Life of a Jackal

Another day a new beginning

Live messenger UI screenshots


A blog that covers developments in Microsoft’s Windows Live initiative,
has posted a couple screenshots of Live Messenger with what they claim
is an almost-final UI design. The screenshots show a contact list and
message windows that are much close to the Vista feel we’ve been seeing
a lot lately, and less chunky than the last batch we saw. The new
design has retained most of the elements from the last revision, but to
my eyes seems more compact and less cluttered. It still has that
unwelcome (to me, at least) MSN Video box at the bottom, but I’m
guessing that will be toggleable. The message windows are (still)
completely uninspiring, but apart from AIM Triton’s vertical tabs
(which I’m not entirely sold on yet), I don’t really see anybody else
doing anything different in that department. Head over to LiveSide to
see the screenshots.

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March 31, 2006 Posted by | software, Windows | Leave a comment

Office 12 preview video


If you want a better idea of what using Office’s new interface is really like, I recommend this streaming preview video (direct link to WMV stream) that Microsoft has put together. It’s a 13-minute marketing piece so be prepared for some awkward scripted dialogue from Real Microsoft Employees (Dear Product Manager Julie Larson-Green: The camera is over here. Please look at it.), and unless you’re a corporate executive you’ll probably get the gist of it in the first five minutes. Personally I’m excited about the new interface, but then I only use Office a couple times a month and am used to picking up new interfaces at the drop of a hat. For the average cube-dweller, I’m not yet convinced that it wouldn’t cost companies a bundle in time spent relearning.

* Read

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March 29, 2006 Posted by | software, Windows | 1 Comment

Alertbear – RSS reader


Describe as "the free Windows RSS reader that doesn't think you should read feeds like email," and in that aspect I agree completely. Alertbear is a nice little free feed reader for Windows that lives in your system tray and pops up a "stack" of news reminiscent of IM notification boxes when new feed items come in. It has some nice features, like color-coded categories, mousewheel navigation, and feed auto-discovery, but otherwise keeps things simple. Like Lifehacker, I'm not sure how well Alertbear would work for those who track dozens or hundreds of feed, but if there are only a few feeds you're interested in, Alertbear might be up for it.

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March 29, 2006 Posted by | Web | Leave a comment

Big Internet Explorer Exploit


Microsoft has confirmed that a newly-discovered vulnerability exists in Internet Explorer that the security companies are calling "significant" and "highly critical." Of course, you won't find such scary language on Microsoft's milquetoast advisory page, but the vulnerability (for which researchers have released proof-of-concept exploit code), allows malicious web sites to run arbitrary code on victims' machines. No patch exists, but Microsoft says an effective workaround is to disable Active Scripting in IE and that Outlook and Outlook Express are not vulnerable.
more than 200 web sites
have been altered
by hackers to include malicious code to exploit it. Sites being seeded with infectous code include
small business sites that most users would never suspect of harboring malicious software. When an Internet Explorer user
visits such a site, all kinds of malware may be silently installed on their computers, including programs which steal
passwords and credit card numbers. Microsoft has yet to release a patch and likely won't for another two weeks when
Patch Tuesday rolls around. They're still advising users to disable Active Scripting, but Krebs is recommending much
more direct action that I echo: drop Internet Explorer and install Firefox or Opera.

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March 29, 2006 Posted by | Browsers, Web, Windows | Leave a comment

LEGO Mindstorms NXT kit


Rabid LEGO Mindstorms fans finally have a date to circle on their calendars for hitting the company's website and breaking out their credit cards — April 1st has been announced as the start of pre-orders for the highly-anticipated new NXT robotics set. We first spotted the revamped kit, which had extensive design-phase input from select members of the Mindstorms community, back at CES, where we managed to capture a video of one of the many possible creations doing its thing. As you'll recall from our past coverage, NXT bots use non-traditional stud-less LEGOs, Bluetooth-enabled 32-bit controllers, and three precision servo motors for a much more powerful and flexible tool set than previous offerings. Despite their steep price compared to regular packages, LEGO obviously expects NXT kits to develop a devoted following similar to their predecessors — buyers are limited to five of the $250 sets during the initial pre-order.

[Via : Engadget ]

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March 26, 2006 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

IE 7 Beta 2

IE 7 beta 2 is upfor grabs from microsoft. Uninstall the old beta first (one reboot) before installing the latest beta (2nd reboot).

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March 23, 2006 Posted by | Browsers, Web, Windows | 1 Comment

Firefox 2.0


alpha version of Firefox 2.0, the latest iteration of the venerable open source web browser, which was uploaded today for Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can grab it from the official Firefox repository, if you think you can swallow an alpha version. Of course, if you’re just curious about trying Firefox and you’d prefer a stable release, the current release version is 1.5.

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March 20, 2006 Posted by | Browsers, Web | Leave a comment

Redesign Google


Back in January designer Andy Rutledge took on the task of redesigning Google’s home page to make it, how shall we say, more designed. Of course, Rutledge doesn’t work for Google and we’ll never see it on Google.com–or will we? Tristan Dunn has put together a Greasemonkey script that replaces Google’s home page with Rutledge’s pretty “Google Redux” every time you visit. It’s pretty weird loading up Google’s home page to find something completely new and fresh. The script even checks for Google’s fancy holiday logos.

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March 16, 2006 Posted by | greasemonkey, Scripts, Web | Leave a comment

McAfee Anti-Virus goes on file-deletion rampage

McAfee Anti-Virus thinks that Excel is a virus. That and hundred of other files that definitely aren’t. SANS is reporting that a virus definition update released by McAfee on Friday mistakenly identifies many, many important files as infected with the W95/CTX virus. Among them are executables from Microsoft, Adobe, Macromedia, MySQL, and more (PDF). If you’re lucky or clever enough to have McAfee set to quarantine infected files, they’ve released instructions on restoring those files, but if you had it set to delete and don’t have a recent backup, you’re out of luck.
[Via : Slashdot]

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March 14, 2006 Posted by | software, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Thumbstacks.com!


               With Thumbstacks.com, you can make presentations – like slideshows, or outlines – right in your web browser. When you’re done, you can share your presentations with anyone, anywhere, just by sending them a link.
                It all runs right here, in your web browser. You can create your
presentation, save it, modify it, update it, whatever – then click
“publish” and you’ll get a link you can use to share it with
everyone.

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March 14, 2006 Posted by | software, Web | Leave a comment