Internet Explorer 9 released

I downloaded and started using IE9 yesterday. So far so good, it seems quicker and cleaner than previous versions of Internet Explorer. There are a lot of nice features like the ability to drag one window to the left and one window to the right to get them side by side ( like explorer in Windows 7 ) , the pinning of favourite sites to the task bar and the noticeable speed difference. It doesn’t run at all on Windows XP, this is due to new technology in Windows 7 (and Vista) that isn’t in XP. I’ve been to the Microsoft website and got a list of all the new top features as seen below and at (http://www.beautyoftheweb.com/#/productguide/top-features )
In my opinion, if you run Vista or Windows 7 and use Internet Explorer 8 – go and download Internet Explorer 9 – you won’t be disappointed!
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[All the text and graphics below are from the Microsoft website at the address shown above]

Hardware-accelerated text, videos and graphics

New graphic capabilities and improved performance provide immersive and rich experiences in Internet Explorer 9. Hardware-accelerated text, video, and graphics mean your websites perform like the applications that are installed on your Windows-based computer. High-definition videos are smooth, graphics are clearer and more responsive, colors are truer, and websites are more interactive. Websites and applications load faster with sub-system enhancements like the new JavaScript engine that utilizes the power of modern multicore processors to make the web feel incredibly responsive. Combined with the powerful graphics capabilities of the Windows 7 operating system, Internet Explorer 9 is the best web experience on Windows.
Industry leading power consumption levels
One dimension of browser performance is how much power is consumed while the browser is performing common tasks, such as browsing the web or watching a video. The more power consumed by the browser, the more quickly the battery on your mobile device is drained. By leveraging the GPU for graphical computation, Internet Explorer 9 saves significant power and leads the industry in power consumption by allowing the CPU to sleep for longer durations. Internet Explorer 9 is also the only browser on the Windows platform that integrates the Windows Power Options and respects customers’ power setting to conserve power and maximize battery life.
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Test your browser’s power consumption when using your battery at: http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/HTML5/PowerMeter/Default.html

F12 Developer Tools

Internet Explorer 9 provides built-in developer tools which aid developers in rapid prototyping, testing, and debugging webpages by making changes to code from within the browser itself which can then be previewed. New in this version of the browser are a user-agent switching tool, a network traffic inspector, an improved JavaScript profiler, and integrated support for new web standards introduced with Internet Explorer 9. If you are running IE8 or IE9, press F12 to see the F12 Developer tools
Clean, with a focus on your websites
Windows® Internet Explorer® puts the focus on the web with a clean look and feel that makes your websites shine. Internet Explorer 9 delivers one-click access to websites pinned directly to your taskbar, fewer interruptions, and navigation that works seamlessly and intuitively with Windows 7. Simply put, Internet Explorer 9 focuses on the web, not the browser.
Your sites shine

Clean browser interface

The role of the browser is not to simply get out of the way, but to bring sites forward. In Internet Explorer 9, the simplified yet enhanced user interface and experience puts the focus on the content of each website. By default, only the controls essential for browsing are in the browser frame, quietly in glass, letting people browse and experience all that their sites have to offer.

New Tab Page

The New Tab page has been revamped in Internet Explorer 9 to intelligently display the websites that users love most and put them one click away, so that navigation is simple and easy. New users are able to get started quickly, and returning users get meaningful information that helps them decide what to do next as they browse.
Each site’s icon and primary color is used on the New Tab page to help you identify sites more easily. Also, a site indicator shows if the site is visited often or not. From the New Tab page, you can also reopen closed tabs, reopen the last browser session, clear the site indicators, or start InPrivate® Browsing.
Streamlined navigation controls
Designed to highlight only the controls that people use most, the navigational controls in Internet Explorer 9 are streamlined and simplified. Because modern websites include much of the functionality that browsers had in the past, the new browser frame emphasizes the controls that are necessary for browsing, with customizations available to show more controls. The back button is one of the most used controls. In Internet Explorer 9 we’ve made access to it easy, making the Back button larger than in previous versions and placing it in the top-left corner of the window.
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Seamless with Windows 7

Pinned sites

With pinned sites, your favorite websites can be accessed directly from the Windows taskbar without having to first open the browser. Most browsers visit a small number of websites daily, often several times a day. These sites are frequently full-featured web applications that have their own navigation, site search, and notification of new content that you depend on rather than using browsing controls. By pinning a site, the site — not the browser — is at the center of the experience.
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Jump Lists

Beyond the ability to pin any website to the Taskbar, Internet Explorer 9 also provides an integrated Windows navigation experience with websites that support Jump Lists and thumbnail preview controls in the taskbar.
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Jump Lists take you right to the websites you use every day. They’re a quick and easy to way to visit frequently visited websites without first opening Internet Explorer. For example, you may frequent a particular online bookstore and may always start with your wish list. To open the Internet Explorer 9 Jump List, you can right-click the Internet Explorer icon on the taskbar. You’ll see your pinned websites, as well as the sites that you visit often. There’s also access to start InPrivate Browsing, open new tabs, or close a window.
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Tear-off Tabs and Second-Row Tabs

You often need to use more than one website or page to accomplish a task. Tearing off a tab and using Windows Aero® Snap is a great way to show two sites or pages side-by-side. Some examples include comparing products from different websites, watching a video while going through email, or looking at a map while reading an itinerary for a trip.
To tear off a tab, click a tab and drag it to edge of your screen. Content on the site is rendered continuously and video keeps playing when snapping a window in place, providing a fluid experience.
Sometimes you also need to have more tabs than one row can accommodate. In the latest version of Internet Explorer 9, you can now add a second row of tabs.
Streamlined and quieted

Quieted Notifications

Notifications in Internet Explorer 9 allow for more fluid and faster browsing. Instead of dialog boxes popping up unexpectedly and getting in your way, all notification messages are consolidated in the Notification Bar, located at the bottom of the browser frame.
Notifications won’t interrupt your browsing by forcing you to act on them before you can continue. You can ignore them if you choose, and less important notifications will automatically dismiss after a short period of time, saving you keystrokes and time. The Notification Bar also has an animated download notification and Application Reputation information that gives you the option to delete unknown or high-risk downloads straight from Notification Bar. What’s more, you’ll find that the messages, error notifications, and warnings you see in the Notification Bar are more informative, easier to understand, and most importantly, easier to act on.

Smarter address bar

In Internet Explorer 9, search and navigation is integrated into One Box. To search the web, type your search into One Box and get visual suggestions to help you find what you’re looking for. You can also switch between search providers or add new providers at the bottom of the address bar drop-down menu.
In the new address bar, Inline AutoComplete anticipates what you are looking for and helps you get to websites quickly after typing just a few letters. For search providers that support top results, you don’t have to worry about having to remember the full web address. You can type in familiar terms like “news” or “music” and quickly get to the sites you want. And with the new Paste and Navigate feature, you can now search or go straight to an address using copied text via the page context menu.

Privacy

The privacy of the information that you enter is an important part of the Internet Explorer promise. You are in control of what information gets shared with search providers and can choose whether or not to allow Internet Explorer 9 to give you search suggestions. If you decide not to share info, searches will only initiate after you press enter instead of as you type.
The browser people can trust
You want to browse without interruptions and with the confidence that the experience is reliable, safe and private. Windows® Internet Explorer® 9 includes built-in default settings that can help keep your computer protected from the first time you launch the browser.
Built-in security and privacy

Built-in security and privacy

From the moment that Internet Explorer 9 is launched, built-in security and privacy technologies help keep you safer online.
Tracking Protection
Tracking Protection helps you stay in control of your privacy as you browse the web. Some of the content, images, ads, and analytics that you see on the websites you visit are provided by third-party websites. While this content can provide value to both you and your favorite websites, these third-party websites have the ability to potentially track your behavior across multiple sites. Tracking Protection Lists help enhance your privacy and help protect you from online tracking by blocking web content that may be used to track you. To use this functionality, you simply have to add a Tracking Protection List from one of the Tracking Protection List providers. These Tracking Protection Lists contain domains which Internet Explorer will block as well as domains Internet Explorer will not block. Once you’ve installed a Tracking Protection List, the settings apply to all the sites you browse to and are preserved each time you begin a new browsing session. Tracking Protection stays on until you decide to turn it off.
SmartScreen Filter
In Internet Explorer 9, we’ve continued to heavily invest in the industry-leading Microsoft SmartScreen® Filter and the back-end reputation systems that support it. SmartScreen is a dynamic security intelligence and safety service designed to help protect Internet Explorer users from phishing attacks and malicious software.
The SmartScreen investments in Internet Explorer 9 can be broken down into two major areas:
1. Application Reputation—provides information about a downloaded program based on file and publisher reputations. Internet Explorer 9 is the only major browser providing integrated download reputation to help you make better trust decisions.
2. Improvements to SmartScreen URL (web address) reputation—Since the release of Internet Explorer 8 in March 2009, SmartScreen has blocked over 1.5 billion malware and phishing attacks. We’ve continued to invest heavily in this area for Internet Explorer 9.

Introducing SmartScreen Application Reputation

SmartScreen Application Reputation is a groundbreaking browser feature that uses reputation data to remove unnecessary warnings for well-known files and to show more severe warnings when the download is at higher risk of being malicious. Many people are often conditioned to ignore the generic warnings that are shown for every download, such as: “This file type can harm your computer. Are you sure you want to run this file?” This same warning is presented whether the file is a common program or a piece of malware. Other browsers leave it up to you to decide if a program is safe to download and run from the Internet. Internet Explorer 9 is the only browser that uses Application Reputation to help you make safety decisions.
SmartScreen URL Filtering Improvements
The SmartScreen URL filter continues to be a key user safety investment in Internet Explorer 9. Since the launch of Internet Explorer 8, SmartScreen has blocked over 1.2 billion malware and phishing attacks and continues to block between 3 and 5 million attacks each day. We are committed to continuously improving our intelligence systems and processes so we can continue to provide industry leading protection from phishing and malware. We’ve also made improvements to the SmartScreen block experience in two core scenarios to ensure that you clearly understand the risks involved.
The new Download Manager blocks downloads from known malicious websites. When a malicious download URL is detected, a warning is shown both in the new notification bar and in the Download Manager. At this point you can continue the download if desired, otherwise the download is cancelled and removed automatically.
The SmartScreen block experience has also been improved when helping to protect people from malicious content hosted on a benign page. This is most often caused by malicious advertising. For these scenarios, the SmartScreen block page has been updated to be clear when hosted content is malicious rather than the hosting website.
InPrivate Browsing
Sometimes customers don’t want to leave a trace of their web browsing activity on their computers. Whether it’s shopping for a gift on a shared computer or checking email at an Internet café, there are times when you dont want to leave any evidence of your browsing or search history for others to see.
Microsoft InPrivate® Browsing helps prevent browsing history, temporary Internet files, form data, cookies, usernames, and passwords from being retained by the browser. You can start InPrivate Browsing from the New Tab page, from the Internet Explorer Jump List, or by selecting InPrivate Browsing from the Safety menu. Internet Explorer will launch a new browser session that won’t record any information, including webpages that you visit and searches that you perform. Closing the browser window ends the InPrivate Browsing session.

Greater protection against a number of emerging threats

ActiveX is a technology that’s embedded into many of the top websites to enrich your browsing experiences. It can be used for things like playing videos, displaying animations, and viewing certain kinds of files. However, ActiveX can also pose security risks and slow down your computer. ActiveX Filtering in Internet Explorer can help you make an informed decision about every ActiveX control you run by giving you the ability to block ActiveX controls for all sites, and then turn them on for only the sites that you trust. This can help improve your protection against risky and unreliable ActiveX controls.
Cross-site scripting attacks are a leading online threat. They exploit vulnerabilities in the websites you use. Their aim is to capture keystrokes and record sign-in information for your accounts.
Domain highlighting
Internet Explorer 9 can help you avoid deceptive sites and can give you peace of mind. As with Internet Explorer 8, Internet Explorer 9 takes domain names which appear in the address bar and highlights them in black, while the rest of the web address is displayed in gray text. This makes it easier to confirm the identity of the sites that you visit and helps to alert you about deceptive websites with misleading addresses, reducing the chances of exposing your personal information while browsing.
Downloads and add-ons

Take control of downloaded files

Internet Explorer 9 helps you control the files you download so they won’t harm your computer or disrupt the performance of the browser.

Download Manager

New in Internet Explorer 9, the Download Manager provides you with the status of downloads, a secure area for downloaded files, and the final location where downloads are stored.
Download Manager establishes a folder for downloads so that you don’t have to pick a folder each time you download a file. It’s an easy way to scan and interact with file downloads. For example, from Download Manager, you can open a previously downloaded file or share its download link with a friend. Download Manager also enables you to pause or cancel downloads. You can also delete downloads from Download Manager. And the speed for each download is shown. That way if you have multiple downloads going on at once, you’re able to pause a less important download so higher priority downloads can be completed faster.
Whether downloading a small file or several large files, you can browse virtually without interruption. Download Manager integrates with the Notification bar, giving you the ability to browse websites while also monitoring your downloaded files. This is especially helpful for longer downloads. If a download is interrupted, the files can be resumed on the next launch of Internet Explorer 9. So if you encounter a network connection problem or have to shut down your computer, you easily can pick up right where you left off.
Download Manager also uses SmartScreen download reputation to inform you of potentially harmful files. In the Internet Explorer 9 Download Manager, downloaded programs are differentiated by their risk level. A common, low-risk application download will no longer be given the same warning and treatment as a malware download. If SmartScreen Application Reputation determines that a downloaded program has a positive reputation, unnecessary warnings are removed and you are not asked to make additional trust decisions before running the program. If an application does not have a positive reputation and is much more likely to be malicious a warning helps you decide what to do with the download
Add-on Performance Advisor
Internet Explorer 9 is designed to ensure that it starts fast and stays fast over time. Add-on Performance Advisor identifies add-ons that may be slowing down Internet Explorer 9 and gives you the information you need to disable or fix them, directly from the Notification bar itself. Load times for each add-on are shown, so that you can see how each add- on affects your browsing experience each time you launch Internet Explorer 9 or open a new tab. You are notified if the total load time of all enabled add-ons takes more than 0.2 seconds, giving you the opportunity to make an informed decision to use the add-ons that you find valuable and disable those that are less useful or too slow. As a result, right out of the box and over time, Internet Explorer 9 helps you control the add-ons that you install.
Reliability

Reliability

Regardless of website performance, Internet Explorer 9 is a reliable browser choice.

Tab isolation, automatic crash recovery, and hang recovery

When a site isn’t functioning correctly, the entire browsing session doesn’t need to be interrupted. Reliability features like tab isolation and automatic crash recovery–features introduced in Internet Explorer 8–keep users browsing.
With tab isolation, website crashes are isolated to individual tabs, not entire browser windows. After the problem causing the crash is identified, Internet Explorer automatically recovers the tab where the problem occurred. If one or more of the tabs closes or crashes unexpectedly, the tabs are automatically reloaded and you are returned to the sites where you were before the crash.
If the crash is caused by an add-on, Internet Explorer 9 identifies the code that’s running at the time of the crash and gives you the option to disable the add-on to help prevent future crashes. Internet Explorer 9 also includes new support for “hang” recovery, after the browser stops responding in a particular tab. The impact of a frozen tab is isolated, so that other tabs and the overall browser continue to run. You can continue browsing on other tabs.
We made the notification messages clearer in Internet Explorer 9 to help you better understand what to do when problems arise. For example, if a website causes the browser to stop responding, a message is shown in the Notification bar that says the website is not responding, rather than saying Internet Explorer is not responding. You are able to better understand what the problem is, and what action, if any, you need to take to address the issue.

Compatibility View

Sometimes there are display problems with websites, such as out-of-place menus, images, or text boxes, because the site was designed for an older browser. Compatibility View automatically adjusts how webpages are displayed, so that websites and applications for older browsers work correctly. If you see display problems, you can press the Compatibility View button in the address bar and websites will be displayed as presented in Internet Explorer 8. You don’t need to click the button for a website, once you’ve done so. The next time that you visit the site, Internet Explorer 9 will automatically display the site in compatibility mode. To turn off Compatibility View, click the Compatibility View button again.
Try It. This page was written for an earlier version of Internet Explorer and doesn’t look right in Internet Explorer 9. Pressing the Compatibility View button for the site makes it display correctly in Internet Explorer 9.
And videos on all the new features here : http://www.beautyoftheweb.com/#/videos

Beware Japanese disaster scam emails

It appears some people have no morals or conscience. There are a number of scam emails doing the rounds , purporting to be from the British Red Cross appealing for donations to the Japanese disaster fund. The email directs you to a website called MoneyBookers and requires you to make your donation through a Yahoo email address. Don’t be fooled. If you want to make a donation go direct to the Red Cross website.

This from the British Red Cross website :

Fraudulent disaster appeal emails and websites

Please note: Unfortunately there are currently some fraudulent emails circulating claiming to be raising money for the Japan Tsunami Appeal, please be aware we will never ask for people to donate through companies such as Western Union or Money Bookers. We have not sent any emails soliciting donations for the Japan Tsunami Appeal.

Whenever there is a disaster, such as the Japan earthquake and tsunami and the New Zealand or Haiti earthquakes, there will be those who seek to take advantage of people wanting to donate for the relief effort. Many scams involve emails that claim to be on behalf of the Red Cross and there are numerous variations:

  • They may direct you to a fake website where you are asked for credit card details.
  • They may offer you a position collecting money on their behalf for a percentage, retaining the money you send or using you to launder money from criminal activities.
  • They may ask you to donate cash through money transfer companies such as Western Union.

If you receive an unsolicited email alleging to be on behalf of the Red Cross or collecting for the Red Cross, do not respond to it or provide any personal details, but delete it immediately and do not forward or otherwise circulate it.

Please ensure that you only make donations on the official British Red Cross site www.redcross.org.uk

Any emails requesting donations to us through any mechanism other than secure donation via redcross.org.uk or 0845 054 7200 are fraudulent.

All British Red Cross marketing email addresses end @mail.redcross.org.uk and we do not use general email providers, such as BT Internet or Googlemail, to solicit donations.

If you are suspicious of an email you have received, please contact the British Red Cross supporter care team:   
0844 87 100 87
supportercare@redcross.org.uk

Facebook : sharing home address & phone number with developers

Do you publish your home address online? Facebook has caused no small amount of concern by quietly opening the address and phone number fields to developers. A post on Saturday  by Jeff Bowen in Facebook’s developer support team explained that users’ addresses and mobile phone numbers are being made available on the development platform through a number of APIs.

Users would have to accept a new app and allow it access to personal information. Contact details of friends would not be accessible unless they too accepted the app.

But the primary concern, as neatly summarised by Graham Cluley on the Sophos blog, is that rogue app developers could efficiently harvest this very valuable information by developing apps that scrape this contact information and use it for spam or cold-calling.

“Facebook is already plagued by rogue applications that post spam links to users’ walls, and point users to survey scams that earn them commission – and even sometimes trick users into handing over their cellphone numbers to sign them up for a premium rate service,” he wrote last night. “You have to ask yourself – is Facebook putting the safety of its 500+ million users as a top priority with this move?”
 

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Facebook’s latest API allows developers access to users’ address and mobile number.

This is clearly the downside of Facebook’s open apps policy, though it’s extremely unlikely Facebook would reverse that and head down the Apple road of approving apps – which has a whole set of different problems. Cluley suggests developers should only be granted access to this information if it proven to be a valid use, or that users should be asked to approve sharing this data.

Latest :
Facebook reminds us that there’s a difference between rogue applications and apps with a genuine reason for accessing your address or phone number. A spokesperson gave the example of an airline’s e-commerce app that could be more useful if it could notify users about last minute flight changes.
“On Facebook you have absolute control over what information you share, who you share it with and when you want to remove it. Developers can now request permission to access a person’s address and mobile phone number to make applications built on Facebook more useful and efficient. You need to explicitly choose to share your data before any app or website can access it and no private information is shared without your permission. As an additional step for this new feature, you’re not able to share your friends’ address or mobile information

To change your shared settings , goto your Account  | Privacy Settings , choose ‘customise settings’ and amend the tab accordingly

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Thousands of Gmail accounts accidentally wiped

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Thousands of Googlemail users have been left with empty inboxes after their accounts were accidentally wiped. As well as all e-mails going missing, many also had their contacts deleted. Google, which operates Gmail, said that only a small percentage of its users had been affected and some accounts have already been restored, thus suggesting the loss of data was not permanent.

Google’s statement : “This is affecting less than 0.08% of our Gmail user base, and we’ve already fixed the problem for some individuals.”

The company said that engineers were working to restore service. Google is beleived to have between 150 million and 200 million Gmail accounts. That would mean that the 0.08% equates to around 150,000 users which were affected by the problem.

In a further update Google has confirmed that a storage software update was responsible for causing the loss of access to data.

Initially Google claimed 0.08% of users complained of losing e-mails, contacts, and folders. They then changed that figure to 0.29 per cent , but has since revised that figure to less than 0.02 per cent, or about 40,000 of the service’s 200 million accounts.

Ben Treynor, Google VP of engineering and site reliability czar, said sorry for the mess and said he expects to have the lost data restored soon. He said that the data was not completely lost and Google had restored most of it already. Writing in Google’s Gmail blog, Treynor said that it was caused by a storage software update that introduced an unexpected bug. “When we discovered the problem, we immediately stopped the deployment of the new software and reverted to the old version,” he said. Users might be wondering how safe all this cloud computing lark really is if, as Google promises, all the data was backed up in different locations with the keys owned by people who have never  met each other. Treynor said this is because in some rare instances software bugs can affect several copies of the data. “Some copies of mail were deleted, and we’ve been hard at work over the last 30 hours getting it back for the people affected by this issue,” he said