Online services

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

Skype to adopt 'Metro' design, says report

Skype may be taking new look and feel cues from the Windows 8 interface formerly known as Metro.

New client versions of Skype are in the works with a few notable enhancements, The Verge reports. One such is a new UI that borrows from the Windows 8 interface. Skype is now testing this change, but could take it a few steps further in future releases, according to The Verge.

Also reportedly new to Skype: a video messaging feature that lets users send prerecorded videos, which their contacts can then view when they hop online.

In 2008, Microsoft beta tested a … Read more

Latest Skype betas offer integration with Live Messenger

Skype is slowly getting integrated with the rest of Microsoft's properties.

Microsoft's Skype unit announced on September 13 that it is enabling sign in using Windows Live ID -- now known as Microsoft Account -- in the latest Skype for Windows beta (version 5.11). This means by signing in with a Windows Live ID, users will be able to send and receive IMs and see presence ifnormation from those using Live Messenger, Xbox, Hotmail or Outlook.com.

Microsoft is enabling the same integration via a new Skype 5.11 for Mac beta, as well.

According to Microsoft, … Read more

What you'll find on your new Microsoft SkyDrive page

Those of you who use Microsoft's SkyDrive will find a new look, feel, and features the next time you fire up your dedicated page.

The folks in Redmond refreshed the online storage site with a design and functionality that closely mimics the Windows 8 SkyDrive app. What changes will you find? Microsoft's Inside SkyDrive blog provides a good overview of the new features. But here's a quick look as well.

Your SkyDrive page has retired the old details view, at least as the default, in favor of the Windows 8 tile approach. All of your folders and … Read more

Microsoft's SkyDrive gets a fresh coat of paint

SkyDrive, Microsoft's cloud storage service, has gotten a 'more modern' make-over.

Microsoft officials took the wraps off the latest update to SkyDrive on August 14, the day before Microsoft is set to start rolling out the official Windows 8 RTM bits to developers, IT pros and volume licensees. The changes to SkyDrive.com were detailed in a post on the new "Inside Skydrive" blog.

In addition to a new user interface for SkyDrive.com, Microsoft also has made bug fixes to Windows and Mac OS X Skydrive client apps, and is introducing a new SkyDrive for Android phone appRead more

Microsoft's Outlook.com lures 1M users in 6 hours

Outlook.com has seen more than 1 million people sign up for the service in just a few hours, Microsoft has said.

The sign-up figures for the successor to Hotmail were tweeted by @Outlook yesterday just over six hours after the new service was first announced.

The changes include the new e-mail address -- @outlook.com -- which will replace the older @hotmail.com address, used by hundreds of millions worldwide across its more than 10 years of its service. Users can already "upgrade to Outlook.com" to keep their existing address.

The new Web-based e-mail service will … Read more

Kinect PlayFit counts your calories as you play Kinect games

Xbox Kinect users can now see how many calories they're actually shedding as they jump, dance, and shake to their favorite games.

Available today as a free download for Xbox Live subscribers, Kinect PlayFit is a fitness dashboard that counts the calories you burn as you play certain Kinect games, including Dance Central 2, Your Shape Fitness Evolved 2012, and even Kinect Star Wars.

You can also follow your calorie count over time to see how much you're losing as you do the Zumba or swing that lightsaber.

You can even get credit depending on how many calories … Read more

IE hangs on to more than half of browser market

Internet Explorer has been facing growing competition from rival browsers, but it's still the leader with more than 50 percent of the market, according to Net Applications.

IE grabbed a 54 percent market share last month, down from 56.7 percent a year ago. Traveling further back in time reveals an ongoing decline from November 2007 when Microsoft held almost 80 percent of the desktop browser market.

In second place with a 20 percent share in June, Firefox has also seen its share gradually drop. Mozilla's browser scored a 23 percent share a year ago after hitting a … Read more

Bing Maps adds 165TB of new images of Earth

Bing is now offering 165 terabytes of new birds-eye-view satellite shots of locations all over the Earth, from the Moroccan Mountains to Egypt's pyramids of Giza to the Extraterrestrial Highway in the U.S.

This is Microsoft's mapping engine's largest satellite data release ever. Before today, Bing Map's total amount of data was 129TB. So, what can be seen on the search engine's maps has now more than doubled in size.

"This release features imagery over North America, South America, Africa, Australia, Europe and Asia," Bing wrote in a blog post today. "… Read more

Microsoft's Do Not Track default in IE10 violates new specs

Microsoft faces a tough time trying to pull off its goal of setting IE10's Do Not Track feature as the default.

The Do Not Track, or DNT, feature in a browser is supposed to send a signal to third-party Web sites, telling them not to track your Internet activity. Most browsers include this as an option that the user can turn on or off.

Microsoft wants to turn the feature on by default in Internet Explorer 10, seeing it as a necessary step in giving users more control over how their online activities are tracked, shared, and used. But … Read more