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Saturday, December 04, 2010

Google Chrome 8 Review & Rating |

Google Chrome IconImage via WikipediaGoogle Chrome 8 Review & Rating |

With Chrome, Google single-handedly set off a revolution in the Web surfing software on several fronts: Its blazingly fast JavaScript performance kicked competitors like Firefox (Free, 4.5 stars), Internet Explorer (Free, 4 stars), Safari (Free, 4 stars), and Opera into a speed race. It also started the trend of minimizing the application's window to let the Web page shine unimpeded. The current release takes this to the extreme, with but a single menu button. It's also the most frequently updated browser, now at version 8 after a little over 2 years of existence.

Most releases have brought new major features, such as bookmark syncing, a bookmark manager, and extensions capability, though others have just added speed, stability, and new standard support. This latest release brings with it a built-in PDF reader, along with some bug and security fixes. The fine design, compatibility, and especially the speed have impressed the Web community enough to make Chrome the fastest growing browser in terms of market share, with the ten percent mark nearing. Let's take a look at what makes this browser so special.

Swift Setup
Even the setup process shows Chrome's commitment to speed: Just click the Install button on the Chrome Web page, and you'll have the new browser up and running in less than a minute, with no wizard to go through and no system restart. The browser's now available for Mac OS X and Linux, as well as Windows. In each platform the browser's up and running before you realize it, and it updates itself automatically in the background.

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Built-in Flash and PDF Support
Chrome is the only browser to come with Adobe Flash built in, rather than requiring a separate (and annoying) installation. And not having to perform the frequent required updates of the Flash plugin separately is another boon--it updates automatically with the browser.

Chrome boasts a PDF reader as well, so you don't have to worry about installing any Adobe plugins for viewing specialized web content. When you load a PDF, an intuitive toolbar shows when your mouse cursor is in the southeast vicinity of the browser window. From this, you can have the document fill the width of the window, show a full page, or zoom in and out. By default, you can select text for cutting and pasting, but I couldn't copy and paste images. You can print the PDF as you would any Web page.

Minimalism has been a hallmark of Chrome since its first beta release. Tabs are above everything, and the only row below them holds the combined search/address bar, or "Omnibar." Optionally you can display bookmark links in a row below this. And the control buttons on the top-right of the browser have been reduced window to the absolute minimum—just one. Google has removed the Page icon and placed some of its functions under the Wrench choice. Some Page options have been combined into buttons on one line in the new menu, such as Cut, Copy, and Paste. I like what Google's done with the Zoom choice on the menu, adding plus and minus buttons that save you from having to fly out another submenu.

Chrome also still sports excellent tab implementation. Tabs are prominent at the top of the browser window, and you can drag them out to the desktop to create independent windows (and drag them back in later) or split them side by side à la Windows 7 Aero Snap.

Google has put considerable thought into its browser's new tab page, which shows thumbnails of your most-visited pages. I like that you can move the large thumbnails around and pin them in place, or remove those you don't want. You also now have a choice of list or thumbnail view, and you can display only recently closed tabs, only most visited pages, or neither.
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WikiLeaks Archive - China’s Battle With Google -

WikiLeaks Archive - China’s Battle With Google -

As China ratcheted up the pressure on Google to censor its Internet searches last year, the American Embassy sent a secret cable to Washington detailing why top Chinese leaders had become so obsessed with the Internet search company: they were Googling themselves.

The May 18, 2009, cable, titled “Google China Paying Price for Resisting Censorship,” quoted a well-placed source as saying that Li Changchun, a member of China’s top ruling body, the Politburo Standing Committee, and the country’s senior propaganda official, was taken aback to discover that he could conduct Chinese-language searches on Google’s main international Web site. When Mr. Li typed his name into the search engine at, he found “results critical of him.”

That cable from American diplomats was one of many made public by WikiLeaks that portray China’s leadership as nearly obsessed with the threat posed by the Internet to their grip on power — and, the reverse, by the opportunities it offered them, through hacking, to obtain secrets stored in computers of its rivals, especially the United States.

Extensive Chinese hacking operations, including one leveled at Google, are a central theme in the cables. The hacking operations began earlier and were aimed at a wider array of American government and military data than generally known, including attacks on computers of American diplomats preparing positions on a climate change treaty.

One cable, dated early this year, quoted a Chinese person with family connections to the elite as saying that Mr. Li himself directed an attack on Google’s servers in the United States, though that claim has been called into question. In an interview with The New York Times, the person cited in the cable said that Mr. Li personally led a campaign against Google’s operations in China but that to his knowledge had no role in the hacking attack.

The cables catalog the heavy pressure that was placed on Google to comply with local censorship laws, as well as Google’s willingness to comply — up to a point. That coercion began building years before the company finally decided to pull out of China last spring in the wake of the successful hacking attack on its home servers, which yielded Chinese dissidents’ e-mail accounts as well as Google’s proprietary source code.

The demands on Google went well beyond removing material on subjects like the Dalai Lama or the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Chinese officials also put pressure on the United States government to censor the Google Earth satellite imaging service by lowering the resolution of images of Chinese government facilities, warning that Washington could be held responsible if terrorists used that information to attack Chinese government or military facilities, the cables show. An American diplomat replied that Google was a private company and that he would report the request to Washington but that he had no sense about how the American government would act.

Yet despite the hints of paranoia that appear in some cables, there are also clear signs that Chinese leaders do not consider the Internet an unstoppable force for openness and democracy, as some Americans believe.

In fact, this spring, around the time of the Google pullout, China’s State Council Information Office delivered a triumphant report to the leadership on its work to regulate traffic online, according to a crucial Chinese contact cited by the State Department in a cable in early 2010, when contacted directly by The New York Times.

The message delivered by the office, the person said, was that “in the past, a lot of officials worried that the Web could not be controlled.”

“But through the Google incident and other increased controls and surveillance, like real-name registration, they reached a conclusion: the Web is fundamentally controllable,” the person said.

That confidence may also reflect what the cables show are repeated and often successful hacking attacks from China on the United States government, private enterprises and Western allies that began by 2002, several years before such intrusions were widely reported in the United States.

At least one previously unreported attack in 2008, code-named Byzantine Candor by American investigators, yielded more than 50 megabytes of e-mail messages and a complete list of user names and passwords from an American government agency, a Nov. 3, 2008, cable revealed for the first time.

Precisely how these hacking attacks are coordinated is not clear. Many appear to rely on Chinese freelancers and an irregular army of “patriotic hackers” who operate with the support of civilian or military authorities, but not directly under their day-to-day control, the cables and interviews suggest.

But the cables also appear to contain some suppositions by Chinese and Americans passed along by diplomats. For example, the cable dated earlier this year referring to the hacking attack on Google said: “A well-placed contact claims that the Chinese government coordinated the recent intrusions of Google systems. According to our contact, the closely held operations were directed at the Politburo Standing Committee level.”

The cable goes on to quote this person as saying that the hacking of Google “had been coordinated out of the State Council Information Office with the oversight” of Mr. Li and another Politburo member, Zhou Yongkang.” Mr. Zhou is China’s top security official.

But the person cited in the cable said he did not make that claim, and also doubted that Mr. Li directed a hacking attack aimed at securing commercial secrets or dissidents’ e-mail accounts — something considered the purview of security officials.

Still, the cables provide a patchwork of detail about cyberattacks that State Department and embassy officials believe originated in China with either the assistance or knowledge of the Chinese military.

For example, in 2008 Chinese intruders based in Shanghai and linked to the People’s Liberation Army used a computer document labeled “salary increase — survey and forecast” as bait as part of the sophisticated intrusion scheme that yielded more than 50 megabytes of electronic mail messages and a complete list of user names and passwords from a United States government agency that was not identified.

The cables indicate that the American government has been fighting a pitched battle with intruders who have been clearly identified as using Chinese-language keyboards and physically located in China. In most cases the intruders took great pains to conceal their identities, but occasionally they let their guard down. In one case described in the documents, investigators tracked one of the intruders who was surfing the Web in Taiwan “for personal use.”

In June 2009 during climate change talks between the United States and China, the secretary of state’s office sent a secret cable warning about e-mail “spear phishing” attacks directed at five State Department employees in the Division of Ocean Affairs of the Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change.

The messages, which purport to come from a National Journal columnist, had the subject line “China and Climate Change.” The e-mail contained a PDF file that was intended to install a malicious software program known as Poison Ivy, which was meant to give an intruder complete control of the victim’s computer. That attack failed.

The cables also reveal that a surveillance system dubbed Ghostnet that stole information from the computers used by the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and South Asian governments and was uncovered in 2009 was linked to a second broad series of break-ins into American government computers code-named Byzantine Hades. Government investigators were able to make a “tenuous connection” between those break-ins and the People’s Liberation Army.

The documents also reveal that in 2008 German intelligence briefed American officials on similar attacks beginning in 2006 against the German government, including military, economic, science and technology, commercial, diplomatic, and research and development targets. The Germans described the attacks as preceding events like the German government’s meetings with the Chinese government.

Even as such attacks were occurring, Google made a corporate decision in 2006, controversial even within the company, to establish a domestic Chinese version of its search engine, called In doing so, it agreed to comply with China’s censorship laws.

But despite that concession, Chinese officials were never comfortable with Google, the cables and interviews show.

The Chinese claimed that Google Earth, the company’s satellite mapping software, offered detailed “images of China’s military, nuclear, space, energy and other sensitive government agency installations” that would be an asset to terrorists. A cable sent on Nov. 7, 2006, reported that Liu Jieyi, an assistant minister of foreign affairs, warned the American Embassy in Beijing that there would be “grave consequences” if terrorists exploited the imagery.

A year later, another cable pointed out that Google searches for politically delicate terms would sometimes be automatically redirected to Baidu, the Chinese company that was Google’s main competitor in China. Baidu is known for scrubbing its own search engine of results that might be unwelcome to government censors.

Google conducted numerous negotiations with officials in the State Council Information Office and other departments involved in censorship, propaganda and media licensing, the cables show. The May 18, 2009, cable that revealed pressure on the company by Mr. Li, the propaganda chief, said Google had taken some measures “to try and placate the government.”

But Chinese officials became alarmed that Google still did less than its Chinese rivals to remove material Chinese officials considered offensive. Such material included information about Chinese dissidents and human rights issues, but also about central and provincial Chinese leaders and their children — considered an especially taboo topic, interviews with people quoted in the cables reveal.

Mr. Li, after apparently searching for information online on himself and his children, was reported to have stepped up pressure on Google. He also took steps to punish Google commercially, according to the May 18 cable.

The propaganda chief ordered three big state-owned Chinese telecommunications companies to stop doing business with Google. Mr. Li also demanded that Google executives remove any link between its sanitized Chinese Web site and its main international one, which he deemed “an illegal site,” the cable said.

Google ultimately stopped complying with repeated censorship requests. It withdrew from China earlier this year, citing both the hacking attacks and its unwillingness to continue obeying censorship orders.

James Glanz reported from New York, and John Markoff from San Francisco. Andrew W. Lehren contributed reporting from New York.

Friday, December 03, 2010

WikiLeaks Rebounds as New Hosting Provider Seeks Protection - PCWorld

WikiLeaks Rebounds as New Hosting Provider Seeks Protection - PCWorld

WikiLeaks appears to be quickly taking steps to reduce its reliance on Internet infrastructure in the U.S. as it battles to keep secret diplomatic cables online while its new French hosting provider is seeking court protection.

Early on Friday, WikiLeaks began using a new domain name,, which is owned by The Pirate Party Switzerland, a group that is apparently sympathetic to the controversial website.

Since it began posting classified U.S. diplomatic cables, WikiLeaks has come under consistent denial-of-service attacks that have aimed to shut down the release of the documents.

It has also faced problems with its hosting providers. The site briefly used's hosted Web Services, which caused U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut Independent, to criticize the company. Amazon cut WikiLeaks, denying that it did so under political pressure and saying instead that the site violates its terms of service. After Amazon, Bahnhof Internet AB in Uppsala, Sweden, hosted WikiLeaks.

Amid the hosting problems, WikiLeaks was abandoned by its DNS (Domain Name System) provider on Thursday due to sustained attacks. One of its domain names,, no longer works after a subsidiary of Dynamic Network Services called terminated that DNS. said the attacks were threatening the reliability of its infrastructure, which is used for 500,000 other websites.

But WikiLeaks is remaining on the run in what appears to be a fast-moving, constantly shifting effort to keep online.

As of Friday, resolved to an IP (Internet protocol) address, ( that then redirects to an IP address in France, (, said Paul Mutton, a security analyst with Netcraft.

The latter address is allocated to the French hosting provider OVH. The company has delegated a block of 16 IP addresses to WikiLeaks, "which suggests more than a temporary relationship between the two organisations," Mutton wrote on Netcraft's blog.

OVH's CEO, Octave Klaba, wrote on Friday in an e-mail to the company's customers that WikiLeaks has been hosted on its infrastructure since early Thursday. A person ordered a dedicated server and "protection against attack," paying less than €150 (US$198) on a credit card, Klaba wrote.

The order was made through OVH's automated systems. The company found out that WikiLeaks was hosted on its infrastructure on Thursday "from the press," Klaba wrote. OVH is neither for or against WikiLeaks, he wrote, and will fulfill its contract with the customer.

"He is hosting WikiLeaks," Klaba wrote. "Legally speaking, OVH is not the host of this site. OVH is simply the provider of the service the customer ordered. In short, the story is banal."

Nonetheless, Klaba complained about political pressure to shut the site down, and has asked the courts for an urgent declaratory ruling on its legality. The ruling should be released Friday or Saturday, he wrote. France's Minister of Industry Eric Besson has reportedly asked advisers to find a way to have the site removed from French territory.

In an interview, Mutton said that having 16 IP addresses on OVH's network would make WikiLeaks more resilient to an attack, as WikiLeaks can change which of those IP addresses redirects to.

"It gives them flexibility to hop around IP addresses instantly," Mutton said.

WikiLeaks is also using a nameserver called "" But despite's actions on Friday, it appears the nameserver is using services from that company.

"I think it's curious that they have chosen to use EveryDNS again, given that EveryDNS terminated DNS services for their other domain,, earlier this morning," Mutton said.

Nonetheless, the changes make it appear that WikiLeaks want to ensure their infrastructure is not reliant on servers in the U.S. or on services provided by U.S. companies, Mutton said.

" will be hard for the U.S. government to influence," Mutton said.
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Apple MacBook Air 13-inch Review & Rating |

MacBook Air hands on #1Image by Dan_H via FlickrApple MacBook Air 13-inch Review & Rating |

The SD slot, extra USB, and a staggering increase in battery life make the Apple MacBook Air 13-inch a strong contender in the ultraportable space.

An SD slot and extra USB port fill an important void. Stunningly beautiful design. Bigger battery resulted in almost twice as much battery life as its predecessor. Higher resolution increases the value of the 13-inch screen. Best clickpad implementation, period. Lightest in its class. Zippy wake-from-sleep times. Excellent graphics horsepower.

Pricey. Starting memory configuration only 2GB rather than 4GB. Intel Core 2 Duo processor based on two-year-old technology.


Price: $1,300.00 Direct
Type: General Purpose, Media, Ultraportable, Gaming Ultraportable
Operating System: Mac OS X 10.6
Processor Speed: 1.86 GHz
Processor Name: Intel Core 2 Duo L9400
Weight: 2.9 lb
Screen Size: 13.3 inches
Screen Size Type: widescreen
Graphics Card: nVidia GeForce 320M
Storage Capacity (as Tested): 128 GB
Networking Options: 802.11n
Primary Optical Drive: External

By Cisco Cheng
The original MacBook Air ($1,799 direct, 3 stars) took the concept of thin to a whole new level, but ended up sacrificing too much in the process. Just when you thought the MacBook Air was about to collapse under its shortcomings, Apple, inspired by what it did with the Apple iPad, breathes new life into the MacBook Air 13-inch ($1,299 direct). We all knew Apple had the design chops to push the boundaries of thin, but what it added in terms of features and performance set the precedent for what's to come. After all, Steve Jobs called the latest MacBook Air, "the future of MacBooks." The 13-inch version adds an extra USB port and an SD slot—features it desperately needed to compete as a laptop. It completely transitions to flash storage (SSDs), which, in addition to enabling the Air's zippy wake-from-sleep times, made room for a bigger 50Wh battery and its over 5 hours of battery life. But for those who complained about the MacBook Air's steep prices, they'll be complaining for a while longer.
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WikiLeaks fights to stay online after US company withdraws domain name | Media |

WikiLeaks fights to stay online after US company withdraws domain name | Media | says attack against leaks site endangered other customers' service – effectively pushing site off the web

The US was today accused of opening up a dramatic new front against WikiLeaks, effectively "killing" its web address just days after Amazon pulled the site from its servers following political pressure.

The whistleblowers' website went offline for the third time in a week this morning, in the biggest threat to its online presence yet.

Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate's committee on homeland security, earlier this week called for any organisation helping sustain WikiLeaks to "immediately terminate" its relationship with them.

On Friday morning, WikiLeaks and the cache of secret diplomatic documents that have proved to be a scourge for governments around the world were only accessible through a string of digits known as a DNS address. The site later re-emerged with a Swiss domain,

Julian Assange this morning said the development is an example of the "privatisation of state censorship" in the US and is a "serious problem."

"These attacks will not stop our mission, but should be setting off alarm bells about the rule of law in the United States," he warned.

The California-based internet hosting provider that dropped WikiLeaks at 3am GMT on Friday (10PM EST Thursday), Everydns, says it did so to prevent its other 500,000 customers of being affected by the intense cyber attacks targeted at WikiLeaks.

The site this morning said it had "move[d] to Switzerland", announcing a new domain name –, with the Swiss suffix. However, the new address still only points to an IP address, suggesting WikiLeaks has been unable to quickly find a new hosting provider.

The domain name, which only surfaced on Friday morning, is being served by the Swiss Pirate Party. And the routing to it is still being done by everydns.

Late yesterday evening Tableau Software, a company which published data visualisations, pulled one of its images picturing the WikiLeaks diplomatic cables at the request of Senator Lieberman. Writing on the company's blog, Elissa Fink said: "Our decision to remove the data from our servers came in response to a public request by Senator Joe Lieberman, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, when he called for organisations hosting WikiLeaks to terminate their relationship with the website."

Mark Stephens, the London-based lawyer acting on behalf of Assange, wrote on Twitter after the shutdown: "Pressure appears to have been applied to close the WikiLeaks domain name."

Andre Rickardsson, an expert on computer security at Sweden's Bitsec Consulting, told Reuters: "I don't believe for a second that this has been done by everydns themselves. I think they've been under pressure," he said, apparently referring to US authorities.

A new Germany-based WikiLeaks domain – – also appeared on Friday morning, with its data apparently hosted in California. People have also taken to setting up alternative domain names that point to the WikiLeaks address. Robin Fenwick, a UK-based web services director, this morning launched – a "joke domain" that points to the WikiLeaks DNS address.

In a statement on its website, the free service said that the "distributed denial of service" (DDOS) attacks by unknown hackers – who are trying to knock WikiLeaks off the net – meant that the leaks site was interfering with the service being provided to other users. That in turn meant that WikiLeaks had broken's terms of service, and it cut the site off at 3am GMT on Friday (10PM EST Thursday).

DNS services translate a website name, such as, into machine-readable "IP quads" – in that case, so that will show the Guardian site. If the DNS fails, the site is only reachable via IP address – but WikiLeaks has not yet provided one via Twitter or other means. said that the attacks – which have been going on all week, and led the site to temporarily host its services on Amazon's more resilient EC2 "cloud computing" service – "threaten the stability of the infrastructure, which enables access to almost 500,000 other websites".

WikiLeaks was given 24 hours' notice of the termination, and everydns said: "Any downtime of the website has resulted from its failure to use another hosted DNS service provider."

The move comes after several days of WikiLeaks coming under a determined DDOS attack, apparently from hackers friendly to the point of view of the US government, which has disparaged the site's leaking of thousands of US diplomatic cables.

US companies have also come under intense political pressure to remove any connection to, or support for, WikiLeaks. Amazon ended its hosting of the cables on its EC2 cloud computer service earlier this week, but last night insisted in a blogpost that its decision was not due to pressure from Senator Joe Lieberman, who has called for the removal of the data – and who has influenced at least one other US company to withdraw support for WikiLeaks data.

In a blogpost late on Thursday, Amazon said reports that government inquiries prompted it to remove the data were "inaccurate".

Amazon said:

"[Amazon Web Services] does not pre-screen its customers, but it does have terms of service that must be followed. WikiLeaks was not following them. There were several parts they were violating. For example, our terms of service state that "you represent and warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content… that use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and will not cause injury to any person or entity". It's clear that WikiLeaks doesn't own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content. Further, it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren't putting innocent people in jeopardy."

It noted that:

"When companies or people go about securing and storing large quantities of data that isn't rightfully theirs, and publishing this data without ensuring it won't injure others, it's a violation of our terms of service, and folks need to go operate elsewhere."

But as commentators have pointed out, that stance is contradicted by the fact that Amazon has previously hosted the "war logs" from WikiLeaks which contained data about the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Connecting to WikiLeaks is presently not possible until it gets a new DNS service. WikiLeaks itself said on Twitter that the ending of DNS services was allegedly due to "claimed mass attacks" and called for further donations to "keep us strong".
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Google's Chrome 8: What's New, What's Next - PCWorld

Google Chrome IconImage via WikipediaGoogle's Chrome 8: What's New, What's Next - PCWorld

Google's just released a new version of its Chrome Web browser -- and the update paves the way for some big things ahead.
By JR Raphael
Dec 2, 2010 7:04 pm

The blogosphere may be buzzing about Google's Chrome OS and Chrome Web Store this week, but Google itself is focusing on its original Chrome product: the Chrome Web browser.

Google announced the launch of Chrome 8.0.552.215 at its official Chrome blog Thursday afternoon. The update brings a number of changes and -- perhaps more important -- paves the way for some big things ahead.
Google Chrome 8: New Features
So what's new in Google Chrome 8? Quite a bit, actually -- though many of the changes are under the hood. Google Chrome 8 introduces more than 800 bug fixes and stability improvements. Those tweaks and other security patches make up the bulk of the progress.
One new feature that's immediately noticeable is the addition of a built-in PDF viewer, something that had been floating around in developer builds for several months. According to Chromium Engineering Director Marc Pawliger, the built-in PDF viewer lets the browser "render [PDF files] as seamlessly as HTML Web pages," without the need for a standalone Adobe Reader installation. All PDFs are also contained in what's called a sandbox, which basically means they're isolated and won't affect the security or performance of any other parts of the system.
Google Chrome 8: Big Future

The most significant changes in Chrome 8 may be ones that most of us can't see. Developers say Chrome 8 is the first version of the browser to boast full support for Google's upcoming Chrome Web Store, which is widely expected to launch any day now. The Chrome Web Store will offer an array of Web-based applications -- both free and paid -- that'll be designed specifically to work with the Chrome browser and the still-under-development Chrome OS.
Speaking of Chrome OS, it too may be moments away from making its grand debut. In an interview with The New York Times last week, a Google engineering VP said Chrome OS-powered netbooks would be hitting the market before the year's end. Chrome OS, as you may recall from Google's preview of the software last summer, will offer a bare-bones, browser-like interface that'll rely almost entirely on cloud-based applications. And, despite its similar categorization, it'll be wildly different from Google's other operating system, Android -- both in terms of how it works and what types of devices it'll target.
(For a detailed comparison, check out "Chrome OS vs. Android: What's the difference?")
As far as the basic Chrome browser, Google's next project is applying its sandbox technology to Adobe's Flash Player. Like with the PDF scenario, it'll allow Flash-based content to stay isolated in its own area, making the overall browsing experience safer and more stable.
Google Chrome and the Browser Market

Google's clearly keeping busy with Chrome these days, and all of the efforts may be paying off: According to recently released data, November marked Chrome's biggest month to date when it comes to browser market share. The data, compiled by metrics firm Net Applications, shows Chrome growing a full 5.6 percent in global market share for the month of November, bringing its total up to 9.3 percent. That's the second-highest single month gain Net Applications has ever measured for any browser.
Chrome 8 is now available at Google's Chrome download page. If you're already using Chrome, the program should automatically find and install the upgrade soon. If you don't want to wait, just click the tool icon at the top right corner of the program and select "About Google Chrome." That'll force your browser to check for updates and begin the upgrade process.
JR Raphael is a PCWorld contributing editor and the author of the Android Power blog. You can find him on both Facebook and Twitter
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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Realmac Software releases RapidWeaver 5 | Web | Working Mac | Macworld

Realmac Software releases RapidWeaver 5 | Web | Working Mac | Macworld

Realmac Software on Wednesday released RapidWeaver 5, a major upgrade to its visual and extensible Website creation and blogging app for the Mac.

RapidWeaver sits comfortably in the space between drag-and-drop Website creation, like Apple’s iWeb, and everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink suites like Adobe’s Dreamweaver. While it is based around themed Website templates and provides no direct access to your site’s code, you can customize many behavioral aspects of your sites, install a wide variety of officially supported add-ons and themes, and add things like reusable text snippets and Website traffic analytics.

In development for a year, RapidWeaver 5 gained a number of big new features, not the least of which is a dedicated new Site Resources manager. If you provide downloadable files like PDFs and ZIPs for your visitors, you can now manage them all from a new section in RapidWeaver’s sidebar. This means files are no longer segregated to individual pages, and RapidWeaver can keep track of changes you make on your Mac, such as renaming a file.

A new sitemap plugin lets you easily create a map of your site for visitors, and RapidWeaver can now automatically generate an XML sitemap that gets submitted to search engines when you publish your sites. Managing your sites is now easier as well, as a new FTP Bookmarks manager makes it easy to add or reuse sites for publishing.
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Google Targeted by EU Antitrust Probe - PCWorld

Google Logo bg:Картинка:Google.pngImage via WikipediaGoogle Targeted by EU Antitrust Probe - PCWorld

The European Commission is investigating allegations that Google has abused its dominant position in online search to promote its other services, such as price...
Nov 30, 2010 8:04 am

The investigation will also look into alleged abuse of exclusivity clauses that discourage sites carrying advertisements served by Google from also carrying advertisements served by its rivals.
PC manufacturers and software developers will also be questioned to see whether they were pressured by Google to make its search service the default in their products, the Commission said.
Complaints from other search service providers sparked the investigation, it said.
The companies told the Commission that Google treated their services unfavorably in its unpaid and sponsored search results. They also alleged that Google gave its own services preferential placement, the Commission said.
The Commission is particularly concerned that Google may have lowered the ranking in its search results of rival providers of services such as price comparators, in order to promote similar services of its own.
Last week, a U.S. researcher published details of his investigation into Google's treatment of its own supplementary search services compared to those of its rivals.
The Commission stressed that opening the investigation does not imply that it already has proof of any infringements: merely that it is looking for it. Google has been notified of the investigation, the length of which will depend to some extent on the company's cooperation, the Commission said.
Google said it would work with the Commission to deal with its concerns.
Peter Sayer covers open source software, European intellectual property legislation and general technology breaking news for IDG News Service. Send comments and news tips to Peter at
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New Social Networks Target Privacy Discomfort With Facebook : NPR

New Social Networks Target Privacy Discomfort With Facebook : NPR

Monday, November 29, 2010

Apple, ASUS top reliabilty while AT&T, Dell, HP flounder | Electronista

Apple, ASUS top reliabilty while AT&T, Dell, HP flounder | Electronista

Apple and ASUS lead reliabilty and service ranks
Apple and ASUS lead the way in computer reliability and support while Dell and HP are often the worst, according to a reader study published today by PCWorld that also included smartphones. Macs took the top spot in both desktops and notebooks as they almost always rated above average both in how few needed repair and in the quality of their over-the-phone support. ASUS came next closest with very high reliability for notebooks but mostly average desktops and phone help.
Both computer builders were significantly below the average for the number of systems needing repair in either category.

Dell and HP, however, consistently trailed in the results, often ranking at the bottom with most scores for both reliability and support going well below average. Both their business PC lineups fared better, but the deliberate sacrifices to the quality of home PC support were made apparent with wide gaps in the results. The two companies are well-known for producing some of the cheapest notebooks in the industry and were two of the first to outsource US support for home users beyond North America. HP has stressed it has set up support offices in Arkansas and New Mexico but has yet to staff them to where they can supplement outsourced help.

Apple wasn't uniformly the highest scoring in the smartphone study, taking the top marks in overall ease of use and happiness but losing out to Motorola's Android phones. Both rated well for an overall lack of issues, but only Motorola scored above average for its ability to cut down on major problems. The relatively heavy-duty construction of phones like the original Droid, Droid 2 and Droid X may have played a part.

Among phone designers, RIM was rated the worst with the number of problems and ease of use all rated as below average. LG, Nokia and Samsung were also criticized for the difficulty of using their devices; HTC achieved completely average scores in reliability, but Android's ease of use helped boost it to third place. Palm had poorer reliability, but webOS' ease pushed it higher up than some others.

In carriers, AT&T's claims of top marks were directly contradicted by scores. The current iPhone exclusive carrier was the only network to rate below average in any category, scoring at the bottom for both mobile data and voice. It had above-average retail help but was beaten by T-Mobile in phone help. Verizon was rated above average in both call and data quality, while Sprint also rated well in data and T-Mobile in voice.

The smartphone figures lent support to the importance of a Verizon iPhone widely expected to launch next year, since it would mate both one of the top-rated smartphones with a similarly well-received network.

Other top scorers in general electronics included Canon, whose cameras and printers were among the best, as well as Panasonic for its cameras and TVs. Brother, LG and Sony also fared well in printers and TVs.
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