rd.
So, on the 22nd of July we were told that Windows 7 would hit MSDN and Technet on August 6th. Now while I have not verified the availability on MSDN I do know that TechNet is strangely devoid of Windows 7 RTM today.
According to the Windows 7 Blog:
For IT Professionals:
There are a few ways you can get Windows 7 RTM. IT Professionals with TechNet Subscriptions will be able to download Windows 7 RTM in English on August 6th and remaining languages by October 1st
It makes me wonder what is going on and where the RTM actually is. I know that at times the release date to upper level subscriptions to MSDN are different to the ones setup for TechNet (TechNet and TechNet Plus usually costs much less also) so it is entirely possible that it will hit TechNet next week.
Still I know there are many TechNet Plus subscribers that are not going to be happy this morning when they log in.
The following video Is actually part of an upcoming technology demonstration article that will be published on TweakTown soon called "Four Kingston SSDNow E (Intel X25-E) SSDs in RAID 0 with Windows 7 final OEM build".
What it shows is the boot up and shut down performance of the final build of Windows 7 Ultimate x64 using four Kingston SSDNow E (Intel X25-E) SSDs in RAID 0.
Impressed? We sure are!
Well the XP Mode for Windows 7 is still kicking around. In fact Microsoft has just released it to Release Candidate phase.
The Win 7 add-on is designed to allow legacy applications to operate in a virtual mode. This is intended to allow for an easier transition to the new OS from XP.
This development is designed to allow Microsoft to finally stop support for Windwos XP. There are some prerequisites that will hinder this app though. For one, older systems that do not have either AMD-V or Intel's Virtualization will not be able to use this.
You will also need a virtualization engine like Virtual PC. There is no word yet on if this will work with other virtualization engines though.
If you are interested you can grab this here
Microsoft is working very hard to make the whiny browser developers happy in the EU.
At one point they considered removing IE from the OS as an available option for use as a browser. However Opera complained that it would not be enough. Seemingly between a rock and hard place we waxed rhetorical that Opera et al would not be happy until Microsoft marketed and installed the browsers for them.
Well maybe someone at MS read that and decided to do something along those lines. Microsoft is going to allow users to choose their browser by being presented with this option upon first access to the internet. They have not been given the final go ahead on this but based on the feedback they received they are dropping Windows 7 E in favor of this new plan.
Of course I am sure someone will still find fault and complain, after all they are not making any money off of this from MS yet.
Our Download of the Day today is Nero Free 22.214.171.124.
Nero Free, is the easy-to-use yet powerful multimedia suite, gives you the freedom to create, rip, copy, burn, edit, share, and upload online. Whatever you want - music, video, photo, and data - share and enjoy with family and friends anytime, anywhere.
Nero offers you the chance to enjoy Nero's data disc burning and copying features for an unlimited time, absolutely free!
Enjoy basic data burning and copying capabilities for your CDs and DVDs from the world's most trusted digital media brand, Nero.
The latest version includes the following changes:
Changes in Version 126.96.36.199
* "Continue multisession" projects are displayed in the correct size.
* Volume is correct when using the "Save Tracks" option (MP3 only).
If you use Skype there is some disturbing news. Apparently there has been a slight disagreement and this has resulted in a licensing dispute between Joltid and E-bay (the people that now own Skype). The dispute is over certain code that is at the core of the way the Skype functions.
Without this code Skype cannot work. Joltid owns the code and E-bay licenses it from the. Joltid is working hard to remove the license (in much the same way that Intel threatened to pull the x86 license from AMD)
If Joltid is successful then all the people using Skype will be out in the cold. Skype will simply stop working for us. E-bay/Skype are currently working on their own code to replace the code from Joltid but there it is not going to be an easy or quick process. Even if successful it is very possible that existing Skype Accounts will lose historical and contact data. This would be a rather large blow to the VoIP company.
If you had any doubt that Windows 7 is being eagerly anticipated then the following information should set your mind at ease.
The great big world piracy community has found a hole in the activation routine that has allowed them to activate Windows 7 before it is even released. While there are sites reporting this today it actually started a about four days ago when the first pair of Windows 7 Activators, the Windows 7 Activation Tool Kit Beta 1.8 and Windows 7 Loader, hit the internet. Of course they spread rapidly so that people with the RTM image would be able to use it fully activated.
While all of this is noteworthy, it is not unexpected or surprising. After all; there has to be openings in the activation routine for MS to work with and around it for large OEMs and VARs. This was the same vector that the older Windows Vista Loader used. It fooled Vista into thinking the system was from one of a list of manufacturers that can activate by BIOS image.
Of course that hole was patched with the release of Vista SP2, but like jailbreaking the activation hacks are a game of cat and mouse.
Our Download of the Day today is ImgBurn 188.8.131.52.
ImgBurn is a lightweight CD / DVD / HD DVD / Blu-ray burning application that everyone should have in their toolkit!
It has several 'Modes', each one for performing a different task:
- Read - Read a disc to an image file
- Build - Create an image file from files on your computer or network - or you can write the files directly to a disc
- Write - Write an image file to a disc
- Verify - Check a disc is 100% readable. Optionally, you can also have ImgBurn compare it against a given image file to ensure the actual data is correct
- Discovery - Put your drive / media to the test! Used in combination with DVDInfoPro, you can check the quality of the burns your drive is producing
The latest version includes the following changes:
Changes in Version 184.108.40.206 can be read in detail here.