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December 05

Welcome to another edition of the Prompt Newsletter,

In the newsletter this week: Apple releases, then quickly pulls, a note suggesting users should get multiple antivirus products, Microsoft suggests that a Windows 7 beta could be out early next year, the battle of the browsers heats up, Nokia enters the smartphone arena.

Plus: Yahoo has revealed the most searched-for things of 2008. Who's number one? Read on to find out.

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Hazel Butters
Prompt Communications

Technology News

Mac users get the sniffles

UK By Dave Wilby

Hubris can be a funny old thing. One minute Apple was circulating rather smug marketing campaigns stereotyping PCs as boring virus magnets and Macs as super-cool, bulletproof works of art; the next, it was recommending all its users install multiple antivirus tools.

The original technical note posted on Apple's support site recommending belt and braces antivirus measures, entitled 'Mac OS: Antivirus utilities', has since been removed. But it was first noticed by Washington Post Security Fix on Monday.

The section that raised the eyebrows of tech hacks on both sides of the pond read: "Apple encourages the widespread use of multiple anti-virus utilities so that virus programmers have more than one application to circumvent, thus making the whole virus writing process more difficult." It then went on to suggest a number of commercial anti-virus solutions that Mac owners might consider installing, including: Symantec Norton Anti-Virus 11 for Macintosh, McAfee VirusScan for Mac, and Intego VirusBarrier X5 - all available through Apple iStore.

Eager PC users, ready to pounce on Apple, have had a setback, however. It has since come to light that the note was far from new. Originally written last year, and updated last month, the note has been described by Apple as "old and inaccurate". The message Apple is promoting is that Mac users still don't need to take any additional action against viruses at this time.

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Windows 7 beta for next year

UK By Ahmed El Awadi

Windows enthusiasts were buzzing on Tuesday, when a Microsoft blog post indicated that a beta version of Windows 7 should be ready by next month. Keith Combs suggests on Microsoft's TechNet site, that those wanting to get their hands on the beta version should register to attend one of the dozen or so upcoming MSDN developer conferences.

"My understanding is that the DVD will not be ready for the first few show dates but will be mailed to each attendee," Combs said. "We are targeting to have the DVDs in the materials from 1/13/2009 on."

In a statement late on Tuesday, Microsoft would only confirm that it is still targeting early 2009 for the broader beta. "As we said at the PDC, we expect to deliver beta 1 in early 2009 and we continue to be on track to deliver against that development milestone," the company stated.

Windows 7 includes a number of new features, such as advances in touch, speech, and handwriting recognition, support for virtual hard disks, improved performance on multi-core processors, improved boot performance, and kernel improvements. Microsoft has paid particular attention to improving the time it takes for Windows to start up and shut down.

In addition to its own work, Microsoft has been working directly with computer makers to address all of the factors that affect system performance.

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Google Chrome is faster than Firefox but not for long

US Media News By James Gerber

Mozilla's Firefox has long been the reigning champion of browser speed tests, beating many challengers. Google's Chrome browser, however, recently beat Firefox in comprehensive tests by ExtremeTech. Of course, it also beat out the sluggish Internet Explorer, Opera and Safari, but they were never really even in the running. In fact, IE7 and Safari didn't even place in the competition.

But when talking about browser speed, it would be remiss to omit Firefox's next version, which is currently in alpha and named Minefield. It will be Mozilla's killer browser, and is expected to be faster than Chrome or any competitor by 10% or more.

Microsoft will need to release IE8 soon if they want to have any chance of keeping their lead in the browser market. Firefox has been catching up in market share and gaining seemingly on a daily basis. With Google's big brand name and strong browser, it remains a constant threat to their dominance as well. However, whether it is Mozilla, Google or Microsoft that ultimately has the fastest browser, the fact is that this increasingly heated competition will be a real benefit to web surfers everywhere.

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Nokia back in the race

UK By Ahmed El Awadi

On Tuesday, Nokia officially took the wraps off its mystery smart-phone at the Nokia World 2008 conference in Barcelona, Spain. So, without further ado, let us introduce you to the Nokia N97.

The Nokia N97 includes what Nokia calls 'social location', a feature that uses the phone's integrated Assisted GPS (A-GPS) sensors and electronic compass to determine where it is and offer a range of relevant real-time information. The N97 has a 5-megapixel camera with a Carl Zeiss lens, boasts 32GB of onboard memory, and has a microSD slot for up to 16GB of expandable memory.

Nokia said that the handset is expected to begin shipping in the first half of 2009 at an estimated retail price of €550 (£469). It will include a 1500mAh battery, which Nokia claims will last up to 16 days on standby, provide 37 hours of continuous music playback or four and a half hours of video.

Some are already hailing the N97 as a serious contender to the iPhone. "Today's announcement at Nokia's annual event in Barcelona goes to show how serious they are about competing this time round," said Robin Landy of mobile phone comparison website Omio.

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Yahoo's 2008 Top 10 Net Searches

US Media News By Rachel Roseberg

The suspense is over - the top Yahoo searches for 2008 have been released. Starting the countdown at number ten was American Idol. Although ratings were down this year, contrary to the judges asserting that the talent of 2008 was the 'best' American Idol has seen yet, the finale helped to pick up for lost momentum, securing the show the number ten spot on Yahoo's list.

Celebrities who made the list include Angelina Jolie at number nine, Lindsay Lohan at eight, Jessica Alba at six, and of course, Miley Cyrus, known to many as Hannah Montana (from her Disney series) at number four . Because what does the world like better than the gossip and drama of the rich and famous? In addition to making Yahoo's chart, Jolie was declared most powerful actress in the Guinness Book of World Records and made the Forbes power list. Lindsay Lohan has had a year of rehab recoveries, imitation photo shoots, and controversial relationships, all of which have kept her name firmly in the search bar.

With this year's US Presidential election receiving so much attention, it would only make sense that President-Elect Barack Obama make the list. Obama comes in at an impressive number three. Beginning his campaign as a relative 'unknown', Obama ends 2008 making history as the next President of the United States.

But who was number one? Oops she did it again - Brittany Spears tops the chart as 'most searched' of 2008. With police 'visits', custody battles, shaving episodes, and public breakdowns, Brittany has entertained and intrigued gossip fans across the world.

For the full list, click here.

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05 December 2008


Technology News

Media News

Tech Totals

Website of the Week

Tech Toon

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Media News

US Media News US

By Tarryn Landman

Daisuke Wakabayashi has joined the Wall Street Journal as a technology reporter. Prior to joining the WSJ, Wakabayashi served as Pacific Northwest correspondent for Reuters in its Seattle bureau. He has also served as a manufacturing reporter for the Reuters. In his new role, he will cover Nintendo and Sony in the WSJ's Tokyo bureau.

The New York Times has launched Gadgetwise, a new blog covering personal technology. Gadgetwise will focus on digital photography, home entertainment, mobile technology and personal computing, and will feature tips to help readers make the most of their gadgets.

Kristen Salvatore is leaving her role as editor in chief at PC Gamer to serve as associate general manager for Future US, Inc. publications, which owns PC Gamer, PlayStation: The Official Magazine and Edge Online. Salvatore has been replaced by Gary Steinman, who previously served as executive editor at PlayStation: The Official Magazine. No replacement for Steinman has been named as yet.

Joshua Greenbaum has launched his own blog called Enterprise Matters covering enterprise software. He recently shut down his ZDNet blog, Enterprise Anti-Matter, which also covered enterprise software. Greenbaum also serves as a columnist at Managing Automation, a magazine covering manufacturing technology.

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By Tarryn Morley

Matthew Sparkes has left his role as staff writer at Dennis Publishing's PC Pro to join the Eastern Daily Press as junior reporter. Sparkes has previously written for Gizmodo and a variety of other PC titles on a freelance basis. He will continue to work as a freelancer after starting his new role.

Dipesh Gadher has been promoted from media correspondent to deputy news editor at the Sunday Times to replace Nicholas Hellen, who was promoted to news editor in April. Gadher served in his previous role for almost 10 years.

CBS Interactive has merged the content of green technology website SmartPlanet with Crave, a gadget blog on CNET UK, because of increased demand for more green consumer technology stories. CBS Interactive recently absorbed the CNET websites. Green technology and transport stories will now appear on Crave, via a new SmartPlanet channel.

Stuart Smith is resigning from his role as editor at Centaur's Marketing Week, a weekly trade magazine for the marketing industry. Smith will continue work as a consultant for its online and events business. He will also write a column for the magazine. Centaur has not yet appointed a replacement for Smith.

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Tech Totals

US Media News By Melanie Hesketh

According to a survey

84.6 million consumers plan to shop online from home or at work on Monday 1 December 2008.

37.2% of adults will shop online today, up over 16% over last year.

83.7% of retailers will have a special promotion for Cyber Monday, up from 72.2% last year.

Website of the week

US Media News By Sean McManus

Life Images

Life magazine has partnered with Google to host millions of its photos dating back to 1860, 97% of which have never been seen by the public. To search the archive, either go to the dedicated homepage or add 'source:life' to any Google image search. If you're short of inspiration, try searching for covers, Apollo, Beatles, or Walt Disney.












Tech Toon

Please check out our blog archive of 'toons past while we ready some festive funnies...

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