Microsoft on Tuesday released its December 2007 security bulletin, which includes seven updates: three are designated as critical by the software giant and four are deemed important.
On the Windows side is a cumulative update for Internet Explorer, plus patches for the Windows Kernel, DirectX, Macrovision Driver, and the Windows Media File format--the latter three suggest concern that criminal hackers are targeting media files for exploitation. There are no Microsoft Office updates this month. All Microsoft security patches for Windows and Office software are available via Microsoft Update or via the individual bulletins detailed below.
Under the Radar's Mobility is all about accessing Web services while away from the comforts of your home computer. While a great deal of that has to do with phones, many of the sites and services can be useful even when you're back at the homestead. The first four companies showing their stuff are Boopsie, Buzzwire, Dial Directions, and ImThere. While all four have mobile components, Boopsie and Dial Directions are phone-centric.
Boopsie showed off its mobile search application, which has both a standalone application for phones with open platforms like Windows Mobile and Palm, along with a BREW and J2ME application, and an ajaxy Web interface the company touts as iPhone-friendly. The search tool is focused around categories, which the user has to choose before seeing a search box. Boopsie's CEO Greg Carpenter did a live demo of the service on a Palm Treo for finding a Wikipedia entry. The results come up live and very quickly. It's also got prefix search, meaning you need to type in only the first few letters of a word in multi-word searches.
The company makes its money from theme-skinned clients and an enterprise version that can be tweaked for businesses wanting to use it as an internal tool. Eventually Boopsie hopes to integrate keyword placement with wallpapers, ringtones, and all the other things that are making buckets of cash for mobile-phone companies.The panel of judges chided Boopsie for putting too much pressure on the consumer who needs to pre-think searches by picking a category--something that goes against the current trend of letting users be "lazy" and simply type into a blank search box. Carpenter says consumers who use the application tend to use it extensively enough after doing a single search that they identify channels they go back to.
Buzzwire focuses on streaming media, which is made from audio, video, and written content like blog posts and news articles. The service is launching "early" next year, as soon as it can line up carrier support, although the company has had a 3000-user beta trial going since July. The application lets people find stuff to read, listen to, or watch online, and make customized lists of favorites that can be accessed on both the phone and from a desktop browser. There's also a social-networking component with a sharing service that lets users swap bookmarks with one another.
The big question from the moderators is how the company would maintain whatever deal it have with the carriers without being pushed out over time. Buzzwire's answer was that the content it serves up is king, and that it always tries to maintain compatibility on as many platforms as possible.… Read more
With a few honorable exceptions, car stereo manufacturers are reluctant to build satellite radio tuners into their products, preferring instead to flog you clunky--and expensive--proprietary add-on modules to go with your XM or Sirius subscription.
Perhaps realizing that this model wasn't in the interests of increased adoption of its service, XM has just released the Audiovox XM Direct 2, a (relatively) streamlined, universal adapter that works with nearly all satellite-ready car stereos, irrespective of their manufacturers. In addition to its car compatibility, the device can also be plugged into XM-ready home audio products and XM2go portable radios. According to … Read more
The heat rays go marching one by one by...well, that's about it for now.
Raytheon said Tuesday that its Active Denial System 2 is now in the hands of the customer, the U.S. Air Force. Should it ever get beyond the evaluation stage, the ADS technology could be one of the very first directed-energy weapons fielded by the military. It looks like a satellite dish, works something like a microwave, and isn't supposed to cause any lasting harm.
SAN FRANCISCO--Though he was in town to discuss Dell's new storage products for small and medium-size business customers, company founder and CEO Michael Dell also took time to answer questions about the company's main business, PC sales, which is also an area in which it's recently struggled.
Dell reiterated his company's assertion that there will be more to come of its recent dabblings in selling desktops and notebooks through retail channels.
"We're going to expand to a number of places," he said. "I would expect over the next quarters you'll see … Read more
The Airborne Laser has taken another step forward in its long slog off the drawing board and into the Pentagon's arsenal.
The first-of-its-kind 747-400F this month completed a series of low-power test flights, using onboard infrared sensors to locate "an instrumented target board" on an Air Force NC-135E aircraft. Once the Airborne Laser(ABL) found the target, two solid-state illuminator lasers tracked the target and assessed atmospheric conditions--the later function being key to plotting a path to the target for the weapons laser. Since the high-energy COIL (chemical oxygen iodine laser) weapons system has yet to be … Read more
The chances of your flight being hit by a shoulder-fired, laser-guided missile are good enough that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has spent more than $100 million looking into ways to prevent it.
Defense contractor Northrop Grumman just completed 6,000 hours of in-flight testing on its Guardian directed infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) system, all part of the DHS initiative to adapt existing military technology to protect commercial aircraft from attack by surface-to-air-missiles (SAM) similar to the U.S.-made Stinger.
The DIRCM system works by first detecting the attack, then directing an invisible, eye-safe laser to the homing/seeker … Read more
Amazon.com has a new online grocery service for Seattle residents called Amazon Fresh. Users can pick from an selection of grocery items and have them delivered to their home, or one of the local "pickup centers." The home delivery options come in two flavors--a predawn delivery in a temperature-controlled crate, and a scheduled in-person delivery within a one-hour time slot of your choice. The service is in part the next step to Amazon's "Food and Grocery" section, which contains nearly everything except foods that require refrigeration.
Online grocery shopping is not a new phenomenon. … Read more
What came first, the chicken or the egg? For PC gamers, the answer is a no brainer...The advanced hardware comes first, and the game titles that can truly take advantage of that hardware come months, if not years, later. It comes as no surprise that Microsoft's own DirectX 10 page talks about the benefits of DX10 in the future tense: "Many of the newest Windows games will take full advantage of the next-generation graphics technology in Windows Vista called DirectX 10." (Italics added.)
Game developers have little incentive right now to produce games for DX10, as … Read more