Internet Explorer 8 again becomes popular

        Internet Explorer has altered and reversed the year’s long browser usage, for the month of June at least, and cut down the claim of the Firefox. Internet Explorer has also increased its share from 59.8 per cent to about 60 per cent. It is due to the increased use of Internet Explorer 8 and declining use of Internet Explorer 7 as well as Internet Explorer 6.

There is a great change in fortunes for the Internet Explorer and even company like Microsoft could not resist itself by crowning the Internet Explorer for this. Though it is wrong to judge the business on the basis of two to three months data, but the figures have shown some positive signs for them.

Meanwhile, the biggest rival of the Internet Explorer, Firefox has lost its per cent-age share in the market from 24.3 per cent to about 23. 8 per cent and at the third spot is the Chrome which has also gained some momentum from 7.0 per cent to about 7.2 per cent from the month from May to June. At the fourth place is the Apple’s Safari which has also rose from 4.8 per cent to about 4.9 per cent and Opera has slipped from 2.4 per cent to about 2.3 per cent.

         Acrobat update by plug 17 critical holes

         Adobe on Tuesday released updates for Reader and Acrobat that plug 17 critical holes, including one being exploited in the wild to take control of computers and one that could be used to launch an attack using social engineering and PDF files. Adobe warned about the vulnerability being used in attacks, which also affected Flash Player, in early June and plugged the hole in Flash on June 10.

Meanwhile, the PDF vulnerability was made public in late March by security researcher Didier Stevens, who fashioned a proof-of-concept attack that relied on the "/launch" functionality. Another researcher at NitroSecurity took advantage of the same flaw to create a proof-of-concept attack about a week later.

"We added functionality to block any attempts to launch an executable or other harmful objects by default," Adobe's Steve Gottwals, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday. "We also altered the way the existing warning dialog works to thwart the known social engineering attacks." The security updates are for Adobe Reader 9.3.2 for Windows, Mac, and Unix, Adobe Acrobat 9.3.2 for Windows and Macintosh, and Adobe Reader 8.2.2 and Acrobat 8.2.2 for Windows and Mac, according to the security bulletin. These updates will take the place of the quarterly security update that was scheduled for July 13, Adobe said. The next quarterly update is scheduled for October 12.

Meanwhile, Adobe said that when patches are available it will provide immediate updates on its Download Center for the most popular languages and operating systems starting July 13. The company also said its new Updater system, launched in April, seems to be helping customers keep their software up to date better than the old system. "When we compared the new updater against the older technology, we found that our users were much more likely to update using the new Adobe Reader Updater," Gottwals wrote. "Our data showed that the user population adopted the last update roughly three times faster than previous updates."

         Gartner believes European trims 2010 IT spending forecast

    IT spending is still expected to rise this year over 2009, but Gartner believes that European debt problems may put a damper on its previous expectations for growth.

The market researcher said Thursday it has trimmed its estimate for IT spending for 2010 to $3.35 trillion, a gain of 3.9 percent over last year's $3.23 trillion. That marks a lower forecast than the 5.3 percent rise Gartner projected in the first quarter. The company attributed the new outlook to the effects of the devaluation of the euro versus the U.S. dollar.

"The European sovereign debt crisis is having an impact on the outlook for IT spending," Richard Gordon, research vice president at Gartner, said in a statement. "The U.S. dollar has strengthened against the euro during the second quarter of 2010, and this trend will likely continue in the second half of 2010, which will put downward pressure on U.S.-dollar-denominated IT spending growth."

Growth in software, IT services, and telecommunications will almost certainly be more limited as a result of the appreciation of the dollar, forecasts Gartner. But the hardware sector will see a 9.1 percent rise in spending to $365 billion this year, thanks to ongoing demand for PCs.

"The computing hardware sector continues to benefit from a healthy PC sector, which accounts for two-thirds of total spending in this area, and we expect PC shipments to remain robust throughout 2010 and 2011," Gordon said. "Consumer shipments will continue to be powered by strong mobile PC uptake, while professional shipments will be buoyed by a new replacement cycle and migration to Windows 7." Gartner said the global economy has stabilized but is still susceptible to shocks in key regions and industries. As a result, technology spending will be kept in check by businesses that are reviewing every purchasing decision.

Over the next five years, spending will be curtailed in Europe as governments try to control their budget deficits and reduce debt, Gartner predicts. A ripple effect could put a crimp on private sector spending as well. Gartner asserts that an effective policy response in Europe will be needed to stimulate spending in general and in the IT sector specifically.

         Browser Usage Trend 2009-10

   Internet Explorer has reversed a years-long slide in browser usage, at least for the month of June, reclaiming share at the expense of Firefox.

This chart shows the changing usage of the five top browsers; the darker colors are from earlier and the lightest color shows percentages for June 2010.
(Credit: data from Net Applications, chart by Stephen Shankland/CNET)

Internet Explorer has reversed a years-long slide in browser usage, at least for the month of June, reclaiming share at the expense of Firefox.

IE increased usage from 59.8 percent to 60.3 percent, according to new statistics from Net Applications, an analytics company that monitors browser usage across a large network Web sites. It was buoyed by increasing usage of IE8 that offset the decline in IE7--and by what Web developers no doubt hope will be only a temporary pause in the decline of the despised IE6. The change in fortunes was significant enough that Microsoft couldn't resist crowing about IE's progress in a blog post Thursday. "We certainly don't judge our business on just two months of data, but the direction here is encouraging," said Ryan Gavin, senior director of business and marketing for Internet Explorer. Although IE has long been scorned by Web developers for its out-of-date features and its lack of compliance with Web standards, Microsoft is working hard to change the browser's image. The IE9 Platform Preview bare-bones browser prototypes, of which three have been released so far, are steadily accumulating modern features in HTML (Hypertext Markup Language), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), and JavaScript. And Windows, despite the browser ballot that in Europe presents Windows users with a choice of browsers besides IE as a result of an antitrust settlement, remains a powerful means of distributing the software.

Some of IE8's gains probably can be ascribed to the growing use of Windows 7, which ships with that browser and is showing some signs of finally being a successor to Windows XP that people actually are embracing. Net Applications showed that the browsing usage of Windows 7 climbed from 12.7 percent to 13.7 percent from May to June; Windows Vista dropped from 15.2 percent to 14.7 percent; and Windows XP dropped from 62.6 percent to 62.4 percent.

Meanwhile, IE's biggest rival, Firefox, dropped in usage from 24.3 percent to 23.8 percent. And third-place Chrome climbed from 7.0 percent to 7.2 percent from May to June. In fourth place, Apple's Safari rose from 4.8 percent to 4.9 percent, and Opera slipped from 2.4 percent to 2.3 percent.

Opera has years of experience on mobile devices, and indeed its Opera Mini version comes close to the regular computer version of Opera in terms of browser usage. Apple's Safari works on iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches, and Apple at least partially bans other browsers.

Mozilla is working on a mobile version of Firefox for Android and high-end Nokia phones and just submitted a tool to the Apple App Store it hopes will keep the desktop version of Firefox in sync with Apple iOS-based browsers. Google lets other browsers on devices with the Android operating system, but it comes with a browser as well.

         Blu-ray Disc Specification Finalized

       With 2TB hard drives floating around, the once-impressive 50GB that a dual Blu-ray Disc can hold isn't so impressive anymore. To make things bigger, the Blu-ray Disc Association decided that it was time to add more layers and call the new standard BDXL – which is now finalized and official.

With the completion and approval of the specification, manufacturers can now obtain licensing information and license applications needed to begin production of the high capacity write-once and rewritable discs and hardware. Because the new media specifications are extensions of current Blu-ray Disc technologies, future BDXL capable recorders can easily be designed to play back existing 25GB and 50GB Blu-ray Disc formats, but current laser hardware aren't compatible with the newer media.

Targeted primarily at commercial segments such as broadcasting, medical and document imaging enterprises with significant archiving needs, BDXL provides customers with triple layer 100GB RE (rewritable) and R (write-once) discs and quadruple layer 128GB R discs. Possible consumer applications include capture and playback of HD broadcast and satellite programming in markets where set-top recorders are prevalent.

"The BDA worked diligently to create an extension of the Blu-ray Disc format that leverages the physical structure of the design of the disc to create even more storage capacity," said Victor Matsuda, Blu-ray Disc Association Global Promotions Committee chair. "By using the existing Blu-ray technologies, we have created a long-term and stable solution for archiving large amounts of sensitive data, video and graphic images. We expect further growth of the Blu-ray Disc market as the introduction of 100GB/128GB discs will expand the application of Blu-ray Disc technologies."

         Intel to Use eMLC in Next-Gen Enterprise SSDs

      Intel recently announced that its 25nm NAND flash chips are now shipping in volume to customers. This also means that we can soon expect a refresh of the Intel SSD's that are currently based off of 34nm Postville parts later this year.

Intel's next generation 25nm SSD parts for enterprises will use a new type of enterprise multi-level cell (eMLC) flash memory, which are expected to be even more resilient than other existing technologies, according to a roadmap seen by X-bit Labs.

The next-gen of Intel SSDs using 25nm flash are coming later this year.For reference, the 34nm-based 80GB and 160GB models can be had for around $200 and $400, respectively.

         All-in-One PC for Windows 8

      This is Microsoft's ideal mainstream PC that will take advantage of what Windows 8 will offer.

Aside from peripherals and game consoles, Microsoft doesn't design hardware – at least not complete PCs. But found in the leaks of Windows 8 is a concept design of an all-in-one PC that Microsoft figures would take advantage of the new OS features.

Notably is the multi-touch screen that's able to resolve at least five different points and the mandatory DirectX GPU for HD video. The all-in-one would also pack things that machines don't have these days, like proximity sensors (for automatic sleep and wake), light sensors (for automatic brightening and dimming).

         Sapphire Does 3D Gaming with Eyefinity

   ATI's Eyefinity technology has opened up a whole new world of multi-monitor gaming and now that the gaming industry is moving tentatively toward 3D technology, it makes sense to put the two together and see what happens.

Sapphire demonstrated the following set up, which combines a single Sapphire video card with ATI Eyefinity support, three Zalmon Trimon 3D displays and a third party 3D driver from iZ3D. The result is a 5760 x 1080 display area of eye-popping 3D. Yes, you still have to wear the goofy glasses.

While Sapphire was full of talk about how smooth everything runs, the company remained quiet on just how much you could expect to pay for a set-up like this. Being perfectly honest, we're not sure how we feel about it. It's still early days for 3D technology and we all know from going to see 3D movies that things can look a little off when if you're at an awkward angle.