Main/News >> News Archives > The week of August 26 (2007) (you
Free your computer, IM in your bath
dwergs says ( 31 Aug 2007 ):
If you're not the only Messer in your family and have to share the family computer with chatty siblings, there's a new gadget in town that will save you a lot of frustration and quarreling. Rip Roar's Wireless IM connects to MSN, AIM and Yahoo!, and it sports a QWERTY-keyboard, a backlit screen and a speaker for IM alerts. Contrary to WiFi-enabled phones and PDAs, this device doesn't require the presence of a wireless network to log in. Instead, you simply plug in the USB base station (900 MHz range), run the one-time setup and you're ready to "go" (to the next chair, room or floor), thus freeing up the computer for some real action... or dull homework. The Wireless IM, which runs on 4 AAA batteries, also allows peer-to-peer communcation between two devices within 250 feet of one another, just think of the classroom-based opportunities!
This is not the first dedicated IM device we've seen and certainly not the fanciest, but unlike for instance the Ogo it doesn't entail any (monthly) fees. Like advertised, the Wireless IM seems like a useful piece of gear for use at home, offering a little more privacy than a family computer and without the cost of mobile text messaging. Expect it to hit U.S. shops by September 15th for about $80.
>> Watch the Wireless IM presentation video by Rip Roar.
Windows Live Custom Domains could clear your contact list
dwergs says ( 29 Aug 2007 ):
One of the features that came with last week's release of Windows Live Custom Domains 2.0 was support for e-mail optional domains. This allows you to register a domain to host just Windows Live ID's (for use with Windows Live Messenger) without the free e-mail offer.
However, according to Microsoft-employee Darryl Burling, you risk losing your contact list when you import an account that you've already been using with Windows Live Messenger before:
"If the account already exists (i.e. you've used it for a LiveID without mail in the past) you'll get the option to import it. This seems to convert the account without actually bringing any settings over with it, so if you used the account with Live Messenger, your buddy list will be no more (not necessarily a good thing). The association with other Live accounts (such as Live Spaces) will be retained."
So don't forget to backup your contact list before importing an existing account (go to Contacts > Save instant messaging contacts...) and then restore the .ctt file afterwards.
An early beta of the first native IM client for the iPhone has seen the light. Unlike other unofficial IM option such as eBuddy and Meebo, ApolloIM is not web-based but can instead be as an extra application on your iPhone through the Nullriver Installer.
Reports mention it's still quite buggy, lacks notifications and logs off when you go back to the home screen. But at least it works and developer Arminius is welcoming any bug reports, feature requests and contributions so feel free to participate in this open source project. One of the items on his to-do list is support for MSN/Windows Live Messenger...
Vulnerability identified in 7.x, end of MSN Messenger imminent?
dwergs says ( 28 Aug 2007 ):
A vulnerability was discovered in MSN Messenger, which gives attackers the chance to crash or take control of a remote system through the acceptance of a specially crafted video conversation invitation. A Chinese security researcher nicknamed wushi -already a while ago, it seems- found that a heap-based buffer overflow can be caused by the way all MSN Messenger 7.x versions handle video conversations. The security advisory is unclear as to whether Windows Live Messenger 8.0 is also affected, but recommends upgrading to 8.1 or later versions. If you decide to stick to MSN Messenger, make sure you don't accept (untrusted) webcam sessions.
It's been more than a year and a half since Microsoft last updated MSN Messenger to version 7.5.0324. With the final release of Windows Live Messenger 8.5 nearing, Microsoft could go for the easy fix and force all MSN Messenger users to upgrade to Windows Live Messenger 8.1 upon signing-in. Such a move would signify an unforeseen end of the MSN Messenger era. We'll have to wait and see how they respond.
UPDATE: As Digger petersaints correctly noted, a forced upgrade would cut off owners of older Windows versions 9x, ME and 2000. Not likely, then?
UPDATE #2 (29-AUG-07): A Microsoft spokesman told ZDNet.com that Windows Live Messenger 8.0 is also vulnerable and that they, once done investigating the vulnerability, "will take appropriate action [by] providing a security update through the monthly release process, an out-of-cycle update or additional guidance to help customers protect themselves."
Yahoo! surrenders to Indian taxman, links its Mail to WLM
dwergs says ( 27 Aug 2007 ):
In a reaction to last week's news about India imposing a tax on PC-to-PC and PC-to-Phone communication through IM software, Yahoo! seems to have already ditched all voice conversation features from its Yahoo! Messenger client in India. At least when you compare the Indian client's feature page to the standard one (nice find!). Whether this is a temporary or permanent move is still uncertain and so is Microsoft's position in all this. Let us know if you notice the same restrictions in your Indian Windows Live Messenger client.
Some better news from the Yahoo! front then. Their revised web mail service loses its beta tag today and one of the surprise features accompanying this relaunch is the capability to initiate an instant messaging session with Windows Live Messenger users within Yahoo! Mail. Further details can be found here.