Multiple IM Support Coming to Google?

This article was written on October 31, 2007 by CyberNet.

Gmail Contacts Messenger One of the things people like to do with Google’s products is search through their source code looking for any possible hints of features to come. As nerds users it is our duty to do that, and the new Gmail 2.0 is no exception.

Ionut over at Google OS started digging through the source code, and saw some hints of more features that are lurking around: color-coded labels, ability to remove emails from a threaded conversation, and Jabber transports. Hmm, Jabber transports? It’s possible that you haven’t even heard of these before, and that’s understandable.

What the Jabber transports do is connect you with other instant messengers services, such as MSN and AIM, by converting received messages into the Jabber format. Google Talk is a Jabber client, and there is some early indication in Gmail’s new source code that a Jabber transport protocol is already in the works. This would give you the ability to add friends from Yahoo!, MSN, AIM, and more!

There are already tricks available for using third-party Jabber transports with Google Talk, but it requires some work. The benefits of having Google implement this is added stability, and it will be much easier to add contacts than trying to go through a third-party transport.

One other indication that Google will be offering such a service lies in the new contact manager. As seen in the screenshot above you can actually add/remove cross-network messenger ID’s for your friends. It could be just a coincidence, but hopefully this all means something!

Note: I still don’t have access to the new Gmail 2.0 features.

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If Imitation is the Best Form of Flattery…

This article was written on September 13, 2007 by CyberNet.

As the saying goes "imitation is the best form of flattery." If there’s any truth to that I would have to say that Opera’s ego has got to be growing quickly. Why’s that? Back in April Opera 9.2 introduced a new feature called Speed Dial. It gives users 9 shortcuts that are aligned in a grid-like fashion for quick access. As it turns out there were a lot of people who found it to be useful…even those who were using other browsers.

Weeks after the launch of Opera 9.2 came a Firefox extension designed with Speed Dial in mind, but without some of the functionality Opera’s creation offered. Then came along Exalead which was a web-based search engine that also offered a Speed Dial-like feature for the homepage. What about Internet Explorer users? Well, IE7Pro made sure they weren’t left out and created their own copycat called "Easy Homepage."

HYPERiGO Homepage And now the time comes for a dedicated personal homepage to appear, and it’s called HYPERiGO. After registering with the site you can create your own customize page with all the sites you want on it. You can have it show small thumbnails of each site or large ones, and you can sort them in various ways including by the most visited.

By default your tab(s) are all public so you may want to be careful what you put in there (here’s my homepage). The privacy setting is one of the few things you can change, and there are a handful of different themes available for you to choose from.

I can’t honestly say that I’m all that impressed with the service though. I added our site to the bookmarks, and then I had to play the waiting game as the screenshot got queued. This also makes me wonder what the update period is on the existing screenshots?

As far as the interface goes I would say that it is nicely laid out. However, the site is painfully slow to load even when doing a simple thing such as adding a bookmark or switching a tab. Reordering the entries also needs some work, because I would expect it to use some AJAXy drag-and-drop effects which it doesn’t. Not only that but every reorder operation you do causes the entire page to refresh. Ouch!

So before you go taking the time to signup like me I suggest you at least browse around to see if you’ll be able to withstand the loading times. So Opera can once again be flattered by this Speed Dial-like service…you just can’t beat the speed of having the feature integrated into the browser when compared to a web-based version.

HYPERiGO [via Download Squad]
Thanks for the tip "s"!

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Maybe Foxit isn’t the Best PDF Reader?

This article was written on November 04, 2007 by CyberNet.

I’ve always been pretty big on the Foxit Reader because it’s not only free, but it takes under 3 seconds to open up. When you’re trying to read a PDF the last thing you want to do is wait forever for it to load, and that’s why Adobe Acrobat is the last thing that I recommend for people to use.

I do realize that some of you have had troubles with printing in Foxit, and today I want to introduce you to a different PDF reader that will hopefully solve your problems. PDF-XChange Viewer has all of the features you would expect from the even the best PDF reader, plus it has a few things that you can only find in a purchased copy of Foxit!

I’m sure you’re wondering what this could possibly do that your copy of Foxit doesn’t include. Have you ever tried to add a sticky note or type some text on an existing PDF in Foxit? If you have you’ll see a warning that says an “evaluation mark” will be added to the document to signal that you haven’t purchased the program. With PDF-XChange Viewer you can draw, add notes, type text, and do all kinds of things with no unwanted marks being placed on your document:

PDF-XChange Viewer
Click to Enlarge

But then there’s the speed issue, right? After all, we ditched Acrobat because of how darn slow the thing was. Don’t worry, you’re not sacrificing speed for features this time around. In my tests it opened just as fast as Foxit, or in the worst case it took one second longer. One thing that I didn’t like was the splash screen, but you can disable that in the options. Doing so also appears to make the program load faster.

The tabbed interface is also really nice for when you have multiple documents open. PDF-XChange Viewer has a feature like Internet Explorer 7 where you can view all of the open documents in a grid-like fashion. It will show a thumbnail for each of them, which is often much easier to distinguish between than just file names.

Did I say how good this program looks, too? They’ve definitely got a leg up Foxit when it comes to graphics, and I think that’s apparent just by looking at how nice the preferences screen looks:

PDF-XChange Viewer Preferences
Click to Enlarge

For the time being I’m going to be switching away from Foxit because I really like this program better. It looks nicer, has more features, and is the same performance-wise as Foxit. I’ll let you be your own judge, but I think you’ll agree with me that this is currently the best pdf reader.

PDF-XChange Viewer [via Digital Alchemy]

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Microsoft Creates Vista Software Compatibility List

This article was written on February 22, 2007 by CyberNet.

The thing that is probably holding most people back from upgrading to Windows Vista is that they’re unsure if many programs will work. In the past I have always just used the list that users put together over at IeXBeta. It is pretty comprehensive, and best of all is that people are pretty good about adding notes to applications that don’t completely work with Vista so that you know what to expect if you decide to install it anyways.

Microsoft must have seen some value in such a list because they have created their own, labeling software as either “Certified for Windows Vista” or “Works with Windows Vista.” Here is the difference between the two labels:

The “Certified for Windows Vista” logo is a compatibility designation for applications and devices that have passed a rigorous testing program on computers that are running Windows Vista. The technical requirements for this designation target four core areas: reliability, security, compatibility with Windows Vista and future operating systems, and installation and removal.

The “Works with Windows Vista” logo is a compatibility designation that is designed to encourage Windows Vista compatibility for the current generation of Windows-based applications. To receive this designation, software companies test their applications to make sure that the applications meet the program’s guidelines.

The list of “Certified for Windows Vista” applications is a lot smaller than the other one because the requirements are a lot more strict. For example, Microsoft Office 2007 is on the “Certified for” list while Office 2003 is just on the “Works with” list. Most of the programs on the “Certified for” list appear to be ones that have taken extra strides and provided updates to their applications to make them work great with Vista.

vista compatibility

One thing that was a little disappointing in the list was that Trend Micro has the only antivirus solution that is “Certified for Windows Vista.” Personally, I use Avast with Vista and it runs very smoothly. The requirements to be certified must be a bit strict or require a lot of work that most developers don’t want to go through.

One thing that Microsoft’s list doesn’t seem to cover that the IeXBeta does is a list of programs that are known not to work. Microsoft definitely has this information available because Vista will prompt you when you are installing a program that has known compatibility issues, but the information is not readily available to users.

I remember back when Windows XP was initially released, it seemed like it took forever for compatible software to become available. Vista is already off to a better start than XP was so I definitely give Microsoft credit for getting the word out about Vista early on to developers who then had time to prepare for the release. The next few months will probably be the birth of a lot of new software, and some of it will hopefully take advantage of Vista’s new graphical features.

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Hack a Mac for a New Computer and $10,000

This article was written on April 21, 2007 by CyberNet.

Hack a Mac was an offer that was put out to anybody who thought they could do it.  The prize? A new MacBook, and potentially $10,000. The point? Macs aren’t as secure as everybody thinks and Apple needs to pay more attention to this.

The contest was started at the CanSecWest Security Conference. Originally it was going to be open only to those attending the conference, but then they decided they’d open it up to anybody, and the machines were placed online. On day two of the contest, the hack occurred on a MacBook while surfing to a malicious site using Safari.

Besides a new MacBook, the person who was able to do this will also be eligible for a $10,000 “bug bounty” that TippingPoint announced on Thursday if it was an unknown bug.

While Apple hasn’t been a major target to security threats, a point was definitely made and Apple needs to pay more attention to this before it becomes a wide-spread problem. It’s also ironic that on Thursday, Apple just released 25 different patches for vulnerabilities is OS X.

Source: Thanks Cory!

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Black Xbox 360 Elite coming April 29

This article was written on March 28, 2007 by CyberNet.

Microsoft can hardly keep a secret which is why information on a secret black Xbox has been floating around for quite some time. If you’re an Xbox fan then April 29 (in U.S. and Canada) is going to be the date for you to remember. That’s when they will be releasing the coveted Xbox 360 Elite that is complete with a 120GB hard drive, HDMI port, black case, and black controller.

If you want to purchase such a system it will run you $479. Albert Penello, the Director of Global Marketing for the Xbox 360, says that this will be seen as the “future proof” solution for people who are buying the Xbox 360 for the first time. He says that they probably won’t see many people buying a completely new console just for the black finish and 120GB hard drive, but there will definitely be some people who jump all over it.

The 120GB hard drive will also be available as a separate offering for those who want the increased storage capacity. The 120GB hard drive will cost $180 and will include the necessary migration cable and software so that you can move your data over to the new drive.

Here is the interview with Albert Penello on the Xbox 360 Elite:

And here are a bunch of pictures of the Xbox 360 Elite (click to enlarge them):

Xbox 360 Elite Xbox 360 Elite Xbox 360 Elite Xbox 360 Elite Xbox 360 Elite Xbox 360 Elite

Source: Gizmodo, Engadget, and Crunchgear

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Bringing Back Classic Menus and Toolbars to Office 2007?

This article was written on April 11, 2007 by CyberNet.

Office Classic Menus

By this point most of you have probably had the opportunity to either tinker around with or at least see pictures of the new Office 2007 user interface. It is a huge change from the normal toolbars and menus that we were accustomed to in the previous releases of Microsoft Office, but most people who actually sit down and use it believe that the change is for the better.

To replace menus and toolbars, Microsoft is using what they call Ribbons. There are hundreds and hundreds of commands in Office, and these Ribbons make it easier to find those commands. They are much more intuitive than needing to dig through menus to make sure you had the right toolbar enabled.

A company called Addintools has developed a product that might interest those non-Ribbon fans out there. I haven’t tried “Classic Menu for Office 2007” myself, but from the screenshots it appears to bring together the ease of navigation from the ribbons and the traditional menu/toolbar layout from previous versions of Office.

Unfortunately this does come with a price-tag, and that’s $29.95 for all the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint add-ons or $15.99 for each individual program that you want. I am not surprised to see something like this come out because they are obviously trying to capitalize on people who don’t accept change very well.

Personally I think that Microsoft could have very easily included a feature like this, but they are probably trying to inch us closer to a more drastic redesign in future versions of Windows? I could be way off with that, but Microsoft obviously spends millions of dollars in usability research for their applications and I would think that they are trying to show us that a change in design can be very beneficial in terms of productivity.

Source: ComputerWorld

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Shareaza Team Launching New File Sharing Client Soon

This article was written on August 19, 2008 by CyberNet.

(Click to Enlarge)

The open-source file sharing application Shareaza has been going through some tough times lately. They had their domain hijacked by a company called Discordia Ltd. back in December 2007, which is the same company who turned Bearshare and iMesh into paid services. On the site they then started offering an app called “Shareaza 4″ that promotes legal downloads. If a user installs the “new” Shareaza any older version of the real open-source application will be removed. Discordia has even gone as far as to file for a trademark registration for the Shareaza name. *sigh*

What does the Shareaza development team have up their sleeves now? They are actually working a new project that they’re calling Panther, and it’s slated for release on August 25th. It does everything that Shareaza is already capable of, plus some. Things like better BitTorrent support, skin support, not using the registry, and a revamped media player are all included.

Pre-release versions of Panther can be found here, but there are still quite a few bugs in it right now. As seen in the screenshot above there is still a lot packed into the program, but it’s tough to beat if you’re looking for an all-in-one file sharing solution that works on the BitTorrent, Gnutella1, Gnutella2, and ED2K networks. I’d just hold out until the official launch of Panther where it will likely be more polished than it is right now.

P.S. The real Shareaza homepage is now located on SourceForge’s servers.

[via TorrentFreak]

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Newsgator Online Now Recommends Stories

This article was written on May 22, 2008 by CyberNet.

newgator recommendations.pngA few months back Newsgator decided to switch up their business model and start offering their desktop feed readers at absolutely no cost. Some people were a little taken back that they would do this, and immediately began asking the question “how?” Well, they essentially want to track how you interact with your feeds.

It looks like we might be seeing the first signs of what’s coming out of Newsgator’s data collection. Today they announced that they are teaming up with SenseArray to provide news recommendations to users on Newsgator Online. Now on your feed homepage it shows you a list of recommended stories, and as you can see in the screenshot to the right my recommendations weren’t all that bad. To make them even better what you’re supposed to do is rate the stories giving them either a thumbs up or thumbs down. It also looks at what links you click, articles you tag, and any saving/forwarding you do to help suggest stories that you’ll actually find interesting.

You might recall that Google Reader actually does something similar where they recommend feeds to you. I think this is a lot nicer because it pulls in individual stories rather than an entire feed. What Newsgator has done is way more useful in my eyes.

The only thing I’m waiting for now is for Newsgator to bring this feature over to their desktop applications. That way it might be able to more accurately track my reading habits, and then suggest all kinds of great stories. Of course I really don’t need to be spending any more time reading news. ;)

Newsgator Press Release [via Webware]

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Get a Taste of RumShot, a Free Screen Capture Program

This article was written on January 24, 2007 by CyberNet.

Get a taste of RumShot! It’s an awesome free screen capture program. It’s not made to replace any screen capture software for everyday screenshots, instead it’s made to add frames, and borders to make your screen shots fancy. RumShot takes both a screenshot of your desktop, but also a preview shot which is what you’ll see below. Before you see the examples, here are a few things you’ll need to know.

First, nothing has to be installed which makes this super simple to use and get started with. All you have to do is unzip it, and then you’re ready to go! It does require.NET 2.0 framework (not a beta version) for it to work.  And, if you’re wanting the fancy borders, you’ll need to download their ThemePack with a ton of different options. Some of the options include a Sony PSP, Gameboy, and an Xbox theme.  Some are simple, others have more to them.  Regardless of the theme you use, it will still only take just a second to get your screen shot (a fixed dimension) to look like this:


It literally took me less than 3 minutes to create all of those images.  It’s just a matter of selecting your theme, aligning the fixed dimension box, and clicking to create a screenshot. You can download RumShot here, and a variety of themes including the ones used above, here.


Source: Digital Inspiration

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