Posts Tagged ‘Washington

23
Jul
10

Tablet War Hots Up With Microsoft iPad Rival

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Tablet War Hots Up With Microsoft iPad Rival

Friday, July 23, 2010

••• Microsoft is taking on the iPad in the battle of the tablets as it announced plans to launch it own version later this year.

It is working in partnership with Hewlett-Packard whose executive vice president Todd Bradley said: ‘Slates are going to be an enormous category.

‘Our focus is working with still our largest software partner, Microsoft, to create a tablet, a slate, for the enterprise business.’

‘This is just in its infancy.’

Apple has sold more than three million iPads since it went on sale in April and Microsoft has been seeking to develop products that will tap into the lucrative market.

When the Microsoft tablet arrives on the shelves it may benefit from one key advantage over its Apple rival.

The HP tablet computer will be able to run Flash, the popular video software from Adobe which Apple has barred from the iPad.
The news comes as Microsoft revealed a record $4.52 billion profit with a fourth quarter revenue of more than $16 billion dollars.

The American tech company credited the strong sales figures to the successful launch of its latest-generation Office 2010 software and to continued strong demand for its new Windows 7 operating system.

The popularity of its Xbox 360 videogame consoles and Bing’s improving share of the Internet search market also contributed to the successful final quarter of its fiscal year.

Microsoft chief operating officer Kevin Turner said: ‘We look forward to continuing our product momentum this fall with the upcoming launches of Windows Phone 7 and Xbox Kinect.’
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05
Jul
10

2010 Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular

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2010 Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular

Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks in New York City

Monday, July 5, 2010

Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks 2010 turned out to be a spectacular and star studded event. On Sunday night as the whole of the United States joined hands to celebrate the Independence Day,Macy’s Fireworks only made the occasion all the more special. The community took care to bring some of the most well known singers on board as the fireworks lit up the sky above the Hudson River. Live on the deck of the Norwegian Epic cruise liner were teen singing sensation Justin Bieber who headlined this year’s Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks spectacle. Along with him were other singing sensations like Enrique Iglesias and LeAnn Rimes. Some of the star-casts of the “Twilight Saga: Eclipse” also made it to the deck.
If people jived to the singing of Justin Bieber and Enrique Iglesias along the Manhattan West Side then, there were millions more who enjoyed the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks 2010 on television as it was aired live by the NBC Networks on Sunday night. Although there were many who celebrated the occasion at home with family members and friends many came out witness the spectacle with their own eyes with hope that it would be “even better” to see it live.
There is no doubt about the fact that the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks 2010 lived up to the expectation of the thousands who came up all the way to the bank of the Hudson river to mark the occasion. The red, blue yellow and white fireworks with each different from the other and gigantic in size made it a thing of beauty.
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04
Jul
10

July 4, Independence Day

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July 4, Independence Day

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Americans across the United States are attending barbecues, parades, fireworks displays and other events as the nation marks its birth 234 years ago.

The July 4 Independence Day holiday marks the occasion in 1776 when the 13 original U.S. colonies declared independence from Britain during a revolutionary war.

In Washington, DC, thousands of people are expected to converge on the National Mall for an annual festival featuring displays and events celebrating American heritage, and an Independence Day parade. Other activities in the nation’s capital include re-enactments of the signing of the Declaration of Independence by actors portraying the nation’s founders.
A few miles away at Mount Vernon, the home of the nation’s first president, George Washington, organizers are hosting a wreath-laying at Washington’s tomb and a naturalization ceremony for about 100 new U.S. citizens.

Later Sunday, there will be a televised concert and fireworks display over the National Mall. Similar events are planned in cities across the country.
President Barack Obama issued an Independence Day statement saying the tenacity, resolve and courage of the nation’s founders, in the face of seemingly impossible odds, became the bedrock of the country.

The president also paid tribute to the men and women of the U.S. armed forces who are serving around the world or have given their lives in the line of duty.
• Latest News & Headlines » Home «
• Source(s): The White House
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15
Jun
10

Microsoft Office 2010 goes on sale worldwide

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Microsoft Office 2010 goes on sale worldwide

Friday, June 11, 2010

••• Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday announced that the latest version of its Office software is now available for consumers worldwide.

Starting from Tuesday, consumers can purchase Microsoft Office 2010 at more than 35,000 retail stores across the globe, through online retailers or from Microsoft website.

Office 2010 can also be purchased with desktops and laptops from leading personal computer (PC) makers including Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung and Sony, Microsoft said in a press release.

The software giant predicted that in the next year, more than 100 million PCs will ship with Office 2010 preloaded.

Microsoft said it has made considerable enhancements to Office 2010, a suite of applications including the popular Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint.

For example, improvements to Word 2010 can help users add extensive text effects and table formatting options.

Microsoft also announced that a free, Web-based version of the Office programs is becoming available to consumers.

The Office Web Apps, which includes Web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote that enable users to edit and share documents online, is seen as Microsoft’s answer to Google Inc.’s Web-based applications.
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• Source(s): Microsoft Corporation
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10
May
10

Fannie Mae asks for $8.4 billion in aid

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Fannie Mae asks for $8.4 billion in aid

Monday, May 10, 2010

••• U.S. mortgage finance company Fannie Mae has again asked taxpayers for more money after reporting a first-quarter loss of more than $13 billion.

The company, which was rescued by Washington in September 2008, said it needs an additional $8.4 billion from the government to help cover mounting losses.

Fannie Mae says it lost $13.1 billion, or $2.29 per share, in the January-March period. That takes into account $1.5 billion in dividends paid to the Treasury Department. It compares with a loss of $23.2 billion, or $4.09 a share, a year ago.

The rescue of Fannie Mae and sister company Freddie Mac is turning out to be one of the most expensive aftereffects of the financial meltdown. The new request for aid will bring Fannie Mae’s total to $83.6 billion. The total bill for the duo will now be nearly $145 billion.
Late last year, the Obama administration pledged to cover unlimited losses through 2012 for Freddie and Fannie, lifting an earlier cap of $400 billion.

Fannie and Freddie play a vital role in the U.S. mortgage market by purchasing mortgages from lenders and selling them to investors. Together the pair own or guarantee almost 31 million home loans worth about $5.5 trillion. That’s about half of all mortgages.

The two companies, however, loosened their lending standards for borrowers during the real estate boom and are reeling from the consequences.

With the housing market still on shaky ground, Obama administration officials say it is still too early to draft any proposals to reform the two companies or the broader housing finance system.

But Republicans argue the sweeping financial overhaul currently before Congress is incomplete without a plan for Fannie and Freddie. They propose transforming Fannie and Freddie into private companies with no government subsidies, or shutting them down completely.

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01
May
10

Weekly Address: Giving Government Back to the American People

NEWS
Weekly Address: Giving Government Back to the American People

President Obama Calls on Congress to Enact Reforms to Stop a ‘Potential Corporate Takeover of Our Elections’

Saturday, May 1, 2010

In the wake of a recent Supreme Court ruling, which gives special interests, corporations – and potentially foreign nationals – the power to spend unlimited money to influence the outcome of elections, President Barack Obama called on Congress to enact reforms to limit this power and protect the integrity of our democracy. With these reforms, campaign committees will have to reveal who is funding them, and their leaders or financers will have to claim responsibility for their ads. Also, the reforms will restrict foreign corporations and foreign nationals from spending money in American elections. These reforms will help ensure the government works for the American people, not the special interests.

Over the past few weeks, as we’ve debated reforms to hold Wall Street accountable and protect consumers and small businesses in our financial system, we’ve come face-to-face with the great power of special interests in the workings of our democracy. Of course, this isn’t a surprise. Every time a major issue arises, we’ve come to expect that an army of lobbyists will descend on Capitol Hill in the hopes of tilting the laws in their favor.

That’s one of the reasons I ran for President: because I believe so strongly that the voices of ordinary Americans were being drowned out by the clamor of a privileged few in Washington. And that’s why, since the day I took office, my administration has been taking steps to reform the system. Recently, however, the Supreme Court issued a decision that overturned decades of law and precedent – dealing a huge blow to our efforts to rein in this undue influence. In short, this decision gives corporations and other special interests the power to spend unlimited amounts of money – literally millions of dollars – to affect elections throughout our country. This, in turn, will multiply their influence over decision-making in our government.

In the starkest terms, members will know – when pressured by lobbyists – that if they dare to oppose that lobbyist’s client, they could face an onslaught of negative advertisements in the run up to their next election. And corporations will be allowed to run these ads without ever having to tell voters exactly who is paying for them. At a time when the American people are already being overpowered in Washington by these forces, this will be a new and even more powerful weapon that the special interests will wield.

In fact, it’s exactly this kind of vast power that led a great Republican President – Teddy Roosevelt – to tackle this issue a century ago. He warned of the dangers of limitless corporate spending in our political system. He actually called it “one of the principal sources of corruption in our political affairs.” And he proposed strict limits on corporate influence in elections. “Every special interest is entitled to justice,” he said. “but not one is entitled to a vote in Congress, to a voice on the bench, or to representation in any public office.”

In the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling, we face a similar challenge. That’s why it’s so important that Congress consider new reforms to prevent corporations and other special interests from gaining even more clout in Washington. And almost all of these reforms are designed to bring new transparency to campaign spending. They are based on the principle espoused by former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis – that sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Shadowy campaign committees would have to reveal who’s funding their activities to the American people. And when corporations and other special interests take to the airwaves, whoever is running and funding the ad would have to appear in the advertisement and claim responsibility for it – like a company’s CEO or an organization’s biggest contributor. This will mean citizens can evaluate the claims in these ads with information about an organization’s real motives.

We know how important this is. We’ve all seen groups with benign-seeming names sponsoring television commercials that make accusations and assertions designed to influence the public debate and sway voters’ minds. Now, of course every organization has every right in this country to make their voices heard. But the American people also have the right to know when some group like “Citizens for a Better Future” is actually funded entirely by “Corporations for Weaker Oversight.”

In addition, these reforms would address another troubling aspect of the Supreme Court’s ruling. Under the bill Congress will consider, we’ll make sure that foreign corporations and foreign nationals are restricted from spending money to influence American elections, just as they were in the past – even through U.S. subsidiaries. And we’d keep large contractors that receive taxpayer funds from interfering in our elections as well, to avoid the appearance of corruption and the possible misuse of tax dollars.

Now, we can expect that these proposed changes will be met with heavy resistance from the special interests and their supporters in Congress. But I’m calling on leaders in both parties to resist these pressures. For what we are facing is no less than a potential corporate takeover of our elections. And what is at stake is no less than the integrity of our democracy. This shouldn’t be a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. This is an issue that goes to whether or not we will have a government that works for ordinary Americans – a government of, by, and for the people. That’s why these reforms are so important. And that’s why I’m going to fight to see them passed into law.

Thanks so much.

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30
Apr
10

Microsoft sidelines ‘Courier’ tablet project

NEWS
Microsoft sidelines ‘Courier’ tablet project

Friday, April 30, 2010

Microsoft has sidelined a ‘Courier’ project said to be focused on building a twin-screen tablet computer that could be used for entertainment and work.

‘At any given time, across any of our business groups, there are new ideas being investigated, tested, and incubated,’ Microsoft spokesman Frank X. Shaw (Corporate Vice President, Corporate Communications) said in a message posted on Thursday on the U.S. software giant’s blog.

‘The Courier project is an example of this type of effort and its technologies will be evaluated for use in future Microsoft offerings.’

Microsoft has kept details of the project secret, declining to confirm or deny what it is about.

Leaked reports of the table described it as opening like a book to reveal two screens operated by touch.

Shaw said he posted his brief comments in response to ‘a tonne of speculation’ about Courier.

A Microsoft tablet computer was expected to debut in January at the Consumer Electronics Show, which features the debuts of many of the tech-world’s latest devices.

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer instead touted a Hewlett-Packard tablet computer during his on-stage presentation.

Industry insiders were expecting Courier to rival Apple’s freshly-launched iPad tablet computer.

The Wi-Fi-only model of the latest device from the maker of the Macintosh computer, the iPod and the iPhone went on sale in the United States on April 3.

The company sold over 500,000 iPads the first week.

Apple promised that its iPad models featuring 3G cellular connectivity will hit U.S. stores on Friday.

Apple has said that heavy US demand has forced it to delay the international release of the iPad by a month, until late May.

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24
Apr
10

Apple Market Cap Bigger Than Microsoft? Not Quite Yet, It Isn’t

NEWS
Apple Market Cap Bigger Than Microsoft? Not Quite Yet, It Isn’t

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Boosted by upbeat investor reaction to its strong earnings report this week, Apple on yesterday became the second largest company on the S&P 500 Index in terms of market capitalization, surpassing software giant Microsoft.
Revenge, they say, is a dish that is best served cold. And if this is true, then Apple must be pleased as punch to see itself in the second spot in the S&P 500, second only to Exxon Mobil.

While coming second is in itself notable – with the notable exception of coming first – what must be especially pleasing to Apple is the company it has replaced – Microsoft.

To understand this, you must travel back in time to 1988. In that year, Apple filed a case against Microsoft, claiming that the Windows graphical user interface (GUI) infringed upon the Mac’s “look and feel.” Of course, since Apple had itself borrowed the Mac’s look and feel by looking at products from Xerox and feeling that the GUI is a good thing, the judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that Apple cannot get patent-like protection for the idea of a GUI.

What is more humiliating than being beaten by an opponent? Running back to the same opponent for help when you are down. And Apple was forced to do this in 1997, when Steve Jobs announced that Apple would join Microsoft to release new versions of Microsoft Office for the Macintosh, and that Microsoft made a $150 million investment in non-voting Apple stock. The money made a huge difference to Apple because in 1997 Apple was in deep trouble and was facing a huge finance crunch.

Enough history. Cut to the here and now. Apple is on top and has ousted Microsoft to become the No 2 company on the S&P index. It would be wrong to say that its iPod, iPhone and iPads are selling like hot cakes – it would perhaps be better to say that hot cakes are selling like iPads.

Purists may argue that the S&P 500 represents merely float-adjusted market cap. In fact, as Marco Tabini posted on macworld.com, “Microsoft’s full market cap still outstrips Apple’s by $275 billion to $241 billion.”

True, Microsoft’s market cap is still higher, but Apple has one psychological advantage that was once enjoyed by Microsoft in the PC era – the ability to drive the direction of the market. Now, Apple decides what happens.

Want proof? The iPad now accounts for 26 per cent of all of the mobile traffic on wired.com. The site is so impressed that they are making their Flash-heavy pages iPad compatible. “We are aware of the irony that the majority of wired.com’s videos, which use an Adobe Flash-based player, don’t play on the iPad. We’re working on that, starting with our homepage,” wrote Dylan F. Tweney in an article that appeared on the site.

Many many moons ago, when Steve Jobs hired John Sculley from Pepsi, he is reputed to have asked him, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?” Scully didn’t change the world. In fact, during his regime, Microsoft threatened to discontinue Office for the Mac if Apple did not licence parts of the Mac GUI for use with Windows. And those days, Microsoft got what it wanted. But it looks like iPad has just turned the tables.

• What is S&P 500?
The S&P 500 is a free-float capitalization-weighted index published since 1957 of the prices of 500 large-cap common stocks actively traded in the United States. After the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 is the most widely followed index of large-cap American stocks. It is considered a bellwether for the American economy.

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23
Apr
10

Software giant Microsoft posts 35 percent jump in profit in Q3

NEWS
Software giant Microsoft posts 35 percent jump in profit in Q3

Friday, April 23, 2010

Software giant Microsoft said on Thursday that its third-quarter net profit rose 35 percent to $4.01 billion, slightly better than expectations.

Microsoft said revenue hit a record $14.50 billion in the quarter which ended on March 31, up six percent over the same period a year ago.

‘Windows 7 continues to be a growth engine, but we also saw strong growth in other areas like Bing search, Xbox Live and our emerging cloud services,’ Microsoft chief financial officer Peter Klein said in a statement.

Microsoft said revenue from its Windows computer operating system was up 28 percent over a year ago, driven by strong demand for the latest version, Windows 7.

‘Business customers are beginning to refresh their desktops and the momentum of Windows 7 continues to be strong,’ chief operating officer Kevin Turner said.

Microsoft’s fiscal fourth-quarter revenue will meet or exceed PC market revenues, said Klein, driven by a full pipeline of product updates including Office 2010, SQL server and SharePoint 2010.”You’ll see a wave of product launches in the fourth quarter,” Klein said.”Our business will continue to grow stronger than the market.”
• Source(s): Microsoft Corporation

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17
Apr
10

Weekly Address: Holding Wall Street Accountable

NEWS
Weekly Address: Holding Wall Street Accountable

Saturday, April 17, 2010

In his weekly address, President Barack Obama said that in the wake of the economic crisis Wall Street reform is too important an issue for inaction. The plan moving through Congress will end bailouts, hold Wall Street accountable, and protect consumers, taxpayers and the economy from the kind of abuses that helped bring about the economic crisis. Every day without reform, those abuses, and the system which allowed them, remain in place. It is time to move forward with real reforms for Wall Street.

There were many causes of the turmoil that ripped through our economy over the past two years. But above all, this crisis was caused by failures in the financial industry. What is clear is that this crisis could have been avoided if Wall Street firms were more accountable, if financial dealings were more transparent, and if consumers and shareholders were given more information and authority to make decisions.

But that did not happen. And that’s because special interests have waged a relentless campaign to thwart even basic, common-sense rules – rules to prevent abuse and protect consumers. In fact, the financial industry and its powerful lobby have opposed modest safeguards against the kinds of reckless risks and bad practices that led to this very crisis.

The consequences of this failure of responsibility – from Wall Street to Washington – are all around us: 8 million jobs lost, trillions in savings erased, countless dreams diminished or denied. I believe we have to do everything we can to ensure that no crisis like this ever happens again. That’s why I’m fighting so hard to pass a set of Wall Street reforms and consumer protections. A plan for reform is currently moving through Congress.

Here’s what this plan would do. First, it would enact the strongest consumer financial protections ever. It would put consumers back in the driver’s seat by forcing big banks and credit card companies to provide clear, understandable information so that Americans can make financial decisions that work best for them.

Next, these reforms would bring new transparency to financial dealings. Part of what led to this crisis was firms like AIG and others making huge and risky bets – using things like derivatives – without accountability. Warren Buffett himself once described derivatives bought and sold with little oversight as “financial weapons of mass destruction.” That’s why through reform we’d help ensure that these kinds of complicated financial transactions take place on an open market. Because, ultimately, it is a marketplace that is open, free, and fair that will allow our economy to flourish.

We would also close loopholes to stop the kind of recklessness and irresponsibility we’ve seen. It’s these loopholes that allowed executives to take risks that not only endangered their companies, but also our entire economy. And we’re going to put in place new rules so that big banks and financial institutions will pay for the bad decisions they make – not taxpayers. Simply put, this means no more taxpayer bailouts. Never again will taxpayers be on the hook because a financial company is deemed “too big to fail.”

Finally, these reforms hold Wall Street accountable by giving shareholders new power in the financial system. They’ll get a say on pay: a vote on the salaries and bonuses awarded to top executives. And the SEC will ensure that shareholders have more power in corporate elections, so that investors and pension holders have a stronger voice in determining what happens with their life savings.

Now, unsurprisingly, these reforms have not exactly been welcomed by the people who profit from the status quo – as well their allies in Washington. This is probably why the special interests have spent a lot of time and money lobbying to kill or weaken the bill. Just the other day, in fact, the Leader of the Senate Republicans and the Chair of the Republican Senate campaign committee met with two dozen top Wall Street executives to talk about how to block progress on this issue.

Lo and behold, when he returned to Washington, the Senate Republican Leader came out against the common-sense reforms we’ve proposed. In doing so, he made the cynical and deceptive assertion that reform would somehow enable future bailouts – when he knows that it would do just the opposite. Every day we don’t act, the same system that led to bailouts remains in place – with the exact same loopholes and the exact same liabilities. And if we don’t change what led to the crisis, we’ll doom ourselves to repeat it. That’s the truth. Opposing reform will leave taxpayers on the hook if a crisis like this ever happens again.

So my hope is that we can put this kind of politics aside. My hope is that Democrats and Republicans can find common ground and move forward together. But this is certain: one way or another, we will move forward. This issue is too important. The costs of inaction are too great. We will hold Wall Street accountable. We will protect and empower consumers in our financial system. That’s what reform is all about. That’s what we’re fighting for. And that’s exactly what we’re going to achieve.

Thank you.

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07
Apr
10

FBI arrests man for threatening Pelosi

NEWS
FBI arrests man for threatening Pelosi

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Federal agents in California have arrested a man for allegedly threatening House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Gregory Lee Giusti, 48, was arrested at his San Francisco home in the Tenderloin district shortly after noon, said Joseph Schadler, a spokesman for the FBI office in San Francisco.

Rose Riggs, Giusti’s neighbor in a public housing complex, said she saw two plainclothes and two uniformed officers take him away in cuffs. Riggs said Giusti was known for engaging in heated political debates with others in the building.

“He was not one of my favorite people. He had a real attitude problem,” she said.

The court documents are sealed and will remain so until the Giusti appears in San Francisco federal court at 9:30 Thursday morning.

“The FBI takes threats against elected officials very seriously,” Hansen said Wednesday.

Pelosi’s office issued a statement late Wednesday evening, acknowledging the arrest.

“The Speaker thanks the FBI, the Capitol Hill Police, House Sergeant at Arms, and other law enforcement officials for their professionalism in this matter,” spokesman Brendan Daly said in a statement Wednesday evening. “She will have no further comment at this time.”

Officials told The Associated Press that a man called Pelosi’s Washington and California homes, in addition to her husband’s business office, several times.

This arrest is the second such arrest in as many days: The FBI in Washington state arrested a man Tuesday for threatening Washington Sen. Patty Murray, a top Senate Democrat who also supported the legislation.

Federal officials in Philadelphia arrested a man for threatening House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) last month.

Pelosi’s office declined to comment.

Threats toward lawmakers have been especially prevalent in the weeks since Congress passed health care overhaul legislation last month. Lawmakers have had bricks thrown through their windows, threatening voicemails left and protests outside their homes.

In Cantor’s case, Norman Leboon, the man arrested, allegedly threatened the Republican and his family through YouTube videos. Cantor also got threatening e-mails. Charles Wilson, the man accused of threatening Murray, allegedly left threatening voice messages on her office line in Washington.

Threats directed at an elected official carry a different charge than harassment toward any citizen – if convicted, similar charge carries up to 10 years imprisonment and a quarter-million dollar fine. It is unclear what Pelosi’s alleged threatner might be charged with.

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01
Apr
10

Microsoft extends free Windows 7 Enterprise trial

NEWS
Microsoft extends free Windows 7 Enterprise trial

Thursday, April 1, 2010

••• On the eve of the Windows 7 launch last year, Microsoft offered IT pros a chance to evaluate Windows 7 Enterprise for a limited time. But this week, the software giant announced that the evaluation version would now be offered through the end of 2010.

The free 90-day trial version of Windows 7 Enterprise–your choice of 32-bit or 64-bit version–was originally offered “while supplies last,” which is an odd limitation for a software download.

Functionally, Windows 7 Enterprise is identical to the high-end Windows 7 Ultimate version, but is sold for use in volume-licensing business environments only. One of the benefits of Enterprise, then, is that it includes access to the valuable BitLocker-To-Go portable drive encryption technologies, leading to one of my most popular tips from the Windows Weekly podcast: Users with the more mainstream Windows 7 Home Premium can install the Enterprise edition in a Windows Virtual PC virtual machine (VM), encrypt their USB memory keys with BitLocker-To-Go, then safely access them using their host OS going forward. If the keys get lost, the data is safe.

Now, that ability–along with general access to the Windows 7 Enterprise trial–is being extended through the end of 2010. “Due to popular demand, the Windows Enterprise Trial program has been extended,” Microsoft’s Stephen Rose wrote in a blog posting this week. “This means you now have till December 31, 2010 to download and evaluate the trial version.”

Readers interested in the 90-day trial version of Windows 7 Enterprise should visit the Microsoft Springboard web site.
• Source(s): Microsoft Corporation

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29
Mar
10

Microsoft rushes to patch zero-day IE hole

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Microsoft rushes to patch zero-day IE hole

Monday, March 29, 2010
Last modification: Tuesday, March 30, 2010: 1:05 p.m. PDT

••• Microsoft is releasing an out-of-band patch to address a vulnerability in Internet Explorer 6 and 7 on Tuesday, which if exploited would allow an attacker to compromise the targeted system. In addition to the patch addressing the widely known flaw, MS10-018 will also correct nine other vulnerabilities.

“We have been monitoring this issue and have determined an out-of-band release is needed to protect customers,” Microsoft said in a statement.

Discovered earlier this month, the flaw in Internet Explorer is caused due to a use-after-free error in iepeers.dll when handling invalid values passed to the “setAttribute” function. If exploited, the attacker would have control over the system at the permissions level of the current user. Considering most users are logged in as an administrator on their systems, the issue quickly gained notoriety.

While Microsoft said that users of Internet Explorer 8 and Windows 7 are not vulnerable, the fact that the majority of their users are open to attack caused them to push the timeline up some for the patch.

“The last time Microsoft issued an out of band patch for IE was in January, and it was for the ‘Aurora’ bug that was used to exploit Google, Adobe and other large enterprises. Given that Microsoft’s regular patch is only 15 days away, an out-of-band patch definitely means there is a serious uptick in attacks against this bug in the wild,” said Andrew Storms, Director of Security Operations for nCircle.

“Microsoft’s turnaround time on this bug was very impressive. Generally, it takes at least 30 days from advisory to bug fix release. Microsoft released the advisory on March 9th, just three weeks ago.”

Each of the ten updates in MS10-018 will be listed as Critical by Redmond, and they expect them to hit systems by 1:00 p.m. PDT on March 30.

• Microsoft Security Bulletin MS10-018 – Critical •
• Cumulative Security Update for Internet Explorer (980182)

▪ Microsoft Security Bulletin Advance Notification for March 2010
▪ Internet Explorer Cumulative Update Releasing Out-of-Band
• Source(s): Microsoft Corporation
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25
Mar
10

‘Go For It,’ Obama Tells Republicans On Health Care Repeal

NEWS
‘Go For It,’ Obama Tells Republicans On Health Care Repeal

Thursday, March 25, 2010

President Barack Obama mocked Republicans’ campaign to repeal his new health care law, saying they should “Go for it” and see how well they fare with voters.

“Be my guest,” Obama said Thursday in Iowa City, Iowa, in the first of many appearances around the country to sell the overhaul to voters before the fall congressional elections. “If they want to have that fight, we can have it. Because I don’t believe the American people are going to put the insurance industry back in the driver’s seat.”

With emotions raw around the nation over the party-line vote to approve the nearly $1 trillion, 10-year law, Obama took the opposition to task for “plenty of fear-mongering, plenty of overheated rhetoric.”

“If you turn on the news, you’ll see that those same folks are still shouting about how it’s going to be the end of the world because this bill passed,” said Obama, appearing before thousands in this college town where, as a presidential candidate three years ago, he first unveiled his health care proposals.
No Republican lawmakers voted for the overhaul, a sweeping package that will shape how almost every American will receive and pay for medical treatment. Many in the GOP are predicting it will prove devastating in November for the Democrats who voted for it.

But the president stressed the notion of a promise kept, saying the legislation he signed into law on Tuesday is evidence he will do as he said. As the crowd broke into a chant of “Yes we can!” Obama corrected them: “Yes we did!”

The White House suggests it has the upper hand against Republicans politically, arguing the GOP risks a voter backlash because a repeal would take away from small businesses and individuals the benefits provided to them immediately under the new law.

“We’re not going back,” Obama said.

Obama spoke as Democrats in Washington raced to complete the overhaul with a separate package of fixes to the main bill.

Senate leaders finished work Thursday on the fix-it legislation, already approved in the House. But Republican attempts to derail the process resulted in minor changes to the bill, which meant the House would have to vote on it again before it can go to Obama for his signature. The House vote was expected by evening.

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25
Mar
10

Senate OKs changes to healthcare bill

NEWS
Senate OKs changes to healthcare bill

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Senate Democrats voted to pass the reconciliation package of repairs to President Obama’s health care overhaul Thursday afternoon after nearly round-the-clock votes to reject dozens of Republican amendments.

The bill passed 56–43 but has to go back to the House for another vote after Republicans were able to get two lines of the legislation deleted because they violated Senate rules. The House is expected to approve the changes to the bill – one a technicality, the other a limit on the maximum Pell grant allowed in the federal student loan program – and send the package to Mr. Obama late Thursday evening. A reform of the nation’s student loan system was included in the reconciliation bill for health reform.

The reconciliation bill contains a series of corrections to the underlying health care overhaul plan, which Mr. Obama signed into law this week.

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25
Mar
10

Senate Will Have to Return Health Bill to House

NEWS
Senate Will Have to Return Health Bill to House

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Washington, DC Spokesman for Nevada Senator Harry Reid, Jim Manley, released the following statement today after Republicans forced shut down of several Senate committees for the second consecutive day:

“For a second straight day, Republicans are using tricks to shut down several key Senate committees. So let me get this straight: in retaliation for our efforts to have an up-or-down vote to improve health care reform, Republicans are blocking an Armed Services committee hearing to discuss critical national security issues among other committee meetings? These political games and obstruction have to stop – the American people expect and deserve better.”

The reconciliation bill will have to go back to the House for another vote after Senate parliamentarian Alan Frumin ruled early this morning that two minor provisions violated the chamber’s rules and could not be included in the final bill, according to Majority Leader Harry Reid’s spokesman Jim Manley.

Both provisions made technical changes to the bill’s Pell Grant regulations. All told, 16 lines of text will be removed from the 153-page bill, Manley told reporters as business on the Senate floor wrapped early Thursday morning.

A spokeswoman for the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) reiterated that the changes are “minor” and won’t create problems when the altered bill goes back to the House for approval. The reconciliation bill is designed to make changes to the newly minted health care reform law.

“The parliamentarian struck two minor provisions tonight form the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, but this bill’s passage in the Senate is still a big win for the American people. These changes do not impact the reforms to the student loan programs and the important investments in education. We are confident the House will quickly pass the bill with these minor changes,” Harkin spokeswoman Kate Cyrul wrote.

The all-night session came as Republicans offered 29 amendments in a final attempt to scuttle the bill, or at least force Democrats into taking politically difficult votes that could be used against them in November. Democrats steadily rejected each amendment, arguing that any changes would send the bill back to the House for another vote, an outcome Senate Democrats worked mightily to avoid before the parliamentarian’s ruling early Thursday.

Reid finally adjourned the marathon session at about 2:45 a.m. after striking a deal with Republican Leader Mitch McConnell to return at 9:45 a.m. today and hold a final vote on the bill around 2 p.m. – news that was greeted with audible sighs of relief from tired senators.

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20
Mar
10

Weekly Address: Time for Action on Financial Reform for the Economy

NEWS
Weekly Address: Time for Action on Financial Reform for the Economy

Saturday, March 20, 2010

As a key committee in the Senate takes up reforming the ways of Wall Street, the President lays down a marker: “I urge those in the Senate who support these reforms to remain strong, to resist the pressure from those who would preserve the status quo, to stand up for their constituents and our country. And I promise to use every tool at my disposal to see these reforms enacted: to ensure that the bill I sign into law reflects not the special interests of Wall Street, but the best interests of the American people.”

On Monday, the Banking Committee of the United States Senate will debate a proposal to address the abuse and excess that led to the worst financial crisis in generations. These reforms are essential. As I’ve urged over the past year, we need common-sense rules that will our allow markets to function fairly and freely while reining in the worst practices of the financial industry. That’s the central lesson of this crisis. And we fail to heed that lesson at our peril.

Of course, there were many causes of the economic turmoil that ripped through our country over the past two years. But it was a crisis that began in our financial system. Large banks engaged in reckless financial speculation without regard for the consequences – and without tough oversight. Financial firms invented and sold complicated financial products to escape scrutiny and conceal enormous risks. And there were some who engaged in the rampant exploitation of consumers to turn a quick profit no matter who was hurt in the process.

Now, I have long been a vigorous defender of free markets. And I believe we need a strong and vibrant financial sector so that businesses can get loans; families can afford mortgages; entrepreneurs can find the capital to start a new company, sell a new product, offer a new service. But what we have seen over the past two years is that without reasonable and clear rules to check abuse and protect families, markets don’t function freely. In fact, it was just the opposite. In the absence of such rules, our financial markets spun out of control, credit markets froze, and our economy nearly plummeted into a second Great Depression.

That’s why financial reform is so necessary. And after months of bipartisan work, Senator Chris Dodd and his committee have offered a strong foundation for reform, in line with the proposal I previously laid out, and in line with the reform bill passed by the House.

It would provide greater scrutiny of large financial firms to prevent any one company from threatening the entire financial system – and it would update the rules so that complicated financial products like derivatives are no longer bought and sold without oversight. It would prevent banks from engaging in risky dealings through their own hedge funds – while finally giving shareholders a say on executive salaries and bonuses. And through new tools to break up failing financial firms, it would help ensure that taxpayers are never again forced to bail out a big bank because it is “too big to fail.”

Finally, these reforms include a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency to prevent predatory loan practices and other abuses to ensure that consumers get clear information about loans and other financial products before they sign on the dotted line. Because this financial crisis wasn’t just the result of decisions made by large financial firms; it was also the result of decisions made by ordinary Americans to open credit cards and take on mortgages. And while there were many who took out loans they knew they couldn’t afford, there were also millions of people who signed contracts they didn’t fully understand offered by lenders who didn’t always tell the truth.

This is in part because the job of protecting consumers is spread across seven different federal agencies, none of which has the interests of ordinary Americans as its principal concern. This diffusion of responsibility has made it easier for credit card companies to lure customers with attractive offers then punish them in the fine print; for payday lenders and others who charge outrageous interest to operate without much oversight; and for mortgage brokers to entice homebuyers with low initial rates only to trap them with ballooning payments down the line.

For these banking reforms to be complete – for these reforms to meet the measure of the crisis we’ve just been through – we need a consumer agency to advocate for ordinary Americans and help enforce the rules that protect them. That’s why I won’t accept any attempts to undermine the independence of this agency. And I won’t accept efforts to create loopholes for the most egregious abusers of consumers, from payday lenders to auto finance companies to credit card companies.

Unsurprisingly, this proposal has been a source of contention with financial firms who like things just the way they are. In fact, the Republican leader in the House reportedly met with a top executive of one of America’s largest banks and made thwarting reform a key part of his party’s pitch for campaign contributions. And this week, the allies of banks and consumer finance companies launched a multimillion dollar ad campaign to fight against the proposal. You might call this ‘air support’ for the army of lobbyists already arm twisting members of the committee to reject these reforms and block this consumer agency. Perhaps that’s why, after months of working with Democrats, Republicans walked away from this proposal. I regret that and urge them to reconsider.

The fact is, it’s now been well over a year since the near collapse of the entire financial system – a crisis that helped wipe out more than 8 million jobs and that continues to exact a terrible toll throughout our economy. Yet today the very same system that allowed this turmoil remains in place. No one disputes that. No one denies that reform is needed. So the question we have to answer is very simple: will we learn from this crisis, or will we condemn ourselves to repeat it? That’s what’s at stake.

I urge those in the Senate who support these reforms to remain strong, to resist the pressure from those who would preserve the status quo, to stand up for their constituents and our country. And I promise to use every tool at my disposal to see these reforms enacted: to ensure that the bill I sign into law reflects not the special interests of Wall Street, but the best interests of the American people.

Thank you.

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18
Mar
10

Microsoft announces Windows 7 SP1

NEWS
Microsoft announces Windows 7 SP1

Thursday, 18 March 2010

••• There’s been talk floating around for quite some time about the coming of Windows 7 SP1. Today, we’ve got some details out of Redmond.

The short version: Windows 7 SP1 will pretty much just be a rollup of updates that have been previously released. Yay.

The slightly longer version: there will be other ‘minor’ updates, including support for a kicked-up remote desktop client (using RemoteFX) and Dynamic Memory support. Both of those are Windows Server technologies, so they’re not of much interest to anyone running Windows 7 at home.

SP1 does historically act as a ‘green light’ to system administrators that it’s OK to upgrade to the new OS, but according to Brandon LeBlanc that hasn’t been the case this time around. In his words, “Many organizations are already in the process of deploying and are receiving benefits from their Windows 7 deployment.”

Once finished, Microsoft said it would make the Windows 7 service pack available for download and through Windows Update.

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17
Mar
10

Bill seeks closer public-private cybersecurity cooperation

NEWS
Bill seeks closer public-private cybersecurity cooperation

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

••• Two US senators introduced legislation Wednesday seeking a closer partnership between the government and the private sector on cybersecurity.

“Private companies and the government must work together to protect our nation, our networks and our way of life from the growing cyber threat,” said Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, a sponsor of the bill.

“The networks that American families and businesses rely on for basic day-to-day activities are being hacked and attacked every day,” Rockefeller said in a statement.

“At this very moment, sophisticated cyber enemies are trying to steal our identities, our money, our business innovations, and our national security secrets,” he said. “This 21st century threat calls for a robust 21st century response from our government, our private sector and our citizens.”

The Cybersecurity Act is a new draft of a bill introduced last year and was revised to take into account the views of more cybersecurity experts in the private sector, government and civil liberties community.

The bill would not allow the president to shut down the Internet unilaterally — a revision to address critics of the prior bill who claimed it would provide that authority.

The proposal would require collaboration with the private sector in responding to a “cybersecurity emergency.”

A “cybersecurity emergency” is defined as “a cyber event that is equivalent to an act of war, a terrorist attack, or a major natural disaster.”

Another new provision in the bill would allow the president to provide security clearances to private sector officials to allow for the sharing of classified information.

Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, the cosponsor, said the bill “seeks to bring new high-level governmental attention to developing a fully integrated, thoroughly coordinated public-private partnership.”

A companion bill to the Cybersecurity Act calls for the creation of a post of National Cybersecurity Adviser at the White House which would require Senate confirmation.

President Barack Obama has cited cybersecurity as a national priority and named Howard Schmidt, a former Microsoft executive, as his cybsersecurity coordinator in December.

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