Week in Geek: Windows 8 Consumer Preview Available February 29th

By Akemi Iwaya on February 12th, 2012

Our latest edition of WIG is filled with news link goodness covering topics such as Canonical’s ending of support for Kubuntu after the 12.04 release, the time of day when e-mail viruses are most likely to appear, the arrival of Chrome on Android, and more.

Note: The wallpaper for the image shown above can be found here.

Weekly News Links

Photo from the How-To Geek Windows 8 Screenshot Tour.

  • Windows 8 Consumer Preview coming February 29th
    The Windows 8 Consumer Preview—notably it’s not being called a “beta”—will be launched on February 29th. Microsoft will launch it at an event it’s hosting in Barcelona to coincide with Mobile World Congress.
  • Windows 8 Start button removed by Microsoft in ‘Consumer Preview’
    Microsoft has taken the bold step of removing the traditional Windows Start button from its Windows 8 “Consumer Preview”.
  • Canonical ending support for Kubuntu, reassigning lead developer
    Jonathan Riddell, the lead developer of the Kubuntu project, announced this past Monday that his work on the KDE-based Ubuntu variant will no longer be funded by Canonical after the upcoming 12.04 release. Kubuntu will be developed entirely by volunteers, much like other community-maintained variants of Ubuntu.
  • Canonical aims for enterprise desktop with Ubuntu business remix
    Canonical has announced the availability of the Ubuntu Business Desktop Remix, a new variant of the popular Linux distribution that has been customized for use in enterprise environments. It is based on Ubuntu 11.10, the current stable version of the distro, but it offers a slightly different set of packages in the default installation.
  • Firefox finally enriches New Tab page
    Chrome’s got it. Internet Explorer’s got it. Safari’s got it. And Opera was the first to debut it. Finally, and currently available in the developer’s Aurora build, Firefox users will be able to get a personalized New Tab experience.
  • Firefox 11 Gets SPDY
    Mozilla is taking a page from Google’s Chrome development and is gearing up to implement a new protocol to help accelerate the Firefox web browser.
  • Chrome 17 tweaks speed, download security
    Safer downloads and a cautious expansion of site pre-caching landed in Chrome 17 this past Wednesday, continuing Google’s two-tiered approach to browser speed and user safety.
  • More hardware acceleration in Chrome beta, dev gets latest JS
    The newly-minted Chrome 18 beta expands the scope of hardware acceleration in the browser to older computers, but it’s still not available to all. Meanwhile, Chrome 19 dev goes bleeding edge with JavaScript.
  • Google (finally) brings Chrome to Android
    Google is finally bringing Chrome to the Android platform. A beta release of the increasingly popular Web browser was published this past Tuesday morning in the Android Market and is available to users who are running Android 4.
  • Mozilla considers removing Trustwave CA
    Scandalised by the snooping certificate issued by Trustwave, a heise Security reader, Sebastian Wiesinger, has submitted a report to Mozilla’s bug database in which he requests that Trustwave’s root certificates be removed from all Mozilla products.
  • Google wants to do away with online certificate checks
    Google plans to turn off online checks for SSL certificate validity in its Chrome browser soon, according to a blog post by Adam Langley, the developer in charge of that element of the browser. Instead, the browser will use the update mechanism to receive lists of revoked certificates.
  • Forcing Flash to Play in the Sandbox
    Adobe has released a public beta version of its Flash Player software for Firefox that forces the program to run in a heightened security mode or “sandbox” designed to block attacks that target vulnerabilities in the software.
  • W3C co-chair: Apple, Google power causing Open Web crisis
    The dominance of Apple and Google mobile browsers is leading to a situation that’s even worse for Web programming than the former dominance of Internet Explorer, a standards group leader warned this past Thursday.
  • Google expands its security rewards programmes
    Google has announced that it plans to expand its vulnerability reporting programmes, which pay security researchers for discovering and reporting holes in the company’s web applications and browsers.
  • Group sues FTC over Google’s planned privacy update
    The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a lawsuit this past Wednesday against the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in an attempt to force it to prevent Google from implementing planned changes to the company’s privacy policy.
  • Iran cuts off Internet access
    Iran has cut off access to the Internet, leaving millions of people without access to e-mail and social networks.
  • E-mail viruses most likely to appear in the morning
    The number of viruses sent out each day peaks between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. EST, according to the Global Security Report released by security research firm Trustwave this week.
  • Google Wallet PIN can be cracked…on a rooted Android device
    Researchers at security firm zvelo have discovered that they can crack a Google Wallet PIN using a brute force attack on a device that is “rooted”–i.e., freed of security restrictions imposed by wireless carriers.
  • Trustwave issued a man-in-the-middle certificate
    Certificate authority Trustwave issued a certificate to a company allowing it to issue valid certificates for any server. This enabled the company to listen in on encrypted traffic sent and received by its staff using services such as Google and Hotmail.
  • Videoconferencing security boils down to users
    How susceptible videoconferencing systems are to hacking is dependent on how users configure and install their video systems, security observers note, adding that breaches can be avoided with the appropriate settings.

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Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 02/12/12
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