Xbox Handheld Coming  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , , , ,

Shortly before the 2009 Electronic Entertainment Expo, rumors surfaced that Microsoft was on the verge of announcing the ZuneX.

The ZuneX was purported to be a gaming handheld that integrated with Xbox Live Arcade and "ZuneX originals" and featured mobile-phone capabilities. That's a marked contrast from the current generation, which offers only a half-dozen games despite promises of titles that would be transferable from the Xbox 360.

The Xbox 360 may soon have a small, sleeker sibling.

With that rumor quickly marginalized as a phony by many industry watchers, Microsoft has now once again signaled that its portable gaming ambitions may extend beyond the struggling Zune. In an interview with gaming site Kikizo, Microsoft executive Shane Kim said that the Xbox brand is destined for the mobile platform.

"For us, it's a matter of focusing on 'when,' " said Kim, who transitioned from his role as head of Microsoft Game Studios to a strategic development position within the Interactive Entertainment and Devices division last year.

As for what's been holding up that "when," Kim said that the division has been focused on fleshing out the core Xbox 360 and Xbox Live experiences.

"If we chased after a mobile or handheld opportunity, we would not have the resources and ability to do things like instant-on 1080p HD, Facebook, Twitter, Project Natal," he said. "And so we've chosen to focus on the living room experience from a hardware standpoint, if you will, but we're building a service in Live that will...will extend to other platforms." [Emphasis in original.]

One other question facing the company is what form a mobile gaming device would take. "How do we enter into that market," pondered Kim. "Do we do our own device, do we create our own phone--that's a question for the company itself--do we continue to go down the Windows Mobile path, which is the path that we're on today, etcetera, etcetera."

Kim concluded by reemphasizing Microsoft's desire to be a player on all relevant platforms, whether that be consoles, desktops, or mobile devices.

This article was originally posted on GameSpot.com.

Microsoft announced the release of Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 Beta, along with news that it will feature Windows 7 support. The update will include several new features that take advantage of features in Windows 7:

Full Image-based Backups of Windows 7 PCs. After the Windows Home Server Connector is installed on your Windows 7 PCs, Action Center should no longer display that your files are not being backed up.

homeserver power pack 3 Windows 7 Libraries Support. Music, Photos and Videos shared folders from your Windows Home Server will be added to Windows 7 Libraries. Content saved to these shared folders will be able to be quickly accessed through your Windows 7 Libraries. And any application, like Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center, will be able to access content saved on your Windows Home Server through Libraries as well.

Windows Search 4 is now included. With Windows Search 4, PP3 offers improved query search times, indexing times and reliability. Easy search through a Library in Windows 7 with files stored in multiple locations.

Windows Media Center Enhancements. Archive old recorded TV shows onto your Windows Home Server in a variety of formats. Use Console Quick View to see statistics about your Windows Home Server through Windows Media Center.

  • Full Image-based Backups of Windows 7 PCs. After the Windows Home Server Connector is installed on your Windows 7 PCs, Action Center should no longer display that your files are not being backed up.
  • Windows 7 Libraries Support. Music, Photos and Videos shared folders from your Windows Home Server will be added to Windows 7 Libraries. Content saved to these shared folders will be able to be quickly accessed through your Windows 7 Libraries. And any application, like Windows Media Player and Windows Media Center, will be able to access content saved on your Windows Home Server through Libraries as well.
  • Windows Search 4 is now included. With Windows Search 4, PP3 offers improved query search times, indexing times and reliability. Easy search through a Library in Windows 7 with files stored in multiple locations.
  • Windows Media Center Enhancements. Archive old recorded TV shows onto your Windows Home Server in a variety of formats. Use Console Quick View to see statistics about your Windows Home Server through Windows Media Center.

There is no set release date for the Power Pack, but Microsoft states that it will be available shortly after the General Availability of Windows 7. If you’re interesting in being involved as a beta tester, you can sign up as a beta participant at Microsoft Connect. Exisiting Windows Home Server customers will receive Power Pack 3 for free via Windows Update.

For more in-depth information regarding the new features in Power Pack 3, head over to the Windows Home Server Team Blog.

Twitter Employee Gets Hacked: Dont Let It Happen to You  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , ,

A Twitter employee just learned a very hard lesson. The employee's personal e-mail account was hacked, and now, the Internet is abuzz because documents—both personal and business related—are being circulated in the blogosphere. Apparently, he (or she) used the same password on multiple accounts. Sound familiar? Thing is, this isn't the first person to fall victim to such an attack—and it certainly won't be the last. In fact, during the recent hubbub, we also learned that the e-mail account of Twitter's chief executive Evan Williams' wife was hacked, which led to his own PayPal and Amazon accounts being compromised.

With all of this going on, it seems like the perfect time to have yet another chat about password security. How many passwords do you have? How many of those passwords do you actually remember? More importantly, are they secure? My answers to these questions would be: lots, some but not all, and, well, some but not all, respectively. Yes, I've been known to be quite lax when it comes to choosing passwords—and I certainly know better. I realized this after reading one of our stories about common passwords (and no, I won't say which one of these I used).

We know it can be a pain to create and manage all of your passwords, but it's important. Very important. Identity theft remains a top concern for consumers. As such, we need remain vigilant about protecting our personal information. That's why we've put this guide together. All you need to know about passwords is right here!

Roundup: Password Managers
Never forget passwords again with these eight password managers—tools that remember and replay all your complex passwords for you.

From updating your MySpace page to transferring money between bank accounts, all manner of online activities require you to log in with a username and password. Proper security practice demands that you make each password different and use random combinations of characters, like "f*&WQb28." But in the real world, you can't remember those, so you wind up either writing down your strong passwords on a Post-it you hide in your desk drawer, or you use "rosebud" for every site. What you need is a password manager—a tool that remembers and replays all your complex passwords for you. That way you need memorize only one complicated password—the one that opens the password manager. (see full)

Should You Write Them Down?
It used to be conventional wisdom among security experts that you should never write your passwords down, but thinking is changing on this. Roger Thomson, a respected anti-malware expert, thinks you should write them down, and PCMag security expert Larry Seltzer agrees, to an extent.

New Thinking About Passwords: Write 'Em Down

It used to be conventional wisdom among security experts that you should never write your passwords down, but thinking is changing on this. Roger Thompson, a respected anti-malware guy, thinks you should write them down. I've seen this from other people and I do it too, to a degree.

As Thompson says, it's not just that you should write them down, but that you should have a lot of them and write them down. It is far more secure for you to have a variety of passwords, so that if any one of them is compromised the damage can be limited. If you write them down you can better handle a larger number of passwords. (see full)

10 Most Common Passwords: Stay Away!
If you recognize yours, you may as well hand over your wallet or purse to the first person you see on the street.

  1. password
  2. 123456
  3. qwerty
  4. abc123
  5. letmein
  6. monkey
  7. myspace1
  8. password1
  9. link182
  10. (your first name)

Ulanoff Speaks: Take My Passwords, Please
It's time to kill passwords in favor of smarter, safer technology.

I'm dead, dog tired of trying to conceal my passwords—almost as exhausted as I am by trying to memorize and recall all of them.  I have dozens of passwords, and, to be quite honest, they're not even good. Then again, whose are? They're variations and repetitions on a theme—essentially, stuff I can remember. I'm safe for now, but if someone figured out one part of my useless encryption system, my password lattice would crumble faster than a house of cards. (see Full)

PCMag's Premium Utility Download: Password Profiler 2
Our own utility cuts your form-filling time down to seconds and makes remembering usernames and passwords a thing of the past. (Yes, there is a charge.)

Best Free iPhone Twitter Apps  

Posted by Mohammad Talha in , , , ,

There's only one Twitter, and there's only one iPhone OS, but for some reason there are more iPhone Twitter apps than you can shake a stick at. We took a look at the best free ones, and discovered that you can get quite a lot for your lack of money—as long as you don't mind an occasional banner ad or prompt to upgrade to a paid version.

twitter-buttons Twitter may be simple—posting 140-character messages and reading them from your contacts isn't very involved—but you'll still need to ask a lot of questions to find the mobile app that's right you. Can it display hot trending topics? Does it let you follow and unfollow others? Does it have an integrated Web browser? Can it shorten your tweets? Does it let you easily post a Web address you saw in Safari? Does it allow multiple accounts and UI themes?

Some iPhone apps even let you do things you can't when tweeting from your PC. Most can display "nearby" tweets, even letting you decide how near or far their maximum distance should be. You can include your exact location with your tweets; some apps, such as the excellent Twitterrific, also let you include a map link.

These apps also let you tweet a photo taken on the spot with your iPhone, but none of the free ones lets you post video from your 3GS —currently only the exorbitant ($5) Twittelator Pro lets you do that. We'll be posting an in-depth review of that as well as of another paid app, the crowd-pleaser Tweetie, in the near future. But as you'll see in the reviews below, there's a free Twitter client that will please all but the most demanding tweeps.  (full Story)

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