Microsoft Releases a Set of 12 New Windows Wallpapers

What better way to celebrate the gold versions of Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Windows XP Service Pack 3 than with a set of brand new wallpapers straight from Microsoft?

And by all means, Microsoft has its own separate agenda with the wallpapers, but that shouldn't stop end users from integrating them with their favorite service pack. The fact of the matter is that as far as the Redmond company is concerned the wallpapers are intimately connected with the RoboChamps competition. RoboChamps is designed as a simulated robotics competition platform and accessible worldwide.

Competitors won't be needing any hardware, as they will compete against one another only in simulated environments and with virtual robots. There are multiple resources made available for download to potential competitors including Microsoft Visual Studio 2008, Microsoft Visual C# Express 2008 as well as Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio 2008. Along with the necessary software, participants can also download challenges, robots and environments. And to top it all off, Microsoft has thrown in some additional "Fun Stuff".

A selection of 12 wallpapers are up for grabs featuring everything from the RoboChamps logo to various robot designs. With resolutions of 800x600, 1024x768 and 1900x1200 they are bound to satisfy the vast majority of users, even if they won't fit perfectly on all desktops. On top of the wallpapers, Microsoft is also offering for download the RoboChamps Sidebar Gadget for Windows Vista, as well as four examples of what it refers to as Blog Bling.

Neither Vista SP1 nor XP SP3 brought anything new to the table in terms of content. In the past year, Microsoft dropped a consistent volume of content aimed at Windows Vista users, in addition to the default wallpapers that ship with the operating system. You will be able to find five sources of unique Windows wallpapers designed and offered by Microsoft via this link. The RoboChamps backgrounds and resources can be downloaded from here.

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Yahoo Banner Ads Infecting Visitors With Malware

Over the past few days, Yahoo has been exposing visitors to fraudware banner ads and also ads that try to trick them into installing malware. The ads are displayed across numerous web portal sections, including Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Groups and Yahoo Astrology.

Some of the ads pitch women’s deodorant, but behind the scenes, they contact servers that have been used by previous rogue ads targeting high-traffic websites. Typically, the ads produce a pop up that looks strikingly similar to official Windows dialog pop-ups that urge the end user to download software to fix problems. Expedia, Rhapsody, MySpace, Excite, Blick, and have all served up similar malicious ads in the past.

Attackers who inject their banners onto reputable sites usually take advantage of the highly decentralized way that online advertisements are sold. It’s not unusual for there to be a succession of affiliates, making it possible for an attacker to pose as an authorized agent of a name-brand product or service. In this case, Yahoo has gotten deceived into running ads that point to, which has been implicated in previous rogue banner attacks. Even if you don’t get redirected, the malvertizement still let’s the bad guys know that it is on display by sending info to and

Among other malicious URL redirections there are:×250.swf×90.swf

Other sites that use Yahoo advertising (like Ebay) could potentially expose visitors to the malvertizement and fraudware sites.

So far emails were sent to three different Yahoo PR reps but until now there’s no indication anyone at the company is even aware of the problem.

An extremely efficient and simple way to avoid malware would be using the NoScript extension for Firefox. Even if you’ve whitelisted Yahoo, it will block JavaScript and Adobe Flash being sent from the attacker’s website.

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XP SP3 and Windows 7, the Wrong Reasons to Skip Vista SP1

In the evolution of the Windows client, Windows Vista Service Pack 1 is a step set firmly between Windows XP SP2 and Windows 7, just as well as the RTM version of the operating system.

But while Vista RTM's Wow-less aura has managed to sell just 140 million licenses of the platform at over a year since the launch, shaving over $1 billion off the Windows Client division revenue in the third quarter of 2008, compared with Q3 2007, SP1 is starting to send out a feeling of inevitability in terms of upgrades/migrations.

Outside of Apple's Mac OS X and Linux, there are but two solutions to "avoid" Vista SP1, for both end users and businesses, namely XP SP3 and Windows 7. However, neither can accurately justify jumping the Vista SP1 phase by themselves. On top of the fact that SP3 brings almost nothing new compared to SP2, Microsoft is also getting ready to yank the product from retail and OEM sales as of June 30. These are the most compelling "incentives" for customers looking to either XP or Vista to choose the latter.

However, just because XP SP3 won't continue to be available via Direct retail and OEM licensing starting with the summer of 2008 does not mean that the operating system will be out of reach. In fact, original equipment manufacturers are planning to use the downgrade rights associated with business editions of Vista in order to continue supplying XP to customers. In this regard, business users will still have an alternative to Vista SP1 in XP SP3 even after June 30. But while it won't offer anything much on top of SP2, XP SP3 will play well with IT infrastructures where migrating to Vista will be synonymous with a large investment that doesn't necessarily justify itself given the proximity of Windows 7.

The next iteration of Windows, currently scooped for 2010, with the possibility of arriving as early as 2009, according to Bill Gates, presents another reason for Windows users to skip Vista SP1 altogether. But the decision of going straight for Windows 7 means placing a bet on the unknown, as there are no guarantees that the lessons leaned by Microsoft with Vista will resonate in the next version of Windows. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer did emphasize the fact that Windows 7 would be a continued evolution, and that the ubiquitous Windows XP would be left further behind, but concrete details about the operating systems are missing entirely at this point in time.

Market analysis company Forrester Research presented Microsoft's bad history with an unpredictable release schedule for its Windows clients as the most compelling argument when it comes down to embracing Vista SP1 rather than waiting for Windows 7. But with Steven Sinofsky, Senior Vice President, Windows and Windows Live Engineering Group, while all details related to Windows 7 are blank, the delivery date, still officially not announced but confirmed for no later than 2010, is set in stone. And that is simply because Sinofsky has a strong history of meeting deadlines.


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Windows XP SP3 now available via Windows Update

Windows XP SP3 is finally here for those that use Windows Update, and here is a direct link to the stand-alone version of SP3 for x86 XP systems (32 bit).

Thanks Bink! Neowin reader WindowsNT says: "There won't be a 64bit version until Windows Server 2003 hits SP3 since they share the same code base."

Here is an interesting article regarding SP3 performance, ignoring the fact that Vista SP1 is still faster than XP SP2/SP3 users will enjoy a performance boost over SP2. When will people learn that Vista ain't all bad!

Windows® XP Service Pack 3 (SP3) includes all previously released updates for the operating system. This update also includes a small number of new functionalities, which do not significantly change customers’ experience with the operating system. This white paper summarizes what is new in Windows XP SP3.

Download: Stand-alone installer for Windows XP SP3 English, 32 Bit (316 MB)

Additional languages:


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As Windows XP Deadline Looms, OEMs Turn To Vista Downgrade Rights

Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) may be preparing to discontinue sales of Windows XP, but some OEMs have found a way to circumvent the software giant's June 30 deadline.

In yet another sign of the market's resistance to Windows Vista, Dell (NSDQ:Dell) Computer, Hewlett Packard (NYSE:HPQ), and Sony on Wednesday all confirmed plans to exercise the downgrade rights Microsoft offers with OEM versions of Windows Vista Business and Vista Ultimate in order to continue offering XP-equipped PCs to their customers.

Downgrade rights, which Microsoft also offers to volume licensing customers, give users the ability to roll back to the previous version of the product they're using. Downgrade rights have existed since 2001 for Windows, but many Microsoft partners say they've been seeing a recent uptick in the number of customers exercising downgrade rights to roll Vista back to XP Professional.

HP will sell PCs pre-installed with XP Professional on its business desktops, notebooks and workstations until July 30, 2009, a spokesperson for the Palo Alto, Calif.-based vendor said in an email to ChannelWeb.

"After June 30, 2008, if a customer already has the XP image and license, HP also can also install that customer's image on their Vista Business systems through our HP PC Customization Services," the spokesperson said.

Dell, Round Rock, Texas, plans to offer Windows XP Professional pre-installed on new PCs for customers that buy Vista Business or Vista Ultimate "for as long as Microsoft supports it," according to a Dell spokesperson, who declined to offer a more specific timeframe.

A Microsoft spokesperson said OEMs have been given the right to provide downgrade media for Windows XP with new Windows Vista Business and Windows Vista Ultimate PCs until January 31, 2009, which is also the cutoff date for system builders.

OEMs appear to have different approaches to dealing with the time costs of performing the downgrade from Vista to XP Professional before shipment.


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3G IPhone to be in June!

The 3G iPhone will be announced June 9, the likely date of Apple CEO Steve Jobs' keynote at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference, analysts said in research notes on Thursday.

The 3G iPhone will be the "first of an impressive wave of new products" from Apple, wrote Citi analysts Richard Gardner and Yeechang Lee. They also expect an updated Mac laptop and iPod lines. The Apple conference is scheduled for June 9-13 in San Francisco.

In addition to a 3G iPhone release in early June, the 2.5G model could have a "minor casing change" and a price drop to between US$299 and $349, compared to the current $399, wrote Shaw Wu, an analyst with American Technology Research, in a research report.

Those predictions are consistent with a February prediction Gardner made that 3G iPhones will be announced by midyear. The 3G iPhone release will help Apple meet its target of shipping 10 million iPhones in 2008, Gardner wrote at the time.

Apple is confident it will sell 10 million iPhones this year, officials said during a conference call on Wednesday to discuss the company's second-quarter earnings.

When asked about the possible release of a 3G iPhone, Apple Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer declined comment. Apple has new products in the pipeline that the company is excited about, Oppenheimer said.

Apple sold more iPhones than expected during the quarter and iPhone inventories were not enough to meet the strong demand, company officials said. Apple acknowledged that aggregate iPhone inventories were low in the U.S. and Europe, which in the past has led to speculation that Apple is reducing current iPhone supplies to prepare for the release of the 3G iPhone.


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Hacker testifies News Corp unit hired him

A computer hacker testified on Wednesday that a News Corp (NWSa.N: Quote, Profile, Research) unit hired him to develop pirating software, but denied using it to penetrate the security system of a rival satellite television service.

Christopher Tarnovsky -- who said his first payment was $20,000 in cash hidden in electronic devices mailed from Canada -- testified in a corporate-spying lawsuit brought against News Corp's NDS Group (NNDS.O: Quote, Profile, Research) by DISH Network Corp (DISH.O: Quote, Profile, Research).

The trial could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in damage awards.

NDS, which provides security technology to a global satellite network that includes satellite TV service DirecTV, denies the claims, saying it was only engaged in reverse engineering -- looking at a technology product to determine how it works, a standard in the electronics industry.

After an introduction by plaintiff's attorney Chad Hagan as one of the "two best hackers in the world," Tarnovsky told the court that he was paid on a regular basis by Harper Collins, a publishing arm of News Corp, for 10 years.

Tarnovsky said one of his first projects was to develop a pirating program to make DirectTV more secure.

But lawyers for DISH Network claim Tarnovsky's mission was to hack into DISH's satellite network, steal the security code, then flood the market with pirated smart cards costing DISH $900 million in lost revenue and system-repair costs.

Smart cards enable satellite TV converter boxes to bring in premium channels.

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Face scans for air passengers to begin in UK this summer

Airline passengers are to be screened with facial recognition technology rather than checks by passport officers, in an attempt to improve security and ease congestion, the Guardian can reveal.

From summer, unmanned clearance gates will be phased in to scan passengers' faces and match the image to the record on the computer chip in their biometric passports.

Border security officials believe the machines can do a better job than humans of screening passports and preventing identity fraud. The pilot project will be open to UK and EU citizens holding new biometric passports.

But there is concern that passengers will react badly to being rejected by an automated gate. To ensure no one on a police watch list is incorrectly let through, the technology will err on the side of caution and is likely to generate a small number of "false negatives" - innocent passengers rejected because the machines cannot match their appearance to the records.

They may be redirected into conventional passport queues, or officers may be authorised to override automatic gates following additional checks.

Ministers are eager to set up trials in time for the summer holiday rush, but have yet to decide how many airports will take part. If successful, the technology will be extended to all UK airports.

The automated clearance gates introduce the new technology to the UK mass market for the first time and may transform the public's experience of airports.

Existing biometric, fast-track travel schemes - iris and miSense - operate at several UK airports, but are aimed at business travellers who enroll in advance.

The rejection rate in trials of iris recognition, by means of the unique images of each traveller's eye, is 3% to 5%, although some were passengers who were not enrolled but jumped into the queue.

The trials emerged at a conference in London this week of the international biometrics industry, top civil servants in border control, and police technology experts. Gary Murphy, head of operational design and development for the UK Border Agency, told one session: "We think a machine can do a better job [than manned passport inspections]. What will the public reaction be? Will they use it? We need to test and see how people react and how they deal with rejection. We hope to get the trial up and running by the summer.

Some conference participants feared passengers would only be fast-tracked to the next bottleneck in overcrowded airports. Automated gates are intended to help the government's progress to establishing a comprehensive advance passenger information (API) security system that will eventually enable flight details and identities of all passengers to be checked against a security watch list.

Phil Booth of the No2Id Campaign said: "Someone is extremely optimistic. The technology is just not there. The last time I spoke to anyone in the facial recognition field they said the best systems were only operating at about a 40% success rate in a real time situation. I am flabbergasted they consider doing this at a time when there are so many measures making it difficult for passengers."

Gus Hosein, a specialist at the London School of Economics in the interplay between technology and society, said: "It's a laughable technology. US police at the SuperBowl had to turn it off within three days because it was throwing up so many false positives. The computer couldn't even recognise gender. It's not that it could wrongly match someone as a terrorist, but that it won't match them with their image. A human can make assumptions, a computer can't."

Project Semaphore, the first stage in the government's e-borders programme, monitors 30m passenger movements a year through the UK. By December 2009, API will track 60% of all passengers and crew movements. The Home Office aim is that by December 2010 the system will be monitoring 95%. Total coverage is not expected to be achieved until 2014 after similar checks have been introduced for travel on "small yachts and private flights".

So far around 8m to 10m UK biometric passports, containing a computer chip holding the carrier's facial details, have been issued since they were introduced in 2006. The last non-biometric passports will cease to be valid after 2016.

Home Office minister Liam Byrne said: "Britain's border security is now among the toughest in the world and tougher checks do take time, but we don't want long waits. So the UK Border Agency will soon be testing new automatic gates for British and European Economic Area [EEA] citizens. We will test them this year and if they work put them at all key ports [and airports]."

The EEA includes all EU states as well as Norway, Switzerland and Iceland.

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Windows XP Service Pack 3 FINAL

Microsoft periodically combines updates, fixes, and other improvements into a single package - Service Pack.

Microsoft develops updates, fixes, and other improvements that address issues reported by the company’s customers and partners. To make it easier for customers to get these updates and enhancements, Microsoft periodically combines them into a single package, and makes that package available for all Windows customers.

These packages are called service packs", Microsoft revealed in the introduction of the Overview of Windows XP Service Pack 3. With the Release Candidates of Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 heading to increased testing pools the past week, and with Microsoft cooking the first public build of the first refresh for its latest Windows client, the official overview for XP SP3 is the only crumb from the service pack fiesta over at the Redmond company. The Release Candidate of XP SP3 in a pre-final stage has already shipped to MSDN and TechNet subscribers.

Windows XP Service Pack 3 FINAL (link 1)
Windows XP Service Pack 3 FINAL (link 2)

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Psystar's Mac Clone Suddenly Not Attractive Anymore

Apple high-ups must be dancing in their offices reading this. Well, not that they were afraid Psystar was going to steal away their
customers but no one needs more competition. A MacFixIt reader has revealed that Psystar "doesn't support customers attempting to install the Leopard operating system on [their] Open Computer themselves." So what if you were to experience a system crash?

The MacFixIt reader received an email from Psystar’s support team. If, of course, this isn't a joke, the email clearly states that the Miami-based Mac clone maker doesn’t support Mac OS X 10.5 - Leopard reinstallation on its Open Computer.

Although Psystar advertised its OpenMac, now dubbed the Open Computer, telling interested parties that they can either get the system free of any OS and do whatever they want with it afterwards, or have Psystar installing Leopard on it for free but pay an extra $150 (if not more) for Apple's OS, the company now seems to be actually forcing people into going for the OS-included package.

"We absolutely do not support customers attempting to install the Leopard operating system on our Open Computer themselves," says the note from Psystar support. "This is due to a difficult process that we go through to get Leopard to function on our computers. We encourage you to purchase an open computer, and select the option to have Leopard Pre-installed."

The reader, of course, asked what options he had should he experience a major system failure requiring the reinstallation of Leopard MacFixIt says Psystar suggested he returned the computer to the company. Say wha'?! Some practically reinstall their OS on a monthly basis just lack of knowledge using Apple's Mac OS.

Still, Psystar claims that Currently, shipping the computer back to them is the only option available. Also, "If the HDD dies, you can ship it to us for $50 plus shipping, so we can replace it for you," Psystar support is quoted as telling the above mentioned reader.

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Skype Offers Unlimited Flat-Rate Calling Plans

Skype has slashed the cost of nationwide and international phone calls with unlimited flat-rate plans. Skype calls on landline and cell phones in the U.S. and Canada will cost $2.95 a month. Unlimited World Skype calls to 34 countries costs $9.95 a month. An analyst said Skype's plans are a threat to mobile operators.

Skype on Monday lowered the cost of nationwide and international calling with the debut of new unlimited calling subscriptions. The launch marks the first time Skype has offered a flat rate for unlimited calls to 34 countries, including Mexico.

Unlimited Skype calls to landline and cell phones in the U.S. and Canada will cost $2.95 per month. Skype subscribers in Mexico can make unlimited calls to the U.S. and Canada, and to landlines in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey for $5.95 a month. Unlimited calls to 34 countries are now $9.95 a month, up to 80 percent less than normal SkypeOut rates. Skype-to-Skype calls remain free.

No Strings Attached

"We know Skype users have different communication needs -- whether it's doing free video calls to others on Skype, or using Skype to make calls to friends or family members who are on landline phones," said Don Albert, vice president and general manager of Skype North America. "Our goal is to provide simple, clear options that allow people to choose the free or inexpensive communication methods that work best in their lives."

The 34 countries included in an Unlimited World subscription are Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.

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Leaked Details of Windows 7 M1 March 2008 Edition Version 6.1 Build 6574.1

Windows 7 is alive and kicking, and despite the fact that Microsoft has gagged the details about the next iteration of Windows almost to perfection, details managed to slip through the Redmond giant's fingers.

The initial Windows 7 Milestone 1 build was dropped at the end of 2007, and in early January 2008, only to close partners of the company. But the development of Windows 7 has moved along since version 6.1 Build 6519.1.x86.fre.winmain.071220-1525. From build 6519.1, Microsoft went up all the way to Version 6.1 Build 6574.1, reportedly made available in March 2008.

But even with the development milestone label of 6.1.6574.1, Windows 7 is still at the Milestone 1 stage as ThinkNext revealed. With this release, the Redmond company has tweaked the installation process of the operating system only superficially, but now the License Agreement references Windows 7 instead of Windows Vista. The next version of Windows still features the same kernel as Vista, the move to MinWin has yet to take place, and even the same editions, namely the Windows 7 Business, HomeBasic, HomePremium, Ultimate, HomeBasic N, Business N and Starter SKUs.

The new Windows 7 installer no longer requires the introduction of a product key until the finalization of the installation process, and after the initial setup, and even at that time, the phase can be skipped entirely, permitting users to run the operating system as a trial. Windows 7 also creates a hidden 500.0 MB partition which is not accessible via Windows Explorer, and is dedicated to management purposes.

Windows 7 M1 Build 6.1.6574.1 features a touched-up graphical user interface. Windows Explorer comes with two new buttons, one for Views and the other for switching the preview panel on or off. The March 2008 edition of Windows 7 M1 brings to the table the Health Center, complete with mouse over reactions. Windows 7 M1 Build 6.1.6574.1 also permits end users to temporarily disable the User Account Control in scenarios where the UAC requires multiple confirmations.


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Leo4Allv3 - Running Mac OS X Leopard on both Intel and AMD

Want to try running Mac OS X Leopard on Intel or AMD machine?

After a lot of hard work eddie11c is proud to present his latest and third release candidate of the Leo4All Series - Leo4Allv3.

This release has a totally rebuilt filesystem, which includes all of the updates. The DVD now supports AHCI mode with more than only two drives, thanks to updated kexts contributed by Cyclonefr. X11 is included and properly working for both Intel and AMD. If you experience a 100% cpu usage error when launching X11 for the first time, open a terminal, type xeyes & and reboot to fix the problem. PPC Emulation for AMD Computers has been fixed!

The ./RemoveVideo script has been improved, and is now called
If one boots in single user mode at the Darwin prompt and mounts the drive with

/sbin/fsck -fy
/sbin/mount -uw /

- options to remove video drivers, account loop fix, and extensions repair are now available. These are the most common issues that eddie11c has automated.

Currently there are no known issues to address, so hopefully the release should be available very soon.

Here’s a list of the improvements


It’s now possible to switch between different versions of ACPIPlatforms - Version 1.1.0 is used as default, but there’s 1.0.3 from Tiger available for older systems as well. Alternatively the stock version 1.2.1 can be used. Version 1.1.0 and 1.2.1 come installed with the proper version of ACPIPS2Nub for PS2 Support. This fixes the PS2 Issues


Eddie11c has included lots of different version choices of AppleSMBIOS kext. The default is Netkas Version 27, however, if you want your hack to look like a real mac, there are many others to choose from. Options are:



Netkas 9.2.0 Sleep- and 9.2.2 binpatched Kernel have been added. Be warned though, the binpatched one does not work on all AMD Machines! The default install is still Netkas 9.2.0 speedstep kernel. There are also vanilla stock kernels (9.2.0/9.2.2) available.


For those of you who have issues with FireWire, or those who just want to speed their boot time a little. This moves all of the IOFireWire kext’s to /FireWire folder in the root of your install drive.

About This Mac

The new release also includes eddie11c’s own little installer to customize “About this Mac” with your processor info. No, it does not fix memory speed, you have to do that with AppleSMBIOS. It should work for all languages and should report overclocked CPU’s properly as well.

Power Management

The Laptop power management bundle has now been added to the install. You will still need to set it up in system preferences. This is known to have a few minor bugs, though. It may not report the proper time remaining or any time remaining for that matter, so use at your own risk.


This option is checked and greyed out by default. It is Dense’s script to install EFI and make the partition active. If you already have an existing bootloader (like from Vista) on the same logical drive, then it will not overwrite it. It will however flag the partition you installed to active, so you will have to manually set your Windows partition active again if needed.

Chipset Drivers

(NOTE- JMicron is the only driver that always installs so please choose at least 1 option, some will have to choose 2 [if you have Marvell IDE and Intel SATA for example] ) There are only 6 choices here.

Nforce chipsets - If you have a SATA DVD choose the NforceTest. If you have Nforce without, eddie recommends choosing the older version labeled Nforce 2/3/4/5. If you have more than 4Gigs of RAM be prepared to crash during install. Please remove 2Gigs of RAM and try again.

SiliconImage - Eddie has not found anyone to confirm if this works or not yet, it should if anyone out there actually uses it.

VIA, SiS, Marvell and SB - Please install this if you are using any of these chipsets. If you have a Marvell IDE drive please install this as they should be supported. Eddie has added many ID’s here so hopefully they all work! This chioce installs AppleVIAATA and AppleOnboardPCATA.

SAS - By request support was added for this, as of writing this its untested. Hopefully it works.

Intel ICHx - If you have ICH7/8/9 chipsets you should install this. This is the modified version by -Dune- to support more than 2 drives and fix the over 2Gigs of RAM panics.


These choices have not changed much, Eddie only added support for STAC9271 by request. If you aren’t sure what chipset you have, please choose AzaliaAudio or AC97Audio.


Graphic Drivers

Many of these packages have been updated!

X1400 Mobility

Nvidia - The drivers are updated to the latest available from the Mac Pro’s and editied to include all Device ID’s. This should cover mostly all 6XXX/7XXX/8XXX series cards.
NVinject - By request options for different version of Nvinject (0.1.3/0.2.0/0.2.1) were added. If you aren’t sure choose version 0.2.1 with the proper amount of RAM for your video card.
GMA950 - QE/CI+resolution change with some artifacts
GMA3100 - supposed to give QE/CI (Unconfirmed)

Network Drivers

ForceDeth - This is compatible with most Nforce LAN.
ForceDeth-V - This is compatible with most Nforce LAN(recommended version)
Skge - Driver for most Marvell LAN cards.
RTL8187 - Just as it says for Realtek 8187
Zydas USB - For the USB Wireless LAN adapter
Tiger IO80211 - Some Atheros cards require this Tiger version to work. Default install is IO80211 from 10.5.2
Broadcom - WLAN driver for BCM4306/4309/4318/4320/4324
RT2500 - Suppose to support Dlink WMP54G v4.0, may support some others.
ViaRhine - Just as it says, for ViaRhine chipsets
Intel 100Pro VE - Just as it says, for the Intel 100Pro VE chipset
RT2860 - Driver for some chipsets like WL-181, may also work on some others.

Good Applications

One can choose to install or not, but Eddie recommends many of these useful programs. They include:

Gumby 50c
Marvin’s AMD Utility
PackageMaker version 2.1(old harder to find)
Stuffit Expander

Support for the Leo4All Releases can be found at the dedicated Wiki.

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MPAA sues website linking to pirated movies

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has sued, a website featuring links to free - and allegedly pirated - movies and TV shows, claiming the site promotes and profits from copyright infringement. The lawsuit is the seventh action filed by the MPAA against content aggregators in the US (thank God RLSLOG is hosted in Europe) since late last year and is part of a larger anti-piracy campaign that included a criminal raid on the UK headquarters of the website TV Links.

The campaign against sites that link to, but do not host, illegal content has raised some eyebrows with critics asking why the association doesn’t go after the host sites or search engines such as, which owns video sharing site “Is the message that it’s less criminal to host illegal content on YouTube than it is to link to it from a site such as TV Links?” Guardian technology columnist Jack Schofield wrote in the wake of the MPAA-directed raid on TV Links in October.

“In future, do I risk being thrown in the slammer for linking directly to a YouTube video?”

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PayPal Plans To Block Older, Unsafe Browsers

As the number-one target of phishing scams, PayPal is making a bold move: blocking old and insecure browsers from its site. PayPal now supports only the use of Extended Validation SSL Certificates, which highlight the address bar in green when users are on a legitimate site. But how and if PayPal acts on this initiative will be interesting to see.

The name PayPal is almost synonymous with phishing scams. According to anti-phishing service PhishTank statistics from last year, PayPal was the number-one target of scams -- more than twice as often as PayPal's parent, eBay, the second most popular target.

On Friday, PayPal announced it was taking an unusual step to combat phishing abuse: blocking old and insecure browsers from its site. It is "an alarming fact that there is a significant set of users who use very old and vulnerable browsers, such as Internet Explorer 4," the company said.

PayPal now supports only the use of Extended Validation SSL Certificates. Browsers that support the technology highlight the address bar in green when users are on a legitimate site. The latest version of Microsoft  Internet Explorer supports EV SSL certificates. Firefox 2 supports them with an add-on, but Apple's Safari browser doesn't.

Protecting Consumers and Vendors

"By displaying the green glow and company name, these newer browsers make it much easier for users to determine whether or not they're on the site they thought they were visiting," said PayPal.

"While refusing to do business with people who don't use one of these browsers may seem disruptive," said Andrew Storms, director of security  operations at nCircle Network Security, "it is actually a rather old technique used by software vendors." Just as software vendors specify approved and required components, "providers of services not only protect their bottom line by making such demands, but also in the long run protect the consumer," Storms explained.

The problem is that it's relatively easy to impersonate browsers. "Exactly how and if PayPal attempts to act on this initiative will be interesting. Apple's iTunes Store is in essentially the same situation. If someone wants to use the iTunes Store, they need to use iTunes. So far, that limitation hasn't seemed to limit Apple's revenues," Storms noted.

Up Next: Single-Site Browser

The next major step in providing security -- both for the consumer and the provider -- will be single-site browsers, Storms said. "This will be a Web browser, like client software, that can do nothing but be used for a single Web site."

"Think of this as a traditional client/server  application. If you need to use your financial system, you launch browser X; then, if you need to use the enterprise resource-planning system, the user launches browser Y." While this might seem like a huge step backward in user productivity and IT management, in the future we might still use a single browser that "locks all network traffic into a single known and trusted site one at a time," Storms said.

Under this scenario, a user would need to log off and switch between different systems. "All the while, the browser ensures no errant information gets transmitted to any other system," Storms said.

source :

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Microsoft releases first Windows Vista Feature Pack

So I guess this is what you call teaching an old dog new tricks. A couple of days ago Microsoft released a new update for Windows Vista that adds additional wireless support and functionality to the operating system through a “feature pack”.

Specifically it adds support for Bluetooth 2.1, a new “Unified Pairing” interface as well as “Windows Connect Now” updates and can only be installed on Vista SP1.

This is interesting to me not because any of the features above, but because up until now, the client version of Windows has never had “feature packs”. We have hotfixes, security patches, service packs and rollups, but not feature packs. What are they?

Upon a little investigation (Google Search, first search), it’s apparent feature packs are quite abundant for Windows Server. To be exact, there are 16 feature packs for Windows Server 2003 which adds a variety of functionality to the server. In essence, they provide new features to an existing operating system as a standalone update. Someone smarter than me might have came to that conclusion just by looking at the name and I envy you.

Nevertheless I ponder if this is just a one-off solution or a sign of things to come. Traditionally these sort of updates would have been included in service packs, probably because they don’t want users waking up one day finding all sorts of major changes have been silently installed via the automatic update systems. On the other hand, service packs are becoming less frequent and that results in new technology support to fall behind between (long) Windows releases.

This update in particular in itself is something out-of-the-ordinary. For example I’ve never known a Windows update in the past to change user interface, maybe even as far as to say it’s not “allowed”.

As a geek who lives on the bleeding edge of technology, this is exciting for Windows. How much of a role will feature packs play? We’ll have to wait and see I guess.

Update: The Microsoft terminology page describes feature packs as “new product functionality that is first distributed outside the context of a product release and that is typically included in the next full product release.”


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Download Windows Vista SP1 RTM Standalone DVD ISO

Over two months since Windows Vista SP1 was released to manufacturing on February 4, 2008, and almost a month since it became available to the general public on March 18, the first service pack for the latest Windows client is once again available for download.

This is of course Vista SP1 Wave 1 of downloads, following Wave 0 which contained a package of the service pack in only five languages, namely English, Spanish, German, French and Japanese. Now Microsoft has made available the Windows Vista Service Pack 1 All Language Standalone DVD ISO.

"Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) is an update to Windows Vista that addresses feedback from our customers. In addition to previously released updates, SP1 will contain changes focused on addressing specific reliability, performance, and compatibility issues; supporting new types of hardware; and adding support for several emerging standards. SP1 also will continue to make it easier for IT administrators to deploy and manage Windows Vista. Windows Vista Service Pack 1 All Language Standalone version can be installed on any language version," Microsoft explained.

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 All Language Standalone DVD ISO download contains the entire lineup of x86 and x64 versions of the service pack. 6001.18000.080118-1840_iso_client_sp_wave1-FRMCSP1_DVD.iso is a 1418.1 MB download, and Microsoft stressed that end users that are updating just one edition of Vista RTM should turn to Windows Update, rather than use the ISO image of SP1.

In this context, Microsoft has lived up to its promise, to release to manufacturing the remaining language versions of Vista SP1 by mid-April. This month will also bring to the table the debut of Vista SP1's delivery through Automatic Updates. And although Microsoft has only pointed to mid-April without revealing a specific date, the all languages Vista SP1 RTM ISO is proof enough that AU distribution is just around the corner.

Windows Vista Service Pack 1 All Language Standalone DVD ISO is available for download here.

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The Pirate Bay Launches Uncensored Blogging Service

In their ever continuing battle to free the Internet, The Pirate Bay has now launched an uncensored blogging service, called Baywords. The service is intended to be a safe haven for bloggers who want to be able to write whatever they want, without being afraid to get shut down by their blog host.


The Pirate Bay is known for defending people’s right to freedom of speech on the Internet, and this is exactly what motivated them to start this new blogging service.

Brokep, one of the co-founders of the site, told TorrentFreak that the idea to start a blogging service came up when the weblog of one of his friends was taken down from Wordpress recently, for linking to copyrighted material.

This, of course, goes against the “uncensored web” philosophy of The Pirate Bay team, and they didn’t hesitate to start their own blogging service, Baywords, using Wordpress as their blogging engine.

On the frontpage of the newly launched service Brokep writes: “Many blogs are being shut down for uncomfortable thoughts and ideas. We will not do that. Our goal is to protect freedom of speech and your thoughts. As long as you don’t break any Swedish laws in your blog, we will defend it”.

In a response, Matt Mullenweg from WordPress told TorrentFreak that he supports Pirate Bay’s Baywords, but he assured us that would never take down a blog for posting deviating thoughts or ideas.

“ supports free speech and doesn’t shut people down for “uncomfortable thoughts and ideas”, in fact we’re blocked in several countries because of that. However as a US-based companies we must comply with US laws, which means if the primary purpose of a blog is distributing illegal material it’s not a good fit for,” Matt said.

Baywords is currently working on expanding the feature list to include support for domain redirects and improved stats. The service is ad-free for now, but Brokep told TorrentFreak that there will be ads blended into the blog design later, to cover the expenses.

This is not the first time The Pirate Bay has started a service where people can publish whatever they want, without being censored. They already created an image hosting service for this reason, and a YouTube competitor is about to follow soon.

For people who are considering moving their Wordpress or Blogger account over to Baywords, importing is pretty straightforward and compatible with all the popular blog platforms. Don’t forget to add TorrentFreak to your blogroll!

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10 beautiful iMac setups worth a look (pics)

The Apple iMac is the stuff that dreams are made of. When it was released in 2000 (iMacs were released in 1998, but the current ’slim’ form was introduced in 2002), it was hailed as the best innovation seen in the recent past, and won many accolades for the design innovation.

The original Intel iMac (24″) received CNET’s “Must-have desktop” in their 2006 Top 10 Holiday Gift Picks list. Technology columnist Walt Mossberg described it as the “gold standard of desktop computing”, and Forbes hailed it as “industry-altering success”. No wonder iMacs turn eyeballs wherever it is spotted.

iMac is Apple’s range of home desktop computers. Priced at $1200-1800, iMac is an affordable, yet powerful workhorse. Sporting a single-unit design and sleek finishing that Apple is famous for, it is only natural that you would wish to have an iMac.

iMac, the design marvel

To increase the temptation, I have collected a list of some of the most exquisite iMac setups that I could find, on Flickr. I started out with some ~30 images, but pruned it down to the top 10 for the sake of readability, and also because many of them contained unwanted clutter.

Preference was given to neatness, lack of clutter and any other extras (exquisite lights, backgrounds etc.). The image credit link (on the titles) and short descriptions about the setup (after the image) are also provided. Instead of wasting time with the slow Flickr search, I searched for the images on CompFight, which loads the results via AJAX (meaning no extra pageloads). Enjoy!

Quattro Vageena

Wood-panel wall background, classy lighting and a clean desk


The strong lighting from behind makes for an interesting visual effect


A (slightly) older iMac (which is a good thing, since it doesn’t have the ugly black rim around the screen that current iMacs have)

Matt Brett

iMac for work, Xbox360 for gaming and a large, spacious desk - minimalist and clean

anh guan

PC(left) vs iMac(right) - literally


iMac, the desk and lighting look exquisite

Crouching Donkey

Leopard overload! The black-coloured desk surface is in good contrast with the Apple machines, which creates a beautiful effect


iMac, Macbook, and iBook make picture-perfect

Falling Sky

Sideview with near-silhoutte look


Not the cleanest of desks, but a iMac, Dell LCD (Ubuntu/iTunes) and PC(runs Ubuntu) won me over

I am an avid surfer of beautiful Apple machines on Flickr. These were my favourites. So, which are your favourite setups? Share it with us in the comments. Would you like to see lists of more beautiful Apple setups? Tell us in the comments.

If you liked this article, please Digg this post, share it on or StumbleUpon. I’d appreciate it :)

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Hackers exploit poor website code

Web designers making very old mistakes are letting malicious hackers hijack visitors to their sites, say experts.

Many of the loopholes left in the code created for websites have been known about for almost a decade say the security researchers.

The poor practices are proving very attractive to hi-tech criminals looking for a ready source of victims.

According to Symantec the number of sites vulnerable in this way almost doubled during the last half of 2007.

Wholly vulnerable

Kevin Hogan, director of security operations at Symantec, said the bug-ridden web code was putting visitors to many entirely innocent sites at risk.

"It overturns the whole notion that if you stay away from gambling and porn sites you are okay," he said.

The attack that a malicious hacker can carry out via these web code vulnerabilities is known as cross-site scripting (abbreviated as XSS).

Typically these involve lax control of the data being swapped between a web server and the browser program someone is using to interact with it.

An XSS vulnerability could, for instance, allow attackers to steal the login credentials of a visitor to a site.


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BitTorrent Acceleration Patch 4.7.3

BitTorrent Acceleration Patch description - An innovative plug-in for BitTorrent that boosts your download speed

BitTorrent Acceleration Patch is an innovative plug-in for BitTorrent. Architecture of the program is designed to permit you downloads of MP3s, movies and other desired files at highest speed.
Bandwidth of your Internet connection is managed as efficiently as possible and BitTorrent Acceleration Patch will help you find more sources to download.BitTorrent Acceleration Patch is a BitTorrent plug-in that allows you to download MP3s and movies.

Here are some key features of "BitTorrent Acceleration Patch":
· Automatically resumes paused downloads;
· Configuration from last run is saved and auto loads on start-up;
· Clean and free, without any adware or spyware;
· Finished and wrong files are cleaned automatically;
· Finds more sources at user-specified intervals;
· Interface is easy to use and good-looking;
· Interface is easy operable by a system tray icon.

· BitTorrent installed;
· Internet connection.

Download: BitTorrent Acceleration Patch 4.7.3

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Silverlight 2, Microsoft's Flash Killer, Gets DRM, Just Like Vista

Microsoft's Flash killer, Silverlight, is on track to get digital rights management just like the company's latest Windows client, Windows Vista. Microsoft has faced a barrage of criticism over the content protection capabilities in Vista, and the subject is bound to yet again come into play with Silverlight 2.

The NAB Show 2008 was the stage where the Redmond company announced new adopters of the Silverlight technology including Madison Square Garden (MSG) Interactive, Tencent, Abertis Telecom, Terra Networks Operations, SBSi, MNet and Yahoo! JAPAN. This context will undoubtedly lead to an increase in uptake of the Silverlight browser plug-in, which is designedjust as Adobe Flash, to offer interactive and rich media experiences over the Internet.

"It’s exciting to see broad industry recognition and rapid adoption of Silverlight across the world. Silverlight offers customers and partners the highest quality creation and delivery of media, protected content, advertising and rich Internet applications, and we are committed to making it easy for partners to integrate and extend Silverlight capabilities," revealed Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer Division at Microsoft.

But at the same time, Microsoft is bound to feel some pain over the decision to include content protection capabilities into Silverlight. According to the Redmond company, the move is designed to foster a vibrant content marketplace, with materials that can be accurately protected in scenarios involving digital rights management, but also Web and streaming playlists, even in cases of streamed encryption, and even when authorization and authentication are required. Silverlight DRM will be Powered by PlayReady and is planned for availability by the end of 2008.

"In addition to being compatible with the broadly deployed base of Windows Media DRM 10 content, Silverlight DRM will support live streaming, on-demand streaming and progressive downloads for connected experiences. With the extensibility and openness of Silverlight, third-party solution providers will also be able to build and offer content owners additional choices for their media protection needs," Microsoft explained.


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Online Petition Favors Windows XP Over Vista

With Microsoft's Windows XP deadline approaching, an online "Save Windows XP" petition has had more than 100,000 responses. These users, like businesses, have been reluctant to move to Windows Vista. For large businesses, adopting Windows Vista could cost millions and Gartner analysts have indicated that Windows could be collapsing.

Windows may or may not be collapsing, as two Gartner Group analysts indicated last week, but Microsoft  is receiving substantial pushback against Windows Vista. With less than three months left until Microsoft says it will stop selling and supporting most versions of Windows XP, will customers be forced into an operating system they don't want -- or is Microsoft facing a customer revolt of stunning proportions?

Resistance is strong enough that InfoWorld Executive Editor Galen Gruman has launched a "Save Windows XP" online petition that has received more than 100,000 responses.

"Millions of us have grown comfortable with XP and don't see a need to change to Vista. It's like having a comfortable apartment that you've enjoyed coming home to for years, only to get an eviction notice," the petition reads.

"The thought of moving to a new place -- even with the stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and maple cabinets (or is cherry in this year?) -- just doesn't sit right. Maybe it'll be more modern, but it will also cost more and likely not be as good a fit. And you don't have any other reason to move."

Will Microsoft Pull an ME?

Gruman wants Microsoft to do something similar to its handling of the disastrous Windows Millenium Edition -- continue selling XP until an acceptable version of Vista can be developed.

It's not clear whether businesses are really pushing back on Vista, said Charles King, principal analyst for Pund-IT, in a telephone interview. "We're just a few weeks past Service Pack 1 for Vista," he noted. "The availability of SP1 is usually the trigger point for serious implementations." While business implementation of Vista so far has been minor, "I expect it to pick up speed," King said.

At the end of the day, though, neither Microsoft nor any other company can force customers to buy their wares. "You try to bring them over a little bit at a time," King said. "Business has found XP, especially the Professional version, to be a very stable operating system that gives them what they want."

The High Cost of Vista

In Gartner's critique of Windows, the analysts said that with Vista Microsoft was attempting to move to a new code base that gets them out from under years of legacy code. While that's true, King said, Microsoft did make some missteps with Vista that haven't helped.


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Europe rejects anti-piracy plans

European politicians have voted down calls to throw suspected file-sharers off the net.

The idea to cut off persistent pirates formed part of a wide-ranging report on creative industries written for the European parliament.

But in a narrow vote MEPs backed an amendment to the report which said net bans conflicted with "civil liberties and human rights".

It puts MEPS at odds with governments planning tough action against pirates.

Piracy police

"The vote shows that MEPs want to strike a balance between the interests of rights holders and those of consumers, and that big measures like cutting off internet access shouldn't be used," said a spokeswoman for the European Parliament after the vote.

The amendment was added to the so-called Bono Report on the Cultural Industries. This was written by French MEP Guy Bono to inform forthcoming European parliament policy that would encourage growth in the region's creative industries.

The amendment called on the EC and its member nations to "avoid adopting measures conflicting with civil liberties and human rights and with the principles of proportionality, effectiveness and dissuasiveness, such as the interruption of internet access."

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), which represents Europe's music industry, said the amendment was "badly drafted" and contradicted the rest of the report.

"We look forward to a full discussion in the European Parliament in the coming months on how best to address copyright theft online," said the IFPI.

The vote has no legal force and leaves national governments free to implement their own anti-piracy plans.

But, said the Open Rights Group, it does "signify resistance" among European law makers to the strict measures that nations such as France are implementing.

In late November 2007 France announced its intention to implement a law that turns net firms into anti-piracy watchdogs.

Information gathered about individuals who persistently share music and movies online will be passed to a government unit that will issue warnings or ask for an individual's net access to be suspended or shut off.

The British government has floated similar plans but net firms have rejected calls for them to act as watchdogs.

source :

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MGS 4 Final US Standard and Limited Edition Boxart and PS3 Bundle

Following the list of rumors and speculations about the Konami release of Metal Gear Solid 4 on the 12th of June 2008, the PlayStation Blog has been updated with a post clarifying the whole situation. First of all, you should all know that the US version of the game is rated M for Mature and comes in different colors and flavors: the Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Standard Edition, the Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Limited Edition, the Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots PlayStation 3 Hardware Bundle and the Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Limited Edition Playstation 3 Hardware Bundle. This means four different products for the fourth in the series. And we've got all of them covered for you.

First, the edition most of the gamers will buy is the standard one – you can see the final, official boxart if you check out the first image below. The packaging art is specifically designed by Mr. Kojima and the team. For those who like to pre-order things, GameStop offers Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Standard Edition accompanied by an exclusive MGS4 Art Book (as long as supplies last). The price of the Standard Edition is $59.99.

The Limited Edition, which can be seen in the second picture below (never released before) will be available exclusively through Gamestop. This MGS4 edition contains everything offered by the Standard Edition as well as a collectible box with exclusive artwork by illustrator Yoji Shinkawa, an additional Blu-ray disc containing two unique and never-before-seen Metal Gear Solid "Making of…" documentaries, and the MGS4 Soundtrack. Also, the MGS4 Art Book is offered under the same conditions as stated previously. The price of the Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Limited Edition is $84.99 USD.

The exclusive PS3 MGS4 bundle (the third picture below) comes with a never seen before white box (typically, the PS3 comes with a black box, but I'm sure you knew that already) and contains an 80GB console, the DualShock 3 controller and the MGS4 Standard Edition. However, the price of this product is not known at the moment.

The cherry on the top and a definite must-have for the fans is represented by the Limited Edition MGS4 PS3 bundle and it promises to come with a really good looking box. As you may figure, the image of the box was not yet made available, but there seems to be a real possibility for it to come with a "gunmetal grey" PlayStation 3 (the last picture below), like the one that's being sold in Japan. No further information regarding the pricing has been published, but Sony declared that it will be a "VERY, VERY Limited Edition bundle".

source :

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Indonesia ends ban on YouTube over film

Indonesian Internet providers have stopped blocking YouTube and other file-sharing Web sites showing an anti-Islam film made by a Dutch politician after complaints from Web users.

The online service providers said Friday they will instead try to block access to individual pages on the sites carrying Geert Wilders' short film.

"It is like removing cancer from the body without making the patient die," Information and Communication Minister Mohammad Nuh told reporters.

On Tuesday, the government in the world's most populous Muslim nation ordered Internet service providers to block YouTube, MySpace and other sites, but savvy surfers had little trouble circumventing the ban.

In an editorial, The Jakarta Post newspaper said the ban "sent a disturbing sign that the president and his advisers are not only dumb, but also dangerous. It shows a mind-set that takes us back a decade to the era of censorship."

Wilders' film intersperses scenes of recent terror attacks with verses from the Quran, Islam's holy book, and speeches from Islamic extremists calling for attacks on non-Muslims. The film has been condemned as racist and misleading by governments around the world.

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Microsoft Introduces Tool for Avoiding Traffic Jams

Microsoft on Thursday plans to introduce a Web-based service for driving directions that incorporates complex software models to help users avoid traffic jams.

The new service’s software technology, called Clearflow, was developed over the last five years by a group of artificial-intelligence researchers at the company’s Microsoft Research laboratories. It is an ambitious attempt to apply machine-learning techniques to the problem of traffic congestion. The system is intended to reflect the complex traffic interactions that occur as traffic backs up on freeways and spills over onto city streets.

The Clearflow system will be freely available as part of the company’s site ( for 72 cities in the United States. Microsoft says it will give drivers alternative route information that is more accurate and attuned to current traffic patterns on both freeways and side streets.

A system for driving directions that Microsoft introduced last fall was limited, because without Clearflow there was no information available about traffic conditions on city streets adjacent to the highways. Because the system assumed that those routes would be clear, drivers were on occasion sent into areas that were more congested than the freeways.

The new service will on occasion plan routes that might not be intuitive to a driver. For example, in some cases Clearflow will compute that a trip will be faster if a driver stays on a crowded highway, rather than taking a detour, because side streets are even more backed up by cars that have fled the original traffic jam.

The new service is part of Microsoft’s efforts to catch up with Google, the dominant search engine provider, by offering an attractive array of related services surrounding its Live search service.

Traffic updates have recently become a standard feature offered by the major Web portals as well as a number of specialized services that send the information to cars or to smartphones and other portable devices.

Greg Sterling, an Internet analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence in San Francisco, said there was consumer demand for traffic information, especially among mobile users. The challenge, he said, will be to demonstrate the improvement the company is claiming.

“This is a sophisticated layer of technology that will not be easily understood by the average person,” he said.

The project began in 2003 when Eric Horvitz, an artificial-intelligence researcher at Microsoft, found himself stuck on the freeway while looking for a new restaurant in Seattle. Thinking that he might avoid the traffic jam, he instructed the navigation device in his car to route him via side streets. The result was a nightmare.

“It was awful,” he said. “Everything seemed to be backed up.”

That set Mr. Horvitz, who is the current president of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, to pondering the problem.

“It hit me that we had to do all the side streets,” he said. “We really needed to understand the whole city.”

The Microsoft researchers began trying to do just that by building software algorithms that modeled traffic behavior and collecting trip data from Microsoft employees who volunteered to carry G.P.S. units in their cars.

In the end they were able to build a model for predicting traffic based on four years of data and 16,500 discrete trips covering over 125,000 miles. The system effectively created individual “personalities” for over 819,000 road segments in the Seattle region.

After creating the Clearflow simulation for Seattle, the Microsoft researchers were able to transfer the model by using the algorithms they had developed and then applying them to other cities. The city models are combined with live traffic data generated by networks of highway sensors to create about 60 million road segments, allowing the system to predict congestion based on time of day, weather and other variables like sporting events.

“I consider this to be the moon mission of our machine-learning research,” Mr. Horvitz said. “I’m still buzzing with the glow that this is actually possible.”

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Xbox 360 Newton Motion Sensing Controller Confirmed

I can now confirm the existence of the Xbox Wiimote clone project and I can tell you the project code name : "Newton"

The "Newton" controller's code name is after the physicist Sir Isaac Newton. The internal Microsoft engineering code name is for this controller is "Newton" as in Newtonian Physics relating to gravity, inertia and acceleration. This is not to be confused with the defunct Apple Newton PDA, this is just and internal name, when this controller comes to market it will have a retail name.

The hardware is still being worked on and it might be a couple months before we see leaked shots of prototypes when they start to mass manufacture it but I am sure that there is an early software developer kit and prototype out there.

Nintendo is not the first company to make something like the Wiimote. The concept for the Wiimote has been called a 3d Mouse or a "Flying Mouse". There is a company called Gyration that makes wireless controllers and is an early innovator in these kind of controllers. Gyration owns a lot of applicable patents for motion-sensing controllers and in 2001 Nintendo hired the company to help them design a motion sensing one handed controller that eventually became the Wiimote.

Nintendo is an investor in Gyration but they don't own it. In 2001 Nintendo licensed patents from Gyration and used it to develop the Wii. They are US application patents 5898421 and 5440326 which are about a device tracking human motion and translating it into linear movement of computer graphic images. So Nintendo does not wholly own all the patents involved in the Wiimote.

Take a look at the awesome infomercial for Gyration's wireless mouse.

Microsoft is rumored to have licensed patents from Gyration and are using them to develop their motion sensing Wiimote controller. Legally Microsoft is not ripping off Nintendo but rather licensing the technology from the same place that Nintendo got it. For an example the Guitar Hero and Rockband controllers both use the same patent that is owned by Konami that they developed for Guitar Freaks.

Back in January there was a notice for a job at Microsoft for a hardware test engineer that drops some big tips about the "Newton" project.


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Google and Yahoo to share web ads

Yahoo and Google, the world's two biggest search engines, have announced a two-week experiment that will see them share advertising space.

During the pilot, Google will be able to place ads alongside 3% of search results on Yahoo's website.

Analysts say the move is designed to frustrate Microsoft, which has offered to buy Yahoo for $44.6bn (£22.6bn), or extract a higher offer.

The news came as both sides were reported to be forging other alliances.

Joint offer

Microsoft and News Corp are discussing making a joint bid for Yahoo, according to the New York Times.

The idea would be to combine three of the world's most visited websites: MySpace, Yahoo and

News Corp had previously discussed working with Yahoo to see off Microsoft's offer.

At the same time, Yahoo is looking to Time Warner's AOL to keep out of Microsoft's hands, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It reported that the deal would involve Time Warner making a cash investment for 20% of the merged firm, which Yahoo could then use to buy back shares.

'Less competitive'

Microsoft criticised Yahoo's advertising trial with Google, saying any lasting deal would not be in the consumers' interests.

"Any definitive agreement between Yahoo and Google would consolidate over 90% of the search advertising market in Google's hands. This would make the market far less competitive," Brad Smith, Microsoft's General Counsel said.

But Yahoo said the testing did not necessarily mean that "any further commercial relationship with Google will result".

Investors reacted positively to the announcement, with Yahoo shares rising 7%.

"Yahoo has made a really clever move here," Cowen and Co analyst Jim Friedland said.

"It looked like Microsoft had all the cards, Yahoo is at least now able to use this for leverage to get Microsoft to pay more," he said.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer on Saturday gave Yahoo three weeks to agree to the company's offer or risk having the offer lowered.

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Microsoft Patch Tuesday Fixes 10 Vulnerabilities

As expected, yesterday Microsoft rolled out five "critical" and three "important" patches for Windows Server 2008, Vista, Office, Internet Explorer and other software as part of its regularly scheduled Patch Tuesday release.

The eight-patch rollout is significant in that Redmond has now released 25 fixes in the first four months of 2008 -- a pace well on track to exceed 2007's 69 security bulletins. St. Paul, Minn.-based Shavlik Technologies' Chief Technology Officer Eric Schultze cites today's release as a good news/bad news affair.
"All eight bulletins this month are client-side vulnerabilities. In other words, your system is safe unless a user logs in and opens documents, reads e-mail or visits an evil Web site on that computer. Systems where no one logs on and does this are safe," Schultze said. "[But] of the five OS-related vulnerabilities this month, four impact Vista and Windows Server 2008. This doesn't speak well for the debut of Windows Server 2008."


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Calling WebServices via AJAX Part 1

Several months ago, one of my customers asked me a fairly pointed question: 

How do you call web services from JavaScript? 

At least, that's what they asked me, but not really what they meant (I'll explain what their real question was in a subsequent post).


Consuming Server-Side Data Using JavaScript

In the old days, you probably wrote a web service that looks like this.


using System;

using System.Web.Services;


[WebService(Namespace = "")]

public class Service : System.Web.Services.WebService



    public string HelloWorld() 


        return "Hello World";



About 6 years ago, you might have written JavaScript code to call that web service directly using the XMLHTTPRequest ActiveX object.  Let's take a look at the way things used to be, referencing my earlier post on a nostalgic look at using XMLHTTPRequest directly from JavaScript to call web services.

var xmlhttp; 


function on_click() 


var xmlToSend = "<?xml version='1.0' encoding='utf-8'?>"; 

xmlToSend += "<soap:Envelope xmlns:xsi='' "; 

xmlToSend += "xmlns:xsd='' "; 

xmlToSend += "xmlns:soap=''>"; 

xmlToSend += "<soap:Body><HelloWorld xmlns='' />"; 

xmlToSend += "</soap:Body></soap:Envelope>"; 


var xmldoc = new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLDOM"); 


xmlhttp=new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP"); 

xmlhttp.onreadystatechange = state_Change;"POST", "", false); 

xmlhttp.setRequestHeader ("SOAPAction", ""); 

xmlhttp.setRequestHeader ("Content-Type", "text/xml"); 






function state_Change() 


    // if xmlhttp shows "loaded"

    if (xmlhttp.readyState==4)


        // if "OK"

        if (xmlhttp.status==200)






            alert("Problem retrieving XML data"); 




Wow, no wonder this customer had a hesitation to calling SOAP web services from JavaScript... that's some ugly code, and I sure don't want to have to write that ugliness each time I call a web service. 

It goes without saying that this was revolutionary just 6 or 7 years ago, but we've learned enough since then to know that you just don't really want to do this anymore.  First, there's not a full SOAP framework in JavaScript, meaning that the serialization/deserialization is going to be left up to you as is the SOAP fault handling.  There might be a library somewhere that provides these capabilities, but honestly ask yourself if this is the best approach.  How much perf overhead are you wasting with all that string parsing into a DOM representation?  Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. 

Some of you are probably thinking, "whaddya mean, the way things used to be?  I just coded that exact code this week?!?" 

Enabling ASMX With JSON

Instead of focusing on XML and SOAP in JavaScript, the world has come to realize that JavaScript Object Notation, or JSON, is much more appropriate for these scenarios.  My elaborate XML above becomes something much simpler, the HTTP body of the request simply consisting of:

{"d":"Hello World"}

ASP.NET 3.5 includes AJAX capabilities that make JavaScript programming much, much easier to work with by enabling ASMX to be able to speak both SOAP/XML as well as JSON.  To do this, we'll make one tiny change to the service.

using System;

using System.Web.Services;

using System.Web.Script.Services;


[WebService(Namespace = "")]


public class Service : System.Web.Services.WebService



    public string HelloWorld() 


        return "Hello World";



Notice the addition of the ScriptService attribute on our service.  This is an attribute new to ASP.NET 3.5, found in the System.Web.Script.Services namespace.  It enables an ASMX service to be exposed using either SOAP or JSON over HTTP.  Adding this attribute enables ASMX to automatically emit a JavaScript proxy type just by appending "/js" to the querystring.  For instance, if my service is in a file called "service.asmx", I would enter "service.asmx/js" into the browser and would be prompted to save something.  Save to a file and open that file in Notepad to take a peak at what was generated.

var Service=function() {


this._timeout = 0;

this._userContext = null;

this._succeeded = null;

this._failed = null;



_get_path:function() {

 var p = this.get_path();

 if (p) return p;

 else return Service._staticInstance.get_path();},

HelloWorld:function(succeededCallback, failedCallback, userContext) {

return this._invoke(this._get_path(), 'HelloWorld',false,{},succeededCallback,failedCallback,userContext); }}


Service._staticInstance = new Service();

Service.set_path = function(value) { Service._staticInstance.set_path(value); }

Service.get_path = function() { return Service._staticInstance.get_path(); }

Service.set_timeout = function(value) { Service._staticInstance.set_timeout(value); }

Service.get_timeout = function() { return Service._staticInstance.get_timeout(); }

Service.set_defaultUserContext = function(value) { Service._staticInstance.set_defaultUserContext(value); }

Service.get_defaultUserContext = function() { return Service._staticInstance.get_defaultUserContext(); }

Service.set_defaultSucceededCallback = function(value) { Service._staticInstance.set_defaultSucceededCallback(value); }

Service.get_defaultSucceededCallback = function() { return Service._staticInstance.get_defaultSucceededCallback(); }

Service.set_defaultFailedCallback = function(value) { Service._staticInstance.set_defaultFailedCallback(value); }

Service.get_defaultFailedCallback = function() { return Service._staticInstance.get_defaultFailedCallback(); }


Service.HelloWorld= function(onSuccess,onFailed,userContext) {Service._staticInstance.Hell

This might look like gibberish a bit, but this is actually some really, really useful stuff that makes calling web services from JavaScript simple.  This code represents a JavaScript proxy that makes it simple to call your service using ASP.NET 3.5.  Notice the line:


This enables our JavaScript class to derive from WebServiceProxy and add new capabilities to it, such as a new method called HelloWorld (the last line in generated proxy).  If you are using ASP.NET 3.5, you should be blissfully ignorant that this stuff exists, since the ScriptManager control will automagically handle all of this stuff for you (more on that later).  However, if you are using something that isn't ASP.NET, for instance ColdFusion or PHP, you can still use ASP.NET AJAX Library.

I copied the generated proxy above into a JavaScript class called "proxy.js". Since I can leverage ASP.NET 3.5, look at how simple this becomes... here's the client-side code in its entirety.

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "">

<html xmlns="">


    <title>Calling a Service</title>

    <script src="MicrosoftAjax.js"type="text/javascript" language="javascript"></script>
   2:     <script src="proxy.js" type="text/javascript" language="javascript">
   1: </script>
   2:     <script language="javascript" type="text/javascript">
   4:         function onClick()
   5:         {
   6:             var proxy = Service.HelloWorld(onSuccess, onFailure);
   7:         }
   9:         function onSuccess(sender, e)
  10:         {
  11:             alert(sender);
  12:         }
  14:         function onFailure(sender, e)
  15:         {
  16:             alert("Problem retrieving XML data");
  17:         }




        <input type="button" onclick="onClick();return false;" />




Look at that... 3 lines of client-side JavaScript code.  Notice there are no runat="server" tags at all, it's just a pure HTML page with some JavaScript, there's absolutely no server-side anything to this.  The astutue reader might notice the script references and think, "Oh yeah?  Where'd the MicrosoftAjax.js script stuff come from?"  That's what ships with ASP.NET 3.5, but you can download it and use the client side JavaScript library separately without using ASP.NET at all.  You can find out more from the Installing ASP.NET AJAX Documentation:

  1. Download the Microsoft AJAX Library 3.5 from the ASP.NET AJAX Downloads Web site.

  2. Unzip the package.

  3. Copy the JavaScript files to the Web site.

It makes total sense, since it's really just a bunch of JavaScript.  That means that you can use the ASP.NET AJAX capabilities from JSP, ColdFusion, or even PHP.  Some folks even created a CodePlex project to make it even easier to use the ASP.NET AJAX libraries from PHP.

Using the ScriptManager Control

One of the things that ASP.NET makes simpler for you is the ability to skip the step above where you copy the proxy code (recall that I copied into a file called proxy.js)... ASP.NET AJAX will handle the proxy stuff for you if you use a very useful control called ScriptManager.  Further, you don't need to pull in the script reference for MicrosoftAjax.js, because the ScriptManager will do that for you, as well.  Using ASP.NET, the code simply becomes:

<%@ Page Language="C#"%>

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN" "">

<html xmlns="">

<head runat="server">

    <title>Calling a Service</title>

    <script language="javascript" type="text/javascript">
   3:         function onClick()
   4:         {
   5:             var proxy = Service.HelloWorld(onSuccess, onFailure);
   6:         }
   8:         function onSuccess(sender, e)
   9:         {
  10:             alert(sender);
  11:         }
  13:         function onFailure(sender, e)
  14:         {
  15:             alert("Problem retrieving XML data");
  16:         }



    <form id="form1" runat="server">

        <asp:ScriptManager ID="ScriptManager1" runat="server" >


                <asp:ServiceReference Path="Service.asmx" />




        <input type="button" onclick="onClick();return false;" />    





Next up... replacing our ASMX with WCF.

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