A “Do Not Track” Button in Every Browser: Google, Firefox, Microsoft and Apple Formally Agree

Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Firefox’s Mozilla, have at last formally agreed to include a “Do Not Track” button (DNT button) in every browser. {Let’s take this opportunity to explain that the way this works is that using the “Do Not Track” option inserts a special “Do Not Track” header into your browser. In fact, as we shall see, there may not even be a DNT button involved – you may need to be a super-user type to even find the “Do Not Track” option.} Their capitulation comes just before the Obama administration’s appeal to Congress to pass a “privacy bill of rights”, but don’t expect it to mean that they won’t still be mining your data. (P.S. See below for how to enable Do Not Track in Safari.)

Cascade Insights: Microsoft Hotmail Beats Google Gmail and Yahoo Mail at Blocking Spam

Microsoft Hotmail, the world’s largest email provider, is better at blocking spam than Google Gmail and Yahoo Mail, according to a study released by the independent research firm Cascade Insights. The study only tested these companies – the so-called big three email providers – and was sponsored by Microsoft, which funded the research to combat their bad reputation for allowing loads of spam into users’ inboxes.

Email Providers Unite to Fight Spam and Fraudulent Messages

Several email providers that normally compete with one another, like Google Gmail and Microsoft Hotmail, have teamed up in an effort to better protect email users from spam and fraudulent messages. The new system is called DMARC, short for Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance. With a united front, the war against spam may have a powerful new weapon.

About Microsoft’s “Avoid Ghetto” GPS Service

Oh, how the Internet, and society in general, do love a scandal. Especially if it involves one of the big Internet or tech companies, like Google (witness this week’s scandal over Google’s “new” privacy policy) or Microsoft. This week everybody is mad at Microsoft for being, allegedly, racist, by updating their GPS software offerings to include a purported “avoid ghettos” feature. Some are even calling it “the avoid ghetto app”.

iTunes Update Said to Plant Back Door for Government to Access All Your Data on Your Computer or Smartphone

If you were one of an untold number of people who received a particular iTunes update, it will likely have planted a Trojan backdoor on your computer or smartphone (primarily iPhone or Blackberry) which allows government and law enforcement agencies access to your personal data. Let us be quick to add that this is a fake iTunes update. The malware (or “commercial software” depending on which side of this you are on) is sold primarily by three companies: Gamma FinFisher, Vupen Security, and HackingTeam. Gamma’s FinFisher product is from the UK, Vupen Security is out of France, and HackingTeam is in Italy, however all of the companies sell their software around the world.

Study Finds News Sites Taken In by Internet Explorer (IE) IQ Hoax Have Lower IQs than Other News Sites

A random, non-scientific survey of Internet Patrol staff members has found that people believe that Internet news sites that were taken in by the recent AptiQuant “study” finding that Internet Explorer (IE) users have a lower IQ than other browsers users, themselves have a lower IQ than other Internet news sites. “Internet Explorer Users Are Kinda Stupid, Study Suggests” exclaimed the PC World article. “Internet Explorer users ‘have below-average IQ’ ” blared The Telegraph. Business Insider and many other sites picked up the story as well.

Microsoft Spying on Internet Explorer Users Google Searches in Order to Enhance Bing Search Engine

Has Microsoft been spying on the Google searches of Internet Explorer users in order to use the data to enhance their own Microsoft Bing search engine, to make it more competitive with Google? According to Google, who claims to have caught MS watching their own IE users, tapping their Google searches and using the information gleaned from those searches to make their Bing searches more accurate.

How to Choose and Buy a New Computer

At this time of year, thoughts often turn to buying a new computer (by which we mean buying a new new computer, not one that is used but “new to you” or one that is already in your grasp but you are making “new” by buying new computer components for it). The first question to ask yourself should be “Should I buy a new computer system?”, or even “Do I really need to buy a new computer?” But assuming the answer to a new computer buy is “yes” (or even if you don’t really need a new computer, but just want in on all the new computer technology), this leads to several more questions people should ask themselves before they buy new computers: “A Microsoft new computer or a new Mac computer?” And if you are going to go Microsoft, then “A new computer with Windows 7, or Vista or, heck, maybe even a new computer with XP?” (Yes, they can still be had.) “Do I really need all the new computer technologies or should I consider some of the cheap new computers?” Ultimately, when purchasing a new computer, the best new computer for you is the one that will gives you the most use, with the least hassle, and the most satisfaction.

Google Sues U.S. Government for Favoring Microsoft

In an interesting turn of events – especially considering all of the antitrust hot water in which Microsoft has found itself in the past with the Federal government – Google is suing the Federal government for requiring that any vendor proposals in response to a Request for Quotation (RFQ – similar to an RFP, or Request for Proposal) by the Feds to create a new, unified online messaging system, must include the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite.

How to Listen to a WMD File on a Mac and to Convert it to MP3 – No Additional Software Required!

More and more audio files are showing up on the Internet in WMD format, which means that you need to convert those WMD files to listen to them on your Mac or MP3 player. This is particularly true for audio books, which frequently are downloaded as a WMD file. WMD is a format used by Microsoft’s media software, and unless you want to install the Microsoft software on your Mac in order to play your WMD file on a Mac, you are going to have to convert that WMD file in order to listen to it on your Mac. Fortunately, it’s actually really easy to convert a WMD file to listen it on a Mac, and to create MP3s of the file so that you can listen on your iPod, iPad, or other MP3 player.

Funeral for IE6 Not a Hoax – Being Held in Denver Thursday Night

The planned funeral for Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) is not a hoax – it really is happening, tonight, in Denver, Colorado. Oh sure, it’s a spoof, but an elegant and well-planned one, to be sure, complete with prizes “for the best IE6 memory & the best dressed!” In fact, the IE 6 Funeral has gotten not just national, but even international attention, being featured in such overseas news sources as Britain’s The Register.

iPod Phone, Zune Phone – What’s the Difference?

Judging by the searches we get for iPod Phone and Zune Phone (and even “I Phone”), it’s clear that what people really want more than anything is a truly convergent device – one device that does it all. It’s an iPod, it’s a phone, it’s a video player, it’s a radio, it’s an email device – it’s Wonder Phone! While the iPhone (I Phone) is essentially an iPod Phone, people are still wanting something more – will the much-awaited Zune Phone (and rumoured Zune store) really statisfy their cravings? Read on…

Microsoft Issues Urgent Windows Update to Protect Internet Explorer and Office Products

Microsoft has just announced an emergency patch for both Internet Explorer (IE) and Office Products, and it is recommended that everyone install this patch ASAP (link to patch included below). This affects Internet Explorer 6 (IE6), Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) and Internet Explorer 8 (IE8) as well as any Microsoft Office Product with ActiveX, including Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Microsoft Access.