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Gates hints at Vista 'successor'

200°
346w ago - Microsoft boss Bill Gates has dropped a hint about the next version of Windows.

He said Windows 7 could be released "sometime in the next year or so" during a Q&A session at a meeting of the Inter-American Development Bank.

After the event a Microsoft spokeswoman said the new version was scheduled for 2010 - three years after the January 2007 release of Vista for consumers.

But industry experts warned that Microsoft's estimates about delivery dates have often proved optimistic.

Long wait

Mr Gates made his comments in response to a question from the audience gathered to hear him talk about corporate philanthropy during IADB's annual meeting.

Said Mr Gates: "That'll be sometime in the next year or so that we'll have a new version."

He added: "I'm super-enthused about what it will do in lots of ways." However, Mr Gates did not detail what changes or novel features are being lined up to appear in Windows 7.

Microsoft has started the developer program for Windows 7 and there are reports that a test version, of it, called Milestone 1, have been given to some of the software giant's biggest customers.

Afterwards a spokesperson for the company said Mr Gates was talking about pre-release versions of Windows...
 

Facebook sees decline in users

50°
353w ago - Social networking site Facebook has seen its first drop in UK users in January, new industry data indicates.

Users fell 5% to 8.5 million in January from 8.9 million in December, according to data from Nielsen Online.

This was the first drop in user numbers since July 2006 when Nielsen began compiling data on the site.

Nic Howell, deputy editor of industry magazine New Media Age, said the site was no longer as popular among its core audience of young people.

"Social networking is as much about who isn't on the site as who is - when Tory MPs and major corporations start profiles on Facebook, its brand is devalued, driving its core user base into the arms of newer and more credible alternatives," he said.

Plateau

Facebook, along with its main rivals Bebo and MySpace, lets users set up personal web pages and communicate with each other.

Alex Burmaster, European internet analyst at Nielsen Online, said that it was inevitable that the site's early growth rates could not be sustained and user numbers were likely to plateau.

Nielsen's figures showed that there are 712% more Facebook users than a year ago.

"Just as one swallow doesn't make a summer, so one month of falling audiences doesn't spell the decline of Facebook...
 

Windows, Xbox Live VP Schappert To Keynote GDC 2008

50°
358w ago - Microsoft's John Schappert, Corporate Vice President LIVE, Software and Services for the Interactive Entertainment Business, will deliver a keynote address at CMP's 2008 Game Developers Conference, setting the stage for revolutionary changes in game development in 2008.

The address, "A Future Wide Open: Unleashing the Creative Community," marks the first return to the GDC keynote stage for Microsoft since 2005.

Schappert's keynote explores the Xbox 360 platform's next step in democratizing game development, vastly opening up the industry for developers of all sizes. The session will set the strategy for Xbox 360 this upcoming year, revealing top developers' plans for the platform in 2008. Additionally, Schappert will discuss how the increasing role of online gaming will continue to shape gameplay and game distribution this year.

"The Game Developers Conference is the premiere stage for industry leaders to present their strategies for advancing the state of the art of games," said Jamil Moledina, executive director of the Game Developers Conference. "Given John's experience and the Microsoft game development team behind him, we are confident that our attendees will not want to miss this glimpse into the future of how games will be made."

As Corporate Vice President Live, Software...
 

Windows XP SP3 RC Is Now Available For Download

50°
362w ago - Microsoft had just added the much anticipated Service Pack 3 Release Candidate ( The closest stage of software development to the final version) for the Windows XP Operating System ( OS ) to their download center last night. The Windows XP SP3 RC is now available for all Windows XP users, and it seems that even those with ehem.... " Un-Genuine " Windows XP OS installed in their systems can also download and install the RC, but I'm not quite sure about that, since mine is genuine.

The SP3 RC was in private testing for quite sometime, and now that Microsoft had moved it to public testing, I think Microsoft is very confident with The RC's integrity, otherwise they wouldn't had released it to the public. And I also think that it is almost guaranteed that Microsoft will release the SP3's Final Version at the early next year.

During the SP3 RC's private testing, many testers claimed that the RC brought about 10% performance boost to their Windows XP systems, something that Microsoft still has not officially confirm and publicize. If you ask me, I would say that Microsoft does not want people to have a renewed interest on the last generation Windows XP, now that Microsoft is busy trying to get more people to use it's latest but not very well received Windows Vista.

Beside the performance...
 

Hackers hijack web search results

50°
365w ago - A huge campaign to poison web searches and trick people into visiting malicious websites has been thwarted.

The booby-trapped websites came up in search results for search terms such as "Christmas gifts" and "hospice".

Windows users falling for the trick risked having their machine hijacked and personal information plundered.

The criminals poisoned search results using thousands of domains set up to convince search index software they were serious sources of information.

Innocent victim

While computer security researchers have seen small-scale attempts to subvert search results before now, the sheer scale of this attack dwarfed all others.

"This was fairly epic," said Alex Eckelberry, head of Sunbelt Software - one of the firms that uncovered the attack.

Mr Eckelberry said tens of thousands of domains were used in the vanguard of the attack. Most domains were Chinese registered, hosted in the US and were only a couple of days old.

Websites loaded on these domains were booby-trapped with malicious software that looked for vulnerabilities in copies of Microsoft's Internet Explorer used to browse them.
"If your machine was not fully patched you were going to get hosed," said Mr Eckelberry.

The criminals...
 
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