Windows 8 Enterprise Announced, Windows 8 Ultimate Next?

Before we go straight to the new announced edition, there were 3 editions announced last Monday — namely Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT. Many believed that these are few compared to how many editions Windows XP,  Vista and 7 had. But now we know there is a fourth edition, Windows 8 Enterprise. What\’s next? Will we see Windows 8 Ultimate soon?

\"\"

History Repeats Itself?

Let\’s go back in history and recall the editions published by Microsoft for the last 10 years. Windows XP had Starter Edition, Home Edition, Professional and Media Center Edition. Not to mention there were several 64-bit flavors of these, as well as special editions without Windows Media Player or  Windows Messenger on different territories namely, Windows XP N, Windows XP K and Windows XP KN. With the rise of netbooks we also saw Windows XP Home Edition ULCPC which means \”ultra low-cost personal computer\” . To add more, there was XP Embedded, commonly known as XPe for embedded systems.

Windows Vista is terrible in having so many editions too but at least the naming schemes are much easier to understand. There were Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate editions. All except Starter supports x86 and 64-bit processors. Similar to Windows XP, there were N and KN versions such as Home Basic N and Business N which removes Windows media player to conform with European Union and Fair Trade Commission in South Korea respectively.

The most recent and the more successful predecessor to Vista, Windows 7had similar editions namely Starter, Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate. Again, all except Starter supports x86 and 64-bit processors. It also has N and KN versions.

Windows 8 Enterprise

Enter Windows 8 Enterprise. I was quite happy Microsoft only introduced 3 versions. I thought they are finally reducing the number of editions in Windows 8… but they just announced the fourth version. What is special about this? According in Windows team blog, Windows 8 Enterprise will get all the features of Windows 8 Pro plus more. It will get premium features designed mainly for mobile productivity, security, manageability and virtualization.

Some of these features are: Windows To Go – think bootable Windows 8 on your USB flash drive. For many years Linux supports this feature and Windows is catching up on this trend. It allows companies to support BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or in this case, bring your own PC. DirectAccess function like built-in corporate VPN which allows you remote access inside your company\’s network. BranchCache optimize bandwidth over WAN connections by caching files, websites and other content on a central server. AppLocker lets administrators restrict files and applications that any user can run.

Other features include VDI enhancements and New Windows 8 App Deployment.

Windows 8 Editions Comparison Chart

You may compare the known editions of Windows 8 below.

\"Windows

So after the announcement of Windows 8 Enterprise, do you think we will see more editions of Windows 8?

By the way, did anyone think of Windows RT as Windows ReTweet?

Read more

BlueStacks Beta 1 Now Available for Download, Android Fans Rejoice!

I\’ve written about BlueStacks before as the program that lets you run 400,000 Android apps in Windows. Well, the list of Google Play apps is still growing and as of February 2012 there are 450,000 Google Play apps already. BlueStacks Beta 1 is now available and its compatibility with Google Play apps greatly improved. That is all that matters, really.

\"BlueStacks

Yesterday I downloaded the 1st beta release of BlueStacks App Player and I was able to test it on my desktop computer. I was impressed because it has big improvements from the alpha version.

BlueStacks Beta New Features

You can download apps using one of the 3 app stores included  namely 1Mobile, Amazon Appstore and Getjar. Before, you have to do it with the BlueStacks Cloud Connect app only. The compatibility of apps also increased tremendously. The applications that I could not use in the alpha before are not fully functional.

There is now a home screen with all the apps that you  downloaded on your machine an app search engine. Whatever you searched and clicked using the app search engine will  be installed. It\’s a bit odd because it doesn\’t ask you for any permission before installation.

\"BlueStacks

The new BlueStacks beta included a new top dock for My Apps, the apps that you downladed; Popular Downloads, the apps that  are  most downloaded by BlueStacks users; Apps stores, the three default app stores that comes with the BlueStacks package; Lastly, Cloud Connect, the BlueStacks service that syncs your BlueStacks installation from your phone based whatever application you want to be installed from your phone to BlueStacks.

The dock is a welcome addition but it\’s kind of annoying because you can\’t drag where you want it. It\’s not even customizable. You can hide it and it will be minimized as a smaller icon hovering somewhere at the top.

\"BlueStacks

Notice that there is an  \”open folder\” icon at the screenshot above? That is a new feature too. Your apps installed in BlueStacks can be opened directly from shortcuts just like a normal Windows application. It\’s a very neat feature and it works seemlessly with the Windows paradigm. The only problem that I see here is the icons  are not smooth as they are not optimized for Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. I am not sure why it it appears smooth in Android though.

Games Compatibility and Performance

Angry Birds is working out of the box, even the latest version Angry Birds Space. Some of my favorite games like Lane Splitter is now working too. Check the screenshot to see how you can control the tilting of device using the arrow keys.

\"BlueStacks

I tried using the current hottest game Draw Something (free version) but it is not working, unfortunately.

Out of curiosity I ran benchmark tools within BlueStacks beta 1 and I find the results interesting.

\"BlueStacks

\"BlueStacks

I know that there are more benchmark tools for Android but these are the two benchmarks that I am interested in. I used an Intel Core i5 2500 CPU at 3.30 GHz without a dedicated video card for the tests above. It\’s a relatively fast CPU and it\’s an unfair match even to the most powerful Android tablets out in the market today.

My goal here is to show that Bluestacks is has a very usable Android experience and it is a great alternative to try Android on Windows first before jumping on the Android bandwagon.

Conclusion

While BlueStacks is free now I believe that it will be a paid product after the beta period is over because if you check the task bar system tray options, BlueStacks explicitly mentioned \”Free during beta\” so it could only mean that after beta it is not free anymore.

I tested BlueStacks beta1, version 0.6.3.0686. I am sure that there are more features coming in. Beginning beta 1, it is starting to look like a finished product.

I was not able to test BlueStacks on a computer with touch screen so I could not rate how responsive it is to touch gestures and commands but overall, even if using a mouse to drag around the screen on an emulated tablet computer, BlueStacks is a very decent Android installation on top of Windows.

If you ask me whether it will be better than Windows 8 with Metro UI, I cannot answer that yet. What I know is that you can install BlueStacks on your Windows tablet computer and decide for yourself which is better. As long as BlueStacks can offer great compatibility with more than 450,000 apps it will be an unfair advantage for Android.

Read more

Firefox 11 Losing Market Share But Still Thriving

\"FirefoxI didn\’t notice that Firefox 11 was already out until yesterday so I immediately upgraded to Firefox 11.

Firefox 11 New Features

So what\’s new in Firefox 11? It can now migrate your bookmarks, history and cookies from Google Chrome. That\’s very helpful if you use Firefox and Chrome back to back but I cannot really imagine Chrome users migrating to Firefox. Firefox 11 can also sync add-ons across different computers where you enable Firefox Sync. Media controls for HTML 5 video was redesigned which looks better than Chrome. However, Firefox still do not support .mp4 (h.264 + AAC) out of the box. You just need to install a plugin for Firefox to support .mp4 so it\’s not really a problem.

Much of the additional features in Firefox 11 are developer features including the Syle Editor for editing CSS, HTML in XMLHttpRequest, 3D view of Web Page Structure and more.
You can see the 3D view in the demo below.

I think that the beta version \”Tilt\” is better because you have more options available. You can still install the add-on to test it out.

\"Firefox

Nowadays I seldom use Firefox as my primary browser because most of the extensions that I use are available in Chrome already, or it is only available in Chrome. That\’s the main challenge for Firefox to be on top of their game again. Before, Firefox is the only browser that offers add-ons which extends more features in the browser. Today, Chrome supports extensions and its extensions do not have compatibility problems regardless of the version you are using. Firefox is still in the process of converting all add-ons in using the new add-on SDK which means that its add-ons will be forward compatible with all the future versions of Firefox and the browser won\’t need to be restarted anymore.

Memory Leak, Chrome 17 vs. Firerox 11

If you are still thinking that Firefox is still a memory hog, think again. On this test, I tested Firefox 11 and Chrome 17 with about a dozen of add-ons or extensions installed.

I have opened 11 tabs and I calculated the total memory that Chrome used and I was surprised it was using almost 2 Gb of memory! I have 8 Gb of memory available but for other users with less RAM available in their computers, that would be too much. I opened the same 11 tabs in Firefox and spent the same time working on those tabs in Firefox 11 and it only took about 600 mb memory.

I will worry about Firefox 11 being more crash prone than Chrome as it crashed several times during my test.

Market Share

On the 2011 Q1, Internet Explorer share was 58.61%, Firefox23.06% and Chrome 11.56%.

In comparison on 2012 Q1, Internet Explorer market share shrunk to 52.32%, Firefox slide down to 22.10% and Google Chrome continued to eat the market share of both IE and Firefox. Now,  Chrome is around 18.43%. according to Net Applications desktop browser market share.

Firefox should be really alarmed by now due to continued popularity of Google Chrome. While I am still looking forward as more useful features come in the future versions, I am afraid that more and more users will turn away from the Firefox to Chrome if the most important problem such as frequent crashing and plugin compatibility is not addressed soon enough.

Read more

Windows 8 Consumer Preview VirtualBox Installation Step-by-Step

Windows 8 VirtualBox Guide

I have documented how I installed Windows 8 Consumer Preview using VirtualBox. It\’s actually very easy to do if you have installed Windows 7 before.

If you have not tested Windows 8 Consumer Preview yet, download the ISO here and follow the easy steps below to guide you through the installation process. You can click on one image to get a bigger version and click the edge of that picture to see the next one.

Create the Virtual Machine

\"Just

\"On

On Virtual Hard Disk options, tick \”Start-up Disk\” and choose \”Create new hard disk\”

\"Choose

\"Virtual

\"On

\"You

\"Click

\"Go

\"If

\"Go

Install Windows 8 Consumer Preview

\"Windows

\"You

\"You

\"Wait

\"You

\"Sign

\"What

Enjoy Windows 8 Consumer Preview on VirtualBox.

If you want my opinion about it…. fine. It feels like like a copy of what Apple has been doing in iOS for so long, but with a twist. What bothers me is the whole idea about Metro UI on top of Windows Aero interface. Metro looks like  an independent program that you can toss anytime you want. It serves as the start menu at this point and I don\’t know if that is good or bad. If I want a desktop operating system, I still want my icons and traditional menus, not Metro UI.

Apple could have included the iOS interface, with all those cute squarish app icons instead of OS X dock long ago but they did not. Perhaps not until Macs get a touch screen. They have kept the interface optimized for different user experience. OS X with mouse, gestures and keyboards; iOS with touch interface. With Windows 8 Consumer Preview I am confused if it is trying to do both desktop and tablet interface at the same time. I sure it will mature and develop over time. It is just a consumer preview anyway.

Windows 8 is promising and it could be the only chance Microsoft has to redeem the post-PC  era.

 

Read more

Malware Spreads like Wild Fire in Syrian Conflict

This article is a press release from MSI-ECS, distributor of Trend Micro products.

\"Syrian

DarkComet

A new nasty piece of malware is now being used in the ongoing conflict in Syria, with the ability to take over an infected computer or steal documents from it.

Computer security firm Trend Micro cited reports that the malware, dubbed as DarkComet, is being used against supporters of the Syrian opposition movement.

\”The malware used in the attacks reportedly spreads through Skype chats. Once users execute the malware, it connects to a (command and control) server in Syria … which belongs to an IP range assigned to the Syrian Telecommunications Establishment,\” Trend Micro said in a blog post.

It noted this could be a response to the opposition\’s increasing use of platforms such as Facebook to organize and spread their message.

Other supporters of the regime like the “Syrian Electronic Army” had sought to disrupt the opposition\’s activities by defacing websites and spamming Facebook pages.

Trend Micro said DarkComet is considered a widely available Remote Access Trojan (RAT).

It said DarkComet is a full-featured RAT that has the ability to take pictures via webcam, listen in on conversations via a microphone attached to a PC, and gain full control of the infected machine.

\”But the features attracting most people using this RAT are the keylogging and file transfer functionality. This way, an attacker can load any files onto the infected machine or even steal documents,\” it said.

Removal tool

Trend Micro said DarkComet, created by a coder using the handle DarkCoderSc, is still being developed and version 5 was released last January 15.

\”Since the reports of its use in connection with events in Syria, the author of DarkComet has expressed regret and while he will continue developing the RAT, he plans to make a DarkComet detector/remover available to the Syrian people,\” Trend Micro said.

Infection via Skype chats

Trend Micro said the malware bearing a Facebook icon was reportedly distributed through Skype chats.

One sample, which Trend Micro detects as BKDR_ZAPCHAST.SG, is DarkComet 5.

But another sample obtained by Trend Micro behaves differently, and involves an initial executable, which is detected by Trend Micro as BKDR_BREUT.A.

This drops two executable files, with the first file displayed to the compromised user as a Mac Address Changer tool.

But this appears to be a simple decoy because while this is displayed, the second executable then connects to a server and downloads another file.

\”These developments illustrate that targeted attacks can be conducted with widely available DIY malware tools. These tools possess all the \’complex\’ functionality attackers need to compromise their targets,\” Trend Micro said.

Trend Micro products are distributed in the Philippines by MSI-ECS. For product information, pricing and availability, please contact Leo Vallente at +63 2 6883708 or [email protected]

Read more

New Virus on Whitney Houston’s Death Attacks Social Networking Sites

This article is a guest post from MSI-ECS, distributor of Trend Micro products.

\"Whitney

With the sudden demise of singer Whitney Houston at age 48 yesterday, the online community is once again flooded by countless tweets, Facebook wallposts and online news, as is with every celebrity deaths. And with the massive attention that Houston’s death is generating, cybercriminals are once again taking advantage.

Trend Micro Inc., a global cloud security leader, has uncovered two web threats shortly after the news broke out. According to Talampas, Trend Micro Fraud Analyst, \”The first attack TrendLabs found was a clickjacking on Facebook, and the other one was a suspicious link circulating on Twitter.\” TrendLabs is the global R&D and technical support center of Trend Micro.

On Facebook, the post, which has the subject, \”I Cried watching this video. RIP Whitney Houston.\”, come in the form of a wall post with a link to the supposed video. Once users click on the video, it leads them to a Facebook page that contains a link to the video. However, clicking the said link only leads to several other redirections until users are lead to the usual survey scam site. Upon further investigation on the domains involved, TrendLabs also found 101 more survey scam domains registered on the same IP where the domains are hosted.

On Twitter, Trend Micro has also found tweets with malicious links that also took advantage of the tag RIP Whitney Houston, which was trending worldwide on Twitter. The said tweets contain a link to a supposed particular blog dedicated to Whitney Houston. Users viewing the page are then redirected to another website, even without them having to click on anything. The succeeding page is a site that supposedly features several Whitney Houston wallpapers what the users can download. However, once they decide to download the wallpaper, a pop-up window appears asking the users to download Whitney Houston ringtones. Whatever users choose—whether to leave or stay on the page, they will be redirected to the survey site that asks for mobile numbers.

“Facebook and Twitter are great sites to get the latest news and express your views but we highly encourage users to be wary of whatever they click in there. Celebrity deaths are almost always baits used by cybercriminals to get you,” adds Talampas. Moreover, he advises, “it’s times like these when a beefed security software whose core focus is protecting your online life is key.” .”

Trend MicroTitaniumCloud Edition Maximum Security 2012, the latest security solution from Trend Micro, is based in the cloud and offers robust protection against all malicious threats, no matter how they are delivered, where they try to hide, or what connected device is in use.

A new feature in Trend Micro™ Titanium™ Cloud Edition Maximum Security 2012 is a tool that visually identifies safe and malicious links on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. The software also offers mobile security for smartphones and tablets, including robust tools for Android devices with Trend Micro™ Mobile Security for Android™ Personal Edition and file and folder synchronization and backup through Trend Micro™ SafeSync™ online service.

Trend Micro products are distributed in the Philippines by MSI-ECS. For product information, pricing and availability, please contact Leo Vallente at +63 2 6883708 or [email protected]

Read more

Malware Attacks Facebook Profiles this Valentine’s Season

This article is a guest post from MSI-ECS, distributor of Trend Micro products.

\"valentines

As love is already in the air, cybercrooks are hooking in victims with a supposed Valentine\’s Day theme for their Facebook profiles.

Computer security firm Trend Micro said the new attack begins with a post on affected users’ walls inviting other users to install the theme into their profiles.

\"valentines

\”Clicking the Install button on the page will prompt the download of the malicious file, FacebookChrome.crx, which Trend Micro detects as TROJ_FOOKBACE.A. When executed, TROJ_FOOKBACE.A executes a script that is capable of displaying ads from certain websites,\” Trend Micro said in a blog post.

Trend Micro noted the attack works only on Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox browsers. Once the malicious browser extension is installed, it will monitor the users’ browsing activities and redirect their page to a survey page asking them for their mobile number. Users who clicked on the post using Internet Explorer (IE) will be redirected to the same survey, without them being asked to download anything.

Trend Micro said that while there is monitoring of browser activity, TROJ_FOOKBACE.A so far does not seem to have any information theft techniques.

\”It fits the criteria of a clickjacking attack more, where it automatically ‘likes’ several Facebook pages as well as automatically posts a message on the affected user’s wall,\” it said.

Trend Micro protects users from this attack via Trend Micro™ Smart Protection Network™ that detects the malicious file and blocks all related malicious URLs.

Trend Micro products are distributed in the Philippines by MSI-ECS. For product information, pricing and availability, please contact +63 2 6883708 or email [email protected]

Read more