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Microsoft's IE9 suffers vicious parody treatment

If you've been watching the occasional sporting event lately, you might have seen -- and even enjoyed -- the IE9 ad that seems to have been around for a little while.

You must know the one: willfully dynamic, pulsatingly powerful, it reveals all the wonderful reviews that this fine browser has enjoyed.

And yet you'd guess that someone would come along and, as they say in England, take the piss.

So here is a version of the IE9 ad, complete with the original music -- Alex Clare's "Too Close" -- that suggests the browser might cause a furrowed brow. … Read more

Expect frustration from Faster Downloader

There are so many easy ways to download streaming media these days that we find absolutely no reason to bother with a program that's the least bit complicated. For that reason, we recommend that users who want to download video and music from streaming sites (where that's permitted, of course) look for something other than Faster Downloader to do it with. This unintuitive program left us scratching our head and wondering why the creators had so needlessly complicated what should be a simple process.

Faster Downloader boasts that it's "fully integrated" with Firefox and Internet … Read more

Microsoft revamping its MSN portal for Win8, IE10 users

Microsoft plans to make a touch-optimized version of its MSN portal available to users running Windows 8/Windows RT and Internet Explorer 10 as of October 26.

Microsoft officials are showing off a near-final preview of that portal in New York during Advertising Week, which kicks off this week on October 1. They also will be showing off new touch-centric Windows 8/Windows RT ads that will be available on MSN and on select Windows Store apps during this week's advertising confab.

The updated MSN portal will be available only to Windows 8/Windows RT and IE 10 users, … Read more

Protect yourself with SpywareBlaster

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that's especially true when it comes to spyware; wouldn't you rather protect your system than spend hours trying to rid it of malicious visitors? SpywareBlaster is a simple program that provides protection from ActiveX-based software and unwanted cookies for both Firefox and Internet Explorer users.

SpywareBlaster has a simple interface that will be easy for even novices to navigate. The main screen shows the protection status for Internet Explorer, restricted Web sites, and Firefox. By default, protection is disabled for each of these, but you can easily … Read more

Microsoft issues fix for IE hole; full update coming Friday

Microsoft today released so-called "Fix It" software that will protect Windows users from a critical Internet Explorer hole being exploited in attacks until the company releases a cumulative update for IE on Friday.

The Fix It tool "is an easy, one-click solution that will help protect your computer right away. It will not affect your ability to browse the Web, and it does not require a reboot of your computer," Yunsun Wee, Trustworthy Computer Director at Microsoft, said in a blog post. "This will not only reinforce the issue that the Fix It addressed, but … Read more

Microsoft promises fix for IE security flaw in next few days

Microsoft said today it will issue a fix soon for a security flaw that affects users of Internet Explorer versions 6 through 9.

Uncovered this past weekend, the security hole could compromise the PCs of IE users who surf to a malicious Web site. The flaw is being actively exploited to deliver a back-door trojan known as "Poison Ivy."

The software giant said in a security advisory this afternoon that a solution to the flaw would be released in the next few days.

"While we have only seen a few attempts to exploit the issue, impacting an … Read more

Microsoft offers advice to deal with IE security bug

Users of Internet Explorer versions 6 through 9 are grappling with another security flaw without a fix, but Microsoft has a few suggestions to help shore up protection.

Uncovered this past weekend, the security hole could compromise the PCs of IE users who surf to a malicious Web site. Microsoft said it's already aware of attacks that have tried to take advantage of this weakness.

Since no fix is yet available, it's up to users of IE to protect themselves. A new Microsoft Security Advisory offers several recommendations.

To start, the usual advice always applies. Make sure you'… Read more

Apache Web software overrides IE10 do-not-track setting

Apache, the most commonly used software to house Web sites, will ignore Microsoft's decision to disable ad-tracking technology by default in Internet Explorer 10.

Microsoft set IE10 and Windows 8 so that, by default, Web sites that observe the Do Not Track (DNT) standard won't track people's behavior. The move was made to "better protect user privacy," the company said.

But protecting user privacy turns out to be a thorny matter in practice -- at least when a standard has to be palatable to advertisers as well as browser makers and people surfing the Web. … Read more

Pulse leaps from app to Web, at last

iPhone? Check. Android? Check. For most mobile apps, that's enough. Popular news reader Pulse, however, has decided that its next frontier is something you may have heard of before called the World Wide Web.

Pulse's Web app at Pulse.me is built entirely from HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript, and indicates that the future-Web technologies are rapidly approaching a state where they can easily re-create native app experiences in the browser. The site is accessible from most major browsers on traditional PCs and mobile devices. With the touch-focused Windows 8 and its associated touch screen hardware coming at the … Read more

Windows 8 sticks with IE10 Do Not Track by default

Microsoft is not likely to win over advertisers with its decision to turn on Internet Explorer 10's Do Not Track feature in the RTM version of Windows 8.

The Do Not Track, or DNT, feature is designed to stop third-party Web sites from tracking your online activity. Web sites that find Do Not Track turned on in your browser are supposed to back off. Most browsers leave the setting turned off, leaving it up to the user to decide whether to enable it.

But a blog post from Microsoft Chief Privacy Officer Brendon Lynch confirmed that the company is … Read more