Google to launch operating system

Google is developing an operating system (OS) for personal computers, in a direct challenge to market leader Microsoft and its Windows system. Google Chrome OS will be aimed initially at small, low-cost netbooks, but will eventually be used on PCs as well. Google said netbooks with Chrome OS could be on sale by the middle of 2010.

Last year Google launched the Chrome browser, which it said was designed for "people who live on the web - searching for information, checking e-mail, catching up on the news, shopping or just staying in touch with friends".

Related site: Google Blog
News Source: BBC


Five Reasons Mozilla Firefox 3.5 Rocks

Mozilla released Firefox 3.5 this week, and the Web browser has numerous improvements over its previous version. For those Microsoft Explorer holdouts, it's worth taking a look at. As of this writing, Mozilla reported approximately 4 million downloads. Here's five reasons Firefox 3.5 is a hit.

1. Speed:The number one criterion for a browser is fast speed. The 3.5 version of Mozilla Firefox is markedly faster than its predecessor. According to Mozilla, it ran the industry-standard SunSpider JavaScript Benchmark, which measures how fast browsers render JavaScript, on versions 2, 3 and 3.5 of Firefox. The company claims the newest version performed with at least double the speed of Firefox 3 and is more than 10 times as fast as Firefox 2.

2. Privacy:Just as Explorer offers InPrivate Browsing, Mozilla Firefox 3.5 has Private Browsing. Once a Private Browsing session is activated, computer users can surf any site at all with no trace remaining when they are finished: no cookies, no temp files, no forms information and no search information.

Further, if a user isn't in Private Browsing mode, but still wants to eliminate traces of where he or she has been, there's the "Forget About This Site" feature. That erases the site from the History list, as well as all traces of the browsing session on your computer, including cookies and temp files, search history, forms and more.

3. Music and Video Support:Because Firefox 3.5 supports HTML 5 audio and video elements, users can watch video and listen to music directly in a Web page, without launching any plug-ins. The video or audio can be saved by right-clicking and saving it. That's a big improvement with the torrent of video viewing taking place on the internet.

4. "Awesome Bar:"The location bar -dubbed the "Awesome Bar" by some perhaps overly enthusiastic developers - has been made even more, well, awesome in Mozilla Firefox 3.5. Previosuly, you could simply type the name of what you were searching into that field, foregoing the search box altogether, and a Google search page would show results. Mozilla has tweaked the search functionality in the browser so surfers can show only bookmarks by using an asterisk after a query such as "Channelweb *", or show only tags by using a plus "Channelweb +".

5. Session Control:If Mozilla Firefox crashes, users can choose which tabs to resuscitate, a feature previously available through the Session Manager add-on. That's handy particularly if a Flash-based or heavy JavaScript site was the cause of the crash, so users aren't caught in a perpetual, and irritating, crash-and-restart cycle in their browser.

Source: Channel Web


YouTube doubles video file size to 2G

Video-sharing site YouTube announced on Wednesday that it was doubling the size limit for uploads to its website to allow users to post more high-definition (HD) video. YouTube, in a blog post, said the size limit for uploads to the site was being doubled -- from one gigabyte to two gigabytes. HD video is increasingly popular but the higher resolution results in larger files. A YouTube spokesman told AFP that while file size for individual videos was being increased to two gigabytes, the 10-minute length restriction for videos posted on the site remains in place.

Source: Yahoo! News

Facebook plans to simplify privacy settings

Facebook is overhauling its privacy controls over the next several weeks in an attempt to simplify its users' ability to control who sees the information they share on the site.

Privacy has been a central, often thorny issue for Facebook because so many people use it to share personal information with their friends and family and beyond. But as the 5-year-old social networking service has expanded its user base and added features, its privacy controls have grown increasingly complicated.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company said Wednesday that the new settings will give people greater control over what photos, updates and personal details they share with their friends, family and strangers on Facebook and, eventually, the wider Internet.

Full story...
Source: Yahoo! News


First look: Firefox 3.5 released, ready to "upgrade" the Web

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Mozilla has officially released Firefox 3.5, the next major version of its popular open source Web browser. Ars takes a close look at the new version and evaluates its enhancements. Support for HTML 5 video and other important emerging Web standards make this one of the most significant Firefox releases ever.

More story...


Smartphone Buyers Guide: The Best of the Best

As the dust settles from the last two weeks of mobile madness, one question remains unanswered: Which of the new generation of smartphones should you actually buy? We've collected everything you need to know.

We've selected the five phones that most feel like modern handsets to us—the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3G S, the Palm Pre, the HTC Magic (or, as we soon expect, the T-Mobile G2) and the BlackBerry Storm—and broken them down by hardware, software and cost. This is a guide in the strictest sense, meaning we aren't declaring winners or losers, just giving you the information you need to make your own choice. So! On with the matrices.


Last-minute Conficker survival guide

Tomorrow -- April 1 -- is D-Day for Conficker, as whatever nasty payload it's packing is currently set to activate. What happens come midnight is a mystery: Will it turn the millions of infected computers into spam-sending zombie robots? Or will it start capturing everything you type -- passwords, credit card numbers, etc. -- and send that information back to its masters?

No one knows, but we'll probably find out soon.

Or not. As Slate notes, Conficker is scheduled to go "live" on April 1, but whoever's controlling it could choose not to wreak havoc but instead do absolutely nothing, waiting for a time when there's less heat. They can do this because the way Conficker is designed is extremely clever: Rather than containing a list of specific, static instructions, Conficker reaches out to the web to receive updated marching orders via a huge list of websites it creates. Conficker.C -- the latest bad boy -- will start checking 50,000 different semi-randomly-generated sites a day looking for instructions, so there's no way to shut down all of them. If just one of those sites goes live with legitimate instructions, Conficker keeps on trucking.

Conficker's a nasty little worm that takes serious efforts to bypass your security defenses, but you aren't without some tools in your arsenal to protect yourself.

Your first step should be the tools you already have: Windows Update, to make sure your computer is fully patched, and your current antivirus software, to make sure anything that slips through the cracks is caught.

But if Conficker's already on your machine, it may bypass certain subsystems and updating Windows and your antivirus at this point may not work. If you are worried about anything being amiss -- try booting into Safe Mode, which Conficker prevents, to check -- you should run a specialized tool to get rid of Conficker.

Microsoft offers a web-based scanner (note that some users have reported it crashed their machines; I had no trouble with it), so you might try one of these downloadable options instead: Symantec's Conficker (aka Downadup) tool, Trend Micro's Cleanup Engine, or Malwarebytes. Conficker may prevent your machine from accessing any of these websites, so you may have to download these tools from a known non-infected computer if you need them. Follow the instructions given on each site to run them successfully. (Also note: None of these tools should harm your computer if you don't have Conficker.)

As a final safety note, all users -- whether they're worried about an infection or know for sure they're clean -- are also wise to make a full data backup today.

What won't work? Turning your PC off tonight and back on on April 2 will not protect you from the worm (sorry to the dozens of people who wrote me asking if this would do the trick). Temporarily disconnecting your computer from the web won't help if the malware is already on your machine -- it will simply activate once you connect again. Changing the date on your PC will likely have no helpful effect, either. And yes, Macs are immune this time out. Follow the above instructions to detect and remove the worm.

On the Net:

List of Conficker removal programs:

Homeland Security's announcement of its detection tool:

From: Yahoo! Technology