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Opinions formed in the blink of an eye

Internet users make up their minds about the quality of a website in the blink of an eye, a study shows. Researchers found that the brain makes decisions in just a twentieth of a second of viewing a webpage. They were surprised as they believed it would take at least 10 times longer to form an opinion. The study, published in the journal Behaviour and Information Technology, also suggests that first impressions have a lasting impact.

Pixel-flogging student makes a million

Well I’m in the wrong business! Alex Tew had an idea to help fund his university education (don’t think thats cost’s ?600,000 these days, does it?). The idea was to flog 1 million pixels of his homepage as advertising space?for $1 per pixel, and a phenominem was born that created a valid advertising platform.?The idea was so "out there" that interest in the site became huge. So big was the success of the site that Tew decided to flog the last remaining 1,000 pixels on eBay. And, when the auction closed yesterday evening, the bidding for the last available space on this giant pixel billboard stood at $38,100 – around ?21,600. It means Tew’s site has succeeded in generating just over a million dollars – or almost ?600,000 – since its launch in September.

Browser users urged to patch up

Windows users are being warned about a bug that lets attackers take over a PC via the Internet Explorer browser. The bug makes it possible for webpages?to compromise a PC without a user spotting the attack, Microsoft warned. Code to exploit the bug was circulating online which led Microsoft to label the bug "critical" and said users should apply a patch immediately. At the same time a similar bug was found to be affecting earlier versions of the rival Firefox web browser.

Wikipedia joker eats humble pie

Mr Chase, who added the false information to the biography in May 2005, said he did not realise that the online encyclopedia was taken so seriously. The fake information stated that Mr Seigenthaler Sr was linked to the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and that he had lived in the Soviet Union for 13 years. The entry has now been corrected. Tennessean Brian Chase said he added to the entry to trick a co-worker. The discovery of the fake data in journalist John Seigenthaler’s biography started a debate about the online reference work’s reliability and the prank has caused Wikipedia to change its policy so only registered users can create entries.

Mozilla Releases Firefox 1.5

Mozilla Corp. has released Firefox 1.5. According to the company, the new version of this browser offers the users faster browser navigation, better accessibility and improvements to popup blocking. It also comes with automated update to streamline product upgrades and drag and drop reordering for browser tabs. Firefox 1.5 is meant to come with security improvements, as well as better product usability, which includes descriptive error pages, redesigned options menu, RSS discovery, and "Safe Mode" experience. You can grab Firefox here.

Google tests new travel service

Google Inc. is scouting out the travel bookings business with a new feature that connects users to travel agencies that offer the cheapest fares. They announced to be testing the feature, putting it in competition with travel search sites like Sidestep and Kayak, which sift through all published bookings information for fares and reservation prices. The new Google`s feature would not compete directly with services offered by online travel agencies Expedia and Travelocity. On Google, users can input specific flight inquiries between two points. The search results feature Web links to the sites that offer fare information.It also allows users to enter their preferred dates of travel before searching.Unlike full-service online travel agencies Expedia and Travelocity, travel search engines do not sell fares. They only locate the fares and give links to sites that offer bookings.

Microsoft warns of new flaw

Microsoft Corp. warned users yesterday of a new flaw in recent versions of Windows that could allow attackers to take control of a system by embedding malicious software code into digital images. The users of Windows XP, Windows Server and an updated version of Windows 2000 would be put at risk by viewing a digital image containning software code that exploits the flaw. That could happen Wind the potencial victims go to a web site or open an infected file. Symantec Corp. and McAfee Inc. recommended that users install the Microsoft security patch and avoid opening suspicious e-mail attachments or clicking on any unfamiliar links. Users can download the patches to fix the software flaws at www.microsoft.com/security.

Microsoft and Google in a race to create digital library

Both Microsoft and Google are separetly working towards plans to build global digital libraries. About 100,000 books in the British Library are going to be scanned and put online by Microsoft. The books, which are out of copyright, will be digitised from 2006 and put online as part of Microsoft’s book search service next year. Google is spending $200m (?110m) to create a digital archive of millions of books from four top US libraries. It is also digitising out-of-copyright books from the UK’s Oxford University. The company`s plan was to make available and searchable for everyone on-line even books that are in print and under copyright protection. The iniciative was left aside when both he Association of American Publishers and the Authors Guild filed legal action for copyright infringement.

24MB ADSL broadband may not be possible for most

Analysts have ‘reverse engineered’ data from BT and come to the conclusion that the vast majority of British residents will never be able to get 24Mbps broadband direct to the home. Research by broadband analysts Point Topic suggests that the bandwidth promised by some ISPs will not be available to most UK residents because they live too far from a telephone exchange. "24Mbps is achievable within 300 metres of the exchange so you can get those speeds if you happen to live next door," said Julian Herbert, editor of the Point Topic UK Plus service. So, it looks like we may have to reply on the cable braodband providers for our hopes of high speed internet access. From what the article says though, everyone should be enjoying 10mbit connections by summer. Can’t wait! ?

Windows Live: Google inadvertently sparks innovation at Microsoft

Google’s indirect threats to Microsoft’s software monopoly are causing sparks of innovation to fly once again at the Microsoft camp, and about time too! Windows Live currently offers three online tools, Live.com, Live Mail and Live Messenger, which are currently in beta stages. Live Messenger looks to be an extension on the already released MSN Messenger, while Live Mail seems to be a direct competitor to Gmail. Live.com offers users the ability to have their own customized homepage feeding information such as local weather, news, search and one click email access all in a clean, fast interface. Let?s hope this is just the start, as Microsoft has been playing it safe for years now. The talent (though Google has stolen most of it) at Microsoft is world class, so it would be nice to see them use it for once with innovative and useful products.

100Mbps Broadband a Reality by 2007?

Telewest is looking at technology which could eventually boost broadband speeds up to 100Mbps, the company announced today. The cable company claims it will achieve this hundred-fold increase in broadband speeds, compared with the average connection today, thanks to its investment in Data Over Cable Service Interface Specifications (DOCSIS) standards. Telewest is hoping to launch a service based on DOCSIS 3 middleware ? which will allow download speeds between 50Mbps and 100Mbps by the end of 2006. In the meantime, the telco also announced that it has begun rolling out a 10Mbps broadband service in the UK. Initially only available in Scotland, the 10Mbps service should reach London at the beginning of next year with the rest of the country following over the next 12 months. More info HERE

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